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Today’s Top Stories
1. Today is what UN Watch‘s Hillel Neuer calls “Hate Israel Day” at the UN Human Rights Council:
Headlining the program this time will be the presentation of a report by a “Fact Finding Mission” on how Israeli settlements are the direct cause of all Palestinian ills. As we explained here, the probe was a sham, its verdict having been declared in advance.
Also on the program will be three additional UN reports condemning Israel, including one that devotes several pages to accusations by Cuba and Syria that Israel is grossly violating human rights in the Golan Heights. The world’s worst abusers will then take the floor and emit vitriol.
Israel will be absent, as it has been for the past year.
Half-way through the essay, he introduces readers to a figure who embodies that “big mistake”:
In 1993, Bassem told me, his cousin Said Tamimi killed a settler near Ramallah. Eight years later, another villager, Ahlam Tamimi escorted a bomber to a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem. Fifteen people were killed, eight of them minors. Ahlam, who now lives in exile in Jordan, and Said, who is in prison in Israel, remain much-loved in Nabi Saleh.
That’s all he writes about Ahlam Tamimi but we can tell you more. She is a Jordanian who was 21 years old and the news-reader on official Palestinian Authority television when she signed on with Hamas to become a terrorist. She engineered, planned and helped execute a massacre in the center of Jerusalem on a hot summer afternoon in 2001. She chose the target, a restaurant filled with Jewish children. And she brought the bomb. The outcome (15 killed, a sixteenth still in a vegetative state today, 130 injured) was so uplifting to her that she has gone on camera again and again to say, smiling into the camera lens, how proud she is of what she did. She is entirely free of regret. A convicted felon and a mass-murderer convicted on multiple homicide charges, she has never denied the role she embraced and justifies it fully.
Yet all the NY Times says about Nabi Saleh’s favourite one-time resident is that she was an escort “who now lives in exile in Jordan”. Period. This is no mere oversight. The editors at the New York Times showcased this same psychopath once before, six years ago. Then, as now, we felt someone needed to push back and we posted two blog articles: “7-Aug-07: Hot House: Cold Truths” and “28-Jun-07: About sweet-faced young women”, and got a little attention for a while. But it was clear to us that those who thought they perceived greatness of spirit in the woman continued to do so.
One of the lives she snuffed out was that of our precious daughter Malki who was fifteen years old. Malki was the kind of young woman whose life and achievements ought to have entitled her to at least a fraction of the media coverage bestowed by the NYT editors and others on the murderer.
But those editors, as well as the author of today’s Magazine piece, are evidently less affected by the innocent lives of the victims, lived and lost, than by the hypnotic power of symbolism.
3. The new Israeli government was sworn in today. Big Media took special interest in Moshe Yaalon, who replaces Ehud Barak as Defense Minister. Take your pick of AP, Deutsche Welle, AFP, even Al-Jazeera, and others described “Boogie” as hard-line on the Palestinians but moderate on Iran. But the day’s truly strangest headline was in the Herald Scotland.
And today’s Knesset’s gathering?
4. Guest Post: Doctors Respond to Lancet Article on Israeli Doctors and Torture: A medical journal’s claim that Israeli doctors tortured a dead Palestinian prisoner go beyond the pale of acceptable medical literature.
Obama’s Israel Tour ’13
Despite that preference for Israel, seven in 10 want the U.S. largely to leave resolving the conflict to the Israelis and Palestinians themselves – a result that underscores the difficulties in finding a solution to the decades-old conflict.
• Israel drew the appropriate conclusions from the 2010 Biden ballyhoo, writes Eli Lake:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office quietly asked the city government and the interior ministry earlier this month to hold off on any announcements regarding new construction in East Jerusalem neighborhoods or settlement expansion in the West Bank before and during Obama’s visit.
But they want to use Obama’s scheduled five hours of talks with Netanyahu on Wednesday evening to secure a guarantee of US support for more pre-emptive Israeli strikes, even if they risk provoking a cross-border conflict with Hezbollah.
• Pre-visit coverage in The Guardian‘s news section includes a 14 year-old Palestinian boy’s open letter to the president, plus a 25-minute video about growing up in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. But The Guardian reported in 2008, when the al-Kurd family was evicted:
Rabbi Arik Ascherman, of the Israeli group Rabbis for Human Rights, acknowledged that the al-Kurd land may have belonged to Jews before 1948 . . .
Palestinian chefs have reacted with indignation upon hearing that Obama’s dinner at President Shimon Peres’s residence on Thursday will feature hummus and falafel, presented to the American president as “Israeli cuisine.”
• The NY Times looks at the Jonathan Pollard angle.
• For commentary/analysis, see the Washington Post (“remedial diplomacy”), Politico (“symbolism on steroids”), Amir Taheri (Obama as “listener-in-chief”), Henry Kissinger, David Makovsky, and YNet (why Israelis aren’t interested in the visit).
Israel and the Palestinians
• Israeli wounded in drive-by shooting near Kedumim. Jerusalem Post coverage.
• Bad news for the BDS movement: Israel wins $400m Brazilian Air Force deal.
• More bad news for the BDS movement: The U. of Michigan is partnering with Ben Gurion. U. to research renewable energy technologies. More at the Michigan Daily.
• A calendar quirk caught my eye. I’m not drawing any moral equivalence:
- France marks first anniversary of Toulouse slayings.
- Olympia rally marks 10th anniversary of Rachel Corrie’s death.
Iranian Atomic Urgency
• Must read: Paul Bracken (National Post) has role-played in war games with retired diplomats and warriors. One game in particular explored what might happen if a nuclear-armed Iran overtly helped Hezbollah attack Israel with conventional weapons. I’m not going to give away the outcome of who “won” or what lessons Israel and the US should draw from what happened. Suffice to say:
I’ve played in games that just got too intense. The design team had to break it off to prevent the animosity from getting out of hand.
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.