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Today’s Top Stories
The substance is drearily familiar, though it is particularly gratuitous. It is (yawn) an “Israel-Apartheid” story, and it pegs off moves by the Israeli authorities to take the completely reasonable step of introducing extra Palestinian buses to ferry Palestinian workers into Israel from the West Bank.
There are two reasons for the move. First, there’s the obvious security issue: there is a dreadful history of Palestinian suicide bombing on Israeli buses. Israelis are understandably afraid, especially in the context of mass incitement by the Palestinian Authority, and would rather Palestinians took their trips to Israel on their own buses. (Are you absolutely sure you wouldn’t feel the same way?)
The second reason, which explains why Israel has made its move now, is that due to more generous arrangements for the Palestinians, Israel is now granting more work permits. More workers, more buses. More Palestinian workers, more buses for Palestinians. Not one of life’s great mysteries… unless you smell a conspiracy.
2. Hamas income from smuggling taxes have declined to the point that the terror group muscled in on the PA-appointed concessionaire running the Palestinian side of the Kerem Shalom crossing. YNet writes:
The organization’s government in Gaza has notified Nahed Shuhaiber, the concessionaire who operates the Kerem Shalom crossing from the Palestinian side, that his responsibilities are being rescinded and that starting Monday morning, the new concessionaire will be Muhisan Sharafi. Monday morning, 70 trucks stood at the crossing waiting to bring goods into the Strip.
Because Shuhaiber operated the crossing on behalf of the Palestinian Authority and for this reason, Israel agreed for years to cooperate but Israel has also made a fundamental decision that the government and the defense establishment do not work opposite any Hamas-related entity . . .
Dagnot explained to officials in the PA that working with a new concessionaire without coordination constitutes a security risk.
If Hamas wants to make real money and act like a real government, it should end the tunneling business and simply trade everything above-board through Egypt with all the taxes it likes. That means foregoing the status of pious victimhood (Israel’s so-called “siege” of Gaza), but even the Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t buy that spin. A far more superficial AP report picked up on the crossing’s closure.
3. Martin Fletcher of NBC News visited Rawabi, a new Palestinian city being developed near Ramallah. I’m intrigued by the headline, which referred to Rawabi as a settlement. Rawabi’s a brand new community in the disputed West Bank territory, which I suppose technically makes it a settlement. Fletcher’s dispatch didn’t touch on that angle.
Israel and the Palestinians
• How many times has this happened to you? Hamas rejected a delivery of 28 long-range missiles smuggled from Libya after discovering they were tagged with Israeli tracking devices. Times of Israel coverage.
• Bad boy indeed. The Shin Bet busted a Hebron terror cell taking orders from Basel Heimuni, one of the Palestinian prisoners released to Gaza in the Gilad Shalit swap. Jerusalem Post coverage.
• Norway’s secretary of state acknowledges funding Palestinian incitement.
• Leave it to The Guardian to give hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Samer Issawi an op-ed platform in its print edition. You get the picture:
This is my last remaining stone to throw at the tyrants and jailers in the face of the racist occupation that humiliates our people.
• Ryerson U. student Eitan Gilboord was ticked off that his student union fees were funding Israeli Apartheid Week activities — among other idiocies. Now he’s pushing with an initiative to allow students to opt out of levies going to specific campus groups. The National Post took a look at the issue:
The fourth-year politics and governance student at Ryerson University believes students should easily be able to easily opt out of mandatory funding of students’ unions if they choose to take sides on controversial issues. . .
“If I disagree with the drop [tuition] fees campaign, at least that is something they are doing for [all] students,” he says. “But when you get into polarizing foreign policy issues that go against your own rules of singling out people on campus, I think that’s when we see the problem.” . . .
The minimal individual amounts likely convince many of the students who may disagree with their causes not to bother pursuing refunds, but with a student population in the tens of thousands, the 50¢ and $1.50 charges add up to tens of thousands of dollars in funding and even more if you include levies paid by graduate students.
• Worth reading:
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Worth reading: Time takes an in-depth look at the evolution of the Obama administration’s approach to the Iranian nuclear problem.
The Post’s James Ball has suggested that pro-government hackers have actually begun acting as a sort of quasi-intelligence unit, “using the Internet to uncover members of the opposition” by advertising fake Facebook and Skype software that is embedded with spyware.
One malicious link, circulated on Syrian Twitter last year, purported to lead to a “fascinating video clip showing an attack on Syrian regime.” It actually coaxed Facebook users to give up their usernames and passwords, reports The Information Warfare Monitor.
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.