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Today’s Top Stories
1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s media counteroffensive against Iran may be running into what I’ll call “red line fatigue.” How long can Israel talk about nuclear red lines before the world becomes tone deaf to the real threat?
According to Reuters, diplomats say the Israeli prime minister’s “out of step” with international optimism, while even normally sympathetic Washington insiders are preoccupied with the government shutdown. NY Times columnist Roger Cohen trashed the PM’s p.r. efforts. But it was this CNN interview by Iran’s foreign minister that really had me thinking about the fatigue factor.
“Israel has been pushing the line, since 1992 – perhaps you can find even an earlier version, I haven’t. Of what I’ve seen [it] is since 1992, Israel has been saying – and most of it has been Netanyahu himself – that Iran is six months away from a nuclear bomb. Now, what is it . . . 21 years from 1992? We still don’t have a bomb. We won’t have a bomb because we don’t see it in our interests.”
2. Weekend terror: A nine-year old Israeli girl was injured by a Palestinian who infiltrated the settlement of Psagot. YNet coverage.
3. While you were preoccupied with Syria, the US shutdown, and Miley Cyrus, the Egyptian revolution came to an end. The army’s entrenched, individual freedom is back to where it was during the Mubarak days, and the Muslim Brotherhood’s once again underground. McClatchy News correspondent Nancy Youssef explains:
Nearly three years and many protests, elections and governments later, it seems only the electorate has changed. The public, desperate for stability at any cost, has embraced the iron hand that rules and rejected the revolutionary and Islamist groups who pushed for change . . .
The attention to such working-class concerns as pay raises and better working conditions marks a shift for the so-called revolutionaries, who mostly hail from Egypt’s elite classes. It’s a recognition that most Egyptians have thrown in with the military-imposed government and will remain loyal to it unless living conditions don’t improve.
4. Demonizing Israel? Who, Us? Try as it might, The Independent can’t get rid of the anti-Israel demons in its own closet.
5. Israel Hate at the Irish Times: A Trotskyite writer attacks Israel.
Iranian Atomic Urgency
• President Obama to AP: Iran’s a year or more away from a nuclear bomb. Haaretz‘s Amos Harel explains that the difference between Israeli and American time frames is the interpretation of the intelligence, not the intelligence itself:
Pace’s question referred to the earliest date that Iran could possibly produce an operational nuclear bomb that could be carried by a surface-to-surface missile, not just a nuclear device for the purposes of demonstration. Obama was not specific in his response, but it can be assumed from Pace’s question that he was referring to an actual nuclear warhead . . .
The fear in Israel, which Netanyahu noted in his speech last week, is that with the aid of these faster centrifuges Iran could cover the home stretch to bomb-making capability within weeks or months without being detected, due to incomplete international monitoring, and could then present the international community with a fait accompli.
• The US government shutdown cripples sanctions on Iran.
• The Jerusalem Post assesses what’s known about Iran’s increasingly sophisticated espionage efforts in Israel.
• Lee Smith on Ayatollah Khamenei’s atomic fatwa — which nobody has ever seen:
Sure, it’s confusing, because if there’s really a fatwa then it’s not obvious why the president of the United States is making such a big deal out of negotiations over a nuclear program that Khamenei’s fatwa supposedly says Iran can’t have in the first place. If there’s a fatwa, then that solves everything.
- In one day, UNESCO passed six resolutions condemning Israel.
- Israel to run for UN Security Council seat.
- Hezbollah reportedly cutting back its forces in Syria.