Everything you need to know about weekend media coverage of Israel and the Mideast.
A prominent writer revives debunked claims that the IDF shoots Palestinian children. Big Media buzzes about cyberwarfare with Iran. And does a UK document incriminate a Palestinian terror group in the Lockerbie bombing?
Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.
Israel and the Palestinians
• YNet introduces us to Kasim Hafeez, a UK Muslim Zionist currently visiting Israel:
Hafeez said on Sunday that the media in the United Kingdom demonstrates a deep bias against Israel, a phenomenon he says has a hand in turning the public against the Jewish state.
“Israel can do no right in the UK press,” he said. “Israel is always wrong and everything has a very negative slant.
“It has become very black and white, where the Palestinians are right, and Israel is wrong . . . It is helping to poison people towards Israel because they are not being told the truth of the conflict. I think there is a case where if you tell a lie enough times, people accept it as being true.”
• Michael Morpurgo, a prominent British writer, repeats an old claim that he personally witnessed Israeli soldiers killing Palestinian children by the Gaza border fence. The Daily Telegraph (via Richard Millett) picked up on the story. But holes HonestReporting poked in the story last year remain:
“I heard the shots, then the screaming, saw the kids running to help their wounded friends. Now I really was outside the comfort zone of fiction. A doctor from Medecins Sans Frontieres told me that the shots were not fired by snipers from the watchtowers on the wall, as I had supposed, but that these scavengers were routinely targeted, electronically from Tel Aviv, which was over 25 kilometres away – ‘Spot and Strike’, the Israelis call it.
“It was like a video game – a virtual shooting, only it wasn’t . . .”
• Richard Baehr (Israel HaYom) on UNRWA transparency and efforts to determine how many of the original Palestinian refugees are served by the agency:
If this administration and the State Department want to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians, as they always claim they do, then acceding to a grossly fabricated refugee number will not serve that purpose; that only ensures the refugee issue will remain irreconcilable. The UNRWA definition of refugees applied to other refugee populations would lead to absurd numbers: 150 million or more refugees from the India-Pakistan war of the late 1940s, perhaps 10 times the number of original refugees, most of whom are of course no longer alive.
• Demanding an inuiry, the Herald Scotland exposes a classified document incriminating the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command in the Lockerbie bombing. But UK officials insist the document was just conjecture:
A source said: “The document itself is historical and regimes have changed so it is hard to believe it presents any risk at all to national security. It originates from Jordan and incriminates the Palestinian terror group the PFLP-GC. The contents are very important but what makes them so much more significant is the lengths the UK Government and others have gone to in order to prevent anyone from seeing the document.
“This is the most remarkable piece of evidence. It does not rule out the Libyans but it does indicate that others were involved . . .
It is thought the document could fatally undermine the case against Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi. He died of cancer last month without knowing the contents of this report.
Israel will stop all settlement building in the West Bank as soon as the Palestinian Authority sits down at the bargaining table, and the freeze will continue as long as the talks continue in good faith . . .
• The Independent‘s Jonathan Owen doesn’t overtly criticize Madonna for performing in Israel, but the headline makes clear where his or the editors’ sympathies lie:
• So 30 million liters of fuel meant for Gaza are sitting in Gaza while the Palestinians dicker over how to deliver it. Israel has offered to transfer it from the Kerem Shalom crossing, but according to AFP, Hamas blames Egypt for technical problems. Meanwhile, Gaza continues to suffer electrical shortages.
• In a Sydney Morning Herald op-ed, Robert Newton revisits Barack Obama’s Cairo speech, concluding with this call to action for Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr:
Australia should be pushing the Obama administration to take some muscular action, post-November 6, to bring about a resumption of negotiations leading rapidly to a just and lasting settlement.