Everything you need to know about today’s media coverage of Israel and the Mideast.
An EU document suggests how to undermine Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, one newspaper breaks out the violins for Khaled Mashaal,
Israel and the Palestinians
• EU delegates want to boost Palestinian claims on Jerusalem. Haaretz, YNet, The Guardian and The Independent — who all saw copies of a “confidential” document — detail some suggestions for undermining Israeli sovereignty:
- Restoring the PLO’s presence in Jerusalem.
- Not meeting Israeli officials in their eastern Jerusalem offices.
- Avoiding the accompaniment of Israeli security or protocol on EU visits to eastern Jerusalem, including the Old City.
- Preventing or discouraging financial transactions to actors supporting settlement activity in eastern Jerusalem.
- Raising EU public awareness of Israeli products originating from eastern Jerusalem or settlements.
- Sharing info on violent settlers and barring them from entering EU states.
• Khaled Mashaal is due to step down as head of the Hamas politburo and the Globe & Mail already passes out tissues. We weren’t worthy of Mashaal’s calming presence. Here’s the humdinger of a headline:
Hamas leader to step down just as his relative moderation is needed
• Security Council to hear a briefing from a UN humanitarian coordinator on how settlements are impacting the West Bank. AFP says the US opposed the briefing.
Iranian Atomic Urgency
• Turkish intelligence is concerned that an Iranian team linked to the Revolutionary Guards will carry out a series of demonstrations and possibly a bomb attack on the US embassy. Zaman writes:
A number of Iranian officials pledged revenge on Turkey last year after the country approved the establishment of the NATO defense system on its soil, with prominent military and political figures saying that Turkey would be sorry for siding with the US.
In a separate Zaman report, Turkey says Israeli-operated drones are providing intelligence to the outlawed Kurdish PKK.
• Yesterday, it was reported that a joint US-Israeli missile defense drill was postponed in order to avoid adding to regional tensions with Iran. But new reports getting Western traction suggest that Austere Challenge 12 was postponed at Israel’s initiative.
Jeffrey Goldberg quotes Pentagon officials pinning this on Ehud Barak (“The Israelis were concerned that they did not have the resources in place to carry it out effectively”). The Jerusalem Post quotes Ambassador Michael Oren (“stemmed solely from technical issues”). I also saw Debka picked up saying the rescheduling came at Bibi’s behest (“He judged the Obama administration’s resolve to preempt a nuclear Iran to be flagging”). Judge for yourself.
• LA Times: Muslim Brotherhood official on verge of becoming next speaker of Egypt’s parliament.
• Thumbs up to NBC News correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin. He just arrived in Damascus and liked how his first blog post describes the situation while shedding light on how he gathers info in a difficult environment:
A few hours later, at a dinner with old and new friends in a Damascus restaurant, I am told it’s not just the president’s image that is ubiquitous, it’s the entire security apparatus that’s keeping a watchful eye on what is happening in Damascus. “Be careful what you say and when you say it,” a friend tells me. “Never speak freely with a taxi driver or start a random conversation about what is going on,” I am advised.
But despite the warning, there is a certain ease by which the current crisis comes to the surface of any discussion. Criticism of the government is rampant at one restaurant where conversations flow from table to table. An occasional silence interrupts the chats as diners peek over the shoulders to ensure no one is paying attention too closely. “It’s OK, don’t worry, the regime has bigger problems right now than to worry what is being said on every table. We know everyone here,” my friend says, nudging me to keep on eating.
Rest O’ the Roundup
Meghan Daum, in her Jan. 12 Op-Ed column about religious zealotry, wrote that haredim — ultra Orthodox Jews — in Israel are exempt from taxes and military service. The haredim are not legally exempt from either obligation; however, most receive exemption from military service because they are essentially full-time religious scholars. For much the same reason, many also do not earn enough money to qualify to pay income tax.
• AP tells staff how to correct erroneous tweets in new social media guidelines.
(Image of Mashaal via YouTube/infolivetvenglish)
For more, see Tuesday’s Media Cheat Sheet.