Everything you need to know about today’s media coverage of Israel and the Mideast.
A simulated war game’s getting a lot of buzz, the PA questions a journalist, and the IDF’s preparing to take in Syrian refugees.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Now I know why there’s been so little coverage of yesterday’s meeting between Israeli and Palestinian representatives in Amman. The players are imposing a media blackout. The Jerusalem Post explains:
Israeli officials have said the more the talks were held away from the public eye, the better chance they had for success.
Both sides agreed at the last meeting not to talk publicly about the substance of the talks, and let the Jordanians serve as the spokesmen.
And the NY Times adds for good measure:
The Jordanian Foreign Ministry, the only party authorized to make public statements about the meetings, did not make any comment.
• Jonathan D. Halevi looks at the implications of Hamas-Fatah reconciliation:
For Hamas, the central lesson from the Arab Spring is the U.S. administration’s and the European Union’s abandonment of the pro-Western regimes and their readiness, even haste, to support the popular revolutions and recognize the Muslim Brotherhood as a legitimate political actor. To Hamas this indicates that the West is weak and can do nothing but accept the reality that the rebelling peoples dictate . . .
From Israel’s standpoint the trends in the Middle East and in the Palestinian arena are ominous. The PA is forging a strategic alliance with radical Islamic elements, while at the same time the West recognizes their patron – the Muslim Brotherhood – and pursues a policy that in the Middle East appears as weakness. The move by Abbas ensures his regime’s stability for a short time, but will likely emerge as cutting off the branch he sits on and building a bridgehead to Hamas’ full takeover of the PA and the PLO institutions . . .
Like Israel, Jordan faces an existential “Palestinian problem” that would emerge in its full severity after the birth of the Palestinian state, forcing the Palestinians in Jordan to decide the question of their loyalty.
Iranian Atomic Urgency
• A number of news agencies are picking up on a Times of London report about a think tank’s war game shedding light on what might happen “the day after” Iran successfully tests a nuclear weapon.
The article’s behind a paywall but I blogged the eye-opening results — most notably that Israel might have to live with a nuclear-armed Iran — earlier today: War Game Scenario: Israel on the Day After.
• Oh to be a fly on the wall. Clifford May hosted Bernard Lewis, Meir Dagan, and Uri Lubrani for dinner, where they discussed the Iranian threat. The result: a six-point plan over pita . . .
• Jeffrey Goldberg wants to give dialogue with the mullahs one more chance.
• Iran’s jamming Al-Jazeera broadcasts. More at AFP.
• The LA Times updates the latest on the state of sanctions and their effect on Iran.
• According to Arab media reports, a group of Arab League obervers were attacked in Latakia by “unknown protesters.”
• YNet: The IDF’s preparing to take in Alawite refugees fleeing Syria, should Assad be toppled.
• The world may sympathize with the Syrian resistance movement, but you wouldn’t know it from the arms smuggling. According to the Christian Science Monitor‘s Nicholas Blanford writes:
The weapons shortage in Syria, the record high prices for arms in Lebanon, and the limited scale of smuggling into Syria suggests that the Syrian opposition has not yet secured the external logistical support that could help them tip the balance against the Assad regime . . .
The price of a good quality Russian AK-47 assault rifle has almost doubled in the past 10 months from around $1,100 to $2,100. A rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launcher cost $900 last March and a single grenade was priced at around $100. Today an RPG launcher is worth $2,000 and each grenade $500.
“The prices are crazy. And it’s all going to Syria,” Abu Rida says. “The market is so strong that ordinary people are selling their rifles to make a quick profit.”
Rest O’ the Roundup
• It’s stories like this that have me wondering what life is like for Palestinian media watchdogs. Security forces in Hebron questioned a journo who wrote that Ismail Haniyeh is “the legitimate Prime Minister” of Palestine. As if that’s not crazy enough, the Jerusalem Post adds that Khaled Amayreh — who writes for Al-Ahram weekly — is affiliated with Hamas.
• Simply disgusting: While working on a story about religious-secular tensions, The Indepedent‘s Catrina Stewart was spat on and called a prostitute:
Young men in Mea Shearim insist that those who inspire such hatred are an extremist minority who do not represent the Haredim as a whole. “I think modesty on the buses is okay,” says one, who works in a religious bookstore, “but to force that is not the way to behave.”
But his view on tolerance is not one readily accepted in this insular neighbourhood. Moments before, a Haredi man with sidelocks spat on the ground next to this reporter, who was modestly dressed, and muttered “pritze”, a Yiddish word meaning prostitute.
Here is a challenge to our Tel Aviv mavericks: Invent something which will blend modernity with tradition, openness to the world with pride in our own heritage, agility with gravitas, tolerance with conviction — in short, Tel Aviv with Jerusalem. It will surely be the greatest Israeli start-up ever.
• Harriet Sherwood says that her blog, View From Jerusalem is on hold while The Guardian’s powers that be re-assess the role of blogging in foreign coverage. Sherwood’s reporting, blogging and tweeting were part of why The Guardian won the 2011 Dishonest Reporting Award. Hmmmmm.
For more, see yesterday’s Cheat Sheet.