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Today’s Top Stories
1. No progress made in Martin Indyk’s meeting last night with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators. Nonetheless, everyone’s going to confab again today, reports the NY Times. Judge for yourself if there’s anything left to salvage.
2. Akiva Bigman did a lot of homework on the water issue, gathering hard stats to debunk The Myth of the Thirsty Palestinian. Claims that Israel withholds water don’t actually hold water.
As with all attacks on Israel, the truth is much more complicated and, to a great extent, precisely the opposite of what the critics claim. When one examines the relevant data, it becomes clear that, under Israeli rule, the Palestinian water supply has become larger, more technologically sophisticated, of higher quality, and much easier to access; almost entirely due to Israeli efforts.
Related reading: Palestinians Use Water as a Weapon Against Israel.
One reason Iran is having difficulty tapping the unfrozen revenue is that banks remain fearful they could violate tight U.S. financial sanctions, especially while the outcome of talks on a final nuclear deal remains uncertain. If financial institutions flout sanctions, they could be shut out of the U.S. banking system, which clears dollar transactions, or face huge fines.
Some Western officials partly blame Iran for the delay. Tehran has been slow to set payment instructions specifying where the money should be sent and, in some cases, how it will use the funds—information banks may require before releasing the money.
4. BDS: A War of Attrition Against Israelis: Pro-BDS columnists acknowledge tactics are a form of “water torture” directed at the Israeli public.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Big Media’s into profiling recently released Palestinian prisoners. It’s a legitimate angle, as long as A) their crimes and victims are properly acknowledged and B) the PA’s terror stipends noted. In previous years, journos whitewashed these issues, which is why I think AP‘s handling of Esmat Mansour is a step in the right direction. (Same goes for the NY Times.)
• For more commentary/analysis, see Rowan Callick (click via Google News: Kerry’s efforts poisoned the push for peace), Efraim Inbar (Palestinian blackmail), Jennifer Rubin (does Kerry finally get it?), Moshe Arens (Kerry finally gets it). See also Josh Mitnick (third uprising’s unlikely), Ami Ayalon (change the structure of the peace process) , and a staff-ed in The Australian.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Hassan Nasrallah acknowledged that Hezbollah was responsible for a roadside bomb attack on an IDF jeep patrolling the Lebanese border last month.
• I’m reading German journalist Bartholomäus Grill’s mea culpa as a cautionary tale about the perils of parachute journalism. Grill covered the heady days of apartheid’s end in South Africa when Rwandans began an orgy of genocide against the Tutsi minority.
Now writing for Der Spiegel, Grill looks back with regret:
Where was God in those days of murder? “He was here, or else we wouldn’t have survived,” says Nyirabazungu. And then she asks, in return: “Where were you? Why didn’t you help us?”
These kinds of questions still shame me today. It wasn’t just the UN, the West and other African nations that failed; it was also journalists, like me. We ran after the big story in South Africa, paying little attention to Rwanda or merely spreading clichés about the country.
On April 15, when the massacre in Ntarama was in full swing, my quickly written remote analysis was published in Die Zeit. I told tales of the “gruesome tribal war” in the heart of Africa, where everyone was fighting against everyone else. Bellum omnium contra omnes — the Latin phrase always fits when you know little about what is actually happening.
• Police in India are investigating an altercation between three Israeli officials carrying diplomatic passports and an Indian immigration officers in New Delhi’s airport. More on the story at Haaretz and the Times of India.
• According to Bulgarian media reports, the Burgas bomber was an Algerian trained in southern Lebanon. He also attended university in Beirut with two other suspects.