Today’s Top Stories
1. The UN General Assembly’s Palestinian statehood vote’s on Thursday. Britain looks likely support the Palestinian statehood bid, reports the Financial Times (via Google News). The FT says London wants three Palestinian assurances:
• The PA won’t join the International Criminal Court or other UN agencies.
• The PA won’t use non-member observer status as a stepping stone for full statehood in the UN Security Council.
• A renewed PA commitment to immediately return to peace talks without preconditions.
Meanwhile, Australia will abstain on Palestinian statehood vote. According to ABC News, Prime Minister Julia Gillard opposes statehood, but agreed to abstain as a compromise with her deeply divided Labor Party. The Sydney Morning Herald describes the backbench revolt Gillard faced.
3. Can you imagine the outrage if Israel did this?
• Damascus playground hit by cluster bombs: 10 children dead, 70 bomblets found
• Syria systematically demolishes homesin pro-rebel neighborhoods: regime claims it’s clearing illegal slums.
Israel and the Palestinians
• BBC correspondent Jon Donnison made HonestReporting’s Hall of Shame for retweeting a photo of injured Syrian kids billed as Palestinians injured by Israel. Although he apologized, Donnison’s in the Government Press Office’s doghouse: BBC Watch says the GPO summoned him to a hearing about that tweet on Wednesday. The Beeb correspondent could potentially lose his press credentials, and with that, his visa, which enables him to work in Israel.
• Heh: The International Federation of Journalists wants a UN inquiry into Israeli attacks on Hamas “journalists” during Operation Pillar of Defense. If you work for Hamas, you’re not a journalist . . .
• The Palestinians are already fixing up their bombed tunnel network, reports the Daily Mail.
• YNet: Israeli-Americans filed a lawsuit against Hillary Clinton over financial assistance to the PA.
According to the lawsuit, the State Department ignored congressional safeguards and transparency requirements attached to US aid to the Palestinian Authority . . .
Evidence collected by the plaintiffs indicates that the PA directly funds terrorist organizations and that some PA officials also serve organizations which the US considers terrorist groups.
• Elliott Abrams on the Iron Dome:
It is often said that Hamas can make rockets and mortars very cheaply, while each interceptor rocket fired by Iron Dome costs as much as $50,000. But a recent column in the Jerusalem Post (found here) points out that such figures include the system’s development costs to date. Procurement of future interceptors will cost far less and economies of scale will soon be reflected; per unit cost may fall to $5,000 or far less.
Meanwhile the estimated cost to Iran and Hamas of the Fajr rockets they fired at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv often does not include the cost of smuggling them from Iran to Sudan to Egypt to Gaza, including all the expenses and bribes along the way.
• The MIT Technology Review talked to a high-level physicist and missile defense expert about how Iron Dome works:
It’s an astonishing achievement—I think it’s even fair to use the word miraculous—to be able to hit these rockets with the reliability they demonstrated.
• Israeli high school students are helping Jewish refugees from Arab countries document their stories. More at Israel HaYom.
• Times of Israel: Hamas bickering and carelessness put the IDF on Ahmed Jabari’s tail.
• For more commentary/analysis, see Boston Globe columnist Farah Stockman, Aaron Zelin, Doug Bandow, the Daily Telegraph‘s Matt Hill, and CNN, where Erin Burnett talked to Morton Klein and Jeremy Ben-Ami.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• The NY Times scored a jailhouse interview with Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, better known as the man who made “The Innocence of Muslims.” Despite the deaths, riots, and controversy, he has no regrets.
The making of the film is a bizarre tale of fake personas and wholesale deception. And as with almost everything touched over the years by Mr. Nakoula — a former gas station manager, bong salesman, methamphetamine ingredient supplier and convicted con man — it is almost impossible to separate fact from fabrication.
• Egypt seized a $3.3 million arms shipment from Libya en route to Hamas. The Times of Israel writes:
According to the report, the shipment included 185 crates full of arms and ammunition, including bullets, anti-tank and anti-aircraft munitions, rocket-propelled grenades, landmines and explosives.
Source material can be found at this site.