Hezbollah Uses Israel As Excuse to Bully Critical Journalist

Hanin Ghaddar thumb

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Today’s Top Stories

1. The EU’s now banning the import Israeli poultry and eggs from Israeli settlements. According to Israeli media reports, it no longer recognizes the government’s health supervision beyond the Green Line.

An EU official in Tel Aviv confirmed the report and said the ruling was issued “in the spirit” of guidelines which came into force in January prohibiting dealings with settlement-based firms and bodies.

Hanin Ghaddar

Hanin Ghaddar

2. Hezbollah’s using Israel as an excuse to wage a vicious media campaign against a Lebanese journalist critical of the group’s fighting in Lebanon. But Hanin Ghaddar is fighting back and refuses to be silenced, and NOW Lebanon has launched a campaign on her behalf. Smadar Perry lays out the backstory and Hisham Melhem penned an absolutely withering response:

Like the hyenas on the Serengeti Plain in Africa which hunt in packs by circling their victim from different directions then attack relentlessly, the Hezbollah media mouthpieces, who were on the prowl for Ghaddar for some time, launched their attack before her return to Beirut hoping to score a quick kill.

3. An encouraging University of Haifa study found Israeli Arab attitudes towards Israel softening, reports the Jerusalem Post:

While over the past 10 years, Israeli Arabs have become more extreme in their views toward the state and its Jewish majority, the results of the study in 2013 show a change in trend. For example, 53 percent of Israeli Arabs recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, compared to 47 percent in 2012.

Sixty-four percent in 2013 think that Israel is a good place to live, compared to 59 percent a year ago.

A major shift was found this year in the number of Arabs – 43 percent – who favor their Israeli-Arab identity over a Palestinian one. This compared to 33 percent in last year’s study.

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4. AFP and Israel’s Cross to Bear: Are Israeli efforts to reach out to its Christian community really part of an “apparent strategy of divide and rule?”

5. Video: The Monster in the Middle East: Why does the media portray Israel as the monster of the Mideast?

Israel and the Palestinians

 Police arrested a Palestinian affiliated with Islamic Jihad seeking to kidnap an Israeli. Murad al-Hassin sought the release of other Palestinian prisoners. He entered a home in the lower Galilee town of Avtalion, but was chased away by residents. Jerusalem Post coverage.

The Palestinians aren’t cooperating with the IDF’s investigation of the Betunia shooting, an army officer told the Times of Israel:

The senior defense official said Thursday that the Border Police involved in the incident submitted that they had used riot-dispersal measures alone and not, as Palestinian officials have claimed, live fire. “We said, give us the bodies and the bullets in order to conclude the investigation,” he said, “but they did not pass either on.”

This unidentified senior officer also questioned the video’s veracity, saying “the chances of fabrication are high.” Meanwhile, the Palestinian shopkeeper whose security cameras caught the action told Haaretz the IDF hasn’t contacted him about the raw footage.

• Must read: MK Nachman Shai weighs in on the Beitunia video and the media battle:

The public diplomacy arena has become complex and complicated. Non-government organizations have taken the place of countries or international organizations. They can leverage events without any diplomatic restrictions on the Internet and beyond it, embarrassing Israel. Recently, such groups have recommended that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas take Israel to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Ever since the first Durban Conference in 2001, such groups have proved their power and their prejudice against Israel in a number of tests. However, they must in no way be dismissed or ignored.

The current incident must be investigated with urgency; the information is available, witnesses are willing to speak and the matter is in the headlines. Yes, right now. It would be a delusion to think that if we don’t face it, it will blow away. Events collect and are perpetuated in databases and information channels and can reappear at any time. It is best to reach the truth now and handle the story while it’s fresh.

Mahmoud Abbas told the Times of Israel the Palestinian leadership isn’t planning to unilaterally join any international organizations in the near future.

Abbas said the Palestinians are instead currently waiting to see what diplomatic developments will ensue in the aftermath of last month’s collapse of peace negotiations.

Ros Sloboda

Ros Sloboda

• This is unexpected: In a very moving BBC interview, Ros Sloboda described surviving the 1972 Lod Airport massacre. The attack’s anniversary is on May 29. Three members of the Japanese Red Army opened fire inside the airport, killing 26 people.

I was just waiting for the next bullet to hit me because I was convinced that would kill me — and then it stopped. There was this eerie quiet, and I stood up to see this stuff of nightmares . . .

 For more commentary/analysis, see Alan Johnson (7 thoughts on the peace process), Dennis Ross (how the US can get Israelis and Palestinians back to peace talks), and Reuven Berko (Al-Sisi offers Hamas a way out).

Rest O’ the Roundup

There goes the neighborhood: Syrian al Qaeda reach foothills of Israeli-held Golan

Over at the National Interest, Avner Golov and Uri Sadot lay out Israel’s concerns that the US will opt to contain a nuclear Iran:

The risk that the positive American experience with containment will not repeat itself in the Middle East is great. Ironically, by opting for containment, America may increase the incentives for both Israel and Iran to take greater risks. For Americans who believe their national interest is better served by containment of a nuclear Iran than by its preemption, it would be prudent to adapt their strategy to the context of the Middle Eastern.

These are the guys with veto power in the UN Security Council? Splendid:

Russia plans to build up to eight new nuclear reactors in Iran

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

(Image of Ghaddar via YouTube/WoodrowWilsonCenter)


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