Abbas, Obama to Discuss Future of Peace Talks

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Today’s Top Stories

1. Mahmoud Abbas is due to arrive in Washington for talks with President Obama on the future of the peace process. Meanwhile, John Kerry raised a ruckus when he said Israel’s insistence on being recognized as a Jewish state by the Palestinians is a mistake.

The Times of Israel and Haaretz preview what’s in store for the Obama-Abbas facetime (during the Purim holiday, no less). See page two of this roundup for a lot of commentary.

2. Worth reading: Reuters visited the Sinai for a rare and meaty first-hand look at the Egyptian military’s fight against Islamists. The army’s not winning because it’s another asymmetrical battle being fought on the jihadis’ terms.

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Egyptian forces in the Sinai.

3. If every Lebanese is part of the resistance, does this mean the rules of collateral damage no longer apply? Lebanon’s allowing citizens to “resist” Israel. Reuters explains in this snippet. (The wire service’s assertion that Israel occupies Lebanese land is mistaken. The UN certified in 2000 that the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon was complete.)

Lebanon’s new government agreed to a compromise policy statement on Friday that fell short of explicitly enshrining the militant group Hezbollah’s role in confronting Israel but which would give all citizens the right to resist Israeli occupation or attacks.

Earlier in the weekend, there was a brief flare up of violence along the Israeli-Lebanese border when an IDF patrol was targeted by a bomb. The army responded with tank fire on a number of targets across the Blue Line. More on that at the Times of Israel.

4. Free Lance Fauxtography, Reuters Style: Syrian rebel activists hired as free lance photographers stage photos and deliberately muddy their credit.

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Israel and the Palestinians

 Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shallah says last week’s rocket barrage was “coordinated with Hamas.”

Fuel deliveries to Gaza resumed today after the strip’s only power plant was  shut down for lack of gas. Israel closed the Kerem Shalom crossing during last week’s rocket barrage, which stopped fuel deliveries.

• Do you get the 72 dark-eyed virgins in cases like this?

AFP

 Break out the violins. Hamas is facing its worst cash crisis, according to AP.

Israel gets no credit from Obama for a year of moderate settlement construction

But the president had his facts wrong, and a careful reading of the CBS data proves it. The pace is not “aggressive,” and almost all of the construction took plae within the major settlement “blocs” — areas that past negotiations have recognized would remain part of Israel (to be compensated for with land swaps).

On the next page:

  • Iran foiled attempt to sabotage nuke facility.
  • Cruise line rebuffs Tunisian “backtrack” on Israeli tourists.
  • BBC accused of gagging debate on Free Speech show.

Continued on page 2


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