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HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Tue 01 Oct 2013, 10:54 pm

Tired of Seeing Israel Slammed in the Media?


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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Tue 01 Oct 2013, 10:48 pm

Israel Daily News Stream 10/01/2013
OCTOBER 1, 2013 13:48
BY PESACH BENSON
Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and theMideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.


Today’s Top Stories


1. After one year, the Palestinians have little to show for their upgraded UN observer status. The Globe & Mail looks at why (in order to give John Kerry’s peace talks a chance) and how the Palestinians feel about it.


A recent survey by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Researchfound that 60 per cent of Palestinians surveyed in the West Bank and Gaza believe it was the right decision to suspend, for nine months, Palestinian applications to join more international organizations in return for the prisoner release.


However, when it came to one international organization, the International Criminal Court, a big majority agreed with Dr. Barghouti. Fully 67 per cent said they support the idea of submitting a complaint against Israeli settlements to the ICC . . .


Obama and Netanyahu2. While President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu met (CBS News nailed the nuance), Bret Stephens (Wall St. Journal via Google News) argues that Israel needs to strategically distance itself from Uncle Sam and not rely on American diplomacy or promises of military action to deal with Iran:


That isn’t to say that Israel doesn’t benefit from good relations with the U.S. But the U.S., like Britain after World War II, is in retreat from the world, andIsraelis need to adapt to a global reality in which the Americans are willing to do less, and consequently count for less. What Mr. Netanyahu has been doing instead is granting Mr. Obama a degree of leverage and a presumption of authority over the Jewish state to which he is not entitled and has done little to deserve. That needs to stop.


3. Four months after John Kerry unveiled a $4 billion plan to boost the Palestinian economy in both the West Bank and Gaza, Tony Blair released the details (pdf format). The Media Line reports that the Quartet (US, EU, UN and Russia) won’t deal directly with Hamas — but it’s hard to see how that will be pulled off.


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Iranian Atomic Urgency


• Iranian Spy Was a Quds Force Professional


• Your daily dose of snark, courtesy Sky News reporter Sam Kiley, who blogged this:


Mr Netanyahu faces an awkward task. To try to say to Barack Obama, the man who might, just might, be able to bring Iran in from the cold, not to be a sucker.


The implication is that the Most-Powerful-Man-In-The-World could be naive.


Not a welcome message from the prime minister of a country entirely dependent on American military aid for its survival, with a population of about only seven million that also happens to be in military occupation over 2.5 million Palestinians living on the West Bank and to running a siege on 1.5 million others in Gaza.


• CNN visited the Jewish community of Tehran. I have to wonder if the people reporter Reza Sayah talked to were holding back their real feelings. After all, Iranian authorities aren’t known for tolerating dissent. Contrast that with theDaily Telegraph, which talked to Iranian ex-pats in Israel who openly shared their mixed-feelings.


• According to the NY Times, international sanctions are crippling the Iranian economy more than we realize:


Mr. Rouhani and Mr. Zarif did not publicly specify the severity of the cash squeeze. But Western economists believe the crisis point may be much closer than previously thought, perhaps a matter of months. Iran news outlets have reported that the government owes billions of dollars to private contractors, banks and municipalities.


Because of the sanctions, oil sales, which account for 80 percent of the government’s revenue, have been cut in half. While Mr. Ahmadinejad had asserted that Iran had $100 billion in foreign exchange reserves, the total had shrunk to $80 billion by mid-2013


• Hmmmm.


Rouhani unwittingly told an Israeli agent how to deal with Iran


• For more commentary/analysis, see the Times of London, David Frum, and Gideon Rachman (Financial Times via Google News).


Israel and the Palestinians


Neve Gordon
Neve Gordon


• Ben Gurion U. Professor Neve Gordon calls out J. Street to support the one-state solution. This LA Times op-ed ties in the Irish peace model and two political science concepts that no ordinary person has ever heard of: consociationalism and parity of esteem.


Sounds great in theory, but sectarian tensions in multi-ethnic states like Syria, Lebanon and Iraq lay bare the difficulties of power sharing, broad consent, and respect in the Mideast. Besides, Hamas and Fatah are moving towards a3-state solution.


• The Hamas gives new meaning to media outreach:


Hamas offers to hire Ma’an staff after Gaza office closure


• Israeli journalist Ben-Dror Yemini weighs in on the EU’s double standards towards Israel.


Rest O’ the Roundup


• Syrian shelling of the Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus killed a Palestinian man. According to Maan News, “The Syrian army has imposed a blockade on the camp for 77 days in a row, and there has been no electricity or fuel in the camp for months.”


• Israeli-Turkish economic ties may overcome the poor political relationship, reports the Financial Times (click via Google News).


According to the Manufacturers’ Association of Israel, Israeli exports to Turkey grew from $1bn in 2009 – the year before the flotilla incident – to $1.5bn now. Turkey’s exports to Israel rose over the same period, from $1.4bn to nearly $2bn. . .


The war in Syria, by disrupting the passage of Turkish goods trucks to Jordan and the Gulf, opened a new trade route through Israel. The trucks, which are brought by sea to Haifa with Turkish drivers on board, roll off the ships and head to the Jordanian border, then further afield. Israel’s government is torn between keeping a low profile around the new trade route, because of lingering political sensitivities, and championing it. More than 2,000 trucks have made the journey since November 2012.


(Image of Obama and Netanyahu via Flickr/Prime Minister of Israel)


For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.
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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Mon 30 Sep 2013, 7:29 pm

Israel Daily News Stream 09/30/2013
http://honestreporting.com/israel-daily-news-stream-09302013/
SEPTEMBER 30, 2013 15:03
BY PESACH BENSON
Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.
Today’s Top Stories
1. Lebanon is “about to award offshore oil and gas exploration licenses in areas that encroach on Israel’s exclusive economic zone,” reports Globes. What next? Beirut officials selling Tel Aviv timeshares?
2. Khamenei’s nuclear arms fatwa doesn’t exist.

Omar Bashir
3. Looks like the Arab Spring Winter reached Sudan, where protesters are calling for President Omar Bashir to step down. Reports say Sudanese forces have killed 210 people and arrested hundreds of students and opposition members in the past week. Authorities also shut down the country’s largest paper. The unrest was sparked by a rise in fuel prices. The Jerusalem Post assesses the Sudanese spiral.

Because of an International Criminal Court warrant for Bashir’s arrest (war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Darfur), the Sudanese autocrat cancelled a UN visit.

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Israel and the Palestinians
• Humanitarian aid personnel working with Palestinian refugees told AP that the Syrian crisis is taking a toll on their own fundraising.

• Jonathan Spyer: With Morsi gone, Hamas is turning back to Iran:

The turn back to Iran will prevent any possible eclipse of the Hamas regime in Gaza, and end any hopes that the Ramallah Palestinian Authority might have had for its return to exclusive control of Palestinian nationalism.

• From the National Post:
National Post

Iranian Atomic Urgency
• AP: Will Iranian-American rapprochement drive a wedge between the US and the Gulf states?

• Appearing on This Week, Iran’s foreign minister told George Stephanopoulos that the Holocaust was a “heinous crime” and a “genocide.” But before you start showering Javad Zarif with peace laurels, see the context:

“We condemn the killing of innocent people, whether it happened in Nazi Germany or whether it’s happening in Palestine,” Zarif said. “[The] Holocaust was a heinous crime, it was a genocide, it must never be allowed to be repeated, but that crime cannot be and should not be a justification to trample the rights of the Palestinian people for 60 years.”

• Bibi to meet with Turkmenistan’s foreign minister, Rashid Meredov, on the UN sidelines. The Jerusalem Post explains why this matters:

But the meeting with Meredov late Sunday afternoon in New York is also important for Tehran because it signals a strengthening of ties between Israel and the country to Iran’s north-northeast, with whom it shares a 1,000-km. border.

Turkmenistan
• For more commentary/analysis, see Aaron David Miller, the Times of Israel, Richard Haass (Financial Times via Google News), Daniel Levy, John Bolton (Wall St. Journal via Google News), Michael Totten, Noah Beck, the Globe & Mail, plus staff-eds in the NY Daily News (one and two),and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The Syrian Situation
• France was “hours away” from launching military strikes on Syria when the White House informed Francois Hollande it would seek Congressional approval. The Independent writes:

Rafale aircraft were readied that Saturday for take-off and official statements prepared in anticipation of the strikes, according to the Nouvel Observateur. “Everything made us think that D-Day had arrived,” a French official is quoted as saying. The magazine said that “this incredible misunderstanding lasted until the end of the afternoon,” at 6.15pm, when President Obama telephoned Mr Hollande, who was expecting to confirm the military orders just after the phone call. The strikes had been intended to start at 3am later that night, targeting missile batteries and command centres of the 4th Armoured Division in charge of chemical weapons.

But instead of confirming that the US and French military would intervene jointly, President Obama changed his mind following a conversation in the White House Rose garden with his chief of staff Denis McDonough.

The French Defence Ministry had no comment on the Nouvel Observateur report today. But it was clear that the French military establishment was stung by the US leader’s behaviour.

Rest O’ the Roundup
• Worth reading: After 2,500 years, the Jewish community of Yemen has dwindled to some 20 families, living together in a compound in the capital city of Sana’a. Time visited the compound to see how Yemen’s last 90 Jews are faring since the Arab Spring overthrow of their protector, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

• Al-Qaida’s Twitter account was suspended after five days and nearly 50 tweets. The Daily Mail wonders why it took Twitter so long to shut it down.

(Image of Bashir via YouTube/eNCAnews)

For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.
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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Mon 30 Sep 2013, 6:32 pm

US-Iranian Thaw After PR Blitz
http://honestreporting.com/israel-daily-news-stream-09292013/
SEPTEMBER 29, 2013 17:14
BY PESACH BENSON
Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.

Today’s Top Stories
1. Iranian president Hassan Rouhani launched a charm offensive in the US which culminated in a phone call with President Obama. Tweets sharing details of the conversation were posted, then deleted, by Rouhani’s official Twitter account. The Lede rounded up links, screengrabs etc. Also on the sidelines of the UN powwow, John Kerry met with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif. According to Haaretz, Israel was briefed before and after both developments.

Rouhani’s PR blitz included, among other things, agreeing to nuclear talks with the West, addressing the UN, a Washington Post op-ed, and interviews with Charlie Rose and Christiane Amanpour. Rouhani’s comments about the Holocaust caused a stink in Iran. The Lede rounded up all the relevant links, translations, and who said what. As for whether Rouhani’s comments on the Holocaust went far enough, judge for yourself.

See below for more on the developments and their implications for Israel.
Ali Mansouri

2. Israel arrested an Iranian spy who is believed to be a member of the Revolutionary Guards. Ali Mansouri, a Belgian national of Iranian descent, was arrested at Ben Gurion Airport with photos of the US embassy in Tel Aviv. The Jerusalem Post writes:

According to the Shin Bet, the Revolutionary Guard sent Mansouri to Israel to set up companies, which could serve as fronts for secret Iranian activity against Israeli and Western interests.

3. International chemical weapons troubleshooters — if any can be found — arrive in Syria on Tuesday. AFP explains why the UN’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) having a tough time recruiting people for the mission:

With more than 1,000 tons of sarin, mustard gas and other banned horror chemicals stocked across the country, the United Nations and the global chemical weapons watchdog have launched an urgent appeal for scarce experts to join the mission.

Applicants must be ready to face mortal risks and an impossible deadline . . .

Experts say the OPCW will need up to 200 inspectors for the Syria force. It currently has less than half that number who already have a heavy regular workload. The watchdog has had to appeal to the major powers to send scientists.

Those who go will become a new target in the 30-month-old conflict and the strife means the noxious potions will have to be moved out of Syria to be destroyed.

4. The 6 Questions About Paywalls You Were Afraid to Ask: How to make sense of the pesky paywalls papers are putting up.

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Iranian Atomic Urgency
• The Times of Israel assesses what Iran’s charm offensive means for Israel’s public diplomacy:

Israel’s hugely skeptical response to Rouhani’s slick PR may be entirely justified. But showing the new friendly face of Tehran to be disingenuous requires more than a recycling of the same-old bleak sound bites. Cartoon bombs — as unveiled by Netanyahu at last year’s UN General Assembly — aren’t going to work anymore. This year’s show is going to have to be more serious and nuanced.

As Ambassador Michael Oren told CNN, there was nothing peaceful about Rouhani’s speech, and “it’s a pretty low bar when Iranians stop denying the Holocaust and people get excited about it.”

• For what it’s worth, the NY Times notes that the Saudis are skeptical of the Obama/Rouhani overtures too.

• Before leaving for the UN, Rouhani attended an event calling for Israel’s destruction that flew below Big Media’s radar. See the photos.

• Don’t Cheer Yet — Iran’s Opposition Activists are Still Getting Crushed

• Linkage, anyone?

Obama’s message to Bibi: Palestine for Iran
Obama’s misguided linkage
Yoram Ettinger‘s take:
However, Iran is galloping toward nuclear capabilities irrespective of Israel’s existence or the Palestinian issue, which is a sideshow for Iran and the Arab countries. Iran’s nuclearization aims to advance its 1,400-year-old goal to dominate the Persian Gulf, where Israel plays no role.

• Reuters assesses how Iran will test “Obama’s often rocky ties with Netanyahu. Is Rouhani driving a wedge between Washington and Jerusalem? And, as Boaz Bismuth points out, Bibi is stuck with the unenviable job of spoiling the happy mood Rouhani created even though nobody will want to believe him.

• For more commentary, see David Horovitz, Michael Herzog, Dore Gold, Meir Javedanfar, Martin Kramer, Doyle McManus, Tom Friedman, The Economist, and Charles Krauthammer, plus a staff-ed in The Independent.

On the next page:
Hamas uses Chinese bank for money laundering.
Syrian rebels form Islamic alliance.
French diplomat who assaulted Israeli soldier expelled.
Continued  on page 2
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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Thu 19 Sep 2013, 12:45 am

Oren: Israel Always Wanted Assad Removed
SEPTEMBER 17, 2013 15:00
BY ALEX MARGOLIN

Today’s Top Stories


1. UN finally released its findings on the use of chemical weapons in Syria. The report was clear that chemical weapons were used but vague about who used them, even as all evidence pointed to the Assad government.  That duality was expressed perfectly by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:


 “The report makes for chilling reading,” Mr. Ban told a news conference after he briefed the Security Council. “The findings are beyond doubt and beyond the pale. This is a war crime.”


Mr. Ban declined to ascribe blame, saying that responsibility was up to others, but he expressed hope that the attack would become a catalyst for a new diplomatic determination at the United Nations to resolve the Syrian conflict, which has left more than 100,000 people dead and millions displaced.


2. Outgoing Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren told The Jerusalem Post that Israel favors Assad’s ouster because of his ties with Iran. “We always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran,” he said, even if the other bad guys were al-Qaida.


3. Washington Post poll shows 79% of Americans support the government’s effort for a diplomatic solution to the Syria chemical weapons issue – despite only 30% saying they were confident that Syria would give up its chemical weapons.


4. See our latest infographic about how false information spreads.Iran and its Nuclear Threat


Iran and its Nuclear Threat
• Rouhani hinted that he may be willing to close one of Iran’s nuclear reactorsif the West eases sanctions. The announcement may come in his speech at the UN General Assembly opening.


• The Rouhani charm offensive in Iran continues, this time by removing the blocks on Facebook and Twitter for Iranian users.


Several hard-line politicians have made public comments in recent days calling Facebook “a Zionist tool,” but the fact that it was accessible in Iran on Monday suggested that the censorship council, which Mr. Rouhani heads, might have decided otherwise.


AP, however, reported that the opening was a “glitch” and all the blocks were restored a few hours later.


Rest O’ the Roundup


• Some Arab students in eastern Jerusalem can choose between the Israeli curriculum or the Palestinian curriculum at school.


 Israeli officials say that seven East Jerusalem municipality schools are offering the option of taking the Israeli curriculum, up from two last year. The lessons will include more Hebrew, more science and changes in civics and history instruction. Municipality officials say the step comes at the initiative of Palestinian parents concerned with facilitating their children’s acceptance in the Israeli job market and universities.


“The Palestinian Authority, Fatah and Hamas may oppose this, but parents know that the future of their children is in Israel,” says David Koren, the municipality’s adviser on East Jerusalem. Most pupils in East Jerusalem continue to study the Palestinian curriculum.


 • NY Times public editor, Margaret Sullivan explains why the paper didn’t cover news broken by The Guardian that the NSA shared raw intelligence with Israel. The paper’s managing editor, Dean Baquet simply didn’t deem it important enough to cover.


But then she adds her own take on the story:


I disagree, however, with Mr. Baquet’s conclusion on this one. I find it to be a significant development and something that Times readers should not have to chase around the Web to find out about. They should be able to read it in The Times.


• BBC to launch a review of all its news coverage to ensure its viewers are pleased with its reporting. We eagerly await the results of its review.


• Turkey shot down a Syrian helicopter that strayed into Turkish territory. Syrian officials accused Turkey of intentionally seeking escalation in the border region.


• Does Israel have chemical weapons? The Christian Science Monitor wants to know.


• Popular television program Homeland announced plans to move filming out of Israel because of the concern about the Syria situation.


• Local conservationists lament the number of birds tagged with trackingdevices capture by Arab governments as suspected spies.


For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.
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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Tue 17 Sep 2013, 4:14 pm

continued from previous post
Russian Initiative: How Enforceable Is It?
SEPTEMBER 16, 2013 13:25
BY PESACH BENSON
• How Syria Media Advisers Decided Who Would Speak to President Assad


• Turns out Israel urged President Obama to accept Russia’s deal. According to the Wall St. Journal:


On Sept. 11, Mr. Kerry spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said he believed Russia wasn’t bluffing and that a deal was possible, according to American and Middle Eastern officials briefed on the exchange. Israel shared U.S. concerns that strikes could strengthen rebels linked with al Qaeda and allow them to seize Mr. Assad’s weapons.


• For more commentary/analysis, see Der Spiegel, Michael Totten, Jeffrey Goldberg, and Bloomberg News.


Rest O’ the Roundup


• The Egyptian army says it discovered a network of booby traps along the Egypt-Gaza border. AP writes:


In the last 48 hours, he said, troops had discovered explosives laid in tunnels along the border and under Egyptian watchtowers, with detonating wires running back into Gaza.


The same spokesman also said the military destroyed 152 smuggling tunnels since July.


Egyptian soldier
Egyptian soldier along Gaza border.


• Jerusalem Post: A bunch of former high-level European officials are calling on Catherine Ashton to be tough with Israel on the settlement guidelines.


• I’m glad to see China thinks of nothing of boycotts. Tel Aviv University and Tsinghua University in China signed an academic collaboration agreement.
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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Tue 17 Sep 2013, 4:00 pm

Russian Initiative: How Enforceable Is It?
SEPTEMBER 16, 2013 13:25
BY PESACH BENSON
Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.


Today’s Top Stories
1. How enforceable is Russia’s plan to get rid of Syria’s chemical weapons?


Col. Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, told the [url=http://forums.delphiforums.com/n/mb/Russian Initiative: How Enforceable Is It? SEPTEMBER 16, 2013 13:25 BY PESACH BENSON Everything you need to know about today%92s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook. Today%92s Top Stories 1. How enforceable is Russia%92s plan to get rid of Syria%92s chemical weapons? Col. Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, told the Jerusalem Post that Moscow%92s plan isn%92t realistic because A) no country will volunteer to send inspectors into the midst of a brutal civil war, B) no country will send military personnel to protect the inspectors, and C) neither the regime nor the rebels will cooperate with the inspectors anyway. %93Israel appears to be the only reliable power in the region. America%92s power and American deterrence is reduced. Israel remains the one reliable power that the world can count on to intervene if the situation gets too dangerous.%94 And Tariq Alhomayed raises more red flags: What is even more dangerous is that the Americans and the Russians have not reached a clear agreement on the number of chemical weapons storage facilities. The reason is clear: if Russia declared the numbers of chemical weapons stockpiles and their sites, this would automatically attribute responsibility for the chemical massacre on August 21 in Eastern Gouta to Assad. That would make it easier to take him to the International Criminal Court should the international community decide to%96especially after the secretary-general of the UN said Assad had committed crimes against humanity throughout the revolution%97which the Russians want to avoid. See also AP%91s list of unresolved issues. And Israeli media notes that the US-Russian deal makes no provisions for Syria%92s biological weapons. 2. Syria transferring chemical weapons to Hezbollah? Syrian President Bashar Assad%92s forces are smuggling chemical weapons to Hezbollah hidden in trucks carrying vegetables in order to escape international chemical inspection, Syrian opposition member Dr. Kamal Labwani told Saudi newspaper Al Watan on Monday. The chemical arms are set to be stored in Hezbollah-controlled mountain areas of Lebanon, where it will be difficult to find and monitor them. 3. British foreign minister William Hague%92s going to meet with his Iranian counterpart later this month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. No date set, according to Radio Free Europe. 4. New York Times Op-Ed Pushes Demise of Jewish State: The New York Times gives the front page of its Sunday Review to an anti-Israel academic. News breaks fast. Get HonestReporting alerts by e-mail and never miss a thing. Free Sign Up The Syrian Situation %95 John Kerry visited Jerusalem to brief Israeli leaders on the Syrian chemical weapons disarmament deal. McClatchy News described the Israeli reaction as %93cautious.%94 %95 The Wall St. Journal takes an in-depth look at how Iran%92s assisting Bashar Assad. Tehran%92s training Shi%92ite gunmen from around the world, sending Revolutionary Guards personnel to join Assad%92s command and control system, coordinating activities with Hezbollah, and providing the regime with a $3.6 billion line of credit. %95 Worth reading from the National Post: National Post %95 The Media Line and the Times of Israel looked into pressure on Israel to join the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The Times points out: As a party to the CWC, Israel would be forced to permit international inspectors access to its most sensitive security facilities, including the Dimona nuclear reactor and the Nes Ziona Biological Institute. On the next page Israel urged Obama to accept Russia%92s deal. Palestinians booby trapped Egypt-Gaza border. How Syrian spin doctors decide which Western reporters get access to Assad. Continued on page 2]Jerusalem Post[/url] that Moscow’s plan isn’t realistic because A) no country will volunteer to send inspectors into the midst of a brutal civil war, B) no country will send military personnel to protect the inspectors, and C)neither the regime nor the rebels will cooperate with the inspectors anyway.


“Israel appears to be the only reliable power in the region. America’s power and American deterrence is reduced. Israel remains the one reliable power that the world can count on to intervene if the situation gets too dangerous.”


And Tariq Alhomayed raises more red flags:


What is even more dangerous is that the Americans and the Russians have not reached a clear agreement on the number of chemical weapons storage facilities. The reason is clear: if Russia declared the numbers of chemical weapons stockpiles and their sites, this would automatically attribute responsibility for the chemical massacre on August 21 in Eastern Gouta to Assad. That would make it easier to take him to the International Criminal Court should the international community decide to–especially after the secretary-general of the UN said Assad had committed crimes against humanity throughout the revolution—which the Russians want to avoid.


See also AP‘s list of unresolved issues. And Israeli media notes that the US-Russian deal makes no provisions for Syria’s biological weapons.


2. Syria transferring chemical weapons to Hezbollah?


Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces are smuggling chemical weapons to Hezbollah hidden in trucks carrying vegetables in order to escape international chemical inspection, Syrian opposition member Dr. Kamal Labwani told Saudi newspaper Al Watan on Monday.


The chemical arms are set to be stored in Hezbollah-controlled mountain areas of Lebanon, where it will be difficult to find and monitor them.


3. British foreign minister William Hague’s going to meet with his Iranian counterpart later this month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. No date set, according to Radio Free Europe.


4. New York Times Op-Ed Pushes Demise of Jewish State: The New York Times gives the front page of its Sunday Review to an anti-Israel academic.


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The Syrian Situation


• John Kerry visited Jerusalem to brief Israeli leaders on the Syrian chemical weapons disarmament deal. McClatchy News described the Israeli reaction as “cautious.”


• The Wall St. Journal takes an in-depth look at how Iran’s assisting Bashar Assad. Tehran’s training Shi’ite gunmen from around the world, sending Revolutionary Guards personnel to join Assad’s command and control system, coordinating activities with Hezbollah, and providing the regime with a $3.6 billion line of credit.


• Worth reading from the National Post:


National Post


• The Media Line and the Times of Israel looked into pressure on Israel to join the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The Times points out:


As a party to the CWC, Israel would be forced to permit international inspectors access to its most sensitive security facilities, including the Dimona nuclear reactor and the Nes Ziona Biological Institute.


On the next page


Israel urged Obama to accept Russia’s deal.
Palestinians booby trapped Egypt-Gaza border.
How Syrian spin doctors decide which Western reporters get access to Assad.
Continued on page 2
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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Sun 15 Sep 2013, 10:22 pm

srael Daily News Stream 09/15/2013
http://honestreporting.com/israel-daily-news-stream-09152013/
SEPTEMBER 15, 2013 16:42
BY PESACH BENSON
Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.


Today’s Top Stories
1. Assad’s scattering his chemical weapons to as many as 50 sites, and even preparing to hide more in Iraq.


The movements of chemical weapons by Syria’s elite Unit 450 could complicate any U.S. bombing campaign in Syria over its alleged chemical attacks, officials said. It also raises questions about implementation of a Russian proposal that calls for the regime to surrender control of its stockpile, they said.


2. Egyptian tanks reportedly crossed a fence into a strip of no man’s land between Egypt and Gaza and rumbled along dirt path without crossing into Gaza itself. Times of Israel coverage.


3. Vladimir PutinMax Fisher fisked fact-checked/annotated Vladimir Putin’s NY Times op-ed. For more on how Putin’s commentary got from the Kremlin and the New York-based Ketchum p.r. firm to the Gray Lady’s soapbox, see Buzzfeed and the Times’s public editor.


“The op-ed came through the PR firm (Ketchum) and went through the normal editing process,” said New York Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy in an email to BuzzFeed.


ProPublica raised ethical red flags about previous pro-Putin commentaries Ketchum planted in the Huffington Post and CNBC.


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4. Monster Cartoon Violates German Press Council Code: “The ruling reinforces the message that artistic freedom cannot be used as a cloak to disguise anti-Semitism.”


5. No Religious Freedom for Jews on the Temple Mount: The Guardian advocates against freedom of worship at Judaism’s holiest site.


The Syrian Situation


• Israel HaYom poll: Given his handling of Syria, 65 percent of Israelis don’t trust Obama on Iran.


• Reports point to an overlooked massacre of 248 civilians in two Syrian villages. The Lede rounds up the links.


• BBC obtained footage of what it says appears to be Iranians fighting in Syria.


On the next page:


New Olympic chief to resign job facilitating Arab boycott of Israel.
Big Media marks the 20th anniversary of the Oslo accords.
Bahrain bans books about Hezbollah.
Continued on page 2
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Post  Admin on Wed 11 Sep 2013, 10:52 pm

Israel Daily News Stream 09/11/2013
SEPTEMBER 11, 2013 15:56
BY PESACH BENSON
Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.
Today’s Top Stories
1. President Obama took his case for Syrian intervention to the public in a national address (video/transcript).
See also the Wall St. Journal, which rounded up the highlights of the president’s six network interviews.



Obama speech
2. Fallout from the Russian initiative: According to Israeli media reports, when Moscow told Bashar Assad to give up its chemical weapons, the Russians sweetened the deal with a promise to bolster conventional arms sales. Syrian opposition figures bitterly opposed the compromise, some going so far as to call it a dirty deal benefiting only Israel, not them. Then there’s this from the Washington Times:


President Bashar Assad likely does not have complete control over Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons — one of the world’s largest — which is dispersed across the country and believed to have been shared with its allies, including the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, analysts say.


Vladimir Putin enjoys throwing his weigh around:


Russia to offer Iran S-300 missiles, new nuclear reactor


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3. Why are Palestinian officials talking so much about the peace talks, even though they and the Israelis agreed to zip their lips? Khaled Abu Toamehexplains that the PA’s loose lip game plan aims to A) draw the US into pressuring Israel, B) reassure Palestinians that the PA won’t make unseemly concessions, and C) lay the groundwork for sinking the talks and blaming Israel.


4. How to Libel Israel: A Case Study: Thanks to the Internet, a story falsely libeling Israel will remain in perpetuity to be recycled by anti-Israel activists who either ignore or have not seen the correction.
The Syrian Situation
• For the first time since the chemical weapons crisis, the Syrian air force attacked rebel areas around Damascus. Rebels told Reuters this is a sign that Assad no longer feels international pressure.


• I’m relieved to be reminded that real Syrian moderates aren’t extinct. “Amin Muhammed” wants to launch a moderate, pro-Western political party that would normalize relations with Israel. He shared his vision with the Jerusalem Post.


• A tense Lebanese funeral laid bare the friction between Hezbollah and Palestinian refugees.


• For more commentary/analysis, on the latest Syrian developments, see FOR:- Herb Keinon, Amos Harel, Yaakov Lappin, Eyal Zisser, Vivian Bercovici, Con Coughlin, and Jeffrey Goldberg. See also Jimmy Carter and Dennis Ross.


On the next page:
Israel boycotter named Olympic chief.
Suicide bomber blows up Egyptian military’s Sinai headquarters.
Pundits mark the Oslo Accords’ 20th anniversary.
Continued on page 2
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Post  Admin on Tue 10 Sep 2013, 6:47 pm

Israel Daily News Stream 09/10/2013
SEPTEMBER 10, 2013 16:46
BY PESACH BENSON
Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.
Today’s Top Stories
1. Was it just an offhand remark? A gaffe? Or might John Kerry have actually meant it when he said Syria could avoid a US attack by getting rid of its chemical weapons? Whatever the case, the Russians pounced, quickly turning Kerry’s remarks into an all-out diplomatic initiative, and quickly calling on Damascus to buy-in.


The result? President Obama told ABC News he’s willing to hit the pause button on intervention if Assad gives up his chemical weapons. Meanwhile, the Senate delayed a test vote on intervention and even France is backing Moscow’s initiative. Lo and behold, Assad bought in. Israeli officials quoted by Israel HaYom remained skeptical. As analysts told Reuters:


Any deal with Syria to hand over its chemical weapons in the middle of a chaotic civil war would be difficult for inspectors to enforce and destroying them would likely take years, U.S. officials and experts caution.


See below for commentary on the turn of events.
2. Peace talks strained by Palestinian claims that Nabil Shaath has a letter signed by John Kerry guaranteeing that negotiations begin from the 1967 borders. But a polite State Dept. email to the NY Times essentially called Shaath a liar:


But American officials denied there was such a document, which would have been a significant gesture to the Palestinians and could have enraged Israel. “We have always said that if you don’t hear news about the talks from senior U.S. officials, you can’t count on it being reliable,” Marie E. Harf, a State Department spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement. “This is a good example.”


Indeed. Elliott Abrams points out that Shaath has a history of fabricating claims about the US.


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3. Although Facebook’s banned in Iran, Hassan Rohani wants his cabinet ministers to open accounts. But according to AP , even if the mullahs remove the filters, there’s another problem: Lots of fake Facebook accounts named after government officials, presumably set up by the regime’s Internet monitors. And the Times of London notes another twist giving the regime headaches:


Some of the ministers who have signed up are former members of the security services, responsible for blocking access to banned sites and monitoring Iranians online.


That irony has not been lost on the public, who face a daily struggle to evade state censorship and access social networks and news websites. Seeing ministers online has underscored the sense that the rules imposed on ordinary Iranians do not apply to the elite.


4. Manufacturing and Exploiting Compassion: Abuse of the Media by Palestinian Propaganda: An in-depth look at how Palestinian propaganda has turned the Western media into an effective weapon.


The Syrian Situation


• CIA documents unearthed by Foreign Policy suggest Israel has (or had?) chemical weapons. I don’t know much about these things, but I’d hazard a guess that Israel was manufacturing things to produce antidotes to the Egyptian, Syrian and Iraqi chemical weapons the article also describes. The Jerusalem Post and YNet picked up on the story.


• Reactions to the Russian initiative:


Ron Ben-Yishai says that until we see Moscow’s plan, there’s no way to know if the Russians are serious or just playing for time.
LA Times columnist Jon Healey calls the idea a “get out of jail free card” because taking away Assad’s chemical weapons is hardly a punishment for having used them in the first place.
But as Jonathan Freedland points out, all the key players get something they need: Assad dodges a bullet, Putin becomes the world statesman, and Obama avoids an embarrassing vote in Congress.
Jeffrey Goldberg raises 15 important questions about the deal.
Francois Hollande ain’t Barack Obama’s poodle.
• Nice CNN video on Israel’s view of the Syrian developments.


• For more commentary/analysis on Israel and the Syria situation, see theJerusalem Post, David Harris, a Wall St. Journal staff-ed (via Google News), Matt Gurney, Fareed Zakaria, and Bret Stephens (via Google News).


Israel and the Palestinians


• Hobbled with financial problems, Hamas has ordered its people to stop making public shows of support for the Muslim Brotherhood and Mohammed Morsi. Haaretz explains the terror group’s dire financial state and limited options:


Estimates are that the Hamas government needs $37 million a month for salaries and running expenses, but on the eve of the Id Al-Fitr holiday it paid only partial salaries amounting to NIS 1,000 to each person. It’s not clear where money will be found to pay its 42,000 employees this month. Reports from Gaza indicate a dire shortage of fuel due to the closing of the tunnels, leading to a reduction in public transportation. The prices of basic goods have increased significantly and social services have been drastically reduced due to harsh budget cuts.


• Hackers to target Israeli websites on 9/11. Why Israel and why on 9/11? It’s just an excuse to attack Israel.


Rutgers• Henry Grabbe, a Rutgers sophomore, shared his impressions of a summer trip to Israel in the South Jersey Courier Post.


It was the one-on-one conversations with students that most affected my views on contemporary issues in Israel. All the teenagers are well-versed in the issues facing their people and have their own opinions on everything from education to international relations, and speak passionately about them. This was powerful for me coming from a sometimes-apathetic college student body.


(Image of Shaath via Wikimedia Commons/Janwikifoto)


For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.
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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Tue 10 Sep 2013, 5:34 pm

HONEST REPORTING
Sinai Jihadis Use Israeli Cellular Networks
SEPTEMBER 9, 2013 14:36
BY PESACH BENSON
Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.
Today’s Top Stories
1. After Egypt shut down Sinai’s telecommunications network, jihadis turned to Israeli (and Palestinian) mobile networks. If Al-Qaida’s using Israel’s Cellcom and Orange networks, where does that leave the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions campaign?


2. Trying to smooth out Europe’s ties with Israel, Catherine Ashton hinted of possible compromise on the EU’s settlement guidelines. Daily Telegraphcoverage. More on the story at the Financial Times (via Google News).


3. The Nusra Front’s success in Syria appears to be boosting Al-Qaida’s flagging fortunes elsewhere. Reuters picked up on a think tank’s report.


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The Syrian Situation
• One Israeli humanitarian group is successfully getting aid to Syrian refugees inside Syria. But it says a lot about the Arab world’s demonization of Israel that the Jerusalem Post can’t name the organization.


• Western embassies in Lebanon set to evacuate.

• Significant Regime Defection in Syria


• i24 News rounds up the latest diplomatic efforts.


• For commentary/analysis, see Tariq Alhomayed, Ammar Abdulhamid, Dan Margalit, Stephen Hadley, the Jerusalem Post, and Daily Telegraph.


Rest O’ the Roundup


• Bad news for the anti-Israel Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions movement —China will not be denied.


Jerusalem Post
• The Media Line takes note of increasing Israeli-Egyptian security ties as Cairo’s war on Sinai terror continues. See also the Washington Post , which updates the latest on Gaza’s smuggling tunnels.


For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.
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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Mon 09 Sep 2013, 8:26 pm

Media Fumbles Iranian Twitter Diplomacy
SEPTEMBER 8, 2013 18:09
BY PESACH BENSON
Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.
Today’s Top Stories
1. Interesting Twitter diplomacy. Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif,tweeted Happy Rosh HaShanah, then confirmed to reporters  it was indeed his tweet. There was even more buzz about president  Hasan Rohani tweeting a similar greeting, but Iranian officials denied that Rohani even has a Twitter account. The Wall St. Journal‘s Sohrab Ahmari reacted:


People are so desperate for news that suggests that the Iranian regime  is moderating and ready to engage positively — and philosemitic in this  case — that they don’t do the basic things you have to do, like verify a Twitter account . . .


And Israel’s reaction? As long as the centrifuges are still spinning, forget about a sweet tweet year.




2. How macho: The Syrian army’s dispersing its personnel “into apartment buildings, schools and mosques.” According to the Washington Times, the Syrians appear to be moving their most valuable assets to  the Russian naval base at Tartus, on the assumption the US won’t  attack that base. Alan Dershowitz says  Assad’s “Dead Baby Strategy” is no different than Hamas’s.


By the way, the Daily Telegraph reports that Western human shields are organizing to travel to Damascus. But they’re not going to protect Syrian women and children from the Assad regime’s chemicals and fire power. No word yet on whether Assad will allow them in the country.


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Olympics3. Who is Thomas Bach, and why are Arab countries pushing for him to succeed Jacques Rogge as head of the International Olympic Committee? The Times of London explains:


Mr Bach, who heads Germany’s National Olympic Committee, is also  president of the Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry  (Ghorfa), which facilitates business between German exporters and the Arab world.


One of Ghorfa’s roles is to help German companies to ensure products  meet import requirements of Arab states, some of which ban Israeli  products and services. It helps companies to guarantee that their products do not contain anything from Israel.


This position has drawn criticism from Jewish groups in Germany for facilitating an effective boycott of Israel, although there has also  been support from influential Jewish voices for Mr Bach’s anti-racist credentials.


4. Scrapping the BBC Trust: What This Means for Israel Activists: Putting BBC complaints under Ofcom supervision would be a huge step for accountability.


5. Clarifying, or Detoxifying, the Record: A UK paper’s correction ties together Syrian sarin sins and tired old accusations of Israeli abuse of white phosphorus. Is it enough?


demonization


The Syrian Situation


• Eye-opening stuff from the Wall St. Journal:


The U.S. has intercepted an order from Iran to militants in Iraq to attack the U.S. Embassy and other American interests in Baghdad in the  event of a strike on Syria, officials said, amid an expanding array of reprisal threats across the region.


• Three people caught up in the Ghouta chemical attack were secretly flown to Britain, where tests confirmed the presence of sarin gas. So reports the Sunday Times of London. See also the Times of Israel.


• Syria, AIPAC, and accusations of a NY Times quote scrubbing? That’s a sexy post for any blogger, but some days, the truth is more ho-hum.


NY Times


• Syrian war planes fled after testing the defenses of Britain’s Akrotiri air base on Cyprus.


• Two videos from Syria are turning the intervention debate (if not stomachs) inside out. The first is CNN footage of Syrian chemical attack victims. The second is a chilling video of rebels executing bound, prostrated soldiers. Backstory at The Daily Beast and NY Times.


• Paul Wolfowitz and David Petraeus back the White House on Syria.


• A high level Hezbollah figure told Iranian officials that Assad’s use of chemical weapons was a big mistake. German intelligence intercepted the call. More at the Daily Telegraph.


On the next page:
Commentary/analysis on the Syria situation.
Hamas TV to broadcast from Danish mosque.
Jordanian journalist visiting Israel is f loored by the reception he gets.
Continued on Page 2
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Post  Admin on Wed 04 Sep 2013, 4:40 pm

Israel Daily News Stream 09/03/2013
BY PESACH BENSON
Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.


Today’s Top Stories
*** BREAKING NEWS *** As this roundup goes to press, Congress gave bipartisan support for US intervention in Syria.
1. It’s bad enough a BDS rally at South Africa’s Witwatersrand University featured protesters chanting, “Shoot the Jew.” But Mohammed Desai, the head of South Africa’s BDS movement, poured more fuel to the fire when he told the student paper, the Wits Vuvuzela:


The coordinator of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), Muhammed Desai, said many African people in South Africa when using the word “Jews” meant it in the same way they would have during the eighties. “Just like you would say kill the Boer at funeral during the eighties it wasn’t about killing white people, it was used as a way of identifying with the apartheid regime”.


I don’t see how “Kill the Boer” is any less inciting than “Kill the Jew,” “Kill the black man,” or “Kill the Arab” in any context.


2. France released its intelligence squarely blaming Bashar Assad for carrying out a “massive and co-ordinated” chemical attack. Details at The Guardian.


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3. More and More Journalists are Being Kidnapped in Syria.
Those still covering the civil war are united by a sense of duty to report on what is happening in the country. But given the risk of abduction and the prospect of drawn-out rescue operations that drain resources from our colleagues and endanger our fixers and friends, we are being forced to reassess the way we cover the ongoing conflict.


4. Great Moments in Plausible Deniability, Hezbollah Style: Why would Hezbollah prefer to attack Israel from Syria?

The Syria Situation
• PA-run media blames the US for the Syrian and Egyptian turmoil — and 9/11 for good measure. European diplomats told The Commentator the accusations will unnecessarily harm the Palestinian cause. More at Palestinian Media Watch.
• Hezbollah redeployed its forces ahead of a potential US strike, according to AFP.


• Two-thirds of the British public want to stay out of Syria.


• Worth reading: I hope Roger Waters, Nigel Kennedy, and French foreign minister Laurent Fabius see Dominic Lawson’s latest (and final) column in The Independent.

• The Financial Times (via Google News) nails Israel’s biggest concern:


Their worry is not that Israel is being left alone to cope with Syria, whose war Israel’s government and most of its people want no direct part in.


The fear – and it is a big one – is about the message America’s perceived wavering on Syria sends to its bigger and much more powerful ally: Iran.


• For more commentary/analysis, see Mitch Ginsburg, Spengler, Jennifer Rubin, and Yaron London, plus staff-eds in the Times of London and NY Times.


Israel and the Palestinians


• Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiators are due to meet today. Thanks to the media blackout, the Jerusalem Post, doesn’t have much to report.


Ben Gurion Airport• Ben Gurion Airport was in a state of alert after Palestinians driving a stolen truck rammed through a security barrier.


The two people in the truck were apprehended but flights were briefly grounded as a precaution. Police believe the Palestinians stole the truck from a nearby town and took a wrong turn leading them to the airport. YNet coverage.


• As Egypt blocks access, Gazans turn to Israel for outlet.


• Jerusalem Post: As yesterday’s foiled terror attack shows, Hamas is still trying to be a player in the West Bank.


Rest O’ the Roundup
• AP: Egyptian military helicopters pounded Sinai jihadis, reportedly killing “dozens.”


• Is Egypt jamming Al-Jazeera broadcasts?


• Hmmmmm. The Guardian is acknowledging that there are parts of the Mideast which are (gasp) underreported.


(Image of airport via YouTube/Omer Mazaltarim)


For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.
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Post  Admin on Tue 03 Sep 2013, 7:26 pm

Egypt Bulldozes Homes for Gaza Buffer Zone
http://honestreporting.com/israel-daily-news-stream-09012013/

SEPTEMBER 2, 2013 
BY PESACH BENSON
Today’s Top Stories
1. Where does the world stand on intervening in Syria? Turkey will join coalition against Assad. Expect France to join in without parliamentary debate. Australia,Canada, and Britain will support from the sidelines. While the Saudis and theArab League are urging the world to take action, South Africa and Argentinaare opposed. Brazil and India won’t support action without UN authorization.


2. If you didn’t think it was possible for Egypt to escalate its war on Gaza’s smuggling tunnels, think again. AP reports that the army bulldozed 13 homes along the Rafah border to clear a buffer zone:


The military envisions creating a building-free zone with no trees 500 meters (1,640 feet) wide and 10 kilometers (6 miles) long starting at the Rafah border crossing and ending at the Mediterranean Sea, Northern Sinai government officials said. The homes were knocked down over the last 10 days as a test of the buffer zone idea in an area called el-Sarsoriya, a few kilometers (miles) from the Rafah crossing, while explosives were used to collapse the tunnels.


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3. According to the Jerusalem Post, Mahmoud Abbas said that any peace deal with Israel will be brought to a referendum for Palestinians everywhere. But don’t read too much into that. The JPost also reports Abbas cancelled a Rosh HaShanah reception with Israeli lawmakers after being pressured by the Palestinian anti-normalization movement.


demonization


The Syrian Situation


• UN: 7 million Syrians — that’s about one-third of the population — have been displaced by the civil war.


• This headline in The Independent sums up where we’re at now.


The Independent


• Israel’s staying out of the US debate on attacking Syria, and doesn’t want to influence — or even appear to influence — an American decision. According to the NY Times, that’s why Prime Minister Netanyahu told Israeli officials to keep their mouths shut. See also the Christian Science Monitor.


• Worth listening to: Dr. Michael Bar Zohar, a former advisor to Moshe Dayan, discussed the Syria situation with Australian radio. He told The World Todaythat Western delay emboldens Bashar Assad, boosts the likelihood of a unilateral Israeli attack on Iran.


Henry Kissinger
• Henry Kissinger: Rather than fight Assad, just support the break-up of Syria into smaller ethnic states, starting off with an independent Kurdistan. Via Israel Matzav.


Without dropping a single bomb, this declaration would create a win for the Kurds, a pro-Western people who are also one of the largest ethnic groups in the world without a state of their own. It would create a win for the West, who would now have a pro-Western state in what has long been hostile territory. It would create a humiliating loss for Assad, who would be seen to have presided over the dismemberment of his country. And most importantly in meeting the West’s immediate security needs, it would send a chill through Iran’s mullahs, who have to date been impervious to Western boycotts . . . Iran, which has Kurds of its own along with other restive minorities, would now contemplate the prospect of the dismemberment of its own state – Iran’s dominant Persians represent only about 60% of the country’s population. A Western declaration of support for Iran’s Kurdish minority would deter the mullahs as nothing else has.


• For more commentary/analysis, see Jonathan Spyer, Eyal Zisser, Vali Nasr, Max Boot, David Sanger, and Joe Klein.


Rest O’ the Roundup
• Are people connected to Hamas, Hezbollah, and Al-Qaida looking for work inside the CIA? The CIA’s concerned enough, according to documents theWashington Post obtained from NSA leaker Edward Snowden.


• Hurriyet: An Israeli diplomat was invited to an official Turkish state reception for the first time since the Mavi Marmara fallout.


• Mohammed Morsi’s going to be put on trial for inciting supporters to murder protesters. AP coverage.


• Egypt deported a three-man film crew working for Al Jazeera English.


For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.
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Post  Admin on Sun 01 Sep 2013, 10:20 pm

Israel Daily News Stream 09/01/2013
http://honestreporting.com/israel-daily-news-stream-09012013/
SEPTEMBER 1, 2013 16:08
BY PESACH BENSON
Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.


Today’s Top Stories
1. American intervention’s on hold as the White House unexpectedly seeks Congressional approval. The Wall St. Journal had best coverage of how that happened. Britain’s parliament already voted against joining an attack; theFrench parliament may debate the matter too.


Israel’s taking note of the West’s sudden lack of urgency. The Times of Israel explains:
The ongoing hesitance and indecisiveness with which the West is reacting to the alleged used of nerve gas to kill hundreds of civilians in Syria reinforce Israel’s skepticism of the international community in general and, specifically, the idea of security guarantees in any future peace agreement with the Palestinians, Jerusalem officials indicated Friday.


The British Parliament’s decision Thursday against joining a possible military strike on Syria further eroded Jerusalem’s confidence in Western assurances that Israel would not be alone if it were ever attacked, a well-placed Israeli official said.


Along similar lines, the Jerusalem Post points out that Western weakness on Syria increases the likelihood of an Israel attack on Iran.


If gassing 1,429 people, including at least 426 children, as US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday, does not lead to a military assault, will the crossing of the nuclear threshold – when no one is killed – trigger a response?


The LA Times picked up on Israel’s concerns. So did CNN.
2. It’s hard to be comfortable with the way the White House is appealing to Congress to support intervention in Syria. The message, reports Politico: It’ll help Israel. I wish Israel didn’t have to be involved in this:


The White House will need every vote it can get on the Syria resolution, and the senior administration officials left little doubt that Israel would be a point of emphasis in private discussions with members of Congress.


The Capitol is filled with strong supporters of Israel who understand the argument, one of the officials said.


But Israel’s security is a political razor blade that could cut both ways.


3. Israeli security busted a Hamas terror cell planning to bomb a Jerusalem shopping mall during the upcoming Jewish holidays. YNet coverage.


4. The Times of London: Israel Can Do No Right: Israel’s accused of discriminating against Black Africans.
The Syrian Situation


• So much for “never again.” US intelligence knew ahead of time that the Assad regime was preparing the chemical attack that killed hundreds.


• AFP: It’ll take three weeks for laboratory experts to analyze soil samples taken by UN investigators.


• No Western strike on an Arab country is complete without reports of human shields. Bashar Assad’s bussing thousands of prison inmates to sites the regime believes will be targeted by US strikes. At least there don’t appear to be any naive fools from the West willingly serving as a human shield now. How about you, George Galloway? Are you up to it?


• The 23 Twitter accounts you must follow to understand Syria.


• Syria’s moving its Scud rockets.


• Could Syria strike back if the US attacks?, asks CNN.


• A BBC film crew in northern Syria got footage of the aftermath of a napalm bomb dropped on a schoolyard. At least 10 students were killed.


• The Media Line takes a closer at Israel’s cyber defenses.


• Bashar Assad, Hezbollah, Iranian agents, and Al-Qaida jihadis aren’t really dipping their toes in the Kinneret. This inaccurate map’s might just be a Freudian slip by the BBC.


• Jerusalem Post: Hamas and Fatah agree to oppose a US strike on Syria because “This would only benefit Israel.”


• According to Arab media reports, Hezbollah stopped a Saudi diplomatic car in Beirut and detained its passengers for several hours.


CLICK HERE >• For more commentary/analysis, spend your Labor Day catching up on 
Tariq Alhomayed, Avi Issacharoff, Jeffrey Goldberg, James Taranto, Meir Javedanfar, Ron Ben-Yishai, Paul McGeough, and Dan Margalit. See also Charles Krauthammer, Elliott Abrams, Bernard Avishai, David Horovitz, The Commentator, Dore Gold, Michael Young, and Amir Taheri. Weekend staff-eds in the Washington Post, NY Times, and LA Times weighed in while the Times of Israel rounded up Arab media reactions.


On the next page:
Federal budget docs reveal the US spies on Israel.
Terrorists attack ship in Suez Canal.
Anti-American conspiracy theories abound in Egypt’s media.
Continued on page 2
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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Thu 29 Aug 2013, 6:55 pm

Israel Daily News Stream 08/29/2013
See link for video
AUGUST 29, 2013 15:28
BY PESACH BENSON
Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.


Today’s Top Stories
1. Europe has put Syria — and Israel — on notice to act with restraint. YNet picked up on Arab reports:


According to the officials, Assad realizes that a potential Western assault would be a response to his army’s use of chemical weapons and not as a means to affect the current balance of power in Syria.


Assad reportedly used diplomatic back channels to convey that he does not intent to attack Israel as this would lead the Syrian campaign to uncharted territory.


It was further reported that Western nations asked Israel to exercise restraint in case of an assault by Assad or other “actors” supporting him.


Thanks to that chemical attack and the hundreds of civilians who were killed, Assad and his Syrian campaign are already in uncharted territory.


2. If you want a depressing sign of the anti-normalization campaign’s grip on Palestinian society, look no further than Forbes. Last month, investigative reporter Richard Behar, wrote Peace Through Profits?, a lengthy piece about the quiet cooperation of Israeli and Palestinian entrepreneurs.


Behar says his the blowback left his email inbox “smoking” describing furious reactions in a follow up that’s about the same length as his original cover story.


Forbes
3. Take care of your computer security. Syria (and Iran, and their online mobs)  are certainly capable of cyberspace retaliation. The Washington Times reports:


“It’s foreseeable that [Syrian] state-sponsored or state-sympathetic hackers could seek to retaliate” against U.S., Israeli or Western interests, Michael Chertoff, a former secretary of Homeland Security, told The Washington Times on Wednesday.


The Washington Post found one American hacker waging war on Damascus. See also Israel’s Gadi Evron on Cyber Warfare.


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4. Sri Lankan-Born Student Wins HR Award Defending Israel: What drives Timon Diaz, a non-Jewish student with no familial ties to Israel, to defend what is an increasingly difficult cause on campuses worldwide?


5. Syria: Israel Between a Rock and a Hard Place: There is no good outcome for Israel.


6. BDS Now a Humanitarian Organization?: Black is white, up is down, and the anti-Israel boycott-divestment-sanctions campaign is humanitarian.


demonization
The Syrian Situation
• Jerusalem Post:


The lines between Hezbollah and the Syrian regime are so blurred that Israel will hold Damascus responsible if Hezbollah bombards Israel in the coming days, Israeli officials indicated on Wednesday . . .
“They cannot play the game that Hezbollah is somehow an independent actor,” one official said. “We have seen over the last few months that Hezbollah is coordinated very closely with the Assad regime, and it is the Iranians that have orchestrated that close cooperation.”


And how will Hezbollah react? The Daily Star reads the meager tea leaves.


• Western powers are ready to rumble. Meanwhile, Russian and Frenchwarship, plus British fighter jets are en route to the Eastern Med.


• Gen. Amos Yadlin discussed with CNN's  Christiane Amanpour Israel’s intelligence on Syrian chemical weapons, and how the West should proceed.


• Reuters looks at the history of Syria’s chemical weapons program. How ironic: The weapons intended to counter Israel’s alleged nuclear arsenal are now being used against the civilians they were supposedly defending.


• Syrian kamikaze pilots?


PLEASE CLICK•> For commentary/analysis, see Eyal Zisser, David Horovitz, Nicholas Blanford, Freddy Eytan, David Makovsky, David Ignatius, Michael Totten, Jeff Jacoby, Nicholas Kristof, Boaz Bismuth, and Reuters.


ON THE NEXT PAGE
Palestinian schools in eastern Jersualem are switching to Israeli curriculum.
Two more U. California campuses exonerated of fostering anti-Semitic environments.
Egypt arrests five Hamas members involved in massacre of 25 cops.
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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Wed 28 Aug 2013, 9:49 pm

Israel Daily News Stream 08/28/2013
AUGUST 28, 2013 17:09
BY PESACH BENSON
Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.

Today’s Top Stories
1. Media reports say there was a second chemical attack in the Damascus area.Early info suggests a smaller scale attack that injured 20 people, but expect more details to emerge.

2. While the US gears up to attack Syria, Israel and Syria are getting ready too:Israel’s cabinet gave a green light to a limited call-up of reservists. Meanwhile, the Times of Israel reports that the Syrian army is evacuating security installations. See also Israel HaYom, the Wall St. Journal, and USA Today.

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3. Loose-lipped US officials are telling the media a little too much about attacking Syria. Unidentified sources told the Washington Post, and NBC News that two or three days of missile strikes should sufficiently punish the Syrian regime, discussed the attack’s timing with CNN, and the target list with the NY Times. Oh yeah, White House spokesman Jay Carney told the press corps that there are no plans for regime change.

All of which has the Wall St. Journal wondering: Why is the White House is giving away its game plan?

4. Palestinian “Eyewitnesses”: Proven Unreliable – Again: Events in the Qalandia refugee camp offer a good case study of how Palestinian eyewitness accounts can lead to multiple versions of a story, as well as how different news services present the story.

5. I discussed Israel’s perspective on the imminent US attack on Syria and the chemical weapons situation. Listen to the Israel Audio News Stream. 
The Syrian Situation

• Foreign Policy reports that White House’s smoking gun is a bunch of  intercepted telephone calls between “panicked” Syrian officials:

Making the case even more conclusive were the images of the missiles that supposedly delivered the deadly attacks. If they were carrying conventional warheads, they would have likely been all but destroyed as they detonated. But several missiles in East Ghouta were found largely intact. “Why is there so much rocket left? There shouldn’t be so much rocket left,” the intelligence official told The Cable. The answer, the official and his colleagues concluded, was that the weapon was filled with nerve agent, not a conventional explosive.

The bulk of the evidence was provided by Israel.

• JTA:
In Jerusalem, Washington’s resolve in Syria is seen as a crucial litmus test for its readiness to confront another looming Mideast showdown over unconventional weapons.

• Syrian hackers showed they’re a force to be reckoned with, hitting the NY Times, Twitter, and Huffington Post through an Australian internet company associated with those sites. The Jerusalem Post summed up the damage; Chris Mims explained how the Syrian Electronic Army pulled it off.

• The Israeli homefront’s gearing up. See Israel HaYom, the Wall St. Journal, and USA Today.

please see page for links on each of these, I found too difficult to link each.
• For more commentary/analysis, see the Times of Israel, David Harris,Jerusalem Post, Nahum Barnea, i24, Israel HaYom, Reuters, NY Times, McClatchy News, The Economist, Der Spiegel, Anthony Cordesman, and Time.

On the next page:
Is Norway running out of patience with the PA?
Hamas sentences alleged collaborator to death.
US Dept. of Education rules against Israel campus activists at Berkeley.
Continued on page 2
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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Mon 26 Aug 2013, 8:24 pm

HONEST REPORTING
Israel Daily News Stream 08/26/2013
AUGUST 26, 2013 14:59
BY PESACH BENSON
Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.
Today’s Top Stories
1. UN personnel investigating a Syrian chemical attack suspended their mission after coming under sniper fire. Sky News adds that two mortars landed near the UN team’s hotel.


How will Assad and his Russian apologists explain a reception like that?


2. The PA cancelled today’s peace talks in Jericho. An official quoted by AFPsaid the PA was protesting the death of three Palestinians during an IDF arrest raid in the Qalandiya refugee camp. The situation went awry “when over 1,500 Palestinians poured into the streets and attacked the officers with firebombs and rocks,” wrote YNet. Footage posted on YouTube showed Palestinians in the camp throwing rocks and rubble on an army jeep from the rooftops.


3. From Egypt to Iraq, the status of Mideast Christians has never looked gloomier, according to the Daily Telegraph, CNN, NPR, YNet, and Time.


Meanwhile, the Washington Post was in lockdown when angry Egyptian-Americans showed up at the paper’s headquarters:


The office’s main lobby was shut down and no one was allowed in or out during the approximately half hour that the protesters peacefully chanted and waved signs.


The protest appeared to include, among others, a large number of Coptic Christians, who make up about one-tenth of Egypt’s population and many of whom live in the District and neighboring suburbs. Some complained that the Post had not sufficiently covered the rash of mob violence against churches and Christian-owned businesses in Egypt since the July 3 military coup that removed President Mohamed Morsi.


Israel and the Palestinians


• A private Dutch company’s involvement in a Jerusalem sewage treatment plant is going down the drain, thanks to the EU’s settlement guidelines. Haaretzexplains:


The Dutch government has asked the country’s largest engineering company to rethink its participation in a project with the Jerusalem municipality because the project is based on the Palestinian side of the 1967 border. Foreign Ministry officials fear that this will be a trend in Europe, not an isolated incident.


The project by Royal HaskoningDHV involves Israeli company Mati, a subsidiary of Hagihon, the municipality’s water and sewage company.


Royal HaskoningDHV, by the way, is a private company.


• The facts just don’t back up the urgency of AP‘s lead paragraph. You have to read on to find out that construction is years away, and that the government hasn’t given final approval to the project:


srael pushed forward Sunday with plans to construct 1,500 apartments in east Jerusalem in a move that could undermine recently renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.


• Worth reading: Deutsche Welle correspondent Tania Kramer’s dispatch from Gaza highlights Hamas desperation.


On the next page:
Palestinians agree to hand over terror suspects to Lebanese authorities.
American and Israeli commandos already operating in Syria?
Israeli citizens clamor for gas mask kits.
Continued on Page 2
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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Mon 26 Aug 2013, 1:43 am

HONEST REPORTING 
See Article PAGE Please for Links
 3 times I tried to bring links and my notepad crashed. i WOULD SUGGEST YOU CLOSE DOWN OTHER PAGES OTHER THAN HONEST REPORTING, maybe I had too many pages up.
 CLICK HERE http://honestreporting.com/israel-daily-news-stream-08252013/
Israel Daily News Stream 08/25/2013
AUGUST 25, 2013 16:09
BY PESACH BENSON
Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.https://www.facebook.com/pages/Israel-Daily-News-Stream/182588885185478
Today’s Top Stories
1. Israel’s urges action against Syrian chemical weapons in response to last week’s chemical attack. The Pentagon’s boosting naval forces in the eastern Mediterranean. 
US Navy reinforces fleet near Syria
http://www.theage.com.au/world/us-navy-reinforces-fleet-near-syria-20130824-2sif6.html

According to Israeli media reports, the chemical weapons were fired by a unit commanded by Bashar Assad’s brother, Maher. There were at least 31 Palestinian chemical victims.
Israel TV: Chemical weapons were fired by Assad’s brother’s unit
http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-tv-chemical-weapons-were-fired-by-assads-brothers-unit/
See Jerusalem Post analysis for what a US attack on Syria might mean for Israel.

Hamas2. The pressure’s really piling on Hamas. Egyptian authorities told the Times of Israel that Hamas is harboring wanted Al-Qaida-affiliated Sinai jihadis. The military also says it thwarted a Hamas terror attack against army facilities in the Sinai. YNet explains:
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4421726,00.html
According to the report, a 15 man terror cell attempted to attack soldiers in a bid to release jailed Muslim Brotherhood activists. The group was part of a larger cell attempting to enter Egypt through the tunnels connecting Gaza to Sinai.

That would explain why Egypt re-opened the Rafah crossing to Gaza only for humanitarian cases and people holding foreign passports.

Even Mahmoud Abbas is joining the dog pile, according to the Times of Israel:

An Israel TV report on Friday said Abbas believes the timing is right for elections now, because Hamas is relatively weak, especially since the demise of the Muslim Brotherhood-led presidency of Muhammad Morsi in Egypt, while the Abbas-led PA has secured the releases of Palestinian prisoners from Israel as it moves ahead with peace negotiations.

So what can Hamas do to maintain its popularity? Whip up the West Bank, plot terror attacks, and try kidnapping Israeli soldiers, says Avi Issacharoff.



3. The headaches from the EU’s settlement guidelines continue. YNet writes:
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4421959,00.html
At least five European nations have recently began warning companies and businessmen against engaging in business activity in Israeli settlements as they risk breaking local and international law, according to reports received by Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

The countries mentioned by Israeli ambassadors include Britain, Germany, Denmark, Holland and Sweden, according to Yedioth Ahronoth.
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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Fri 23 Aug 2013, 12:02 am

FOR YOUR INTEREST
please click link there was too many for me to hyperlink in the post.

http://honestreporting.com/israel-daily-news-stream-08212013/
Everything you need to know about coverage of Israel and the Mideast
BY PESACH BENSON
Today’s Top Stories


1. Hurriyet explains how prime ministers on Planet Erdogan climb down from a tree after making embarrassing claims that Israel engineered Mohammed Morsi’s overthrow.


Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency has removed a story about an online video cited on Aug. 20 by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an as proof that Israel was behind the coup that ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.


The story canceled by the agency cited Prime Ministry sources confirming that the prime minister referred to comments available in an online video from a seminar in mid-2011 involving French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy and Tzipi Livni, then the leader of Israel’s opposition and now justice minister. The agency, however, published the transcript of the video after it removed the story.


So the video of Bernard-Henri Levy and Tzipi Livni wasn’t such a smoking gun of Zionist conspiracies after all Yet, somebody thought there was enough lingering heat to publish the video’s transcript. Strange, indeed. Haaretz, the Daily Zaman, and Daily Telegraph assess the premier’s peeve.


2. According to press reports, hundreds of Syrians were killed in a chemical attack near Damascus. Jeffrey Goldberg hit the nail on the head:


Two questions are raised by reports of this attack. The first, of course, is whether or not it happened the way Syrian rebels said it happened. That is why immediately dispatching the UN team, already in-country, to the affected areas is so vital. If this process worked the way it should, they would be there already. If the Syrian regime denies the UN inspectors permission to visit these areas, well, that is kind of an answer in itself.


The second question is, why would the Assad regime launch its biggest chemical attack on rebels and civilians precisely at the moment when a UN inspection team was parked in Damascus? The answer to that question is easy: Because Assad believes that no one – not the UN, not President Obama, not other Western powers, not the Arab League – will do a damn thing to stop him.


There is a good chance he is correct.


3. Jerusalem Post: Arab Israeli indicted for traveling to Syria and joining Salafi rebels.


News breaks fast. Get HonestReporting alerts by e-mail 
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4. Al Jazeera America Goes Live: HonestReporting will keep an eye on the controversial expansion of Al-Jazeera into your living rooms.


5. Five Thoughts on the Egypt Crisis: Observations on the media’s treatment of the upheaval and its related Israel angles.
Israel and the Palestinians


• AFP: Israeli and Palestinian negotiators held another round of secret talks.


• Israeli diplomat Ido Aharoni discussed branding and public diplomacy with AdAge.


• The  Hamas justice system is under the microscope with several Palestinians to be publicly hanged in the coming days. According to AP, the Islamists have executed 16 people since 2010, while another 16 are currently on death row.


• Worth reading: Israel’s Heroic Restraint. For more commentary/analysis, see YNet.


On the next page:
White House denies suspending aid to Egypt.
Perceived US weakness could lead to Israeli-Arab alliances.
Who’s running the Muslim Brotherhood now?
Continued on Page 2

http://honestreporting.com/israel-daily-news-stream-08212013/2/
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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Thu 22 Aug 2013, 11:47 pm

HONEST REPORTING
Israel Daily News Stream 08/22/2013
AUGUST 22, 2013 16:24
BY PESACH BENSON
Today’s Top Stories


1. Breaking news: As this roundup went to press, Israeli and Lebanese media reported four rockets fired from Lebanon hit northern Israel. Is Sheikh Nasrallah desperate, or are radical Sunnis trying to draw Israel into conflict with Hezbollah? Will this incident be contained, or will bigger things hit the fan?Developing . . .,full.story


2. What to make of Gaza’s Egypt-inspired Tamarod movement? Will its November 11 demonstration fizzle out? Does Hamas’s security crackdown indicate real fear? LA Times reporter Ed Sanders visited Gaza to find out.


It remains to be seen whether the movement will catch on with young Gazans. Similar attempts over the last two years to organize large demonstrations of Palestinians fizzled, partly out of fear of retribution by Hamas but also for lack of interest.
Yet Hamas’ harsh response reflects the sense of panic in the organization, said Fathi Sabbah, head of the Palestinian Institute for Communication and Development in Gaza City.
See also YNet.


3. CBS News 
and the Washington Post 
report that Israeli and PA police may start joint patrols in the West Bank. The budding cooperation on issues like “drug smuggling, human trafficking, juvenile crime, and traffic violations and accidents,” is certainly welcome news.


4. Al Jazeera America Kicks Off With Jew Baiter: News station’s first guest is conspiracy theorist Stephen Walt. So much for first impressions.


Israel and the Palestinians
• Palestinian officials said they’re considering taking action in the UN against settlements even before current peace negotiations run their course. According to AP:
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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Wed 21 Aug 2013, 2:55 pm

Cornered Hamas looks back at Iran, Hezbollah
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (L) looks on as Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal speaks during an official meeting in Tehran, in this file picture taken February 27, 2010. REUTERS-Khamenei.ir-Handout via Reuters
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
GAZA | Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:48am EDT
(Reuters) - Stunned by turmoil in neighboring Egypt and starved of funds, the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas is looking to repair damaged ties with its traditional Middle East allies, Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah party.


An off-shoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas celebrated when the Sunni movement's Mohamed Mursi was elected president of Egypt in 2012, believing the vote would boost its own international standing and its grip on the isolated Gaza Strip.


In the meantime, outraged by the bloody civil war in Syria, the Palestinian group quit its headquarters in Damascus, snapping the Iran-led "axis of resistance" that challenged Israel and the West across the turbulent region.


Shi'ite Muslim Iran, which had for years supplied Hamas with cash and arms, was infuriated by what it saw as a betrayal of its close friend, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and drastically scaled back its support. Tehran's Shi'ite partner, Hezbollah, also voiced its fierce disapproval.


But following the ousting of Mursi, removed by the Egyptian military on July 3, political sources said Hamas had had direct and indirect contacts with both Iran and Hezbollah -- anxious to revitalize old alliances and restore its battered funding.


"Some meetings have taken place ... to clear the air. There is no boycott (of Hamas) but at the same time, things have not yet got back to normal," said a Palestinian official, with knowledge of discussions, who declined to be named.


Moussa Abu Marzouk, former deputy head of Hamas's political office, saw Hezbollah and Iranian officials in Lebanon last month, with other meetings taking place subsequently.


"It is in the interest of Hamas today to revise its rapport with Iran and Hezbollah for many reasons," said Hani Habib, a political analyst based in the Gaza Strip. "At the end of the day, all the parties have an interest in this partnership."


SYRIA ROW


Locked in conflict with arch foe and neighbor Israel, which it refuses to recognize, Hamas has governed the small, densely populated Gaza Strip since 2007 after a brief civil war against its secular rivals.


With the Muslim Brotherhood in control of Egypt, Hamas felt it did not have to worry so much about its ties with Iran.


Hamas's leader in exile, Khaled Meshaal abandoned his long-time base in Damascus last year because of the civil war that pitted President Assad's forces, backed by reinforcements sent by both Iran and Hezbollah, against mainly Sunni rebels.


Shi'ite and Sunni are the main streams of Islam. There are differences in their interpretations of the Koran and some traditions. The majority of the world's Muslims are Sunni.


One of the veteran leaders of Hamas, Mahmoud Al-Zahar, said there had never been a suspension of relations with Tehran and Hezbollah, suggesting that contacts may have slowed only because of the recent presidential election in Iran.


"We do not yet know the nature of Iran's new policy, but the information we have received, which is not direct, suggests that the old policy will be endorsed by the new administration," Zahar, a renowned hardliner, told Reuters in an interview.


Hamas hopes newly installed President Hassan Rouhani will open the financial taps again.


Diplomats estimated that Iran used to give Hamas some $250 million a year, but one Palestinian official reckoned that only 20 percent of that was now being handed over. Ehud Yaari, a Middle East expert from Israel, put the figure at just 15 percent, with no arms being offered up either.


"We have a situation of close to zero arms trafficking through the tunnels into Gaza," said Yaari.


Very little material, weapons or otherwise, is passing at present through the smuggling tunnels that criss-cross the desert border between Egypt and Gaza, with the new rulers in Cairo ordering a clampdown following Mursi's removal.


The army-backed government has accused Hamas of interfering in Egyptian affairs and suggested that Palestinians might be helping Islamist militants active in the Sinai peninsula.


The restrictions on the tunnels, which flourished thanks to an Israeli blockade on the coastal enclave, cost Gaza at least $230 million in July alone, said Hamas Economy Minister Ala Al-Rafati. But he rejected any suggestion of a financial crisis.


"There are some problems and they are being overcome," he told Reuters on Monday, adding that the tunnel trade, which provides Hamas with a crucial source of tax income, had dropped some 60 percent since Mursi's ousting.


In an additional blow, Hamas's close ties with Qatar have also been dented this summer.


The emir of the energy-rich Gulf state visited Gaza last October promising millions of dollars of aid, but he abdicated in June and his heir has shown much less interest in Hamas.


PRIORITIES


In reaching out once more to Iran and Hezbollah, Hamas's dilemma is as much ideological as political -- how to balance its Sunni Muslim Brotherhood roots with its vital interests to forge partnerships with fellow enemies of Israel.


Leading a special prayer meeting on Friday for the souls of the "Egyptian martyrs", the Hamas prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, made clear that the war with Israel took precedence.


"We understand that the priority of our resistance is to liberate the land, regain the rights and return the Palestinian people to the land they were forced out of," said Haniyeh, the movement's deputy chief.


"We have no military and no security role in Egypt or in the Sinai. Our military and security role is here, on the land of Palestine and against the Zionist enemy."


Founded in 1988, Hamas has regularly squared off against Israel, most recently in November last year in an eight-day conflagration that killed at least 170 Palestinians and six Israelis. The truce was brokered by Mursi.


Israeli analyst Yaari thought Iran would exact a price for welcoming Hamas back into the fold. "It will require them to stop opposing Assad and stop any criticism of Hezbollah's intervention (in Syria) and Iranian support of Assad," he said.


Zahar, who lost two sons in the conflict against Israel in past years and carries great weight in the movement, has always sought to maintain good ties with Iran.


But he also says the organization, which is estimated to have around 30,000 well-equipped fighters, has survived difficult situations in the past when U.S.-backed strongman Hosni Mubarak ruled Egypt and kept Gaza in a vice.


"We became very strong in an era where the entire surrounding environment was hostile," he said. "Our resistance relies mainly on God and also on its capabilities. History proved we have always emerged stronger every time."


(Editing by Crispian Balmer and Anna Willard)
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Post  Admin on Wed 21 Aug 2013, 2:47 pm

Senator: Obama Administration Secretly Suspended Military Aid to Egypt
by Josh Rogin Aug 19, 2013 7:20 PM EDT
The White House has quietly placed military aid to Egypt on hold, despite not saying publicly whether the Egyptian military takeover was a coup, Josh Rogin reports exclusively.

The U.S. government has decided privately to act as if the military takeover of Egypt was a coup, temporarily suspending most forms of military aid, despite deciding not to announce publicly a coup determination one way or the other, according to a leading U.S. senator.

US Egypt Aid Dilemma
Supporters of Egypt's top military officer, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, march over a bridge leading to Tahrir Square in Cairo after the ouster of democratically elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. For decades, foreign armies that receive U.S. assistance have been on notice that toppling their freely elected civilian leaders will have penalties. It seems the White House is making good on those threats by cutting aid. (Nariman El-Mofty/AP)

In the latest example of its poorly understood Egypt policy, the Obama administration has decided to temporarily suspend the disbursement of most direct military aid, the delivery of weapons to the Egyptian military, and some forms of economic aid to the Egyptian government while it conducts a broad review of the relationship. The administration won’t publicly acknowledge all aspects of the aid suspension and maintains its rhetorical line that no official coup determination has been made, but behind the scenes, extensive measures to treat the military takeover of Egypt last month as a coup are being implemented on a temporary basis.

The office of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the head of the appropriations state and foreign-operations subcommittee, told The Daily Beast on Monday that military aid to Egypt has been temporarily cut off.

Leahy’s “understanding is that aid to the Egyptian military has been halted, as required by law,” said David Carle, a spokesman for Leahy.

The administration’s public message is that $585 million of promised aid to the Egyptian military in fiscal 2013 is not officially on hold, as technically it is not due until September 30, the end of the fiscal year, and no final decisions have been made.

“After sequestration withholding, approximately $585 million remains unobligated. So, that is the amount that is unobligated,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday. “But it would be inaccurate to say that a policy decision has been made with respect to the remaining assistance funding.”

But two administration officials told The Daily Beast that administration lawyers decided it was best to observe the law restricting military aid on a temporary basis, as if there had been a coup designation, while at the same time deciding that the law did not require a public announcement on whether a coup took place.

“The decision was we’re going to avoid saying it was a coup, but to stay on the safe side of the law, we are going to act as if the designation has been made for now,” said one administration official. “By not announcing the decision, it gives the administration the flexibility to reverse it.”

Several parts of the aid are now temporarily on hold, including the disbursement of the $585 million of $1.3 billion in fiscal 2013 foreign military financing still not delivered to the Egyptian military, the delivery of Apache helicopters that the Egyptian government has already paid for, and the depositing of economic support funds for programs that would directly benefit the Egyptian government, despite official administration denials, the administration officials said.

Obama Egypt
President Obama makes a statement to the media regarding events in Egypt from his rental vacation home on the island of Martha's Vineyard on August 15. The president announced that the U.S. is canceling joint military exercises with Egypt amid violence. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

“What they are trying to do is appear not to be taking sides,” he said. “But the U.S. is in a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ position.”
Some aspects of U.S.-Egyptian cooperation can still go forward under the new approach, including maintenance and repair of equipment the Egyptian military already has, the funding of some government-linked programs, and funding for civilian projects in Egypt run by American organizations, although many of those programs have already been shut down after the Egyptian government cracked down on foreign NGOs.

Psaki said Monday that no final policy decision has been made on any of the Egypt aid and that various parts of the complicated package are still under review. She did acknowledge that some economic support has been temporarily suspended, as The New York Times reported Sunday.

“Programs with the government designed to promote free and fair elections, health assistance, programs for the environment, democracy, rule of law and good governance can also continue in cases even where a legal restriction might apply,” she said. “But to the extent where there are ESF programs that would benefit the government, which is obviously a section, we are reviewing each of those programs on a case-by-case basis to identify whether we have authority to continue providing those funds or should seek to modify our activities to ensure that our actions are consistent with the law.”

President Obama last week condemned the Egyptian military’s assault on civilians, but did not address the aid issue directly. He said the administration was engaged in a full-scale review of all aspects of U.S-Egypt cooperation.

“While we want to sustain our relationship with Egypt, our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets and rights are being rolled back,” he said.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel also said Monday that all aspects of U.S. aid to Egypt were part of the ongoing review and that no final decisions had been made. He also sought to tamp down expectations that any suspension or revoking of U.S. aid to Egypt would immediately change the calculus of the Egyptian military.

“Our ability to influence the outcome in Egypt is limited,” he said. “It’s up to the Egyptian people. And they are a large, great, sovereign nation. And it will be their responsibility to sort this out.”

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers and staffers complained that the administration is trying to skirt congressional intent by refusing to say whether it believes there was a coup in Egypt while implementing its own preliminary punitive measures outside the confines of the legislation.

“This approach seems to be too cute by half, leaving the U.S. with little leverage in Egypt and appearing to condone gross violations of human rights in the process,” said one senior GOP Senate aide. “It is also unclear that Congress intended to give the executive branch this much leeway in implementing the coup provision in Section 7008” of the law.

For Egypt experts, the administration’s decision to temporarily suspend some aid but not make a public determination that a coup occurred represents not only its ongoing deliberations but also a desire to preserve options for handling the Egypt aid going forward, especially if it decides to restore the aid in the future.

The administration’s confused messaging on Egypt also has analysts scratching their heads and wondering whether temporary suspensions of aid can have any real effect.

“If this is the plan, then it seems like they are trying to maintain maximum flexibility,” said Brian Katulis, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. “But I’m not certain this is the plan, and I don’t think at this stage that modest shifts in policy or even bigger ones would matter as much on the ground as much as they might have in the past. Egypt’s struggle has become so intense, polarized, and violent, and I worry that no matter what move the United States makes now, the competing power centers in Egypt might continue down the dangerous course they’ve headed.”

Some experts believe that a public announcement of the aid suspensions would raise the pressure on the Egyptian military to behave better, especially if done in conjunction with other concerned world powers.

“Cutting off the aid and announcing that puts the maximum pressure on the Egyptian government to correct its path,” said Tarek Radwan, associate director of the Atlantic Council’s Hariri Center. “Any kind of coordination with the European powers toward international delegitimization, that’s something that the Egyptian government would be highly uncomfortable with and would force them at least to do damage control.”

Overall, the administration is trying to maintain both flexibility and credibility in Egypt to play a constructive role going forward but is struggling on both fronts, Radwan said.

“What they are trying to do is appear not to be taking sides,” he said. “But the U.S. is in a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ position.”
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Post  Admin on Wed 21 Aug 2013, 2:44 pm

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/08/19/199749/as-obama-debates-egypt-us-allies.html#.UhTR09KUQud
As Obama debates Egypt, U.S. allies pick sides
Violence in Cairo
An Egyptian woman talks to policemen from behind a barricade set up at a doorway inside the al-Fatah mosque in Cairo, Egypt, where Islamist supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi were holed up | Ahmed Asad/APA
By Hannah Allam and Lesley Clark | McClatchy Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON — Key U.S. allies are picking clear sides in the bloody showdown between the Egyptian military and its opponents, creating a challenge to the Obama administration’s efforts to remain neutral in Egypt’s worsening crisis.

So far, the administration has shied away from cutting military aid as a punishment for the Egyptian security forces’ mass killings of Islamist supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi. But as the administration buys time with an insistence that it’s conducting “a broad review,” close U.S. partners already are taking much more decisive stances – from some European states slashing aid packages, to Saudi Arabia pledging to bail out the military should the U.S. or other Western nations make such cuts.

One side argues that cutting aid to Egypt’s military rulers would send a strong message that a backslide from the pursuit of democracy is unacceptable and creates space for extremism – the view shared by many prominent Middle East scholars, a large bloc of Congress, Islamist-led Turkey and European states such as Germany and Denmark.

On the flip side, Saudi Arabia and Israel, an unlikely pairing, are urging the United States to maintain strong support for the military leaders in the name of regional stability. That’s Israel’s shorthand for its peace treaty with Egypt, and the Saudis’ for curtailing the regional power of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist party behind Morsi’s presidency.

“To those who have announced they are cutting their aid to Egypt, or threatening to do that, Arab and Muslim nations are rich . . . and will not hesitate to help Egypt,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al Faisal warned Monday, according to a statement carried by the state news agency, SPA.

Persian Gulf states already have pledged $12 billion – dwarfing the annual U.S. military aid package of $1.3 billion. But analysts warned that the Egyptians risk overplaying their hands with their continued flouting of American requests to stop the bloodshed and work toward national reconciliation.

Experts who’ve closely studied the longtime partnership noted that the Egyptian military is almost totally dependent on American counterparts for training, maintenance and logistics, adding that no amount of Saudi money could counteract the loss of prestige should Egypt sever relations and inch closer to becoming an international pariah state.

Any serious rupture to the arrangement also could have repercussions for big U.S. defense corporations whose lucrative contracts with Egypt provide jobs for Americans.

Egypt benefits from an aid provision that lets it make purchases from the United States against promises of future aid – similar to a credit card. Some U.S. companies, including Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, are building military hardware – such as jets and tanks – that Egypt already has ordered.

Obama’s decision last week to cancel joint military exercises was the first significant U.S. move to chastise the military after Morsi’s ouster July 3. Previously, the U.S. said it would stop delivery of four U.S.-made F-16 fighters.

Fort Worth, Texas-based Lockheed Martin is under contract to supply 20 F-16s to Egypt at a cost of $776 million. News reports have said that 14 of the planes have been delivered through June 30, including seven this year.

There are also domestic political considerations. A national poll released Monday found that 50 percent of the public say Obama hasn’t been tough enough toward the Egyptian military in responding to the violence.

Survey results showed that 51 percent of Americans support cutting off aid to pressure the military, as opposed to 26 percent who said it was better to continue aid in order to maintain influence, according to the poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center from Aug. 15-18 among 1,000 adults.

Still, while the American public favors cutting off U.S. aid, it also believes the Egyptian military provides better leadership than the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group that was the driving force behind Morsi’s presidency. According to the poll, 45 percent say the military could provide better leadership, compared with 11 percent who said the Muslim Brotherhood could.

U.S. officials acknowledge the struggle of coming up with a response to the conflict that both protects regional U.S. interests but also lives up to the administration’s vision for a democratic, inclusive Egypt.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel conceded Monday that the U.S. ability to influence events in Egypt is limited.

“We have serious interests in Egypt and that part of the world. This is a very complicated problem,” Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon. “We continue to work with all the parties to try to help as much as we can facilitate reconciliation, a stop of the violence.”

While the U.S. has said it wouldn’t say whether a coup took place – a legal determination that would force aid cuts – a White House spokesman said Monday that the administration is reviewing its relationship with Egypt, including assistance to the military.

“These decisions about aid and assistance are the kinds of things that are being evaluated on a daily basis,” said Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest. He said any decisions from that review would be in line with national security and the law that governs foreign operations.
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Post  Admin on Wed 21 Aug 2013, 2:41 pm

Experts: Israel should lobby for Sisi – but quietly By ARIEL BENSOLOMON08/20/2013 07:00
Israeli analyst says Israel should support new Egyptian gov't behind the scenes because in the Middle East “whoever Israel supports loses legitimacy,” warns such support can also lead to terror attacks against Israel. Protesters cheer with drums near a poster of army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo
Protesters cheer with drums near a poster of army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo Photo: REUTERS
In light of recent reports that Israel is lobbying the US and Europe to support the military-backed government in Egypt, Israeli experts believe that this should be done behind the scenes and not be publicized.


The New York Times reported on Sunday, quoting an Israeli official, that Israel is aggressively lobbying for the Egyptian regime because it is the best option available at the moment. The Jerusalem Post also reported Sunday, quoting an official, that Israel is worried about Egypt falling into chaos.


Related:
Egyptian official: Its 'natural' that Israel concerned by Egypt's security situation
Israel warns US: Alienating Egyptian army could risk peace talks
Mordechai Kedar, director of the new Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam and a research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) at Bar-Ilan University, told the Post in an interview on Monday that Israel should indeed be lobbying for the international community to support Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, but that it must be done quietly.


Israel should help the new regime in any way it can behind the scenes – if the regime needs a loan, Israel should help it get one; if it needs help getting food aid, Israel should facilitate that.


However, in the Middle East, he said, “whoever Israel supports loses legitimacy.”


“If we want to support side A, we should say we support B – that way B will lose legitimacy and A will come out better,” he said, adding, “Our kiss is the kiss of death.”


In addition, Kedar said that publicizing this kind of diplomacy not only brings criticism from Islamists but also can lead to terror attacks and increase their motivation to act against us.


Chuck Freilich, a senior fellow at the Belfer Center of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a former deputy national security adviser in Israel, told the Post that he thinks The New York Times is over-hyping the story, making the lobbying campaign seem like a huge operation, when this is what any country does when faced with a crisis.


For Israel, he said, “this is a crucial issue,” and of course it must turn “to everyone who has influence on the issue.”


Freilich agrees with Kedar that Israel should act quietly and noted that the fact that it got into the press and is being amplified is because “everyone is looking for an Israeli angle, because that is what sells newspapers.”


“When Israel is invoked, it becomes toxic,” he said, adding, “Sisi doesn’t want this out that Israel is lobbying for him – the Muslim Brotherhood will leap on this.”


Freilich went on to say that Israel does not want to see a cutoff in US aid to Egypt, which would also decrease whatever influence the US has on the regime.


“The military is the only party keeping the country stable, pro-peace with Israel, and moderate,” he said.


The US loves talking about a transition to democracy, but elections brought the Nazis to power in Germany and Hamas in Gaza, Freilich said.


“The Muslim Brotherhood is fundamentally an anti-democratic organization,” stated Freilich.


The ousting of former president Mohamed Morsi is “really good news for Israel, the region, and the world,” he concluded.


Yoram Meital, chairman of the Chaim Herzog Center for Middle East Studies and Diplomacy at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, told the Post he thinks that the leak to The New York Times by an Israeli official is significant because it shows that “in back channels, there are likely a lot of talks,” adding that this is because the future of the Egyptian state is a “vital interest of the State of Israel.”


He noted that the Obama administration finds itself in the peculiar situation where its three major allies in the region – Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel – all support the ousting of Morsi and back the new regime.
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