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Today’s Top Stories
1. At odds with Israel, the US doesn’t accept that Mahmoud Abbas should be held responsible for yesterday’s rocket fire from Gaza. Isn’t this the same logic that empowers Hezbollah? The Jerusalem Post writes:
“We feel President Abbas needs to do everything possible to prevent them, we understand that his ability to do that is severely limited at this point in time,” Psaki said.
An Israeli retaliatory airstrike killed Mahmed Awwar, a Salafist member of the Hamas security forces involved in a number of rocket attacks.
2. Australian Ambassador Dave Sharma to Tablet: We don’t really consider the West Bank “occupied” either:
In other words, Australia’s policy is not intended to endorse one side over the other, but rather to maintain neutrality and avoid prejudging the outcome of negotiations. As Israel considers Jerusalem to be sovereign Israeli territory annexed in 1967, while the Palestinians consider East Jerusalem to be occupied Palestinian territory, Australia is opting to employ language that endorses neither party’s claim. Similarly, by avoiding adjectives when it comes to the West Bank, Australia sidesteps the question of whether the area is “disputed” or “occupied” territory. In fact, the country maintains a similar policy in other territorial conflicts like those over Western Sahara and East Timor.
3. Iraq collapsing as Islamist insurgents moving towards Baghdad face little resistance. According to the Washington Post:
The stunning speed with which the rout has unfolded in northern Iraq has raised deep doubts about the capacity of U.S. -trained Iraqi security forces, and it has also kindled fears about the government’s grip on the capital itself.
Could trouble from ISIS be getting closer to Israel? Khaled Abu Toameh reports on an ISIS threat to invade Jordan and “slaughter” King Abdullah.
If you’re not familiar with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), or its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, see the Sydney Morning Herald‘s backgrounder.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Israel’s bowing to European pressure and quietly freezing previously announced settlement expansion plans. Details at Haaretz.
• Maan News: A joint Israeli-Palestinian autopsy concludes that Nadim Nurawa was killed by a live bullet during a Nakba Day clash in Beitunia.
• Forget the World Cup kicking off in Brazil today. Soccer’s a political football:
- FIFA calls on Israel to ease travel restrictions for Palestinian soccer players
- Arrested Palestinian player was Hamas courier
• Saeb Erekat says leaked tapes of him criticizing Mahmoud Abbas were taken out of context. What context would put the Palestinian negotiator in a better light vis a vis his boss?
In the tapes, Erekat allegedly accuses Abbas of having “soft” policies and blames him for not standing up for Palestinians against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
He also said that Abbas is weak for not further pursuing the joining of more UN organizations. He claims that if Abbas were to pursue the action, Netanyahu would be recognized in court as a “war criminal.”
• See Dry Bones‘ cute take on media coverage of Ruby Rivlin, who was elected to succeed Shimon Peres as Israel’s president.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• For years, Big Media’s been morally ambiguous about describing terror as terror. For years, Palestinian suicide attacks, shootings, car bombs etc., have been carried out by people the press describes as militants, extremists, and activists. The Washington Post notes that the news industry’s not referring to Sunday’s Las Vegas rampage as terror, though it seems to fit the bill. American Islamic organizations are — perhaps justifiably — upset.
“There’s absolutely a double standard, and it needs to be called out,” said Arsalan Iftikhar, a senior editor of the Islamic Monthly. “Whenever a white person engages in violence they’re considered crazy lunatics, but when a brown Muslim does it, it’s an act of terrorism. Since 9/11, the media is quick to jump on anything an Arab or Muslim does, but it takes a much more deliberative approach when it’s a white person.”
News organizations, including The Post, say they are reluctant to call anyone a terrorist unless officials do so first.
Hmmmm. Israeli officials have been using the T-word for years, but I can’t say the Post has consistently used it.
• Israeli drone helps Brazil catch fugitive drug lord
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.