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Today’s Top Stories
1. According to Israeli media reports, John Kerry’s framework agreement will call for an “unofficial” freeze on construction “outside of the large blocs of communities that Israel intends to keep in any final-status deal with the Palestinians.” Presumably, areas like Gush Etziyon and Maale Adumim, for example, will get a green light to build. The Jerusalem Post writes:
An unofficial freeze would enable government officials to deny its existence while in practice halting all construction, according to Army Radio.
2. As German chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Israel approaches, Der Spiegel reports that the two countries’ ties are at an all-time low. Conditions placed on scientific agreements, Martin Schultz’s Knesset address, Berlin’s abstention from a UN vote on Palestinian statehood, disagreements on settlements, even shouting matches between top officials, may have everyone walking on eggshells when Merkel arrives on Monday.
Given the absence of trust, small disputes are turning into bigger ones.
3. Your daily dose of angst: The White House tapped former Arafat apologist Robert Malley to mend frazzled friendships with the Persian Gulf states. Malley was a former adviser to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama forced out of Washington’s power games in 2008 over his meetings with Hamas. The NY Times explains:
In 2008, Mr. Malley was forced to sever his ties as an informal adviser to the campaign of Barack Obama when it was reported that he had met with members of Hamas, the militant Palestinian group, which the State Department classifies as a terrorist organization.
The meeting, Mr. Malley said in a letter to The New York Times, was hardly a secret and came in the course of his work with the I.C.G., a nonprofit group focused on preventing conflict. Still, he felt obliged to distance himself from Mr. Obama to avoid misperceptions of the “candidate’s position regarding the Islamist movement.”
Mr. Malley also came under fire for writing an article, with Hussein Agha, that argued that some of the blame for the failure of the Camp David talks lay with the Israeli leader at the time, Ehud Barak, and not just with the uncompromising position of the Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat, which was the conventional wisdom then.
For more background on his apologisms, see Malley Mollycoddles Arafat.
4. Channel 4 “Cleanses” Context From Gaza Story: A sick Palestinian child is used to blame Israel.
Israel and the Palestinians
• According to the Jerusalem Post, around 1,000 Palestinian minors were arrested in 2013, and 82 percent of the arrests were for violent acts, “such as the November murder of 16-year-old Eden Atias, numerous cases of attempted murder, shootings, possessing illegal weapons, membership in terror organizations, throwing Molotov cocktails and the range of stone throwing offenses.” Of those 1,000 minors, only 30 abuse complaints were filed.
I’m glad the IDF got these figures out, but it’s a shame it wasn’t in time to balance out recent Australian media reports. Was John Lyons sloppy for not getting the facts, or did Israeli officials blow the opportunity to have their say?
demands that the world court examine whether Israel is guilty of the international crimes of “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing,” and urges the UN to investigate corporations that profit from “unlawful Israeli activities.”
I can hardly wait for Big Media to cluck at Israel when Falk and his halo effect officially present the report.
• Worth reading: The Ugly History of the Apartheid Smear
• Thumbs up to Tom Friedman. Boycott Israeli academics will have a bad impact on Prof. Hossam Haick. He’s an Arab-Israeli who “will teach the first ever massive open online course, or MOOC, on nanotechnology in Arabic” from the Technion.
I know what some readers are thinking: nice bit of Israeli propaganda, now could you please go back to writing about Israel’s ugly West Bank occupation. No. This story is a useful reminder that Israel is a country, not just a conflict, and, as a country, it’s still a work in progress. It has its lows, like the occupation and economic discrimination against Israeli Arabs, and its highs, like the collaboration between Haick and the Technion, which is providing a tool for those in the Arabic-speaking world eager to grasp the new technologies reshaping the global economy. Those, like members of the B.D.S. — boycott, divestiture, sanctions — movement who treat Israel as if it is only the sum of how it deals with the West Bank and therefore deserves to be delegitimized as a state, would do well to reflect on some of these complexities.
• Ambassador Ron Prosor became the first Israeli nominated to supervise UN elections — in this case, elections to the UN Human Rights Committee. YNet adds:
Israel has been making inroads at the international organization after a few years in the diplomatic dark. A few months ago, Israel rejoined the Human Rights Council in Geneva and a few days ago it was admitted into JUSCANZ, a key UN group which advises the Human Rights Council as well as other UN bodies.
• There’s been a rise in stone-throwing and firebombing incidents along Israel’s Route 443. The Times of Israel got an inside look at the IDF’s efforts to secure this road connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
• Deutsche Bank denies boycotting Bank HaPoalim — or any other Israeli company.
• For more commentary/analysis, see Yossi Ben-Aharon (dangers of Palestinian statehood).
- US seeking cap on Iranian ballistic missiles.
- Suicide bombers hit Iranian interests in Beirut.
- Jihadis give tourists two days to leave Sinai.