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Today’s Top Stories
1. Israel has been holding an Al Qaida terrorist “with a great deal of experience in non-conventional weapons, in particular biological weapons.” Samir Abed Latif al-Baraq really gets around. According to YNet, and the Jerusalem Post, Baraq — a Palestinian born in Kuwait — studied microbiology in Pakistan, fought in Afghanistan, did time in Guantanamo Bay and Jordan, and has been in Israeli custody since 2010.
He agreed to train Palestinian terrorists in the production of poisons, in order to carry out attacks against Israelis.
3. The cash-strapped Palestinian Authority managed to find $50,000 and cushy jobs for the 26 terrorists freed in last month’s prisoner release.
Issa Abd Rabbo, the most veteran of the prisoners released, received a $60,000 bonus, with the PA reportedly also offering to foot the bill for a wedding should he choose to marry. He was convicted of murdering two Israeli hikers south of Jerusalem in 1984, after tying them up at gunpoint and placing bags over their heads.
The grisly gravy train is courtesy American and British taxpayers.
4. Vote for the Dishonest Reporter of 2013: Our annual recognition of the year’s most skewed and biased coverage of Israel and the Mideast conflict. Make your voice heard.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Mahmoud Abbas to AFP: Peace talks will continue for the full nine months “regardless of what happens on the ground.”
• After human rights luminaries like China, Russia, Cuba and the Saudis were elected to the UN Human Rights Council, a staff-ed in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review called on the US to withdraw from the organization. Meanwhile, NY Post columnist Benny Avni wants the US to stop funding UNESCO over the PA’s membership.
• Yasser Arafat wasn’t Palestinian enough for Robert Fisk. ‘Nuff said . . .
Iranian Atomic Urgency
While Western elites regarded Mr. Gorbachev as a reformer, many in his country knew he was already working to retard or reverse the reforms he himself had initiated. Genuine Soviet reformers feared that “free emigration” would mean only the token release of a few hundred famous individuals, under cover of which the Communist Party would retain its political monopoly and its chokehold on the USSR’s restive national republics . . .
The U.S., to its eternal credit, held firm. The Americans were not ready to accept a bad ballistic-missile deal like the one proposed by Mr. Gorbachev in Reykjavik. They were not ready to cancel the sanctions. And they continued to support public pressure. Four years later, the evil Soviet empire collapsed without a shot having been fired.
Yet here we are again. Today, the Iranian economy is on the verge of bankruptcy. Today Iranian dissidents are rotting in prison by the hundreds or thousands, while a restive populace continues to writhe under the tyrannous yoke of a regime that has abandoned none of its aggressive aims, none of its terrorist machinations, none of its genocidal intentions. Is the Free World, led by Washington, so fixated on a short-term deal with the latest media-hyped dictator as to miss altogether the real opportunity held out by the present moment?
• Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the Iranian threat with CNN‘s Candy Crowley.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Nice soft power piece at NBC News on Israeli aid in the Philippines.
I asked the IDF Surgeon General in charge why they chose Bogo. He said it was because they were poor and their needs were great. As I left, I walked away in awe of this group of doctors: physician humanitarians, and medicine at its very best.
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.