Yediot Aharonot writes: "New reports emerging from the ground in Syria suggest that despite Assad’s assertions in 2013 that he had disposed of his chemical weapons arsenal, his regime continues to fight in the civil war using non-conventional means. Other actors in the civil war have also resorted to using chemical weapons. The Islamic State group has documented its own use of non-conventional materials in Halab. The international community is aware of the situation. But given that all red lines were crossed in Syria long ago, provided a massacre of civilians is not underway the criticisms remain relatively minimal. The number of casualties of chemical weapons still pales into comparison with the number of victims of conventional arms."
Israel Hayom comments on the statement this week by the UN Secretary General regarding Palestinian terrorism, which it calls "a testament to ignorance or hypocrisy": After explaining that he opposes construction in the settlements, Ban Ki-moon went on to add that it is "human nature" to resist occupation. "When Israeli civilians have been stabbed and murdered for four months on end in this most recent wave of terror, we can only wonder if it is also "U.N. nature" to grant Palestinian terrorists the legitimacy to kill. The international community and the person at the helm of the United Nations do not understand the "nature of the Middle East" or simply do not want to understand. They do not comprehend the rules of the game and the root of the conflict."
The Jerusalem Post comments Mayor Nir Barkat’s controversial decision last week to enforce the closure of eight downtown mini-markets on Shabbat: "This battle has been waged for years over that fundamental Israeli moral principle known as the status quo, without approaching any mutually agreeable solution. The current round, however, indicates that the true zerosum game being played is over municipal politics, not religious observance. While the sanctity of Shabbat is sacred to many, the Middle East’s only democracy should not tolerate religious coercion of any kind."
Haaretz writes: "The administrative detainee Mohammed al-Qiq has been on hunger strike for 65 days, demanding that the Israeli authorities either release him or put him on trial. Al-Qiq, a reporter for the Saudi television channel Al Majd, was arrested on November 21. According to his wife, he launched a hunger strike to protest the interrogation methods used against him, which he described as torture, and after he concluded that investigators wanted him to confess to "incitement." The High Court suspended a hearing on a petition regarding Al-Qiq’s case pending an update on his medical condition. While his medical condition should indeed be taken into account, what’s more important is that if the state has material on recent security violations by al-Qiq, it’s strange that he isn’t being confronted with the evidence. The state should either put him on trial in keeping with the rule of law, or release him immediately."
[Roi Kais and Boaz Bismuth wrote today’s articles in Yediot Aharonot and Israel Hayom, respectively.]