Israel and the Palestinians
• Bad news for the BDS movement: Elbit signed a multi-million dollar deal to supply an unnamed Latin American country with UAVs. Details at UPI.
• More bad news for the BDS movement: Lollapalooza’s coming to Israel. The music festival’s founder, Perry Farrell, explained to the Wall Street Journal why Lollapalooza and Tel Aviv are a great fit:
“A lot of other festivals have it out in the wilderness and it’s fun and it’s nice but the accommodations suck and the food is even worse,” he said. “Wherever we go, you have close proximity to your hotel and there’s always clubs, so you have all these beautiful places throughout the city for the after-parties.”
• A proposed labeling law for products imported from Israeli settlements is making waves in Finland. Minister of the Interior Päivi Räsänen is lashing out at the foreign ministry for even looking into the matter. Helsingin Sanomat writes:
Räsänen feels that the Foreign Ministry’s study into the possibility of labelling products produced at Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories would amount to “unnecessary incitement of a boycott and an aggravation of political tensions.”
Writing in her blog on Friday, Räsänen says that Finland should support the Mideast peace process and should not join forces behind groups that unilaterally support Palestine.
• The Irish Times profiles Israeli-Arab Knesset member Haneen Zoabi. The Israeli-Arab Knesset member — who is visiting Ireland — is best remembered for sailing aboard the Mavi Marmara, and for shilling for Sheikh Raed Salah.
• British Prime Minister David Cameron said the world must never forget the Munich Olympic massacre. But Ankie Spitzer slammed the IOC over missing minute of silence. Meanwhile, the JTA reports that some see Alex Gilady, the lone Israeli member of the IOC, as a villain.
• Today’s staff-editorial in the UAE-based Khaleej Times makes me wonder what planet the paper’s covering. The uprisings in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, etc. aren’t about Israel, and even the Palestinians acknowledge they’re on the global backburner. Yet the paper writes:
The fissures in the Middle East and unrest from Somalia to Afghanistan are a direct outcome of discrimination that flows out of Palestinian statelessness.
• HonestReporting launched the first of what we hope will be periodic infographics. Our graphic artist, Jeremy Zauder, described the story behind the inaugural image.
There are a lot more images on HonestReporting’s Flickr stream which are “Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike.” In normal English, that means if you’re a blogger, you can use the images in your blog posts for free if you credit the image to HonestReporting. The rest of us Muggles can peruse the images and share our favorites on Facebook without attribution.
Iranian Atomic Urgency
• Haaretz (paywall) says new intelligence reveals that Iran’s military nuclear program is advancing faster than previously thought, and that the US, Britain, France, Germany and Israel share that assessment.
• Standard Chartered PLC, a London based international bank, is reeling after New York regulators uncovered years of transactions with Iran violating money-laundering laws. Bloomberg News says we’re talking about $250 billion of transactions over seven years for Iranian institutions subject to international sanctions.
If you dance with the devil, you’re bound to pay the piper: shares in Standard Charter fell 20 percent today, and its New York banking license may be revoked.
• The Damascus-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command is splitting. To the consternation of most of the group, the PFLP-GC’s top dog, Ahmad Jibreel, supports Bashar Assad. According to Maan News:
Six members of PFLP-GC’s central committee have resigned in protest over Jibreel’s actions, central committee member Shawkat Hammad told Ma’an.
• In Lebanon, supporters and opponents of Bashar Assad duke it out daily. But the Wall Street Journal finds that when push comes to shove, Hezbollah’s keeping its head down and its gunpowder dry.
Many of the group’s supporters, meanwhile, appear to be balancing loyalty to Hezbollah’s anti-Western and Israel ideology against their desire to get on with lives rattled by two wars it has fought with Israel, most recently in 2006. In many cases, they are afraid to lose homes and neighborhoods that have been rebuilt with cash that Hezbollah has channeled from Iran.
“We’re very scared of a Sunni-Shiite war,” said Mr. Fouladkar, a 43-year-old who has rebuilt his family publishing house twice with the help of over $300,000 disbursed by Hezbollah. “We have just rebuilt our lives.” . . .
“Hezbollah doesn’t want to answer the question of whether to fight or not. It’s not within our interest to say,” said a high-level Hezbollah official.
• The Times of Israel was on hand as some 80 Israeli Druze students studying in Syria returned home.
. . . none of them wanted to return to university in the neighboring country until the situation returned to normal.
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.
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