Jihadi Rebels Abduct UN Observers Along Israeli Border

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 9:26am

Today’s Top Stories

1. Nabil Shaath described to Maan News the PLO’s diplomatic offensive against Israel: On Sept. 15, the Palestinians will ask the UN Security Council to set a timetable for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank.

If that request is denied, the PLO will take their case to the International Criminal Court to hold senior Israeli officials such as Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon accountable for Israel’s devastating assault on Gaza, which killed over 2,000 Palestinians . . .


A permanent unity government, with Hamas as a full partner, will then be formed in order to facilitate the reconstruction of the war-torn Gaza Strip, Shaath added.

2. A day after the Al-Qaida-affiliated Al Nusra Front seized control of the Syrian side of the Israeli border crossing at Quneitra, YNet cites an Arab media report that the jihadis abducted members of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). At the moment, we’re talking about “40 soldiers of Philippine origin.” According to Michael O’Toole, Irish monitors are hunkered down — and hopefully still safe.

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3. Hamas leaders bicker over ceasefire.

4. Stories I’d Like to See: Scratching the Surface of UNRWA: Hamas rockets in UNRWA facilities leave a lot of unanswered questions. Are any reporters interested?


Israel and the Palestinians

• Did Netanyahu and Abbas hold a secret meeting ahead of the Gaza ceasefire?

• Australians for Palestine are in hot water for misrepresenting a photo of dead Syrian children as Palestinians killed by Israel. The Australian (click via Google News) reports that this fauxtography occurred in an email to MPs. This is the very kind of “dead baby porn” Brendan O’Neill brilliantly denounced. Adding fuel to the fire, Australians for Palestine editor Sonja Karkar reneged on a promise to apologize.

Underneath the image of dead children, Australians for Palestine editor Sonja Karkar wrote that “some people may find the above photo disturbing and we hope it is”.


“It is not being shown gratuitously, but to bring home the true awfulness of what is happening in Gaza,” she wrote.

Marwan Barghouti

• Marwan Barghouti (known as the Palestinian Mandela in some circles), called on Fatah to ditch peace negotiations and reassert its leadership of “the resistance.” MEMRI translated his unMandela-like message published on a Palestinian website.

Haaretz: SodaStream officials say they haven’t made a final decision to relocate their factory from the West Bank to the Negev, and that boycotts aren’t a factor in the decision making.

The possible closure of the West Bank plant, located in the industrial zone of Mishor Adumim, outside Jerusalem, is a result of expanded activity in a new plant in the Negev town of Lehavim.


Even if the Mishor Adumim plant remains open, SodaStream could still decide within the next two months to cut down its activity there.

• According to Arab reports picked up by the Times of Israel, an Israeli aerial drone went down in Iraq and “was quickly recovered by US personnel on the ground.” In recent days, Hamas and Iran claimed to have downed Israeli UAVs.


• Former AP correspondent Matti Friedman‘s stunning expose of how the foreign press in Israel operates brought back memories for Max Blankfeld of covering Israel after Yom Kippur War. Blankfeld reminisces about an ignorant Brazilian reporter who knew nothing about the country resorting to “cut and paste” journalism to suit his Marxist ideology. Disclosure: Max Blankfeld is a member of HonestReporting’s board of directors.

Indianapolis Star cartoonist Gary Varvel nails the ceasefire.

Iran’s threats to “arm the West Bank” must be taken seriously

Iran’s latest statements demonstrate that it wants to remain relevant in the post-Operation Protective Edge era and prove to its proxies that it is still leads and supports their armed struggle against Israel.

• Britain’s chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, took to the op-ed pages of the Daily Telegraph to weigh in on rising anti-Semitism.

It is sometimes claimed that the anti-Semitism card is played to stifle debate about the Middle East. I am entirely in favour of debate, but to be credible, it must be open, honest, contextualised and untainted by irrational hatred or misinformation. After all, debate on Israeli government policy is the most popular national sport in the vibrant democracy that is Israel. Why? Israelis love a good argument, but more importantly, many Israeli government decisions are life-and-death choices with existential consequences for the tiny Jewish state.


However, in expressing strong views about Israel some people do not realise the extent to which they draw upon myths, images, fears and expressions that have a long and ugly history. Others knowingly and deliberately draw upon such rhetoric and upon the history of vile persecution. How can anyone attempt to justify disgraceful placards the like of which we have seen in pro-Gaza demonstrations in London proclaiming “Hitler should have finished the job”, or “Death to the Jews”?

• Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman got op-ed space in Foreign Policy to push for disarming Hamas.

Jonathan Schanzer sets the tone for a lot of ceasefire post-mortems I read today.

Khaled Abu Toameh: The Gaza war isn’t really over.

Many foreign journalists who came to cover the war in the Gaza Strip were under the false impression that it was all about improving the living conditions of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by opening border crossings and building an airport and seaport. These journalists really believed that once the demands of Hamas and Islamic Jihad are accepted, this would pave the way for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.


Yet these journalists, like many others in the international community, failed to look at the bigger picture or take into consideration the context of conflict. Moreover, most of them did not even seem to be listening to what Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been stating before and after the war — that their real goal is to “liberate all Palestine.”


Operation Protective Edge may have ended, but the dream to destroy Israel is still alive.

• What are Yossi Klein Halevi‘s two nightmares about a Palestinian state?

• For more commentary, see Amos Harel (New enemies across the Syrian border), Eyal Zisser (Gazans must demand answers from Hamas), and Mitch Ginsburg (From Beirut to Shejaiya). Fiamma Nirenstein, The Associated Press, BBC, PoliticoDaily TelegraphSky News, and a Boston Globe staff-ed all assess the ceasefire. Last but not least, Fisk’s being Fisk again.

Rest O’ the Roundup

Islamic State celebration in Raqqa, Syria.

• The Wall St. Journal (via Google News) takes an in-depth look at Islamic State’s financial underpinnings.

The Islamic State runs a self-sustaining economy across territory it controls in Syria and Iraq, pirating oil while exacting tribute from a population of at least eight million, Arab and Western officials said, making it one of the world’s richest terror groups and an unprecedented threat . . .


For Western and Arab nations that are striving to stop Islamic State, the group’s local funding sources pose a conundrum: A clampdown on economic activity that helps fund the group, counterterrorism officials and experts said, could cause a humanitarian crisis in the already stressed areas it controls.

• Beheadings in Syria are now routine, reports the New York Times.

When it comes to ISIS, Iranian help is useless and dangerous.


Featured image: CC BY-SA HonestReporting, Union Pacific poster via flickr/Keijo Knutas, UN CC BY-SA HonestReporting, flickr/Andrew Magill, Barghouti via YouTube/Journeyman Pictures, Islamic State via YouTube/Vice News


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