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Today’s Top Stories
Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party, took responsibility for the attack, calling it revenge for Israel’s treatment of Palestinian prisoners, including two who recently died while in custody.
The group called the killing a “gift” to Palestinian prisoners and promised more operations in the future.
Abbas, who has repeatedly condemned the use of violence and vowed to prevent another uprising as long as he is in power, did not immediately comment on the attack.
Thumbs up to the LA Times for noting this. During the previous intifada, Big Media downplayed the significance of the Brigades-Fatah-Arafat relationship, a triangle which the PA eventually acknowledged.
2. The Washington Post updates the latest on the White House response to Syrian chemical weapons. President Obama’s final decision on arming Syrian rebels will be made “within weeks.”
The officials said they are moving toward the shipment of arms but emphasized that they are still pursuing political negotiation. To that end, the administration has launched an effort to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin that the probable use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government — and the more direct outside intervention that could provoke — should lead him to reconsider his support of Assad.
3. Egypt’s former interior minister says Hamas and Hezbollah members killed Egyptian protesters in Tahrir Square and raided jails to free Islamist prisoners during the chaos of the revolution. Judging from the Times of of Israel, we’re seeing Hamas dragged down with the Muslim Brotherhood. Tsk.
Essawy’s statements were the latest in a series of anti-Hamas publications in Egypt’s independent media in recent weeks, as part of a campaign that seems aimed at knocking the Muslim Brotherhood down a peg. On Friday, al-Masry al-Youm reported that Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood maintained telephone communication during the first days of the popular uprising.
Former Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman had testified in court that Hamas operatives were indeed spotted in Cairo’s Tahrir Square during the early days of the revolution and their telephone conversations were tracked, Essawy told the daily, adding that Egyptian security vehicles were smuggled out of Egypt and into the Gaza Strip.
Israel and the Palestinians
• There’s no relationship between the murder of Evyatar Borovsky at the Tapuah Junction, and the targeted killing of Palestinian rocket maker Hithem Ziad Ibrahim Masshal. But this NY Times headline erroneously implies a very ugly cause-and-effect relationship between the two.
• The Jerusalem Post updates the latest on the disarray at Israel’s foreign ministry. The cumulative effect of politics, budget cuts, and an ongoing labor dispute is hampering public diplomacy.
- Jordanian notables against their country as platform for Western intervention in Syria.
- Hezbollah humiliates UNIFIL as Lebanese army draws back from Southern Lebanon.
- Why does history validate an Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iran?