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. According to Arab reports picked up by YNet, Egyptian forces in the Sinai killed and arrested some 200 Islamists, including quite a few from Hamas.
He said 32 Hamas members were killed and 45 activists were detained. “Hamas is flaring up the situation in Sinai after (former Egyptian President) Mohamed Morsi’s ouster,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the the Times of London got this interesting scoop: Egypt’s military is seeking an Israeli green light to expand its offensive against the Sinai jihadis. The 1979 Camp David accords limit the number and activities of Egyptian forces:
Israeli officials said they would agree to the request. “We consider securing Sinai a top priority and have no wish to tie the hands of the Egyptian Army against clearing the area of dangerous terrorists,” said an Israeli military official based near the Egyptian border.
More background on that development at the Times of Israel.
2. The proverbial trains are running on time in Egypt. While that may be a good thing, the sudden disappearance of electricity cuts and long gas lines — plus the return of police to the streets — is no coincidence. The NY Times reports there was a campaign to undermine Mohammed Morsi:
“This was preparing for the coup,” said Naser el-Farash, who served as the spokesman for the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade under Mr. Morsi. “Different circles in the state, from the storage facilities to the cars that transport petrol products to the gas stations, all participated in creating the crisis.” . . .
But it is the police returning to the streets that offers the most blatant sign that the institutions once loyal to Mr. Mubarak held back while Mr. Morsi was in power.
3. Satellite images revealed a previously unknown Saudi base with missiles pointed at both Israel and Iran. The Daily Telegraph got a look at the photos.
Analysts who examined the photos spotted two launch pads with markings pointing north-west towards Tel Aviv and north-east towards Tehran. They are designed for Saudi Arabia’s arsenal of lorry-launched DF 3 missiles, which have a range of 1,500-2,500 miles and can carry a two-ton payload.
The base, believed to have been built within the last five years, gives an insight into Saudi strategic thinking at a time of heightened tensions in the Gulf.
4. The Untold Truth: 150 Million Europeans Hate Israel – Part 2: Read the rest of HonestReporting’s exclusive interview with Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld on the demonization of Israel and the Jewish people.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Haaretz interviewed Ambassador Michael Oren, who discussed Israel’s relations with President Barack Obama and the Iranian nuclear threat.
And besides that, there is a great weariness now in America that is leading to a kind of neo-isolationism. In the past decade, this great nation has been through two difficult wars and a traumatic economic shakeup. So you have this exhaustion and cutbacks in the defense budget and a shrinking of the military and an aversion to any more overseas intervention. Lawmakers are asking why send money to Egypt or the Palestinians rather than invest that money in a new bridge. Americans are tired of the Middle East. They don’t want to hear about it, and they don’t want to know what is happening in Egypt and Syria and Iran.
And what I am compelled to repeat here over and over is that when the helicopters took off from the Saigon embassy in 1975, the Vietcong did not chase the Americans all the way to Fifth Avenue. But it won’t be the same with the Middle East. You can’t run away from the Middle East, because if you run away from the Middle East, the Middle East will come running after you. I think President Obama understands this. Secretary of State [John] Kerry certainly understands this. But a mood of weariness and isolationism is making it difficult for them. America in 2013 is an America that is tired of the Middle East.
• Shira Herzog (Globe & Mail) makes the strongest argument I’ve seen for why the time is ripe for peace talks, despite everything else.
• If it’s any consolation to Israel, the Arabs are now using fauxtography tricks against themselves. Al-Arabiya reports that the Muslim Brotherhood is posting old photos of Syrian kids and passing them off as Egyptian kids killed by the army this week. The photos were posted on the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party’s Facebook page.
Who do the Brothers think they are? Khulood Badawi?
Gamal Zayda, managing editor of the Al Ahram newspaper in Egypt, said that the Muslim Brotherhood used some images to “benefit their cause”.
“The Muslim brothers know the importance of the image in the western media; they use it to seek sympathy,” he told Al Arabiya.
• For commentary/analysis on Egypt, see Michael Totten, George Will, John Bolton (Wall St. Journal via Google News) and finally (worth reading) Michael van der Galien on why Erdogan’s squirming over Egypt. As for Syria and Hezbollah, see Israel HaYom,
Iranian Atomic Urgency
• Iranian exile group claims Tehran is building another secret nuclear site. Judging from Reuters, the hard info offered was pretty scant:
The NCRI said the site was located in a complex of tunnels beneath mountains 10 km (6 miles) east of the town of Damavand, itself about 50 km northeast of Tehran. Construction of the site’s first phase began in 2006 and was recently completed, it said.
The group released satellite photographs of what it said was the site. But the images did not appear to constitute hard evidence to support the assertion that it was a planned nuclear facility.
A spokesman for the dissidents said he could not say what sort of nuclear work would be conducted there, but that the companies and people involved showed it was a nuclear site.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• And the clowns at Turtle Bay wonder why Israel has no respect for the UN . . .
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.