Will Palestinian Unity Push Undermine Peace Talks?January 9, 2014 15:31 by Pesach Benson
Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.
Today’s Top Stories
1. Fatah proposed a national unity government with Hamas, reports Maan News. This comes after Hamas released prisoners (seven) affiliated with Fatah. It’s an unwelcome monkey wrench for John Kerry because (here we go again) current and former Israeli leaders from Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak, and Benyamin Netanyahu, have all rejected negotiating with any PA government that includes Hamas.
2. Bad news for cash-strapped Hamas: Iran is reportedly increasing its financial support for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. According to Al-Monitor, Iran wants to diversify its alliances with Palestinian terror groups, and show some love. The PFLP’s support for Bashar Assad and Hezbollah puts it out of step with a lot of Palestinians.
“Following the resumption of Iranian support, there will soon be a dramatic increase in the strength of the PFLP’s military wing, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, after the internal reorganization of the group is completed,” the sources said.
3. Wow. Canada’s new ambassador to Israel is Vivian Bercovici, a Toronto Star columnist and lawyer.
Writing in a monthly column in the Star – which ended just prior to her appointment — Bercovici focused on Middle East issues and sometimes took aim at the Palestinian leadership for its views on Israel’s right to exist.
In one piece, she wrote that the Palestinian Authority “and just about every government in the Middle East make no secret of their collective ideological commitment to the total destruction of the state of Israel, which they regard as a blasphemous blight on the Arab and Muslim worlds.”
But Baird said that in her writings, Bercovici had been critical of both Palestinian and Israeli leadership. He also defended the government’s decision to go outside the foreign service to fill the diplomatic posting.
4. CBC Whitewashes Incitement: “Palestinians Tend to Be More Bitter”: Veteran correspondent Neil Macdonald spins Israel’s incitement index to fit his world view.
5. Watchdog of the Week: Murray Freedman Beats the BBC: Persistence pays off in the face of the BBC’s notoriously difficult complaints process.
6. HonestReporting Hosts Gil Troy and Scholars: “The delegtimization of Israel has everyone, from right to left, looking at Israel in these simplistic and often extreme boxes.”
Israel and the Palestinians
• The Israeli Air Force struck several Gaza targets after soldiers patrolling the border fence came under mortar fire. More at YNet.
• The Prime Minister’s office says it won’t agree to even a symbolic number of Palestinian refugees returning to Israel. This was in response to a Xinhua report that John Kerry and Mahmoud Abbas discussed the issue.
• The U. Texas at Dallas terminated its membership in the ASA. For more commentary on Israel in the ivory tower, see the Wall St. Journal (via Google News). Last but not least, Haaretz found the ASA’s action’s have put Palestinian and Israeli Arab academics in a difficult situation they didn’t ask for.
We’ve just now learned that Newton students are given PLO-produced maps to learn about the history of Israeli “occupation” of “Palestine.” . . .
Rest O’ the Roundup
• What’s worse than an Iranian bomb? An Iranian almost-bomb.
The nightmare scenario isn’t that the Iranians rush to weaponize; it is that they are allowed to perch on or near the precipice of doing so until a day when the sanctions are lifted and Western desire for Iranian co-operation in Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories is at a premium.
• Jonathan Spyer: Responding to the US-Iranian rapprochement, the Gulf states are scrambling to realign.
• A new document ties Hezbollah to the 2005 assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, reports YNet:
An official court document has pulled back the veil over the investigation, revealing new details about the main suspect in the murder, Mustafa Badr Aldin – the brother-in-law and heir-apparent of assassinated Hezbollah chief operations commander Imad Mughniyeh.
(Image of atom via deejaywill)
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.