Syrian Warplanes Bomb Palestinian Refugee Camp

JonathanPollardthumb

microchip CloudFare considers itself the “Switzerland” of cyber-defense: Turns out it provided services for both the IDF and Hamas. Israel HaYom explains why that’s legally dodgy:

CloudFlare’s unusual position at the heart of this debate came to the fore last month, when the Israel Defense Forces sought help from CloudFlare after its Web site was struck by attackers based in Gaza. The IDF approached the same company that provides those services to Hamas and the al-Quds Brigades, according to publicly searchable domain information. Both Hamas and al-Quds, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, are designated by the United States as terrorist groups.

Under the USA Patriot Act, U.S. firms are forbidden from providing “material support” to groups deemed foreign terrorist organizations. But what constitutes material support — like many other facets of the law itself — has been subject to intense debate.

An IDF probe found that last week’s video from Hebron did not show soldiers fleeing Palestinian rioters. They were chasing other Palestinians, who couldn’t be seen on camera. YNet adds:

However, the army said, the troops did not deal with the rioters appropriately.

According to Reuters, two of its cameramen were assaulted by IDF soldiers in Hebron. The Foreign Press Association condemned the attack.

The IDF Spokesman’s unit is already preparing for the next war.

Mordechai said Lebanon was likely the main future front, adding that the West Bank was also a potential front.

Egypt approves Iranian aid convoy to enter Gaza. According to Maan News, it’ll arrive in two weeks.

Despite the lopsided UN vote, Israel’s still winning in Europe. Arsen Ovstrovsky explains why:

Regrettably, when commentators lament how Israel has ‘lost’ Europe, they overlook the impressive list of achievements by this government in the past four years.

The Guardian‘s Chris McGreal relishes the prospect of Israeli settlements being dragged to the International Criminal Court.

BDS makes inroads down under: New Zealand gov’t fund divests from Israeli firms over settlement construction.

Quartet envoy Tony Blair and the Palestinians don’t feel the love these days, reports The Independent.

Arab Spring Winter

Farouk Shara

Farouk Shara

In an interview to be published by a Lebanese newspaper, Syrian Vice President Farouk Shara admitted that the government and rebels are in a stalemate that neither side can win militarily. AP writes:

Al-Sharaa told the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar that neither the rebels nor the Assad regime can “decide the battle militarily.” It appeared to be an attempt to show that the rebels are not the solution to the Syria conflict, and their victory might bring chaos to the country.

Balancing that, he said the Assad regime “cannot achieve change.”

The Sunday Times details Bashar Assad’s contingency plans to flee to coastal Alawite territory for his last stand. The Times also adds that Moscow’s drawing contingency plans to evacuate Russians from the country.

Washington Post: The US is planning for possibility that Assad could lose control of his chemical weapons cache. Try sleeping better:

The sites are not secure, retired Maj. Gen. Adnan Silou, who defected to the opposition in June, said in an interview near Turkey’s border with Syria. “Probably anyone from the Free Syrian Army or any Islamic extremist group could take them over,” he said.

Tom Friedman wonders if Egypt will follow in the footsteps of India or Pakistan.

Rest O’ the Roundup

Mysterious explosion at what is believed to be a Hezbollah arms depot in the southern Lebanese village of Tairharfa. According to Naharnet, the blast took place in an abandoned hen house just 200 meters away from residential homes. Other news services picked up on the story, but nobody else noted collateral damage — that word only applies when Israel’s responsible.

After the tragic Sandy Hook massacre, see the Times of Israel and Washington Post for myths and facts of gun-toting Israelis.

It looks likely that Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel’s going to be nominated for Secretary of Defense. Eli Lake (The Daily Beast) reports that Israel advocates in the US are concerned. But the fact that “the Israel lobby” is worried is a virtue, as far as Professor Stephen Walt‘s concerned. In his top 5 reasons Obama should pick Chuck Hagel for SecDef, Walt writes:

5: He’s got the right enemies. Hagel does have one political liability: Unlike almost all of his former colleagues on Capitol Hill, he hasn’t been a complete doormat for the Israel lobby. . .

And what better way for Obama to pay back Benjamin Netanyahu for all the “cooperation” Obama received from him during the first term, as well as Bibi’s transparent attempt to tip the scale for Romney last fall?

See also Richard Baehr‘s take on what Hagel and John Kerry in Obama’s cabinet might mean for Israel, and Politico.

Two interesting revelations from a declassified CIA assessment of the Jonathan Pollard case.

1) He did not gather info about the US, but about the USSR, Pakistan, Egypt and Iraq.

2) Pollard’s life sentence was the result of an unauthorized media interviews he and his then-wife Anne gave to the Jerusalem Post and 60 Minutes. The interviews violated Pollard’s plea agreement:

The CIA speculated in the damage assessment that by giving the interviews, the Pollards were trying to mobilize support among American Jews and the Israeli government, but that strategy backfired.

Over at Bloomberg News, Washington insiders Lee Hamilton, Thomas Pickering and Anthony Zinni tag-teamed on an op-ed addressing Iranian sanctions.

(Image of microchip via Kozzi.com, Shara via YouTube/AFP)

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The above is how Haaretz chose to illustrate the tensions in U.S.-Israel relations. This cartoon by Amos Biderman is offensive ...