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Today’s Top Stories
1. Despite some last-minute dickering, Mahmoud Abbas swore in a new Palestinian national unity government with the full approval of Hamas. Times of Israel coverage suffices:
Abbas has already pledged that the new administration will abide by the principles laid down by the Middle East peace Quartet that call for recognizing Israel, rejecting violence and abiding by all existing agreements. However, Hamas has yet to ratify those conditions.
2. Turks defy tourism taboo on visiting Jerusalem in rising numbers. Maan News highlights the Arab conundrum of rejection vs. relevance:
Despite the fatwa and the fact that Turks, like other residents of predominantly Arab or Muslim countries that maintain relations with Israel, have not historically visited in large numbers, the number of Turkish citizens arriving every year has increased in recent years.
Hijazi explained that the numbers of Turks visiting Al-Aqsa increased after imams inside and outside of Jerusalem encouraged them to visit in order to counteract attempts at “Judaizing” the compound and the Old City more broadly . . .
3. According to Lebanese media reports, Hamas and Hezbollah are making nice after falling out over Syria.
4. Financial Times Whitewashes Brussels Anti-Semitism: Anti-Semitism was clearly a prime motivator for Mehdi Nemmouche, yet the Financial Times erased this from the story.
5. BDS and the Myth of Economic Pressure: Despite a string of failures, the only real effect of BDS is in the area of public relations. Here’s why.
Israel and the Palestinians
• The Shin Bet has thwarted 11 kidnapping plots targeting Israeli soldiers and citizens. All were masterminded by Palestinian terrorists already behind bars.
The prisoners, from Fatah, Hamas and other Islamic organizations, instructed other terrorists to try to kidnap Israeli soldiers and citizens to secure their own release in a prisoner exchange deal.
• Haaretz: Israel fired into Syria and launched an air strike on Gaza after being fired upon.
• Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal invited to visit Russia in July.
• For more commentary/analysis, see CBS News’ Bob Schieffer (the hardest Mideast questions), Zvi Barel (for Hamas, it’s unity for the sake of survival), Jodi Rudoren (with new Palestinian government come many questions), Dan Margalit (condemn Abbas, and wait), and Ali Jarbawi (Sisi and the Palestinians).
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Egypt’s putting further pressure on Hamas with legislation banning Gaza tunnel digging. You’d think something like that would be illegal anyway. Chalk it up as another example of Calvinball in Cairo, I guess.
• Haaretz: Mehdi Nemmouche’s background confirms West’s worst fears:
Terrorism investigators in the West say that Western Muslims who join jihadi terror groups generally go through four stages: Growing religiosity; a personal or economic crisis that the young man attributes to discrimination against Muslims; ideological radicalization under the influence of a local preacher; and, finally, enlistment in a terror organization in either central Asia or the Middle East. That’s what happened in the past in Afghanistan and Iraq, and that’s what is happening now in Syria, the current principal theater of jihadi operations.
This process runs like a scarlet threat among the terrorists who perpetrated huge attacks in Madrid and London during the previous decade. When these young men return to the West, they seek out new targets to attack: Crowded public places, sites affiliated with the United States and Israel, or Jewish centers. For them, solidarity with the Palestinian struggle is integrated into the larger war against the West.
See also Boaz Bismuth‘s take.
• Members of the Syrian opposition told the Times of Israel that Bashar Assad’s hiding chemical weapons in remote, mountainous areas of Syria’s Alawite region. Sleep better . . .
• A literal twist on Lebanon’s power vacuum. Hezbollah probably has its own independent electrical grid too.
(Image of Dome of the Rock via Flickr/Stefano Mazzone)
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.