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Today’s Top Stories
1. According to an Israeli Channel Two TV report, PA President Mahmoud Abbas issued “three no’s” in his meeting with U.S. President Obama:
Specifically, the report said, Abbas rejected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand that he recognize Israel as a Jewish state. He also refused to abandon the Palestinian demand for a “right of return” for millions of Palestinians and their descendants — a demand that, if implemented, would drastically alter Israel’s demographic balance and which no conceivable Israeli government would accept. And finally, he refused to commit to an “end of conflict,” under which a peace deal would represent the termination of any further Palestinian demands of Israel.
More in The Times of Israel and comment and opinion below.
2. Three Palestinians were killed during an Israeli raid on the Jenin refugee camp to arrest Hamas terrorist Hamza Abu el-Heija. El-Heija was described by the IDF as a “ticking bomb,” was wanted for months and was allegedly in the final stages of planning a major shooting attack against Israelis. El-Heija opened fire on IDF forces after refusing to surrender and was subsequently killed in the ensuing gunfight.
What does this mean in the wider scheme of things? Avi Issacharoff writes:
The fact that the Arab media isn’t too interested, that the PA security forces are staying away, and that Israeli troops are entering the camps — all these factors are likely to exacerbate the anger in the camps. Economic conditions are bad, too, and residents feel neglected by the PA. This is creating an entire generation ready to fight against both the PA and Israel — ready, that is, to embark on a third intifada. To kill and be killed, like Hamza Abu al-Hija.
There are dozens more “Hamzas” in Jenin, in the Balata and Askar refugee camps (near Nablus), even in Kalandiya outside Jerusalem. The first intifada began in these places, and it began among youths of this age group.
3. The IDF uncovers the longest ever Gaza terror tunnel. “This advanced tunnel was intended to post a direct link and threat to Israeli territory, and enable Hamas terrorists to reach and harm Israeli civilians,” said Lt Colonel Peter Lerner, spokesman for the Israeli army. “Tunnels such as this are built to assist terrorists in the execution of terror attacks. In the past Gaza terrorists have utilized such tunnels to Israel for infiltration, detonation and abduction of Israeli citizens. “
4. A Polemic to Palestinian Victim-hood – Karma Nabulsi makes Israel out to be a worse abuser of Palestinian refugees than Syria.
5. Fighting BDS – BDS is a Media War – One of the biggest misconceptions about the BDS, is that it is designed to put economic and political pressure on Israel.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Commentary on Mahmoud Abbas’s meeting with Barack Obama:
Khaled Abu Toameh looks at Abbas’s precarious domestic position:
Abbas is now hoping to turn himself into a hero by telling his people that he had the guts to say no to Obama and Kerry during his visit to Washington.
Abbas is badly in need of public support, especially in light of increased tensions inside his ruling Fatah faction. In the past few days, these tensions have erupted into an all-out confrontation between Abbas and ousted Fatah Central Committee member Mohamed Dahlan. …
Abbas’s rejection of the U.S. proposals is also attributed to the severe crisis within Fatah.
If in the past Abbas was afraid of Hamas’s response to the signing of a peace agreement with Israel, it is now clear that he also has good reason to fear the reaction of top Fatah officials to any move he makes concerning the peace process.
All Abbas can do for now is continue to ask his public servants and schoolchildren to take to the streets and chant slogans in his support. These rallies are intended to send a message not only to Obama and Kerry, but also to Abbas’s rivals in Fatah.
Dan Diker writes that Obama has unmasked Abbas:
The US has unmasked the real Palestinian positions. US efforts to pin down a framework have also exposed the deep fissures within Fatah and among Palestinians at large. In this context, the Palestinian strategy will likely lead them back to the unilateralism they pursued at the United Nations in 2011.
That program enabled the PA to lead international efforts to demonize, incite against and delegitimize Israel at the UN, the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.
However, it failed to bring the Palestinians closer to a viable sovereign independent nation state. The implications are severe. Recently the European donor states have expressed impatience with Palestinian refusals and have threatened to curtail financial assistance to the PA .
Palestinian rejection of the current US framework paper may signal the end of the Palestinian statehood project in parts of Judea and Samaria/ West Bank and Gaza for the foreseeable future.
• The Israeli Foreign Ministry has now declared a full-blown strike. Among the casualties is Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to Latin America while no Israeli diplomats will be present at the UN Human Rights Council, which is planning to launch a massive attack on the Jewish state next week in a series of five resolutions that — expressly citing controversial UN official Richard Falk — include new accusations of racism, along with calls to impose “international criminal liability” on businesses with indirect links amounting to “corporate complicity in breaches of international law related to illegal settlements.”
• The Wall St. Journal criticizes John Kerry for not making demands on the Palestinians in the same way he is doing to Israel and addresses the Jewish state issue:
As to why Mr. Abbas won’t accept a Jewish state, it’s because doing so means relinquishing what Palestinians call the “right of return.” This is the claim that millions of descendants of Arab refugees from Israel’s war of independence are entitled to return to their ancestral homes in Israel proper. Such a right is recognized for no other refugee group in the world, least of all the roughly 800,000 Jews evicted from Arab lands. For Israel to accept it would risk a demographic time bomb that could turn the country into another Lebanon, sectarian and bloody.
Anyone paying attention to Palestinian politics understands that the right of return, with its implicit promise to eliminate Israel, is the centerpiece of the conflict. The idea that Israel’s settlements are the problem should have been discredited for good after Israel dismantled its settlements in Gaza in 2005 only to get more war, not less.
Mr. Kerry would perform a public service by pointing out these simple truths, while also gaining credibility with a skeptical Israeli public. That he hasn’t done so helps explain why his diplomacy is failing.
More in this WSJ video featuring Brett Stephens:
• Meanwhile, J Street has endorsed the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
• The New York Times finally discovers that Palestinian sources may be unreliable:
In the two weeks since Mr. Abbas’s opening salvo against Mr. Dahlan, who is living abroad, the Arabic media has been filled with unproved accusations by Mr. Abbas about the long-ago killings of prominent Palestinians, and by both men about collaboration with Israel and financial corruption. Mr. Abbas even implied that Mr. Dahlan might have had a hand in the mysterious death of Yasir Arafat, the father of the Palestinian cause, in 2004. For the most part, the two camps have not offered detailed responses to all the accusations.
Iranian Atomic Urgency
• Is the Iranian PR offensive coming to an end? Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khameini has publicly reiterated his doubts over the Holocaust. In Europe, “no one dares to speak of the Holocaust, the crux of which is not clear if it is true, or if it were, how it was,” he said. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman responds.
• Iran is building a nonworking mock-up of an American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier like this below that United States officials say may be intended to be blown up for propaganda value.
For more, see Thursday’s Israel Daily News Stream.