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Today’s Top Stories
1. Confirming that the Assad regime used chemical weapons, the White House authorized direct military aid to Syrian rebels. According to the Wall St. Journal, a no-fly zone may be in the cards too:
U.S. military planners, responding to a request by the White House to develop options for Syria, recommended the limited no-fly zone along the Syrian border to protect rebels and refugees inside Jordan.
The plan would create what one official called a “no fighting zone” that would stretch up to 25 miles into Syrian territory along the Jordanian border, preventing Mr. Assad’s forces from launching attacks against the rebels and refugees and protecting U.S. personnel involved in distributing weapons and providing training.
2. Hassan Rohani elected president of Iran. Big Media considers him a moderate, but when you’re talking about candidates pre-approved by Iran’s Guardian Council, “moderate” is a very relative term. Ron Ben-Yishai sums up my head space on Hassan Rohani’s election.
Israel must make certain Obama, Ashton are not dazzled by seemingly moderate Iranian president-elect.
3. The PA’s dropping its UNESCO bid to recognize Battir as a World Heritage Site in Danger.
4. BBC Burns Rubber to Promote Palestinian Gripes: Count on the Beeb to twist a positive story by promoting Palestinian complaints.
5. Ignorant comparison of Jewish Activism to Muslim Rioting: Not only did Norwegian paper defend an anti-Semitic cartoon, it dismissed Jewish outrage by comparing it to deadly Muslim riots over Muhammed cartoons.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Arab charity money to Gaza is down since everyone’s giving to the Syrians. Hamas, of course, blames Israel . . .
Zaza, the Gaza finance minister, blamed current money woes on Israel’s border restrictions, which were at their tightest after the 2007 Hamas takeover of the territory, but have eased in recent years.
Zaza said spending cuts began two years ago, affecting every ministry, but did not explain why it became necessary at that time since the Israeli border blockade was in place well before then.
As part of the belt-tightening, ministries were ordered to slash operating costs by 50%, including cutting back on stationery, travel and gas allowances.
• The PA’s dropping its UNESCO bid to recognize Battir as a World Heritage Site in Danger.
• Realizing that carrots aren’t working to get the Palestinians back to the negotiating table, Sweden’s mulling a reduction in aid to the PA. In a radio interview, Development aid minister Gunilla Carlsson said:
Carlsson said that the premise of Swedish development assistance for the West Bank and Gaza has been to strengthen the Palestinians’ position in negotiations for a two-state solution that could lead to peace with the Israelis.
She suggested that money targeted at capacity building is going to waste since neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis are willing to participate in peace negotiations.
• The IDF discovered two tunnels under the West Bank security fence near the village of al-Tayba. Maan News picked up on Hebrew language reports.
• An Indonesian parliamentarian’s under fire for leading a a secret delegation to Israel. Despite the political drama it’s creating in Indonesia — which does not have diplomatic relations with Israel — the Jakarta Globe notes a whiff of hypocrisy in the world’s most populous Islamic country:
Indonesia has refused to establish diplomatic ties with Israel until the country allows an independent Palestine. But this stance hasn’t stopped Indonesian officials from visiting Israel, or put a damper on trade ties.
The two nations set up a chamber of commerce to facilitate trade in 2009, settling on the unassuming name the “Israel-Asia Chamber of Commerce.” Indonesia booked $750 million in trade in 2008, and $450 million in 2009, despite failing to officially recognize the country, according to reports in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
- Really bad news for the BDS movement from Buckingham Palace and Los Angeles city hall.
- Iran to send 4,000 soldiers to Syria.
- Jihadi rebels show off anti-aircraft missiles.