Egyptian Salafist Leader: Demolish Idols Like the Pyramids and Sphinx

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Today’s Top Stories

1. AP: Israel is weighing targeted assassinations assisted martyrdom opportunities for Hamas leaders. The Jerusalem Post analyzes the legal issues. Four days of hostilities appear to be winding down, but you never know. See updates in the Times of Israel , Jerusalem Post, and Bloomberg News.

2. An Egyptian Salafi leader called for the destruction of the pyramids and the sphinx. From The Independent:

“All Muslims are charged with applying the teachings of Islam to remove such idols, as we did in Afghanistan when we destroyed the Buddha statues”, he said, speaking on a popular Egyptian private television channel.

3. French ambassador to Jerusalem Post: Bulgaria’s investigation of the Burgas bombing will have a big impact on whether the EU blacklists Hezbollah.

Israel and the Palestinians

UK papers updating the latest produced these dueling headlines:

1. Rocket attacks for Israelis to spend nights in bomb shelter

2. Israel fires into Syria for second day

• Oops: McClatchy News typo multiplies Gaza deaths by a factor of 10.

For more analysis, see Tim Marshall (Sky News) and Dan Ephron (The Daily Beast).

BBC: The PA sealed off Yasser Arafat’s tomb as workers began removing stone and concrete.

NY Times columnist Roger Cohen still puts his faith in diplomacy despite Israel’s knuckleheaded concerns. But there’s a bright spot — the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is no longer the core conflict the world revolves around. I never bought that domino theory:

The question of whether the quest for Israeli-Palestinian peace or for a breakthrough with Iran should be the first diplomatic priority for Obama’s second term amounts to a no-brainer. It’s Iran, stupid . . .

The time available for averting conflict is limited. Israel-Palestine, by contrast, is a draining confrontation but not today the potential spark to a conflagration; nor does it offer any new encouraging elements; nor is it likely that Netanyahu, if re-elected next year, would cease using Iran as a diversion from serious engagement with the Palestinians, who are divided in crippling ways they and the United States are reluctant to address.

That runs counter to Jeremy Ben-Ami‘s op-ed (also in today’s NYT). Looking at Jewish American voting patterns, the J Street director says:

It is time to acknowledge that a newly re-elected President Obama not only has the political space to pursue a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his second term; he has a mandate to do so from a significant majority of American Jews.

BBC: The PA sealed off Yasser Arafat’s tomb as workers began removing stone and concrete.

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