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. Lebanese Katyushas landed on Israel this morning. The IDF responded with artillery fire. No casualties reported on either side of the border. More at the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, and AFP. Ron Ben-Yishai assesses what it all means.
#Hezbollah is pressing hard to be granted similar powers in security & foreign policy matters that Syria exercised in Lebanon for 15 yrs.
— Mohamad B Chatah (@mohamad_chatah) December 27, 2013
3. Israel’s due to release 26 Palestinian prisoners tomorrow. The Times of Israel lists the names, along with their dirty deeds.
4. Following Up on the Dishonest Reporting Awards: Comments and the roar of the crowd.
5. It’s Not About Free Speech: Swarthmore students want to use Hillel to promote anti-Israel speakers for the sake of diversity. Did the NY Times endorse this?
6. Any Excuse to Attack Israel: Does The Independent believe that demonizing Israel is a good way to increase page views?
Israel and the Palestinians
• Chutzpah: A Gaza gunman tried to get a permit to cross into Israel for eye treatment — so he could be a better sniper shooting Israelis. The Jerusalem Post explains:
Security sources said Abu Amsha intended to receive the treatment, that would improve his eye sight, so that he could take part in future sniper attacks against IDF soldiers.
“During questioning he said he was supposed to act as a sniper in an attack planned against IDF patrols along the electronic fence with the Strip,” the Shin Bet said. “He gathered intelligence on IDF movements in various sectors, trained in firearms, and tested various methods of operation for the attack,” the domestic intelligence service added.
An eye injury impeded Abu Amsha’s plans, so he attempted to travel to Ramallah for treatment.
(Related reading: Medical Entry Permits: By the Numbers)
• John Kerry’s reportedly considering a proposal tying Jonathan Pollard’s freedom to a pending Israeli prisoner release, according to the Jerusalem Post. Later in the day, the Times of Israel reported US officials were shooting down the idea. Draw your own conclusions.
• Samer Issawi, the Islamic Jihad member who was recently released from prison after a prolonged hunger strike, is already calling for the kidnapping of Israelis. Excerpts from the interview were then posted on the Facebook page of the Israeli Arab political party, Hadash:
“We say very frankly that we want the release [of all Palestinian prisoners] . . . their release will only come about after the kidnapping [of Israelis] and a subsequent prisoner swap,” al-Issawi said in the interview.
•Jack Straw visited the South Hebron Hills with Breaking the Silence. He then followed up with a commentary in the Times of London describing what he saw. You can imagine the spin.
Israel must learn that cruelty does not pay, says Jack Straw http://t.co/unoGqaZUlS
— The Times of London (@thetimes) December 28, 2013
• The Guardian talked to the first graduates of the IDF’s “combat camera” course:
“My main mission is to film. I think the job of anyone recording what happens is much more important than any fighter,” he told the Guardian. “There are lots of cameras on the other side. They show us apparently acting in an unfair way to civilians, to our enemies. We are here to explain and to document for the entire world that we don’t use force for bad.”
• Of the three investigations into Yasser Arafat’s death, why was the Swiss inquiry the only one to claim the Palestinian chief was poisoned, while France and Russia concluded otherwise? Elliott Abrams voices what I’ve been thinking all along:
The striking thing about the Swiss “investigation” is that it was inspired and financed by al-Jazeera. The report itself is on al-Jazeera stationery, and the opening lines reveal that the entire thing was invented by al-Jazeera. At al-Jazeera’s web site, here, huge amounts of attention are devoted to proving that Arafat was poisoned. There are an amazing 41 “news” stories and documents listed under the headline “Al Jazeera Investigates: Killing Arafat.”
The other teams were not bought and paid for by al-Jazeera and they reached the opposite conclusion. In fact this recent hullabaloo about how Arafat died represents not new science or new evidence, but an effort by al-Jazeera to create trouble. It is yet another proof that al-Jazeera continued to operate in 2013 without the restraints of a normal news medium and should not be regarded as one.
- Backlash against ASA boycott continues.
- Iran reportedly installs “next generation” centrifuges in violation of Geneva deal.
- Hezbollah illicitly used Aussie, Canadian and European passports.