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Today’s Top Stories
1. Prime Minister Netanyahu created linkage between settlements and Iranian nukes. In rebuffing a plan to build 24,000 housing units around the West Bank, a statement on the Prime Minister’s web site said the building plan:
creates an unnecessary confrontation with the international community at a time when we are making an effort to persuade elements in the international community to reach a better deal with Iran. At this time, the attention of the international community must not be diverted from the main effort – preventing Iran from receiving an agreement that will allow it to continue its military nuclear program.
AFP suggests the linkage is a sign of Israeli weakness. I was never crazy about settlements-for-Iran linkage, but whether you agree or disagree, it may be unavoidable now. It might also explain why Israel blinked on EU settlement guidelines. You’ve come a long way, Bibi.
2. An Israeli soldier riding a bus in Afula was stabbed to death by a Palestinian. The stabber, a 16 year-old from Jenin, was overpowered by other passengers and handed over to police. The soldier, 19-year-old Pvt. Eden Attias, was from Upper Nazareth and was only two weeks into his army service. Haaretz adds:
Israel’s northern police commander, Ronny Attia, said in remarks broadcast on Army Radio that the Palestinian carried out the attack because his relatives were in prison in Israel.
3. Kurds took a step towards autonomy by declaring plans to create a transitional government in north east Syria. One Kurdish official told The Independent:
Although the spokesman said the administration was a temporary solution to run the Kurdish regions of Syria while the war was ongoing, he added that it would continue to be managed autonomously regardless of who eventually emerges as the victor.
“The Kurdish people will govern themselves democratically alongside other ethnic minorities in the area. It will not be affected by whoever will run Damascus. Assad cannot enter our area again. We are protecting our area. We are not attacking anyone.”
The move deftly advances Kurdish nationalism while distancing it from the foreign jihadis who hijacked the Syrian revolution. It’s sure to set off alarm bells in Turkey, Iraq, and Iran, which all have sizable Kurdish populations overlapping their borders. But somewhere out there, Henry Kissinger’s smiling: He argues that the best way to defeat Assad is to break up Syria.
4. Kumbaya in Qom: Does Israel want to isolate and weaken Iran as an end unto itself? Tom Friedman sure thinks so.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Daniel Finkelstein (Times of London) weighs in on getting to the bottom of Yasser Arafat’s death.
• Australian Professor Phil Mendes explains why the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions movement exploits anti-Israel Jews:
So why does the BDS movement highlight the views of this small group of anti-Zionist Jews who are so unrepresentative of collective Jewish opinion? There are two reasons.
The first is a continuation of malevolent historical practice. There has been a long history of anti-Semitism in parts of the radical Left whereby a small number of unrepresentative token Jews are opportunistically encouraged to exploit their own religious and cultural origins in order to vilify their own people. . .
The second factor is that the BDS movement attempts to use Jewish anti-Zionists as an alibi against serious accusations of anti-Semitism by arguing that Jews also share their views . . .
The fact that a small number of self-denying Jews join a movement that engages in ethnic stereotyping of all Israeli Jews and Jewish supporters of Israel worldwide irrespective of their political views does not provide any excuse for that movement’s prejudicial behaviour.
- UN Human Rights Council’s newest members disgrace the organization.
- More details of Ayatollah Khamenei’s business empire emerge.
- Israeli relief efforts in the Philippines continue.