Did Israel Attack Syria?

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Today’s Top Stories

1. Media reports suggest (Israeli jets?) attacked (missile launchers?) in Syria (a base?) in the area of Latakia. Nothing’s confirmed, so take your pick of YNet or Jerusalem Post coverage and draw your own conclusions. As this roundup goes to to press, this JPost is snippet is about the only one I feel comfortable quoting with confidence:

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which collates reports from opposition activists, said there had been an explosion at a Syrian air defense base near Jableh, in the Mediterranean coastal province of Latakia.

2. Great moments in political trial balloons? An anonymous official in the Prime Minister’s office told the Times of Israel that Benjamin Netanyahu will insist on West Bank settlers being allowed to choose to live in their homes under Palestinian rule.

The PA rejected the idea; some settlers told YNet they’re open to it, and AP called it’s “a novel approach to one of the stickiest issues in Mideast peace talks.”

3. Egypt to hold presidential elections in April. A previously agreed upon timetable  had the vote to be held in July, after separate parliamentary elections. As Reuters aptly puts it:

Critics have campaigned for a change of the roadmap, saying the country needs an elected leader to direct government at a time of economic and political crisis and to forge a political alliance before a potentially divisive parliamentary election.

Opponents say it risks creating a president with unchecked power. Were that Sisi, who is widely tipped to win, it would put the army back in a post controlled by military men until Mursi was propelled to office by the Muslim Brotherhood.

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4. Time Magazine’s Derogatory Headline: Less than politically correct language used as Prime Minister Netanyahu’s son’s love life piques media interest.

5. Watchdog of the Week: Jason Levinson’s Letter in the Irish Times: It’s not often you see a letter from as far afield as Texas in the letters page of the Irish Times.

6. Come to Israel This Spring With HonestReporting: Discover the beauty and complexity of the Mideast and get the inside story from the newsmakers. Join HonestReporting’s Spring, 2014 mission to Israel (May 20-26). Book now and qualify for our early bird special. Click for details.

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Israel and the Palestinians

Indictments reveal Hamas trying to expand influence in Jerusalem through social welfare programs, reports YNet.

 Cyber hackers breach Defense Ministry computer

• I’m grateful to see The Independent standing up for Israeli athletics. Qatar must be hoping Israel doesn’t qualify for the 2022 World Cup, which the Gulf state is hosting:

The International Swimming Association (Fina) have issued strong warnings both to Qatar and Dubai, where Israeli athletes suffered similar discrimination. Shouldn’t Fifa be doing the same? Especially as only last week [sic] the United Arab Emirates refused permission for Israel-born defender Dan Mori to enter the country with his Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem for friendly matches in Abu Dhabi because they do not recognise Israel as a state.

• For more commentary, see Tom Wilson (the American lobby in Israel), Nadav Shragai (negotiations as a form of “resistance”), and Shimon Ohayon (Exposing the myth of the Arab bystander to the Holocaust).

Rest O’ the Roundup

Sinai jihadis took credit for downing an Egyptian helicopter, with a video backing their claim.  Time gets it.

Lebanon’s going nuts after the Beirut-based LBC TV interviewed Israeli air force pilots and officers. In Lebanon, you see, it’s illegal to directly contact Israeli officials, and this law applies to media organizations as well. YNet followed up on the fallout:

He stressed that the video was produced by a Palestinian production company and was then passed on the Lebanese channel . . .

LBC, the network that released the highly-debated interview, issued a statement on Saturday in which they claim they have fallen into an IDF trap, which used the network for its own purposes.

More dirt on Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s Holocaust denial unearthed at Memri.

Iranian journos urge Rouhani to re-open press association

For more commentary on the Iranian situation, see The New Republic’s Leon Wieseltier and Ali Alfoneh.

(image of al Sisi via YouTube/M e i m a)

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

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