Euro Spy Agencies Working With Assad

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Today’s Top Stories

1. Defense minister Moshe Yaalon apologized to John Kerry for criticizing the Secretary of State’s diplomacy. What would Chaim Yisraeli say?

2. Why isn’t the Obama administration releasing the text of the interim nuclear deal with Iran? Where’s the disclosure, asks the LA Times:

Critics fear the text of the implementation agreement may include terms that would allow Iran to secretly forge ahead with some aspects of its nuclear program while the next phase of bargaining goes on. On Monday, critics also began expressing concern about the accompanying side text.

Bashar Assad3. Talk about dealing with the devil: European intelligence agencies have reached out to the Assad regime to share information about European jihadis operating in Syria. The Wall St. Journal (via Google News) writes:

The talks are narrowly focused on the extremists and on al Qaeda‘s growing might in Syria and don’t represent a broader diplomatic opening, the Western and Middle Eastern officials and diplomats said.

But Mr. Assad’s opponents in Syria and in Istanbul, where the political opposition is based, said they are concerned that the information sharing suggests Western capitals are starting to accept the possibility the Syrian leader will retain power for the foreseeable future.

Opposition members also are concerned the contacts—coupled with an international effort under way to remove Syria’s chemical arms—could grow into wider cooperation in fighting terror groups in Syria.

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4. Yaalon Headline Fail in the Times: How is it that the comments of one man, albeit the Defense Minister, are taken and repackaged into the claim that the state of Israel as a whole is opposed to peace efforts?

Israel and the Palestinians

Despite a commitment to John Kerry not to, the PLO is drafting plans to unilaterally join international bodies. What it means depends on who you ask:

Israeli experts are divided on the danger of unilateral Palestinian accession to international institutions.

Thumbs up to the NY Times and Times of Israel for looking at Hamas’s week-long military boot camp “national education” for Gaza youth. My high school never taught me how to handle an AK-47, jump over burning tires, or spot Israeli spies:

The six-day program, Futuwwa, enrolled about 13,000 boys at nearly a dozen sites across the Gaza Strip over the past week, with trainers from the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas.

Hamas boot camp

Gaza teens at Hamas boot camp, 2013.

On the eve of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit, Israel’s former ambassador to Canada questions Ottawa’s official policies. National Post coverage.

Wow: Over at Forbes, Richard Behar’s takedown of the ASA boycott is devastatingly detailed.

For more commentary/analysis, see Tom Friedman (on Ariel Sharon), Doyle McManus (Kerry’s diplomacy) and Douglas Murray (EU funding Palestinian hatred).

Arab Spring Winter

Yesterday, we wondered about Big Media’s lack of interest in the Syrian army’s brutal siege of the Yarmouk refugee camp. Well, today, CNN, AP, Washington Post, and Christian Science Monitor, picked up on the story.

The trial of Rafik Hariri’s assassin’s couldn’t have come at a worse time for anyone who wants to see justice done, points out the NY Times:

“A lot of people think they can corner Hezbollah with an international indictment,” said Kamel Wazne, a political analyst in Beirut who is distrustful of the court. “But with Hezbollah fighting an open war in Syria, sending fighters openly, who is going to come and enforce anything at this point?

More on the upcoming trial at Der Spiegel and see also Who’s Who.

(Image of Assad via Instagram/syrianpresidency, Hamas boot camp via YouTube/Al Jazeera English)

For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.

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