Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.
Today’s Top Stories
1. The IDF brought reporters for a look-see into the terror tunnel discovered yesterday. This Jerusalem Post tidbit of info validates the need for restricting construction supplies into Gaza.
Five hundred tons of concrete went into building this beast, which, had it it been utilized in a terror attack, would have definitely prompted a wide-scale IDF response and probably sparked a war.
See also Times of Israel and YNet dispatches. The Washington Post, AP, Reuters, and AFP were among the foreign press services on hand. And according to CNN, Hamas evacuated police stations and other buildings in expectation of IDF retaliation.
2. With Jerusalem municipal elections next week, Khaled Abu Toameh lays out why Arab voters boycotting the balloting lose out. He explains that some refusal to participate is ideological, but others bow to PLO and Hamas intimidation. If eligible Palestinians refuse to vote, how can they complain of city hall discrimination over budget issues, municipal planning etc.? Related reading: Jerusalem Municipal Election: By The Numbers.
3. Does Nobel prize laureate Peter Higgs really support an academic boycott of Israel? According to the Times of Israel, it’s not so clear that he does.
Though it is impossible to prove a negative — that Higgs did not make any comments about boycotting Israel — it seems unlikely that he is as outspoken as some claim. Moreover, though he refused to come to Israel in 2004 for political reasons, that does not mean he supports a larger boycott of Israeli academics.
Israel and the Palestinians
• In Gaza, public opinion against Hamas is soaring — so expect Hamas to avoid a popular uprising by provoking Israel. The Times of Israel writes:
The conclusion of K., a resident of the northern Strip, may sound exaggerated. He argued recently that the economic situation of Gaza is so bad it is only a question of time until Gaza burns.
“It will not be directed against Israel, but against Hamas,” he claimed. “The residents are fed up. In six years they [Hamas] haven’t managed in bringing about any change. Quite the opposite. We still don’t have enough electricity and the economy is destroyed. We are still under siege — and not because of Israel, but because the Egyptians had a quarrel with Hamas. But before we reach a confrontation with Hamas, they [Hamas] will initiate an escalation with Israel and will fire Qassams, so the protests against them will stop.”
• Mahmoud Abbas to lobby European leaders to support sanctions against settlements. The EU’s settlement guidelines are due to take effect January 1, but Israel and the US oppose them. Jerusalem Post coverage.
• Heh: Left-wing Jewish writer MJ Rosenberg is sparring with Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah over anti-Semitism and the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions campaign.
IsraellyCool posts one and two following it were entertaining enough, but link three is weirder than kangaroo boxing. Gilad Atzmon — an Israel-basher who is too extreme for the extremists — got dragged in, saying Abunimah “asked me to lie.” Enjoy the show.
• The Commentator slams UNESCO bias against Israel:
During the last three years, 2009-2012, UNESCO has passed 32 resolutions critical of Israel for one reason or another: it has not passed any resolution critical of any other country
• For more commentary/analysis, see Jonathan Tobin.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Haaretz: Israel hasn’t done enough to protect itself from the fallout of the US hitting the limit of its legally mandated debt ceiling.
In fact, such an apocalyptic scenario is being shrugged off by policy makers in Jerusalem. When asked by TheMarker what steps they were taking, one official said that was akin to asking about the contingency plans in the event Tel Aviv is hit by an atomic bomb . . .
Israel’s vulnerabilities include the Bank of Israel’s foreign currency reserves, which are mainly invested in U.S. treasury bonds; the banking sector’s capital, which is likewise held in U.S. treasuries; and the public’s savings invested in the local capital market, which is at risk of collapse of its own in the event of a U.S. crisis. Another possible risk lies with Israeli government debt, some of which is backed by U.S. guarantees.
• Chess master Garry Kasparov‘s tweet of the day:
I’m surprised they did not give Bashar al-Assad the award for chemistry.
— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) October 12, 2013
• I can’t imagine how they can afford it, but Egypt’s renewing its nuclear program.
• A retired US military officer in Egyptian custody hanged himself. According to the BBC, James Henry, “was reported to have been heading for the Gaza Strip in August, when he was detained in North Sinai for violating a curfew.”
• In the Daily Telegraph, US Senator Mark Kirk weighs in on the Iranian nuclear diplomacy.
• Last but not least, this just in from Malaysia:
A Malaysian appeals court on Monday upheld a government ban against the use of the word “Allah” to refer to God in non-Muslim faiths, overruling claims by Christians in this Muslim-majority nation that the restriction violates their religious rights.
Father Lawrence Andrew, editor of The Herald, a weekly Catholic paper, said an appeal will be filed.
(Image of kangaroos via YouTube/NatGeoWild)
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.