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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 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 TelegraphCNNNPR, 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 
and never miss a thing.


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

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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Post  Admin on Mon 19 Aug 2013, 5:45 pm

The Rot of Return
AUGUST 19, 2013 15:11
BY PESACH BENSON
Christian Science MonitorPass the tissues. The Christian Science Monitor breaks out the violins for Palestinian refugees who want to return to the villages they fled years ago.

If you’re looking for intelligent discourse on the matter, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Reporter Ben Lynfield plugs maximalist Palestinian demands that are rotten to the core. This Monitor dispatch is a real disservice, for several reasons.

First of all, contrary to the conventional wisdom, there’s no legal basis for the so-called “right” of return.

Secondly, any responsible article about the “right” of return has to explain its consequences for Israel, not just bury a brief Mark Regev reaction at the bottom of the story. If the more than one million registered Palestinian refugees flooded what is today the state of Israel, it would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state.

Next, Lynfield takes at face value exaggerated and manipulated Palestinian accounts of Deir Yassin and its impact on the refugee situation today. Fatima al-Haj Ali Adawi, told Lynfield:

During fighting in October 1948, Jewish forces shelled the village, she says. But they also told villagers they could remain in their homes if they surrendered. The vast majority of the population – which numbered 1,180, according to a 1945 count – fled, fearing the Jewish forces would kill Arabs, she says.

“‘We were afraid after Deir Yassin,” she said, referring to the April 1948 massacre of about 250 Palestinians near Jerusalem by right-wing armed groups.

That fear, actually,was based on Arab radio broadcasts, falsely accusing the Jews of atrocities (the death toll is also disputed). The Arabs admitted inventing the atrocities, hoping to force greater intervention from the neighboring Arab states. But as Mitchell Bard documented, the move backfired:

Hazam Nusseibi, who worked for the Palestine Broadcasting Service in 1948, admitted being told by Hussein Khalidi, a Palestinian Arab leader, to fabricate the atrocity claims. Abu Mahmud, a Deir Yassin resident in 1948 told Khalidi “there was no rape,” but Khalidi replied, “We have to say this, so the Arab armies will come to liberate Palestine from the Jews.” Nusseibeh told the BBC 50 years later, “This was our biggest mistake. We did not realize how our people would react. As soon as they heard that women had been raped at Deir Yassin, Palestinians fled in terror.”

The so-called “right of return” is a non-starter for any peace agreement. Yet the Christian Science Monitor sympathizes with uncompromising Palestinian claims. That’s the real tear-jerker.
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Post  Admin on Mon 19 Aug 2013, 5:41 pm

Iranian schoolchildren will be taught how to hunt and down “alien drones” when they return to classes next month.
http://www.scotsman.com/news/world/iran-to-teach-schoolchildren-to-hunt-drones-1-3051892
Announcing the exciting if bizarre new addition to the curriculum, a senior commander of the powerful Basij militia said there would be changes to the content, teachers and duration of what he called lessons in “defensive preparedness”.


“The hunting of spy drones ... is an example of this change of content,” Brigadier General Ali Fazli said at the weekend in remarks carried by the Fars news agency, which is affiliated to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. A section on tracking and downing unmanned aircraft would be added to high school textbooks.


The United States relies on drones to garner intelligence from Iran because it has few assets on the ground there. Iran claims to have captured two US drones that trespassed into its airspace during the past two years and fired on another in a tense incident shortly before the last US presidential election.


General Fazli gave no details of how the lessons would be taught, but presumably they will include time spent on computers doing game-like simulations.


In December 2011 Iran captured a sophisticated US stealth drone that was reportedly monitoring its nuclear facilities. A jubilant Iran claimed its Revolutionary Guards had brought down the RQ-170 Sentinel aircraft intact with a cyber-attack and would reverse-engineer its technology to mass-produce a superior version. Washington said the drone had malfunctioned and was forced to land.


Iran, immensely proud of its scientific and technological prowess, boasts it has developed its own fleet of home-made drones, three of which were displayed at a chest-thumping military parade in April.


Most aviation experts found them underwhelming.


Some Iran analysts doubt the new school lessons are aimed specifically at nurturing a new generation of cyber-warriors.


“How are the children going to down drones – with slingshots?” Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-born lecturer at the Interdisciplinary Centre in Herzliya in Israel, said.


“The main goal isn’t to teach children to bring down UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles], it will be how to brainwash them that America is Iran’s eternal enemy and that peace with America will be detrimental to Iran.”


Iranian hardliners, he added, are also “trying to make life as hard as possible” for Iran’s moderate new president, Hassan Rowhani, who has pledged to pursue “serious” talks with the West to ease tensions over Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme.


On Saturday, Mr Rowhani said one of the reasons he was elected was to change his country’s foreign policy and implied he would move away from the bombastic style of his hardline predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


“Foreign policy is not carried out by repeating slogans,” he said. “We are strongly going to defend our national interests but that has to be done appropriately, precisely and rationally.”


Meanwhile, Iran’s expectant children may have few enemy drones to practice come the new school year. A senior air force commander boasted this weekend that the vigilance of Iran’s border forces had scared alien UAVs from entering Iranian airspace.
  -------------------------------------------------------

Sinai jihadis killed 25 Egyptian policemen execution-style after ambushing them near Rafah. Meanwhile, 36 Salafis were killed during a mass jailbreak attempt. More on that at CNN.

CAIRO — At least 25 policemen were killed Monday when assailants ambushed two minibuses carrying security personnel in Egypt's north Sinai Peninsula, which shares a border with Israel and the Gaza Strip and has been a restive center for militant activity.



The attack is among the deadliest in the peninsula since the 2011 overthrow of former president Hosni Mubarak and part of a larger backlash against the state over what militants view as a slew of injustices.



"What I can say about the future is that violence will not disappear anytime soon," said Khalil al-Anani, an expert on Islamist organizations and a senior fellow at the Washington-based Middle East Institute. "We should expect a new cycle of violence — religious, political and social violence, and sectarian violence."



Nearly 900 died in four days of violence last week that began when security forces cleared two protest camps where thousands rallied against the July 3 overthrow of president Mohammed Morsi, who comes from the Muslim Brotherhood.



EGYPT: More violence expected after deadly week



Clashes between anti-military protesters and security forces, street battles and retaliatory attacks on dozens of Christian sites and security posts have taken place since Wednesday.



Since Morsi's ouster militants have staged almost daily attacks in the Sinai Peninsula, where security forces and militants have long battled. Last week, a rocket hit the Israeli border town of Eilat, previously subject to other cross-border attacks.



Conflicting reports emerged over the cause of Monday's deaths. Security officials told the Associated Press that the 25 police were killed execution-style when militants ordered the two vehicles to stop, forced the men to lie on the ground and then shot them.



Officials first said the policemen were killed when militants fired rocket-propelled grenades on the two vehicles near the city of Rafah.



The policemen were in civilian clothes, officials told the AP, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which also left two policemen wounded.



The Sinai is an arid stretch of mountainous and desert land that has grown increasingly lawless. Since police were pulled from the streets during the 2011 uprising against Mubarak the state has failed to regain control, giving militants in much of the north free reign. Residents set up informal sharia courts as society has proved increasingly detached from the central state, and visibly hard-line Islamic.



Criminal activity thrives in the Sinai including a tunnel trade with the Gaza Strip and arms smuggling. Weapons flowed from Sudan and more recently Libya, including surface-to-air missiles. Many weapons have gone into Gaza while others have stayed in the peninsula.



Human trafficking has also been rife. Thousands of sub-Saharan African migrants, asylum seekers and refugees who were kidnapped in Ethiopia and Sudan, or willingly sought to go to Israel seeking a better life, have been held and tortured by Bedouin criminals for ransom. Countless of them died in the desert.
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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Mon 19 Aug 2013, 5:28 pm

HONEST REPORTING
 Israel’s lobbying Washington and Europe to support the Egyptian government. The Jerusalem Post and NY Times explains the effort, as well as Israel’s conundrum in a situation where no matter what you do, you have to hold your nose. The latter explains:

With the European Union planning an urgent review of its relations with Egypt in a meeting Monday, the message, in part, is that concerns about democracy and human rights should take a back seat to stability and security because of Egypt’s size and strategic importance. . . .

Most Israeli experts on Egypt share the government’s support for the Sisi government and view Mr. Morsi’s Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement as a dangerous threat. But several said Israel’s diplomatic push was risky because it could promote a backlash in Egypt and across the Arab world and hurt Israel’s credibility as a democracy.

Two years ago, US neocons split with Israel over how to approach the nascent Egyptian uprising. It’s essentially the same debate, except everyone’s a little older, and hopefully a little wiser.

By the way, there was some interesting journo chatter on Twitter about Herb Keinon and Jodi Rudoren’s source. Whatever the case, the Wall St. Journal reports that Egypt and the West appear to be on a collision course.

Israel's message on Egypt: Keep Cairo from falling, then worry about democracy 
By HERB KEINON  08/18/2013 23:27
  
Official says army is only actor that can assert authority, if it is dismissed, Egypt to go "way of Syria, Tunisia, Libya." A rally in protest against the recent violence in Egypt, in Istanbul.
Israel’s message to Washington and key European capitals regarding Egypt is that the key issue is simply keeping the country from falling apart.

“The name of the game right now is not democracy,” one official said Sunday, relaying Israel’s position on the Egyptian turmoil. “The name of the game is that there needs to be a functioning state. After you put Egypt back on track, then talk about restarting the democratic process there.”
The official said that in the present reality the only actor that can assert authority in Egypt and keep it from descending into chaos is the military.

“If you dismiss that actor, Egypt goes the way of Syria, Tunisia and Libya,” he said. “Like it or not, no one else can run the country right now.”

The official said that Jerusalem was conveying this message to governments interested in hearing the evaluation of Israel – which, unlike the US or the European countries, neighbors Egypt and will be impacted directly by the developments there.

The official said it was one thing to sit in Washington and Brussels and do “dry” evaluations, and quite another to sit on Egypt’s border and face the prospect of a critically important neighboring country descending into anarchy.

The official’s comments came amid growing calls in the US to cut its $1.5 billion annual aid package to Egypt, 
http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/US-lawmakers-join-the-ranks-urging-suspension-of-aid-to-Egypt-323493
and as the EU announced Sunday it would hold an urgent meeting in the coming days to reevaluate ties with Cairo following the military’s bloody clampdown last week on the Muslim Brotherhood.

Acknowledging that the situation in Egypt was “really bad,” and one that Israel “does not like,” the official said that “you can scold [Gen.

Abdel Fattah el-] Sisi all you wish, but at the end of the day, you want a functional government to rule the country.”

Otherwise, he said, the country would risk falling into an anarchy that would be exploited by local and global jihad forces.

The official said Israel’s message was that the world had to look squarely at the situation in Egypt as it is, and not think of what might have been done differently.

“This is where we are now,” he said. “We are not somewhere in the world of dreams or illusions. And we are in a bad spot. You can argue that two months ago we could have done this or that, but we have to think about how to get out of this bad spot. And if you don’t, it will only get worse.”

The official said Israel’s position was that the military should be supported to help get the country back on track.

Asked what supporting the military meant exactly, he said “not taking things away from them, not harming or threatening them.”

At the same time, he added, the expectation of a reduction in violence should be made known. He pointed out, however, that “dozens” of Egyptian soldiers and policemen have been killed over the past week.

The official denied a New York Times report on Saturday that – citing Western diplomats – claimed Israel was in “heavy communication” with Sisi and was “reassuring the Egyptians not to worry about American threats to cut off aid.”

“That is nonsense,” the official.

“Do we control Congress? We have no ability to give reassurances about American aid.”

As evidence of that, the official noted that two staunch supporters of Israel in the Senate, John McCain (R-Arizona) and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), were calling for US President Barack Obama to suspend the aid to Egypt.
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Post  Admin on Sun 18 Aug 2013, 8:53 pm

Today’s Top Stories
1. Ban Ki-moon admitted that the UN is biased against Israel. YNet was on hand when the Secretary General confirmed what we already knew:

Responding to a student who said Israelis felt their country was discriminated against in the international organization, Ban confirmed that there was a biased attitude towards the Israeli people and Israeli government, stressing that it was “an unfortunate situation.”

2. Did Israel undercut American pressure on Gen. Sisi? That’s what the NY Times reports:

The Israelis, whose military had close ties to General Sisi from his former post as head of military intelligence, were supporting the takeover as well. Western diplomats say that General Sisi and his circle appeared to be in heavy communication with Israeli colleagues, and the diplomats believed the Israelis were also undercutting the Western message by reassuring the Egyptians not to worry about American threats to cut off aid.

The Israeli government issued a statement late Saturday denying that claim as “baseless and without foundation.”

See Reuters for more on Israel’s view of the turmoil. Meanwhile, Ehud Barak told CNN‘s Fareed Zakaria the world should back Gen. Sisi.

John Kerry

3. After John Kerry encouraged Israel to release 26 Palestinian prisoners last week, the State Dept. gave Israel some grief over it. One of the freed terrorists, Al-Haaj Othman Amar Mustafa, murdered an American citizen in1989. Frederick Steven Rosenfeld, a former US Marine, was stabbed to death near Ariel.

Marie Harf, deputy spokesperson for the State Department, told The Daily Beast Thursday, “The State Department conveyed the administration’s concerns regarding the release of this prisoner to the government of Israel, while recognizing the victim was a dual national of Israel and the United States.”

Harf said the Israeli side “acknowledged our views, but it was ultimately their decision to determine which prisoners to release. This is a very difficult situation for all involved, and further highlights the importance of making these negotiations successful.”

If Foggy Bottom’s “concerned” by the release of one murderer, how much more so should Israelis be “concerned” about releasing the rest? Or should the State Dept. consider it a US sacrifice for peace?

4. Sympathy for the Devils: Four years ago, The Economist was fire and brimstone against the early release of the Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. None of that outrage was evident when Israel released “only” 26 Palestinian prisoners. Why the turnabout.

------------------------------------------------
UN chief admits bias against Israel
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4418776,00.html
Speaking during meeting with students in Jerusalem, Ban Ki-moon says Jewish state sometimes discriminated against due to Mideast conflict
Omri Efraim
Published:08.16.13, 20:20 / Israel News

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with students at the UN headquarters in Jerusalem on Friday afternoon, and admitted that his organization was biased against Israel. 
Responding to a student who said Israelis felt their country was discriminated against in the international organization, Ban confirmed that there was a biased attitude towards the Israeli people and Israeli government, stressing that it was "an unfortunate situation."
---------------------------------------------------------------
How American Hopes for a Deal in Egypt Were Undercut
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/18/world/middleeast/pressure-by-us-failed-to-sway-egypts-leaders.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all&
Hundreds of supporters of the ousted president were injured on Wednesday when Egyptian security forces raided their encampments in Cairo.
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK, PETER BAKER and MICHAEL R. GORDON
Published: August 17, 2013 
CAIRO — For a moment, at least, American and European diplomats trying to defuse the volatile standoff in Egypt thought they had a breakthrough.
As thousands of Islamist supporters of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, braced for a crackdown by the military-imposed government, a senior European diplomat, Bernardino León, told the Islamists of “indications” from the leadership that within hours it would free two imprisoned opposition leaders. In turn, the Islamists had agreed to reduce the size of two protest camps by about half.

An hour passed, and nothing happened. Another hour passed, and still no one had been released.

The Americans heightened the pressure. Two senators visiting Cairo, John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, met with Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, the officer who ousted Mr. Morsi and appointed the new government, and the interim prime minister, Hazem el-Beblawi, and pushed for the release of the two prisoners. But the Egyptians brushed them off.

“You could tell people were itching for a fight,” Mr. Graham recalled in an interview. “The prime minister was a disaster. He kept preaching to me: ‘You can’t negotiate with these people. They’ve got to get out of the streets and respect the rule of law.’ I said: ‘Mr. Prime Minister, it’s pretty hard for you to lecture anyone on the rule of law. How many votes did you get? Oh, yeah, you didn’t have an election.’ ”

General Sisi, Mr. Graham said, seemed “a little bit intoxicated by power.”

The senators walked out that day, Aug. 6, gloomy and convinced that a violent showdown was looming. But the diplomats still held out hope, believing they had persuaded Egypt’s government at least not to declare the talks a failure.

The next morning, the government issued a statement declaring that diplomatic efforts had been exhausted and blaming the Islamists for any casualties from the coming crackdown. A week later, Egyptian forces opened a ferocious assault that so far has killed more than 1,000 protesters.

All of the efforts of the United States government, all the cajoling, the veiled threats, the high-level envoys from Washington and the 17 personal phone calls by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, failed to forestall the worst political bloodletting in modern Egyptian history. The generals in Cairo felt free to ignore the Americans first on the prisoner release and then on the statement, in a cold-eyed calculation that they would not pay a significant cost — a conclusion bolstered when President Obama responded by canceling a joint military exercise but not $1.5 billion in annual aid.

The violent crackdown has left Mr. Obama in a no-win position: risk a partnership that has been the bedrock of Middle East peace for 35 years, or stand by while longtime allies try to hold on to power by mowing down opponents. From one side, the Israelis, Saudis and other Arab allies have lobbied him to go easy on the generals in the interest of thwarting what they see as the larger and more insidious Islamist threat. From the other, an unusual mix of conservatives and liberals has urged him to stand more forcefully against the sort of autocracy that has been a staple of Egyptian life for decades.

For now the administration has decided to keep the close relationship with the Egyptian military fundamentally unchanged. But the death toll is climbing, the streets are descending into chaos, and the government and the Islamists are vowing to escalate. It is unclear if the military’s new government can reimpose a version of the old order now that the public believes street protests have toppled two leaders in less than three years, or if, after winning democratic elections, the Islamists will ever again compliantly retreat.

As Mr. Obama acknowledged in a statement on Thursday, the American response turns not only on humanitarian values but also on national interests. A country consumed by civil strife may no longer function as a stabilizing ally in a volatile region.

An Enduring Headache

Mr. Obama has found Egypt’s tumultuous political transition a headache for more than two years. Accused of sticking for too long by President Hosni Mubarak, the longtime ruler in Egypt who was ousted by a popular uprising in 2011, and then criticized when he later abandoned him, Mr. Obama gambled on Mr. Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader elected a year ago. He found Mr. Morsi a useful and pragmatic partner in handling issues like a violent flare-up in Gaza. But Mr. Obama became convinced that the Egyptian was not being inclusive enough at home to stabilize his own country.

When Secretary of State John Kerry visited Cairo in the spring, he urged Mr. Morsi to reach out to his opposition. If not, Mr. Kerry warned, Mr. Morsi would set the stage for another uprising, this time against himself. But the implied threat only hardened Mr. Morsi’s resolve not to bend, his aides said.

Mr. Morsi’s failure to incorporate other factions, his habit of demonizing his critics as part of a treasonous conspiracy and a near-calamitous economic crisis combined to fire up opposition to the Islamists, which spilled out in street protests. Hard-liners with the military and intelligence services who always despised the Muslim Brotherhood saw that the group’s experiment in power might have left it more vulnerable than at any time in its eight decades underground.

The Obama administration warned the military against stepping in, noting that a coup would require an aid cutoff under American law. But on July 3 the military moved in, detaining Mr. Morsi and rounding up scores of his allies.

Mr. Obama made no public comments, opting instead for tempered written statements. He skirted the aid law by refusing to determine whether Mr. Morsi’s ouster constituted a coup, while Mr. Kerry and Mr. Hagel pressed the military to restore civilian governance as soon as possible.

Although Mr. Obama agreed not to restrict the aid, he postponed the delivery of four F-16 fighter jets. At the time, officials discussed pulling out of joint military exercises called Bright Star scheduled for September, but the White House opted to wait to see if the generals would follow through on their threat to clear out pro-Morsi protesters.

Western governments took a wait-and-see approach even after the military committed its first mass killing, shooting more than 60 supporters of Mr. Morsi at a sit-in on July 8. Western diplomats did not engage in earnest until July 24, when General Sisi, in dark sunglasses and military regalia, delivered a fiery speech asking the public to turn out for demonstrations giving him a “mandate” to take on the Islamists. Security forces killed 80 more Morsi supporters in their second mass shooting on the day of the demonstration.

The next morning, Morsi aides and Brotherhood leaders say, their phones began ringing with American and European diplomats fearing an imminent blood bath.

The administration enlisted people on opposite sides of the contest unfolding in Egypt. Diplomats from Qatar, a regional patron of the Muslim Brotherhood, agreed to influence the Islamists. The United Arab Emirates, determined opponents of the Islamists, were brought in to help reach out to the new authorities.

But while the Qataris and Emiratis talked about “reconciliation” in front of the Americans, Western diplomats here said they believed the Emiratis were privately urging the Egyptian security forces to crack down.

Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the Emirati foreign minister, went to Washington last month and urged the Americans not to cut off aid. The emirates, along with Saudi Arabia, had swiftly supported the military takeover with a pledge of billions of dollars, undermining Western threats to cut off critical loans or aid.

The Israelis, whose military had close ties to General Sisi from his former post as head of military intelligence, were supporting the takeover as well. Western diplomats say that General Sisi and his circle appeared to be in heavy communication with Israeli colleagues, and the diplomats believed the Israelis were also undercutting the Western message by reassuring the Egyptians not to worry about American threats to cut off aid.

Israeli officials deny having reassured Egypt about the aid, but acknowledge having lobbied Washington to protect it.

When Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, proposed an amendment halting military aid to Egypt, the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee sent a letter to senators on July 31 opposing it, saying it “could increase instability in Egypt and undermine important U.S. interests and negatively impact our Israeli ally.” Statements from influential lawmakers echoed the letter, and the Senate defeated the measure, 86 to 13, later that day.

Building Connections

Mr. Hagel tried to forge a connection with General Sisi, the defense minister who has become the country’s de facto leader. Mr. Hagel, a 66-year-old decorated Vietnam War veteran, felt he and General Sisi, a 58-year-old graduate of the United States Army War College in Pennsylvania, “clicked right away” when they met in April, an American official said.

In a series of phone calls, Mr. Hagel pressed General Sisi for a transition back to civilian rule. They talked nearly every other day, usually for an hour or an hour and a half, lengthened by the use of interpreters. But General Sisi complained that the Obama administration did not fully appreciate that the Islamists posed a threat to Egypt and its army. The general asked Mr. Hagel to convey the danger to Mr. Obama, American officials said.

“Their whole sales pitch to us is that the Muslim Brotherhood is a group of terrorists,” said one American officer, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the dialogue.

American and European diplomats hoped to reinforce the few officials in Egypt’s interim cabinet who favored an inclusive approach, led by Mohamed ElBaradei, the vice president and Nobel Peace Prize-winning former diplomat. After the second massacre, on July 26, Mr. ElBaradei wanted to resign, but Mr. Kerry talked him out of it, arguing that he was the most potent, if not the only, voice for restraint in the government.

But General Sisi never trusted Mr. ElBaradei, and on the other side was a small core of military officers close to the general who saw a chance to finally rid Egypt of the Muslim Brotherhood. Among them were Gen. Mohammed al-Tohami, a mentor and father figure to General Sisi and now head of the intelligence service, and Gen. Mahmoud Hegazy, the general’s protégé and chosen successor as head of military intelligence. And with no serious reprisals against Egypt after two mass killings, many analysts here argue that the hard-liners could only feel emboldened.

Mr. Kerry sent his deputy, William J. Burns, to Cairo, where he and a European Union counterpart scrambled to de-escalate the crisis.

Under a plan they worked out, the Muslim Brotherhood would limit demonstrations to two squares, thin out crowds and publicly condemn violence. The government would issue a similar statement, commit to an inclusive political process allowing any party to compete in elections and, as a sign of good faith, release Saad al-Katatni, the Muslim Brotherhood speaker of the dissolved Parliament, and Aboul-Ela Maadi, founder of a more moderate Islamist party. Both faced implausible charges of instigating violence, and Western diplomats felt that before the takeover, Mr. Katatni in particular had proved himself a pragmatic voice for compromise.

But on Aug. 4, the interim government surprised the diplomats by bringing charges for incitement to murder against the Brotherhood’s supreme guide, Mohamed Badie, who was in hiding, and Khairat el-Shater, its most influential leader, who had been detained.

Adding to the shock of the new charges, they came just hours before Mr. Burns and his European partner, Mr. León, were allowed to see Mr. Shater. Mr. Shater embraced the need for dialogue, but did not endorse the proposals.

Still, the diplomats grew hopeful that they had gotten through to the government. On the morning of Aug. 6, Brotherhood leaders and diplomats said, Mr. León called Amr Darrag, an adviser to Mr. Morsi and top negotiator for the Islamist coalition, and told him to expect Mr. Katatni and Mr. Maadi to be released within hours. When nothing happened, Mr. Darrag called Mr. León back, the Brotherhood officials said. Do not worry, Mr. León said, arguing that the new government must have put the release off by a day to avoid the appearance of bowing to American pressure.

Heightened Tensions

Mr. McCain and Mr. Graham arrived in Cairo amid increasing tensions. They went first to see Ambassador Anne W. Patterson. “You could see it on her face, that nobody’s listening,” Mr. Graham said. He said administration officials asked them to press for the release of the two Islamists and to push the Brotherhood to pull people off the street.

When the senators asked government officials to release the Islamist leaders, one woman on the Egyptian side stormed out. The senators warned that the United States would ultimately cut off aid if the military did not set elections and amend the Constitution.

Mr. Graham recalled arguing with General Sisi. “If Morsi had to stand for re-election anytime soon, he’d lose badly,” the senator remembered saying. “Do you agree?”

“Oh, absolutely,” the general answered.

“Then what you’re doing now is making him a martyr,” Mr. Graham said. “It’s no longer about how badly they ruled the country and how they marginalized the democratic institutions. It’s now about you.”

The meeting with the prime minister was even tenser. As they walked out, Mr. Graham said, he told Mr. McCain, “If this guy’s voice is indicative of the attitude, there’s no pulling out of this thing.”

When Egyptian state news media leaked reports of an imminent government statement that diplomacy had failed, the diplomats were stunned, and scrambled to hold it off.

The next day, Mr. León, the European envoy, assured the Islamists that although the prisoner release had fallen through, at least the Egyptians had agreed to pull back the statement, Brotherhood leaders said.

A half-hour later, it was issued nonetheless. “The phase of diplomatic efforts has ended,” it declared, calling the sit-ins “nonpeaceful” and obliquely blaming the Muslim Brotherhood for any coming violence.

The Americans and Europeans were furious, feeling deceived and manipulated. “They were used to justify the violence,” Mr. Darrag said in an interview. “They were just brought in so that the coup government could claim that the negotiations failed, and, in fact, there were no negotiations.”

Mr. Burns left Cairo with a sense of foreboding. Western diplomats in Cairo said that, despite their public statements at the time to the contrary, it was then that they, too, gave up hope.

Mr. Hagel made a last stab at holding off violence. He called General Sisi late on the afternoon of Aug. 9, and they talked for 90 minutes. “Secretary Hagel was strongly urging restraint,” said an American official briefed on the conversation. The secretary recited the same talking points he had been delivering for weeks: avoid violence, respect freedom of assembly and move toward an inclusive political transition.

But within the Egyptian government, the only real debate was about tactics and blame. Mohamed Ibrahim, the interior minister under Mr. Morsi who had kept his job by refusing to protect the Islamists, was convinced that brute force was the only way to break up sit-ins by tens of thousands of Morsi supporters. But diplomats and Egyptian officials said Mr. Ibrahim was worried that if the assaults went badly he might be held up as a scapegoat.

Last Sunday, Interior Ministry officials told journalists that the police would move in at dawn to choke off the sit-ins, cutting off food and water and gradually escalating nonlethal force. But overnight, diplomats said, Mr. Ibrahim reconsidered, worried that a gradual approach would expose the police to Brotherhood retaliation, for which he could be blamed.

Two days later, Mr. Ibrahim and the government told Mr. ElBaradei that they had a new plan to minimize casualties: maximum force to get it over with quickly, the Western diplomats said. And the military had agreed to support the police. But the attack the next morning left more than 600 dead, according to official figures that soon grew. By midday, Mr. ElBaradei had resigned.

As images of Egyptian security forces opening fire flickered across television screens in Washington, Mr. Hagel called General Sisi again and warned him that the violence had put “important elements of our longstanding defense cooperation at risk,” as he put it in a statement afterward. Mr. Kerry made the same points in tandem to the interim foreign minister, Nabil Fahmy.

Mr. Obama announced the cancellation of Bright Star exercises without saying anything about the aid. As of Friday, American officials were still working phone lines to Cairo. Mr. Kerry talked with his Egyptian counterpart, urging the government to appoint an envoy to negotiate directly with the Islamists, United States officials said. But the diplomats and military officers in the two countries seemed to be talking past each other.

“The million-dollar question now,” said one American military officer, “is where is the threshold of violence for cutting ties?”


David D. Kirkpatrick reported from Cairo, and Peter Baker and Michael R. Gordon from Washington. Reporting was contributed by Eric Schmitt, Mark Mazzetti and Thom Shanker from Washington; Mark Landler from Chilmark, Mass.; and Steven Erlanger from London.
-------------------------------------------------------------

Palestinian Prisoner Freed by Israel Has American Blood on His Hands
by Eli Lake Aug 16, 2013 4:45 AM EDT
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/08/16/palestinian-prisoner-freed-by-israel-has-american-blood-on-his-hands.html
At the behest of the State Department, Israel began releasing Palestinian prisoners this week in a deal to get peace talks going. One of them killed an American. Eli Lake reports
For decades, the United States has urged foreign governments not to free prisoners who have killed Americans. But a man who murdered an American was freed this week by Israel in a prisoner-release deal encouraged by Secretary of State John Kerry.  
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (C) holds hands with Palestinian prisoners who were released from Israeli prisons during celebrations in the West Bank city of Ramallah early August 14, 2013. (Mohamad Torokma/Reuters)


Among those released Tuesday as an inducement to the Palestinian Authority to return to peace negotiations was Al-Haaj Othman Amar Mustafa, a Palestinian convicted in 1991 of killing Frederick Steven Rosenfeld, who the Philadelphia Inquirer at the time of his death reported was a former U.S. Marine and U.S. citizen.

Mustafa was sentenced by an Israeli military court to life after he and two other assailants murdered Rosenfeld in 1989, 21 years after the former Marine emigrated to Israel. According to an Associated Press account of Mustafa’s trial before a military court, Mustafa and two others met Rosenfeld as he was hiking near the settlement where he lived in Ariel. At first, the three men befriended Rosenfeld and even posed for a photo. “Minutes after the picture was taken, the three stabbed Rosenfeld and left him for dead, according to their confession,” the AP dispatch said.

Today Mustafa is a free man, one of 26 Palestinians released from Israeli jails on Tuesday, the first group of a total of 104 prisoners Israel has promised to free in exchange for Palestinian participation in a new peace process. The list of prisoners was negotiated with the Palestinian Authority, at the urging of Secretary Kerry.

Marie Harf, deputy spokesperson for the State Department, told The Daily Beast Thursday, “The State Department conveyed the administration’s concerns regarding the release of this prisoner to the government of Israel, while recognizing the victim was a dual national of Israel and the United States.”

Harf said the Israeli side “acknowledged our views, but it was ultimately their decision to determine which prisoners to release. This is a very difficult situation for all involved, and further highlights the importance of making these negotiations successful.”

Since 2009, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to negotiate with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government until and unless Israel froze construction in the West Bank as well as east Jerusalem, the city Israel regards as its capital. Abbas had negotiated with Netanyahu’s predecessor even as Israel continued to build housing and other structures in the West Bank and Jerusalem as late as 2008, but he changed his position after President Obama began to publicly demand such a freeze from Netanyahu. Abbas did meet with Israeli negotiators once in 2010 as an Israeli settlement freeze was expiring, but the meeting failed to restart the long-dormant peace process.

Kerry came around to the position that the settlement freeze was an obstacle to peace and began looking for another way to bring Abbas to the negotiations table.
Kerry came around to the position that the settlement freeze was an obstacle to peace and began looking for another way to bring Abbas to the negotiations table. The agreement included Israel’s commitment to release 104 Palestinians detained for crimes committed before the Oslo peace process began in earnest in 1994.

Mustafa was one of those prisoners. Reuters reported on Wednesday that when he arrived back home to the West Bank, he was greeted as a hero. The story also said released prisoners would be receiving a stipend from the Palestinian Authority worth about $1,120 a month.

“As I understand the facts, there are only two possibilities,” said Elliott Abrams, a deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration and a scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations. “It was a very bad screwup by the State Department not to demand that he remain incarcerated or it is a silent change of policy. I believe the policy has always been that we oppose the release of anyone who has committed terrorism against Americans.”

Abrams pointed to U.S. public statements in 2005 after Germany freed Mohammed Ali Hammadi, a member of Hezbollah who participated in the murder of U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem during the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847. When Hammadi was released in 2005, a State Department spokesman said, “We’re going to make every effort to see that he stands trial in the United States for what he did and face justice.”
Hammadi remains at large. 
Like The Daily Beast on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates all day long.

Eli Lake is the senior national-security correspondent for Newsweek and The Daily Beast. He previously covered national security and intelligence for The Washington Times. Lake has also been a contributing editor at The New Republic since 2008 and covered diplomacy, intelligence, and the military for the late New York Sun. He has lived in Cairo and traveled to war zones in Sudan, Iraq, and Gaza. He is one of the few journalists to report from all three members of President Bush’s axis of evil: Iraq, Iran, and North Korea.
For inquiries, please contact The Daily Beast at editorial@thedailybeast.com.

---------------------------------------------------
Sympathy for the Devils

AUGUST 17, 2013 23:13
BY PESACH BENSON
http://honestreporting.com/sympathy-for-the-devils/
The Economist thinks Israel was stingy with last week’s prisoner release.

As a measure of the seriousness of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, the number of Palestinian prisoners released on the eve of talks, say pessimists, is a gloomy barometer. When the two sides sat down to negotiate two decades ago, after signing the Oslo accords in 1993, Israel freed 2,000 Palestinians in a single year. For the next couple of years it released, on average, around 1,000 a year. In later years that number slumped to a few hundred. Now, to coincide with the fresh round of talks that started in Jerusalem on August 14th, Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has freed just 26.

Even this has provoked an outcry in Israel.

Surprised  that The Economist is so dismissive of Israeli terror victims’ pain?

Maybe a little. You see, the paper tapped into the very same distress when it condemned Abdelbaset al Megrahi’s release from prison back in 2009. Scottish authorities released the Lockerbie bomber on “compassionate grounds” after being diagnosed with cancer. Megrahi returned to a hero’s welcome in Libya and lived another three years.

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi
Hero’s welcome for Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.

What The Economist articulated then applies to the 26 murderers now enjoying their ill-deserved freedom:

The reason to leave Mr Megrahi in prison was less practical than symbolic. The atrocity of which he was eventually found guilty in 2001 killed 270 people (189 of them Americans). Terrorism is sometimes fuzzily thought to have a sort of intellectual respectability that more  banal forms of violence lack. But the Lockerbie bombing was cold-blooded mass murder; Mr Megrahi’s crime was worse than that of any other prisoner in Britain. The purpose of jail is to signal society’s disapproval and console victims as well as to rehabilitate and deter; and, on moral grounds, Mr Megrahi should have died in one.

How to explain The Economist’s newfound sympathy for the devils?

It’s clearly easier to support prisoner releases when the terror attacks weren’t in your neighborhood. If you need further proof, look at the outrage sparked when one diplomat compared the Palestinian prisoners to Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway in a 2011 rampage.

Either that, or it’ll take 270 dead Israelis to get The Economist’s attention.
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Post  Admin on Thu 15 Aug 2013, 9:40 pm

HONEST REPORTING
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Iran-seizes-Indian-ship-carrying-oil-from-Iraq/articleshow/21836778.cms
Iran seized an Indian oil tanker in the Persian Gulf. According to the Times of India, the ship, MT Desh Shanti, was detained in international waters and is now being taken to Iran’s Bandar Abbas port. Too early to tell what this will mean for oil prices. Iran has previously threatened to block the Staits of Hormuz if sanctions were imposed. What’s Iran’s official line?

2. Egyptian death toll rises to 525. Interim vice president Mohammed ElBaradei resigned http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-egypt-protests-elbaradei-20130814,0,7436743.story
in protest against the crackdown. Due to Egypt’s ongoing turmoil, the Rafah border crossing with Gaza is indefinitely closed in both directions. For more on the unrest, see page 2 of this roundup.

Tehran authorities conveyed to India that the ship was polluting Iranian waters, but this is being seen as flimsy reasoning.
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Post  Admin on Wed 14 Aug 2013, 9:14 pm

Israel Daily News Stream 08/14/2013
AUGUST 14, 2013 17:14BY [b style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: blue; font-weight: bold;"]PESACH BENSON[/b]

Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.
[b style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;"]Today’s Top Stories[/b]
1. Peace talks resumed today in Jerusalem. There’s going to be a news blackout, which means there’s going to be a premium on hard info. The blackout means we’ll also see pundits parsing the tea leaves for dubious meaning. The Jerusalem Post explains:
The talks will be held under a complete media blackout, with [b style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline;"]neither the location nor time of the negotiations made public, let   alone any mention of what topics are on the initial agenda[/b].
2. The Israeli Air Force struck a pair of Gaza rocket launching sites after Palestinians fired rockets last night at Israel. Gaza’s Islamic terror groups have a history of trying to spoil peace talks with suicide bombings and rocket fire.
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Post  Admin on Wed 14 Aug 2013, 9:10 pm

The AP and the BBC can't decide if Palestinian prisoners are heroes or terrorists.
The Media’s Moral Ambiguity on Palestinian Prisoners

AUGUST 14, 2013 15:33
BY ALEX MARGOLIN
hero-terrorist-comm02This week’s release of Palestinian prisoners sparked contentious debate in Israel over how high a price Israelis are willing to pay to revive talks with the Palestinians. Many Israelis expressed grief that Palestinians who had killed innocent Israelis, including a Holocaust survivor, should be released from prison merely as a gesture to the Palestinians.

On the Palestinian side, of course, there was much joy and celebration, as long-serving prisoners who had committed vile acts of terror were returning home earlier than expected.

People who get their news from the AP or the BBC, however, may be forgiven if they thought the two perspectives – Israeli and Palestinians – were morally equal. That’s exactly how they were presented by the media giants.

According to the AP,   http://www.ajc.com/news/ap/international/israel-lists-names-of-26-palestinians-to-be-freed/nZLs5/
 thousands of Palestinians have spent time in Israeli prisons for a wide range of violent acts, from stone throwing to murder.

Palestinians tend to view prisoners as heroes, regardless of their acts, arguing they made personal sacrifices in the struggle for independence.

In Israel, many consider those involved in the killings as terrorists, and some of the attacks are engraved in the nation’s collective memory.

In presenting both views as essentially equal in moral weight, the AP is drawing readers to conclude that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” That adage was employed by Reuters executive Stephen Jukes at the start of the Second Intifada to explain why Reuters refused to call a Palestinian who blew up innocent people on a bus a terrorist.

The BBC’s coverage of the prisoner release essentially follows the same formula. There are interviews with family members of the terrorists and their victims. One side is ecstatic about the release, and the other is pained by it.

The prisoners are seen as heroes of the Palestinian cause, but on the Israeli side they are simply seen as terrorists, our correspondent says.

Simple enough. It’s only Israelis who consider the acts committed by the released Palestinians, including in one case a murder with an axe, to be terrorism. The message from the AP and the BBC is that morality is subjective – at least when it comes to the Palestinians.

The moral ambiguity shown by these media outlets is part of a larger culture of impunity for the Palestinians. It starts with the insistence that terrorists should be referred to as militants, not terrorists, and eventually the moral scales shift so that they are balanced equally between the terrorists and their victims.

As if to underscore the ubiquity of Palestinian impunity, the BBC article ends with a short reference to an outbreak of violence in Gaza that took place as the prisoners were being released:

In a separate development on Wednesday, the Israeli military said it had carried out air strikes on rocket-launching sites in northern Gaza.

The strikes were launched overnight in response to the firing of two rockets from Gaza towards the Israeli town of Sderot, the military added.

The short interlude is striking for two reasons. First, it only reports the violence after Israel responded, not when the Palestinians attacked. And second, it never mentions the Palestinians by name. There were simply two rockets fired from Gaza.

The media’s desire for balance in reporting on issues related to the launch of peace talks should not result in moral ambiguity. The media has an obligation to report on events as they truly are, and if that means reporting that violent terrorists were released from prison, it should do so without hesitation.

Image: CC BY-SA HonestReporting.com, flickr/DieselDemon.
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Israel Daily News Stream 08/12/2013
HONEST REPORTING
AUGUST 12, 2013 13:50
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. Let the spin begin: A PA letter obtained by Haaretz http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.540910urges its diplomats to emphasize that prisoners to be released are “freedom fighters” and “political prisoners.” You can guess who the real terrorists are:

The letter, which was distributed by the Palestinian Embassy in Santiago, Chile, a day after the cabinet’s decision on the prisoner release, claimed that Israel is the one terrorizing the Palestinians, and not vice-versa. “A terrorist is someone who forcefully occupies the other’s land, expels him and comes to live in his place,” the letter read, “…not the Palestinian political prisoner, the freedom fighter.”

For more spin games, the London Jewish Chronicle http://www.thejc.com/comment-and-debate/columnists/110175/not-a-scintilla-authenticitydraws attention to statements by PA officials Nabil Abu Rudeinah and Yasser Abed Rabbo that any peace deal would only bind the Palestinians temporarily.

2. Toby Dershowitz http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2013/08/bahrain_blocks_hezbo.phpnotes that Bahrain is now blocking the website of Hezbollah’s Al Manar TV, as well as other sites associated with Al-Qaida. In particular, Hezbollah is accused of using Al-Manar to mobilize Bahrain’s opposition. Is the EU paying attention?
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/07/25/there-is-no-distinct-hezbollah-military-wing-so-why-ban-it.html
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Note to New York Times: Throwing Stones is an Act of Violence

AUGUST 5, 2013 15:06
BY ALEX MARGOLIN
stone-throwing-NYTLast week’s return of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians has had little impact on the simmering Palestinian violence in the West Bank – or the efforts of some in the media to glorify the violence.

New York Times reporter Jodi Rudoren is the latest apologist to present Palestinian stone throwers as noble defenders of their land and victims of Israeli oppression rather than as violent criminals:

Here in Beit Ommar, a village of 17,000 between Bethlehem and Hebron that is surrounded by Jewish settlements, rock throwing is a rite of passage and an honored act of defiance. The futility of stones bouncing off armored vehicles matters little: confrontation is what counts.

Rudoren focuses much of the story on a 17-year old Palestinian youth who has been arrested four times “for throwing stones at Israeli soldiers and settlers” – not civilians but settlers. Apparently do not merit the standard rights of civilians in Rudoren’s worldview simply because of where they choose to live. At the same time, Rudoren goes to great lengths to build sympathy for the Palestinian youth and his family, noting how his mother made sure to give him a long sleeve shirt for his stay in prison because “they both knew it would be cold in the interrogation room.”

The “settlers” don’t receive nearly the same level of empathy, even when they are the victims of the rocks being thrown. Menuha Shvat, the only Gush Etzion resident quoted in the story, is also the only one who discusses how dangerous rock throwing can be.

“It’s crazy: I’m going to get pizza, and I’m driving through a war zone,” said Ms. Shvat, who knew a man and his 1-year-old son who died when their car flipped in 2011 after being pelted with stones on Road 60. “It’s a game that can kill.”

Although we learn about the cold of the interrogation room and other details of the lives of the Palestinians in the story, Rudoren does not even bother to name the Israeli victims she mentions. In fact, the man’s name is Asher Palmer, and his one-year old son is Yonatan. And they didn’t simply die. They were killed, and the Palestinians who threw the rocks were convicted of murder.

The Palestinians Rudoren interviews never question the moral aspect of throwing stones, and neither does Rudoren. She has a matter-of-fact explanation for why they do it:

They throw because there is little else to do in Beit Ommar — no pool or cinema, no music lessons after school, no part-time jobs other than peddling produce along the road. They do it because their brothers and fathers did.

So long as the victims continue to be “soldiers and settlers,” it might not make much difference to Rudoren.

Rudoren’s piece follows on the heels of an article by Amira Hass in Haaretz in April that defended Palestinian stone throwing. That piece generated heated controversy when it came out. It remains to be seen if Rudoren’s piece gets the same reaction.

To get a sense of what Palestinian stone throwing in Beit Ommar looks like, watch the video below. It was originally posted to YouTube in February, 2012.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xg1Gv7WjSkM


 To her credit, Rudoren attempts to present the values of the local Palestinians in their own terms. But the moral ambiguity that comes across in the article carries a price. By allowing the glorification of violence to go unchallenged, the article becomes yet another piece that fails to hold the Palestinians to any form of accountability.


Reuters Kills the Mideast Domino Theory
http://honestreporting.com/reuters-kills-the-mideast-domino-theory/
AUGUST 5, 2013 11:11
BY PESACH BENSON
domino effectReuters broke with Big Media’s muddled mantra that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the region’s “core conflict.”

More than 100,000 people have died in the Syrian conflict and violence has flared again in Iraq, with over 1,000 killed there in July alone, many at the hands of al Qaeda. Tensions over Iran’s disputed nuclear program have also risen, while a struggle for power between Islamists and the military is playing out on the streets of predominantly Sunni Egypt.

Arguably, none of these crises will come any closer to being settled should, by some miracle, Israel and the Palestinians finally agree to divide the land where they live . . .

In public, Muslim leaders have traditionally railed against Israel, happy to fan ordinary Arabs’ sincere anger about the plight of the Palestinians – and perhaps deflect criticism of their own failure to make badly needed reforms.

Arab leaders can no longer get away with this.

This “core conflict” idea also gave rise to the Mideast “domino theory” (also known as “linkage”). According to the logic of linkage, if Israel and the Palestinians would make peace, the rest of the region’s conflicts would quickly fall into place as well. Never mind that the region’s seething cauldron of ethnic enmities pre-dated the modern state of Israel by, uh, centuries.

Thanks to the domino theory, Israel could be blamed for problems well beyond its borders. One hysterical example appeared in Christian Science Monitor a few years ago. This was the subhead:

Global stability can no longer be held hostage to the claims of Israeli settlers.

 The dubious domino theory is dead and the wire service finally acknowledges it.

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

Post  Admin on Wed 31 Jul 2013, 7:59 pm

Hamas is re-establishing ties with Iran and Hezbollah. What does this mean for Israel, the Palestinians, and the peace process? Listen here....
http://honestreporting.podomatic.com/entry/2013-07-29T01_35_44-07_00
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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Wed 31 Jul 2013, 7:56 pm

Photojournalist Stages News for Profit and Ideology
JULY 31, 2013 15:01BY PESACH BENSON
ouri is one of Ramallah’s biggest opponents of normalizing Israeli-Palestinian ties. He’s also a photographer who isn’t interested in separating his professional journalism and political activism.
And that raises questions about his association with the Reuters wire service and China’s Xinhua News Agency. HonestReporting has learned Reuters fired Arouri, apparently over his extra-curricular activities, but the wire service continues to use his work on a free lance basis.
Anti-Normalization Infects The Palestinian Media
The anti-normalization campaign condemns Israeli-Palestinian events whether they are political,business, or academic. Even children’s sporting events are taboo. All such activities, it is argued, “legitimize the Israeli occupation.”
This rejectionism has taken over the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS). That’s why in recent weeks, Israeli reporters and employees of Israeli news services working in the West Bank have faced increasing hostility. The PJS claims it’s fighting for freedom of movement in Israel.
Freedom of movement for journalists is certainly reasonable — but coming from this crowd, it’s a difficult argument to hear. The same journalists opposed to normalization are demanding Israelitravel permits and Israeli press credentials so they can work inside Israel, and interview the same Israelis they refuse to even let their kids play soccer with.

News breaks fast. Get HonestReporting alerts by e-mail 
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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Thu 25 Jul 2013, 1:06 pm

HONEST REPORTING
http://honestreporting.com/whose-opinion-matters-part-3-the-los-angeles-times/
Whose Opinion Matters? Part 3: The Los Angeles Times
JULY 24, 2013 10:21
BY YARDEN FRANKL
LATimes-opinionPartIII This is the third part of our series looking at how the opinion pages of the biggest newspapers in the United States cover Israel. In our previous studies, we concluded that the New York Times demonstrated a clear and consistent anti-Israel bias in both quantity and content of their opinion pages. We also saw that despite problems that we have documented in the coverage of Israel in the Washington Post, its opinion pages were much more balanced when it came to Israel and op-eds and editorials reflecting the Israeli position were frequently published.

UK rejects meningitis B vaccine
By James Gallagher
Health and science reporter, BBC News
Tilly Lockey
Tilly Lockey lost her hands after contracting meningitis B
Continue reading the main story
Related Stories

Putting a price on saving lives
Meningitis jab gets Europe licence
Meningitis jab set for UK licence
The only vaccine to protect against a deadly form of meningitis should not be introduced in the UK, the body that advises governments on immunisation says.

About 1,870 people contract meningitis B each year and one in 10 dies.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said the vaccine, Bexsero, was not cost-effective and should not yet be adopted by the NHS.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-23422973
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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Thu 18 Jul 2013, 8:30 pm

HONEST REPORTING
Success: Monster Cartoon – German Newspaper Apologizes
German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung backs down following outrage over an anti-Semitic cartoon that portrayed Israel as Moloch, the ravenous monster. 
http://honestreporting.com/success-monster-cartoon-german-newspaper-apologizes/
German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung’s anti-Semitic cartoon that portrayed Israel as a ravenous monster rightly caused outrage. Many of you wrote to the newspaper to express your anger.

As a result of the pressure and publicity generated by HonestReporting and a number of other concerned organizations (HR is cited in this Jerusalem Post report), Süddeutsche Zeitung has backed down and apologized. Here is a rough translation from the original German:

There was significant criticism and outrage at the illustration on the “The Political Book” page on July 2. As we have already written in the Süddeutsche Zeitung and Süddeutsche.de, we deplore the use of this illustration. It was an unsuccessful attempt to represent by means of caricature, how the State of Israel is seen by her enemies.

This intention was not clear. The drawing of a horned monster with a knife and fork did not make the connection to the symbolism of anti-Israel clichés. On the contrary: The illustration allows for the conclusion that we are depicting Israel as a monster. It was a cliché used to denounce stereotypes, and that did not work, even though the caption attempted the explanation.

We are very sorry we have made this mistake. And we ask those we have hurt or annoyed to excuse it. This also includes the illustrator Ernst Kahl, whose drawing was used in this context, although it was actually made for a cooking column. We will be very careful that such an error is not repeated.

In light of the newspaper’s previous denials that the cartoon had been nothing more than a “misunderstanding,” it is significant that it has now recognized exactly why the publication of this cartoon was so patently unacceptable.
-------

VIDEO: Children Taught to Hate on Palestinian Television - Where's the Coverage?
When Palestinian Television broadcasts viciously anti-Israel incitement, the media ignores the story. 
View the video...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Nn2X8PzIZf0


Success: Times Decapitalizes Tel Aviv
A complaint from HonestReporting prompts a correction from The Times of London after an inference that Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel. Read more...
http://honestreporting.com/success-times-decapitalizes-tel-aviv/
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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Sat 13 Jul 2013, 3:35 pm

The Untold Truth: 150 Million Europeans Hate Israel – Part 2
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld posits that today, well over 150 million Europeans believe that Israel is exterminating the Palestinians. In the second part of our exclusive interview, he talks further about the contents of his new book. Read more...
http://honestreporting.com/the-untold-truth-150-million-europeans-hate-israel-part-2/


Add Your Name to Our Petition Against Photo Exhibit Glorifying Terrorism
Hundreds of you have already signed our petition calling on a Paris museum to remove a photo exhibit glorifying Palestinian terrorists as "martyrs." It's not too late to add your name. 
Join the Protest Against Photo Exhibit Glorifying Terrorism
JULY 3, 2013 9:00
BY SIMON PLOSKER
monalisaterroristLast month HonestReporting condemned the Jeu de Paume museum of contemporary art in Paris for displaying a photographic exhibit that glorifies Palestinian terrorists. This “art” exhibit refers to Israel as a “colonial power” and Palestinian terrorists as “fighters” and “victims of the Israeli military.” Suicide bombers are referred to as “militants” who heroically set out to “assassinate Israelis.”
Read more and sign...
http://honestreporting.com/join-the-protest-against-photo-exhibit-glorifying-terrorism/
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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Sun 30 Jun 2013, 10:55 pm

[b style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, Geneva, Swiss; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-size: medium;"]HONEST REPORTING[/b]
World War Z: Paramount thinks Turks afraid of Israel, not Zombies
Published on 30 Jun 2013
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-Vj7yaqf1c


2 MIN VIDEO
Paramount pictures thinks that Islamic audiences in Turkey can handle a movie in which flesh eating zombies take over the world. But they were afraid that mentioning the word "Israel" might really horrify them. So they took the word out of the movie and replaced it with the words "Middle East."


Go to Paramount's Facebook page and leave a comment that Israel in Turkish is translated as "Israel" not "Middle East." https://www.facebook.com/Paramount


When the West is afraid of irrational anti-Israel sentiment, they end up giving it credibility.


If you can handle a zombie movie, you can handle the word "Israel."
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Re: HONEST REPORTING Defending Israel from Media Bias plz read REGULAR UPDATES

Post  Admin on Sun 02 Jun 2013, 7:26 pm

I have an important message for you. It will only take a minute.
As always, thanks for working with us to fight anti-Israel media bias.
Sincerely,
Joe Hyams
CEO, Honest Reporting.
https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=honest&id=20&campin=620131a
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