Hamas Claims Responsibility for Rocket FireJune 19, 2012 15:13 by Pesach Benson
Israel and the Palestinians
• Mosab Yousef — the son of one of Hamas’s original founders who became an Israeli informant — came back to Israel for the first time since 2007. AP picked up on “the Green Prince.”
Saying he had returned “home,” Yousef walked the halls of Israeli power like a celebrity, stopping to chat with well-wishers and signing autographs for supporters. The visit marked just the latest chapter in an astonishing journey that has transformed him from a Islamist extremist in the West Bank to a devout Christian and successful author in southern California.
• The Guardian visits the site of the future Jericho Agro-Industrial Park.
• Alice Walker, the award-winning American author, refuses to authorize a translation of her book, The Color Purple. This JTA story doesn’t surprise me:
In a June 9 letter to Yediot Books, Walker said she would not allow the publication of the book into Hebrew because “Israel is guilty of apartheid and persecution of the Palestinian people, both inside Israel and also in the Occupied Territories.”
I’m waiting for a BBC/Google Translate version of Walker’s book.
• Protesting Lebanese Army raids, Palestinians living in the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp staged a general strike. At least two Palestinians were killed during Monday clashes. More at the Daily Star.
Iranian Atomic Urgency
• Survivors of “Iran’s Srebrenica” testified to an international tribunal about a bloody purge in 1988. The Times of London (paywall) writes:
It aims to record the horrors of the 1988 killings; the climax of a decade of bloody purges set in train by Islamist zealots who believed that they had been given a free hand by Ayatollah Khomeini to jail and kill anyone critical of the regime. Some 5,000 people, including women and children, were loaded on to forklift trucks and hanged from cranes. At least 20,000 were executed in jails across Iran in the 1980s. The crimes have never been investigated . . . .
The organisers of the tribunal — among them John Cooper, QC, the civil rights barrister, and Payam Akhavan, the former UN war crimes prosecutor — hope that the evidence gathered in five days of hearings will form the backbone of a trial for crimes against humanity. Some of those accused of the killings have gone on to become ministers in Iran or senior figures in the judiciary.
• Worth reading: Elliott Abrams takes Israel’s pulse.
Enter wistfulness. The Israelis know their security is tied to the United States, and no country in the world roots with more energy than Israel for American success and American power. So when we refuse to use it, they shake their heads and wonder why, what does it mean, what are the causes, where does it lead? You could stop the killing in Syria in a week, they say. Think of the lives you would save—and it would hurt Iran and Hezbollah. What is Washington thinking? And of course they wonder what is the meaning for Israel if its champion and key ally thinks itself lacking the power to stop this mass slaughter. They read some of our official statements, and our leaks about how hard it would be to do anything useful in Syria (“the air defenses are so strong” and “the army is large and well-equipped”) and shake their heads. About Syrian air defenses and the full capabilities of the Syrian Army they know a lot, and they know these statements are excuses for inaction rather than careful judgments backed by hard intel.
And then there is Iran.
• Ex-Mossad chief Meir Dagan discussed the Iranian threat with BBC Hardtalk.
• Russia confirmed it’s sending forces to Syria — ostensibly to protect Russian citizens and its naval base in Tartus. According to the Daily Telegraph:
It was apparently ordered after the Kremlin came to conclusion that Western powers were preparing to circumvent the United Nations Security Council – where Russia holds a veto – by unilaterally authorising Nato military action in Syria. The source said that Russia had “completely misunderstood” Western intentions.
(Image of Yousef via YouTube/yabay101)
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