Media Cheat Sheet 10/25/2011

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

If you’re new to my media cheat sheets, these are my daily assessments of Israel in the news that used to be for HonestReporting’s in-house use only. Now, you’re in the loop too.

Shalit Swap Followup

• Mohammed Sharatha, one terrorist freed in the Shalit swap, wants an to finish the university degree he pursued in prison through a Hebrew U. program. Sharatha has been behind bars since 1989 for his involvement in the kidnapping and murder of Israeli soldiers Avi Sasportas and Ilan Saadon. More at Israel National News via IsraellyCool.

If you’re wondering what Sharatha’s studying, University World News sheds some light:

For security reasons, and due to lack of facilities, prisoners cannot study life sciences, exact sciences or computer science. The most popular courses are the modern history of the Middle East, genocide, international relations, Israeli Arab Society and the history of Islam.

Don’t all those prisoners taking university courses have enough TV privileges to know they’re supposed to be boycotting Israeli academia?

•  Ilan Grapel to be released Thursday in exchange for 25 Egyptian prisoners. Meanwhile, a Saudi cleric on Facebook offered $100,000 reward to any Palestinian who kidnaps an Israeli soldier.

Somewhere out there, Deborah Orr is surely preparing another denunciation of Israel based on the new calculus that one Palestinian is worth $97.37, while one Shalit is worth 41 Grapels.

• The Washington Post finds released terrorists enjoying the high life in Gaza. Treating them this way can only reinforce Gaza youth that their role models are bomb-makers, gunmen, failed suicide bombers and terror commanders.

The eight-story Al-Mashtal Hotel, which opened in late July, is an oasis of fluffy white duvets, stunning ocean views, steaks cooked to perfection and sparkling swimming pools. Its splendor is startling in this blockaded territory where dozens of bombed buildings lie in ruin, heaps of garbage dot nearly every street and the Mediterranean shoreline is speckled by evidence of the tons of raw sewage dumped into the ocean every day.

Peace Process

• In an LA Times op-ed, former Senator Timothy Wirth raises concerns about what the US stands to lose by quitting UNESCO over Palestinian membership:

It is clear that whatever happens at UNESCO, Palestinians will continue to seek membership in the U.N.’s many specialized agencies. And each time they succeed, the United States will have to resign from another world body, thereby losing influence and input on international issues. We might no longer be able to participate in decisions about how nuclear weapons and nuclear fuel stockpiles are safeguarded around the world by the International Atomic Energy Agency, or decisions about how people are protected during pandemic outbreaks by the World Health Organization, or about how international food supplies are kept safe from disease and terrorism by the Food and Agriculture Organization.

Meanwhile, Maan News mentions one compromise idea being bandied about:

One possibility discussed was to grant Palestine full membership, but on the condition that it would not come into effect for six to nine months, once Palestine’s bid to join the UN has been decided and to allow time for negotiations with Israel.

• Elliott Abrams says US policy on settlements is now Back to the Future.

• The LA Times raises some important points about Palestinian school textbooks better known for their incitefulness than their insightfulness.

But this dispatch has a critical flaw which I addressed in more detail in an earlier post. Bottom line: Big Media’s only interested in this story when the Palestinians denounce Israeli censorship.

• The latest fad for non-governmental organizations is distributing video cameras to Palestinians to document the nasty occupation. But a new incident in Silwan raises the question: Who’s editing these videos? The Wadi Hilweh Information Center recently released a video of David Be’eri, director of Elad, subduing a 10-year-old Palestinian boy.

Elad responded by releasing its own video which Haaretz describes:

The Jewish video, provided by Elad itself, begins several minutes before the Palestinian video. It shows the boy and several other children vandalizing the house with rocks and iron rods. Their faces concealed, the children smash the windows and throw furniture out the window. At the end of the film, Be’eri can be seen grabbing one of the boys, who is holding an iron rod.

I haven’t found either video online yet.

Melanie Phillips reax to Sari Nusseibeh.

Arab Spring

• Wow. Amnesty International accuses Syria of torturing patients in hospitals.

• I found these two headlines even more thought-provoking when juxtaposed.

  1. Egyptian sentenced to three years in prison for insulting Islam on Facebook
  2. With the Fight in Egypt Failing, Wael Ghonim is Out of Sight

Rest O’ the Roundup

•  The Turks have declined all offers of foreign aid, yet the LA Times singles out Israel for a non-story.

Reuters did the same thing yesterday. Irresponsible headlines like these fuel further rumors that Turkey’s deputy prime minister Bülent Ar?nç called “ugly.” Hurriyet writes:

Whoever is doing this is doing something horrendous,” Ar?nç said. “We may not be on the best of terms with Israel on a governmental basis. Yet to respond negatively to such humane offers of the Israeli government in the wake of such disaster would have been wrong and inappropriate. It is completely untrue that we refused their help on separate agendas.”

• A group of 84 archeologists signed a letter (pdf) denouncing the controversial Museum of Tolerance being built in Jerusalem. Backstory at the LA Times. Israeli construction projects are frequently dogged by the discovery of Jewish bones and pagan antiquities.

• I wonder what was going through Fareed Zakaria‘s mind while Ahmadinejad rambled about his nutty definition of Zionism. Politely debating him is just a waste of time . . .

• Dear Kapil Komireddi,

Thanks for enlightening me on what the Israeli-Palestinian conflict means for India’s Hindu-Muslim tensions. We stay out of your internal affairs, so please stay out of ours. I’ll make my own judgment on Sadanand Dhume’s take without your help.

• Microsoft’s YouTube channel was hijacked and wiped clean. Graham Cluley wonders if this was “a colossal foul-up by YouTube that may concern other well-known brands who have established presences on the video network.”

• Interesting discussion at the Columbia Journalism Review on the NYT’s paywall. Does it work because it’s a good model for paywalls, or because the Gray Lady has exceptional content you can’t get anywhere else?