Today’s Top Stories
1. Mahmoud Abbas threatened to dismantle PA if Israel continues pushing E1 development. The man who just got “statehood” from the UN is now quoted in media reports saying:
Speaking at the opening session of the Fatah Advisory Council in Ramallah, Xinhua news agency reported, Abbas said that he is considering asking Israel to resume full control of the West Bank, saying it is impossible to act as a leader without being granted power.
Au contraire, PA officials told AP that if Netanyahu is re-elected, they’ll take steps to isolate Israel:
Emboldened by their newly upgraded status at the United Nations, the Palestinians are talking of filing war crimes charges against Israel, staging mass demonstrations in the West Bank, encouraging the international community to impose sanctions, and ending the security cooperation that has helped preserve quiet in recent years.
2. According to the Sunday Times, Hamas sleeper cells in the West Bank are poised to violently take over the West Bank. But Iran’s the puppetmaster behind the scenes. Uzi Mahnaimi’s report is behind a paywall; more at the Times of Israel.
This would create a third proxy force — after Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza — through which Iran could retaliate for any Israeli attack on its nuclear programme . . .
However, as Assad’s position has weakened, the relationship between Iran and Hamas has been restored. Iran regards Hamas as a strategic asset in the struggle against Israel. According to Israeli defence sources, Hamas militants are financed through Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
Iran is losing its strongest Middle East ally, Syria. It can’t afford to lose its Palestinian outposts surrounding Israel,” one defence source said.
3. Tis the season for big media to try squeezing a story out of Bethlehem.
Israel and the Palestinians
• The NY Times is having a difficult weekend. A Friday staff-ed criticizing E1 directly contradicted a correction the paper made a few days earlier. Then, the paper’s bureau chief, Jodi Rudoren, erroneously tweeted about Palestinian village inside Israel. Jisr a-Zarka’s an Israeli-Arab village near Haifa.
The tweet’s sloppy, but I’m more amazed at the staff-ed. Why bother making corrections when your own newsroom
regrets repeats the error?
• Israel and Egypt are quietly putting together a new understanding on Gaza. According to the Jerusalem Post, many restrictions would be eased, but prevent Hamas from quickly re-arming.
• AP: The UN actually condemned human rights violations in Iran, Syria and North Korea. I suspect they wanted to do the right thing before the Mayan apocalypse. The world won’t come to an end, and it’ll be Israel-bashing business as usual at Turtle Bay.
• Writing at the Huffington Post, my HonestReporting Canada colleague Michelle Whiteman hits the nail on the head:
Whatever one’s opinion about the wisdom of building in disputed areas, the Oslo Accords do not prohibit Israel from building homes or “settlements.” According to international law, the status of the settlements is “disputed,” though the media routinely defines it as “occupied Palestinian territory.” Abbas recently acknowledged the disputed status when he admitted going the UN route was meant to transform the Palestinian territories from the status of disputed lands to a state under occupation. Abbas has also acknowledged that settlements take up approximately 1.1 per cent of the pre-1967 West Bank territory. Yet, as Abbas flagrantly violated the Oslo Accords with his UN bid, the media reinforced the fable that settlements “eat away at land meant for a future Palestinian state.”
• Christiains United for Israel is pushing Twitter hard to remove Hamas’ account. He makes an articulate case at Roll Call:
If a Mexican drug cartel used the site to brag about its latest mass beheadings, I suspect that Twitter would shut them down. And if a pedophile took to Twitter to describe his latest conquests, I’d pray that Twitter would stop him cold.
So why is Twitter allowing a terrorist group with American blood on its hands to operate freely on its service?. . .
Let me be clear. The account we are seeking to take down is not one operated by law-abiding citizens who sympathize with Hamas. Such independent advocacy is clearly and completely protected by the First Amendment. What we are talking about here is a page run by the terrorists themselves . . . .
By allowing Hamas to have an account, Twitter is providing it with an important “service” and extremely effective “communications equipment,” which are central to its primary mission of terrorizing the Israeli people and using civilian deaths to score political points.
• Two Israeli journalists entered Syria to broadcast from rebel-held areas in Idlib. Afterwards, Channel 2 reporters Itay Angel and Amir Tivon told France 24 they didn’t reveal their nationality to their interviewees; the Assad regime says their video is “proof” that the rebels are siding with the evil Zionists. Judge for yourself.
• Arab media is reporting that a Hezbollah arms depot destroyed in a mysterious explosion held missiles capable of being loaded with chemical weapons.
Two days after a mysterious explosion at a Hezbollah weapons depot in southern Lebanon, the Kuwaiti website Al Jarida is reporting that Israel bombed the site because Syria had transferred missiles there that were capable of being equipped with chemical warheads . . .
The report also claimed that Hezbollah has many additional warehouses across Lebanon that are used for the same purpose.
• The bad news: A Syrian army plane dropped cluster bombs on the Syrian town of Marea. The good news: Two NY Times journalists were in the vicinity to document the attack and the damage it caused.
The munitions in question — Soviet-era PTAB-2.5Ms — were designed decades ago by Communist engineers to destroy battlefield formations of Western armored vehicles and tanks. They are ejected in dense bunches from free-falling dispensers dropped from aircraft. The bomblets then scatter and descend nose-down to land and explode almost at once over a wide area, often hundreds of yards across.
Marea stands along an agricultural plain, surrounded for miles by empty fields. Even at night, or in bad weather, it cannot be mistaken for anything but what it is — the densely packed collection of small businesses, offices and homes that together form a town.
• The UN security Council slapped sanctions on two Iranian firms for shipping arms to the Syrian regime. More at Reuters.
• Worth reading: Hezbollah Doubles Down as Its Allies in Syria Collapse
- Palestinians: The Third Intifada Has Begun (iranaware.com)
- Hamas Preparing for War against Abbas, Reports Sunday Times (israelnationalnews.com)