Haaretz’s Unprecedented War of Words Continues

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Today’s Top Stories

1. Ari Shavit fired back at his boss, Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken. It started when Shavit argued that the Palestinians should recognize Israel as a Jewish state. In an unprecedented move, Schocken attacked his own columnist. Today, Shavit writes:

The similarity between the old Israeli left and Neturei Karta is obvious. In both cases we’re dealing with curling up in a closed system that has lost all touch with reality. Both are small communities that isolate themselves from the Israeli public and live in increasing alienation from the Israeli state. In both cases we’re dealing with rigid orders trying to silence any member who asks questions, casts doubt and wonders if the order’s premises are still valid.

I feel sympathy for people with burning faith and solid principles, who are ready to fall on their sword. But the truth must be told: The old left’s “guardians of the city” won’t evacuate a single settlement, won’t bring about the withdrawal from an inch of land and won’t bring peace a single day sooner. Why? Because their systematic disregard of Palestinian rejectionism and the region’s brutality makes them unreliable; their repulsion from the blue-and-white renders them irrelevant. This makes the Israeli public shut its ears to their justified arguments about the settlements, human rights and civil rights. The old left’s inability to prove that it is both Zionist and realistic renders it unable to carry out the great Zionist project of the 21st century – ending the occupation.

2. Days after Hamas staged an ugly rally at Al-Quds University, the school announced that its president, Sari Nusseibeh, will step down at the end of the current academic year. The announcement added that “this move has been planned for a long time.”

I’ll bet the long time was after the campus rally for Islamic Jihad in November. More on the story at the Times of Israel.

3. Is Israeli-Turkish reconciliation speeding up? Today’s Zaman reports (and Jerusalem denies) that an Israeli envoy was in Ankara discussing reopening embassies, Eastern Mediterranean oil and gas exploration, and (strange as it sounds), the possibility of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visiting Israel.

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told AFP that gaps between the two countries are closing. And Haaretz reports that Israel allowed building materials and medical supplies into Gaza as a gesture to Ankara. The material is for the construction of a 150-bed Turkish hospital near Gaza City.

4. Is it ‘Taboo’ to Defend Israel on Campus? Events at several universities demonstrate the challenge of standing up for Israel against the BDS on campus.

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Israel and the Palestinians

Barack Obama Hillary Krieger: It’s not too late for President Obama to stand up for press freedom. Commenting on Saudi Arabia’s refusal to give Jerusalem Post reporter Michael Wilner a visa to cover the president’s trip to Riyadh, she writes:

While it might be out of the question to cancel a presidential visit because a journalist is denied a visa, Obama still has an opportunity to stand up for press freedom, inclusivity and the dialogue he is so eager to foster between the different parties to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

He can use the platform he has in Saudi Arabia to denounce the denial of my former colleague’s visa as part of a broader condemnation of the suppression of free speech and religious expression that is so common in the kingdom. Maybe that will start some virtuous cycles in a region that sorely needs them.

 Time takes a closer look at the threat of Palestinian terror tunnels like the one discovered just days ago.

The Israel Defense Forces are working from scenarios that range from kidnapping a soldier to the armed takeover of a nearby kibbutz, and everything in between, including combined and parallel attacks. The military operates on the assumption that Hamas would not waste the element of surprise by using the tunnel in a small scale skirmish, but rather with a significant, spectacular ambush.

“If as a result of an attack by fifty Hamas combats coming out of the tunnels, twenty five people, among them children, will get killed in one of the Israeli villages close to the borders, that is going to be an event that will strike the Israeli society in shock,” says one Israeli military source. “This will be the Hamas achievement.”

Did you really expect otherwise?

Outspoken Israel critic said likely to replace Falk as rights monitor

Copy editors asleep at the wheel? This was featured on Haaretz’s front page this morning. For $57, you could probably pave two square yards of Highway 443. (When you click on the article itself, the number’s correct.)


 End to the Foreign Ministry strike may be near.

 For more commentary/analysis, see Emmanuel Navon (freeing Barghouti is immoral and counter-productive — a response to Yossi Beilin), and Israel’s ambassador to the UK, Daniel Taub (the price of Israeli diplomacy).

Rest O’ the Roundup

Why is the State Dept. silent on Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s Holocaust denial? Israel HaYom wonders.

Egyptian military chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi officially threw his hat in the ring for presidential elections. Victory’s a foregone conclusion. Reuters coverage suffices.

Egypt’s building a security barrier around the northern Sinai town of El Arish to help fight terror.

Security sources said the fence would encircle the city, allowing access through 10 entrance points. The gates will be equipped with surveillance cameras and electronic devices to detect explosives.

Remember: Daylight savings time begins tonight in Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and Syria. What about Gaza? Good question!


World’s First Self-Cleaning Solar Park Is in Israel

(Image of Nusseibeh via YouTube/BakerInstitute, Obama via Facebook/The White House, clocks via Flickr/Alan Cleaver)

For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.

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