Hamas Confirms Indirect Talks With IsraelFebruary 18, 2013 14:55 by Pesach Benson
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Today’s Top Stories
1. Maan News: Hamas confirms indirect talks with Israel on implementing cease fire. But don’t call the talks “political,” say the Islamists.
Meanwhile, a NY Daily News op-ed argues that this is an opportune time for peace. Why? Turkey, Egypt and Qatar — Hamas’ primary patrons now — are US allies with leverage over the terror group. Not sure if this is related, but the Times of Israel reports Israeli and Egyptian officials are meeting in Cairo to discuss Gaza’s smuggling tunnels.
2. Several top journalists have left Al-Jazeera because Arab spring coverage clearly has a politcal agenda. Der Spiegel writes:
Suliman is not the only one who feels bitterly disappointed. The Arab TV network has recently suffered an exodus of prominent staff members. Reporters and anchors in cities like Paris, London, Moscow, Beirut and Cairo have left Al-Jazeera, despite what are seen as luxurious working conditions in centrally located offices. . .
A prominent correspondent who, until one year ago, used to report in Beirut for the network, says: “Al-Jazeera takes a clear position in every country from which it reports — not based on journalistic priorities, but rather on the interests of the Foreign Ministry of Qatar,” he says. “In order to maintain my integrity as a reporter, I had to quit.”
3. Judging from this Sky News dispatch from Aleppo, the influence of international jihadis is indeed eclipsing local rebels.
Indeed the foreigners are coming. I have seen a steady increase from Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Algeria. Even the Free Syrian Army accepts that like it or not the Jihadists will play a future role in the make up of post-Assad Syria.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Ahead of President Obama’s visit, Israel and the PA both dispatched envoys to brief Washington on their positions. Also, both denied reports that Israel will free terror leaders Marwan Barghouti, Ahmad Saadat and 550 Palestinian prisoners as a goodwill gesture.
• Bob Simon of 60 Minutes was back in Israel to learn more about the Iron Dome. Nice dispatch.
• Two years after the Itamar massacre, Israel HaYom visits the surviving members of the Fogel family.
• Savannah Morning News columnist Jane Fishman is in Israel, and she’s already learning that the correct answer to most questions is, “It’s complicated . . .
• The IDF claims victory in Pillar of Defense social media war. The IDF’s director of social media, Sacha Dratwa, told the Times of Israel:
“This was the first time the foreign media asked more questions about our Twitter activity than about our bombings in Gaza.”
- Muslim Brotherhood speaker in Washington: We’re in a struggle against the West.
- Is there a Hezbollah “surge” in Syria?
- More details on Prisoner X emerge.