Assad Using Chemical Weapons Again?February 20, 2014 16:25 by Pesach Benson
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. Did Bashar Assad use chemical weapons again? Survivors of a January 13 attack on Daraya insist yes, but US officials voiced skepticism. More on the story at The Daily Beast.
2. Iran and the P5+1 negotiators agreed on an agenda and framework for the next round of talks. Negotiations are adjourned till the next round kicks off on March 17 in Vienna.
3. Whose heart wasn’t tugged by the image of Marwan, the four-year old Syrian boy appearing to arrive in a Jordanian refugee all alone? The photo went viral with the help of news services attaching an erroneous narrative.
The UN’s Andrew Harper certainly didn’t intend to mislead anyone, but the “story” took on a life of his own and there was a two-day lag time until he posted a followup tweet putting the story in a more accurate context.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Israel inked a $500 million deal to sell gas to Jordan.
• Palestinians are giving a thumbs up to the removal of religious affiliation from PA identity cards, reports The Media Line.
• Will the BDS movement will take on Lady Gaga’s Tel Aviv concert this September? Might the pop queen be counting on a BDS controversy to boost her own media notoriety? I don’t know, but it would be an interesting fight. To learn more about the fight against Israel’s de-legitimization and the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, see Fighting BDS.
• Shout it from the rooftops: The Independent‘s Tom Doran reached this conclusion about settlements and boycotts after visiting the SodaStream factory:
The people who live in places like this aren’t criminals or fanatics, but Israeli citizens. As our visit demonstrated, they are quietly, and independently of the politicians, learning to co-exist with their Palestinian neighbours. This process will take a very long time and may yet fail, but it is palpably happening. The BDSers’ studied ignorance of all this is why so many of us suspect – more than suspect – that the movement isn’t about helping the Palestinians at all. Some of its advocates may sincerely believe it is, I can’t see into their hearts. But the inescapable implication of boycotting Israel is that the state itself is illegitimate.
A boycott isn’t a tool brought to bear on friends we wish to persuade, but enemies we wish to break and buckle. When the target was South Africa’s apartheid regime, this was indeed a laudable goal. Israel is not an apartheid state, not even close, and those who insist otherwise in defiance of the facts shouldn’t be surprised when their motives are questioned.
• Prince Charles’s sword dance in Saudi Arabia reminds Elliott Abrams of the British royal family’s “allergy” to visiting Israel.
The continuing failure or refusal of any royal to make an official or state visit to Israel is an anomaly that suggests bias, and undermines potential British influence in the region.
• Must read before the sniveling event known in North America as Israel Apartheid Week.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Nic Robertson of CNN visited the Israeli field hospital on the border treating injured Syrians.
• McClatchy News updates the latest from the desperate Yarmouk refugee camp.
• Bulgaria says it has identified a third suspect in the 2012 Burgas bombing, reports Reuters.
• For more commentary/analysis, see Avi Issacharoff (Hezbollah flinches in face of Sunni terror).
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.