Israel Daily News Stream 05/21/2012

Everything you need to know about today’s media coverage of Israel and the Mideast.

60 Minutes returns to Israel. PA press freedom takes a strange turn. Any truth to rumors of an Israeli military presence in Cyprus?

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Israel and the Palestinians

Bob Simon of 60 Minutes returns to Israel to profile Tel Aviv (video or transcript). Is this an attempt to atone Simon’s recent Unholy Attack On Israel? This time around, Simon touches on the city’s cosmopolitan reputation, party scene, gay tolerance, high-tech start-ups, and, of course, “the Tel Aviv bubble.”

Now that products from the West Bank face a South African labeling law and a similar initiative is gaining traction in Denmark, Palestinians are testing the waters for a similar effort in Canada. The Co-op, one of Britain’s largest food chains, announced its own boycott of settlement products.

Avi Boaz

The Irish Times catches up with Jihad Jaara, a fugitive from the Church of the Nativity siege. Jaara arrived in Ireland ten years ago this week as part of the internationally brokered exile which ended the standoff. I’m glad to see the Times didn’t overlook this big skeleton in Jaara’s closet:

Jaara’s case is further complicated by the fact US investigators allege he is implicated in the murder of Avi Boaz, a septuagenarian US-born émigré to Israel who was killed near Bethlehem in January 2002. A former Newsweek journalist who wrote a book about the Church of the Nativity siege alleges Jaara told him in an interview that he had been involved. Jaara has since denied this.

The former Newsweek journalist is Josh Hammer, who elaborated on the Jaara file in the NY Times Magazine a few years ago. 

To strengthen Palestinian press freedom, “special judges” will be appointed in cases dealing with journalists. I have a better idea for strengthening press freedom in the PA. Stop arresting journalists, bloggers and Facebook activists. More on this at Maan News. Meanwhile, the PA released blogger Jamal Abu Rihan after 36 days. According to the Jerusalem Post:

He was detained on instructions from the PA attorney-general, Ahmed al-Mughni, after creating a Facebook group called “The people want to end corruption.” . . .

Most of the questions centered around my activity with the Facebook group,” Abu Rihan told the London-based  Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper.

“This confirms that I was arrested only because of my being a blogger.”

Hamas’s conundrum: How do you block an Israeli-made film about the assassination of Mahmoud Mabhouh without going through the Israeli justice system you don’t recognize? This from AP:

The movie, which features Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli as a temptress working for the hit team, is a “Zionist conspiracy” to defame al-Mabhouh, said a cousin, Ahmed, who lives in Gaza. Details of the suit, including where to file it, are still being worked out, he said.

AP: “Palestinian rivals set timetable for unity deal.” Yogi Berra: “It’s like deja-vu, all over again.” ‘Nuff said.

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