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. Iran seized an Indian oil tanker in the Persian Gulf. According to the Times of India, the ship, MT Desh Shanti, was detained in international waters and is now being taken to Iran’s Bandar Abbas port. Too early to tell what this will mean for oil prices. Iran has previously threatened to block the Staits of Hormuz if sanctions were imposed. What’s Iran’s official line?
Tehran authorities conveyed to India that the ship was polluting Iranian waters, but this is being seen as flimsy reasoning.
2. Egyptian death toll rises to 525. Interim vice president Mohammed ElBaradei resigned in protest against the crackdown. Due to Egypt’s ongoing turmoil, the Rafah border crossing with Gaza is indefinitely closed in both directions. For more on the unrest, see page 2 of this roundup.
3. Israel’s envoy to Sweden compared recently released Palestinian prisoners to Norway’s mass murderer, Anders Breivik. Ambassador Isaac Bachman was spot-on, but victims of Breivik’s rampage told The Local they’re infuriated:
“The comparison does not make sense,” added Bjørn Ihler, who survived the massacre by hiding on the southern tip of the island. “Breivik was a solo terrorist whose actions were based purely on an unreal situation. The situation in the Middle East is very different. There is a real fight for Palestinian freedom going on.”
Israel and the Palestinians
• New goodwill gesture in the works: Israel to hand over all the bodies of dead terrorists in its possession to the PA. YNet puts the number of bodies in “the dozens.”
• With a news blackout on peace talks, Mia Bengel — Tzipi Livni’s spokeswoman — became the de facto official source on the negotiations. Bengel’s Twitter following will get a boost, even though tweets like this don’t reveal much. Talks continue next week in Jericho.
• Elder of Ziyon wonders why Big Media is skeptical of the Muslim Brotherhood’s casualty count. During last year’s Gaza conflict, the press corps swallowed inflated civilian casualties proffered by Hamas, the Brotherhood’s offshoot:
The only way to explain this is to recognize that the media, by and large, has a false impression of Israel as a brutal regime and is willing to believe the worst about it – no matter how many times the lies are exposed (unfortunately, often days or months later.)
• Gaza’s attorney general “reassured” Maan News and Al Arabiya that the closure of their Gaza media offices are just temporary.
• The Media Line looks at Hamas moving closer to Iran.
• Iran and Syria are trying to gain influence in the West Bank by smuggling weapons “obtained” from Syrian army warehouses. Fortunately, reports Forbes, the smugglers were caught by Jordanian security.
Britain preaches morality to us day and night because of our grip on our national homeland, while it refuses to ease its grip on territories it conquered out of clear imperialistic ambitions.
And Haaretz‘s Eli Avraham takes UK academia to task over racism:
A report in the New African magazine states that there are only 50 black lecturers at British universities, out of a total of 14,000. This constitutes 0.36 percent of the total, whereas the rate of blacks in the total population is eight-fold higher. The report relates numerous cases of discrimination and tells of black people who chose to emigrate to the United States.
Discrimination based on color in Britain? Heaven forbid! According to the same logic applied to calls for boycotting Israeli academicians, British academicians should be boycotted since they participate in discrimination and exhibit racism by preventing the appointment of black lecturers.
• Worth reading: Israel’s racist image is distorted:
Martin Luther King Jr. never told the U.S’ white population that they were foreigners in the land, as Arab-Israeli Members of Knesset often say to the Israeli-Jews. The African-American leadership of the 60′s never wished to overwrite the American constitution or the country’s identity. MK Haneen Zoabi does so when she suggests Israel should stop being both Jewish and democratic. The American civil rights movement never asked to change the American flag or the national anthem, but the Arab leadership in Israel provocatively does profess such desires.
Simply put, the Israeli-Arab leadership’s aspirations are not focused on gaining equal rights. They wish to fundamentally change the State of Israel.
- Questions about Egypt you’re too embarrassed to ask.
- Why is the Muslim Brotherhood burning Egyptian churches?
- Human rights groups want Iran’s new justice minister brought to justice, “not doling it out.”