• Islamic Jihad’s star is ascending in Gaza, reports the NY Times:
Now, analysts say that because it is backed by Iranian funds and free of any burden of governing, Islamic Jihad has been able to assert itself as the main military expression of Palestinian nationalism, while Hamas is partly blamed by a restive population for rampant unemployment and daily shortfalls of fuel, electricity and water.
• Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch, Beshara Rai, is making waves by planning to visit Israel to greet Pope Frances later this month. Everybody picked up on AFP:
Maronite clergy are able to travel to the Holy Land to minister to the faithful there, but all other Lebanese are banned.
Rai insisted that the trip will be strictly religious and has no political significance.
The Daily Star expanded on the story.
• Responding to critics, Daily Beast reporter Josh Rogin explains how he got the story on John Kerry’s apartheid comments, and has no regrets.
• For more commentary/analysis, see Jonathan Tobin (searching for a plan B for peace), Einat Wilf (note to US: Israelis and Palestinians are not children), Israeli diplomat Yaron Sideman (the Hamas deal poisons peace), Melanie Phillips (Abbas learns from Iran’s playbook), Yoram Ettinger (who are you, Mahmoud Abbas?), Ali Jarbawi (why Abbas reconciled with Hamas), Jeffrey Goldberg (Israelis pursued a two-state solution before there was an Israel), Mordechai Kedar (how is Israel’s separation fence different from all the others?), Joan Vennochi (Kerry’s apartheid comment didn’t help peace), and a Boston Globe staff-ed.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Iran’s going all-out to drive a wedge between the US and Europe.
• US National Security adviser Susan Rice will visit Israel to coordinate positions on the next round of Iranian nuclear talks. More on the story at Haaretz.
• America’s lack of determination Syria’s chlorine attack damages its credibility to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran. Elliott Abrams explains why Israel’s nervous.
• Good grief:
(Image of Waters: CC BY-NC flickr/Brennan Schnell, Rai via YouTube/maronites)
For more, see Thursday’s Israel Daily News Stream.