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 UNRWA’s outgoing chief says virtually all its Gaza projects are at a standstill, and you know whose fault that is. The Times of Israel quoted Filippi Grandi blaming Israel’s refusal to allow cement and other construction items into Gaza for the strip’s difficult situation. But as Elliott Abrams pointed out the IDF uncovered a Hamas terror tunnel made from 500 tons of cement:
What’s interesting is the number of proponents of lifting the blockade of Gaza who have now admitted error. The number appears to be zero. Not one has acknowledged that allowing construction materials into Gaza allowed Hamas to construct more tunnels, and that Israel may have been right to prevent their arrival. Being a critic of Israel apparently means never having to say you’re sorry.
Here’s one more development from Maan News tying in an Egyptian angle to Grandi’s gripe. Draw your own conclusions.
2. According to the Daily Star, the IDF’s concerned Hezbollah is digging tunnels under the Blue Line.
3. Hundreds of international journalists are descending on Geneva for the next round of nuclear talks. Boaz Bismuth describes the scene:
“It’s already turned into a thriller, as if it’s the World Cup,” a Chinese journalist who had arrived in Geneva told me . . .
No one is prepared to place bets on the outcome of the negotiations, even though the understanding is that everyone wants a deal — even the journalists who arrived in Geneva again, meeting like students at a school reunion.
4. SUCCESS – Photo Outrage: New York Times Admits It Got It Wrong: The Gray Lady fesses up to poor photo selection. But why haven’t they changed the image yet?
5. Kumbaya in Qom Catechisms: Laura Rozen’s dual-loyalty tweets reveal a snide, dismissive attitude towards Israeli concerns. Whose puppet are you?
6. The Guardian Walls Out Israelis, Suicide Bombers, and Balance: Israelis talking about suicide bombers would ruin the mood created by Palestinians criticizing the security barrier.
7. Where Are Your Bloody Photos? The NY Times teaches us that objective truth has a place in the newsroom.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Reuters: Israel’s medium-range missile interceptor, David’s Sling, passed a live test. Defense officials are hopeful it can be deployed next year.
It will bridge the Iron Dome short-range rocket interceptor and the Arrow ballistic missile interceptor, both already operational, to form a multi-level shield that the Israelis are developing with Washington’s help as a bulwark against Iran and its allies on the Israeli border.
• The UNRWA’s special treatment of Palestinian refugees is blowing back on the Palestinians fleeing Syria. Elliott Abrams says this highlights how the agency “has outlived its usefulness and is doing more harm than good for Palestinians.”
• The Palestinian Authority is cracking down on freedom of expression again. Khaled Abu Toameh explains:
For Western governments, so long as the Palestinian Authority leadership says it is committed to the peace process with Israel, its leaders are free to rule as a dictatorship.
Western diplomats based in Ramallah say they are fully aware of the anti-democratic measures taken by the Palestinian Authority. But, they add, these measures are an “internal Palestinian issue” that does not concern the international community . . .
The Palestinian Authority also apparently does not want the outside world, especially international donors, to hear about the financial corruption and violations of freedom of the media. It wants criticism to be directed only toward Israel in the hope that this will invite international pressure on the Israelis and force them to accept at the negotiating table all of Abbas’s demands.
More on the PA’s assualt on free speech at The Media Line.
Iranian Atomic Urgency
• Don’t worry, Israel can be confident that the Iranian regime is moderate, pragmatic, and can be trusted with nuclear toys. After all, everybody has their loose cannon extremists, right?
• A group of Congressmen meeting with President Obama agreed to delay a vote on stiffening sanctions until after the next round of P5+1 talks in Geneva. NY Times coverage.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Not in my backyard: With nobody offering to host the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, the NY Times reports the US is weighing the possibility of neutralizing and/or incinerating the chemical agents at sea.
• Reuters: US-Arab strains offer Russia an opening to expand influence.
On Tuesday, Wikimedia went a step further, sending a cease and desist letter to Jordan French, the CEO of Wiki-PR, a public-relations agency. The letter demands that the firm stop editing Wikipedia articles. The letter says that Wikimedia’s own investigation found that Wiki-PR had taken steps to “make it appear as if certain articles are written by unbiased sources when in fact those articles are authored by Wiki-PR for money.” (In Wiki-lingo, that practice is called sockpuppetry or meatpuppetry.)
(Image of censorship via Flickr/carolyntiry)
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.