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Today’s Top Stories
1. At The Guardian‘s Comment is Free section, Jamal Zahalka calls for a boycott of Israel over the Likud/Israel Beiteinu merger. Never mind that elections haven’t even taken place yet. Anyone bothering to click the link on his byline (few people bother to) — will learn that Zahalka’s a beneficiary of Israeli democracy — a Knesset minister – in fact.
Living in a democracy means living with Knesset members like Haneen Zoabi joining the Mavi Marmara and Ahmed Tibi praising Palestinian martyrs. Israeli democracy’s big enough to handle Zahalka’s stink and most Guardian readers can’t vote in Israeli elections anyway. Something to keep in mind if you follow Zahalka’s political fallout. More background on Zahalka at CiF Watch.
2. AP looks at the Palestinian sturm und drang over Mahmoud Abbas backtracking on the “right” of return. And the Washington Post looks at Israeli reactions. Abbas later said he was expressing his personal view, not PLO policy. See Jonathan D. Halevi‘s take.
The Abbas-led Palestinian diplomatic effort, entailing a planned appeal to the United Nations later this month, centers on international recognition for a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders. Abbas thereby hopes to win greater legal and political validation for the Palestinian demand for a full Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, without the Palestinians having to give anything in return – let alone on the refugee issue.
The refugee problem is the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For the Palestinians it is a trump card with which they can keep confronting Israel even after the state of Palestine is established, overcoming Israel demographically and changing it, in the long term, into part of a single Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
3. News you can use: How news orgs plan to avoid bad calls on election night. For what it’s worth, I never advise people staying up all night for election results.
Israel and the Palestinians
Israel has been fortunate to suffer few fatalities so far from the Gaza attacks. Some of that owes to Israel’s deployment of the Iron Dome air defense system, which recently intercepted eight rockets aimed at larger Israeli cities. But no defensive system is perfect and at some point a Palestinian barrage may take a large toll in lives, forcing Israel to respond in a major way.
When that happens, Israel will be urged to show “restraint” by the usual diplomatic suspects. We’re writing this as a reminder of how much restraint Israel has already shown.
• The Herald Scotland‘s arts editor, Keith Bruce, has some harh words for BDS protesters who tried to disrupt the Batsheva Ensemble’s dancing performance at Edinburgh.
It is patronising in the extreme to suggest that knowledgable dance-lovers need to be informed about the origins of the company and the political situation in that part of the world, and fantastically naive to imagine that anyone who has gone to see the show is likely to be persuaded to your cause if you interrupt their evening to shout about it. So even those inside inclined to be sympathetic to the rights of the Palestinian people to their homeland will have wanted to distance themselves from the attention-seeking wretches doing the shouting.
With that in mind, here’s a shout out of support to the Cameri Theatre, which dealt with BDS culture vultures at the Delhi International Art Festival. Newstrack India says the show went on. And a few days ago, the Israeli Philharmonic faced the same thing in Los Angeles.