Hamas Mending Fences With Syria?

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Today’s Top Stories

1. Is Hamas mending fences with Assad?

Hamas’ Deputy Politburo Chief Abu Marzouk says Khaled Mashal was wrong to support Syrian opposition, doesn’t rule out possibility of renewing ties with Damascus.

2. Only in Gaza: Hamas seized a 2,500 year-old bronze statue of Apollo (via Elder of Ziyon) and now has to figure out what to do with it. Hamas won’t look good selling off national treasures, and it’s probably illegal for Americans to give the terror group the 20-40 million dollars for the antiquity. While  Hamas has an art “wing” too, displaying the piece presents problems too:

It would be a great achievement  for Hamas to show the world this wonder of Greek art  –  comparable to the Riace Bronzes  –  but  for those who have it in their hands it soon becomes clear that the Apollo must remain a secret. Islam forbids the reproduction of the human figure in art and accepts only floral and decorative painting. Moreover the Apollo in accordance to the style of the era is naked and it would be impossible for the zealous fundamentalists to show it in public. The statue must disappear, suggests someone, better to sell it –  like so many other antiquities.

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3. Iranian nuclear talks continued in Geneva. According to reports like AFP, Iran will accept snap visits of its nuclear sites. More on the talks at the NY Times.

4. Check out our latest slideshare, The Demonization of Israel. And join more than 26,000 people calling for the media to adopt US and EU definitions of anti-Semitism. Sign the petition and making your voice heard.

Israel and the Palestinians

Hamas deputy chief Mousa Abu Marzouk confirmed on Facebook that Hamas intended to use the tunnel to kidnap Israelis. The Times of Israel has more on that, and how the tunnel was both dug and detected.

During an appearance at Oxford University, George Galloway was confronted by an Israeli student waving a flag who accused the British MP of being a racist. The student, Jonathan Hunter, said he was friend of Eylon Aslan-Levy, another Israeli Oxford student who Galloway refused to debate last February. The Independent notes that at the end of the evening,  Galloway mentioned he was considering a 2016 campaign for London mayor.  That prompted this tweet from none other than Aslan-Levy:

Worth reading: An Israeli Solider to American Jews: Wake Up!

The Jordanian band, Autostrad, is taking a heap of abuse for performing in Israel, after playing for Palestinian fans in Nazareth, Haifa and the Golan Heights. Autostrad resisted pressure from the anti-Israel Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions movement, but the Christian Science Monitor explains why the group ain’t getting brownie points from me:

Along with thousands of local fans, they branded their shows as a form of “cultural resistance,” strengthening solidarity and bringing a sense of normalcy to a war-weary people.

They issued a Facebook statement following their Nazareth show, echoing a position expressed repeatedly by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, that “visiting the prisoner does not legitimize the jailer.”

Rest O’ the Roundup

Israel and the Saudis are Obama’s biggest challenge in dealing with Iran. Reuters provides the rose-colored glasses with lines like “there is a tantalizing prospect that the Iranian regime could become a partner to the U.S., rather than a rival,” and “And, like healthcare, an alliance with Iran eluded President Bill Clinton.” Don’t get carried away yet.

• What to make of this Israeli-Iranian contact at the nuclear talks, as described by the Times of Israel?

Israel would be able to live in peace with any deal reached by Iran and world powers, and the agreement would “open new horizons” with all nations, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said to Israel Radio on Wednesday.

“Any agreement reached will open new horizons in [our] relations with all states,” Araqchi told Israel Radio reporter Gideon Kutz. Araqchi also responded with a “Yes” when Kutz asked him whether Israel would be able to live in peace with whatever deal would be reached between Western powers and the Islamic Republic.

Kutz told The Times of Israel by phone from Geneva that he was wearing an Israel Radio press badge when he interviewed the Iranian official, and that “the nature of my questions” made his identity as an Israeli journalist obvious to Araqchi. If so, Araqchi’s readiness to answer questions from an Israeli journalist is highly unusual; Iranian officials routinely avoid all open contact with the Israeli media.

For more commentary/analysis of the Iranian situation, see a Wall St. Journal tag team of Amos Yadlin and Avner Golov (click via Google News), Max Singer, Irwin Cotler, John Bolton, and Jeffrey Goldberg,

Politics and Pilgrimage Don’t Mix: The Muslim Brotherhood may steal a page from Iran to politicize this year’s hajj.

Amazon The Daily Mail picked up on The Kernel‘s expose of Holocaust denial, anti-Semitic and white supremacist books and e-books you can buy on Amazon and Barnes & Noble — even in countries where Holocaust denial is illegal.

A Kernel investigation into the extreme literature for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble has revealed a number of alarming publications that question the veracity the Holocaust for sale openly, prompting further questions about Amazon’s filtering policies.

Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who broke Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks, is leaving The Guardian. Greenwald told BuzzFeed he’s joining a new media venture which Reuters says will be financed by eBay founder, Pierre Omidyar.

(Amazon image via Flickr/Jurgen Appelo)

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

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