Khaled Meshaal Returns to Gaza

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NY Times public editor Margaret Sullivan follows up on her recent revelation that Jodi Rudoren has been assigned a social media “babysitter.”

Worth reading: Turkish columnist asks Is Hamas for Real, or a Bad Joke?

An Irish Times staff-ed buys into the hype and hot air that E1 development will cut the West Bank in two and calls for a boycott of settlement products. Last week, in an unseemly move with a whiff of Nazi-era blacklisting, the paper printed a list of settlement products for readers to boycott.

Giving Mahmoud Abbas an easy boost, Jordan’s King Abdullah visited Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah to congratulate the PA chief on his successful statehood bid. Reuters coverage.

Worth reading: George Will‘s Case For Targeted Killings.

Call it the Crowdsourced Peace Plan: Draw your own Israeli-Palestinian borders at The Atlantic‘s interactive tool. What demographic trade-offs would you make? And what are your thoughts on other people’s maps?

Ambassador Michael Oren plugs Iron Dome in a Wall St. Journal op-ed (via Google News).

By neutralizing most rockets headed for populated areas, the Iron Dome  gives decision makers invaluable time to find diplomatic solutions. If  salvos of rockets were pummeling Israeli homes, hospitals and schools,  Israeli leaders would be under immense pressure to order ground  operations that could yield significant casualties. By denying the  terrorists a decisive offensive advantage, Iron Dome will save lives and prevent wars.

UCLA professor Saree Makdisi plugs the one-state solution in a NY Times op-ed.

The Church of the Nativity settled a $2.3 million water bill that threatened to become an international issue. According to Israel HaYom, parties to the settlement include the various church organizations who oversee the site, several government ministries, and the Jerusalem municipality.

Iranian Atomic Urgency

New sanctions planned against Iran “lock up” the country’s oil earnings. Reuters explains:

Starting in February, a foreign bank handling transactions related to  Iranian oil sales must ensure the payments are held in an account  within the importing country, and are used only for permissible trade between that country and Iran.

If banks transfer Iran’s oil earnings beyond their borders, they will risk losing access to the U.S. banking system, Cohen explained.

A Wall Street Journal staff-ed (via Google News) worries about Iran’s plutonium stockpile — which can also be used to make nuclear weapons.

Arab Spring Winter

You’ll sleep better knowing that (according to Times of London — paywall), Israeli special forces are already inside Syria tracking the movement of chemical weapons.

You won’t sleep better knowing that (according to the NY Times) US-approved arms for Libyan rebels fell into jihadi hands.

You won’t sleep better knowing that (according to the Washington Times) the Muslim Brotherhood is inheriting an awful “big ticket” American military support. Did anyone tell the Pentagon that Mubarak was ousted?

For now, Egypt is due 200 M1A1 Abrams battle tanks, the same  mechanized firepower manned by American soldiers, bringing Egypt’s inventory to a robust 1,200.

Also in the pipeline is a squadron of the Air Force F-16 Falcon, a multipurpose warplane able to dogfight and drop ordnance.

Clash of Cultures Within Egypt Made Visible in a Single Frame of Video

According to Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, the Arab world isn’t impressed with the Washington’s handling of the Cairo crisis.

The Syrian opposition posted a video showing an army helicopter shooting what appears to be white phosphorus over a village. More on the story at the Washington Post.

Charles Blair (Foreign Policy) doesn’t believe Assad will use chemical weapons against his own people. But he’s more concerned about the WMDs falling into jihadi hands.

Unfortunately, some of the terrorist groups operating in or near Syria do in fact possess the operational capabilities to competently control various quantities of deadly chemical agents.

Syrian opposition delegates created a Supreme Military Council and a Chief of Staff to unify and coordinate their fight against Damascus. Two of the most radical Islamic rebel groups weren’t invited to the Turkish-hosted gathering. According to AP, it looks like an effort for secular Syrians to reclaim their uprising:

If the new command can lead effectively and supply badly needed weapons, it could attract fighters who joined hard-line groups because they were flush with arms but may not agree with their ideology, she said. . .

The rebel commander from near Damascus said the group had chosen Brig. Gen. Salim Idriss, who defected from Assad’s army, as its chief of staff. It also had divided Syria into five regions, each of which will be under one of Idriss’ assistants.

Rest O’ the Roundup

Meet Avi Assouly, the only member of the French parliament with an Israeli passport who has previous experience in the IDF,  the Maccabi Tel Aviv soccer team, and journalism. This comment to Israel HaYom captures his unlikely combination of worlds in alignment — or is it just me?

“Almost all the French media are pro-Palestinian,” he says. “France has always liked the underdog. People here don’t like winners, so they won’t favor a strong Israel. But Israel can’t afford to be weak, and that’s where the frustration lies.”

Ambassador Belaynesh Zevadia

YNet: She was just 13 when her family immigrated to Israel, but Belaynesh Zevadia came back to Ethiopia — as Israel’s first Ethiopian-born ambassador. She visited her hometown for the first time in 30 years.

“I told the kids I attended their school and they were shocked,” she said.

• The Washington Post is likely to introduce a paywall in 2013. According to the Wall St. Journal, which broke the story, expect a metered-reading model similar to the NY Times. On a related note, see Gawker‘s take on media paywalls.

On a lighter note, Freakonomics (hat tip: Poynter) posted a collection of hilariously horrible headlines.

(Image of Meshaal via YouTube/Euronews, money Flickr/sushi ina)

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