The Algerian national football team are to donate their entire World Cup prize fund to the embattled people of Gaza, it has been reported. According to quotes attributed to Algeria’s star striker Islam Slimani, the team will give up all of the estimated $9 million (£5.25 million) they received as valiant losers in the round of 16.
The handsome young man in the bow tie fell to his knees and kissed the ground. Just a few moments later he was composed in front of the camera. “A revolutionary is not just the one carrying the rifle,” he said. “It is the paintbrush of an artist, the scalpel of a surgeon, the axe of the farmer.” Talent show winners are not known for the wisdom of their metaphorical outpourings. But the winner of this year’s Arab Idol had more to say than the usual contestant.
Days before the latest round of fighting between Israel and Hamas erupted in November, international diplomats gathered at the French Consulate General in Jerusalem to discuss an ambitious diplomatic initiative that would convene Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, the Gulf states, and the European Union to jointly support the construction of a Gaza desalination plant that would ultimately help secure clean water access for the coastal enclave.
Since 1948, Israeli-Turkish relations have been through periods of disagreement and tension, as well as periods of cooperation and understanding. Relations developed gradually over the years and eventually reached their peak in the 1990’s when the two countries forged a strategic partnership, supported and strengthened by the United States. During those years, the Turkish general staff and the Israeli defense establishment were the main proponents for an enhanced relationship between the two countries.
“The bottom line is that Hamas is more relevant,” said Yoram Meital of Ben-Gurion University’s Chaim Herzog Center for Middle East Studies and Diplomacy. “Israel’s image is as the side that refused to pay the price for peace, and most Palestinians see Hamas’s ‘resistance’ as more attractive and up to date, and the Palestinian authority as somewhat not relevant.”
The Israeli government is trying to pre-empt a publicity pounding over its Gaza offensive by aggressively pushing out its version of events, furiously tweeting and Facebook posting updates from a "media bunker." The instant they heard about a bus bombing in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, scores of tech-savvy youth in Israel's government media command center in Jerusalem sprang into action.
About 500 foreign journalists arrived in Israel over the weekend to cover Operation Pillar of Defense, the Government Press Office reported on Monday. The GPO said the new arrivals are joining some 1,400 members of the media in the region to cover Israel and the Middle East.
The primary short-term goal set for Operation Pillar of Defense is to hit Gaza-based terrorism hard. In order to get the most out of this military operation, Israel needs to try to make sure the damage it causes will weaken the Hamas military wing for the long term.