Al Nusra Front Captures Israel-Syria Border Crossing

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 8:38am

Today’s Top Stories

1. Israel and Hamas agreed to an ambiguous open-ended ceasefire. It’s hard to say if it’ll hold, but here’s one indication that it might: Terror leaders like Hamas’s Mahmoud Zahar and Islamic Jihad’s Mohammed al-Hindi appeared in public for the first time since the crisis began.

2. The Al-Qaeda affiliated Al Nusra Front captured the Israeli-Syrian border crossing at Quneitra. The Times of Israel reports that an IDF officer was moderately injured by a stray bullet. Several mortars landed in Israeli territory.

The IDF said it had not determined whether the mortars were fired into Israel intentionally or were a spillover from fighting between rival factions on the Syrian side of the border.

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3. Whoda thought? Salam Fayyad’s implicated in another plot to topple Mahmoud Abbas. The Jerusalem Post picks up on Arab media reports.

4. Back by reader demand: The 6 Questions About Paywalls You Were Afraid to Ask.


Israel and the Palestinians

• For details on today’s developments, see live-blogs at the Jerusalem Post, and Times of Israel.

• Shortly before the ceasefire went into effect, two Israelis on Kibbutz Nirim were killed by a Palestinian mortar. i24 News identifies the two as Ze’ev Etzion, the kibbutz’s 55-year-old security coordinator, and Shachar Melamed, Etzion’s deputy.

The two Israeli deaths brought the civilian casualties suffered by Israel during the past war to 6 in total.

• Hamas predictably declared “victory” and Gazans took to the streets to celebrate. Looking at photos in the Daily Mail, I’m struck by the all the Hamas gunmen finally in public view, and the brainwashed kids holding guns — hopefully toys. AP notes that celebratory gunfire killed one woman and injured several dozen more.

• The New York Times took a jaundiced view of Palestinian celebrations:

Cease-Fire Extended, but Not on Hamas’s Terms

Aaron Sofer

• The Associated Press and CNN picked up on the search for Aaron Sofer, who disappeared while hiking in the Jerusalem Forest on Friday. Police haven’t ruled out the possibility that Sofer, a 23-year-old student from Lakewood, New Jersey, was abducted by Palestinians. More on the story at Haaretz.

• Around the world: Thugs in New York City carrying Palestinian flags roughed up a Jewish man and his wife. Protesters disrupted an Israel-solidarity rally in Chicago. The Communist Party of Uruguay agreed to erase a mural accusing Israel of genocide.

BDS Victory Over SodaStream Equals 900 Palestinians Out of Work: Factory made famous by Scarlett Johansson’s Super Bowl commercial to relocate to the Negev.

“Those who seek to help the Palestinians end up hurting us,” said Nabil Bashrat, 40, a resident of Ramallah who worked at the factory.

This was the very issue Oxfam had no answer for when challenged by SodaStream’s CEO in a stunning BBC debate.

• The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) denies that its leader, Ahmed Jibril, was killed in Syria by the Al-Nusra Front of Al-Qaida.

• The New York Times visits Rawabi, where problems of water, cash and politics are delaying development of what would be the first new Palestinian city in the West Bank.

Media Angles

• Israeli officials continued their media offensive. Mark Regev discussed the ceasefire with the BBC.

• Atika Shubert of CNN sought a reaction to the James Foley execution video from two foreign jihadis in Syria. Why give them a soapbox, especially since they view the video as recruiting tool?


• It’s chutzpah for a Los Angeles Times staff-ed to chide Israel for Palestinian civilian deaths without acknowledging Hamas culpability for hiding weapons caches, tunnels, and rocket launchers among civilians.

Even if one accepts Israel’s right to respond to rocket attacks on its territory — and we do — the human toll of this conflict was horrific.


In nearly two months of fighting (punctuated by temporary cease-fires) more than 2,200 people were killed. Most were Palestinians, including large numbers of civilians, many of them children. Some victims died as they huddled in schools or other supposed shelters, and after one explosion near a school, the United States publicly demanded that Israel “do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties.” Sixty-nine Israelis have died, all but four of them soldiers. Israeli casualties from rocket attacks were limited by a missile-defense system, known as Iron Dome.

• Seeing Hamas for what it is, Mobile Register cartoonist J.D. Crowe gets it.


• Seeing Hamas for what it is, this Toronto Star staff-ed gets it.

Declare Yom Kippur a UN Holiday

One way to combat bigotry is by demonstrating respect. The Yom Kippur proposal is a nonpolitical one — unrelated to Israel’s recent hostilities with Hamas — and a test of inclusiveness.

• For more commentary/analysis, see the Jerusalem Post (How Israel made Hamas crawl to a ceasefire), Amos Harel (real test of truce lies ahead), Ron Ben-Yishai (Hamas blinked first), David Horovitz (Don’t dismiss Hamas victory celebrations), Yoav Limor (proof of deterrence still pending), while Avi Issacharoff assesses the winners and losers. See also Jean-Pierre Filiu (Gaza, a victim of history),

Rest O’ the Roundup

• The UN’s top human rights official, Navi Pillay, condemned Islamic State for ethnically cleansing large sections of Iraq. Pillay’s description of “targeted killings, forced conversions, abductions, trafficking, slavery, sexual abuse, destruction of places of religious and cultural significance, and the besieging of entire communities” is certainly on the mark. Experts on genocide and xenophobia like William Schabas, Doudou Diene, and Mary McGowan Davis are certainly qualified to make a difference for Iraqi minorities, but their Israel-bashing mandate trumps everything else. Reuters adds:

The U.N. Human Rights Council will hold an emergency session in Geneva on Monday concerning abuses being committed by Islamic State and other militant groups in Iraq, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

If you’re waiting a whole week a to discuss the problem, it’s not an emergency.

Iran became the first country to openly provide arms to Iraqi Kurds fighting Islamic State. The US and seven European nations will also supply weapons.

• Worth reading: Tariq Alhomayed weighs in on Bashar Assad’s bid to exploit the West’s fight against ISIS.


Featured image: CC BY-NC-SA flickr/Trey Ratcliff, paywall CC BY-SA, flickr/Stephen Ferne


For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream and join the IDNS on Facebook.


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