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Today’s Top Stories
1. Israel agreed to end its boycott of the UN Human Rights Council and attend tomorrow’s review of its human rights record. Haaretz called it a diplomatic victory for Israel. One key demand Jerusalem got was the limitation of a specific article in the HRC’s charter “which stipulates that any conference on human rights would hold a separate discussion of human rights in Israel and the West Bank. Israel is the only nation subject to such a stipulation.” The Jerusalem Post has more background on the Israel-HRC bad blood.
2. A “disgruntled Palestinian official” broke the US-imposed silence on the progress of peace talks, leaking PA negotiating demands to Israel’s Channel 2 TV station. Besides insisting that Palestinian refugees be given an option to return to Israel, there’s this:
. . . any land swap with Israel as part of a peace deal not exceed 1.9 percent of the West Bank . . .
That’s a heckuva monkey wrench. Jonathan Tobin explains why:
Leaving aside the refugee question for a moment, the land-swap question is no minor technical dispute. Peace process advocates have estimated that 80 percent of the Jewish communities in the West Bank including the overwhelming majority of the settler population could be incorporated into pre-June 1967 Israel with a swap of 4 percent of West Bank land. But according to this report, the Palestinians won’t budge past 2 percent.
3. It’s underway. The British phone hacking trial of Rebekah Brooks and Rupert Murdoch’s media lieutenants began at London’s storied Old Bailey courthouse. Chris Boffey sets the scene — and “waiting in the wings are 60 other journalists facing possible offences that came out of the hacking investigations.”
The royal baby watch mercifully ended after only a few days; this trial’s expected to last three months. Some headlines already refer to this as the trial of the century but the the self-serving hype really puffs up big media’s self-importance and newspaper sales. As far as phone hacking goes, the NSA is Murdoch on steroids.
4. Taking a Bullet for Alaa Al-Aswany’s Freedom of Speech: “If you disagree with Aswany but you’re chivalrously willing to die for his right to self-expression, I’d much prefer that you nobly live for my self-expression.”
5. The Independent Constructs a New Settlement: Israel’s building what?
Israel and the Palestinians
• Israel released a list of the 26 Palestinian prisoners due to be released this week. As in August’s prisoner release, the Palestinians involved were all convicted of murder or attempted murder in attacks that took place before the Oslo accords. YNet listed the 26 while the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz described many of their dirty deeds.
• A cyber attack wreaked havoc on Haifa traffic by shutting down the Carmel Tunnels last month. AP explains how it happened:
One expert, speaking on condition of anonymity because the breach of security was a classified matter, said a Trojan horse attack targeted the security camera apparatus in the Carmel Tunnels toll road on Sept. 8. A Trojan horse is a malicious computer program that users unknowingly install that can give hackers complete control over their systems.
The attack caused an immediate 20-minute lockdown of the roadway. The next day, the expert said, it shut down the roadway again during morning rush hour. It remained shut for eight hours, causing massive congestion.
• Following mortar fire on Ashkelon,the Israeli Air Force attacked underground rocket launchers in Gaza. According to the Jerusalem Post, the flare up isn’t expected to hamper this week’s prisoner release. No Israeli or Palestinian casualties reported.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• See Jonathan Spyer‘s thoughts on an emerging de facto Israeli-Saudi alliance of interests. Jackson Diehl, Walter Russell Mead, and the Jerusalem Post, also weigh in on different facets of the US-Israel-Iran triangle.
• The BBC will destroy itself if it doesn’t address bias, argues The Commentator.
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.