Today’s Top Stories
1. Qatar’s trying to have it both ways, supporting Islamic terror groups like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, maintaining a difficult modicum of friendliness with its Gulf state neighbors, while also being on the politically side of the war on ISIS it doesn’t wholeheartedly support. Reuters looks at Qatar’s ambiguity:
First, Qatar’s decision to join the hostilities was a pragmatic response to pressure from fellow Gulf Arabs, who have rebuked Qatar for backing Islamists during Arab Spring revolts.
Second, diplomats say, Qatar’s reticence about its role suggests that it is also being careful to preserve influence with Islamist forces it believes are the long-term future.
If that’s not strange enough for you, here’s another development, the irony of which Jonathan Schanzer appreciates. Sudan and Qatar signed a military cooperation agreement.
2. Hamas is opposed to UN involvement in Gaza’s reconstruction, wanting it to be overseen by the PA — which Hamas now part of. Is the Islamic terror group worried about being muscled out of the $5.4 billion gravy train? According to the Times of Israel:
Palestinian officials have informed The Times of Israel that the UN has nearly completed its oversight mechanism for materials entering the Gaza Strip. The mechanism will employ hundreds of local and foreign workers, and will allow the UN to hire overseas companies to help in the supervision. The PA, for its part, has compiled a list of dozens of Gaza contractors authorized to receive the materials. Cameras have been installed in their business to closely monitor all transactions.
3. Reality bites: Hezbollah established a security zone along the Syrian border after losing 1,000 men.
4. What Happened to My Emails? The most common mistakes Israel activists make online, and tips for protecting your Internet privacy.
5. Vote for This Year’s Dishonest Reporting Award: It’s that time of the year. Nominate this year’s worst news service or journalist and make your voice heard.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Mahmoud Abbas offers condolences to family of man who shot Rabbi Yehuda Glick. Haaretz explains why a lot of Israelis are outraged:
In the letter sent over the weekend, Abbas made no reference to Hijazi’s suspected involvement in the shooting.
Instead, he wrote, “With anger and condemnation we received the message about the heinous crime committed by the murderous, terrorist gangs in the Israeli occupation army against Muataz Ibrahim Hijazi, who rose to heaven as a casualty in the fight for the Palestinian people’s rights and for the holy sites.”
• According to Arab media reports picked up by Haaretz, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu secretly with Jordan’s King Abdullah in Amman to discuss the latest tensions over the Temple Mount.
• Jerusalem Post: The sister of senior Hamas honcho Mousa Abu Marzook is currently being treated in an undisclosed Israeli hospital for cancer.
• Israel shot down a US request to deport an ex-bomber to the West Bank. Mohammed Rashed finished his sentence for bombing Pan Am 830 in 1982, killing a Japanese teen and injuring four others. Now Rashed’s stuck in an immigration detention facility while the feds figure out what to do with him. AP explains:
A Jordanian-born Palestinian responsible for a deadly 1982 airline bombing sought to be deported to the West Bank upon completing his prison sentence last year, but the Israeli government denied the request, citing problems with his identity papers, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press . . .
It’s not surprising that paperwork questions would affect Rashed’s release. Authorities say he has moved around the world with fraudulent identity documents, including those used to board the Pan Am flight before the bombing. Several years later he was caught with a fake passport in Greece, where he was prosecuted for the bombing.
• The Palestinian anti-normalization movement ruined a bridge-building bus trip.
• Syria’s official news agency, SANA, launched a Hebrew language web site. AFP quoted SANA’s director general:
“We want to diffuse impartial information . . . on the attacks and violations committed against the Palestinian and Syrian people.”
SANA’s English web site now has a tab for Hebrew readers to click, but the Hebrew site didn’t load up. It probably crashed because of all the Israelis clamoring for an unfiltered Syrian take on current events directly from Bashar Assad’s mouthpiece.
• Israeli-Arab sentenced to 22 months in prison for fighting with ISIS in Syria. Jerusalem Post coverage.
• For today’s commentary/analysis, see Smadar Bat Adam (Palestinian children as strategic weapons).
• Last but not least, Israelis are buzzing about a waterspout off the Tel Aviv beach. There were some cool photos on Twitter.
Image: CC BY-NC-SA flickr/Phil Gyford