John Kerry’s Diplomatic Trade-OffDecember 30, 2013 15:02 by Pesach Benson
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Today’s Top Stories
1. Let’s make a deal: According to Arab reports picked up by the Times of Israel, John Kerry will propose the following tradeoff: The Palestinians will recognize Israel as a Jewish state, while Israel accepts the 1967 borders as the basis for negotiations:
“The coming weeks will be difficult for the Palestinian and Israeli sides, since they will need to make tough decisions,” a source told Al-Watan. “On the one hand, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will need to live with a text speaking of the 1967 borders, and the Palestinians, for their part, will need to live with a text speaking of Israel’s Jewishness.”
2. The Saudis are aggressively throwing their weight around in Lebanon. The kingdom pledged $3 billion to
counter Hezbollah’s influence boost the Lebanese army, and is reportedly pushing a fait accompli cabinet that Hezbollah’s resisting.
Now that America and Iran are talking seriously, things could be different. In sharp contrast to Israel and the Persian Gulf monarchies, which have been alarmed by the interim deal on Iran’s nuclear program, Turkey sees benefit in serving as a bridge between Iran and the West and in providing the gateway to the world that Tehran needs as it emerges from isolation.
4. Headline Fails Over Lebanon Rockets: Big Media serves up your daily dose of sensationalism.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Following the assassination of former finance minister and Hezbollah critic Mohamad Chatah, Asharq al-Awsat reports rising calls to exclude Hezbollah from the government. But ongoing political paralysis plays into Hezbollah’s hands:
Lebanon has been without an elected government for more than eight months, being ruled by a caretaker cabinet led by interim Prime Minister Najib Mikati. Prime minister-designate, Tammam Salam, has been unable to form a cabinet since his appointment in April, the longest any appointee has held the post without forming a government.
Chatah had just completed an open letter to Iran to be presented to Iranian president Hasan Rouhani, and was about to gather the signatures of Lebanese parliamentarians. The Wall St. Journal published the text of Chatah’s letter.
• Memri found and translated a video of the blast rattling Future TV’s studio during a live broadcast. I would have been just as spooked.
• 300: That’s the IDF’s estimate of the number of Hezbollah operatives killed in Syria.
• Egypt arrested three journalists from Al-Jazeera English for airing “false news,” possessing inciting materials, and illegally meeting with the banned Muslim Brotherhood. The NY Times elaborates on the charges, while the BBC identifies two of the reporters.
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.