Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thailand officially recognizes Palestine as an independent state, becoming the 131st country to do so. (NYT 1/21)

Unidentified Palestinians fire 1 Qassam rocket fr. Gaza into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. The IDF detains Hamas-affiliated PC speaker ‘Aziz Dweik at Jaba’ checkpoint nr. Jerusalem, placing him in administrative detention; makes a late-night raid on Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform PC mbr. Khalid Thwaib’s home in Za’atara village nr. Bethlehem, arresting him and confiscating his computers, phone, and files. The IDF also conducts synchronized morning patrols in 2 villages n. of Jericho; conducts other daytime patrols in 3 villages nr Ramallah, 1 nr. Jenin, 1 nr. Jericho; conducts evening patrols in 1 village nr. Jericho; conducts late-night patrols in al-Bireh. (JP 1/19; WT 1/25; PCHR 1/26; OCHA 1/27)

The U.S.’s new Joint Chiefs of Staff head Gen. Martin Dempsey begins a 3-day visit to Israel for talks on Iran, regional security, and military-tomilitary strategic coordination. He will meet with PM Netanyahu, Pres. Shimon Peres, DM Barak, and senior IDF commanders. (NYT, WT 1/20; NYT, WP 1/21)

Pro-Israel groups (including the Anti-Defamation League [ADL] and American Jewish Committee [AJC]) publicly accuse the Center for American Progress (CAP; a Washington-based think tank seen as close to the Obama admin.) of “anti-Semitism,” citing several Twitter posts by CAP staffers to their private Twitter accounts referring to “Israel-firsters” (i.e., Americans who put Israel’s national interests before America’s) and accusing AIPAC of pushing the U.S. toward war with Iran. The ADL and AJC allege that the private Tweets are part of a “very troubling” pattern of “anti-Semitism and borderline anti-Semitism” at CAP. Former AIPAC spokesman Josh Block says that the pro-Israel groups went public with their complaints only after CAP officials ignored a compilation of CAP staffer’s writings and public statements that he quietly presented to them in 12/2011 that he said amounted to “outrageous vilification of pro-Israel Americans.” CAP says it is “baffled and appalled” by the charges. Some on the left of the pro-Israel spectrum, such as J Street, say the issue is overblown and they suspect that it is being brought forward now “to shut down needed policy debates,” cautioning groups such as the ADL and AJC to “tread lightly” with accusations of anti-Semitism or “people won’t take you seriously.”(WP 1/20)