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. Scarlett Johansson cut ties with Oxfam over her SodaStream endorsement. In the process, the actress slammed the BDS movement. AP writes:
“Scarlett Johansson has respectfully decided to end her ambassador role with Oxfam after eight years,” the statement said. “She and Oxfam have a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.”
I’m giving the last word to Alex Ryvchin.
— Alex Ryvchin (@AlexRyvchin) January 30, 2014
For more on the bitter bubble beverage battle, see today’s edition of Fighting BDS.
2. Hezbollah is expanding its drone use. YNet reports the UAVs patrol the Lebanese-Syrian border, and spend time over the homes of rival Lebanese politicians (!?).
Hezbollah is believed to possess close to 200 Iranian-made drones, and some are, of course, destined for Israel. A proportion of those planes are set aside for one-way missions on strategic sites inside Israel, or IAF bases in the next conflagration. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s drone collection includes a variety of models, among them “suicide” model aircraft that can fly at very low altitudes, evading Israel’s radar systems.
3. An IDF officer putting Hezbollah on notice gives us Reuters‘ bungled headline of the day:
You have to read the article to find out Major-General Amir Eshel was talking about Hezbollah’s human shields.
Israel accused Lebanon’s Hezbollah guerrillas on Wednesday of putting “thousands” of bases in residential buildings and said it would destroy these in a future conflict, even at the cost of civilian lives . . .
“Above and below live civilians whom we have nothing against – a kind of human shield,” he told the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, a think-tank near Tel Aviv.
“And that is where the war will be. That is where we will have to fight in order to stop it and win. Whoever stays in these bases will simply be hit and will risk their lives. And whoever goes out will live.”
More on Eshel’s address at Jerusalem Post.
4. Anti-Normalization Absurdities: A Palestinian photographer with a history of hounding Israeli journalists out of Ramallah gets permission to enter the Jewish state.
Israel and the Palestinians
• 170,000 rockets pointed at Israel. Can we call that disproportionate?
• Gaza’s water woes are getting desperate, reports The Media Line:
“In Gaza, the first desalination plant built by the World Bank was completed in October of last year,” Bromberg said. “But the tragedy is that it has no electricity to run it . . .”
• Worth reading: Kerry, the Palestinians, and the Vietnam model:
Giap not only taught Arafat the wonders of propaganda in the age of modern media. He also introduced him to the idea of “phased strategy.” What the Communist Vietnamese meant by “two-state solution” was the conquest of the south in phases: first sign a “two-state” agreement with the US, and then repeal it unilaterally by invading the south after the withdrawal of US forces.
Mahmoud Abbas and other PLO leaders never pronounce the phrase “two states for two peoples.” They only use the expression “two-state solution.” What they mean by this “solution,” however, is not the end of the conflict after the establishment of two distinct nation-states, but a “two-state solution” Vietnam-style. This is why Abbas refuses to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, this is why he insists on invading Israel with the descendants of the 1948 Arab refugees, and this is why he flatly rejects the idea of a Jewish minority in a Palestinian state.
• For commentary/analysis, see David Ignatius (Kerry’s interim deal-style diplomacy with both Israel and Iran), and Professor Kenneth Lasson (demolishing the academic boycott of Israel). Last but not least, the Chicago Tribune gave George Bisharat an op-ed soapbox to plug the academic boycott.
Rest O’the Roundup
• The NY Times visited Syrians in the Western Galilee Hospital. One man, grateful for the care his five-year-old granddaughter is receiving, told correspondent Isabel Kershner:
“When there is peace, I will raise an Israeli flag on the roof of my house,” he said.
Government officials told HRW that the demolitions were carried out in order to remove illegally constructed buildings.
However, the New York-based group found that there had been no similar demolitions in pro-government districts.
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.