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Today’s Top Stories
1. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is negotiating with Sweden to revamp the UN’s peacekeeping forces in the Golan. According to Haaretz, the Swedes would head up a Scandinavian contingent with a clearer mandate, better equipment, and stronger rules of engagement. More on the monitors’ musical chairs at AFP.
2. Palestinians threw a monkey wrench into plans for egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall. PA religious affairs minister Mahmoud El Habash told Israeli reporters that moving the Mughrabi Gate entrance — which would facilitate the new prayer section — changes the status of the Temple Mount.
And that’s an issue, Habash said, best deferred till after a final-status agreement is reached.
3. It looks increasingly likely that Lebanon will allow the UN to establish several refugee camps for Syrians — over Hezbollah’s objections. The Daily Beast explains why the Party of God’s opposed.
But analysts here believe the biggest long-term fear for Hezbollah is that camps would shift Lebanese demographics. Judging by the estimated 400,000 Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon, some who fled Palestine at the establishment of Israel, camps would likely result in many Syrian Sunni refugees remaining in Lebanon even after the civil war is over—especially if Assad hangs on to power. Shiites would then become significantly out-numbered by Sunnis in a political system that is based on a delicate sectarian system introduced in 1990—at the end of a savage 15-year-long civil war—which allocates guaranteed government roles to the major sects.
Some of the refugee camps would be located in Hezbollah-dominated areas. What could possibly go wrong?
4. BBC Red Carded For Capital Offense: The myth of Tel Aviv as Israel’s “capital” has become so ingrained in the media that even being here isn’t enough to overturn this falsehood.
5. As we approach 2013’s midpoint, I want to know which of the year’s two most widely-read blog posts is your favorite — and why.
> The Hypocrisy of a Black Miss Israel?: A feminist writer has a big time problem with the Miss Israel crown going to an Ethiopian.
> Israel Made Me Beat My Wife: A warped look at domestic violence in Gaza.
Tell us your choice in the comments section below or here.
Israel and the Palestinians
• It was visitor’s day for journos at Islamic Jihad’s summer camp for Gaza kids. The Daily Mail was on hand with plenty of photos. My memories of capture the flag are awfully tame compared to this:
Youths aged between six and 16 were seen taking part in a range of exercises, including one that simulated the capture of an Israeli soldier.
Elsewhere in the mock warzone in the town of Rafah, budding fighters crawled under barbed wire, jumped through fire and ducked for cover behind sandbags in the desert terrain.
Explosions and burning tyres helped to simulate realistic battle conditions, as boys were coached to flee from the enemy and shoot at targets. Bullets were fired overhead by their masked supervisors . . .
They are given lessons in Islamic studies as well as gruelling physical training, and it is believed that the camp’s purpose is to radicalise the next generation from a young age.
It is feared that the cadets will join the 300,000 children estimated by Unicef to be currently involved in conflicts across the globe.
Too bad a UN report on children and armed conflict didn’t name and shame Palestinian brainwashing and exploitation too.
- Iranian phishing scheme targets GMail users.
- What does Quneitra crossing closure mean for Israeli Druze?
- Does Iran already have a terror network in Europe similar to one in South America?