PLO: Jews Aren’t Poisoning Palestinian Wells After All

Today’s Top Stories

1. The PLO retracted a claim in last week’s speech that rabbis were instructing Jews to poison Palestinian wells. I was impressed with reporter Diaa Hadid’s healthy skepticism in the New York Times along with a link to the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which continues peddling this anti-Semitic libel. AP and Reuters, among others, picked up on the retraction.


Brings to mind a speech Abbas made on Palestinian TV in October when he claimed Israel murdered 13-year-old Ahmed Manasra. The Palestinian leadership was forced to retract that allegation in the face of images of a very much alive Manasra being treated in an Israeli hospital.

2. Israeli and Turkish negotiators are in Rome hammering out the last details of a reconciliation agreement. According to YNet, the two countries will fully re-normalize relations, including resuming military cooperation and intelligence-sharing, and begin talks on laying a natural gas pipeline. Press reports said an official announcement could be made as soon as today, though none had been made when this roundup was published.

The Turks will withdraw demands that the blockade on Gaza be lifted in exchange for an Israeli pledge to allow for the delivery of Turkish aid to Gaza via the Ashdod port, after it goes through Israeli inpection. Israel will also allow the Turks to build a new power plant, desalination plant (in cooperation with Germany), and hospital in Gaza.


The agreement does not contain a clause dealing with the return of Israeli civilian Avera Mengiustu, who has been missing in Gaza since September of 2014, or the return of the remains of fallen soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin who were killed in Operation Protective Edge earlier that same year. The Turkish government, however, promises that it will undertake efforts to secure the release of the soldiers’ remains through its contacts with Hamas. It also agreed to be a mediator between Israel and Hamas if necessary.

Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post wonders if Israel promised Ankara it wouldn’t assassinate Hamas’s leader? The IHH, the Islamist group whose flotilla triggered the diplomatic crisis, is furious with the impending rapprochement. And the families of the missing Israelis worry that the deal leaves their sons behind. More on the overall diplomatic dance at the Times of Israel.

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3. Rio Jews filed a lawsuit over an article blaming ex-president Dilma Roussef’s recent impeachment on ‘Zionists.’

The article in Vermelho alleged that Israel is through its proxies in charge of what he considers the country’s three most important sectors — defense, intelligence and central bank — and was involved in [President Dilma Rousseff’s] suspension.

Dilma Roussef

Dilma Rousseff

Israel and the Palestinians

• Israeli officials shut down the Nazareth-based Musawa TV station. It’s formerly known as Palestine 48, and therein lies the rub:

The Musawa Channel’s content is produced in Nazareth, in northern Israel, and sent to the West Bank city of Ramallah for editing, in an arrangement, according to Erdan, which has not been authorized. The Palestinian Authority sponsors the TV channel.


“I will not allow any harm to come to Israel’s sovereignty or give a foothold to the PA within the country,” said Erdan.

• A Palestinian woman crashed her car into an Israeli vehicle at the entrance to Kiryat Arba, near Hebron, on Friday. Two people were injured. Soldiers on duty shot and killed the driver, prompting this unfortunate EuroNews header:

• Worth reading: The Guardian‘s Jonathan Freedland takes a special look at Entebbe ahead of the dramatic rescue mission’s 40th anniversary. And AFP joined some of the Israeli commandos who recently revisited Entebbe and met various Ugandan personalities — including Idi Amin’s son.

Around the World

• British Jewish leaders are keeping mum on wisdom of Brexit. By the way, post-Brexit tuition fees for Israeli students in the UK may double.

• Here’s a first: Britain’s York University student union will formally apologize to a 21-year-old Jewish law student who complained of anti-Semitism and pay him an undisclosed four-figure sum. The Times of London and i24 News picked up on Zachary Confino’s story:

“The number of anti-semitic incidents I was subject to went from zero in my first year to about 20 in my second and third years,” he said. “The university did not do much about it. It has taken me two years to fight a complaint and I am relieved I have finally got this apology. The stuff I was subjected to came from far-left students. The far left say racism is a black/white issue. They seem to think Jews are fair game.


“The experience has been so depressing . . . It ruined my experience at university. I can never get that time back.”

• A Jewish studies lecture due to be given in Brussels was cancelled because of safety concerns.

• UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn declined Israeli Labor leader Isaac Herzog’s invitation to visit Israel. Herzog wrote to Corbyn after a lengthy string of anti-Semitic incidents among British Labour figures came to light.

Corbyn thanked Herzog for his letter and the invitation but said “my existing commitments make it impossible for me to take up your offer in the immediate future.” He said he asked his party’s deputy leader Tom Watson and general secretary Iain McNicol to go instead.

• Two months after the New York University Graduate Student Union voted to join BDS, the group’s parent union (the United Auto Workers) repealed the move, “claiming it violated the UAW constitution’s own bylaws.”

• Liberty University’s poking BDS in the eye by investing $5 million of its endowment in Israel, particularly in companies dealing in “oncology, biopharmaceuticals, and digital health, with a strong focus on cancer immunotherapy,” the Richmond Times reports.

• The mayor of Lithuania’s capital city, Vilnius, began dismantling a structure built with Jewish gravestones. According to the Baltic Times, the small building — which houses a generator — was built in the 1960s when the Soviets bulldozed a nearby Jewish cemetery for the stones. More at the JTA.



French anti-racism groups spar following a mayor’s support for a Palestinian killer.

• An Israeli satellite will help will help secure the Rio Olympics. The JTA looks at how Israeli tech will enhance the upcoming games.


• So what does the Brexit vote mean for Israel? One analyst told the Times of Israel that “when the EU is sick, Israel will suffer.” But Herb Keinon argues that a weaker EU isn’t necessarily bad for Israel.

See also Barak Ravid, Stephen Pollard, and Alex Benjamin.

• Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voices for Peace got a Washington Post op-ed soapbox to explain why she supports BDS.

• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .

Smadar Perry: Israel and Turkey: What changed?
Tulin Dagolu: The price of reconciliation is Turkish democracy
Ruthie Blum: How dare Europe applaud a blood-libeler?
Bruce Maddy-Weitzman: How far can Israel and the Arab states go?
Ben-Dror Yemini: A current of lies
Elliott Abrams: Abbas spurns Rivlin’s hand–and peace
Saar Gamzo: Did someone say ‘boycott’?
Etgar Keret: I’m not anti-Israel, I’m ambi-Israel
Eli Lake: Oh, so that’s why Boeing wanted the Iran deal
Max Boot: The next Hezbollah war


Featured image: CC BY John Ragai with additions by HonestReporting; Roussef via YouTube/The Intercept; Vilnius CC BY Mantas Volungevicius;


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