Compensation for Jewish Refugees: Is Israel Missing the Boat?

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Today’s Top Stories

1. Compensation for Jewish refugees who fled Arab countries is one of the most-overlooked issues of peace talks. Now Israel’s state comptroller says the government is squandering the opportunity to obtain billions of dollars in restitution.  Haaretz explains why:

In 2010, a law was passed stating that compensation for the lost property would be included in any future Arab-Israeli peace agreement. But the report shows that even if peace were to break out tomorrow morning, Israel would be hard-pressed to present a solid claim because the state does not know what property is at issue. The possible reasons for this are many and absurd . . .

John Kerry

John Kerry flying to Davos.

2.  John Kerry will retire from politics at the end of Barack Obama’s presidential term. Not sure what this means for his Mideast and Iranian diplomacy, but here’s what he told CNN‘s Jake Tapper towards the end of a wide-ranging Q&A:

KERRY:  One of – one of the joys of this job is I’m out of politics.

TAPPER:  Forever?

KERRY:  I’m out of politics.  I have no plans whatsoever.  This is my last stop.  I’m going to serve the country in the extraordinarily privileged position the president has given me, the great challenges that I have and move on.

3.  The Egyptian army denies Arab media reports trickling back to the West that military chief Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has decided to bow to the people’s wishes and run for president. Is al-Sisi teasing Egyptians with his ambition?

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4. Irish Times Accuses Pro-Israel Activists of Shutting Down the Conversation: Israel’s defenders are accused of making false claims of anti-Semitism. But an ugly truth lies behind the paper’s rhetoric.

5. Saeb Erekat and A Crisis of Faith: How tall a tale does the PA negotiator have to spin before the press corps has a crisis of faith in his credibility?

6. CNN Settlement Photo and Headline Fail: CNN blows the headline and photo in one shot.

Israel and the Palestinians

 After Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop bucked the conventional wisdom on the legal status of Israeli settlements, Daniel Mandel expands on the issue in a Canberra Times op-ed debunking Palestinian legal arguments.

 Holland’s largest pension fund says there’s no reason to cut ties with three Israeli banks, despite all the queries. More at the Jerusalem Post.

• For commentary/analysis, on Kerry and Israel, see David Horovitz and Benny Avni. For BDS-related commentary, see Jonathan TobinDavid Rosenberg, Efraim Inbar and a Washington Times staff-ed.

Rest O’ the Roundup

Worth reading: Why Are Extremists Fighting the World?

The Al-Qaeda that brought down New York’s twin towers in 2001 only consisted of a few hundred members living in one country, Afghanistan. Today, it is an army of tens of thousands of fighters. It grew geographically from one country to around 10 countries where they now fight on a daily basis. Theories that linked the emergence of Al-Qaeda to foreign intervention and religious persecution were thus proven wrong. Al-Qaeda is spreading, and security measures are not the cure. The cure lies in both education and culture.

(Image of Kerry via Flickr/US Department of State, Bishop via Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

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

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