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Today’s Top Stories
1. As if Hezbollah doesn’t have enough headaches. The US Treasury Dept. designated two Lebanese exchange houses as institutions of “primary money laundering concern.” According to the Jerusalem Post, it’s also a signal to Europe:
The move – which marks the first time Treasury has enacted Section 311 against a non-bank financial institution – may also be a direct and intentional message to the European Union, as the US government continues its efforts to persuade European officials to list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
More details on the Halawi Exchange Co. and Kassem Rmeiti & Co. For Exchange at the Treasury Dept. The feds also released a flow chart detailing how Hezbollah used those exchange houses to co-mingle cash from used-car dealerships in the US with South American drug money.
2. Is it any wonder why Israelis view UNESCO with contempt? The Palestinians agreed to postpone five anti-Israel resolutions from UNESCO’s agenda. In exchange, Israel will allow a UNESCO delegation to inspect renovation projects in and around Jerusalem. The NY Times writes:
For Israel, the deal represents a concession to the Palestinians because it runs the risk that Unesco experts will criticize Israel’s custodianship over the Old City and its holy sites, which most countries regard as occupied territory. The Old City and its walls will continue to be listed by Unesco as “endangered” World Heritage sites, but Israel will have a right of approval over the experts Unesco assigns to the city.
For their part, the Palestinians are conceding a six-month pause in their regular condemnation of Israel in resolutions over issues like Gaza, the West Bank and education.
3. Pro-Assad hackers claimed responsibility for taking over AP’s twitter feed. The feed was suspended after the hacking was discovered. The Wall St. Journal notes that the Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly plummeted. The FBI’s investigating.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Bad news for the BDS: Chinese star Zhang Jingchu is shooting a romantic comedy in Israel, and loving it. So are Israeli tourism officials. Bloomberg News writes:
So impressed was she and the production company by the musicians and artists they met on the street, that they plan to incorporate the encounters into the movie, she says.
Tourism from China to Israel jumped 49 percent to nearly 20,000 visitor arrivals in the past two years, growing nearly twice as fast as the almost 20 percent growth for all of Asia, according to Tourism Ministry figures.
• NY Times columnist Tom Friedman to Salam Fayyad: Say it ain’t so.
- US ambassador demands Richard Falk’s resignation.
- Israeli prisoner in Egypt goes on hunger strike.
- Why you should be concerned about hundreds of Europeans fighting in Syria.