Everything you need to know about today’s media coverage of Israel and the Mideast.
Outrage as Abbas meets and greets accomplices to the murder. A Salafi spokesman appears on Israeli Army Radio to say his party will honor the ’79 peace treaty — you can imagine what happened next. And why did The Guardian correct 37 phone hackng articles?
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Israel and the Palestinians
• I am glad to see AP picked up on Israel’s outrage over Mahmoud Abbas’s meeting with Amna Muna.
Released in the second stage of the Gilad Shalit swap this week, Muna had posed as an American tourist on an online chat group to lure 16-year-old Ofir Rahum to Ramallah, where he was murdered.
YNet News adds that Abbas also met Jihad Ya’amur, who participated in the 1994 kidnap and murder of Nachshon Wachsman.
Hamas’s next strategy may hinge on its new donors, and its new headquarters. Thanks to their growing isolation, Iran and Syria appear less likely to maintain their current roles. Most Middle East states are unwilling to step up, thanks to a wave of destabilizing protest movements. This is leverage for Washington and Jerusalem. If Hamas remains financially hobbled and homeless, after 24 years of violence, the terror group may have little choice but to bend.
• Scott Piro raises an important point about “Israeli pinkwashing” and the stain he says it will leave on the gay/lesbian community. He writes in the Huffington Post:
Once peace comes and the IDF pulls out of the West Bank, queer Palestinians will be much worse off. Palestinian LGBT testimony confirms that this is what happened when the Palestinian Authority took over Gaza in 2005 (p. 10). Eighty-two percent of Palestinians support making homosexuality illegal. Many more queer people will die in Palestine once a state is achieved. I am not advocating for the status quo, but I do believe energy from queer anti-Israel activists would be better spent educating straight Palestinians not to kill their LGBT brothers and sisters once Israelis leave, instead of vilifying Israel.
• The UN slams Israel’s latest settlement plans and Jerusalem bites back. The NY Times has more on the war of the words.
• A year ago this time, whoda thought that
- Elections would Islamist parties in the driver’s seat of Egyptian politics
- A spokesman for the Salafi Nour Party would tell — of all the world’s media — Israeli Army Radio that the party is committed to the peace treaty with Egypt, and then
- Express regret for agreeing to speak to the interviewer, but not backtrack on the substance of the comments.
Indeed, Yousseri Hamad did just that. AP writes:
“We are not opposed to the agreement, and we are saying that Egypt is committed to the agreements that previous Egyptian government have signed,” he said, noting that if Egyptians want changes on the treaty, “the place for that is the negotiation table.” . . .
After the interview aired, Hamad told The Associated Press that he did not know he was talking to Israeli Army Radio, and he was told only it was for an Israeli broadcaster. He claimed that had he known, he would not have agreed to the Army Radio interview because “they occupy our Palestinian brothers.”
• According to Israeli and French assessments, Hezbollah’s responsible for recent attacks on UNIFIL forces. Haaretz writes:
“Hezbollah is in a turbulent state,” an Israeli defense official said. “On the one hand, Assad’s regime faces collapse; on the other, Iran has been forced to cut back its financial aid to the organization due to the international sanctions that Tehran faces.
“Under such circumstances, Hezbollah is liable to make a mistake and pursue courses of action that would further complicate its situation.”
Rest O’ the Roundup
And the article misstated Israeli charges against one of the freed prisoners, Izzedine Abu Sneineh, who had been arrested three years ago at age 15. Israel had accused him of weapons training, attempted murder and possession of explosives — not throwing stones and hanging Palestinian flags from telephone poles.
But the Palestinian narrative is so much more compelling when youngsters are detained for innocuously hanging flags and chucking rocks . . .
• It may represent just a small thaw in relations. But according to the Jerusalem Post, the Israeli and Turkish air forces have reactivated air coordination ties that
prevent potential misunderstandings when pilots from both countries encounter one another flying over the Mediterranean.
• The Guardian corrected a slew of articles which stated as fact that the News of the World deleted messages from Milly Dowler’s voice mail:
. . . while the News of the World hacked Milly Dowler’s phone the newspaper is unlikely to have been responsible for the deletion of a set of voicemails from the phone that caused her parents to have false hopes that she was alive, according to a Metropolitan police statement made to the Leveson inquiry on 12 December.” To make this clear we have – since that item appeared on 13 December – appended a footnote to the following 37 stories below that contain either the error or a reference to it.