Bibi Orders Settlement Freeze

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Today’s Top Stories

1. Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a freeze of settlement tenders, according to Israeli media reports. Developing . . .

2. The Netanyahu/Abbas China road trip 2013 continues. The Jerusalem Post details Beijing’s four point peace proposal, while CNN took a more general look at the separate visits. More importantly, though, Haaretz reports that Israel’s chief of military intelligence secretly visited Beijing to discuss Syrian and Iranian issues with his Chinese counterpart.

3. Lots of commentary about Israel’s airstrike on Syria. See below.

Israel and the Palestinians

Leon Klinghoffer

Leon Klinghoffer

New info surfaces on the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro and the death of Leon Klinghoffer. The widow of one of the terrorists shares what she knows with Robert Fisk.

Al-Achkar was only 17 years-old at the time and it was Abu al-Abass who first dreamed up the hijacking while looking out over Algiers port. He was struck by the ease with which Israel might be attacked from the sea – rather than from Lebanon, Syria or Jordan – and sent the four Palestinians on two ‘dummy’ training runs on the Achille Lauro over the course of 11 months. So much for the ‘ revenge’ raid one week after the Israeli attack on Tunis.

Worth reading: Aryella Moreh, a Jewish student of Iranian descent comments on the BDS movement’s prejudices at U. California-Berkeley. Moreh’s family background makes her uniquely qualified to make this point in the Daily Californian (via Point of No Return):

The pro-divestment movement wants you to believe that its cause is a struggle between the ethnic minority Palestinians and the “white” and “privileged” Jews and Israelis. By pretending that Jews are white Europeans, they argue that Israelis are foreign occupiers. But Jews are not a homogenous group of white people; we are an ethnically Middle Eastern people, comprising many unique communities from across the globe. After centuries of persecution, we have found security in this country and in our nation’s first home, Israel. And although we have achieved the privilege of statehood, our personal histories are defined by our recent struggles.

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Ahead of tomorrow’s Jerusalem Day celebrations, Mayor Nir Barkat discussed the city’s status in peace talks and other issues with the Times of Israel.

Eoghan Harris of the Irish Independent clearly doesn’t like the Teacher’s Union of Ireland for a lot of reasons. Its call for an academic boycott Israel is one of the reasons. See also Tim Harcourt, who argues against boycotting Israel in The Australian.

Arab Spring Winter

The White House denies it, but the NY Times says President Obama’s use of the word “red line” as warning against chemical weapons was a gaffe.

Iran Recruiting Volunteer Troops for Syria

For commentary/analysis of the Israeli airstrike see Benny Avni, Bret Stephens (video), the Financial Times (via Google News) Al Arabiya (yes) Daily Telegraph, The Atlantic Wire, and National Post, plus staff-eds in the Times of London, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, and Christian Science Monitor. Last but not least is The Guardian‘s cartoonist, Steve Bell.

The pro-Assad Syrian Electronic Army hacked The Onion’s Twitter feed. Tech Crunch screengrabbed the false tweets — several of which made some shrill comments about Israel. Not to be outdone, the The Onion fired back with a few tweets and articles, including this zinger:

The Onion

Iranian Atomic Urgency

Headline of the Day, courtesy the Times of London:

Times of London

Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, his right-hand man and preferred choice, has been campaigning for weeks but has still not officially declared that he will stand. Mr Mashaei is despised by the Supreme Leader’s faction and is certain to be struck off the ballot by Iran’s Guardian Council, the body of clerics and jurors controlled by Mr Khamenei that selects the shortlist of candidates. In an effort to force his friend on to the ballot, Mr Ahmadinejad has threatened to expose corruption at the highest levels of the regime and warned that he could declare the election void if Mr Mashaei were not permitted to stand.

The President has less than a week to decide whether to make good on that ultimatum, but sources close to his camp say that he is seeking a compromise candidate.

Rest O’ the Roundup

The Times of Israel talked to Martin Himel, whose investigative video, “Jew Bashing: The New Anti-Semitism,” debuted in Canada.

Himel, often undercover, interviews a wide range of scholars, politicians, thinkers, activists, hatemongers and diverse religious leaders. He touches upon every aspect of this alarming revival of the world’s oldest hatred, albeit largely in the guise of anti-Zionism.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades had a bubbly assessment of his just-completed visit to Israel. According to the Cyprus Mail, Anastasiades called the visit the “start of a new era in bilateral relations.”

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

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