Israel Daily News Stream 05/23/2012

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

Catherine Ashton says Palestinian stone-throwing is legitimate non-violent protest. Israeli watches warily as Iranian nuclear talks begin. Bloggers expose forged Israeli passport used by Iran to execute a “Mossad agent.”

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• The JTA picked up on the UK Press Complaints Commission outlandish ruling that Tel Aviv can be called Israel’s capital following HonestReporting’s formal complaint.

Israel and the Palestinians

Via Aaron Lerner, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says (pdf) that stone-throwing is legitimate non-violent protest.

“The High Representative is very concerned by the conviction of Bassem Tamimi in an Israeli military court on 20 May 2012 on charges of taking part in illegal demonstrations and of soliciting protesters to throw stones.

The EU considers Bassem Tamimi to be a ‘human rights defender’ committed to non-violent protest against the expansion of an Israeli settlement on lands belonging to his West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. The EU attended all court hearings in his case and is concerned at the use of evidence based on the testimony of a minor who was interrogated in violation of his rights.

The EU believes that everyone should be able to exercise their legitimate right to protest in a non-violent manner.”

Of course, stone-throwing in London is a different story . . .

Elliott Abrams: Palestinian unity talks are a sham designed to give Fatah and Hamas enough breathing space to continue pressing their real goal: ousting Salam Fayyad:

The goal of this new effort is supposedly elections, which are long overdue. But neither Fatah nor Hamas wants elections any more than they want real national unity; they just want to appear to support that goal, which is popular among Palestinians, and they want Fayyad out. Logically, then, they may announce an agreement, though it will be a very costly one: many donors, Western and Arab, will hold back on delivering funds once Fayyad is gone. But what they will not do is hold parliamentary or presidential elections, which neither Hamas nor Fatah leaders think are in their interest right now.

NY Times bureau chief Jodi Rudoren spent yesterday tweeting her helicopter ride around the country with The Israel Project. Nice tweets too:

Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby (paywall) weighs in on Israel’s image problems. Responding to Ambassador Michael Oren’s recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, Jacoby writes:

Israel has gone on making concession after concession to those who seek its destruction,clinging against all logic to the fantasy of a “two-state solution.” Once, it was agreed byIsraeli governments left and right that a Palestinian state would be intolerable; thatthere could be no negotiating with the PLO; that diluting Jewish sovereignty overJerusalem was heresy.

Yet in its desperate quest for peace, Israel has backed away from each of those red lines. With each retreat, it lost respect. All the while it reinforced a false and terrible message: Peace would be possible if only Israel were willing to give up more. The absence of peace, therefore, must be Israel’s fault. The 19-year disaster of the peace process —that is what happened to Israel’s reputation. How can the Jewish state get its goodname back? Step one is to jettison the policy that caused it such harm.

 AP‘s Mohammed Daraghmeh reports that pro-Hamas students are holed up in Bir Zeit University, afraid they’ll be arrested if they leave the campus.

In a Gaza dispatch, NY Times bureau chief Jodi Rudoren finds Hamas teaching Hebrew in a new curriculum called “Know Your Enemy.” The story sparked an amusing Twitter exchange between Rudoren and blogger Richard Silverstein (via IsraellyCool).

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