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. According to news reports in both Israel and Turkey, the two countries are close to finalizing a $20 million compensation deal for the families of nine Turkish nationals killed aboard the Mavi Marmara.
Jerusalem, however, does not expect any agreement to be reached before the Turkish local elections on March 30, since Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is said to fear that an agreement with Israel and a compromise on the compensation will hurt him politically.
2. SodaStream CEO David Birnbaum accused Oxfam of funding the BDS movement that’s been targeting his West Bank factory. The Jerusalem Post writes:
“Unsurprisingly, Oxfam has joined the BDS in this movement [to close down the West Bank factory],” SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum said. “I’m saying ‘unsurprisingly’ because we found out that some of the Oxfam branches have been donating funds to the BDS, and this money is used to demonize and attack Israel.” . . .
Birnbaum spoke out Sunday against Oxfam after the Israeli nonprofit group NGO Monitor posted information on its website claiming that in 2013, the charity’s Dutch affiliate Oxfam Novib had transferred NIS 406,300 to the Coalition of Women for Peace, which was involved in the BDS campaign against Israel.
Oxfam immediately responded, denying the claim.
3. Mahmoud Abbas to the NY Times: A US-led NATO force could indefinitely patrol a de-militarized Palestinian state to allay Israeli security concerns:
Mr. Abbas said in an interview with The New York Times at his headquarters here over the weekend that Israeli soldiers could remain in the West Bank for up to five years — not three, as he previously stated — and that Jewish settlements should be phased out of the new Palestinian state along a similar timetable. Palestine, he said, would not have its own army, only a police force, so the NATO mission would be responsible for preventing the weapons smuggling and terrorism that Israel fears.
(And Tom Friedman gives it a thumbs up.)
4. Seeing SodaStream For Myself: HR’s managing editor visits the SodaStream factory to see what all the fuss and fizz is about.
5. Shock and Horror as Israeli Embassy Supports . . . Israel! This is what The Guardian considers news?
6. Watchdog of the Week: RTE Makes On-Air Apology for Ariel Sharon Slur: Irish broadcaster corrects the record thanks to action taken by three of our UK readers.
7. Join HonestReporting’s Spring Mission: Meet the newsmakers, the journalists, and the insiders to find out the story behind the headlines. Join HonestReporting’s Spring, 2014 mission to Israel (May 20-26). Book now and qualify for our early bird special. Click for details.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Thumbs up to AP reporter David Mac Dougall. His dispatch on Israel returning the bodies of Palestinian suicide bombers is nicely balanced out by the impact its having on Israeli victims of terror. This snippet speaks volumes about the burden the survivors still carry, while adding a frank and welcome transparency to his reporting:
On Sunday at the Supersol, a security guard stood in Smadar’s old spot. A plaque on the wall commemorated him and Rachel Levy, a 17-year-old Israeli also killed in the blast.
Levy’s parents declined to comment. Almagor said the Levys were upset to learn in the media about the body of their daughter’s killer being returned to the West Bank.
A Supersol cashier on the job Sunday morning was also working the day of the attack. She started to cry when an Associated Press journalist tried to talk to her about the blast. Sunday’s body transfer awakened raw memories, and her manager asked AP to leave.
• Fatah wants John Kerry hauled to the International Criminal Court for threatening Mahmoud Abbas. Kerry was making a point to Abbas about the PLO chief’s legacy, but see the Jerusalem Post for the laughable spin Fatah’s putting on it.
• The Danish ambassador to Israel stressed that his government has nothing to do with Danske Bank — Denmark’s largest — boycotting Israel’s Bank HaPoalim. According to the Times of Israel:
“Indeed, the embassy has an account at Bank Hapoalim, and we have no plans at this stage to change that,” Ambassador Jesper Vahr was quoted by Hebrew news site Walla as saying. “It is a private decision of the bank, and the government of Denmark has no connection to it. The bank makes these decisions independently.”
• Haaretz‘s Ilene Prusher looked at a bunch of Palestinian mashup images criticizing Scarlett Johansson’s SodaStream commercial. Unfortunately, the paper’s tweet of Prusher’s piece overshadowed the link to her article with an image (one of several that illustrate the article).
Haaretz is taking flak for appearing to support BDS (and rightly so), but the offense strikes me as unintentional and certainly avoidable. What do you think? (Shortly after publishing this roundup, Haaretz tweeted a clarification.) Here’s the original tweet.
• The SodaStream factory hosted a scrum of reporters on Super Bowl Sunday. Among the journos there were USA Today’s Kate Shuttleworth, Bloomberg News, Daily Mail, and the Financial Times (via Google News).
Rest O’the Roundup
• Iran received $500 million in frozen assets. It’s the first installment of $4.2 billion due to be unblocked as part of the Iran’s interim nuclear deal with international negotiators. AFP coverage.
• Is Israel taking secret steps to block Al-Qaida from gaining a foothold in southern Syria, asks the Jerusalem Post.
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.