Palestinian Refugee Brigade Joins Syrian RebelsOctober 31, 2012 16:59 by Pesach Benson
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Today’s Top Stories
1. At least they’re not blaming Israel for the megastorm:
Among the fake hurricane photos that went viral, Iran’s Press TV was caught using a photo from the NY tsunami scene in “The Day After Tomorrow.” How unprofessional is that? (At least they got rid of the image.)
2. Palestinian refugees in Syria crossed a dangerous line by allying with rebels to form an all-Palestinian brigade in the Yarmouk refugee camp. According to Reuters, the brigade counters pro-Assad Palestinian forces in the camp.
Rebels said they and the new brigade will attack Yarmouk fighters loyal to Ahmed Jibril, head of the Syrian-sponsored Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), accusing Jibril’s men of harassing camp residents and attacking Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters.
It ain’t just the Palestinians internationalizing the civil war. The Global Times reports Chinese Muslims joining up with extremist groups battling the regime. Of course, Hezbollah and Iran’s active involvement internationalizes the uprising too, but talking about that ruins Bashar Assad’s mood.
3. Visting the UK, Defense Minister Ehud Barak explained to the Daily Telegraph why Israel hasn’t already attacked Iran:
An immediate crisis was avoided in the summer when Iran quietly chose to use over a third of its medium-enriched uranium for civilian purposes, delaying the moment when it could have built a nuclear bomb. Without this decision, Mr Barak told The Daily Telegraph, the situation would “probably” have peaked before the US presidential election.
In the event, Iran delayed the “moment of truth” by “eight to 10 months”, but Mr Barak predicted that sanctions and diplomacy would still fail to resolve the stand-off.
The Telegraph gets it, as evidenced by this staff-ed:
At a time when the Iranian economy is under severe pressure from the wide-ranging sanctions that have been imposed for Tehran’s non-compliance on nuclear matters, the ayatollahs may have decided to give themselves some breathing space by playing along with the IAEA’s demands, with the aim of returning to their nuclear weapons programme once the international pressure has eased.
See also Barak’s separate interview with the Times of London (paywall).
Israel and the Palestinians
To stigmatise an entire nation as a “cancer” is to declare that it has no redeeming features, which remained Browne’s position until he partially retracted on Sunday.
The accompanying silence probably means that most politicians and media-people are either scared of Browne or privately agree with him. And what do you do with cancers? Do you negotiate with them? Or do you zap them into extinction?
• A child preacher calls for Israels’ destruction, curses Obama, Bush and Sharon on Egyptian TV. Heads up from Memri.
• I’m not sure it’s a “political bombshell” like the Jerusalem Post describes it, but my antennae are twitching.
• French officials to AP: We’ll exhume Arafat in November.
• LA Times: The Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra’s performing in Los Angeles, which means protests from the BDS culture vultures. (If you think the IPO has it tough, get a load of the Tehran Symphony Orchestra’s woes.)
• Maan News visited a refugee camps in Jordan. The squalor defies belief.
Most camp residents possess neither an ID nor passport. Like visible ghosts, after five decades of living and giving birth in Jordan, their families are not recognized. They cannot work, receive government benefits, have full access to education, own a car, nor travel freely. Unemployment tops at 50 percent, school dropout rates are high and life expectancy is much lower than regional averages . . . .
The health conditions of the residents is horrifying. Volunteers report the presence of many diseases that are easily preventable with access to Western medicine. There are instances of diabetes, nervous disorders, cancers, high blood pressure and others, which go untreated.
Some residents criticize UNRWA for micromanaging the camp, restricting local entrepreneurship. Others say charitable organizations meant to help the Gaza refugees have pocketed the money instead.