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Today’s Top Stories
1. BREAKING NEWS: A Hezbollah neighborhood of Beirut was rocked by a powerful explosion. Early reports from Reuters.
2. Czech police discovered a large cache of weapons at the Prague residence of the late Palestinian ambassador. The PLO’s got some ‘splaining to do. The Times of Israel writes:
Czech police spokeswoman Andrea Zoulova confirmed that arms had been found in the ambassador’s residence, which is located within the newly constructed Palestinian Embassy complex.
Channel 2 News reported that the stockpile included heavy firearms, that it was held illegally, and that its existence had not been previously known to the Czech authorities.
3. Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s health is deteriorating with Haaretz reporting multiple organ failures. Sharon, now 85, has been in a coma ever since suffering a massive stroke eight years ago. The Jerusalem Post writes:
Doctors at Sheba reportedly told Gilad and Omri that their father had no more than a few days left to live.
Sharon served in all of Israel’s wars, and was elected prime minister in 2001.
Israel and the Palestinians
• John Kerry arrived in Israel to push the peace process and a framework agreement. Even before he landed, the Palestinians said they’ll reject any framework agreement (see Jerusalem Post) and prefer unilaterally pushing the UN (see Haaretz).
• According to a PA report obtained by YNet, the PA security services are worried about an explosion of intifada-level violence, should current peace efforts collapse. It’s a sobering read of Hamas’s continuing desire to abduct an Israeli, and Hezbollah and Salafists trying to get a foothold in the West Bank. For anyone in Israel during the during the second intifada, this snippet is deja vu all over again:
According to the report, if the current round of negotiations fails, there will be marked rise in “spontaneous attacks” in 2014.
• Coming attractions on the academic boycott front: expect fireworks at the Modern Language Association’s annual convention next week in Chicago. A Chicago Tribune op-ed slams the MLA for politicizing itself:
Even worse, this MLA boycott “conversation” doesn’t even pretend to examine both sides of the question. All of the announced speakers are on record favoring an Israeli boycott. In fact, presiding officer Samer M. Ali informed The Chronicle of Higher Education that Israel’s guilt is not open to doubt but rather, “(t)he question that panelists will be debating is not whether Israel is violating the rights of Palestinians, but what to do about it.”
- Did Hamas conspire to attack Sinai churches?
- No end to the backlash against the ASA boycott.
- Ariel Sharon’s health deteriorates.