Morsi Power Grab Sparks Egyptian Unrest

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Today’s Top Stories

1. Satellite photos are tracking an Iranian cargo ship carrying rockets and other weapons for Gaza via Sudan. The Times of London explains Tehran’s rush:

Tehran is expected to rearm the Palestinians in Gaza as fast as possible because it believes an attack by Israel, perhaps with American assistance, could be launched against its nuclear facilities as early as the spring. Rocket attacks from Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza would almost certainly form part of Iran’s military response.

Indeed, the no. 2 man in Hamas, Musa Abu Marzook to AP: We’ll continue arming because violence is the only way to get concessions.

2. Do you see a trend here? The NY Times published the following trio of op-eds; all are dated November. 23:

1. Yousef Munayyer: The US needs to rethink its support of Israel.

2. Eran Yashiv: The Tel Aviv U. wonk plugs the 1995 Abu Mazen-Yossi Beilin peace plan.

3. Yonatan Touval: Another Israeli wonk says the world needs to impose a peace plan on Israel and the PLO.

4. The next day, Tom Friedman urged Israel to undercut Hamas by empowering the secular PA.

3. Mohammed Mursi power grab sparks demonstrations and judicial revolt. More at AP. Another example of Calvinball in Cairo. A Wall Street Journal staff-ed (via Google News) explains the Egyptian calculus:

The Brotherhood doesn’t control the military or Ministry of Interior, yet neither one is going to rush to defend a more liberal Egyptian state. The military’s main goal is to protect its role in government and its economic interests, and the Brotherhood’s draft constitution puts the military outside of civilian control.

As long as Mr. Morsi doesn’t challenge those interests, the military and police may let him control the courts, the media and the legislature. This is a recipe for rule a la Pakistan, with an increasingly Islamist state but the military and intelligence services as an independent power.

Meanwhile, Tariq Almohayed’s we-told-you-so is worth reading.

Cairo demonstrations

Pillar of Defense Postscripts

According to the Washington Post, more West Bank Palestinians see the PA’s non-violent approach to Israel as “futile.”

In a region where Arab Spring uprisings pushed political Islam to the forefront, some analysts say Fatah’s secular nationalism looks more anachronistic by the day, and Hamas’s sudden strength has raised momentum for more aggressive, even radical, posture in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Schools in Gaza’s vicinity re-opened for the first time since Operation Pillar of Defense began. YNet points out that back-to-school-after rockets isn’t the same as coming back from snow days:

Before diving back into the curriculum, teachers and students will be discussing the Gaza operation, during which more than 1,000 rockets were fired toward Israel.

“We start the week with discussions, in preparation for which teachers will be trained by professional counselors, so that they too can unburden themselves as well as be able to listen to students,” Shuster explained.

Patrick Pexton, the Washington Post’s reader’s editor, weighed in on the front page photo of Jehad Mashhrawi holding his dead baby. I don’t disagree with his point that a photo only tells part of the story. But then he went off on a tangent about Gaza rockets that Simon Plosker blogged. See Bee Stings in the Israeli Bear’s Behind.

The Palestinians are planning a new round of lawfare. The Independent explains the plan:

Now the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is preparing legal action, through its Israeli counterparts, against the Israeli authorities over civilian casualties due to military action, with a stress on child victims . . .

According to PCHR and other human rights groups, the militias lost 51 killed and 29 injured. The Israeli authorities have accused the militants of deliberately firing rockets from heavily urban areas, deliberately putting civilian lives at risk and, indeed, there is some evidence pointing towards this.

The Hill‘s reporting new Congressional interest in shutting down the Twitter accounts of designated terror groups like Hamas.

The UK Press Complaints Commission received 29 complaints about a Gaza cartoon in The Guardian.

And the Jewish Chronicle quoted cartoonist Steve Bell’s digging in his heels:

Mr Bell defended the cartoon, stating that his inspiration was a press conference given by Mr Netanyahu in front of numerous Israeli flags and arguing that the images of Mr Hague and Mr Blair were “a side issue”.

He said the cartoon was about “the cynical manipulation of a situation by a specific politician” and “NOT about cynical manipulation by ‘the Jews’. I refute completely any charge of antisemitism, since I would never conflate the two.

“I also refute the charge that I am somehow deliberately repeating the antisemitic ‘trope’ of the puppet master. The willful manipulation is Netanyahu’s not mine. I can’t be held responsible for whatever cultural precepts and misapprehensions people choose to bring to my cartoon. My intention, I think, is fairly clear.”

Who Speaks For the Palestinians Now?

Delegations of Hispanic-American journalists and Chinese bloggers experienced Israel under fire. Israel HaYom says they conveyed their experiences to their combined millions of followers in the news and social media.

Fear, terror and helplessness washed over the group. But some good came of the incident, at least from the Israeli perspective. The foreign journalists got a taste of the war situation in Israel and felt the rocket threat firsthand. Back at the hotel that evening, they translated their experience into articles, radio broadcasts and blog posts that were seen and heard all over the world.

Now that Hamas has fired rockets at Tel Aviv, Hezbollah has to keep up with the Joneses. Nasrallah can only say, “We’ll get ‘em next year.”

Hezbollah warns Israel of rocket onslaught in any future war

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