Israel and the Palestinians
• Blame Israel or Gaza rocket squads? Reuters reports Gaza farmers began burning tons of herbs, “saying a prolonged closure of the crossing into Israel meant the plants were no longer fit for export to Europe.”
After three months of quiet, militants fired a rocket into Israel at the end of February, with very occasional salvos following in subsequent weeks. Israel has responded each time by closing the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing.
• Dueling commentaries in the Globe & Mail debate Canadian Foreign Minister’s meeting with Tzipi Livni in her eastern Jerusalem office. Einat Wilf and Noah Slepkov called it brave while Roland Paris called it scandalous.
• Marwan Barghouti, a top figure in the Fatah-affiliated Tanzim militia and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, marked the 11th anniversary of his imprisonment by slamming the PA for not working hard enough to secure his release. He’s serving a life sentence after an Israeli civilian court found him guilty for his connection to three terror attacks that killed five people. Jerusalem Post coverage.
• AFP‘s reporting that the Pentagon wants to invest more money in Iron Dome — it asked Congress for nearly $400 million in extra funds over the next two years. Meanwhile, Foreign Policy asks Why doesn’t Seoul have Iron Dome?
• Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters to Huffington Post: I’m rethinking my views on boycotting Israel.
• The Economist to Fatah on Salam Fayyad’s resignation: Careful what you wish for:
But now that he is bowing out, many Fatah men fear that his achievements will be lost with him.
See also David Makovsky on the Fayyad follies.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• David Pollock worries that Israel will be drawn into the Syrian strife by setting up a proxy army, establishing a buffer, or even directly intervening. In a NY Times op-ed, he urges the US to broker a quid pro quo between Jerusalem and rebel leaders:
Israel should agree to refrain from arming proxies inside Syria to protect its border; and the Syrian opposition should work to keep extremist groups like Hezbollah and Jabhat al-Nusra and other affiliates of Al Qaeda far away from the Israeli frontier. This would demonstrate the Syrian opposition’s bona fides to potential Western supporters and dissuade Israel from intervening or arming allies in Syria.
• Haaretz: While in London for Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, Benjamin Netanyahu will ask David Cameron to “to carefully vet a rebel group’s intentions before supplying it with weapons.” Why the urgency for Bibi’s face time with Cameron and other European leaders?
France and Britain are leading an effort to get the European Union to remove its arms embargo on Syria, which blocks sending military aid to the rebels. The weapons embargo expires at the beginning of next month and the British and French are pressing not to extend it. The British have even threatened to veto an extension, which would scuttle the embargo since extending it requires the approval of all 27 EU member states.
• The Syrian opposition is rewriting history with new textbooks being used in refugee schools. The LA Times notes a number of examples of changes.
The new textbooks are an attempt by those in the uprising against Assad to offer a competing narrative and are the beginning of their efforts to rewrite the nation’s history after what they view as more than 40 years of lies and half-truths . . .
The 1973 war with Israel in which Syria failed to retake the Golan Heights has been changed from the “October Liberation War” to just the “October War.” Syria didn’t liberate anything, pointed out Jihad Khiti, education director of the commission.
• Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon: Israel may have to face Iran threat alone
For more, see Monday’s Israel Daily News Stream.