US to Intervene in Peace Talks?

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Today’s Top Stories

1. Is the US preparing to intervene in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations with its own peace plan?

The new plan, expected to be presented in January 2014, will follow the “Clinton parameters,” according to Gal-On and her policy advisor Ilan Baruch. It will address all the core issues, and will be “based on the ’67 lines with agreed land swaps.”

Also revealed in Gal-On’s meetings with senior officials: U.S. President Barack Obama will continue to pressure Ramallah and Jerusalem to reach a breakthrough in negotiations by the second quarter of 2014.

Gal-On’s statement further asserted that the Americans believe that both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have the political credit necessary to forge an agreement. However, public skepticism on both sides has justified the American preparation to intervene if the talks reach a crisis.

2. Worth reading: Would the world blame Israel if Iranian nuclear talks fail? Max Fisher includes this important observation by Kenneth Pollack.

The irony of blaming Israel for a collapse of the nuclear talks is that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel credits Benjamin Netanyahu’s war drums with getting the mullahs to negotiate in the first place. He told Jeffrey Goldberg:

Hagel, now in his ninth month leading the Pentagon, argued that Netanyahu’s threats of military action against Iranian nuclear sites, combined with the pressure of sanctions, may have actually encouraged Iran to take negotiations seriously.

“It’s true that sanctions — not just U.S. sanctions but UN sanctions, multilateral sanctions — have done tremendous economic damage,” Hagel said. “Even many of Iran’s leaders have acknowledged that. And I think that Iran is responding to the constant pressure from Israel, knowing that Israel believes them to be an existential threat. I think all of this, combined, probably brought the Iranians to where we are today. Whether the Iranians will carry forth on that, we’ll see.”

Hagel made sure to absolve Netanyahu of the charge that he’s intent on subverting the nuclear talks. “I don’t think he’s intentionally trying to derail negotiations,” he said.

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3. Will they pawn their Nobel peace prize for the greater good? Reuters reports that the international team dismantling Syria’s chemical weapons is only funded through this month.

4. Charity Navigator Rates HonestReporting as “Exceptional”: America’s premier charity evaluator awarded HonestReporting a coveted four-stars for sound financial management, accountability, and transparency.

Fight the Demonization of Israel

Israel and the Palestinians

For details on the peace talks, the Jerusalem Post and YNet shed light on the issues of borders, settlement blocs, and Jersualem. There’s also some infighting among the Israeli negotiating team.

Worth reading: USA Today chronicles the story of Sara Rogers, an American woman trapped by her husband in Gaza with no rights.

On a trip to Gaza City to meet a family friend, Rogers slipped away while the men were at afternoon prayers. In her burka, she had heard that illegal taxis brought people from Gaza to Israel and pleaded with a local store owner to call her one.

“I asked the cab driver how long it took to Erez and he said half an hour. I said, ‘If you can make it in 15 minutes, you can have every bit of gold I have.’

Peter Beinart

Peter Beinart

FYI, Politico reports that Peter Beinart’s leaving The Daily Beast for the greener pastures of The Atlantic and Haaretz. Other changes at The Daily Beast mean Beinart’s blog, Open Zion, will cease to exist.

Beinart’s probably best known for advocating the boycott of settlement products — as opposed to boycotting all Israeli products.

Toronto Star columnist Vivian Bercovici pulls no punches addressing the UN Human Rights Council’s hypocritical treatment of Israel.

Rest O’ the Roundup

Saudi foreign minister, Prince Turki Al Faisal, discussed the kingdom’s ruptured American ties and regional issues in a Washington Post Q&A.

Following up on the Bill Keller-Glenn Greenwald debate about traditional vs. activist journalism, Neal Gabler draws attention to one editor’s decision on letters to the editor that’s causing an uproar in the world of journalism:

Thornton admitted that in his section, he does not run letters claiming there is no human source to global climate warming. Why don’t they run? Because, according to Thornton, “Saying ‘There’s no sign humans have caused climate change’ is not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy.”

It should have been the journalistic shot heard ‘round the world, except not many people seem to have heard it. Get this: An editor at a major American newspaper had the temerity to say that on some issues there is such a thing as scientifically verifiable truth. In doing so, he challenged what may be the dominant force in American journalism over the past 30 years — not bias, but that standby of certain university English departments, deconstructionism, which insists there is no such thing as an immutable fact.

An editor championing truth over opinions shouldn’t be an earthquake. But it is.

NBC News paid a six-figure sum for dramatic footage of a plane crash taken by a group of sky divers. Nothing unusual about that, but the network’s catching flak for an unethical twist to the deal. It’s called “checkbook journalism.” One of the sky divers was quoted in the Washington Post:

“NBC has the exclusive right,” Robinson said. “We can do print and radio interviews, but no TV interviews [other than for NBC] for two weeks. That’s the agreement.” . . .

Mainstream news organizations typically frown on paying sources, lest the payments taint the sources’ veracity or color the news outlet’s objectivity in reporting the story. Although some news organizations, such as the National Enquirer and, pay for news, checkbook journalism is considered unethical by the Society of Professional Journalists and other professional news organizations.

For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.

(Image of Beinart via YouTube/NewAmericaFoundation)

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