France Launches Arafat Murder Investigation

August 29, 2012 16:59 by

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. Newspapers — mostly British — react to the Rachel Corrie verdict. A Times of London staff-ed (paywall) nails the International Solidarity Movement.

Israel has an obligation to protect civilian lives in a combat zone, but also to defend its own citizens. The International Solidarity Movement, which organised the protest in which Corrie died, does not declare solidarity with Israeli civilians at risk from suicide terrorism. Its main activity is to endanger its own volunteers. Tragically, Corrie was a victim of that insouciance.

The Guardian‘s staff-ed was, unfortunately, more predictable:

Perpetuating the myth that her death was a tragic accident, the judge did not deviate from the official line . . .

Tuesday’s verdict did not merely spruce up the whitewash over Corrie’s death. It spread it yet further. It said that, because the bulldozer was part of a “combat operation”, no civilians – Palestinian or American – in the area had any rights, because they should not have been there. Corrie was, in the court’s eyes, a human shield protecting terrorists.

Well, why else would anyone in their right mind stand in front of a moving armored bulldozer?

Judge Oded Gershon announcing his verdict.

2. At the request of Suha Arafat, French judicial authorities launched a formal murder investigation to determine the cause of Yasser Arafat’s death. AFP first broke the story.

Following the news of a French enquiry, Israel said it “does not feel this investigation is of any concern to it despite all the hare-brained allegations made against us,” foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said.

“I hope this enquiry throws light on every aspect of this affair,” he added.

James Hider’s Times of London dispatch (paywall) has no suggestion that anyone but Israel could be involved.

3. If you’re looking for a tangible sign of Hezbollah’s waning influence in Lebanon, look no further than this NY Times op-ed. Hanin Ghaddar writes:

It seems that the Lebanese Army has finally received political cover, mainly from President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati, to confront Hezbollah and its allies and to put an end to the violence. On Sunday, 18 armed men from a family with links to Hezbollah were arrested by the Lebanese Army. Two trucks and a warehouse full of weaponry were confiscated.

This arrest is politically significant. It means that the Lebanese prime minister and president are no longer willing to jeopardize stability in Lebanon by giving Hezbollah full cover, as they have usually done since June 2011, when a Hezbollah-dominated government came to power.

Rachel Corrie Verdict

Matti Friedman explains where the Corrie family went wrong:

Corrie’s organization, the International Solidarity Movement, supports violence against Israelis and the dissolution of the state of Israel. The family’s statements mix calls for an investigation into Corrie’s death with broader moralistic criticisms of Israeli policy.

This is why many Israelis observing the case see the family’s campaign less as a simple quest for truth than as part of a successful attempt to harness Corrie’s death in pursuit of a political cause – causing maximum damage to the country that she traveled across the world a decade ago to confront.

Had Corrie’s family presented themselves simply as bereaved parents and their daughter as an individual, they would likely have received a more sympathetic hearing in Israel.

Besides its staff-ed noted above, The Guardian piled on its Corrie coverage way beyond any other newspaper. Attacking Israel and the verdict were Glenn Greenwald, Ami Kaufman, a roundup of self-righteous NGO reactions, and a Nick Hayes cartoon for added measure.

Lead Screed goes to Time‘s Karl Vick, who HonestReporting addressed earlier today.

For anyone interested, here’s a summary of Judge Oded Gershon’s ruling.

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