Israel in Secret Talks With Syrian Rebels?

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Today’s Top Stories

1. According to Arab media reports, cited by the Jerusalem Post, Israel’s in secret talks with Syrian rebels to secure the Golan Heights and find the remains of Eli Cohen.

Cohen was an Israeli spy who gained the trust of Damascus elites and offered advice to Syria’s defense ministry. He was caught and executed in 1965.

2. AP: Egypt detained a 24 year-old Israeli national who wanted to enter Gaza via the Sinai and fight with the Palestinians.  Andre Pshenichnikov’s mother told YNet that Israeli authorities in Eilat had barred him from crossing into Egypt:

She claimed he was an “activist for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, which is very dangerous. He’s been arrested before . . .

Pshenichnikov was in the news a few months ago when he sought to renounce his Israeli citizenship and move into a Palestinian refugee camp:

 “I hate Zionism . . . I want to be part of the Palestinian resistance,” Pshenichnikov told The Associated Press. “I call for other Israelis who support the existence of a state of Palestine to do the same, to come live in the West Bank or Gaza as Palestinians.”

Egypt also reportedly arrested Ahmed Meligy, who blogs Egypt’s Missing Peace for the Jerusalem Post.

Meligy had recently informed Post Blog editor Lidar Grave that he would have to take a short hiatus from blogging because he was receiving threats.

In early November, Meligy opened a blog post critical of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi with the words, “I hope that I don’t get arrested for this one.” He went on to say “the Muslim Brotherhood is creating a dictatorship that will set back my Egypt for years to come.”

3. Australia’s top Muslim cleric, Grand Mufti Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, met with Hamas leaders in Gaza. According to the Melboure Herald-Sun,

 Dr Mohamed, who has been styled as a moderate since taking the top Australian Muslim post, last week expressed his happiness at being in Gaza, describing it as the land of pride and martyrdom.

I am pleased to stand on the land of jihad to learn from its sons and I have the honour to be among the people of Gaza where the weakness always becomes strength, the few becomes many and the humiliation turns into pride,” he told local news agencies.

Israel and the Palestinians

A Palestinian man living in a Nablus refugee camp tried to set himself on fire. Not Israel’s fault; according to Maan News, the self-immolation was “in protest against recently announced measures that will no longer exempt refugees from paying electricity costs.”

As a  French court prepares to put the Mohammed Dura video and Philippe Karsenty back in the spotlight, Professor Richard Landes weighs in on the matter. Proceedings begin January 16.

Karl Vick of Time says 2012 for Israel and the Palestinians was The Year of the Settlment. I would’ve referred to 2012 as the year of the rocket.

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