Avigdor Lieberman Acquitted of Corruption Charges

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 you-know-what is hitting the fan as the Jerusalem municipality issued demolition orders for some Palestinian apartments in Ras Hamis. I already blogged this week that there’s much more to the story than meets the eye, but the Palestinian narrative is so much easier to crank out when you’re on deadline for The Independent.

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2. Former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman was acquitted of all charges of fraud and breach of trust. The verdict clears the way for the Yisrael Beiteinu party chief to return to the foreign ministry, but Ben Caspit cautions that won’t be so simple. Haaretz assesses what this means for the foreign ministry and Israeli diplomacy. See also the Times of Israel.

3. European scientists examining the cause of Yasser Arafat’s death gave their findings to the Palestinian Authority. AP reports that the PA will study the report before releasing it to the public, so don’t hold your breath waiting for confirmation of Israeli innocence or iniquity. If there was a smoking gun, you can be sure the PA would’ve been shouting already.

Fight the Demonization of Israel

Rest O’ the Roundup

According to AFP,  Israeli and Palestinian negotiators had a stormy meeting, with the Palestinians refusing to talk while Israel moves ahead with eastern Jerusalem construction. See also the Daily Telegraph on the Israeli-Palestinian gaps and the BBC on the importance of the Jordan Valley.

The Palestinians fear a US-imposed solution to the Mideast conflict, which is why the PA is trying internationalize the conflict by discrediting the US and drawing the UN, EU and Russia into the talks, writes Khaled Abu Toameh.

An Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander killed in Syria was buried with full honors. Aw shucks, Brig Gen Mohammad Jamali-Paqaleh was only doing his duty protecting a Shiite shrine propping up Bashar Assad.

Riccardo Dugulin argues that long-term Iranian nuclear negotiations will give the West an excuse to avoid action.

Foreign Ministry officials decided not to send an envoy to Ankara unless Turkey takes reciprocal steps. The Jerusalem Post says this was in response to a Turkish media report that Israel had already decided to appoint Rafi Schutz as its next ambassador. Today’s Zaman lays out the political chess match of normalizing ties from Turkey’s perspective:

Analysts believe that Israel is trying to corner Turkey by announcing a name to be appointed to Ankara — a move that aims to present Turkey as the party which has no will to normalize relations.

Worth reading: Open Letter to Hamas Spokeswoman

spooks Why don’t Israelis think the NSA scandal is a big deal — even though the US spied on them too? Shmuel Rosner nails it:

According to a Pew Research Center survey from 2011, “just one-half of one percent of American adults” served on active duty at any given time over the previous decade, even though it was a period of sustained war for the United States. By contrast, a vast majority of Israelis serve in the military at some point. As many as one in five personally witnessed a terrorist attack. And according to the Israel Defense Forces, in 2012 more than one million Israelis were living under the threat of rocket attacks from Gaza.

Israelis cannot afford to not worry about their safety, and so they look at the indignation of Americans and, say, Germans over Washington’s spying on Chancellor Angela Merkel as hypocrisy or naiveté. They’re thinking: Keep on spying, America, because as long as you do we know you’re still helping police the world.

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

(Image of spy via Wikimedia Commons/Setreset)

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