Egypt to Label Hamas a Terror Group?

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Today’s Top Stories

1. Israel released 26 Palestinian prisoners last night. Now what?

The Palestinians are demanding that in the next batch Israel include Israeli-Arabs who carried out terrorist attacks, something Jerusalem has until now adamantly refused to do. The Prime Minister’s Office said that Israel never committed itself at any stage to release Israeli Arabs. A decision to do so would entail another cabinet vote.

But Israel’s tying the release of its own citizens to Jonathan Pollard. The Jerusalem Post explains:

Netanyahu reportedly told Kerry that while Israel was not willing to release Israeli-Arab prisoners as a gesture to the Palestinians, it would be willing to release them as a gesture to the US, in return for the release of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard.

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2. Terror attacks in Volgograd put a spotlight on the Russian Winter Olympics now six weeks away. Time got the Israeli team’s perspective on Sochi security. (Yes, Israel’s sending a five-man team to the winter games.)

“We have to remember that the terror attacks in Russia are because of internal tension between the Caucasus republics and Russia. It has nothing to do with Israel and the Jews,” says Shklar. “But of course we have to remember, wherever we are, we attract fire.”

3. Now that Egypt has dubbed the Muslim Brotherhood a terror group, will Cairo slap that designation on Hamas too?

The new status of the Brotherhood does not apply to Hamas, Egypt’s ambassador to the Palestinian Authority Yasser Othman told Ma’an news agency on Monday, but added that Hamas’s conduct towards Egypt will determine his country’s treatment of it.

4. The People’s Choice: The Top 10 Stories of 2013: What was HonestReporting’s most popular content of the year?

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Israel and the Palestinians

Haaretz looks at the 32 remaining pre-Oslo prisoners to be released in April — assuming peace talks stay on track.

The Jerusalem Post and YNet weigh in on last night’s release.

One prisoner release report that stood out was Australia’s ABC News. What was the thinking behind Hayden Cooper’s backdrop in an otherwise decent piece?

ABC News

AP updates the latest on John Kerry’s imminent Mideast visit. See Aaron David Miller‘s optimistic take on the diplomacy.

On the next page:

  • Might international law allow Israel to annex the Jordan Valley?
  • Palestinians starving to death in Syrian refugee camp.
  • Lebanon’s on eggshells.

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