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Today’s Top Stories
1. Israel to rejoin UN Human Rights Council?
News reports in Israel claim the Netanyahu government agreed to end its 18 month boycott of the controversial body in exchange for a place with the Western European and Others Group (WEOG). Hillel Neuer of UN Watch says the reports are premature.
2. Bedouin and Arab Israelis riot over the Prawer Plan, which seeks to provide Israeli Bedouins with permanent housing and to settle land disputes.
3. Sky News gives Mohammed Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, space to threaten all-out war against Israel on the pretext of Israeli demands that Jews be granted the right to pray on the Temple Mount.
Imagine the outrage if an Israeli said the following:
“If the Israelis come here it will be more than an intifada,” he said.
What do you mean more than an intifada?
“The whole region will be engulfed by war,” the Grand Mufti insisted.
Such threats are not idle.
Meanwhile, a group of Muslims attacked Jews for singing Hanukah songs on the Mount on Sunday morning. Four people were arrested and the Temple Mount closed.
Iranian Atomic Urgency
• Benjamin Netanyahu ordered intelligence services to find proof Iran is violating the terms of its agreement with world powers.
• Financial Times interviews Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani. “One hundred per cent [no],” he said when asked about dismantling nuclear facilities. Meanwhile, Europeans are already jostling for opportunities to do business with the Islamic Republic.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• The Independent offers a gallery by a photographer who took pictures of the bedrooms of new recruits in the IDF. The stated message is, “guns are ‘part of youth culture’ in Israel.”
• The UK government is reportedly taking action against The Guardian for endangering national security by publishing Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks.
The Guardian’s top editor, Alan Rusbridger, is being forced to appear before a parliamentary committee Tuesday to explain the news outlet’s actions. The move comes after British officials ordered the destruction of hard drives at the Guardian’s London headquarters, even as top ministers have taken to the airwaves to denounce the newspaper. Scotland Yard has also suggested it may be investigating the paper for possible breaches of British law.
The government treatment of the Guardian is highlighting the very different way Britons tend to view free speech, a liberty that here is seen through the prism of the public good and privacy laws as much as the right to open expression.
• Egypt has downgraded relations with Turkey, further increasing Turkey’s isolation under Erdogan.
Following Israel and Syria, Egypt became the third country in the region to recently downgrade its relations with Turkey. This situation stands in stark contrast to the stated foreign policy aims of the ruling AKP government. In 2009, when Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu declared he would implement a policy of “zero problems with neighbors,” the common assumption was that he would push for thawing of relations with Cyprus and Armenia – with whom Turkey has had no diplomatic relations since 1974 and 1994, respectively.
Four years later, Turkey has not only failed to improve relations with either of its longstanding adversaries, but has had its diplomatic representation formally downgraded with more countries in the region, in addition to enjoying rockier relations with most other countries in the Middle East.
• The Globe and Mail reviews Haaretz journalist Ari Shavit’s new book about Israel and its ambivalent view of the Jewish state.
Born in 1957, Shavit, who writes for the Israeli liberal daily Haaretz, has long explored his country’s fraught condition, which he characterizes thus: “On the one hand, Israel is the only nation in the West that is occupying another people. On the other hand, Israel is the only nation in the West that is existentially threatened.” The author sees an “inner circle of the conflict in which an Israeli Goliath stands over a Palestinian David,” and an “outer circle in which an Arab-Islamic Goliath stands over an Israeli David.”
For more, see Thursday’s Israel Daily News Stream.