US Fines Hezbollah Bank $102 MillionJune 26, 2013 13:18 by Pesach Benson
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Today’s Top Stories
1. Although Israel apologized for the Mavi Marmara, YNet reports that “Ankara has yet to fulfill any of the commitments it took upon itself as part of the reconciliation agreement brokered by US President Barack Obama.”
And if this wasn’t enough, the Turks announced they could not guarantee that IDF soldiers and officers who were involved in the raid, including former IDF Chief Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi, would not be prosecuted, claiming that in Turkey the “executive branch cannot influence the judicial branch.”
According to the Turks, Erdogan cannot act to stop the legal proceedings while anti-government protests are taking place because he does not want his constituents to view him as being pro-Israeli.
2. Jordan and Israel are discussing a natural gas deal. Although many in the Arab world may frown on the “normalization” of ties with Israel, the Wall St. Journal (via Google News) explains that the sale’s a win-win situation helping stabilize the kingdom’s economy:
A deal would offer Jordan a cheap energy source and relieve a painful energy crisis. Two years of supply shortages from Egypt’s pipeline to Jordan have spurred price increases, domestic unrest and has the government weighing brownouts.
It would also mark a major tightening of Israeli-Jordanian relations two decades after they signed a peace accord . . .
While Jordan’s energy needs are considerably smaller, Israel has an interest in bolstering its neighbor’s economy through offering gas at low prices that would be delivered relatively quickly, analysts said.
The shortfall from Egypt has forced a 50% rise in the cost of cooking gas and higher electricity rates, prompting antigovernment demonstrations in October.
3. AFP: The US fined a “Hezbollah bank” $102 million for helping the terror group launder money and transfer funds to criminal groups in the Mideast, Latin America, and West Africa.
Israel and the Palestinians
• The Times of Israel updates the latest on the Mideast conflict’s UNESCO front.
• Yoav Limor comments on the Islamic Jihad/Hamas friction, and what it means for Israel.
• Either Al-Jazeera‘s taking Hollywood zombies way too seriously, or World War Z is just an excuse to take a dig at Israel. Probably the latter.
• Nigerian security labels Hezbollah a terrorist organization after busting cell with massive weapons cache last month. Nigerian officials said the group had planned attacks on Israeli and American interests. The Jerusalem Post writes:
Osagie said, “We have proofs that the applicants belong to the military wing of Hezbollah which is a terrorist organization and in the coming days, this country will know more about them.”
The remark by Osagie appears to be the first explicit government acknowledgment of Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist group.
• Turkish unrest curbs Prime Minister Erdogan’s foreign policy activism with Syria and the EU. But not Gaza. Analysts told the Jerusalem Post that the Palestinian issue is the gift that keeps on giving:
Lastly, Turkey’s election campaign is starting and therefore Erdogan will most likely continue the country’s activity related to the Palestinians and the Gaza Strip, as it can always be used to distract the public from domestic troubles.
“Gaza is a treasure” for the Turkish regime, she said.
• Media reports say more than 100,000 people killed in Syria’s civil war.
(Image of flame via Flickr/iamNigelMorris)
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.