To Read: Andrew Bacevich thinks that the current situation in Egypt and the US' role in it call for a reexamination of American engagement in the region-
Egypt today offers Washington the opportunity to demilitarize U.S. policy toward this region. Such a change is long overdue. Terminating further assistance to Egypt's army will mark a necessary first step. Wisdom lies in allowing others to determine their own destiny so that we may pursue our own.
Quote: "Our ability to influence the outcome in Egypt is limited", Chuck Hagel talks about Egypt at a press conference.
Number: $148m, The United States has signed an agreement to provide the Palestinian Authority with $148 million in aid.
To Read: Leon Hadar examines one of the major questions in Israeli politics today (Has Netanyahu changed?)-
But in reality, outside the wishful thinking of the Israeli left and the nightmare scenarios of the settlers, Netanyahu's government rejected all major American and Palestinian demands: to conduct the negotiations based on the 1967 lines; to declare a freeze in the building of new Jewish settlements; to discuss the issue of the Palestinian "right of return" or to consider the partition of Jerusalem. The release of the Palestinians held in Israeli jails, some under life sentences, may have been an important gesture on the part of Netanyahu. But then Bibi had agreed to take similar steps in the past, including in exchange for the release of Gilad Shalit. The latest prisoner release thus doesn't reflect a dramatic change in Netanyahu's thinking. Indeed, Netanyahu's recent moves are largely tactical in nature and don’t point to a major transformation of his grand strategy, which still merely allows that Israel might agree to a Bantustan-like Palestinian autonomy in some areas of the West Bank.
Quote: “Bayit Yehudi opposes the two-state solution, and this is very problematic within the context of negotiations”, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, stating that the current composition of the coalition complicates efforts to make progress with the Palestinians.
Number: 7m, the IDF is planning to sell NIS 7m ($1.8 m) worth of ammunition.
The Middle East
To Read: Egypt specialist Eric Trager writes about the Egyptian army's 'victory' against the heads of the Muslim brotherhood, a victory which may very well exacerbate the tension and violence in the country-
Even worse, by disorganizing Egypt’s most cohesive Islamist group, the generals have turned hundreds of thousands of deeply ideological Muslim Brothers into free radicals, who will no longer listen to their typically cautious leaders. Many younger Muslim Brothers, in particular, lean towards Salafism, and their upbringing in the Brotherhood—whose motto concludes with the phrase “death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations”—has made them willing to die for Islamism, and possibly willing to fight for it as well.
In other words, while the military has seemingly won its battle with the Muslim /Brotherhood, its prize may be an undisciplined Islamist insurgency.
Quote: "Repeating the same language that we had before, I don't think it is useful. We have to talk with a different language. The same purposes but a different language", Top Iranian advisor and Iran's former FM, Ali Akbar Velayati, talking to AP about his new President.
Number: 30,000, the number of Syrian Refugees who have fled to Iraq since Thursday.
The Jewish World
To Read: A JPost article discusses the Bible's one-sided portrayal of King Ahab, who seems to be a far more complex figure than the bible gives him credit for-
The authors of the Book of Kings do not applaud Ahab for his marriage to Jezebel – a shrewd political move that increased the power of the Israelite kingdom in the ancient Middle East. This is not the Hebrew Bible’s concern. All that matters is that his union with the Phoenician princess led to Baal worship that was a betrayal of fidelity to the One God of the Israelites.
The contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel and Ahab’s seizing of the vineyard of his neighbor Naboth – these are the stories that dominate the Biblical text in its recounting of Ahab’s reign. The power of Ahab at the Battle of Qarqar and his magnificent building projects are all but forgotten – deliberately dismissed, perhaps – in the Hebrew Bible.
Quote: “Please join me and all our brothers and sisters in global civil society in proclaiming our rejection of Apartheid in Israel and occupied Palestine, by pledging not to perform or exhibit in Israel or accept any award or funding from any institution linked to the government of Israel, until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights”, Pink Floyd's Roger Waters in a new letter calling for a boycott on Israel.
Number: $10m, the amount of money David H. Brooks paid for his daughter's Bat Mitzvah, before being sentenced to 17 years in prison for his part in a $200m fraud.