Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.
Today’s Top Stories
1. The PA said it’s willing to extend peace talks with Israel beyond the originally agreed-upon nine-month deadline — provided there’s a framework agreement in place. YNet points out:
The comments by Saeb Erekat mark the first time the Palestinians have endorsed the US idea of seeking a preliminary – not final – peace deal.
2. Fallout from the American Studies Boycott of Israel continues. The Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) joined the American Studies Association in boycotting Israeli academics. Indigenous? asks Jonathan Tobin.
By attempting to portray the Palestinians as the “indigenous people” of the territory on which the State of Israel and the administered territories exist and the Jews as the colonial settlers, they are perpetrating the big lie of Palestinian history. Jews are not foreigners in Israel as Europeans were in Africa. They happen to be the indigenous people of their ancient homeland and efforts to deny this isn’t scholarship.
Meanwhile, Brandeis University withdrew from the ASA in protest.
3. Iran and Syria are apparently smuggling weapons to Hezbollah via Iraqi flights because overland convoys have a nasty habit of being blasted by the Israelis. The Jerusalem Post writes:
“Al-Maliki suspects something is going on, but the Iranian regime receives intelligence on any intention to search planes that arrive in Baghdad on their way to Beirut,” he added.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Mahmoud Abbas’s guards had to intervene when two high level Fatah cadres and their well-armed guards got into a fight. According to Reuters, it all started when parliamentarian and former Al-Aqsa Brigades commander Abu al-Rab slapped Jibril Rajoub in the face while they and other PA dignitaries awaited the arrival of Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi.
• Canada called on UN to get rid of Richard Falk, a special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories. Falk told Russia Today that Israel was “slouching toward nothing less than a Palestinian holocaust.” See Hillel Neur‘s take. The PLO was quick to defend Falk. This tweet is sheer idiocy (and has since been removed).
Canadian FM Baird says that UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk makes “anti-Semitic” statements. Does Mr. Baird know that Mr. Falk is a Jew? — PLO-NAD (@nadplo) December 19, 2013
• Israeli officials are a bit disappointed with Pope Francis’s travel plans when he visits the Mideast in March. Much has to do with brevity: The pope’s doing Jordan, Israel and the PA in 48 hours. More on his itinerary at YNet.
• Time takes a look at a growing trend of Palestinians smuggling sperm out of prison to have babies. Reporter Karl Vick seems to take it for granted that people who murder Israelis have a right to become fathers.
• Two Palestinians killed in a Qalqilya firefight. According to the Times of Israel, IDF troops came under fire during an arrest raid. The wanted man — a member of the PA security forces, was among the dead.
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.