Syrian Army Withdraws From Golan
April 8, 2013 16:04
by Pesach Benson
Today’s Top Stories
1. The Syrian army withdrew most of its troops from the Golan Heights. Although it was a matter of time, The Guardian reports that the move creates new worries for Israel and imperils UN observers.
Western diplomats said the Syrian redeployments near the Golan ceasefire line were the most significant in 40 years, with at least several thousand soldiers thought to have been moved in recent weeks to battle fronts closer to Damascus.
Rebel groups have moved into the vacuum, and Israel fears that jihadists will use the area as a staging ground for attacks on territory it controls . . .
“We are also talking to New York [the UN headquarters] about whether there could be a replacement in case one contingent pulls out. We don’t envision a scenario in which Undof dissolves but we are very aware of the fragility of the situation.”
2. Hamas Can’t Spin Its Bad Hair Day: Human rights groups protest after Hamas police arrest men with “immodest” hair cuts, then cut their hair. Big Media took note.
3. Cairo’s political and military echelons are divided over Hamas, which explains the continuing crackdown on Gaza’s smuggling tunnels. Haaretz writes:
The refusal by army officials to meet with leaders of Hamas, and the ongoing demolition of the tunnels, are intended not only to improve security in the area or to settle accounts with Hamas. For Sissi, these actions, which enjoy public support, are also meant to show President Morsi that the army will determine where national threats exist, and will also decide on how to meet them . . .
4. Comments and the Roar of the Crowd: A look at some of the emails in the HR inbox.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Israel for more shuttle diplomacy. Washington Post coverage was par for the course.
• Mahmoud Abbas to the Globe Mail: Time is running out for the two-state solution. And Israeli-Arab MK Jamal Zahalka talked to the Toronto Star‘s Haroon Siddiqui. And oh does Zahalka cram in the soundbites like there’s no tomorrow:
“Israel (is) a democracy for Jews, not Arabs. It is not an exact copy of the old South African apartheid state but it’s from the same family.”
• Elliott Abrams takes down the Teachers’ Union of Ireland’s full boycott of Israeli academics.
One could pile statistic upon statistic, but that would be a vain effort when it comes to minds like those of the members of the Teachers Union of Ireland, who voted unanimously on the boycott; not one soul had the wit or independence of mind to object or to question. One can only pity the poor Irish student who might think for himself or for herself, might wish to spend a term in Israel at a place like the Technion, and might not share in the biases of the teachers. The message from teachers to students is pretty clearly “shut up.”
• A Times of London staff-ed weighs in on John Kerry’s peacemaking efforts.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Israel’s concerned about failure of the latest Iranian nuclear talks. A staff-ed in The Independent hopes Israel cools the rhetoric, arguing that dialogue hasn’t failed yet. See a related Wall St. Journal staff-ed (via Google News).
Source material can be found at this site.