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Today’s Top Stories
1. Everyone’s trying to decode the latest Israeli tea leaves. Take your pick of Dore Gold, Benny Morris, Yoram Ettinger, The Guardian, LA Times, Christian Science Monitor, Daily Telegraph, National Post, Washington Post, columnists like the Sydney Morning Herald‘s Paul McGeough, Time‘s Tony Karon, NY Times‘ Roger Cohen, Financial Times‘ Gideon Rachman, Reuters bureau chief Crispian Balmer, and a former British ambassador in the Irish Independent.
2. Only in the Mideast: A Hamas PR blitz aimed at Gaza combines resistance with environmental responsibility. Does this AFP dispatch sound like a humanitarian crisis?
“We have carried out 800 open-heart surgeries, regulated traffic, and built 44 schools,” billboards boldly proclaim in white letters on a vibrant magenta background . . .
“A clean environment for the people of the resistance,” proclaims one poster which shows a worker cleaning a beach.
“We continued to build, despite the siege,” says another which shows Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya wearing a construction worker’s hard hat, poring over plans with architects.
I wonder if the Hamas spin games had anything to do with a dispatch in The Economist on Gaza’s building boom.
3. A Tunisian bash-Israel fest got out of control when thug-in-residence Samir Quntar outraged his audience with a plug for Bashar Assad. Quntar spent almost 30 years in prison for a terror attack whose grisliness crossed all lines: smashing the skull of four year-old Einat Haran with a rifle butt.
Its disgraceful that Tunisia, the seemingly more enlightened cradle of the Arab Spring, hasn’t moved past honoring a baby killer. But Elliott Abrams notes that the Tunisians taught Quntar a lesson he soon won’t forget:
Accordingly, Salafi gangs using sticks and knives attacked the closing ceremony of the anti-Israel rally, shouting slogans that in essence accused Kuntar and the organizers of being pro-Shia. Several people were wounded badly enough to be hospitalized. The brave Kuntar fled out the back door of the hall.
I’m surprised the Tunisians didn’t have a lingering warm, fuzzy feeling from Al-Jazeera’s birthday bash for Quntar.
Iranian Atomic Urgency
• Iran planned to blow up the Israeli embassy in Washington alongside its attempt to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US. So said ambassador Michael Oren to WTOP radio.
Buried in an amended complaint, an FBI special agent charges that Arbabsiar “discussed the possibility of attacks on a number of targets. These targets included government facilities associated with Saudi Arabia and with ‘another’ country and these targets were located within the United States.”
Oren says Israel was that “other” country.
• Amos Yadlin to the US: Show us you’ll really stop Iran, or we’ll have to.
The Israelis cannot ask the Americans to do the job for them. No American soldier has ever fought for Israel, never since the state was established. That’s a basic principle for us.
The former military intelligence chief further laid out his views in a Washington Post op-ed.
• A number of newspapers picked up on a pair of NY Times reports about banks helping Iran and other sanctioned countries launder money. One report focuses on Iraqi financial institutions, the other on foreign banks with US branches making transactions with Iran, Sudan, Cuba and North Korea.