US Slashes Egyptian Military Aid

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Today’s Top Stories

1. The US announced that it’s reducing military aid to Egypt. The NY Times describes Israel’s response as “a  mixture of disappointment and alarm.”

But one Israeli official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the delicate diplomacy involved, warned that the implications of punitive cuts in Egypt’s aid could go far beyond the issue of Israeli-Egyptian relations. The United States is playing with fire, he said.

You cannot disassemble the peace treaty and take out this part or that part,” the official said. “But there are other elements in this conundrum. This is not just about Israel. This is about America’s standing in the Arab world.”

The Wall St. Journal (click via Google News) looks at how the move is playing out in the rest of the Mideast. For commentary/analysis, see the Christian Science Monitor and Jeffrey Goldberg, plus staff-eds in The Guardian and Wall St. Journal (click via Google News).

2. Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal spent three hours meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Hurriyet suggests that the two discussed the possibility of Hamas relocating to Turkey. Both have seen their regional stature decline in recent months;  the Jerusalem Post notes that Hamas doesn’t enjoy popular support in Turkey either, tsk.

A September poll of Muslim publics’ view of extremist groups found that 73 percent of the Turkish public held an unfavorable view of Hamas, as opposed to only 5% that viewed the group favorably.

This was the lowest rate of favorability for Hamas in any of the areas surveyed, which included the Palestinian territories and 10 Arab, Asian and African states.

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3. According to Israeli media reports, Iran and the US are making significant progress towards a nuclear deal with the help of mediators from Oman. We’re talking about

an agreement that would aim to keep Iran “two or three years away” from a nuclear weapons capability, and would see an easing of economic sanctions . . .

Haaretz adds that European diplomats described this deal to Israeli officials as an interim agreement. See also The Media Line‘s analysis.

Fight the Demonization of Israel

Israel and the Palestinians

Give peace a chance? According to the Jerusalem Post, the PA is considering declaring peace talks a failure and pushing forward with their unilateral statehood in the UN and its various agencies.

 Cutbacks in UNRWA food assistance set off outcry in Gaza

Could Jerusalem sewage help Israelis and Palestinians learn to cooperate? Jeff Wheelwright‘s optimistic.

Rest O’ the Roundup


Screen grab from Hezbollah execution video.

• Hezbollah’s under unwelcome scrutiny after someone posted a graphic video of  what appears to be Hezbollah gunmen executing wounded Syrian rebels. The Daily Star explains:

The video, which is 1 minute and 40 seconds long, shows several men dressed in camouflage fatigues and sporting yellow ribbons on their shoulders. After they pull what appear to be several severely wounded men out of a van, they shoot them to death at point blank range. Some of the fighters use foul language as they execute the men, who are dressed in civilian clothing.

Speaking with a Lebanese accent, their commander then scolds his fighters for their comments, reminding them that their actions are religiously sanctioned and that they are killing the men “for the sake of God.”

• Worth reading: Heidi Kingstone, who reported from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan in recent years, describes Being a Jewish Journalist in Hostile Lands.

 Poll: Majority of Israelis feel US is projecting weakness on Iran and Syria.

Two thirds of Jewish Israelis believe that US president Barack Obama will fail to keep his promise to prevent Iran’s development of nuclear weapons . . .

• How to Hassan Rohani’s apologists explain this?

Conference on ‘new face of Iran’ held in Italy exposes its traditional anti-Israel stance, as Iranian ambassador refuses to attend event over participation of Israeli embassy worker.

If media bias makes you throw up, you’re not alone.


Despite the outward American-Iranian thaw, Lee Smith points out that cyberwarfare continues.

What we’re watching unfold, then, is something like the information-age equivalent of the Spanish Civil War, with both sides practicing for future, perhaps even more dramatic battles.

Over at Asharq al-Awsat, Diana Moukalled traces debunked stories of “sexual jihad” to Bashar Assad’s own propaganda machine.

Media outlets, rights organizations and activists did not find a single girl who could attest that she had granted her body as a gift to fighters in the name of religion.

 Libya’s prime minister, Ali Zidan, was freed after being abducted for several hours. AP coverage.

(Image of  Mashaal via YouTube/Pledgeist, Hezbollah via YouTube/NowLebanonMedia lebanon)

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

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