Everything you need to know about the weekend coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.
Today’s Top Stories:
1. The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s held hearings on PA corruption. The Washington Free Beacon picks up on the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Palestinian.”
“I can tell you from my own experience, as an American official seeking financial assistance for the P.A. from Gulf Arab governments, that I was often told, ‘Why should we give them money when their officials will just steal it?” said Abrams.
That would explain Salam Fayyad’s desperation with donor states.
2. An extraordinary letter indicates dissent within the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. The Guardian writes:
A former general of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards has accused the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, of having blood on his hands over the brutal crackdown on the opposition, and described government claims that its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful as a “sheer lie”.
In a letter to prominent opposition activist Mohammad Nourizad (website in Farsi), the former officer gives a rare glimpse of political dissent within the ranks of the elite force in charge of the nuclear programme and Khamenei’s personal security . . .
Speaking to the Guardian by telephone from Tehran, Nourizad – who published the general’s letter on his website – said he was convinced of its authenticity because it was handed to him in person by the former general.
3. A lot of papers picked up on a Wall Street Journal scoop that Syria has begun moving some of its chemical weapons out of storage facilities. With cyanide, mustard gas, and sarin nerve agent at stake, US officials are divided among three views:
Some U.S. officials fear Damascus intends to use the weapons against the rebels or civilians, potentially as part of a targeted ethnic cleansing campaign. But other officials said Mr. Assad may be trying to safeguard the material from his opponents or to complicate Western powers’ efforts to track the weapons.
Some said that Mr. Assad may not intend to use the weapons, but instead may be moving them as a feint, hoping the threat of a chemical attack could drive Sunnis thought to be sympathetic to the rebels from their homes.
Israel and the Palestinians
• The Washington Post takes a very critical look at the Obama administration’s handling of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The package of coverage also includes a video addressing the personal relationship between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, photo slide show, and a map.
• AP discovers terror after Cypriot authorities arrested a man who had been monitoring the activities of Israelis on the island.
• Yasser Arafat’s sister to Maan News: Don’t dig up my brother’s body.
• The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is being naughty — and Israel’s out of patience. According to Haaretz (paywall):
The two options under consideration are limiting the issuing of visas to OCHA employees and rescinding work and travel permits to local residents who work for OCHA . . .
The senior Israeli official said OCHA had promoted several projects in Area C without Israeli approval including illegal construction. Senior officers from the office of Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot, the IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, asked OCHA’s director in Israel to immediately halt the illegal activities, but nothing has changed.