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At a meeting in Turkey, Syrian rebel groups formed a National Salvation Council, which includes members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Since the US and Turkey encouraged the formation of the council (which would legitimize their invasion of Syria, if an invasion were to prove necessary), the Brotherhood is now an internationally recognized political group for the first time in its near-century of terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism.

The council also includes liberals—whom the Islamists will easily push aside.

Meanwhile, the White House did not prevent Iraq from sealing its border with Syria (clearly on Iran’s orders) to prevent arms smuggling to insurgents. The extent of Washington’s pettiness can be seen from the fact that Clinton named Assad as the culprit for the first time only after his militia raided the US Embassy in Damascus.
Turkey has cut its ties with Assad’s regime, which is not an important development per se, but it demonstrates how little Israel can trust Turkey’s assurances, despite Turkey’s long history as the major Israeli-Syrian mediator.

Protesting studentsLeftist students have set up tent camps and instigated media hysteria over apartment rental prices.

The issue is complex. First, it is a clear attack by the leftist establishment on Netanyahu’s government. The students pushed out several conservative politicians who tried to speak with them, even though those politicians were actually active in housing legislation.

Second, the Israeli real estate bubble is being caused by two factors. One of these is job insecurity, which leads people to buy apartments rather than rent them, as is the norm in civilized countries. That drives up prices. The other is socialist-era zoning regulations, which prevent real estate development in formerly agricultural areas, which would easily dissolve the housing crunch.

Third, the students are demanding cheap housing in the city center, which is clearly impossible. They refuse to move to nearby villages where prices are much lower, or better still, to the settlements.

July 2011
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