Today’s Top Stories
1. The Swiss National Council passed legislation to stop funding organizations promoting boycotts of Israel. The bill now moves to the legislature’s upper house. Ynet explains the vote’s significance:
The BDS, for the first time in any European parliament, was lumped in by the Swiss parliamentarians next to racism and anti-Semitism.
— Dominik Feusi (@feusl) March 8, 2017
2. As relations between Hamas and Egypt increasingly warm, Israel — and Ramallah — watch warily. Ynet explains:
Over the past few weeks, since relations began to show a more cordial side, the Rafah crossing was frequently opened not only for the transit of people but also goods, including construction materials and cement with the approval of the Egyptian authorities.
Consequently, Israeli defense officials are increasingly worried about the new development between Hamas and Egypt, for fear that Egypt would loosen its military campaign against the smuggling tunnels in Rafah—which served as the main conduit through which Hamas received its weapons arsenal before Egypt flooded them.
At the same time, there is a growing tension between Ramallah and Cairo, both in the context of Egypt’s warming relations with Hamas, and in light of Egypt’s support of Muhammad Abbas’s great rival, Mohammed Dahlan . . .
3. Israel is expediting construction of its underground wall along the Gaza border. The project, which will block cross-border tunnels, is expected to be completed in two years at a cost of $1 billion.
4. Is AJ+ Fake News?: What do you really know about AJ+ news?
5. The New York Times Misrepresents BDS: Why can’t the New York Times acknowledge that actively supporting BDS is akin to hatred of Israel?
6. The Times Presents Israeli History For Dummies: How many mistakes can the Times of London cram into a 1:14 video?
Israel and the Palestinians
• The Shin Bet arrested a Palestinian from the West Bank town of Qalqiliya suspected of being a Hezbollah operative. According to Israeli media reports, Yusef Yasser Suylam allegedly planned to carry out a terror attack and kidnap Israeli civilians, staked out potential targets, and recruited other Palestinians through social media.
• Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s in Moscow for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The primary agenda item: Preventing Iran from setting up a base of operations in Syria. Indeed, Iranian media reports that an Iraqi Shiite group is establishing a brigade to liberate the Golan Heights.
• A report due to be published by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, will “urge international businesses urge companies to end trade and business agreements with Judea and Samaria, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.” Ynet got a look at the draft:
Ynet discovers that a draft of a report due to be published by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights describes Israeli activity in Judea and Samaria as a unilateal move that annexes land and necessitates humanitarian aid for Palestinians; the report also calls for companies to sever ties with West Bank settlements.
Hussein, a Jordanian prince, also made news for saying the US isn’t doing enough to fight anti-Semitism and racism. Those remarks were made at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, which the US is considering quitting.
• Haaretz spent a day with an Israel Navy patrol around the offshore gas rigs.
• If you have ever worried about the declining status of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a document outlining the government’s goals and picked up by the Times of Israel will reinforce those concerns.
— Raphael Ahren (@RaphaelAhren) March 9, 2017
Around the World
• Looking back on Netanyahu’s trip to Australia, Shmuel Levin examines in depth the results of the visit: specifically mutually beneficial agreements in the areas of aviation, agriculture and technology.
• Students at a South African university used dancing and Hebrew songs to thwart an attack on a visiting Arab-Israeli Zionist by BDS activists.
• Michigan media reports that a Grand Rapids man accused of anti-Semitic threats was the subject of 2016 Discovery Channel documentary on rising white nationalism. David Lenio was arrested for tweeting threats of mass shootings and shooting Jews.
Many of the carriers in question are majority-owned by the state, and many of those states, including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar, do not recognise Israel. Some, though, may also be pandering to the preferences of their customers . . .
What is more, removing the country does not seem to be putting off international partners. Air France, for example, codeshares with Saudia. Meanwhile Delta, the world’s largest carrier, lists Saudia as one of its codeshare partners on its “professional” site, though not on its customer-facing one. (Delta did not answer a request for clarification.) And despite criticism from Jewish groups, in 2012 Saudia and Middle East Airlines of Lebanon, another Israel-remover, joined Sky Team, the alliance led by Delta.
• A welcome development: Spain’s ruling party rejects BDS.
• Over at the World Baseball Classic, Israel defeated the Netherlands, sweeping through its pool and advancing to the quarterfinals. Watch the game highlights. On Sunday, Israel is expected to play Cuba or Japan. Jeff Passan is the latest sports columnist catching the fever . . .
Lox to advance: How Israel's WBC team engineered the greatest Jewish miracle since oil lasted eight days. Column: https://t.co/whn54H175i
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 8, 2017
• If relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is too politically charged, then the US should move it’s “embassy to Ramallah” currently located in Jerusalem. David Bernstein explains:
The consulate’s own website notes that “since the signing of the Oslo Accords, the Consulate General has served as the de facto representative of the United States government to the Palestinian Authority.”
This raises an obvious question: If the U.S. government refuses to place its Israel embassy in West Jerusalem, what possible rationale could there be for its de facto Palestinian embassy to be in East Jerusalem?
• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .
– Ariel Bolstein: Recruit Russia in the fight against Iran
– Clifford May: No rushing the peace process
– Grant Rumley: New blood for Fatah and Hamas
– Shmuel Rosner: How Israel got its supreme court right
– Zvi Bar’el: Jordan claims it’s business as usual, but growing threats may undermine kingdom
– Gideon Falter: Anti-Semites are becoming bolder in Britain
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