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France 2 Appeals Al-Dura Verdict
So says Philippe Karsenty via Richard Landes.
Conflicts of Interest
Reporters Without Borders is upset that Hamas recently detained Palestinian journalists working for German TV station ARD. The journalist's rights organization, better known by its French acronym, RSF, writes:
They were suspected for working for the state-owned Palestine Broadcasting Corporation, which is controlled by the Palestinian Authority and has been banned in the Gaza Strip since June 2007. Khalifa used to work for the PBC but had to sever all contact with the station, which now operates out of the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Problem is that quite a few Palestinian journalists in the West Bank and Gaza work for news services affiliated with the PA, or with factions like Fatah, Hamas, etc. The same journalists moonlight for Western news services, ostensibly covering the organizations that sign their primary paychecks. That spells conflict of interest.
Hamas took a shot against press freedom, but don't kid yourself. Hamas also knows some of these journalists are indeed skating on ethically thin ice. Do ARD's German viewers?
'A Coherent Mass of Evidence'
This Wall St. Journal staff-ed strikes the right tone about the Dura trial:
Judge Laurence Trébucq did more than assert Mr. Karsenty's right to free speech. In overturning a lower court's ruling, she said the issues he raised about the original France 2 report were legitimate. While Mr. Karsenty couldn't provide absolute proof of his claims, the court ruled that he marshalled a "coherent mass of evidence" and "exercised in good faith his right to free criticism." The court also found that Talal Abu Rahma, the Palestinian cameraman for France 2 who was the only journalist to capture the scene and the network's crown witness in this case, can't be considered "perfectly credible."
The ruling at the very least opens the way for honest discussion of the al-Durra case, and coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in general. French media could stand some self-examination. The same holds for journalists elsewhere . . .
We don't know exactly what happened to Mohammed al-Durra. Perhaps we never will. But the Paris court ruling shows that France 2 wasn't completely open about what it knew about that day. It suggests the Israelis may not have been to blame. It makes it plausible to consider -- without being dismissed as an unhinged conspiracy theorist -- the possibility that the al-Durra story was a hoax.
Read it all.
Deported for "Criticism" of Israel?
The Guardian disingenuously portrays Israel as curtailing freedom of speech. Read more at HonestReporting UK's latest communique: Deported for "Criticism" of Israel?
Professor Richard Landes has roughly translated into English Judge Laurence Trebucq's written decision for the Al-Dura trial.
See the ruling in original French (pdf format).
From the Times of London:
Hostility towards the Jewish state in Iraq is so strong that many parents refuse to travel to Tel Aviv for free life-saving hole-in-the-heart surgery.
Everyone's A Reporter Now
YouTube has added a Citizen News channel. Details at Digital Inspiration. Everyone's a reporter now.
(Hat tip: Micropersuasion)
Al-Dura Trial: Karsenty Wins in Paris
France 2's "Pallywood" footage overturns a libel verdict. Read more at HonestReporting's latest communique: Al-Dura Trial: Karsenty Wins in Paris
Breaking News: Karsenty Wins in Paris!
According to Richard Landes:
More details to follow. But word from Paris is that the court dismissed charges against Philippe Karsenty today. Now we get to see how the French (and Western) MSM handle this. It’s a stunning victory for Karsenty and loss for Enderlin and France2 who initiated this case when they didn’t have to.
In order for an appeals court to reverse a decision, they must have strong evidence to the contrary.
The fact that they did indicates that their written decision will be very critical of France2. The implications of this decision are immense. We’ll be following up in the days, weeks and months to come.
In the Emperor’s New Clothes when the boy (Shahaf, Juffa, me, Poller, Karsenty) said the emperor (France2, MSM) is naked, the father turned on his son and tried to hush him. But someone else then says, “Listen to the boy!” That happened today in Paris.
UPDATE May 22: See Jerusalem Post for comprehensive coverage. See also Pajamas Media for by Philippe Karsenty's reaction and further commentary from Richard Landes. And Reuters has taken note of the ruling. Judge Trebucq's written decision is to be released later today.
It's Official: Israel Talking Syria
But was there a quid pro quo over the Golan?
Objectively Evaluating Wiki
Haaretz picks up on a very relevant doctoral thesis to be presented at a Tel-Aviv U. gathering next week.
Eti Yaari of the Information Science department at Bar-Ilan University wrote her doctoral thesis on the possibility of automatically evaluating the veracity of Wikipedia entries, in order to provide an efficient scale for surfers to judge the quality of an entry . . . .
Now Yaari, in conjunction with Prof. Yehudit Bar-Ilan and Baruchson-Arbib, is trying to build a practical application that will automatically evaluate Wikipedia entries based on the quality criteria identified by her study.
Given the problems with Wiki we recently highlighted, Yaari's research may well be a step in the right direction. Read the whole article.
Montreal Gazette: Israel Rally Story 'Missed the Mark'
Editor-in-chief acknowledges coverage of a rally for Israel's 60th anniversary stumbled on reporting and editorial levels. See HonestReporting Canada's latest communique: Montreal Gazette: Israel Rally Story 'Missed the Mark'
May 21 Links
Cameras Record Gaza's Gruesome Reality
Gives new meaning to "reality TV."
Iran Promotes Holocaust Denial in U.K.
See also Yvonne Ridley's response.
The UN agency perpetuates a very bad bad status quo.
America is Tired
US silence on Lebanon coup shows Israelis can only count on themselves.
Hamas To Censor Internet Sites in Gaza
Angry Yachtsmen Blame Egypt for Ruining Sailing Event
Boats passing through Israel hassled, turned back.
Revising History: NY Times Op-Ed Promotes Pappe
The latest piece on Israel's 60th endorses the views of a fringe historian. Read more at HonestReporting's latest communique: Revising History: NY Times Op-Ed Promotes Pappe
'Ordinary' Arabs To Retake Internet
Don't take my word for it. Just ask Wiki founder Jimmy Wales.
Miami Herald ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos surveyed his paper's last three months of coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He was surprised by the volume of coverage:
There were 77 articles in which Israel and/or the Palestinians were mentioned in the first two paragraphs. That is considerable attention to a small region of seven million people, plus an additional four million Palestinians. By comparison, there were 319 articles on Cuba and 203 on Iraq.
But Schumacher-Matos continues:
Further breaking down the 77 stories, I found that only three mentioned Palestinians alone. This is a very imprecise measure of what the stories were about, but it does reflect a general trend I found. Not only did Israel get more attention, but more importantly, stories about the conflict between the two were overwhelmingly told from inside Israel, even if critical of Israeli actions.
This is partly understandable: Almost all of the foreign correspondents in the area, including The Miami Herald's shared McClatchy correspondent, Dion Nissenbaum, are based in Jerusalem. Compared with Gaza and the West Bank, Israel has far superior safety, communications, support services, cultural affinity and functioning government. Plus, it occupies the West Bank.
What does that mean?
The constant reporting from the Israeli vantage is unfortunate. As much as the stories may include Palestinian views, the trend denies readers the opportunity to see more articles through Palestinian eyes, and thus better understand Palestinian thinking, for better or worse. The effect is a subtle bias that isn't intentionally or even necessarily for or against one side, but does over time give readers a greater shared understanding of Israelis than Palestinians. With understanding, there is greater chance for sympathy.
The ombudsman would have reached a different conclusion had his survey included the Herald's use of wire copy, much of which is written by Palestinian journalists inside Gaza and the West Bank.
It's Only News When . . .
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Hamas forces raided a mosque, injuring 20 people, including several women, on Saturday.
No MSM coverage of this development. It's only news when Israel does that kind of thing.
(Hat tip: Elder of Ziyon)
3 al-Dura Questions on My Mind
Do you believe Mohammed al-Dura is still alive?
I'm not into speculating, but if al-Dura's alive, I hope Charles Enderlin gets the scoop.
What will be the significance of Thursday's verdict?
The verdict is now largely irrelevant. Judge Trebucq's ruling won't effect Arabs who have elevated al-Dura to icon status. Nor do I expect her to sway those of us who watched the raw footage and know it's a joke. The most noteworthy development from all the legal action is that the rushes (at least 18/27ths of them) were released and then immediately discredited.
If the verdict is harsh against France 2, who will take the fall?
Hard to say, but cameraman Talal Abu Rama and Palestinian stringers like him will face greater, uncomfortable scrutiny.
New Buzzword Gains MSM Traction
The word: "intrafada," picked up in a few web sites, finally hits the MSM.
The context: Palestinian Victims of Hamas Swear Revenge
Bomb Attack at Gaza Christian School
No casualties in pre-dawn bombing. AP adds:
The bombing was the latest in a string of attacks on Christian institutions in the overwhelmingly Muslim territory. In the most serious attack, a local Christian activist was murdered in October. His killers have not been found.
Anti-Semitism and Media Hostility
Rupert Murdoch links anti-Semitism to media hostility towards Israel.
A "pretty strong degree of anti-Semitism" in Europe is at the root of the hostile coverage Israel receives in parts of the European media, Rupert Murdoch, the News Corporation global media chief, charged on Thursday.
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post following his appearance at Jerusalem's "Facing Tomorrow" presidential conference, Murdoch (pictured) said it was hard for Israel to obtain fair media coverage in Europe because it was forced to "start off behind."
Elaborating, Murdoch said: "If you go to the BBC, the French press, places like that - they start as hostile, and it's very difficult to overcome. But you've just got to press on and do what you can."
I've never been comfortable linking the two. Calling a journalist anti-Semitic is a loaded charge that's too easy to make and too difficult to prove. Yet Murdoch is a media heavyweight. What do you think?
An Israeli Survivor
Eve Malcha, who has survived five rocket attacks, says yesterday's in Ashkelon was the worst.
She's only 11.
Following Up on the Wiki War
Looks like our Wikipedia expose got the attention of their administrator's noticeboard.
The NY Jewish Week picked up on the controversy. See also Andre Oboler's commentary in the Jerusalem Post.
Grad Rocket Strikes Ashkelon Mall
A Grad rocket scored a direct hit on Ashkelon's Hutzot Shopping Center this evening, injuring 14. Footage of the aftermath already online.
Stars and Tripe Forever
This image (not online) accompanying Jonathan Steele's latest column appeared in The Guardian's print edition. Stephen Pollard's reaction doesn't mince words:
The inference - not so much as inference as a statement screamed at high volume - is that Israel runs the US. The image is about as classic an anti-semitic trope as exists . . . .
The Guardian needs to take a careful look at its editorial policy, given the provenance and meaning of this sort of image. Unless, that is, it is intending to take its inspiration from Der Sturmer.
Related reading: The Independent's Stars and Stripes
Special Report: Exposed - Anti-Israeli Subversion on Wikipedia
HonestReporting exposes anti-Israel activists manipulating the online encyclopedia. Read more at HonestReporting's latest Special Report: Exposed - Anti-Israeli Subversion on Wikipedia
5 Tips For Getting Your Letter Published
Newspapers get hundreds of letters to the editor each day, and I'm seeing plenty of CCs. Here's how to boost your chances of getting published.
• Read the article you're responding to.
You'll fool nobody and somehow reveal your ignorance to the very people most intimately involved with writing and editing the article you're critiquing. If you don't take the time to read their article, why should editors extend the same courtesy to you?
• Keep your letter short, respectful and to the point.
This includes no improper language, personal attacks or going off on tangents. Calling a journalist anti-Semitic is counterproductive.
• Don't copy and paste writing from elsewhere into your letter.
It's so tempting to copy and paste witty one-liners, expressive phrases, well crafted sentences, informative paragraphs or brilliant rhetorical questions from blogs, group emails, web sites etc. Plagiarism aside, how do you think I react when I see the same word-for-word material in 20 other CCs? Just delete your missive and save us all the trouble.
• Send your letter to just one newspaper.
No matter how articulate you are, a letter sent to two, 20 or 200 papers isn't exclusive. It's a non-starter. This doesn't necessarily exclude the possibility of sending a CC to the President, Congress, the UN, uncle Morris, and me, but I'm not a fan of all that.
• Sign your real name and include your phone number.
Stand behind your words. Don't sign a fictitious name or expect to be published anonymously. To bring order to the massive volume of correspondence and prevent fraudulent letters from hitting print, papers understandably have guidelines. Follow them.
If there's enough interest, I'll follow up with more tips.
Rumors of Muhammad al-Harrani's death were greatly exaggerated. His family, along with Physicians for Human Rights, had claimed he died waiting to get cancer treatment in Israel.
In fact, he's very much alive. Harrani's family sought to thwart a routine Israeli security interview with the patient.
Related reading: Shin Bet: Gazans Pay Doctors to Declare Them Ill
Comment Ain't Free
As we learned a few weeks ago with the Washington Post, there's a dubious legality to paying members of terror groups for op-eds.
I don't know what UK law says, but it's worth asking The Guardian what compensation Bassem Naeem received, if anything, for this commentary strangely extolling Hamas' condemnation of the Holocaust.
UPDATE May 13: Naeem is disingenuous, says Oliver Kamm .
Palestinian Media Spins Another Attack
Problem: The Palestinian media can't portray Shuli Katz, yesterday's 70-year-old Qassam fatality, as someone who deserved what she got.
Solution: Portray Katz as a settler or an American, or ignore the story altogether.
See Elder of Ziyon's survey of Palestinian coverage.
Head to Head
Johann Hari and Melanie Phillips are duking it out.
Qassam Kills Woman
A Qassam killed a 70-year-old woman this evening in Moshav Yesha. According to YNet News, Islamic Jihad claims credit for the attack. The woman's name has not yet been released.
Developing . . . .
UPDATE May 13: The victim has been identified as Shuli Katz of Kibbutz Gvaram. Haaretz notes a sad, ironic twist to the tragedy:
A neighbor said that Katz's sister-in-law, who is visiting from the United States, was afraid to visit Katz at her home, on Kibbutz Gvaram near Ashkelon, because of the two rockets that struck Ashkelon earlier yesterday.
Instead, she asked Katz to visit her at Moshav Yesha.
May 12 Links
The Jewish State at 60
William Kristol looks at the idealism, persistence and self-confidence of Israel's early founders, with historical context and relevance to the threats of today.
The Myth of Occupied Gaza
Gaza isn't legally "occupied." Moreover, conceding the point plays into Hamas propaganda.
Why Israel is the World's Happiest Country
"You don't have to be crazy to be a Zionist -- but it helps." A fascinating look behind the attitude. (via Lenny Ben-David)
Life in Sderot
A very moving blog post about daily life under the rain of rockets. (Via Solomonia)
Catastrophic, But Not Apartheid
South African journalist Benjamin Pogrund debunks the latest charges of so-called "Israeli apartheid."
The Guardian's Week in Gaza
Does The Guardian's series on life in Gaza tell the whole story? See HonestReporting UK's latest communique: The Guardian's Week in Gaza
Pushing the Limits of User-Generated Content
A dark day for user-generated content. Wikipedia faces legal action for a post that slandered a literary agent. And Facebook's in court over the fake profile of a high school dean.
How responsible are sites like Wiki and Facebook for problematic content posted by users? Post your comments below.
The Guardian 's Rory McCarthy spent a gritty day with Gaza fishermen trying to make a living. A big part of his story is the Israeli navy's restrictions on the fishing boats, but McCarthy doesn't shed any light on the reasons behind the restrictions.
Just a few weeks ago, Hamas official Ahmed Yousef bragged that Iranian-made Grad rockets were being smuggled into Gaza by sea.
The Running Man
The BBC's Jeremy Bowen came under fire in southern Lebanon. Click below to watch the footage.
'A Great Miracle Occurred Here'
An Ashkelon school zone was hit by a Qassam rocket this morning minutes before the area would have been full of children. One eyewitness told YNet News:
"My mother, who looked out the window, noticed something flying right in front of her and falling near the building. A great miracle occurred here, although had the rocket landed several minutes later, children would have already arrived in the area and many people would have been walking around here."
The most annoying thing about this guest commentary in the San Diego Union-Tribune is the way the paper identifies the authors:
. . . Darwish, a San Diego County resident, is a Kuwaiti-born Palestinian-American. She lived in occupied Palestine while teaching at Birzeit University.
Technically, these identifications are an expression of the paper itself. In reality, the vast majority of IDs are innocuously written by the authors and simply reprinted in the paper. Were Union-Trib editors asleep on the job, or did someone deliberately let this in?
Comments to email@example.com
Full Court Press
Will Israel's Supreme Court ultimately uphold demands that press credentials for France 2 TV and Charles Enderlin be revoked?
Proceedings initiated by Shurat HaDin begin tomorrow morning.
Hari Seeks to Smear HonestReporting
Rather than addressing the issues, Johann Hari rails against HonestReporting. See HonestReporting's response to the British columnist: Hari Seeks to Smear HonestReporting
Palestinian Mortar Kills Israeli
A Palestinian mortar claimed the life of another Israeli. Jimmy Kdoshim (pictured) was killed when his house on Kibbutz Kfar Aza took a direct hit.
According to YNet News, Kdoshim, 48, left behind three children. The NY Times adds that he is the first Israeli killed by a mortar shell, rather than by a rocket.
Johann Hari responds to our critique of last week's column.
Are the likes of Dershowitz and Phillips and Honest Reporting becoming more shrill because they can sense they are losing the argument?
He should read The Spectator.
The BBC's Birthday Present to Israel
Jeremy Bowen's documentary is full of omissions and historical revisionism. See HonestReporting's latest communique: The BBC's Birthday Present to Israel
Key Periods in Israeli History
Jewish ties to the land of Israel date back to the Biblical era of the Patriarchs. This photo of Rachel's Tomb, located between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, was taken in 1945. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their wives are buried in the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron; Joseph's Tomb is near Nablus.
First Temple Era
This seal bearing the inscription "Shema servant of Jeroboam" was discovered in Megiddo in 1904. Now at the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum in Jerusalem.
Second Temple Era
Mosaic floor from the ancient Jericho synagogue, depicting a menorah, lulav and shofar. According to AP (via Second Temple Synagogues) the synagogue dates back to 50-70 BCE, making it oldest known in the world.
Byzantine Rule 313-636 CE
Mosaic floor from Byzantine era synagogue in Hammath Tiberias featuring zodiac motif. The church had a powerful influence on the ruling Byzantines, frequently to the detriment of the Jews.
Early Islamic Rule 636-1099 CE
Power passed from the caliphate to the Umayyads, to the Abbasids to the Fatmids who ruled the land from Egypt or Syria. During this time, Jews had the status of dhimmis. The Dome of the Rock was built in the seventh century by the Ummayad caliph Abd el-Malik.
Crusader Era 1099-1291
Crusader rule over the land of Israel was relatively brief, but the sea walls they built to protect Acre played a crucial role in history centuries later. In 1799, Napolean's efforts to gain a foothold in the Holy Land -- which included a declaration of autonomy for the Jews -- failed miserably when the same walls protected Ottoman forces from a French siege.
Later Islamic Rule 1291-1516
The story of Jerusalem's Ramban Synagogue typifies how Muslims treated the Jews they ruled. Originally built by Nachmanides (a.k.a. the Ramban), the synagogue was below ground level because by law, no synagogue could be taller than a Muslim place of worship. In 1589, the city's governor, Abu Sufrin turned the building into a warehouse but the Jewish community eventually persevered. In 1948, the Jordanians captured the Old City and destroyed the building, but after the Six-Day War, the synagogue was partially refurbished. The synagogue is now being rebuilt to its original size.
Early Ottoman Era 1516-1881
Safed flourished during these years as a center of scholarship and mysticism. It was in this Galilee town that Rabbi Yosef Caro codified Jewish law and taught Kabbala as well. This synagogue, named after Rabbi Caro, was built in the 16th century.
Late Ottoman Era, Birth of Modern Zionism 1881-1917
Following an intensification of pogroms in 1881, approximately 30,000 Jews fled Czarist Russia. Most were socialists affiliated with Bilu; they founded the very first Jewish agricultural settlements of Petah Tikva, Rosh Pina, Rishon LeZion, Zichron Yaakov and Gedera. This wave of immigration was known as the "First Aliyah." Two later waves of aliyah from 1904-1914 and 1919-1923 combined to bring 75,000 more Jews, mostly from Russia and Poland.
British Mandate 1917-1948
A period of nation-building. Many of today's prominent institutions and national assets were launched or experienced crucial growth including the port of Haifa, Hadassah Hospital, the Jewish Agency, the Histadrut trade union, Hebrew University, and the first licensed Jewish radio stations. Tel Aviv gained municipal status in 1934, and its White City -- which now has UNESCO World Heritage status -- also emerged during the Mandate. Pictured is Lydda Airport (now called Ben Gurion Airport) under construction in 1935.
In addition to its association with important religious sites and archeology, Israel is also associated with the technology of the future. The Jewish state has established its expertise in areas like water management, desalination, security, high tech R&D, medical technology, recycling, alternative energy, cellular phones, Wi-Fi, and affordable health care. An Israeli company, Solel, is building the world's largest solar park in California's Mojave desert.
Lebanese Violence Escalates
Gunmen loyal to the Lebanese government and Hezbollah are trading gunfire and grenades in Beirut. AP notes that some rock thrower has apparently drawn first blood with Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV:
A cameraman for Hezbollah's Al-Manar television station was hit by a stone in the forehead, the state-run National News Agency reported.
No sympathy for the cameraman from me; Al-Manar produces propaganda, not journalism, a distinction the Washington Timesmade crystal clear. I wonder if the Foreign Press Association will go out on a limb for Al-Manar again.
Where East Meets West
Do the following descriptions of Jerusalem betray a whiff of bias towards Palestinian claims on the city?
The Western Wall, where Peres gave his speech, lies in Arab east Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in 1967 but which the Palestinians want to make the capital of their promised state.
Even worse is Reuters, which capitalizes the word "east," improperly elevating "Arab East Jerusalem" to the status of a proper noun:
Abbas wants Arab East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. Israel regards all of Jerusalem as its capital, but this is not recognised internationally.
Arabs and Jews always lived in a unified city that made no distinctions between “East” and “West.” No area was viewed as inherently "Jewish" or "Arab." until 1948, when the Jordanian army captured the city's eastern neighborhoods and the Old City. With the exception of a Jewish enclave on Mount Scopus, Jordan occupied eastern Jerusalem, expelling Jewish residents, destroying numerous synagogues and other Jewish institutions.
By the Numbers: Israel Remembers the Fallen
69 Percentage of Israelis killed during the second intifada who were civilian.
1,634 Israeli civilians killed in terror attacks since the founding of the state.
14,000 Approximate number of Israeli civilians injured in terror attacks since the state's founding.
22,437 Number of servicemen and soldiers killed in defense of Israel since 1860, when Jews first began settling outside the walls of Jerusalem.
350 million Shekels paid by the National Insurance Institute to Israeli victims of terror and their families in 2007 alone.
Sources: Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, Jerusalem Post, National Post
May 6 Links
America's Ally In the Middle East
Israel, like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, has public opinion on its side.
Israel's 60-Year Test
Palestinian Arab Newspaper Site Hacked
Is a Hamas sympathizer responsible for hacking the Palestine Press Agency site?
The MSM is starting to take note. Reuters picks up on Awad al-Qiq, a UNRWA school headmaster whose personal extracurricular curricular included constructing rockets for Islamic Jihad. To say there's tension between Israel and UNRWA is an understatment:
The Israeli air strike that killed the 33-year-old last week also laid bare his apparent double life and embarrassed a U.N. agency which has long had to rebuff Israeli accusations that it has aided and abetted guerrillas fighting the Jewish state . . . .
Qiq's body was wrapped in an Islamic Jihad flag at his funeral, pictorial posters in his honour still bedeck his family home this week, and a handwritten notice posted on the metal gate at the entrance to the school declared that Qiq, "the chief leader of the engineering unit", would now find "paradise".
That poster was removed soon after Reuters visited the Rafah Prep Boys School, run by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees. Staff there said on Monday that UNRWA officials had told them not to discuss Qiq's activities.
No one from the United Nations attended the funeral or has paid their respects to the family, relatives said, adding that Qiq's widow and five children had heard nothing about a pension . . . .
Israel has long alleged that militants use UNRWA vehicles and facilities. The United Nations has denied those charges, although some UNRWA employees have had prominent political roles in groups like Hamas -- such as teacher Saeed Seyam, who was interior minister in the Hamas-led government elected in 2006.
The Independent also took note of al-Qiq's double life. And a blunt NY Post staff-ed says the UNRWA has some 'splaining to do.