Everything you need to know about today’s media coverage of Israel and the Mideast.
WikiLeaks may be responsible for yesterday’s hanging of a “Mossad agent” in Iran. Big court judgment for American victims of Palestinian terror. And did Iran’s foreign minister act as a front for illicit nuclear procurement activity?
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Israel and the Palestinians
• The family of Daniel Wultz won a $323 million judgment against Iran and Syria for their roles in a 2006 terror attack. The 16-year-old Jewish American resident was among 11 people killed in a Tel Aviv restaurant by an Islamic Jihad suicide bomber. I’m very pleased with this AP headline for two reasons.
- The judgement won’t bring back Daniel Wultz, but I’m relieved to see justice done. Even as doctors fought for the comatose teen’s life, Islamic Jihad brazenly called Wultz “the ideal target.”
- An AP headline uses the word terror as its own word.
• Naqba Day came and went with relatively few clashes. A Times of Israel analysis attributes this to IDF readiness, a “weary and fractured Palestinian public.” The end of the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike also helped as “the minor victory given to the Palestinians on the eve of Nakba day robbed many of the will to protest.”
• Over at the Times of London (paywall), Amir Taheri suggests Israel’s new coalition drop peace talks with the Palestinians and rebuild itself.
I suggested that the two-state formula had started as an empty slogan and was now a soiled cliché. There was no evidence that the Palestinian elite valued the creation of a state more than the “cause” of destroying Israel — and experience shows that every “peace initiative” has hardened positions on both sides, making an accord that much more elusive. Paradoxically, there may be a stronger chance of a lasting settlement if the coalition eschews wasting time and political capital on talks. Instead it should concentrate on rebuilding Israel and rethinking its links with the rest of the region . . .
The image of Israel as weak encourages those who favour revenge over coexistence, making the conversion of the Palestinian elite to a peace strategy more problematic. Israel also has to work out where it fits into the geopolitical landscape of a Middle East being reshaped by the Arab Spring.
• Two months after HonestReporting exposed the UN connection to Khulood Badawi’s false photo tweet, the UN’s investigation grinds on. The Jerusalem Post reports that the UN’s Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Catherine Bragg, arrived in Jerusalem “to examine both OCHA’s work here and the fallout from the tweeting incident.”
Badawi was suspended from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in response to the Israeli backlash. Last month, HonestReporting CEO Joe Hyams delivered a petition to OCHA signed by 15,000 people demanding her dismissal.
• Irish novelist Gerard Donovan skewers the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which tried to bully him into cancelling an appearance at the International Writers Festival in Jerusalem. The Irish Times picks up on Donovan’s blistering open letter to the IPSC:
Mr Donovan described the campaign group as “idiots” as he had cancelled his planned visit to Jerusalem two months ago, but solely on health grounds . . .
He added: “If I had been well, I would have gone to Jerusalem. It is the job of the novelist to write things people don’t want to read and to go places where other people don’t want to go.
“Nobody tells me where I can or cannot read my work.”