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Today’s Top Stories
Marking a notable shift in Palestinian public opinion, 60 percent of the population surveyed in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (55% and 68%, respectively) said that the five-year goal “should be to work toward reclaiming all of historic Palestine, from the river to the sea,” according to the poll, a position meaning the elimination of Israel.
2. Is the so-called “Israel lobby” leading the US into another war in Iraq against American interests? The latest neo-conservative war drums are giving Stephen Walt a headache. But Jonathan Chait points out that Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu already said for the record that Israel opposes US intervention in Iraq.
How can this be? The answer is that Israel’s primary rival is Iran, and its client Hezbollah, both of which are Shiite. Iran is backing the Iraqi government, which is fighting the Sunni ISIS rebels. Israel may not like ISIS, but it does not want to increase Iran’s power, and aiding the Iranian-backed government in Baghdad would do that. And so the neoconservatives currently demanding American intervention in Iraq are acting not in the service of Israel’s interests but against them. Indeed, Israel was always far more ambivalent about war with Iraq in 2003 than Walt’s crude argument ever allowed.
3. Reuters: Hamas-hired workers went on strike in a dispute over wages. Memo to Hamas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah: In the rest of the world, when two employees are doing the same job, you eliminate the redundancy. The NY Times elaborates on how Palestinian bureaucracy is killing national unity:
Yet underlying that fierce ideological battle is a more basic, bureaucratic one than also endangers the fragile agreement. The Palestinian prime minister insists he does not have enough money to pay both sets of workers and, perhaps more important, cannot risk the wrath of other countries by even funneling donated funds to anyone affiliated with Hamas.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Avigdor Lieberman to John Kerry: Peace with the Palestinians is currently unreachable. Better is to pursue a regional agreement between Israel, moderate Arab states, the Palestinians, and Israeli Arabs. Take your pick of Haaretz or Jerusalem Post coverage.
• Food for thought:
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Today’s NY Times features a commentary by Al Jazeera’s Marwan Bishara calling Tony Blair “Israel’s puppy.” It has to do with the Iraqi war and the Palestinians, but methinks Bishara’s barking up the wrong tree. The Washington Post once wondered if Ehud Olmert was auditioning to replace Blair as George W. Bush’s poodle. Woof!
• After meeting with Shimon Peres, President Barack Obama promised to have US attorney general Eric Holder look into the possibility of commuting Jonathan Pollard’s sentence. More at the Jerusalem Post.
• Mehdi Nemmouche, who is accused of killing four people in a Brussels Jewish museum, will be extradited to Belgium. BBC coverage.
Images: CC BY-SA HonestReporting, flickr/Shironeko Euro, flickr/PhotKing
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.