US, Iran Edging Towards Direct Talks

The CIA began delivering weapons to Syrian rebels. According to the Washington Post, we’re talking about light arms, “vehicles, sophisticated communications equipment and advanced combat medical kits.”

The Daily Telegraph‘s Brendan O’Neill is disturbed at the way people are using the Holocaust to support Syrian intervention. Do you agree?

Holocaust relativists don’t deny that the Holocaust took place; instead they unwittingly water down its historical uniqueness, its status as the greatest crime in history, by describing all sorts of modern-day, comparatively small-scale acts of war or barbarism as “Holocausts” too. Such inappropriate use of the H-word, usually as a form of moral blackmail to get people to support military action against some tinpot tyrant said to be “the new Hitler”, has the effect of making the Holocaust mundane, unexceptional, an event that happens again and again in human history. The only real beneficiaries of such relativism are the Nazis themselves, whose wickedness is implicitly diluted and diminished if we accept the idea that Holocausts like theirs happen all the time . . .

Scale-wise, try to get your head around this – Auschwitz was capable of exterminating five times as many Jews in one day as Syrians have been killed with chemical weapons in the whole Syrian conflict so far. And Auschwitz was operational for five years. And it was one of 11 death camps.

U.S. ties in Persian Gulf at risk as Obama allows space for Russian-Syrian plan

Were they reading the same papers? Politico and Time round up how the Hebrew media is reacting to the US-Syria-Russia triangle, coming away with polar opposite conclusions.

For commentary/analysis, see Aaron David Miller and Tariq Alhomayed, plus staff-eds in the Washington Post, and Times of London.

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Israel and the Palestinians

The IDF and Palestinians clashed around Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus, as some 1,400 Jews gathered for early morning prayers. YNet coverage:

As they were entering the site, Palestinians began to hurl stones at the forces, who responded with crowd-dispersal means. Later, live fire was directed against the forces, who fired back at the shooter.

Despite being hit, the Palestinian began to escape but was caught after a brief chase . . . None of the soldiers or worshippers was hurt in the incident.

Professor Efraim Inbar looks back on 20 years of the Oslo accords.

Rest O’ the Roundup

NATO Despite Jerusalem’s apology for the Mavi Marmara, Turkey’s still blocking NATO cooperation with Israel — even routine matters like joint exercises, intelligence exchanges, and research and technological development programs. Ankara’s pique has implications for Israel’s neighbors too. Greece’s ambassador to Israel explained to the Jerusalem Post:

By not allowing Israel’s participation in NATO programs, he added, Turkey was blocking participation with other Mediterranean countries, because Israel and other nations in the region – Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania and Algeria – took part in NATO projects as a bloc.

We can’t cooperate with any of them, because the programs are all blocked, nothing can go through,” he said.

Moscow denies plans to sell advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Iran.

According to docs leaked to The Guardian by Edward Snowden, the NSA routinely shares raw intelligence data about US citizens with Israel.

(Image of skull via Flickr/Surian Soosay), concentration camp via Flickr/vincent desjardins)

For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.

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