Media Cheat Sheet 02/02/2012

Everything you need to know about today’s media coverage of Israel and the Mideast.

China flirts with Israel, pressure on Russia over Syria continues, and a photo purportedly of an IDF soldier pointing a gun at a kid is a hoax.

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Israel and the Palestinians

 The Israeli embassy in London responds to The Guardian’s recent allegations that the IDF mistreats Palestinian minors.

Of the detainees, you report dismissively that “most are accused of throwing stones at soldiers or settlers”, showing a bewildering disregard for this crime. Judah Shoham never reached the age of many of these minors, as he was killed by Palestinians throwing stones, aged just five months. Similarly, Jonathan Palmer never reached his second birthday; he was killed with his father when stones were hurled at their car last October . . .

In the few days since the article was published, two minors (aged 16 and 17) shot at passing Israeli cars in the street. This was not the first crime these two had been involved in, having previously used firebombs as a weapon against Israelis.

It would be our wish that no minor would ever find themselves in Israeli custody. Unfortunately, we have to deal with the reality, not our dreams.

 Seven rockets hit Israel overnight. Haaretz says no damage was caused. AFP connects it to Ban Ki-moon’s visit to the strip, where Palestinians pelted his convoy.

 JPost: PA security forces detained a Palestinian journalist for a snarky Facebook post.

• A photo of a soldier with his foot on top of a young girl and pointing a gun at her is making the rounds online today billed as an IDF outrage. But it ain’t an Israeli soldier — Israel HaYom reports that the picture was actually taken in Bahrain.

UPDATE: See the LA Times‘s history of the image.

 Maybe this is the germ of a real Palestinian Spring. Dozens of Gazans took to the streets simply banging pots and calling for national unity.

Iranian Atomic Urgency

Energy-hungry China is flirts with Israel while moving away from Iranian oil. But according to this eye-opening Asia Times commentary, Beijing’s playing its cards carefully:

China’s Middle East diplomacy is adroitly advancing three parallel tracks engaging Iran, GCC states and Israel. This may seem improbable against the backdrop of the rise of Iran and the concomitant hostility it arouses in Israel and the GCC states. But Beijing sees no contradiction here, and is striving to make the three tracks even complement each other. Conceivably, one day they well might.

The great beauty is that all three Middle Eastern camps – Iran, the GCC and Israel – equally want the best of relationships with China and are manifestly vying with each other for the dragon’s prime time.

 At the Herzliya Conference, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said Iran already has enough material to build four atomic bombs.

 Chuck Freilich (LA Times op-ed) says he doesn’t want to be in Bibi’s shoes weighing whether or not to attack Iran.

Arab Spring Winter

 The Lede points out that the Russian UN envoy blocking Western intervention in Syria actually facilitated similar intervention in Bosnia.

 Russia continues to feel the heat for its support of Assad.

 With more than 70 people killed in Egyptian soccer violence, a CNN commentary notes this context blaming Mubarak:

In a country that had little public space, there were two forums for dissent: the mosque and the football stadium.

“The whole concept of any independent organization didn’t exist, not unions, not political parties,” explained the leader of the Al Ahly ultras last April.

Rest O’ the Roundup

 Cyber warfare continues: Palestinian hackers say they leaked info about 26,000 Israeli credit cards. But YNet says “many of the details are false, partial, or flawed.”

 Twitter’s rolling out branded pages for media accounts like Huffington Post, NBC News, and Al-Jazeera English, among others. More at GigaOM.

 The Calgary Herald’s soliciting readers to Be A Source for the paper. I had the same reaction as Jeff Sonderman: meta-crowdsourcing.

(Image of Assad via Flickr/FreedomHouse)

For more, see yesterday’s Media Cheat Sheet.