Israel and the Palestinians
• Gaza’s Popular Resistance Committee recently launched its first “terror academy.” According to YNet, this is more than just reading, writing and rockets.
• AP‘s Aron Heller visited Sderot’s first rocket-proof school. Only in Israel, right?
The $27.5 million structure features concrete walls, reinforced windows and a unique architectural plan all designed specifically to absorb and deflect rocket fire. Notices on the walls of the “Shaar Hanegev” High School remind the 1,200 students of their new reality: In case of a warning siren, it reads, stay put.
“You can finally teach without constantly worrying about what to do when there is a rocket attack,” said Zohar Nir-Levi, the principal of the junior high school inside the complex.
• A UN humanitarian official told Reuters that the Gaza “blockade” could make the strip uninhabitable by 2020.
The U.N. says only a quarter of Gaza waste water is treated. The rest, including raw sewage, goes into the Mediterranean Sea.
Gaylard said Gaza needs peace and security to improve the lives of its people. “It will certainly have to mean the end of blockade, the end of isolation and the end of conflict.”
Hamas’ Big Media apologists have what I call a “pipe dream” to destroy Israel — even if it means ripping up Gaza’s sewage system and diverting Israeli-made pipes to rocket factories. See the UN report and judge for yourself. BBC also covered the report.
• Human Rights Watch lashes out at the PA for not controlling its security services “over years of alleged beatings and abuse of protesters, journalists and detainees.” More at Reuters.
Iranian Atomic Urgency
• Iran’s been called out for installing hundreds of centrifuges at an impregnable underground facility. But judging from this staff-ed, the NY Times still doesn’t get it:
Iran’s continuing activity violates United Nations Security Council demands to halt enrichment, but as one official said, it is “not a game-changer.”
The issue is that Iran’s violations and escalations are gradual. Iran’s incremental steps towards nuclearization haven’t been seismic. But the cumulative slow-drip revelations show us this: More centrifuges and purer uranium than necessary for Iran’s civilian use, a nuclear facility impregnably buried in a mountain, arrogant bombast of wiping out the Zionists, and repeated failures of diplomacy.
So what would the Times consider a game changer? A nuclear detonation over Tel Aviv?
• Israelis are clearing out bombshelters, obtaining gas masks, and making contingency plans. LA Times reporter Edmund Sanders takes the national pulse:
That’s not normal,” Gilboa, 32, recalled with a nervous laugh. “When you’re making a list of gifts for a baby, gas mask is not supposed to be on it.”
Sinai-Gaza Terror Ties
• Mohammed Morsi gave his first interview with a Western news service. He said all the right things to Reuters:
Without mentioning Israel by name, he indicated Egypt’s neighbour had nothing to fear from a new military campaign in the Sinai Peninsula, which he ordered after gunmen attacked an Egyptian border post, killed 16 guards and tried to burst across the frontier into Israel.
“Egypt is practicing its very normal role on its soil and does not threaten anyone and there should not be any kind of international or regional concerns at all from the presence of Egyptian security forces,” he said, referring to the extra police, army and other forces moved to the area.
• How low can George Galloway continue to sink? He’s hosting a talk show for the Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen TV. With ties to Syria, Iran and Hezbollah, one skeptical Arab columnist referred to Al-Mayadeen as “the last attempt to revive pro-Assad media.” The Times of London (paywall) writes:
The management of al-Mayadeen, Arabic for “the public squares”, has several figures with links to Syria. The head of its news division is married to a former communications adviser to President Assad, and the general manager was previously head of al-Manar, a TV station affiliated with the pro-Syrian Lebanese militia, Hezbollah . . .
Asked if he had concerns about the financing of the station, Mr Galloway attacked Rupert Murdoch. He said: “The station is privately owned, but the owners are rather more respectable than the owner of The Times.” Mr Galloway used the first instalments of his show, which has subtitles for the Arabic-speaking audience, to rail against the motives of international powers who support the uprising in Syria.
Meanwhile, Galloway’s show on Iran’s state-controlled Press TV continues.
• Time: Libyans are exporting their revolution to Syria.
• A Washington Post staff-ed slams President Obama’s handling of Syria, picking up on a blogger’s point that the White House is actually emboldening Bashar Assad:
Last week President Obama did say that his “calculus” about “military engagement” would change if the regime began using or deploying its stocks of chemical weapons. But as the Syrian blogger Ammar Abdulhamid has written, the drawing of that red line may have emboldened the regime to conclude that anything short of using weapons of mass destruction will be tolerated by Washington.
Mr. Abdulhamid wonders “why slaughter would be deemed tolerable if it happened one way and not another.” It’s a good question — and one for which the administration’s morally bankrupt policy has no answer.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• The appointment of Giuseppe Lazzarotto as the Vatican’s new ambassador to Israel finally hit Irish media radar. It’s based on a YNet commentary about the envoy’s efforts to cover up Ireland’s pedophile priests scandal. Jerusalem’s being diplomatic about it for now.
An Israeli government spokesman told The Irish Times that relations between the Holy See and Ireland were “not the concern” of Israel.
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.
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