Pro-Hezbollah Paper Intimidates Tribunal Witnesses

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Today’s Top Stories

1. I’m glad to see AP noted for the record the UN report (advance version) exonerating Israel for the death of 11 month-old baby Omar Masharawi.

The U.N. office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a March 6 report that the incident was caused by “what appeared to be a Palestinian rocket that fell short of Israel.”

Hamas had no response Monday. BBC officials were not immediately available for comment.

The image of Jihad Masharawi holding his dead son quickly became an iconic media image of last year’s Gaza conflict, partly because of the father’s BBC connections. Will other news services do the right thing and pick up on the UN report?

HonestReporting’s related shareable graphic is up on Flickr.  If you want others to care, remember to share.

UN exonerates Israel in Gaza child death. Don't let the media ignore the crimes of Hamas.

2. This JTA report is sick: The  Paris suburb of Bezons honored the Palestinian murderer of Israeli cabinet minister Rehavam Zeevi by making him an honorary resident. Here’s what the council had to say about Majdi Al-Rimawi:

“He is imprisoned for more than 10 years in an Israeli prison. His crime? Defending his city and its inhabitants, calling for the application of international law for the establishment of Palestine in the 1967 borders as recognized by the United Nations and Jerusalem as its capital. For this he was sentenced in 2002 [sic] to life in prison… More than 80 years!” proclaims the newsletter article.

Zeevi’s assassination was masterminded by Ahmed Sa’adat, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s better-known top dog.

3. Great moments in witness tampering and intimidation. A pro-Hezbollah newspaper published the names, passport photos, birth dates and places of work of more than 30 possible witnesses to testify to the UN’s tribunal investigating the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Writes the NY Times:

The witnesses’ names “were clearly published with the idea of scaring people and preventing any cooperation with the court,” said a lawyer who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is linked to the trial . . .

Facing criticism, the editor of Al Akhbar, Ibrahim al-Amin, wrote that naming witnesses was “part of what the public is entitled to know.”

4. Self-Determination: Jews Need Not Apply: A professor’s anti-Semitic manifesto published in the NY Times concludes that the idea of a Jewish state is undemocratic.

Israel and the Palestinians

The trial of a group of Palestinian teens shines a light on constant barrage of Molotov cocktails, stone-throwing and arson attemps Jews living in Silwan face. YNet writes:

Similar indictments are being filed against Palestinians from Silwan on an almost weekly basis. As part of the struggle against Jewish settlement in the neighborhood, the declared goal of all the accused in these cases is to cause Jews to leave.

Daniel Frank has Haaretz pegged, touching on the paper’s bias and international influence. Frank aptly sums up the paper’s misleading and damaging coverage, calling Haaretz onto the carpet for debunked stories like the “forced” contraception of Ethiopian women, and Gideon Levy‘s apartheid poll.

Mahmoud Abbas and Ehud Olmert

Mahmoud Abbas and Ehud Olmert

Great woulda/coulda/shoulda moments in Israeli-Palestinian history: According to the New Republic, Mahmoud Abbas was ready and willing to sign a peace agreement with Ehud Olmert in 2008. Everything was set: A small, symbolic return of refugees, Jerusalem’s division, and land swaps. So what went wrong?

But Abbas didn’t sign. His refusal to do so has become twinned in the Israeli public imagination with Arafat’s outright rejection of Ehud Barak’s offer at Camp David. But according to senior Israeli, Palestinian, and American officials involved, the reason was more complex. Abbas feared that Olmert, who had announced that he planned to resign in order to fight corruption allegations, wouldn’t be able to deliver on his promises.

Aides to then–Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who had been nominated to replace Olmert as head of the Kadima Party before the upcoming elections, had sent messages telling Abbas not to sign. “The message was, ‘Wait for me,’” Abrams recalled. “Now, I think it was a historic mistake for him not to have signed, but it’s not crazy for him not to have signed.”

For more commentary, see Jonathan Tobin.

Rest O’ the Roundup

A Sydney Morning Herald staff-ed weighs in on the Prisoner X brouhaha.

Irish cabinet minister Alan Shatter’s visiting the Mideast. On the Lebanese leg of his tour, he told the Daily Star he rejected distinctions between Hezbollah’s political and armed “wings.” I’m glad to see one European who gets it. After all, Hezbollah insists it is a single entity too.

Photo flubbery at its finest. Denmark’s TV2 station used an image from the video game, Assassin’s Creed, as a backdrop for news anchor Cecilie Beck’s update on Syria.  But don’t shoot the messenger. An embarrassed TV2 staff explained to AP:

One of the TV channel’s employees had found the image online and thought it was a photo of Damascus’ skyline.

Pittsfield Police Chief Shares His Israel Experience

Israeli official to Hurriyet: Beware the “Somalization” of Syria.

The Wall St. Journal updates the latest from Syria’s civil war.

Michael Totten‘s in northern Lebanon.

The regime in Damascus has exported terrorism to every single one of its neighbors. Now it’s sucking them in. Iran is involved. Lebanon is involved. The Saudis and the Qataris are involved. Even Iraq is involved. Your guess is as good as mine how much longer Turkey, the U.S., and Israel can stay out.

Western personnel now giving Syrian rebels military and intelligence training in Jordan. The Guardian describes it as “an effort to strengthen secular elements in the opposition as a bulwark against Islamic extremism.”

Iranian nuclear smuggling network busted.

(Image of Abbas and Olmert via YouTube/nocommenttv)

For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.

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