Today’s Top Stories
1. Israeli media was buzzing with weekend reports that MK Tzipi Livni may be appointed UN Under-Secretary-General.
It all stems from a US veto on Friday of former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad’ appointment as UN’s envoy to Libya, a block hailed by Israel. According to the Jerusalem Post, Livni and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres denied reports that there is a deal in the works to appoint both. Ynet explains the US and Israeli objections:
A Palestinian official has never been appointment to such a senior position and Israel is worried of the precedent of appointing a Palestinian official to such a high-ranked position, the likes of which was never given to an Israeli.
As for the possibility of a Livni appointment, Haaretz writes:
The UN chief has many under-secretary-generals, and if Livni accepts the offer, she’ll become the first Israeli to serve in that position. The appointment ultimately depends on the UN Security Council’s approval.
Livni, a former foreign minister, heads the Hatnua Party which aligned itself with Labor, creating the Knesset’s Zionist Union faction.
2. The Washington Post and Times of Israel preview this week’s meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump. After the visit, Trump will personally brief PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Meanwhile, Trump discussed his views on the Mideast peace process in a Q+A with Israel HaYom, his first interview with an Israeli paper since he became president. The paper is owned Sheldon Adelson, a supporter of both Trump and Netanyahu. While Trump was non-committal about relocating the US embassy to Jerusalem, the main buzz centered on his comments about settlements:
“They [settlements] don’t help the process. I can say that. There is so much land left. And every time you take land for settlements, there is less land left. But we are looking at that, and we are looking at some other options we’ll see. But no, I am not somebody that believes that going forward with these settlements is a good thing for peace.”
3. Palestinian terrorists freed in the 2011 Gilad Shalit deal are tipping the balance of power within Hamas towards the “hard-liners,” Haaretz reports.
This includes people like Yahya Sanwar, who has become the “the military wing’s strongman and someone who has eclipsed the military wing’s other two senior members.” Further, the Times of Israel reports Sanwar is likely behind Hamas’s growing ties with Islamic State in the Sinai and maybe even an uptick in Hamas defections to Islamic State in the Sinai.
At the beginning of the month, Arab media outlets reported that Hamas had recently rejected a new Israeli proposal to make progress in the contacts. Palestinians who have met with Sanwar describe him as an extremist, even in the context of his organization, and as someone who speaks in apocalyptic terms about perpetual war with Israel.
See also the Jerusalem Post, which takes a closer look at Ismail Haniyeh and Musa Abu Marzouk, the two people vying for supreme leadership of Hamas.
4. With Sympathy: AP Photos Invert Terrorist And Victims: Is it too much for the AP to portray Israelis as victims when they are targeted by Palestinian terrorists?
5. New York Times Op-Ed Bulldozes Journalism: An Israeli-Arab MK is entitled to his opinions, but Ayman Odeh buries the truth.
Israel and the Palestinians
• The New York Times reports that the Trump administration is reaching out to Arab states to give Mideast peace prospects a nudge:
The notion of recruiting Arab countries to help forge an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians — known as the “outside-in” approach — is not a new one . . .
The difference is that in the last eight years, Israel has grown closer to Sunni Arab nations because of their shared concern about Iranian hegemony in the region, opening the possibility that this newfound, if not always public, affiliation could change the dynamics . . .
That is a departure from the countervailing assumption that if Israel first made peace with the Palestinians, it would lead to peace with the larger Arab world — the “inside-out” approach.
The Times of Israel expanded on the story.
• Reuters: The UN will defer a blacklist of companies with Israeli settlement ties as called for by Security Council Resolution 2334:
The U.N. human rights office had been due to present its first report on the politically charged issue at a session that opens on Feb. 27, which Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is also due to address.
But the report is not ready and will be deferred for many months, at least until September, the sources said, adding that an announcement was expected on Monday.
“There is a need for more time, it is a very complex issue,” a Western diplomat told Reuters. “You need to have a clear vision of how you list the companies, what is the exact criteria.”
• A Palestinian terrorist who opened fire at a bus in Petah Tikva on Thursday evening was subdued with a sewing machine. Five people were injured in the attack.
— Anne Bayefsky (@AnneBayefsky) February 9, 2017
• Israeli security forces in Hebron thwarted a Palestinian stabbing attack in Hebron near the Tomb of the Patriarchs on Saturday.
• In his first interview with the Israeli media, Qatar’s envoy to Gaza told the Times of Israel he blames the Palestinian Authority for the Strip’s electricity crisis.
• Ynet spent a day with wounded Syrian children hospitalized in Israel.
• Palestinian writer Abbad Yahya is stuck in Qatar, facing a PA arrest warrant for his latest book, “Crime in Ramallah. The PA accuses Yahya “of including ‘sexual terms’ in a provocative work that takes aim at taboo issues such as fanaticism, religious extremism and homosexuality,” and confiscated copies from West Bank book stores.
• Worth watching: BBC News visited an IDF base to learn more about women serving in the Israeli army.
• Israel permanently downgraded ties with New Zealand and Senegal over their sponsorship of UN Security Council 2334, which denounced settlements. Jerusalem will not return its ambassadors to Wellington or Dakar, and cancelled foreign aid to Senegal.
I didn’t notice any New Zealand media picking up on this story . . .
• If you’re wondering why Wikipedia banned editors from using the Daily Mail as a source, it’s because of, in part, sloppy headlines like this. Tel Aviv????
Around the World
• Over at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, BDS groups use Israeli tech for their websites. Isn’t this update just precious?
Following the publication of this article, MEChA’s Wix website appears to have been taken down.
• New York state education officials apologized for an anti-Israel cartoon used in a Regents exam.
— ???????? (@etraditionalist) February 9, 2017
• A student leader at McGill University is in hot water after posting — and then deleting — a tweet saying “punch a zionist today”. Igor Sadikov, who is also Jewish, is a member of the Montreal university’s Legislative Council and Board of Directors of the Students’ Society. More background at The Daily Wire.
Sadikov proceeded to issue a wishy-washy apology on Facebook.
• A 16-year-old girl in Denmark was charged with planning bomb attacks against two schools, one of which was a Jewish school in Copenhagen. The Copenhagen Post, a 24-year-old male accomplice who “previously travelled to Syria and called for jihad on his Facebook profile” has also been charged.
• El Nacional, a Dominican newspaper, apologized after using a photo of Alec Baldwin alongside Benjamin Netanyahu. Baldwin frequently spoofs Trump on Saturday Night Live. The nastygrams making the rounds of El Nacional’s newsroom must be epic.
Dominican newspaper El Nacional accidentally mistakes Alec Baldwin's SNL Trump for the real one, runs it next to Netanyahu portrait. Amazing pic.twitter.com/TAa4zzJGeh
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) February 12, 2017
• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .
– Aviva Klompas: Calling foul on BDS interference
– Barak Ravid: 6 reasons why Israeli UN envoy’s glee at blow to Salam Fayyad is simply dumb
– Yossi Melman: Despite Israeli strength, miscalculation could lead to war
– Orly Azoulay: Trump and Netanyahu: A painful embrace to the White House’s darling
– Norman Bailey: Israel treating Trump stupidly
– Ben-Dror Yemini: The new anti-Israel alliance
– Harold Mitchell: There are some lessons from Israel’s success
– Selin Nasi: A new threshold in Turkish-Israeli reconciliation
– Ali Al-Amin: Recent clashes between South Lebanon residents And UNIFIL forces are an Iranian message to the US
Before you comment on this article, please remind yourself of our Comments Policy. Any comments deemed to be in breach of the policy will be removed at the editor’s discretion.