UN Negotiating With Al Nusra Front

Sun, 08/31/2014 - 10:05am

Today’s Top Stories

1. The UN’s negotiating with the Nusra Front for the release of 44 Fijian peace monitors captured along the Israeli-Syrian border. But due credit to Irish forces for rescuing 75 Filipino soldiers who made reached safety in Israel.

2. The IDF shot down a drone that strayed into Israeli air space from Syria. According to YNet, the army believes the drone belonged to Syrian army forces loyal to Bashar Assad.

3. The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, took to The Guardian‘s op-ed section to declare that Palestine is a state that can file war crimes complaints against Israel — if it chooses. The Jerusalem Post points out:

Bensouda’s Oped, is in and of itself a highly uncharacteristic public venue for her to articulate her office’s usually closely held official positions. But it appeared to be a response to the unprecedented barrage of criticism following the recent Gaza war from a range of parties that her office was artificially blocking the Palestinians from filing against Israelis.

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4. Brangelina Wedding Leaves Israel Jilted: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie tied the knot, but why did The Independent hitch Israel to the story?

5. Journalist Revisits Gaza Family Mistakenly Declared Dead: After HonestReporting readers called him onto the carpet, Donald Macintyre acknowledges shortcomings of original report.

6. Melanie Phillips: Western Jewry – Paying the Price for Gaza: Speaking at an HonestReporting event, prominent British commentator calls for new strategy to present Israel’s case and discusses the impact of the Gaza war on Diaspora Jewry.



Israel and the Palestinians

• AFP: PA to pay Hamas civil salaries “as soon as possible.”

• Fatah accused Hamas of targeting its cadres during the Gaza conflict and stealing humanitarian aid too. Jerusalem Post coverage.

• A Pew Research Center survey of Americans found greater post-war support for Israel than the Palestinians.

• Worth reading: Der Spiegel and NPR look at the impact of Operation Protective Edge on the Israeli arms industry.

• How Aqua-Shield spotted Hamas divers off Ashkelon coast.

JNS reports that an Evangelical church in eastern Jerusalem was forced to close after “years of harassment and intimidation by Islamists.”

• Around the world: Two teenage girls were arrested over a Lyon synagogue suicide bomb plot. Turkey‘s Jewish intellectuals denounce being targeted over Israel-Gaza crisis.

• Image-conscious jihadis make for our tweet of the day:


• Islamic State’s new English language web site is geared to Western jihadi wannabes, slick, and vows to destroy Israel.

• Two mortar shells explode on Israeli side of Syrian border without causing any damage to people or property. According to the Times of Israel:

The explosions were believed to be strays from fighting between rebel groups and government troops on the Syrian side of the Golan.


• When it comes to boycotts, Adam Reuter cautions everyone to take a deep breath and not worry so much.

Israel’s exports are driven by thousands of companies of all kinds, with the most diverse ownership and in a wide variety of markets, albeit with a low international profile. There is no Israeli company that is considered a global brand, and hence could be used as a clear indicator.


Many Israeli companies operate in niche areas, as an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) or as subsidiaries of foreign multinationals.


In addition, Israeli exports are almost never sold to the end consumer. In fact, this is the case for about 95 percent of Israel’s exports, almost all of which are involved in business-to-business (B2B) trade with the large international corporations who are only interested in the best product or service at the most competitive price.


With all due respect to what is happening there, the attacks in Gaza are not a consideration in the cold world of business, nor is really of any interest.

See also Lawrence Solomon‘s take on BDS.

Matti Friedman‘s must-read tell-all expose of Big Media bias against Israel — the over-reporting of Israel in general, treating Palestinians with kid gloves, and sticking to shallow, pre-conceived storylines even when not born out by facts — made a lot of waves over the weekend. See reactions in the Washington Post and Wall St. Journal (click via Google News).

The Ties Between the Nusra Front – the Syrian al Qaeda Affiliate – and Hamas

• For more commentary/analysis, see Nahum Barnea (The politics of war: Protective Edge in retrospect), Einat Wilf (Reveal UNRWA’s bluff), Ben Caspit (After Gaza, Israel sees new type of war, diplomacy), Moshe Arens (Gaza: an opportunity missed), Shraga Blum (Hamas preferable to the PA), Sen. Daylin Leach (Israel as seen by a progressive Zionist), and Asmaa al-Ghoul (Israel gained upper hand in final days of war).

Rest O’ the Roundup

Federica Mogherini

• The European Union’s new foreign policy chief is Federica Mogherini, who is currently Italy’s foreign minister. The 41-year-old Mogherini will replace Catherine Ashton, who steps down in November. See The International Business Times and Daily Telegraph for more background. Mogherini was recently in Israel.

• The son of Suriname’s president pleaded guilty in a New York courtroom to helping Hezbollah plot against the US, and drug trafficking. AFP explains the Dino Bouterse’s dirty deeds:

According to the US indictment, Bouterse was given millions of dollars to allow dozens of purported Hezbollah operatives to use Suriname as a base to attack American targets.


He gave a false passport to an undercover officer pretending to be Hezbollah, offered to provide weapons and gave advice on how Hezbollah operatives might enter the US with a cover story.

• As nuclear talks in limbo, US levels new Iran sanctions.


Featured Image:CC BY flickr/Walter Watzpatzkowski, Mogherini via Flickr/North Atlantic Treaty Organization


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