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Today’s Top Stories
1. John Kerry will reportedly present a framework peace agreement to Israeli and Palestinian negotiators by December 31. According to Maan News:
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas informed the Arab League about the upcoming proposal, saying it would contain US suggestions regarding the borders of the future Palestinian state, Sbeih said.
2. NBC caved in to Palestinian pressure and said it won’t be filming a mini-series, Dig, in Jerusalem as originally reported. According to Haaretz, network executives have denied to the PLO that there was ever any plan to shoot the six-episode drama in eastern Jerusalem.
3. Israel and Turkey could be nearing a breakthrough in restoring ties. Haaretz reports the Turks relaxed their position on Israeli compensation:
“The agreement is ready; all that’s left is to fill in the blank with a number. There are still differences regarding the amounts, but they have narrowed,” the senior Israeli official said, adding, “There is a will on both sides to wrap things up as soon as possible and normalize relations.”
In the event of an agreement on the compensation, Jerusalem and Ankara are expected to immediately announce an upgrading of relations and the exchange of ambassadors. In addition, the Turkish government will pass a law withdrawing all claims against IDF officers and soldiers connected to the flotilla raid and will block any similar claims in the future. Turkey will also cease to work against Israel in international forums.
4. PLO Claims Jesus Was Palestinian: “Palestine celebrates the birth of one of its own.” One of its own?
5. Honesty, Like a Pin a Haystack: An Israel advocate in Southern California describes being inspired by HonestReporting.
Christians in the Holy Land
• Thumbs up to the Christian Science Monitor‘s look at the status of Christians in the Mideast. She did her homework with info on Christian communities in Jordan, Syria, Egypt, and Iraq. That lends context to what reporter Christa Case Bryant had to say about the communities in Israel and the PA:
In Gaza, fewer than 2,000 Christians remain. Muslim militants have bombed churches, killed prominent Christians, and forced others to convert to Islam. In the West Bank, Arab Christians are better off than many in parts of the region, but only an estimated 50,000 live there – about 2 percent of the population, down from 10 percent in 1920. Much of that change, however, is due to faster Muslim growth rather than an actual decrease in Christian totals.
One exception to the decline is Israel, where the Christian population has grown nearly fivefold, to 158,000, since the country’s founding in 1948. Even so, their share of the population has dropped from about 3 percent to 2 percent, and critics note that Palestinian Christian families who fled or were forced out just prior to Israel’s founding gave the country an artificially low baseline. Much of the increase was due to the immigration of Christians from the former Soviet Union, under Israel’s expanded law of return, which welcomes those with a Jewish mother or maternal grandmother.
• A reader complained about this Daily Telegraph cartoon. Patrick Blower had a go at the BBC for giving airtime to hate preacher Anjem Choudary. The Telegraph also filled in more info about the soapbox Choudary got. I happened to like this cartoon. What do you think?
The BBC used licence payers’ money to ferry hate preacher Anjem Choudary to its studios where he was allowed to spout his “poisonous narrative” over the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, it can be revealed.
The founder of the banned extremist group, Al-Muhajiroun, was given 12 minutes of airtime yesterday morning on Radio 4’s flagship Today Programme, during which he again refused to condemn the savage killing in Woolwich, south London.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Hamas reaffirms necessity as the mother of invention. Thanks to Egypt’s all-out war on Gaza’s smuggling tunnels, Hamas is investing more in home-made rockets with longer range. More at YNet. Meanwhile, a Gaza rocket struck Hof Ashkelon, landing near a children’s bus stop. Nobody was injured.
• The storm kicked up by the American Studies Association’s boycott of Israeli academics continued in full force. Legal Insurrection, lists all the schools coming out against the boycott, adding that the ASA was caught off-guard by the blowback:
In seeking to make Israel a pariah, the ASA anti-Israel boycotters have made themselves pariahs in American civil society and severely damaged the reputation of the ASA.
• The ASA’s responsible for a lot of broken reeds and spilled ink. See staff-eds in the Washington Post, NY Post, Boston Herald, and Daily Iowan. More commentary at The Hill, Chicago Tribune, New Republic, and Calgary Herald. Last but not least, Native American Ryan Bellerose appeared on Sun News (via IsraellyCool), utterly demolishing the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association’s boycott.
Money and sex aren’t the only things Canadians don’t talk about.
(Image of church via Flickr/Seetheholyland.net)
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.