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Today’s Top Stories:
1. Re-negotiating Israeli-Palestinian financial accords is a non-starter says Danny Ayalon. The Times of Israel writes:
“I don’t support opening the economic treaty to re-negotiation, as it is interconnected with the diplomatic ones, which as we know have not been signed because of the Palestinians,” said Ayalon in an interview to Israel Radio.
“It is wrong to amend the economic agreement while there is no progress on the diplomatic front and while the Palestinians owe us major debts for fuel and energy.” Besides, he added, there is no reason to bail out the Palestinians, who have taken unilateral steps against Israel in the United Nations and in other international institutions.
2. If you listen carefully, you can hear Israelis gnashing their teeth in disbelief. Hillary Clinton told Bloomberg News: We’re not setting deadlines for Iran.
While the U.S. and Israel share the goal that Iran not acquire a nuclear weapon, Clinton said there is a difference in perspective over the time horizon for talks.
“They’re more anxious about a quick response because they feel that they’re right in the bull’s-eye, so to speak,” Clinton said. “But we’re convinced that we have more time to focus on these sanctions, to do everything we can to bring Iran to a good-faith negotiation.”
3. The Times of Israel rounds up media reports of Syria transferring chemical weapons from storage to the port city of Tartus.
• Public transport strike brings West Bank to a halt. Maan News describes the imagery seen in Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarem, and elsewhere:
An onlooker in Bethlehem, Muhammad Riziq, said that seeing streets empty except for rocks and burning tires brought back memories of the first Palestinian intifada in the late 1980s.
Protesters aren’t just calling for Salam Fayyad to quit. They want Mahmoud Abbas gone too.
• Over at Forbes, Alexander Joffe and Asaf Romirowsky comment on the West Bank’s restlessness:
For the Palestinians the Arab Spring has produced hard choices. While the star of Arab nationalism has fallen everywhere, among the Palestinians in the West Bank it is still alive, kept on life support by international aid, the Israeli military, and an unquantifiable sense of dread at the prospect of a Hamas takeover. Hamas has been regnant in Gaza since 2007. Repression and immiseration have resulted. The choice for Palestinians in the West Bank is stark and all stakeholders have made the Faustian bargain to retain the repressive and kleptocratic Palestinian Authority over the murderous and theocratic Hamas.