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. NY Times: President Obama is boosting his personal involvement in the Mideast peace process. With upcoming Netanyahu and Abbas visits to Washington, Obama will personally press the leaders to accept the US framework agreement:
On one level, Mr. Miller said, the president’s involvement is a promising sign, “because it shows he is more risk-ready.” On another, he said, it underscores the hurdles to even a “generalized framework,” which he said raised the question, “What is it going to take to get to a comprehensive deal if the president has to do heavy lifting?”
2. Acceding to US pressure, Israel has quietly frozen West Bank building outside the main settlement blocs, reports the Times of Israel.
3. As Iranian-Western relations thawed last year, the International Atomic Energy Agency opted to treat the Islamic republic’s nuke program with kid gloves. According to Reuters, the IAEA was going to prepare a “major” report with new information about suspected bomb research — then made a political decision not to. So what info is the IAEA sitting on?
One source said probably only Israel, which is believed to be the Middle East’s sole nuclear-armed state, would criticise the IAEA for not issuing a new report in the present circumstances. Iran and the world powers hope to reach a final settlement by July, when the interim accord expires, although they acknowledge this will be an uphill task.
A decision not to go ahead with the new document may raise questions about information that the United Nations agency has gathered in the last two years on what it calls the “possible military dimensions” (PMD) to Iran’s nuclear programme.
4. Media Shills For “Trigger Happy” Amnesty Report: An Amnesty International report ignores Palestinian violence while accusing Israel of using excessive force.
5. The Guardian Changes “Jewish Lobby” Headline: It says a lot about the paper’s thinking that The Guardian would use a term associated with anti-Semitic tropes.
6. HonestReporting Coming to Limmud Winnipeg: HR’s USA Director, Gary Kenzer, will be presenting at Limmud Winnipeg this weekend. If you’re in “The Peg,” don’t miss it!
7. Israel Apartheid Week is a major part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. See HonestReporting’s Fighting BDS on Facebook for updates and strategies on how you can fight back against the apartheid slur.
Israel and the Palestinians
• I’m really looking forward to April Fools’ Day now.
• In the aftermath of the Knesset debate over the Temple Mount, the Prime Minister’s Office said it has no intention of changing the holy site’s status quo. Jerusalem Post coverage.
• Gaza political cartoonist Majida Shaheen is facing censorship and death threats after she ridiculed Ismail Haniyeh on Facebook.
• The UCLA student government voted against a resolution that would have urged the University of California system to divest itself from companies that profit from the Israeli “occupation.” The Daily Bruin describes just how heated the debate became:
More than 500 people attended the meeting, which began Tuesday at 7 p.m. and lasted until 6:30 a.m. Wednesday. The public comment part of the meeting, where students expressed support or criticism for the resolution, lasted for nearly 9 hours, ending at about 4 a.m.
• AP put a spotlight on Palestinian honor killings, which are on the rise.
• For commentary/analysis, see Shira Herzog (recognizing Israel as a Jewish state), Khaled Abu Toameh (Hamas’s war on UNRWA school curriculum), David Pollock (Palestinian hate speech comes from official sources), and Bettina Marx (Israeli-German ties).
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Yesterday, the UNRWA tweeted this apocalyptic photo of Palestinians waiting for food in the Yarmouk refugee camp. The camp has been besieged by the Syrian army for months.
This powerful image is rightly making people uncomfortable at far-flung papers like The Guardian, Washington Post, Sydney Morning Herald, and Johannesburg Times, to name a few. See also BBC correspondent Lyse Doucet’s haunting dispatch from Yarmouk — before the photo was released.
— UNRWA (@UNRWA) February 26, 2014
• Israeli-Turkish reconciliation is in a deep freeze, and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames it all on — surprise! — Israel. Haaretz notes plenty of reason to point fingers at Turkey too. So where do things stand?
. . . Israel’s assessment is that no further progress will be made until after Turkey’s local elections on March 30.
Despite reports of attacks on Jewish estates and synagogues in Ukraine, Sergeyev told reporters the phenomenon probably was not widespread.
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.