Everything you need to know about today’s media coverage of Israel.
• Egyptian journalist Shahira Amin writes an open letter to Israel explaining her interview with Gilad Shalit. I think it’s hooey.
Here’s how the interview looked to me: A reporter who who rarely goes on air without some makeup and a bite to eat foisted a microphone, camera and lights on a gaunt, malnourished and dazed stranger in a strange land literally seeing daylight for the first time in five years.
That’s opportunistic, insensitive and unethical. You can imagine the other adjectives that come to mind . . .
• Tzipi Livni breaks ranks to criticize the Shalit prisoner swap. The Independent (Donald Macintyre) writes:
Ms Livni referred to the emotional popular clamour for Sgt Shalit’s release by saying that the Israeli public had been “engulfed in the Gilad Shalit reality TV show” and had “coerced” the government into deciding in favour of the exchange.
• I found these two headlines even more thought-provoking after juxtaposing them:
- This Is No Time to Consider Cutting Aid to Israel
- Abbas to Pay Released Murderers’ Pensions With US Aid Money
• Uri Dromi (Philadelphia Inquirer) weighs in on the prisoner swap.
• Quote of the Day goes to Spengler:
If 15 million Egyptians starve to death, and all the Copts are murdered, and Syria plunges into a genocidal civil war, and Turkey kills another 40,000 Kurds, and the Iraqi Shi’ites and Iraqi Sunnis all fight to the death, whose fault will it be?
I bet you guessed right this time. Israel’s, for building apartments in Gilo.
• UNESCO may decide as soon as this week whether or not to accept Palestine as a member state. According to the NY Times, the White House is searching for a way to give the Palestinians a higher status in the organization without full membership, which would trigger an automatic cutoff of US funding.
During a meeting with Olmert in Jerusalem, Rice was stunned by the boldness of an offer he would personally make to Palestinian president Abbas. “I’ll give him enough land, maybe something like 94 percent with swaps . . . There will be two capitals, one for us in West Jerusalem and one for the Palestinians in East Jerusalem. The mayor of the joint city council will be selected by population percentage,” Rice recalls Olmert offering.
Rice thought a peace deal was in sight, the beginning of an actual two-state solution. However, her reservations were validated when Olmert and Abbas eventually met. Olmert wouldn’t let Abbas take the map he had drawn with his proposed Palestinian territory to consult his advisors, demanding that he sign an agreement immediately. Abbas refused, and the deal was shelved.
I’ll just have to wait to see the whole book.
• Reuters: 5,000 unemployed Gazans registered for possible jobs in post-Gaddafi Libya.
Now, many in the Gaza Strip hope Gaddafi’s death last week will lead to stability in Libya and the launching of reconstruction projects in which they can take part.
• The US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, left the country amid “credible threats against his personal safety.” Who do you think has threatened him?
Rest O’ the Roundup
You have to read the story to learn that Turkey has declined all offers of foreign aid. Turkey didn’t single out Israel, Reuters did.
• The NY Times profiles the new Saudi crown prince, Nayef Bin Abdul-Aziz, currently serving as interior minister.
In April, the government introduced a draconian and vaguely worded press law pushed by Prince Nayef that made it illegal to threaten national security or insult Islam as well as its senior representative, the grand mufti. “It is safer to shoot someone than to talk in the media,” joked Abdulaziz M. AlGasim, a lawyer.
This is the same Prince Nayef who got an apology from The Independent after Robert Fisk reported that he had ordered Saudi police to use live weapons on unarmed demonstrators. Turned out Fisk’s source was a forged document.
• Good news: WikiLeaks suspends release of secrets to seek cash.
Good news: My mutual friends in the Nigerian banking industry can stop pestering me and get my personal info on their own.
• One Christian village in eastern Lebanon is blocking Hezbollah from expanding its private telecommunications network. While the mayor and residents say the network will invite Israeli airstrikes, Naharnet describes Hezbollah’s response:
MTV later reported on Saturday that armed individuals and cars with tinted windows have been spotted in Tarshsih . . .
(Image of Condoleezza Rice via Flickr/World Economic Forum)