Today’s Top Stories
1. According to Arab media reports picked up by the Times of Israel, Iran has set up underground rocket factories in Lebanon, and they’re under the full control of Hezbollah.
Hundreds have reportedly been trained by the university in rocket manufacturing techniques.
The manufacturing sites are located some 50 meters (160 feet) underground, according to the report, and are protected by multiple layers of defenses from potential Israeli aerial bombardment. No facility produces rockets in their entirety; rather, each site produces separate parts that are then collected and assembled into complete rockets.
2. There’s no room for Zionism in the feminist movement. So declared feminist leader Linda Sarsour to The Nation. She was responding to Emily Shire’s commentary about being forced to sacrifice her Zionism to be a feminist.
It just doesn’t make any sense for someone to say, “Is there room for people who support the state of Israel and do not criticize it in the movement?” There can’t be in feminism. You either stand up for the rights of all women, including Palestinians, or none. There’s just no way around it.
More background at the JTA.
Adorable. As though Zionism is an indulgence of armchair ideologues, and not the last stand of millions of people who had nowhere else to go https://t.co/xYwRrhEA9g
— Haviv Rettig Gur (@havivrettiggur) March 13, 2017
3. Ynet: Israel shut down the eastern Jerusalem offices of a PA agency that was secretly carrying out surveillance on Arabs who sold property to Jews.
The Jerusalem Police Department has recently discovered the bureau had renewed its activities under the guise of a “geographic consulting firm.” It is funded by the PA and is in regular contact with PA security forces.
Police investigation also learned that the names of Arabs wishing to sell homes and land to Jews were given to security services in Ramallah.
4. The South African Who Doesn’t Know What Apartheid Is: An ignorant Al Jazeera journalist slurs Israel.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Hamas is going all-out trying to soften its international image through conferences and by leveraging hierarchies in the Muslim Brotherhood. So far, the terror group is winning hearts and minds in Europe.
Their shared goal is to promote international legitimacy for Hamas — in Europe, Africa, the Middle East (of course) and even in Latin America — in a bid to challenge the PLO’s international standing as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
Hamas, in this way, is slowly but surely establishing a global infrastructure of supporters who are providing not only encouragement and legitimacy, but also quite a bit of financial assistance.
Tracing the outlines of this infrastructure lends some surprising insights. For example, Britain turns out to be hosting more of this semi-official activity by Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood than any other country in Europe.
• Trump’s Mideast envoy, Jason Greenblatt is visiting Jerusalem and Ramallah in a bid to get peace talks back on track. Greenblatt — a novice to international diplomacy — is due to meet with Abbas today, and according to Asharq al-Awsat, he’ll hear straight from the horse’s mouth the usual preconditions:
Well-informed Palestinian sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the Palestinian Authority was ready to engage in a fresh round of negotiations with Israel based on four conditions, which include halting illegal settlements, releasing a number of old prisoners, discussing the demarcation of the 1967 borders while guaranteeing the establishment of a Palestinian state within those borders, and determining a timeframe for the end of negotiations.
• This makes my antennae twitch . . .
• If you’re stuck in a Tehran traffic jam, blame the mullahs.
Around the World
• Russia’s expanding its military footprint in the Mideast — Special forces were reportedly deployed to an Egyptian air base at Sidi Barrani, near the Libyan border. According to Reuters:
The U.S. and diplomatic officials said any such Russian deployment might be part of a bid to support Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar, who suffered a setback with an attack on March 3 by the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB) on oil ports controlled by his forces . . .
Egyptian security sources offered more detail, describing a 22-member Russian special forces unit, but declined to discuss its mission. They added that Russia also used another Egyptian base farther east in Marsa Matrouh in early February.
• Chilean Palestinians threaten to boycott Christians over anti-BDS meeting.
• European rabbis: EU court ruling on religious garb means Jews, Muslims unwelcome.
• Worth reading: Bassam Tawil fires a broadside at AFP correspondent Nasser Abu Baker — who also serves in the politically charged position as head of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate.
Abu Baker, who recently ran in the election for the Fatah Revolutionary Council, is the architect of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate’s campaign to boycott Israeli journalists and media outlets. His political activism constitutes a flagrant violation of the regulations and principles of AFP and a conflict of interests. However, this does not seem to bother his employers at the French news agency, who do not see a problem with one of their employees running in the election for Fatah’s Revolutionary Council . . .
By accusing the Israeli journalists of serving as a “mouthpiece” for the Israeli authorities and working “under the protection” of the Israel Defense Forces, Abu Baker and his syndicate are actually endangering the lives of the Israeli journalists and turning them into supposedly legitimate targets. This is the case: a journalist working for a respected international news organization perpetrates incitement against Israeli reporters, and the AFP takes it in stride.
Abu Baker is not the only journalist working for an international media outlet who is involved in political activism. Several other Palestinian journalists who participated in the protest against Al-Quds and who openly advocate boycotts of Israel have long been serving as producers and reporters for Western media outlets.
Related reading: When Palestinian Journalists Protest Normalization
• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .
– Gil Troy: When feminists were Zionists
– Yossi Beilin: Time to hold serious, but quiet talks between Abbas and Netanyahu
– Josh Rogin: Trump’s Mideast diplomacy is complicated by Palestinian terror incitement
– Ben Lynfield: Palestinian issue puts Israeli-Jordanian peace on ice
– Smadar Perry: Trump kicks the ball to Abbas’s court
– Daniel Shapiro: Advice to Trump’s Mideast envoy: Don’t stop with Netanyahu and Abbas
– Abdulrahman al-Rashed: Iran and Israel’s struggle in Syria
– Emily Landau: Obama’s Legacy, a nuclear Iran?
– Seth Frantzman: Russia digs its tentacles further into the Mideast
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