- West Bank attack on Israeli nine year old shifts focus to Palestinian incitement
- "Brazen attacks" on Egyptian security forces follow weekend of violence between Morsi supporters, opponents
- Fears of Palestinian scorched earth campaign deepen after UNESCO targets Israel
- Israeli analysts: new Iran diplomacy gambit may be "the last opportunity" before force required
What we’re watching today:
- A nine year old Israeli girl was shot and wounded this weekend by attackers she described as masked gunmen who approached her family's house in the Israeli community of Psagot. The incident comes a week after Palestinians killed two Israelis in two separate incidents, deepening fears - already aired in the aftermath of those murders - that incitement by official Palestinian organs was driving a spike of violence in the West Bank. Jerusalem Post national security reporter Yaakov Lappin described the environment as marked by "an unmistakable increase in violent attacks" by Palestinians against Israelis. Following the Saturday evening attack in Psagot, the Facebook page of the Palestinian Fatah faction praised the shooter, declaring that "the sniper of Palestine was here... he left a signature of [real] men." The incitement echoed other recent statements from the organization and its top officials, including statements glorifying convicted terrorists, calls for further attacks against Israelis, and claims that Jews are endangering Muslim holy sites.
- At least eight Egyptian security officials were killed today in what the New York Times described as "three brazen attacks," a day after at least 53 people killed in clashes between supporters of opponents of Egypt's former Muslim Brotherhood-linked president Mohammed Morsi. Six soldiers were killed in a drive-by shooting near Cairo just hours after car bomb exploded Monday at a Southern Sinai security headquarter, and multiple grenades also hit a compound on the outskirts of Cairo that houses Egypt’s telecommunications center. Cairo's army-backed government is struggling to curtail a wave of attacks against civilian and military institutions conducted both by Brotherhood members and by Al Qaeda-linked jihadist groups which have taken root in the Sinai Peninsula. U.S. military assistance has proven critical in those efforts.
- Fears that Palestinian officials have politicized a once-credible United Nations organization deepened last Friday, after the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed no less than six anti-Israel resolutions. Nimrod Barkan, Israel’s envoy to the body, called the resolutions part of UNESCO's recent "obsession" with Israel. The Palestinians ascended to UNESCO in 2011 over U.S. objections, triggering U.S. sanctions that financially crippled the organization. Palestinian diplomats almost immediately moved to orient UNESCO in an anti-Israel direction, launching an initiative revolving around the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem that also drew broad condemnation. The combination is part of what observers increasingly worry is a diplomatic scorched-earth style campaign being conducted by Palestinians diplomats: hijacking international forums to promote anti-Israel diplomacy at the expense of those forums' viability and credibility. A largely symbolic Palestinian push last year to gain non-member statehood status via the United Nations General Assembly (UNHRC) was criticized by U.S. lawmakers for politicizing the body. The campaign was also conducted in defiance of the United States and endangered critical U.S. funding.Even more pointedly, anti-Israel diplomacy conducted by rogue regimes inside the United Nations Human Rights Council has made that body a diplomatic punchline. Brett Schaefer, a fellow at the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, has already outlined how the Palestinians have tried to mirror their moves in the UNGA and the UNHRC inside the International Criminal Court (ICC).
- Israeli analysts are warning that a series of expected upcoming nuclear talks between Iran and the West may be "the last opportunity" for the parties to reach a nuclear deal "before Israel concludes that time has run out, that Iran has gotten too close to creating its first atomic bombs, and that the time for a military strike has arrived." The next round of talks between Iran and the P5+1 are schedule for next week in Geneva. An ongoing charm offensive by Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has been praised for changing Iran's tone toward the West, but criticized for offering zero new concessions that might move negotiations forward. Questions continue to swirl regarding whether Rouhani is willing or able to fundamentally change Tehran's stance on its nuclear program. Recent days have seen renewed focus on an interview with Rouhani, filmed earlier this year, in which the revolutionary-era cleric bragged that Iran was able to leverage negotiations he conducted in the 2000's to develop Iran's nuclear infrastructure. Tehran's stance on its nuclear program is in any case set by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who has clarified that whatever room for negotiations he has given Rouhani, it stops short of anything that would prevent Iran from "advancement and realization of the Islamic Revolution and System."
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