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Today’s Top Stories:
1. US court orders the BBC to hand over raw footage from Yasser Arafat documentary to American victims of Palestinian terror attacks. At issue was a 2003 BBC feature by Jeremy Bowen called Arafat Investigated. According to The Independent:
The victims believe that the BBC interviews with a leader of Fatah, the political movement founded by Arafat, and an alleged terrorist in the Al Aqsa Brigades in the West Bank city of Jenin, contain statements which will help prove a link between the bombings and the PA and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).
The BBC resisted the application, arguing that complying with the demand would compromise its editorial independence and damage its ability to gather news.
In a ruling obtained by The Independent, the American judge said he was “sceptical” that the unbroadcasted footage would provide the proof sought but threw out the Corporation’s objection, saying the recordings were not confidential and not covered by “journalistic privilege” designed to protect reporters’ investigations.
Judge Ronald Ellis said: “The outtakes are not confidential material because the BBC is free to disseminate any portions of the interviews . . .
2. Iran’s Press TV reports that its correspondent in Damascus, Maya Naser, was killed by sniper fire.
Naser was no “fallen journalist.” The Lede explains how Naser and his colleague, Hussein Mortada (also injured in the same attack), crossed the line from impartial reporters to active pro-Assad propagandist:
There have been suggestions that the similarity of Press TV’s reports to those broadcast on Syrian state television is no coincidence. In April, when The Guardian published a trove of hacked e-mails taken from the in-boxes of Syrian officials, one message from Mr. Mortada to one of Mr. Assad’s media advisers included a complaint about the government not heeding directions passed on to him “from Iran and Hezbollah,” the Lebanese militant group, about who Syria should blame for bomb attacks.
3. Try as it might, Hezbollah’s having a hard time hiding its direct support for Bashar Assad. The Washington Post notes the latest revelations:
Lebanese officials and analysts say Hezbollah militants are now fighting — and dying — in the conflict, although U.S. officials have not confirmed the group’s combat role. The Lebanese officials cite as evidence quiet burials in Hezbollah-dominated areas of Lebanon, with the families of the “martyrs” warned not to discuss the circumstances of their sons’ deaths . . .
A number of families have complained bitterly to Hezbollah about the deaths of their relatives and their secretive burial, one of these officials said. There is a debate within the Lebanese Shiite community about the Syrian conflict, even among Hezbollah supporters, and some say that the fight in Syria does not have the same prestige as the fight against the Israelis.
Obituaries for Hezbollah fighters have also started appearing in local newspapers such as al-Safir, one of these officials said, without the circumstances of the death being explained.
What’s the value of martyrdom if a parent can no longer brag, “My son, the shaheed?”
Israel and the Palestinians
• Historian Benny Morris discussed with Haaretz why he’s written his last book on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Is he despairing or sober?
“The decades of studying the conflict, which led to nine books, left me with a feeling of deep despair. I’ve done all I can,” he says. “I’ve written enough about a conflict that has no solution, mainly due to the Palestinians’ consistent rejection of a solution of two states for two peoples.”
• Mahmoud Abbas is covering up a Fatah sex scandal that erupted on eve of his departure to UN. According to the Jerusalem Post, the PLO chief is worried about the scandal’s impact on upcoming municipal elections. But one member of Fatah’s central committee hinted of a conspiracy — though without mentioning you-know-who:
Mahmoud al-Aloul, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, said the scandal was part of a scheme designed to foil Abbas’s renewed statehood bid.
• How long till the Palestinians raise a stink about Google Street View? It’s famed camera cars are now mapping out settlements such as Ariel, Oranit, and Shaarei Tivka. Israel HaYom adds:
Google says more cities and towns, such as Eilat, Ashdod, Beersheba, Beit Shean, Dimona, Kfar Saba, Carmiel, Majdal Shams, Modiin, Maccabim-Reut, Ma’alot Tarshiha, Netanya, Afula, Petah Tikva, Katzrin, Kiryat Ono and Kiryat Malachi, Rishon Lezion, Rahat and Rehovot are set to be added to the list as well.
• The Guardian‘s support for a one-state solution shows itself with a silly Antony Loewenstein commentary. Hamas is pushing a three-state solution, which means one-state solution’s dead, and The Guardian’s deaf, dumb, and blind to it.
• I liked The Media Line‘s look at the identity crisis over identity cards eastern Jerusalem Palestinians face.