J Street's News Roundup 6/24/14

June 24th, 2014

J Street works to promote an open, honest and rigorous conversation about Israel. The opinions reflected in articles posted in the News Roundup do not necessarily reflect J Street's positions, and their posting does not constitute an endorsement from J Street.

Questions, comments, or suggestions? Please email newsroundup@jstreet.org

J Street in the News

J Street denounces Presbyterian vote to divest, Haaretz

“The dovish pro-Israel lobby J Street issued a statement on Monday condemning the Presbyterian Church's decision to divest its stocks from three North Americans companies whose products Israel uses in the West Bank… At its recent annual summit in San Francisco, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami vowed the organization would never advocate for a boycott of Israel, but warned that it presents a ‘real and serious threat.’”

J Street decries Presbyterian divestment decision, Times of Israel

J Street said it “does not believe that boycotts or divestment will bring Israelis and Palestinians closer to a two-state solution to their conflict, nor are they, for us, appropriate tools in pushing toward resolution of the conflict.”

J Street’s Response to Presbyterian Church (USA) Divestment, Kidnapping of 3 Israeli Teens, Jewish Journal

J Street Rabbinic Cabinet Co-Chair Rabbi John Rosove said, “Those who understand the Middle East know that to approach events there aggressively and in a black-white, good-evil context alone will likely result in an escalation of conflict. Though good people differ about what recent events mean (i.e. the unification of Fatah with Hamas, the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the Presbyterian Church (USA) divestment vote, the kidnapping of 3 Israeli teens, and the escalation of violence in Iraq and Syria), those who care deeply about maintaining Israeli security, its democracy and Jewish character, must consider all elements of these conflicts before reacting defensively and aggressively.”

Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu says he appreciates Abbas' 'important words' against kidnapping, Haaretz

For the first time since President Abbas condemned the kidnapping of three Israeli teens last week, Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed appreciation of his words. "I appreciate the statement President Abbas made several days ago in Saudi Arabia; these were important words," Netanyahu said in a conversation with Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta in Jerusalem on Tuesday. "But if he really means them," continued the prime minister, "and is truly committed to peace and to the war on terror, reason dictates that he dismantle the alliance with Hamas. That is the only way we can continue moving forward." Foreign Minister Lieberman said Israel is 100% sure that Hamas is behind the kidnapping, countering recent statements made by Khaled Meshaal, head of Hamas’s political wing, who said his organization has no information regarding the boys or their kidnappers - whom he congratulated.

US prevents UN condemnation of Israel over West Bank deaths, Associated Press

The UN Security Council failed to agree on a statement that would have deplored the deaths of Palestinians in Israeli operations following the abduction of three Israeli teenagers. Diplomats said Jordan insisted that “deploring” wasn’t strong enough and US Ambassador Samantha Power said any language directly criticizing Israel would be “a red line” for the Americans.

Mother pleads at UN for help finding abducted teens, Times of Israel

Rachel Frankel, the mother of the abducted teenager Naftali Fraenkel, told the UN’s Human Rights Council that much more could be done to help find her son and two other Israelis kidnapped in the West Bank 12 days ago. “I ask everyone to do whatever they can to bring back our boys. It is wrong to use boys as instruments of any struggle,” she said.


Palestinians arrested in West Bank as search enters 12th day, Jerusalem Post

The IDF arrested four Palestinians suspected of terrorism and raided 120 homes in Hebron overnight - bringing the total number of arrests since the boys went missing to 354. Out of those, 269 are believed to be Hamas members.

Israel seeks re-incarceration of seven Jerusalemites freed in Shalit swap, Haaretz

Israel’s attorney general issued a request Tuesday morning to re-incarcerate all seven Palestinian prisoners from Jerusalem who were released in the 2011 swap for captive soldier Gilad Shalit. The seven were taken into custody over the last week within the framework of Israel's Operation Brother's Keeper.

Hagel, Yaalon confer on kidnapped teens, events in region, JTA

Defense Secretary Hagel conferred with Defense Minister Yaalon on developments in Israel’s efforts to locate and rescue the three teens.

Why Does Israel Pour Billions Into West Bank Jewish Settlements?, Reuters

Israeli lawmakers are pressing Netanyahu to lift what they call unjustified secrecy over opaque - and rising - funding for settlements on West Bank land Palestinians want for a state. Spending on settlers reportedly rose by a third after Netanyahu took office in 2009 and critics complain that the cost of settlements has long remained hidden in thickets of budgetary convolution.

Opinion and Analysis

On Abbas, Netanyahu moves slowly from ‘No’ to ‘Yes, but’, Times of Israel

Raphael Ahren notes, “Netanyahu appears to have made a small but not insignificant switch this week regarding his reaction to constructive comments made by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas — from rejection to tacit approval, albeit with reservations.”

Charging of released Hamas activist ups heat on PM, Haaretz

Amos Harel reports that “the IDF wants to go back to focusing on the original target, continuing the search for the three boys and pursuing the Hamas cell that abducted them.

Does the IDF operation endanger Abbas more than Hamas?, Times of Israel

Elhanan Miller explores growing Palestinian unrest against the Palestinian Authority.

Kidnapping highlights Israelis' surrender to settlers, Al-Monitor

Akiva Eldar writes that “it is to be hoped that the kidnapping of the three youths ends in the best way possible, but as long as the Israeli public bows its head in the face of nationalistic messianic coercion, it is hard to believe this is the last tragedy.”