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Today’s Top Stories
1. BBC runs unverifiable “scoop” from credibility-challenged Richard Silverstein. The BBC report says he claims he was given a top-secret memo about Israeli plans to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Silverstein’s critics claim his real source was an Israeli online forum in Hebrew called Fresh.co.il. Silverstein says he and Fresh received the same leaked documents.
2. The Daily Mail takes readers inside the Hezbollah ‘theme park’ where children are taught the glory of martyrdom. Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that Hezbollah continues to operate freely in Europe, where it is considered a political entity, not a terror group.
European security services keep tabs on the group’s political supporters, but experts say they are ineffective when it comes to tracking the sleeper cells that pose the most danger. “They have real, trained operatives in Europe that have not been used in a long time, but if they wanted them to become active, they could,” said Alexander Ritzmann, a policy adviser at the European Foundation for Democracy in Brussels, who has testified before Congress on Hezbollah.
The European Union’s unwillingness to place the group on its list of terrorist organizations is also complicating the West’s efforts to deal with the Bulgarian bus bombing and the Syrian conflict. The week after the attack in Bulgaria, Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, traveled to Brussels for a regular meeting with European officials, where he called for the European Union to include Hezbollah on the list. But his pleas fell on deaf ears.
3. Commentary in the Baltimore Sun calls on the US to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
In the international arena, U.S. refusal to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has helped contribute to a global delegitimization campaign against the Jewish state. Enemies of Israel and the U.S. have attempted to deny Israel’s connection to Jerusalem, thereby discrediting her very existence and undermining decades of American foreign policy. Vocal support for Israel is not enough; the U.S. needs to act with meaning if it is to take a stand against shared enemies like Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran.
Iranian Atomic Urgency
• Time’s Tony Karon suggests that the slew of Israeli threats to attack Iran are part of an Israeli strategy to push US officials to take definitive steps.
The Israelis seem to be hoping that the threat of military action will produce responses from Washington that will harden the U.S. stance. Although negotiations with Iran are effectively stalled and the pain being inflicted on Iranian society by sanctions is showing no signs, as yet, of prompting Tehran to capitulate, the Obama Administration may have been hoping to find better conditions to resolve the nuclear standoff once the pressures of its reelection campaign have passed. The signals emerging in the Israeli media suggest that Israel is hoping its renewed threats of action will limit Obama’s room for maneuver on the Iran issue next year, and lock in a commitment from him to pursue their preferred solution.