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Today’s Top Stories
1. The State Dept. dropped Samira Ibrahim from its “Woman of Courage Awards” after the discovery of anti-Semitic and anti-American tweets she posted. The Washington Post rounds up the Arabic language tweeting that did her in. More at The Lede.
2. Israelis are gearing up for President Obama’s visit with a smartphone app for both foreign journalists and the public to get realtime updates. Palestinians are gearing up for President Obama’s visit too:
Activists in Ramallah said they would try to block the roads leading to the location of the Obama-Abbas meeting to protest against US “bias in favor of Israel.”
Some activists have even prepared American flags and portraits of Obama that would be set on fire in front of TV crews covering the visit.
Palestinian activists say they are also hoping to humiliate Obama when and if he decides to visit the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
3. Sinai jihadis fired a long-range missile during a drill. Maan News broke the story:
The missile, believed to have a range of 45 kilometers, was fired from Nekhel in central Sinai towards the direction of Suez, Egyptian military sources told Ma’an.
4. Gaza Child Death: Israel Exonerated by UN, Media Ignores: Thanks to his links to the BBC, Jihad Misharawi’s tragedy became one of the highest profile incidents of civilian casualties during the conflict. But now, the UN confirmed that baby Omar was killed by a Palestinian rocket.
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Israel and the Palestinians
• Regarding peacemaking efforts, Greg Sheridan of The Australian hits the nail on the head:
The demand that Obama urgently seek a peace settlement betrays the deeper analytical flaw by Carr and Rudd. At the moment, Syria does not exist as a nation, 70,000 of its citizens have been killed and its army has abandoned the border regions with Israel. Egypt is in terrible internal turmoil. Its army has effectively lost control of the vast Sinai area that borders Israel. No one can know what its future government will be like. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The Palestinian leadership is murderously divided between the West Bank and Gaza. Surely it is intellectually fraudulent to imagine that any Israeli government could make a comprehensive peace in this context.
Underlying this is the cardinal doctrine of conventional wisdom among Guardian readers, UN habitues, European think tank staff and the like, and that is the implausible notion Israel is at the heart of Middle East disputes and the West’s troubles with Islam.
• U. of California-Riverside’s student senate to administration: Divest from Israel.
• U. of California-Riverside administration to student senate: No way.
• Is Hamas using Israeli intelligence tips to crack down on jihadis? Believe it, says The Economist. Whoda thought?
In desperation, some Hamas men are looking to Israel to let Gaza freely export its produce, reopen its port, and allow its businessmen and labourers to cross the buffer zone, as they did before Hamas took over in 2007. The longer the ceasefire, the more Israel has eased the flow of trade. But for Hamas this is a mixed blessing. Overland traffic only partially compensates for the shortfall through the tunnels. It also makes Hamas more dependent on—and subservient to—Israel, to ensure vital supplies continue. Hamas’s security forces have begun acting on Israeli intelligence passed via Egypt about wayward militants planning attacks, say Western officials.
Egypt’s tunnel squeeze has hurt Hamas’s finances as well as its morale. Import duties on tunnel traffic brought Hamas more than $180m a year and paid for its 40,000-strong civil service. Hamas is trying to make up for lost income from the tunnels by putting an extra levy of 200 shekels ($54) per lorry on goods from Israel.
• Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad are clashing over the resignation of the PA’s finance minister. The Jerusalem Post reports the dispute could lead to the resignation of the PA government.
• Israeli Apartheid Week? How about a Gender Apartheid Week? asks a Calgary Herald columnist.
- US court to hear family’s legal campaign for their son’s passport to list his place of birth as Jerusalem, Israel.
- Why do billboards marking a Russian military holiday feature an Israeli soldier riding an Israeli tank?
- UN peacekeepers fleeing Syrian fighting found safety in Israel.