Everything you need to know about today’s media coverage of Israel.
• Commenting on Condi Rice’s memoirs, David Ignatius says the Obama administration’s failure to advance the peace process is compounded by the fact that the US could have used Olmert’s proposal as a building block for peace talks.
• The Christian Science Monitor has capsule looks at the PA’s three preconditions for peace talks: settlement freeze, pre-1967 borders, and Marwan Barghouti’s release. The Monitor also looks at Israel’s sole pre-condition: no preconditions.
I’ll tell you three Israeli preconditions I’d like to see:
- PA regains control of Gaza from Hamas so we can negotiate with unified Palestinian people.
- New Palestinian elections to produce a leader with a clear mandate to negotiate.
- Abbas shaves his mustache as a confidence building measure.
• Sheera Frenkel (McClatchy News) visits Gilo, Ariel and Kiryat Arba. Her comprehensive piece addresses a lot of stereotypes about settlers, but her automatic assumption that various places are Palestinian by default leaves a sour taste.
• A Palestininan envoy Down Under, Izzat Abulhadi, condemns BDS violence, telling The Australian:
Mr Abdulhadi said he favoured a limited boycott of goods produced in Israeli settlements on the West Bank, because those settlements harmed the establishment of a Palestinian economy.
“Our objective is to build our own state, not to delegitimise any other state,” he said.
“We recognise Israel.”
• The Atlantic launched a four-part in-depth look at Mideast peace prospects.
• Finnish FM Erkki Tuomioja calls Israel an apartheid state. Details at Helsingin Sanomat.
Gilad Shalit Swap: Followup
• Turns out Gilad Shalit had not yet been checked out by Red Cross doctors when Shahira Amin grabbed him for that ugly interview on Egyptian TV. See Forbes for Richard Behar’s expose,which I elaborated on earlier on today. One psychologist with expertise in hostage negotiations viewed the video and explained how “an interview like this would become part and parcel of the captivity.”
• You can’t help but be struck by these contrasting world views expressed by two Muslims. Both are commenting on Israeli support for Gilad Shalit. Exhibit A is Dr. Hesham A. Hassaballa (via Elder of Ziyon):
As Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier captured by Hamas more than five years ago, was finally released in a vast prisoner exchange, it made me think about the relentless pursuit of his release by Israel. Such a pursuit by one’s family is both natural and understandable. Yet, not only was his family behind him, but the entire nation of Israel was behind him. So many times, Israelis – from government on down – mentioned that they will never abandon one of their own. No matter how one feels about the Arab-Israeli conflict, it must be said that the tenacity of the Israeli people over Gilad Shalit is truly admirable. I even saw someone wearing a shirt saying “Free Gilad Shalit” during the 2011 Chicago Marathon this year. And it begs a very important question: do we as Muslims have this same tenacity over “our people”?
Sadly, the answer is “no.”
Exhibit B is Hamas leader Salah Alarori, as quoted in the Jerusalem Post:
He further noted that captive soldier took his strength from the value that Israeli society places on human life. Alarori stated that as an enemy, he would prefer for Israeli society to lose this value.
• Judging from this interview on Australian ABC News, David Landau’s having a hard time processing the Shalit swap.
• The Independent gives a platform to Marwan Barghouti’s wife.
• Sean McAllister, an independent filmmaker, is back in the UK after being detained by the Syrian government for his undercover videos of the Assad regime’s oppression. Channel 4 aired remarkable (and graphic) videos one and two (via Harry’s Place). McAllister describes the torture he witnessed.
• The US is selling Egypt F-16 fighter jets to sweeten the deal for Ilan Grapel’s release. Lee Smith (Tablet) argues that the military leaders detained Grapel solely to score points wit the Egyptian street:
Longtime U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak, the former president of Egypt, would not have dreamed of taking an American citizen hostage. It’s true that things have changed in Egypt, but let’s not overstate the case: Grapel’s arrest is not a sign that the Supreme Council of Armed Forces is joining hands with Iranian-backed terror organizations. The purpose of the exchange, from Cairo’s perspective, is to placate the mobs that have already laid siege to the Israeli embassy, burned Coptic churches, and may in time cause even worse problems for the ruling military council. The way to calm the situation, they believe, is to show that Egypt’s problems are manufactured by the West, and that Cairo’s ever-competent rulers managed to unearth a plot before the foreigners could once again unleash their mayhem.
• Haaretz on looted Libyan weapons reaching Gaza:
Shoulder-fired anti-aicraft missiles have been smuggled into Gaza in recent years at Iran’s initiative. But the fall of Muammar Gadhafi’s regime has enabled Hamas to bring in much higher quality missiles – and in much larger quantities.
Rings of smugglers utilized the riots in Libya to break into military storage facilities and steal large quantities of weapons, some of which have relatively advanced capabilities. The weapons were then sold to terrorist organizations, first and foremost to various Palestinian factions.
After seeing this article in The Guardian, don’t underestimate the volume of Libya’s pilfered weapons:
The sheer quantity of weapons purchased is both absurd and frightening. From Russia alone, Libya imported more than 2,000 tanks, 2,000 armoured fighting vehicles, 350 artillery weapons, dozens of ships and fleets of aircraft. So many weapons were bought that there were doubts that the majority of them would ever be used.
• NGOs working in Egypt are facing an unprecedented clampdown beyond the hard realities of the Mubarak’s era. In particular, their foreign funding is becoming a bigger issue. The Guardian writes:
Even so, the government’s campaign against NGOs seems to have changed the way ordinary Egyptians view civil society. Activists talk about people who approach them not asking about their development programmes or their political awareness campaigns, but about where they get their funding.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• UK immigration tribunal upholds ruling that Sheikh Raed Salah can be deported:
“We are satisfied that the appellant has engaged in the unacceptable behaviour of fostering hatred which might lead to intercommunity violence in the UK.
“We are satisfied that the appellant’s words and actions tend to be inflammatory, divisive, insulting and likely to foment tension and radicalism.
“They deal with issues which are highly sensitive in the context of the Israeli/Palestinian dispute.”
That’s the straight dope on Salah.