What’s Going On at Syrian Posts Along Israel Border?

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Today’s Top Stories

1. An annual State Dept. report on terrorism paints a grim picture of Hamas activity in 2013. If you look at the full report (pdf format), skip down to page 147), otherwise Jerusalem Post coverage suffices:

. . . Hamas’s tactics remained consistent with years past: terrorist incidents against Israeli citizens or soldiers, and a lowgrade, consistent barrage of rocket fire into southern Israel; efforts to marginalize political foes and to finance their own work through criminal enterprises; and a “significant quantitative and qualitative” military buildup since Israel’s operation in Gaza five years ago.

(For what the report had to say about Iran, see page 227, or a separate Jerusalem Post summary.)

2. What exactly is happening to Syrian posts along the Israeli border and how concerned should we be? Yossi Melman describes some “game-changer” weapons jihadis captured, how Iranian intelligence manned other positions to electronically eavesdrop on Israel, and how Israel wields its influence in southern Syria.

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3. MEMRI rounded up a collection of articles from the Arab media praising Israel — from its technological superiority, value on education, morals, and public transparency. Is there something behind the new-found common sense and even admiration?

4. More Stealth and Surprise Tactics From the BDS: BDS tries to pull a fast one at Cornell.

Blankfeld Award

Israel and the Palestinians

More fallout from the collapsed peace process: Buzzfeed picked up on unconfirmed-but-not-denied reports saying Martin Indyk is resigning as US envoy.

Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal: We remain committed to jihad against Israel. ‘Nuff said.

Western Wall and Dome of the Rock Bill Clinton revealed that Israel and the Palestinians were closer to an agreement on sharing Jerusalem than previously believed. Here’s the Times of Israel on what Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat nearly pulled off at Camp David in 2000.

Israel, he said, agreed to hand the Palestinians control of the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism and the compound where al-Aqsa Mosque is situated, on the condition that the area around the Western Wall remain under Israel’s control.

Arafat agreed to leave Israel with control over the Western Wall, as well as over the Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, but insisted on keeping 16 meters, or 50 feet, of land leading up to an entrance to the Western Wall tunnels under Palestinian control.

Israel refused, on the grounds that the tunnel granted access to remains of the Jewish temples. In retrospect, Clinton said, Israel was probably justified in its refusal, as “if you got in, you could do mayhem to the ruins of the temples.”

A Toronto Sun staff-ed supports Canadian government moves against IRFAN-Canada, the Muslim charity group that funneled money to Hamas. This week, Ottawa designated it as a terror organization and police raided its offices.

For commentary/analysis, see Col. Richard Kemp (slamming Western response to Hamas-Fatah unity), Efraim Halevy (Israel has opportunity to destroy Hamas), and Amir Taheri (moving beyond the peace process).

 Weighing in on John Kerry’s ill-advised apartheid comments were Aaron David MillerEmmanuel NavonJohn Podhoretz, Trudy RubinDror Eydar, and Jeremy Ben-Ami. See also staff-eds in the Chicago Sun-TimesNY Daily News, Providence Journal, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Charleston Post & Courier, and Wheeling News-Register.

Rest O’ the Roundup

Freedom House ranked press freedom around the world. With choices between free, partly free, and not free, Israel was rated free, while the West Bank and Gaza were rated not free — coming just behind Russia, but edging ahead of Somalia.

Freedom House map

 Israel, the US and Canada will hold a joint aerial drill to improve coordination against terror attacks on civilian aircraft. More at Haaretz.

The Christian Science Monitor visits West Bank Samaritans, where the men of the shrinking sect have resorted to marrying foreign women, mostly Ukrainian.

 Israeli firm to protect World Cup stadium in Brazil.

 Intel to invest a whopping $6 billion to upgrade it’s Kiryat Gat facility, potentially creating thousands of jobs. Everybody’s picking up on Globes‘ scoop.

(Image of Western Wall via Flickr/askii)

For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.

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