Mixed Verdict for Ehud Olmert

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Today’s Top Stories:

1. Ehud Olmert was acquitted on corruption charges associated with the Rishon Tours and Talansky affairs, but convicted on a lesser charge in the Investment Center affair. The court will hand down its sentence at a later day. Corruption charges in the separate Holyland affair continue. Take your pick of JPost, Times of Israel, YNet, or Haaretz coverage.

The cumulative effect of these affairs makes my head hurt. But after seeing far more corrupt Arab leaders toppled, it’s worth remembering that Israeli Democracy’s Warts are A Selling Point Too. And anyone anticipating an Olmert political comeback should pause and take a deep breath, tweet Amir Mizroch and Chemi Shalev. ‘Nuff said.

2. More reactions to the Levy Report recommending that Israel legalize settlement outposts. I liked how AP handled this issue in a Q&A format. Meanwhile, James Taranto (Wall Street Journal) compares the Israel/West Bank status to US-administered “unincorporated territories” like Puerto Rico, Guam and American Samoa.

Most disturbing was a bizarre Time photo essay tying the Levy Report to Adam Golfer’s collection of unimpressive and unrelated images of Israel and the West Bank. This particular caption raises a tear gas libel against the IDF (been there, done that). It’s the 21st image in the slide show.

A tear gas canister lands next to a house in the village of Nabi Saleh during a protest. During demonstrations, the Israeli military frequently shoots gas canisters into densely populated village centers. In 2010, in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiyeh, an 18-month-old Palestinian boy named Ahmed Abu Sarah died after inhaling large amounts of tear gas fired by Israeli police during a confrontation with demonstrators. Massive amounts of gas often drift into residential homes, harming and sometimes killing infant and elderly bystanders who are not mobile enough to escape.

3. Even when Israel drills for gas inside the Green Line (who knew?), the BBC‘s perturbed:

While this may seem uncontroversial on the face of it- the flare is, after all, within Israel proper – its proximity to the Green Line raises ethical questions.

“Geology doesn’t follow geography,” explains Dr Samer Naboulsi, a veteran petroleum engineer at a leading oil firm in Dubai.

Israel and the Palestinians

Mahmoud Abbas refused an Israeli offer of a prisoner release in exchange for deigning to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu. Maan News reports:

Abbas insists that all 123 prisoners held since before the 1994 Oslo agreement be freed in a single release, Qaraqe said.

AFP: Palestinians call local elections for October 20.The last time the PA held polls for municipal and district positions was in 2006. You can be sure this too will be postponed or cancelled according to the shifting sands of Fatah/Hamas relations.

Hamas demolished a bunch of Gaza homes, and a story like this only gets urgent headlines when Israel does this. The Media Line was the only Western paper picking up on this story. Hamas even recycles the Israeli line buried by the Big Media:

Ibrahim Radwan, Chairman of the Land Authority, told The Media Line that his office was merely enforcing a law passed by the Hamas cabinet last January to stop illegal land-grabbing and squatting on government land.

See the Evening Standard for veteran journalist Gerald Seymour’s gripping first person account of the Munich Massacre.

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