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Today’s Top Stories
1. Such irony from the Nobel prize committee: The prestigious Nobel prize for physics will be shared by Dr. Francois Englert (a Belgian Holocaust survivor with close research ties to Tel Aviv University) and Dr. Peter Higgs, who supports the academic boycott of Israel. The two physicists,who worked independently of each other, were honored for their subatomic theories on what’s popularly known as the God particle.
Meanwhile, the Nobel prize for chemistry will be shared by a trio of Jewish academics (two of whom are Israeli). More on that threesome at the Times of Israel.
2. Iran’s preparing what Western diplomats are calling a serious package of proposals to ease up nuclear activity in exchange for scaling back sanctions. A widely quoted Wall St. Journal report (click via Google News) says the Iranian proposal will create a new set of headaches for the West:
By falling short of a complete shutdown of enrichment, the anticipated Iranian offer could divide the U.S. from its closest Middle East allies, particularly Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who have cautioned the White House against moving too quickly to improve ties with Tehran, according to American and Mideast officials.
3. Prime Minister Netanyahu rebuffed requests by the PA and US to move up the second scheduled prisoner release in time for an upcoming Muslim holiday. There’s additional friction surrounding the release, according to Haaretz:
In order to win the support of some of his ministers for this move, Netanyahu added a clause to the cabinet resolution stipulating that the prisoner releases would depend on the progress of the talks. But Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has claimed that under the understandings reached with the Americans, the prisoners are to be freed independent of the talks’ progress, in exchange for a Palestinian commitment to eschew unilateral moves at the United Nations as long as the talks are taking place.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Will Palestinians be a no-show when millions of Muslim pilgrims will converge on Mecca next week for the annual hajj? The LA Times and Maan News report that the PA and Hamas are bickering over who gets to go Mecca this year. Meanwhile, Elder of Ziyon drew attention to the Saudis hiring G4S — a security conglomerate long-targeted by the anti-Israel boycott-divestment-sanctions movement — to help manage pilgrimage security. Riazat Butt recently argued that BDS is barking up the wrong tree:
This week, the Guardian highlighted the abuse and exploitation of migrant workers who are preparing Qatar for the World Cup in 2022. Similar scrutiny should also be applied to the projects under way in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, although these have traditionally tended to excite more indignation over the demolition of buildings with historic and religious significance than the erosion of rights of the workers razing mountains.
The logical conclusion is to boycott the hajj, right?
• Globe & Mail columnist Margaret Wente nails the story of the two Canadians released from Egyptian prison:
John Greyson and Tarek Loubani have been portrayed as innocents abroad, humanitarian do-gooders who were caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. This picture is inaccurate and incomplete. The two are hard-core anti-Israel activists who’ve been mixed up in Middle East politics for years. They should have known what they were getting into.
• The role of women and children in Islamic suicide bombings, particularly how abuse leads them to seek “martyrdom,” is a largely overlooked issue of both the Palestinian intifada and terror around the world. Anat Berko, who interviewed many would-be martyrs, discussed the issue at Binghamton U. Pipe Dream, the student paper, was on hand.
“There are instances of recruiters waiting for children right out of school. They would just go after students like drug dealers,” she said. “I spoke with a 15-year-old boy in prison, and you could tell he had been beaten and abused.”
Yet when asked if terrorist leaders were often willing to sacrifice their own children, Berko answered bluntly.
“No. What do you think?” she said. “They like to abuse the children of others, not their own.”
• Western churches demonizing Israel do so to the detriment of Mideast Christians. Michael Curtis explains why in The Commentator.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Britain reopened limited diplomatic ties with Iran with the appointment of a charge d’affaires. UK-Iran ties were severed in 2011 after protesters attacked the British embassy in Tehran. BBC coverage.
• Max Boot weighs in on the Egyptian situation.
• Nice to see continually growing India-Israel ties.
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.