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Today’s Top Stories
1. Israel applying heavy pressure on Hamas over kidnapped teens.
IDF forces have seized weapons hidden in Hamas strongholds as house-to-house searches for three kidnapped teens continue.
Israeli officials also announced plans to toughen conditions on Hamas prisoners serving time in Israeli jails. They also said Israel is putting diplomatic pressure on Hamas:
The official said that in addition to the main operational goal, which is to bring the three kidnapped teens back to their families, Israel is also currently engaged in intensive diplomatic efforts to delegitimize the unity pact between Hamas and Fatah.
As part of this campaign, government officials are emphasizing the constant drumbeat of incitement in the Palestinian Authority’s official media and educational system against Israel, including calls for and encouragement of the kidnapping of Israelis.
2. Arab MK: Kidnappers are not terrorists.
MK Hanin Zoabi, a radical member of the Arab Balad party came out in support of terrorists who kidnapped three Israeli teens. Her exchange with Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie reveals much of the substance of her position:
Knesset Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women chairwoman Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) asked Zoabi in a committee meeting: “How are [the kidnappers] not terrorists?”
“Shut up, you don’t deserve to be a committee chairwoman. Are you policewoman? You are a racist,” Zoabi shouted in response.
Zoabi also made news for her comments against a 17-year-old relative who recorded a video blasting the Palestinians for the kidnapping and demanding the release of teens. The video has been seen by more than 25,000 people.
“I am happy to see that Israeli hasbara [public diplomacy] is in such a dire state that it needs a stupid boy with a twisted identity who feels a continuous need to apologize to his strong masters,” Zoabi told Ynet.
3. Australia moves to diffuse crisis with Arabs over terminology.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says she will not use the term “occupied” or “disputed” to describe eastern Jerusalem. She’ll simply call the area “East Jerusalem”:
Bishop repeatedly refused to use the term “occupied” during the interview, saying: “I am not getting into that debate. I call it East Jerusalem, you can’t force me to call it something … if that is a geographic name that is its name.”
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Five days after kidnapping, EU finally issues statement of condemnation.
• Sinead O’Connor says she’d like to boycott Israel but can’t afford the price.
Controversial singer says she was not aware of boycott call before scheduling show, but legal costs of pulling out may be prohibitive.
For more, see Yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.