News You Might Have Missed Over Passover

Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.

Today’s Top Stories

1. For the first time, natural gas pumped from Israel’s offshore fields. The Times of Israel explains the significance.

The gas from Tamar is expected to help meet Israel’s energy needs for the next 20 years, Channel 2 said, and will save the economy some NIS 13 billion (some $3.5 billion) per year. Its ahead-of-schedule use will also save Israeli citizens some cash — lowering a planned rise in electricity costs to 6 percent, less than originally planned.

Meanwhile, Reuters looks at the navy’s task of defending the new resources:

On patrol boat 836, circling two gas platforms in choppy Mediterranean waters, Captain Ilan Lavi flipped through pictures of the possible threats: boat bombs, drones, submarine vessels, rockets and missiles.

“We have to build an entire new defensive envelope,” said Lavi, head of the navy’s planning department who talks as knowledgeably about the financial aspects of the gas industry as he does about security. “But you can’t have a defence system that costs more to build than the gas itself.”

2. Egypt’s freefalling. The NY Times details Egypt’s food and fuel shortages, tying in with Tzvi Mazel‘s analysis that Muslim Brotherhood control of the country is in full meltdown. Moreover, Egypt outlawed political protests (via Elliott Abrams). Last but not least, Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef was arrested (and freed on bail) for insulting Mohammed Morsi. Jon Stewart was all over this, ripping Egypt and Morsi every which way.


3. Jerusalem Post: A 64 year-old Palestinian security prisoner died of cancer; you know the rest: PA blames Israeli negligence while prisoners riot.

The prisoner, 64-year-old Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh, was a Hamas member from the West Bank who was sentenced to life in prison in 2002 for attempted murder, membership in a banned organization, and illegal possession of firearms . . .

According to the IPS, Hamdiyeh was diagnosed with cancer in February, and when it became apparent that his disease was terminal the IPS began the process of examining an early release for him, but he died before a ruling could be given on the matter.

Israel and the Palestinians

Worth reading: The Tunnel Economy. I call it Rafah 101.

Gilad Shalit Gilad Shalit described to the IDF the attack in which he was abducted by Palestinian terrorists. Shalit’s recall of the attack’s details is impressive, but his conduct was unflattering. The debriefing is very frank and was published in the Jerusalem Post, parts one and two.

Schalit knew that he had effectively given himself up on June 25, 2006, been taken captive without firing even one bullet, despite the fact that he could have prevented the entire situation with relative ease.

The Christian Science Monitor looks at the “Ramallah bubble,” the biggest downside to the Palestinian economy’s heavy dependence on foreign aid:

In cosmopolitan Ramallah, a construction boom and cappuccino-fueled culture of luxury cars and inflated real estate suggest an economic upswing. But experts warn that the growth is fostered largely by foreign donations to the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA), and the profusion of NGOs setting up shop in the de-facto capital has created a bubble – hollow and unsustainable.

Not content to be Gaza’s sugar daddy, the emir of Qatar proposed a $1 billion fund to defend Jerusalem’s “Arab character.” YNet coverage.

Miftah, a Palestinian non-governmental organization founded by Hanan Ashrawi, belatedly apologized for publishing a literal blood libel on its web site after being exposed by Elder of Ziyon.

It criticized President Obama for his tribute to Passover, by holding a seder in the White House.

“Does Obama in fact know the relationship, for example, between ‘Passover’ and ‘Christian blood’..?! Or ‘Passover’ and ‘Jewish blood rituals?!’” read the article posted March 27. “Much of the chatter and gossip about historical Jewish blood rituals in Europe are real and not fake as they claim; the Jews used the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover.”

White House seder

President Obama leading the White House Passover seder.

Speaking of blood libels, Memri flagged a Lebanese columnist raising the same canard.

Can John Kerry keep the Palestinians out of the International Criminal Court?

Hamas re-elected Khaled Meshaal, whose “moderating influence and pragmatism” is needed more than ever.

Weighing in on media bias:

  1. Anav Silverman weighs in on photo bias.
  2. Riccardo Dugulin weighs in on media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  3. Elihu Stone weighs in on French legal proceedings surrounding the Mohammed al-Dura video.

Bad news for the latest Gaza aid convoy. They’re stuck in Libya as Egypt prevents their entry. Some British nationals in the convoy were briefly abducted in Benghazi and sexually assaulted. Details at The Guardian.

•  A starry-eyed Professor Anne-Marie Slaughter (Globe & Mail) plugs something called “two-state condominialism” for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If Jews and Palestinians could really live together as peacefully as the idea requires, the one-state solution might actually be viable.

On the next page

  • “How short would Iran’s fissile-material dash need to be so as to be undetectable? ” 
  • UK columnist fesses up to anti-Semitism.
  • Israel apologized to Turkey. Now what?

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