January 9, 2013 16:51 by Pesach Benson
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Today’s Top Stories
1. The Financial Times (via Google News) reports that Syria may have a uranium stockpile which Iran would like to get its hands on. In a nutshell, IAEA inspectors found traces of uranium at the Al Kibar site destroyed by Israel in 2007. Experts say Al Kibar would have needed 50 tons of uranium to become operational:
Such a stockpile would be enough, according to experts, to provide weapons grade fuel for five atomic devices.
Some government officials have raised concerns that Iran, which is closely allied to the Syrian regime and urgently needs uranium for its nuclear programme, might be trying to seize such a stockpile.
These officials’ fears have been triggered by signs of movement at what they allege is a secret uranium conversion facility that the Syrian regime built at the town of Marj al-Sultan near Damascus.
2. Here’s a shocking graduate student’s thesis paper: The Palestinian Authority uses water as a political weapon against Israel. More at Missing Peace (via Israel Matzav). Among Lauro Burkart’s key findings:
- The Joint Water Committee functioned well in the first years following signature of the agreement, but since 2008 cooperation has come to a halt.
- The facts disseminated by the Palestinians, international organizations and donors about the root causes of the water scarcity in the West Bank are incorrect.
- The PA’s National Water Council is not meeting and not functioning well.
- The Palestinian water supply is managed in a de-centralized, autocratic way by local power holders not interested in reform.
- People have no incentive to conserve water because the PA pays the water bills of most of the population.
Burkart writes: ‘It is not the Israeli occupation policy but the Palestinian political resistance against joint management and cooperation that is responsible for the relatively slow development of the Palestinian water sector and the deteriorating human rights situation in the Palestinian Territories’ and ‘There is convincing evidence of mismanagement within the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA).’
The impressively sourced thesis also addresses the sordid reasons Fatah ended water cooperation, rejected Israeli proposals for wastewater and desalination projects, and more. See Burkart’s full report (pdf).
Delegations of Jewish leaders make intermittent visits to Fairfax’s editorial offices in an attempt to thaw the frosty relations. But the rapprochement never seems to last long. As one senior Jewish official conceded to Haaretz: “For all the engagement, the overwhelming slant is negative – and unfairly so.”
Haaretz even quoted from a guest post written for HonestReporting by Australian activist Emily Gian.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Elliott Abrams offers three reasons the US should close the PLO office in Washington. Besides its history of terror and its odious charter, the third reason bears closer attention: the distinction between the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestine National Authority.
In addition to the PLO’s historic baggage and its offensive Charter, a third reason to stop dealing with the PLO is that it is a non-democratic body. The PNA is theoretically a democratic one whose leadership is chosen through popular elections. Of course that’s highly theoretical, because the last national elections were held in 2006 and the terms of the entire parliament and of President Abbas expired long ago. Still, isn’t accepting the hypocrisy of the PNA about democracy preferable to honoring the unreformed, hopelessly compromised PLO, in whose Charter the word “democracy” does not even appear? . . .