Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.
Today’s Top Stories:
1. As today’s Israel Daily News Stream went to press, Egypt’s Presidential Election Commission declared Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi the winner. Twitterville, weary of the droning speech, was eager to move on.
2. Ankara calls for NATO meeting after Syria shoots down Turkish jet over international waters. More at ABC News/Reuters.It appears the Iranians are sweating more than Syria. Deutsche Welle says Tehran’s urging restraint.
3. Jewish Chronicle: Mark Thompson, the BBC’s outgoing director general, apologized to MP Louise Mensch for BBC News dropping the ball on the Itamar massacre. It’s been more than a year since the Fogel family was brutally murdered and the Beeb was hardly interested.
“News editors were under a lot of pressure,” he said. “Having said that, it was certainly an atrocity which should have been covered across our news bulletins that day.”
Israel and the Palestinians
• Church leaders oppose the PA’s crusade for the Church of the Nativity’s listing as a World Heritage site. AP suggests that the Palestinians are heading for a big letdown at UNESCO over the upcoming vote:
With a big measure of diplomacy, the leaders of the Greek Orthodox, Catholic and Armenian churches rebuffed the Palestinian proposal, politely reserving judgment on its reasons.
“In our opinion, we do not think it opportune to deal with this request that the Basilica and its entire complex be included in the list of World Heritage sites, due to different considerations,” read a letter to Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas signed by the three leaders. A copy of the letter was obtained by The Associated Press.
• Hamas hasn’t proved it can enforce a new cease-fire with Israel. The Jerusalem Post‘s Khaled Abu Toameh asks if Hamas is losing control of Gaza?
Internal disputes and loss of Syrian and Iranian support, on the other hand, have had a negative impact on Hamas’s performance.
Some Palestinians in Gaza also said that Hamas is not trying hard to enforce the cease-fire out of fear of facing accusations of preventing “resistance” attacks against Israel. Hamas leaders cannot afford to be branded as traitors at a time when Islamists are growing stronger in a number of Arab countries, especially in Egypt.
Another reason Hamas seems to be losing control, Palestinians say, lies in the fact that Muslim terrorists from Arab countries are operating inside the Gaza Strip.
• Life under rocket fire has become too normal for Israeli communities near Gaza. Thumbs up to the Daily Telegraph for publishing an oped by three municipal officials:
The latest bombardment on our homes barely made a scratch on international headlines or the agendas of world leaders. It seems the sheer regularity of attacks has dulled global sensitivities to our communities’ plight. Yet the decline in world attention has not been matched by any reduction in the daily trauma endured by our citizens.
In the Israeli town of Sderot for example, 92 per cent of residents have experienced a rocket fall near them, while 49 per cent know someone killed by a rocket. Unsurprisingly, between 74 – 95 per cent of children in this distressed town exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Many families must often live in a single, protected room, while the school day and communal activities are routinely postponed in an effort to avoid large-scale civilian fatalities. When they are in class, the first calculation that our children learn is the 15 seconds that they have to find shelter once the rocket alert siren is sounded.
Our jobs as regional council leaders should be focused on local services, schools and community centres, but instead are dominated by securing the basic safety of our citizens. We should not allow this most abnormal of situations to become an accepted norm.
• Bungled headline of the weekend, courtesy Reuters:
You have to read the article to find out “the strike followed the firing of two rockets at Israel earlier in the day.”
• Sydney Morning Herald correspondent Ruth Pollard breaks out the violins for Gaza children living and dying with contaminated drinking water. But as I pointed out earlier this month, Big Media’s not taking into account Hamas’s Pipe Dreams. The Palestinians destroyed their own utility system to build pipes into rockets, you see.
• In an Ottawa Citizen op-ed, Nicky Larkin explains how he became an Irish Zionist after initially touring the West Bank with Palestinian groups:
I was confused by the constant Palestinian repetition of the mantra of “non-violent resistance.” Why put up all the posters of martyrs, if you advocate non-violent resistance? I was supposed to understand all this somehow because I’m Irish. But even the IRA didn’t blow themselves up . . . at least not on purpose.
I was also frustrated by the unquestioning attitude of the foreign activists. Anything seemed acceptable in the name of the Palestinian cause. No questions asked. But would these war-tourists apply this same liberal attitude if it was happening at home in their own country? If buses were exploding in their own home cities? If they weren’t out here on holidays in their summer playground?
• In a NY Times op-ed, Nathan Thrall of the International Crisis Center plays up Palestinian victimhood. Israel’s smugly content with the status quo, which is why Thrall says the only Palestinian options are popular protest and armed resistance.
• You can imagine where this op-ed’s going: A) Haaretz’s literary editor B) takes to The Guardian‘s Comment is Free section where she opines on C) Alice Walker’s refusal to translate “The Color Purple” into Hebrew. Bottom line: Israel needs Walker’s message because it’s too racist:
Maybe this public and humiliating demonstration of primitive racism to the world is Israel’s punishment for the occupation. Something inside us is sick. The situation is disturbing as well as infuriating – but the way to fight it is to make your voice heard, not to be silent. In her decision not to have her book translated in Israel, Walker is choosing to keep silent, absenting herself from Israel’s crucial public discourse about racism and the occupation.