Everything you need to know about today’s media coverage of Israel and the Mideast.
New vindication for Israel on the Mohammed al-Dura affair. Israel and Singapore collaborate to foil an assassination attempt. Care to guess how much taxpayer money the BBC spent covering up the Balen report?
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Israel and the Palestinians
• A French court gave some new and welcome vindication to Israel over the Mohammed al-Dura affair by overturning Dr. David Yehuda’s libel conviction. Haaretz explains:
In a 2008 interview with a French Jewish weekly an Israeli orthopedic surgeon, Dr. David Yehuda disputed the elder Dura’s claim. Yehuda said the scars were not related to the incident in which Mohammed al-Dura, who was 12 years old, died.
Rather, Yehuda said, they were the result of an assault on Dura by Hamas militants who accused him of collaborating with Israel, as well as subsequent surgery performed by Yehuda himself in 1994.
Dr. David explained it all in this 2008 video (English subtitles).
Iranian Atomic Urgency
• The Israeli media’s buzzing that the Mossad and authorities in Singapore foiled an Iran-Hezbollah plot to assassinate Ehud Barak. YNet says three suspects have been arrested.
• CNN: Thai police are convinced that a bomber who accidentally blew himself was targeting Israelis in Bangkok:
“I can tell you that the target of the operation of this group is specifically aimed at Israeli diplomats,” Police Gen. Priewpan Damapong said late Wednesday in an interview with CNN affiliate Channel 3.
His comments came after a senior Thai security official had drawn a tentative link between the Bangkok blasts and the attacks aimed at Israeli officials in India and Georgia, saying the materials used in the explosive devices were similar.
But if its apologetics you want, see The Guardian‘s Comment is Free section.
• Iran and Al-Qaida’s ties have moved into an “operational relationship.” More at Sky News.
• A staff-ed in The Independent isn’t happy with Ahmadinejad’s showy announcement of made-in-Iran nuclear fuel rods. It plays into the hands of “shrill” Israeli warnings:
The way Tehran now appears to be upping the ante suggests either that the Iranian leadership is gripped by something close to panic, or that it is lashing out in the belief that it has nothing left to lose. Either prospect can only give succour to those who argue that force is the only language Tehran understands.
• The UN General Assembly is due to vote on a condemnation of Syria this week. It’s just symbolic statement, but AP reports that Russia’s trying to water it down.
• “Bashar Assad can massacre 100 to 200 people a day,” but Only Israel Gets Goldstoned.
• David Schenker (LA Times op-ed) explains Egypt’s anti-American populism.
No doubt, SCAF, the government and the Islamists have little need for pro-democracy NGOs, but the investigation of the NGOs is a symptom rather than the root of the bilateral crisis. Notwithstanding the parliamentary elections, Egypt today is dominated by a coalition of military authoritarians and aspiring theocrats that views Washington with great suspicion.
Facing extreme challenges at home and in need of distractions, anti-Americanism has become Cairo’s preferred populist recourse. Although a solution might be found for this particular controversy — with or without U.S. foreign assistance — this bilateral dynamic assures that the next crisis is not far off.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• The UK Supreme Court ruled that the BBC does not have to release the Balen report assessing its Mideast coverage. While BBC’s the clear winner, the biggest losers are British taxpayers. According to the Daily Mail, the Beeb spent an overall £350,000 in legal fees to keep the Balen report covered up.
If the hackers turn their attention to disruption and destruction, as some have threatened, they are likely to find the controls for electric power grids, oil pipelines and precious water systems inadequately secured. If a hacker causes real physical damage to critical systems in that region, it could quickly involve governments retaliating against each other with both cyber and conventional weapons. Middle Eastern governments need to get their citizen hackers under control and better protect their own critical networks, or they will eventually be dragged into unwanted conflict.
• Activists Down Under deconstruct “The Promise” and take SBS to task for airing. Tzvi Fleischer and Jamie Hyams got an op-ed soapbox at The Australian, but because of the paywall, you’ll have to read their critique at AIJAC.
(Image of money via Flickr/Images_of_Money)
For more, see yesterday’s Media Cheat Sheet.