Israeli-Arab Fugitive to Head Qatari News Station

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Today’s Top Stories

1. Palestinian reconciliation moves continue. Maan News reports that the PA will send 3,000 security personnel to Gaza. Maan also reports that  Hamas will also allow a West Bank-based newspaper, Al Quds, to resume distribution in the Strip after having been banned for seven years. Hamas-affiliated newspapers remain banned in the West Bank.

Lastly, Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Mashaal are to meet in Doha for the first time since signing the reconciliation agreement. AFP coverage.

Azmi Bishara

Azmi Bishara

2. Qatar’s new emir  is launching a new TV station to counter-balance Al-Jazeera — which is also owned by Qatar’s royal family. So what’s the difference between Al-Jazeera and the new station, AlAraby?

The new station will A) be critical of the Muslim Brotherhood, B) mollify Qatar’s strained relations with neighboring Gulf states, and C) allow Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to “put his own stamp” on Qatari media. And get a load of who AlAraby’s director will be. The National explains:

The driving force behind the new station is Azmi Bishara, the Palestinian director of the Doha-based Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies, and a close confidant of the emir.

Mr Bishara is known to be “fairly anti-Brotherhood” and willing to criticise the group publicly, said Michael Stephens, deputy director of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies Qatar . . .

While Qatar would risk losing face and regional influence by closing Al Jazeera, the establishment of the new outlets appears part of a strategy to gain a new audience.

Instead of competing directly with Al Jazeera, the new station would be more likely to compete for viewers with Saudi Arabia’s Al Arabiya television.

Bishara is a fugitive ex-Knesset member who fled Israel in 2007 when police began investigating him for money laundering and passing information to Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War. He then tried to whip up world opinion against Israel and gallingly compared himself to Alfred Dreyfus.

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3. The Jordan Press Association and a Jordanian editor rejected an Israeli protest over an anti-Semitic commentary that quoted from Mein Kampf. Did you really expect a more favorable result?

Blankfeld Award

4. Boston Professor Critiques Israel From His Ivory Tower: While Israel remembers its fallen soldiers, one academic views the Mideast conflict through a purely analytical perspective with no basis in reality.

5. On the eve of Israel’s Independence Day, it’s worth pausing to Recognize Israel’s Accomplishments.

Israel and the Palestinians

The latest comments from Musa Abu Marzook, the number two man in Hamas, don’t sound very moderate, do they?

Hamas will never recognize Israel and will not accept the conditions laid out by the Middle East peacemaking Quartet, according to the Islamist movement’s deputy leader.

• Worth reading: The NY Times takes a frank look at Palestinian diplomatic and legal efforts to paint Israel as an occupier:

But the Palestinian plan is fraught with complexities, not least because it opens the Palestinians themselves up to scrutiny and potential counteractions by Israelis. Experts say a Palestinian state could potentially be held responsible for every rocket fired into Israeli civilian areas by militants in Gaza, which is controlled by the militant group Hamas.

“By joining these treaties they are basically exposing themselves to criticism,” said an Israeli official who was speaking on the condition of anonymity because he said the government had decided not to discuss the issue publicly. “Official rebuke, special reports, fact-finding missions and condemnations — they are not ready for that.”

 I got a smattering of emails from readers who were offended by Mike Luckovich’s recent cartoon in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I think it’s just dumb, but maybe you’ll see it differently.

Mike Luckovich

 For more commentary/analysis, see a Washington Post staff-ed (time for a pragmatic US approach to Mideast peace), Khaled Abu Toameh (don’t believe Abbas, Hamas wants jihad), and Alan Dershowitz (no place for Kerry’s apartheid analogy).

Rest O’ the Roundup

 How did the US State Department become a “cultural partner” of an Abu Dhabi book fair featuring Mein Kampf, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and other anti-Semitic publications? The European Jewish Press reports that the folks at Foggy Bottom aren’t the only people with some ‘splaining to do:

According to the Book Fair’s official website, the US Department of State is among the event’s “cultural partners” along with Ikea, France 24, The National Geographic and the French Embassy.

• Jewish immigration to Israel from Ukraine is up 142 percent from last year. AFP adds that Odessa’s Jewish community is considering evacuating altogether. The Ukrainian aliyah is being underwritten by Christian Zionists, reports the Christian Science Monitor.

Egypt is, without a doubt, the conspiracy theory capital of the world.

 62 killed and some 60,000 forced to flee thanks to infighting between Al-Qaida’s Syrian branch (the Nusra Front) and a splinter group (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).

(Image of Bishara via YouTube/Azmi Bishara)

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

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