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. Ukraine separatists said holding American-Israeli journalist: Simon Ostrovsky, of Vice News, hasn’t been seen since Monday. The “people’s mayor” of Slaviansk insists that Ostrovsky is now helping the separatists, but judging from the reporter’s last tweet from a separatist press conference, that’s a pretty dubious claim. More at The Wire.
2. The Palestinians threatened, then unthreatened to dismantle the Palestinian Authority. Avi Issacharoff and Dan Margalit argued that the chatter simply wasn’t realistic, but then Mahmoud Abbas muddied the waters himself:
“If the negotiations stop, it’s the Israeli government that will bear the responsibility for the economic situation and the paying of the salaries of (Palestinian) employees, workers and farmers, for health and for education just as it did before the establishment of the Authority,” he told the reporters visiting his presidential headquarters in Ramallah.
“Also it will bear responsibility for security, meaning Israel will bear full responsibility … We hope that we won’t come to this period but that we come to solutions,” he said.
3. AFP, Haaretz and Maan News report that Hamas and Fatah reached a power-sharing agreement. A national unity coalition headed by Mahmoud Abbas will be formed within the next five weeks, new elections will be held within six months, and the PLO will be restructured to include Hamas. We’ve seen this dance before:
It is not the first time that a national unity government has been announced by the rival factions, and on several previous occasions attempts to form an administration have collapsed.
And Israel’s reaction? Abbas must choose between Israel and Hamas.
4. National Union of Journalists Rejects Israel Boycott: British journalist union makes the right decision for the wrong reason.
5. Success: The Economist Corrects “Settler-Only” Road Error: HonestReporting gets the correction.
6. Covering the Passover eve murder of Baruch Mizrahi, fact-checking failures abounded. See Passover Terror Passed Over.
7. Is BDS Actually Helping Israel? Eric Alterman draws a distinction between his criticism of Israel and the smears of those who seek Israel’s destruction.
8. HR CEO Joe Hyams Gives Media Clinic at Northeastern U.: Joe and the students thrashed out fighting BDS on campus, media issues, and how they intersect.
Israel and the Palestinians
• A PA spokesman denied (!?) that Mahmoud Abbas condemned the Hebron Passover attack in which Baruch Mizrahi was killed.
The absurdity didn’t stop there. Palestinians are demanding the resignation of a PA cabinet minister whose shallow condemnation was widely covered in the Israeli press as a denunciation of Mizrahi’s murder. Khaled Abu Toameh explains:
The angry reactions show that there are many Palestinians who see no problem with a terrorist attack against a Jewish family on its way to celebrate Passover. They also show that many Palestinians are capable of devoting huge amounts of energy to disgorging their hatred and disdain for anyone who dares to speak out against violence or express regret over the spilling of Jewish blood.
With such sentiments, it is hard to see how U.S. efforts to achieve peace and coexistence could ever bear fruit.
• An Israeli-Arab was arrested for contact with Hezbollah in Lebanon. Turns out the PA provided Majd Kayyal with travel documents. Can they do that? YNet coverage.
• Patrick Seale — his claim to fame was writing what many people consider the authoritative
biography whitewash of Hafez Assad and being an expert on Syria in general — died of cancer. Professor Martin Kramer offers an Israeli take on Seale.
• The US Supreme Court will take another look at the State Department’s refusal to mark “Jerusalem, Israel” in passports for American citizens born there.
• The JTA introduces us to Ghada Zoabi, who launched Bokra, an Israeli-Arab newspaper, that A) isn’t connected to any political party, and B) “challenges Israeli-Arabs to take more responsibility for improving their standing.”
• Mordechai Kedar brilliantly articulates the prevailing Arab mindset towards Israel. Judge for yourself his proposal that Israel dismantle the PA and deal directly with the largest clans in the Palestinian cities.
• For commentary/analysis you might have missed over Passover, see Khaled Abu Toameh (the hypocrisy of Palestinian “Prisoners’ Day”), Ron Prosor (the Mideast war on Christians), Haaretz (Abbas and Hamas need the PA), Robert Fulford (the BDS smokescreen), the Christian Science Monitor (Can Israel’s natural gas reserves pump up regional peace?), and a NY Times staff-ed (US should put Mideast peace on backburner).
- Thailand foils Hezbollah attack on Israelis.
- Why is Israel avoiding taking sides in Russian-Ukrainian tension?
- Bashar Assad schedules presidential elections amid civil war.