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Today’s Top Stories
1. News services are picking up on a Wall St. Journal report that yesterday’s air strike hit a convoy of trucks inside Syria delivering advanced anti-aircraft weapons to Hezbollah.
The early-morning strike in a border area west of Damascus targeted a convoy of trucks carrying Russian-made SA-17 missiles to Hezbollah, the anti-Israel Shiite militant and political group in Lebanon, according to a Western official briefed on the raid.
The NY Times adds that the US received advance notice from Israel. More on this development below.
2. The UN Human Rights Council validated Israel’s decision to boycott its one-sided human rights review. Today, the HRC’s fact-finding investigators released a report (37 pages of pdf joy) on Israeli settlement activity violating Palestinian human rights. It’s as predictable as a Ray Lewis pre-game dance:
112. Israel must, in compliance with article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, cease all settlement activities without preconditions. In addition it must immediately initiate a process of withdrawal of all settlers from the OPT.conditions. In addition it must immediately initiate a process of withdrawal of all settlers from the OPT.
An Israeli statement in response said the issue of settlements should be resolved by direct negotiations, the HRC’s report only complicates peace efforts, and labeled the council and its report of being “systematically one-sided and biased.”
The Jerusalem Post says the HRC is scheduled to debate the report on March 18. Headlines are already writing themselves.
3. Must read: YNet columnist Ron Ben-Yishai lays out the plan behind Mahmoud Abbas’ “soft intifada.”
In addition, to provide diplomatic ammunition and propaganda for their plan, the Palestinian leadership is fomenting controlled unrest in the West Bank territories.
While Israeli intelligence officials and politicians argue over whether a third intifada has erupted, the PA has already activated a “soft intifada” – or an “awareness intifada.” The goal is to methodically place their demands at the top of the international media’s agenda while avoiding violence and terror.
4. Commenting in Algemeiner, HonestReporting’s Simon Plosker says the Sunday Times toon tempest exposed a failing by Israel’s supporters.
Israel Strikes Syria
• Photo bias? You betcha. Misleading, Mismatched Photos Miss Mark.
• Worth reading: Although Iran drew a red line around Syria, don’t hold your breath waiting for the mullahs to retaliate for yesterday’s attack. Meir Javedanfar says Iran can’t now afford to get into a war with Israel over Syria. He also offered a counter-intuitive suggestion for dealing with Assad’s chemical weapons:
Syria’s WMD stockpile falling into the hands of al-Qaeda is a red line which Iran and its adversaries in Syria must draw together, and make sure that Al Qaeda does not cross that.
If al-Qaeda does persistently try and the only other viable option to avoid this scenario is to transfer Syria’s WMD to Iran, than the West may have no option but to accept. That is an infinitely better scenario than al-Qaeda getting its hands on such a weapons.
• David Ignatius of the Washington Post sheds some light on that Jamraya facility:
The Jamraya facility has an interesting history. Syrian opposition sources told me in December that this facility was personally overseen by Maher al-Assad, the brother of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. They added that two senior Syrian officers involved in Jamraya (whose names were confirmed by western sources) had transported about 100 kilograms of chemical weapons materials from their base last year, destination unknown.