Netanyahu Publicly Backs Kurdish Independence

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1. In a policy speech at Tel Aviv U., Prime Minister Netanyahu called for Kurdish independence from Iraq. According to AP, Netanyahu is “the first significant world figure to call for Kurdish independence.” The Jerusalem Post points out Bibi’s backing  puts him at odds with the US, which prefers to see Iraq remain intact.

Netanyahu also insisted that Israel wouldn’t place its trust in the Palestinians or the Jordanians to protect the Jewish state’s eastern border from the rising ISIS threat.

2. Gaza rocket fire escalated. This morning, at least 16 rockets were fired at Israel. According to Haaretz, “two buildings were damaged by shrapnel and several people suffered from shock.”

The rockets were overtly fired by Hamas from refugee camps under the terror group’s sole command. Now that Hamas is part of a national unity government with Mahmoud Abbas, this makes for prickly Palestinian politics indeed. More at the Times of Israel.

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3. Marking the first public show of support, ISIS flags are flying in Gaza.

4. The Times Follows Up on Its Own Correction: The Times of London amends an article identifying Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital city.

 

Blankfeld Award

Israel and the Palestinians

• Bank reported to nix transfer of Hamas salaries:

A money transfer from Qatar intended to cover the salaries of Gazan civil servants from the Hamas movement hit a snag Saturday after the Arab Bank refused the handover, a senior Hamas official said . . .

 

Although the Arab Bank’s reasons for rejecting the transfer are not currently known, Abu Marzouk’s statement said that some Palestinians prefer “receiving orders from outside,” implying that the decision was politically motivated.

Presbyterian Church USA• Lots of criticism of  the Presbyterian church’s divestment decision in local papers. start with staff-eds in the Boston Herald and the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Then see op-eds in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,  Sacramento Bee, Fort Myers News Press, Albany Times-Union, Alexandria Times, and the  Christian Post. A Raleign News-Observer commentary defended the church.

• For more commentary/analysis, see Avi Issacharoff (Ramadan’s arrival presages no halt to hostilities), Shaul Bartal (Don’t succumb to Hamas), Gabriel Sassoon (Israel mustn’t negotiate with terrorists — even for the kidnapped boys),  and Tom Friedman (Mideast arsonists and firefighters).

 

Arab Spring Winter

• ISIS declared independence, simply calling its captured Iraqi and Syrian territory “the Islamic State.” See AP and Wall St. Journal coverage.

Has Syria’s Chemical Weapons Arsenal Truly Been Dismantled?

• In interviews with Sky News and France 24, Bibi warned that the Iranian nuclear program is a bigger threat than ISIS. The prime minister’s media blitz also included interviews with CNN, German, Russian and Chinese stations.

Quote of the Day:

“But I say to Egyptian viewers: if you have no option but to watch the Israeli channels, then to hell with the whole World Cup.”

Egyptian sports columnist Khaled Bayoumi on Egyptian soccer fans watching World Cup action for free, as opposed to paying steep fees to watch on other Arab satellite broadcasters.

• For more commentary/analysis, see Abdulrahman Al-Rashed (ISIS has reached Saudi Arabia’s borders) and Yakub Halabi (Syria, Iraq should split into smaller, homogeneous states).

Image: CC BY-SA flickr/theilr

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The above is how Haaretz chose to illustrate the tensions in U.S.-Israel relations. This cartoon by Amos Biderman is offensive ...