Samir Quntar: Was It Something I Said?

Israel and the Palestinians

The State Department’s Country Report on Terrorism 2011 (see Mideast overview) now treats settler price tag attacks as terror. Background at the JTA.

Mecca’s out of the question for Gaza pilgrims as the Rafah crossing remains closed. Neither the NY Times nor Maan News blame Israel.

AP: A pile-up of PA debts are a dire threat to the Palestinian private sector. Karin Laub writes:

Unlike in previous crises, the authority can no longer borrow to ease the pain: It already owes more than $2 billion to local banks, private companies and the public pension fund, said economist Samir Abdullah. In a further blow, it has received only half the needed foreign aid to close a 2012 budget deficit of $1.2 billion, the Finance Ministry says.

Meet the Christian Zionists.

Zakariya Zubeidi was released from a PA prison in Jericho after launching a hunger strike. This has nothing to do with Israel, but word up to The Guardian and Harriet Sherwood.

Nice NY Times profile of settler leader Dani Dayan.

United Church of Canada approves settlment boycott.

IDF soldiers were caught on film beating Palestinian journalists with batons at Kafr Kadum’s weekly protest. Video and details at YNet.

Toronto Star columnist Tony Burman frets over the possibility of a third intifada.

Palestinian supporters and left-wing Jews are in a huff over Josh Trevino joining The Guardian’s US politics team. CiF Watch explains the reasons behind the outrage and who said what.

Arab Spring Winter

Not all foreign jihadis in Syria are affiliated with Al-Qaeda. AFP introduces us to “free lance” jihadis like Abu Zeid al-Tunsi, a Tunisian sniper:

President “Bashar al-Assad and his people are Shiite and it is my duty to help in restoring true Islam, Sunni Islam,” he explains, gulping down a bottle of ice-cold mandarin crush.

“I leave my country when I have to, to wage jihad, then I go home. It’s my personal decision, I don’t need a flag for my struggle and I just hook up with whoever needs my expertise,” Abu Zeid says.

The Israeli Druze village of Majdal Shams is badly split over Bashar Assad. According to the Times of Israel, sitting on the fence ain’t an option:

But the politics of survival, so characteristic of the Druze in Syria, Lebanon and Israel, may turn detrimental in the post-Assad era. Mayor Abu-Salah, an outspoken critic of the Assad regime (“both father and son”), says the Druze will soon have to take a clear stand against Assad. Otherwise, they may suffer reprisals by the Muslim majority following his downfall.

“The Druze in Syria are neutral, so they are less vulnerable today,” Abu-Salah says. “We don’t like this neutrality. After Assad falls, the Druze will have to answer to the other Syrians who rose up.”

Also picking up on the Druze divisions was AP.

The Wall Street Journal (via Google News) reports that Bashar Assad rejected an Iranian “request to conduct or allow a raid to rescue Iranians captured by Syrian rebels.” Doesn’t your heart just bleed for those poor pilgrims Revolutionary Guards personnel?

The Assad regime told Tehran that rescuing the Iranians isn’t a top priority for Damascus, according to the officials familiar with the intelligence.

The officials were able only to speculate as to why Damascus would turn down the request. Some officials suggested Mr. Assad may be reluctant to allow a more-overt Iranian role for fear it could provoke Turkey or Persian Gulf states to deepen their support for the rebels.

Where’s Assad’s vice president? Why, Farouk Shara’s under house arrest for trying to defect, reports AFP. Or maybe not, as the regime denies. Whatever the case, Shara hasn’t been seen publicly for awhile as Assad plays the Grinch who stole Ramadan.

The Daily Mail picks up on claims that the Muslim Brotherhood is literally crucifying political opponents.

During a recent rampage, Muslim Brotherhood operatives crucified those opposing Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi naked on trees in front of the presidential palace while abusing others,’ reported WMD, quoting Middle East media.

Raymond Ibrahim, a fellow with the Middle East Forum and the Investigative Project on Terrorism, told the website ‘the crucifixions are the product of who the Middle Eastern media call partisans.’

The Algemeiner backed up the claims and said that several news outlets including Arab News, Al Khabar News, Dostor Watany, and Egypt Now reported that people were being ‘crucified.’

For more Arab Spring commentary/analysis see Jim Hoagland (Washington Post).

Rest O’ the Roundup

Jews still accused of using human blood for Passover matzos. Memri (video and transcript) flags Saudi cleric Slaman al-Odeh reviving the blood libel in its most classic form.

Worth reading: Aaron David Miller’s Politically Incorrect Guide to US Interests in the Mideast.

Leave it to Israeli bureaucrats come up with this “solution” allowing them to deport illegal Sudanese migrants: Give ’em documents declaring them to be from South Sudan. According The Independent‘s Maeve McClenaghan:

Israel is unable to deport people to Sudan as it has no repatriation agreement with Khartoum. But a recent deportation order allows it to deport migrants to the country’s newest neighbour, South Sudan.

Daily Star: Facebook removed Hezbollah and Al-Manar pages because they were more inciteful than insightful.

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued new guidelines to envoys active on Facebook and Twitter. Haaretz writes:

The Foreign Ministry’s message to Israeli diplomats: Surfers on the web take everything you post as Israel’s official position.

Putting charges of plagiarism behind him, Fareed Zakaria was reinstated by Time and CNN.

Thanks for your shout-out to HonestReporting, Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld.

(Image of Quntar via Wikimedia Commons/Mardetanha)

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