US Boosting Drone Surveillance of Iran

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Today’s Top Stories

1. The US is boosting its drone surveillance of Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor amid questionable fuel transfers. Details at the Wall St. Journal (via Google News).

2. The NY Times reports that Syria began moving some of its chemical weapons, prompting warnings from the West. And Israel sought a Jordanian green light to attack Syrian chemical stockpiles, reports Jeffrey Goldberg:

Intelligence officials in two countries told me recently that the Israeli government has twice come to the Jordanian government with a plan to take out many of Syria’s chemical weapons sites. According to these two officials, Israel has been seeking Jordan’s “permission” to bomb these sites, but the Jordanians have so far declined to grant such permission.

Of course, Israel can attack these sites without Jordanian approval (in 2007, the Israeli Air Force destroyed a Syrian nuclear reactor), but one official told me that the Israelis are concerned about the possible repercussions of such an attack on Jordan. “A number of sites are not far from the border,” he said, further explaining: “The Jordanians have to be very careful about provoking the regime and they assume the Syrians would suspect Jordanian complicity in an Israeli attack.”

3. Participants in the inaugural NSW Jewish Board of Deputies-HonestReporting Israel Advocacy Mission are keeping a diary of their trip. Read about Day Six: seeing  the Jordan Valley and Golan Heights with Elliott Chodoff, a military analyst and “the cruelest sociologist in the world.”

Israel and the Palestinians

There are renewed Irish calls for a boycott of settlement products. In separate articles, the Irish Times talked to officials at the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Israeli embassy in Dublin.

More detestable, however, is a third article serving as a readers guide to boycotting Israel. The Times lists specific brands manufactured in places like “the illegal settlement of Ariel,” “the Barkan industrial zone in the illegally occupied West Bank,” etc. as well as fruit (“likely to have been produced in settlement farms” and the Aeronautic Defense Systems which is based in Yavne, which south of Tel Aviv and certainly not “occupied.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu says he only okayed planning and zoning for E1, not actual construction. The Jerusalem Post says Netanyahu was probably signaling to the PLO that if they continue taking unilateral steps, Israel will begin construction.

Yesterday, I saw quite a bit of hype that E1 development will cut the West Bank in two. That specific spin tapered off, though the Christian Science Monitor still managed to squeeze it in.

Such a bloc of Israeli-controlled territory would divide the northern half of the West Bank from the southern half . . .

For just the facts on E1, see Nadav Shragai at the JCPA.

Despite the statehood celebrations, NY Times correspondent Isabel Kershner says nothing has changed on the ground.

BBC: The UK Foreign Office denied reports that it might recall its ambassador over E1 development.

Decent piece of NY Times reporting: Jodi Rudoren looks at Gaza’s collaborators.

CNN picks up on soccer stars calling for FIFA sanctions against Israel for bombing a Gaza soccer stadium. But when will see a headline like this?

Soccer stars protest Palestinians launching rockets from stadium

Christiane Amanpour

Christiane Amanpour’s doing a special 2-part look at the Holy Land, due to air at the end of December. According to ABC News, Amanpour will

explore the powerful stories from Genesis to the Birth of Jesus. ”Back to the Beginning” peels back the layers of history and faith that has inspired billions.

Last time I recall Amanpour addressing the Holy Land’s three faiths in a high profile way, she won our 2007 Dishonest Reporter Award for God’s Warriors. Stay tuned.

Meet Jacqueline Gmach, an American of Tunisian descent. She’s following in the footsteps of Steven Spielberg by documenting the stories of Jews forced to flee Arab countries during and after World War II. The San Diego Jewish Journal (via Point of No Return) writes:

As part of the Final Solution, Gmach says, the Wannsee Conference promised the elimination of 1 million Jews in France, although only 300,000 Jews were living there at the time.

“Scholars interpret [this fact to mean] that to reach this ‘1 million,’ that the Nazis were adding the numbers of Jews residing in Arab countries to this list,” she explains. “So they were a part of the Final Solution and were viewed in the same way by the Nazi regime.”

 One of the best-known Palestinian hijackers from the 70s, Leila Khalid, is returning to Gaza.  I’d like to think that she’ll have a moderating influence on Gaza kids. She’ll tell the young ‘uns that in the old days, terrorists actually preferred to survive their attacks. (Related reading: Lessons From El Al)

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