News Nosh 2.26.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday February 26, 2017
 
You Must Be Kidding: 
"Currently, all NGOs are exempt from paying a fee for information obtained under under Israel's Freedom of Information Act. However, the new bill seeks not only to revoke this exemption for organizations that get more than 50% of their funding from foreign governments, but would require them to pay double the normal fee."
--Haaretz+ revealed new legislation aimed at harming Israeli left-wing human and civil rights organizations, since they are the ones that foreign governments generally choose to finance.**


Front Page:
Haaretz
  • Rise in number of arrests of ISIS supporters (in Israel)
  • Trump steps up battle against media: Reporters were thrown out of White House meeting
  • Clashes in Hebron on anniversary of massacre at Cave of Patriarchs
  • UN Human Rights Office: Azariya’s light sentence is very worrying 
  • New position in Education Ministry: Intelligence Officer who will be required to operate agents and collect information
  • Campaign to save the Dead Sea began, too late
  • The 11th point // Gideon Levy
  • Milchan actually does receive gifts // Eitan Avriel
  • Outside of criticism // Amira Hass
  • The dubious deal of (Netanyahu’s advisor) Perach Lerner reveals the lawlessness in Netanyahu’s office
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • “Our children’s blood is screaming from the ground” – Tension in political and security establishment ahead of release of State Comptroller report on Operation Protective Edge
  • (Former chief of staff) Gantz: “I don’t accept what is said in State Comptroller
  • Germany: Ran over three people and escaped (likely not a terror attack)
  • The White House against the media
  • Deadly weekend on the highways: four killed in traffic accidents
Israel Hayom
News Summary:
The political and military establishment braced for the imminent release of the State Comptroller's report on the 2014 Gaza campaign, which then-IDF chief Benny Gantz rebuffed, [while Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wrapped up a five day visit to Australia and Yedioth’s daily cartoon joked that he wished he could keep flying so as to avoid the release of the report,] Israel slammed the UN Human Rights Office, calling it ‘hypocritical,’ for saying that the 18 month prison sentence given to soldier Elor Azariya, in the execution of an incapacitated Palestinian assailant, was lenient [although last week's Israeli newspapers agreed – OH], worrying and ‘unacceptable,’ and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Israel and the Palestinians should “keep working on a two-state solution,” in response to US President Donald Trump’s earlier statement that he likes the two-state solution, but he will leave it up to Israelis and Palestinians – making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.
  
Merkel wasn't alone, outgoing French President François Hollande also pledged allegiance Thursday to a two-state solution in the Middle East. And Maariv and JPost reported that former Palestinian Authority minister for prisoner affairs, Ashraf Al Ajrami, said that the "The Palestinian Authority is ready for a demilitarized state...and Hamas is willing to go back to the '67 borders.” Al Ajrami spoke in Acre at a cultural event hosted by the Keshet NGO, an Arab-Jewish nonprofit organization he helped found. He said that the Palestinians are ready to normalize relations and end the conflict with Israel. Coalition whip and Likud MK David Bitan participated and got photographed with Al-Ajrami. 
 
Quick Hits:
  • Palestinians throw shoes at Trump poster to mark Shuhada street closure, anniversary of massacre of Palestinians - Dozens of Palestinians and foreign activists mark 23rd anniversary of closure of Shuhada Street in Hebron with protest; Street closed by IDF in 1994 after All Ibrahimi Mosque (Cave of the Patriarchs) massacre perpetrated by Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein. 'We disrespect this president who does not see us as equal human beings with everyone,' organizers of Hebron protest say. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Liberal Jewish groups blast Israel after human rights worker denied visa: 'Like North Korea' - VP of New Israel Fund, who was recently delayed upon entering Israel, says 'Netanyahu government has proven that either you agree with Netanyahu's ultra-right wing coalition or you're out.' (Haaretz
  • Israel backtracks on Human Rights Watch: Willing to reexamine work visa request - Flip flop follows orders from Netanyahu, source says; investigator's work visa request was initially denied 'due the NGO's extreme, hostile and anti-Israel agenda.' (Haaretz+) 
  • Israel Mulling Whether Land-grab Law Also Relates to Palestinian Agricultural Land - Government wants four months to respond to High Court petition by Palestinians who are claiming ownership of land near settlement of Shiloh. (Haaretz+) 
  • Ignoring Forecasts of Its Demise, Palestinian Authority Develops Six-year Policy Plan - Plan emphasizes institutions whose existence is not dependent on the life span of President Mahmoud Abbas; the end of the occupation is listed as number one goal. (Haaretz+)
  • Impeachment proceedings underway for Arab MK - Seventy-one MKs sign petition to remove Joint Arab List MK Basel Ghattas, indicted for smuggling phones to prisoners, from Knesset. "Ghattas committed the crime of expressing support for the armed struggle of a terrorist organization," petition says. (Israel Hayom
  • Three Palestinians Die After Inhaling Poisonous Gas in Gaza Tunnel - Hamas condemns Egypt for filling tunnels in gas when demolishing them, calls on Cairo to open Rafah crossing. (Haaretz
  • US envoy to UN meets with slain Israeli soldier's parents - US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley meets with the parents of Lt. Hadar Goldin whose remains have never been returned after he was killed in Gaza during Protective Edge Operation. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • **New Israeli Bill Would Have Left-wing NGOs Pay for Info From State - Proposed law would affect nonprofits that get over 50% of their funding from foreign governments and submit requests under Freedom of Information Act. (Haaretz+) 
  • Hamas school in east Jerusalem closed over incitement - Curriculum in Zur Baher neighborhood school "included content that undermines Israel's sovereignty and is compatible with Hamas ideology," Education Ministry says • "Schools that teach incitement will be closed," Education Minister Bennett says. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli army disperses protesters who crossed border from Lebanon - The protest was held in wake of reports that Israel installed surveillance devices near Lebanese border village. (Haaretz
  • High Court: The Talpiot terrorist's home to be demolished - The High Court of Justice approves the destruction of the home of Fadi Qunbar, the terrorist who carried out the ramming attack in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Talpiot which killed four soldiers. (Ynet
  • Palestinians Take to the Streets as Local Boy Makes Good on 'Arab Idol' - Yaqoub Shaheen from Bethlehem beats Yemeni and Israeli Arab in final round of massively popular talent show. 'A national historic day for Palestine,' says viewer in Gaza. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Israeli Arab teen stabbed to death in latest violent incident in community - This is the second murder in Jisr al-Zarqa this year and the 11th in Israel's Arab community. (Haaretz
  • Local police chief who oversaw home demolitions built rooftop bar without permit - Structure was set up by a friend of the Border Police commander; police say permit was issued, but fee wasn't paid because of 'human error.' (Haaretz+) 
  • Iron Cage Around Holy Sepulchre’s Tomb of Jesus Removed After 70 Years - A massive renovation enabled the supporting gird, built by the British, to be dismantled. (Haaretz+) 
  • 600-percent Increase in Number of Arabs Jailed in Israel for ISIS or Al-Qaida Activity Since 2016 - 83 people detained in past year for jihadist activity, including both Israeli Arabs and Palestinians. (Haaretz+) 
  • Hezbollah village exhibition shows live footage of IDF soldiers - Antitank and antiaircraft missiles, observation equipment and weapons are all part of the 'Exhibition of Martyrdom and Victory' in the southern Lebanese village of Meiss Ej Jabal; held in a Shiite house of worship, the display has been visited by local villages, including on school trips. (Ynet
  • Minister: Israel developing terminator robots to kill Nasrallah and Hamas leaders - Ayoub Kara says ‘impossible to destroy’ androids will be able to assassinate heads of Hamas and Hezbollah terror groups. (Times of Israel, Israel Hayom and Maariv)
  • Noble Energy to invest $3.75B in developing Leviathan gas field - Development of Israel's largest offshore gas field includes four wells, gas handling platform, and pipeline • PM: This is a big day for the Israeli economy • Energy minister: This cements Israel's position as an important player in the energy market. (Israel Hayom
  • Egypt's top court upholds 10 death sentences over football violence - Ruling was made over a violent outbreak in 2012 when more than 70 fans were killed, many of whom were crushed or even thrown off terraces, when fan rivalry spilled over into complete chaos. (Agencies, Ynet
  • Iranian company nearly receives 15K IDF costumes - A mixup in a Chinese company between country codes 'IRS' for the Jewish state and 'IRN' for the Islamic Republic nearly resulted in an uncomfortable situation with Purim costumes. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Iran Plans to Buy 950 Tons of Uranium Ore From Kazakhstan, Expects Russian Help in Producing Nuclear Fuel - The acquisition would not violate Iran's landmark 2015 deal with world powers over its disputed nuclear program as the deal did not set limits on the Islamic Republic's supplies of uranium ore. (Agencies, Haaretz
  • Muslim fundraising drive to repair vandalized Jewish cemetery tops $100K in under 48 hours - 'We hope to send a united message from the Jewish and Muslim communities that there is no place for this type of hate, desecration, and violence in America,' the campaign's fundraising page states. (Haaretz+) 
  • Citing Small Town neo-Nazi Row, Montana Moves to Crack Down on Israel Boycotts - Bill allows Montana to stand in solidarity with Israel after neo-Nazis moved against Jews in Whitefish, Republican House speaker says, but others say state should stay out of global politics. (Agencies, Haaretz
  • Mike Pence tells Republican Jewish Coalition: 'America stands with Israel' - The group of Republican donors and Jewish leaders was among the first to hear from the new vice president. (Agencies, Haaretz
  • Report: Jewish Man's Finger Sawed Off, Brother Beaten in Attack in Paris Suburb - The alleged attackers reportedly forced the brothers off a main road, surrounded them and beat them repeatedly while threatening them with murder. (JTA, Haaretz


Features:
A Palestinian Was Standing Still at a Checkpoint. Why Did Israeli Troops Shoot Him Dead?
A video shows that Nidal Mahdawi, a mentally unstable Palestinian on his way to visit his wife and kids in Israel, could have been arrested without being shot. (Gideon Levy and Alex Levac, Haaretz+)
900 days a Hamas captive—and counting
Hamas apprehended Abera Mengistu more than 2 years ago after he crossed into the Gaza Strip; after years of fighting and dwindling concern and assistance by the government, his family has grown tired of fighting for his return.
(Danny Adeno Abebe, Yedioth/Ynet)
Officers: 10 Key Questions Police Must Answer Following Deadly Clashes in Bulldozed Bedouin Town (Yaniv Kubovich, Haaretz+) Events in Umm al-Hiran, when a police officer and local man died, likely to have damaging impact on police's work in the Arab community.
Illegal outpost rejects another illegal outpost's evacuees
Those who were removed from Amona three weeks ago still don't have a home. They'd like to move to Geulat Zion—another hilltop settlement that Israeli authorities continually have to dismember—but those who have already laid claim to it aren't having any of it. (Elisha Ben Kimon, Yedioth/Ynet)
New York's 'Silicon Alley' Gets an Israeli Makeover
The number of Israeli startups in Manhattan has increased fivefold since 2013. Who are the main players who think that if they can make it there, they'll make it anywhere. (Haim Handwerker, Haaretz+)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
The One Politician Netanyahu Should Be Very Worried About (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Netanyahu would do well to take note of what’s happening in Habayit Hayehudi. Israel's opposition leader hopes for a comeback after details of secret peace summit emerge. According to Herzog, Netanyahu initially seemed ready to go a long way to advance a historic peace summit. Then two of his ministers entered the picture. 
The frustrations of politicians over shooting coming from Gaza could be focused toward the elimination of the new Hamas leader, Sanwar (Ran Edelist, Maariv) The elimination of the enemy is not something to be proud of. The state does not work from the gut, and revenge is not part of its laws. (So maybe we could be at peace with) ticking time bombs, but now the Shin Bet is talking about "ticking infrastructure" and soon we will have ticking children. The most problematic part of assassinations is results on the ground. In 2012, Ahmed Jabari, the commander of the Hamas military wing, was assassinated in what was the opening of Operation Pillar of Defensive. Recently Hamas elected a new leader, Yahya Sanwar. He too is not an ardent Zionist. I fear that all the frustrations of politicians over shooting coming from Gaza could be focused toward the elimination of the new Hamas leader, Sanwar, as an opening to a war in the spring, just as Minister Yoav Galant promised us, one of the planners of Jabari's assassination. Happy Passover to you all. 
No God, No Occupation (Rogel Alpher, Haaretz+) A straight line leads from the Jewish religion to the Jewish occupation. 
Force majeure: Justice Minister Shaked recorded a historic achievement, but the right-wing celebrations are over the top (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Minister of Justice won big, but the sun will rise tomorrow at the High Court. And, Netanyahu rejected the opportunity regional change….
Israeli forces look after their own, whether in Israel or the West Bank (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Conflicting accounts of what happened in a deadly Negev clash last month are just the tip of the iceberg of what has been known to take place among troops involved in confrontations with Palestinians. 
Mental blocs (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) The definition of what comprises the "large settlement blocs" has changed with the successive governments. But the blocs are only part of the issue, which is that Israel doesn't have sufficient land for a territorial exchange with the Palestinians. 
Too soon to say how conservative Israel's new high court bench will be (Sharon Pulwer, Haaretz+) Not everyone in Israel's legal community is certain about the court's future direction despite the latest appointments of justices backed by the far-right justice minister, Ayelet Shaked.
Veterans of the Lehi (pre-state Jewish militant organization) can’t believe it: How could the state, which sent Elor Azariya to fight, go to prison? (Prof. Arieh Eldad, Maariv) ‘What will be?’ asked the fighters of the liberation of Israel over the grave of "Yair" Stern, 75 years after his assassination, on the day the State of Israel sent to prison a soldier who killed a terrorist. Not for this did we pray. 
The bulldozers and the Bedouin (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) The West Bank Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar received a temporary respite this week from seemingly inevitable demolitions.
Battle Between Brothers: Yair Lapid moves to combat against Bennett on the way the Prime Minister’s Residence (Dr. Revital Amiran, Maariv) The interview that Yesh Atid party chairman, MK Yair Lapid, gave to TV marked the next political battle that will accompany us in the next elections. The State Comptroller's report on Operation Protective Edge is supposed to be his security card in the battle.
Who really started the 1948 war and when (Uri Avnery, Haaretz+) Relatively few Arabs remained within Israel’s post-1948 borders, but the fact that no Jews remained in the territories conquered by the Arabs has been forgotten.
The main problem in establishing a Palestinian state: the undemocratic nature of the entity (Udi Segal, Maariv) Without borders, without settlements, without an economy and without water. The problem is that this is an entity that is flooded with incitement and has limited capacity for internal control. Therefore, Israel must insist that Palestine be democratic. 
Welcome to Israel (As Long as You Love Us) (Matan Rosenstrauch, Haaretz+) If you’re planning a visit to the Holy Land in the near future, don’t dare criticize the Israeli government or the settlements before you travel.
Double-edged apartheid claims (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) The demographic threat is spoken of by those who accuse anyone who doesn't agree with them of "racism" • Those who hurl claims of apartheid should know that their false claim is a double-edged sword that harms the justification for Zionism as a whole. 
What will the second half of Eisenkot’s term as IDF chief look like? (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) With renewed power following the extension of his term, the chief of staff is leaving his illness behind and looking to the future. In his remaining two years in office, he will have to deal with the explosive reality in the West Bank during the Trump era, promote promising generals and prepare the IDF for the next decade. 
According to foreign reports: This is how Israel's secret operations have changed in nature (Alon Ben-David, Maariv) Israel learned its lesson from the assassination of Mabhouh, and it has become more dangerous. It’s only important to choose carefully the target for which it harnesses precious resources.
What Does Israel Have to Hide? (Haaretz Editorial) From a state that invited the world to come and marvel at its achievements, under Netanyahu Israel has become a state that is closed and closed off. 
Between the lines, between the tunnels (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) Dealing with the Hamas tunnel threat should have been part of the IDF’s defense plan vis-à-vis the Gaza Strip. So how is it possible that, according to what has been quoted from the state comptroller’s report on Operation Protective Edge, the army was unprepared for it?

Israeli Opposition Leader's 10-point-plan for Peace Missing 11th Point (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Isaac Herzog's plan is an abomination. 
Netanyahu's Jaunt Down Under and Colonial Ties That Bind (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) If Israel was America, protesters would await Netanyahu at the airport holding signs with the letters BLM inscribed on them: Bedouin Lives Matter. 
This Also Happened in 1948 (Alon Confino, Haaretz+) We must strive to write a history of the Israeli War of Independence that does not seek to blame, to score points and to divide the world into the absolute victimizers and the absolute victims – then we may begin to move forward. 
A Silver Lining in Trump's Clouds (Avraham Burg, Haaretz+) What looks like an out-of-control pot of popcorn becomes logical when the political lens is replaced with a historical one. The president is the official liquidator of rapacious capitalism.
The Revolution That Never Happened (Israel Harel, Haaretz+) Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked did not insist on appointing people who are capable of leading the campaign against judicial activism.
To the American Jewish Establishment: Being Neutral on Trump or Netanyahu Is Cowardice (Daniel May, Haaretz+) After pushing so hard for a values-based, 'unbreakable' U.S.-Israel bond, the Jewish community now faces the aftermath of its pyrrhic victory: two leaders overtly hostile to democratic norms. 
The Polish People Weren't Tacit Collaborators With Nazi Extermination of Jews (Grzegorz Berendt, Haaretz+) Polish leaders warned citizens against helping Nazi crimes, says Prof. Grzegorz Berendt, a historian at Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance, in reply to Ofer Aderet's article about Poles who 'hunted' Jews during the Holocaust. 
Why Breaking the Silence? (Yuli Novak, Haaretz+) A place where breaking the silence is illegitimate - is not a democracy.
How Israel could benefit from Russia's control of the Assad alliance (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Israel and Hezbollah are usually only two mistakes away from a war. But a potential mediator has come on the scene. 
 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.

News Nosh 2.24.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Friday February 24, 2017
 
You Must Be Kidding: 
"We are not masochists and there is no reason we should keep doing that."
--Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon explained why it was refusing to give an entry visa to a lawyer from Human Rights Watch.


Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Assessment: Attorney General to reprimand Netanyahu and Yaalon in Operation Protective Edge report
  • The Military Prosecutor: “I revealed Elor Azariya’s lies”
  • Run with her – Among the thousands of people running in the Tel-Aviv marathon today is Keren Eyal, a mentally-challenged young woman who will soon be recruited to the IDF’s Oketz unit
  • Invalidating the elderly // Sima Kadmon
  • A state that is abusing // Meir Shalev
  • House of horrors // Igal Sarna
  • Police: Put Ari Harrow on trial
  • Coldplay on the way: Chris Martin is in Israel for private performance
Maariv This Weekend (Hebrew links only)
  • Likely: Former (Prime Minister’s) bureau chief to become state witness
  • Report: Attorney General suspects: ‘Israel Hayom’ newspaper – an illegal political contribution to Netanyahu
  • (Public Security Minister) Erdan: “If it turns out that [car ramming incident in Um al-Hiran] was not a terror attack – we need to apologize
  • Count to 10 // Ben Caspit
  • The Hurt Locker // Kalman Libeskind
  • Between the ruins – This is how the Iranians are winning in the battle for control of the Middle East // Jonathan Spyre in Mosul, Iraq
  • The desert foxes – the opposite look of Iran – What hides behind the moderate image of Saudi Arabia
  • The Egyptian paradox // Yossi Melman
  • Israel Air Force intercepted a Hamas drone
  • Bank of Israel acquired dollars in wake of dramatic weakening of currencies
  • What is preventing giving discounts to elderly who aren’t Holocaust survivors?
  • Who will put public pressure on the government in the name of the elderly? // Sarah Beck
  • The failed in battle in the Yom Kippur War that they didn’t want you to know about
  • His heart is in the East – the big change in Matan Vilnai’s life: China instead of politics
  • By Shlomit Kriegman: The secret book of the girl who was murdered in an attack
Israel Hayom
  • Erdan: “If it turns out there was no terror attack – we will apologize”
  • Police recommend – Indict Ari Harrow
  • Judge: Another year prison for (former chief rabbi) Metzger
  • This morning: tens of thousands to run in Tel-Aviv
  • Planted: Reza Kahlili tells how he spied for the Americans on the Revolutionary Guards in Iran
  • IDF presents: Official Experimental plan to put female combat soldiers in the Armored Corps


News Summary:
Friday’s Hebrew newspapers revealed the latest on the corruption investigations against and surrounding Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, that Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said he was ready to issue an apology to the bereaved Bedouin family if it turned out that he wrongly called their relative a terrorist, that convicted soldier Elor Azariya will appeal his lenient sentence and that the Israeli Air Force intercepted a Hamas drone headed toward Israel’s coast.
 
Police recommended indicting Netanyahu’s former bureau chief, Ari Harow on multiple counts of corruption and Maariv reported that the police may offer Harow to be a state witness in corruption cases against Netanyahu. Haaretz+ reported that Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit blocked the police from taking testimonies from former US secretary of state John Kerry and from the Peruvian ambassador in Case 1000, in which the Netanyahu family received expensive gifts, and Channel 2 News reported that in Case 2000, State Comptroller Yosef Shapira suspects that the free daily Israel Hayom constitutes a forbidden political donation to Netanyahu. Shapira has asked for all the material collected. Meanwhile, Netanyahu had the Diplomatic-Security Cabinet ministers sign a non-disclosure promise about the details of the meeting between Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump.
 
 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.

News Nosh 2.23.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday February 23, 2017
 
Quote of the day:
"What happened to you? You don’t understand the need to defend the IDF? The IDF’s chain of command? That you can’t give legitimacy to every soldier who decides [things] for himself?”
--Likud Minister Yuval Steinitz slammed his fellow right-wing politicians for supporting giving a pardon to Elor Azariya, the soldier convicted of manslaughter in the execution of a prone Palestinian assailant.*


Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The conservative revolution – four new justices chosen for High Court
  • A new courtroom // Tovah Zimuki
  • A message to judges // Shlomo Pyotrkovsky
  • They ran over the truth – “Terror attack,” “Terrorist,” “ISIS,” Minister Erdan and the Police Commissioner were quick to declare after the policeman Erez Levy was run over and killed in Um al-Hiran. But the police investigation reveals, it wasn’t a terror attack…
  • Haste is from the devil // Ben-Dror Yemini
  • The youth in Israel: Optimistic about their career, despairing over the likelihood they will be able to purchase a home 
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
A revolution of conservatives in Israel’s High Court, evidence that the police acted wrongly in Um al-Hiran and that the Public Security Minister and the Police Commissioner wrongly labeled a Bedouin man and his car accident ‘terrorism,’ and the latest on the trial of Elor Azariya, the ‘Shooting Soldier from Hebron,’ made top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Also, in the footsteps of the President of Singapore, the Australian Prime Minister told visiting Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that only the two-state solution will bring peace. Separately, Yedioth reported that Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American who supports the BDS boycott of Israeli-made products, led a fundraising campaign that donated $56,000 to the Jewish cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri, in which Jewish gravestones were toppled. “We pray that we will succeed in returning a sense of security and peace to the Jewish-American community, which is, without doubt, horrified by this incident.”
 
Three out of the four new justices appointed on Wednesday were conservatives, who are expected to shift the balance of power in the High Court to allow for more settler-supporting decisions and less intervention in problematic Knesset legislation. (See Commentary/Analysis below for more insight.)
 
An internal police investigation is set to show that the incident in the Bedouin village of Um al-Hiran, which security officials were quick to call terror, was otherwise. The Bedouin driver who was shot by Israeli police was not carrying out attack, and the conduct of the Border Police, who opened fire on him, was problematic. Yaqoub Abu al-Qiyan’s family is calling for the resignation of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and police chief Roni Al-Sheik – and so did the Haaretz Editorial today. “My brother was murdered,” said Abu al-Qiyan’s brother and called for a separate investigation. Haaretz+ prepared a list of other cases in which Bedouin were killed by police and it was either concealed, closed or is still being probed with dragging feet.
 
*An Israel Hayom poll found that 63% of Israelis support pardoning the soldier, Elor Azaria, who executed an incapacitated Palestinian assailant and was convicted of manslaughter. Netanyahu also said he supported a pardon, Maariv reported. IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot slammed politicians' conduct during the affair, accusing them of lying about his conduct in the case, and told politicians not to pressure the army to give a pardon. Likud minister Yuval Steinitz also slammed Israeli politicians for demanding a pardon: “You don’t understand the need to defend the IDF? The IDF’s chain of command? That you can’t give legitimacy to every soldier who decides [things] for himself?' Prof. Asa Kasher, who wrote the IDF’s code of ethics said the "The chief of staff's statement was correct and appropriate.” (Maariv) President Reuven Rivlin visited Golani troops urging unity.

Quick Hits:
  • Israel Barring Palestinians From Entering for Medical Care Over Cellphones, Witnesses Say - Gaza women say they were turned back at border because they didn’t have their cellphones, which were taken by Hamas. (Haaretz)
  • Amnesty report: Israel unlawfully killed and tortured Palestinians - Annual report claims Israel infringed upon rights of thousands of Palestinians in 2016, among them children; Palestinians, on the other hand, are accused of killing 16 Israelis and a foreign citizen. (Ynet
  • Rehovot resident accused of attempting to set Palestinians on fire - Rehovot resident accused of planning to throw a Molotov cocktail at a Yavne warehouse inhabited by eight Palestinians, claiming he 'is sick of them.' (Ynet
  • Israel opts out of invoking land-grab law to save illegal settler homes - State opposes settlers' request to seal Ofra homes slated for demolition rather than razing them. (Haaretz+) 
  • IDF chief: Hezbollah suffering from crisis of morale - Eisenkot asserts Nasrallah's recent threats to fire rockets at sensitive facilities in Haifa and Dimona are merely meant to create deterrence and maintain the status quo with Israel while his organization was deep in crisis over its involvement in Syria. (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Report: Israel prevents 5 EU lawmakers from visiting Gaza - Israeli policy allows foreign diplomats, professional and humanitarian officials to enter Gaza as matter of routine, but five are not among them, Israeli official says • Cypriot MEP slams "systematic" entry bans, says Israeli explanation "unacceptable." (Israel Hayom)
  • Soldier very lightly hurt during overnight operations near Nablus - Explosive thrown at IDF force from the Paratroopers Brigade's 101st Battalion while it was securing the entrance to Joseph's Tomb in Balata as Jewish worshipers visited; soldier treated on the scene and then taken to the hospital. (Ynet
  • Israel wraps up tests to improve Iron Dome anti-missile system - For the first time, the system now has been making use of American-made components. (Haaretz+ and Ynet
  • Netanyahu's US visit found to be on expensive side - A document made public on Tuesday shows the costs of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent trip to the US; some of the pricier items on the list include $13,000 for phone calls and $3,500 for hair and makeup for Netanyahu and his wife Sara. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • MK Hasson in hot water over fake PM resignation letter - Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman is after MK Yoel Hasson (Zionist Union) after the latter Tweeted a fake resignation letter from the PM; Braverman is attempting to convince the AG to pursue criminal complaint over PM's signature forgery. (Yedioth/Ynet
  • New head of Police Investigations Unit loses key responsibilities - In a break with convention, Lahav 433—the unit responsible for the most important investigations the police conduct—will likely pass to Commissioner Alsheikh instead of the new head of the Investigations and Intelligence Unit. (Ynet
  • On LGBT Rights Day, Knesset Learns That Only Tel Aviv Seriously Funds Gay Youth NGO - Israeli Gay Youth head tells lawmakers that in nearly three out of four cities where it operates, group gets nothing at all. (Haaretz+) 
  • ISIS affiliates gaining ground in Golan offensive - A major offensive by an ISIS-allied group in the tri-border region of Syria, Jordan and Israel has quickly captured four villages and is endangering the strategic city of Daraa, whose southwest suburb is already under the control of the group. (Yedioth/Ynet
  • Trump’s inspiration for 'last night in Sweden' filmed himself throwing stones at Palestinians - 'Palestinian Road Trip!' by Ami Horowitz, a documentarian who often appears on Fox News, talks about life in the West Bank and claims West Bank checkpoints does not disrupt Palestinian daily life. (Haaretz+)
  • Anti-Defamation League receives bomb threat - After a bomb threat is made to the Anti-Defamation League's headquarters in New York City, Law enforcement agencies open an investigation to determine if its validity and if its possible connection to threats against other Jewish institutions across the nation. (Ynet
  • Netanyahu: Trump's strong stand against anti-Semitism is very important - In first comments since Jewish centers in U.S. faced bomb threats and cemetery vandalized, prime minister says incidents are 'sad reminder' hatred still exists. (Haaretz)

 
Commentary/Analysis:
Israel's Police Chief, Public Security Minister Must Resign (Haaretz Editorial) In view of the incitement and lies these two spread immediately after the events in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, whose houses were all destroyed, they can no longer remain in office. 
Settler leaders should have been put on trial, not Azaria (Amnon Abramovich, Yedioth/Ynet) As a child, Elor Azaria was a victim of the education he received at home and of his political opinions. As a soldier, he was a victim of his service in Hebron. As a culprit, he was a victim of his advisors. 
With Supreme Court Picks, Netanyahu's Government Launches Anti-constitutional Revolution (Aluf Benn, Haaretz+) Israel's justice minister has created a court that will serve her political aim of perpetuating the occupation and annexing the West Bank without granting the Palestinians citizenship.
The new Supreme Court: more conservative, more right-wing (Tova Tzimuki, Yedioth/Ynet) After the four new judges selected on Wednesday are sworn in over the next six months, Israel will receive a court which is more restrained in its intervention in Knesset legislation and government decisions and more ‘sympathetic’ to the rightist-religious-settler agenda.
Israel's Public Security Minister Actively Fomenting anti-Arab Incitement (Or Kashti, Haaretz+) Conflict with Arabs is the lifeblood of the fourth Netanyahu government, the justification for its existence. That’s why ministers vie with each other to nurture it.
Keep religion out of politics (Yoaz Hendel, Yedioth/Ynet) The Reform Jewish movement’s protest will not stop David Friedman’s appointment as US ambassador to Israel, but it definitely harms the movement’s own status among Israeli society. 
Isaac Herzog Details His 10-point Plan for Israeli-Palestinian Peace (Isaac Herzog, Haaretz+) Israeli opposition leader's plan: Sides will agree on decade of calm, during which time West Bank will be a violence and incitement-free zone; settlement construction outside blocs will be frozen, with more powers to Palestinians – only then negotiations. 
Please all, please none (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) Logically, the claims of mitigating circumstances that were rejected outright in Pvt. Elor Azaria's conviction for manslaughter would never have returned as grounds for an easy sentence for a serious crime. 
A Glass Ceiling for Druze Women? (Eman Hasisi Amasha, Haaretz+) How about the ceiling put in place by the Haaretz writer who insists that anyone who doesn’t live according to her worldview is challenged.
Israel in Trump’s eyes: An asset or a burden? (Udi Dekel, Yedioth/Ynet) The annexation and construction policy, alongside an implementation of the red lines on Iran, may lead to an escalation on the northern and Palestinian fronts, which is set to clash with the US president’s cost-benefit calculations and with Israel’s strategic value.
In the name of political correctness (Dr. Eyal Levin, Israel Hayom) In a world where the basic values on which we were raised are blasted as outdated, any show of support for the soldier who shot a neutralized terrorist is a foreign language.
Who Needs The Hague When You Have Israeli Army Justice? (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) There's nothing more Israeli than this court that gives a soldier, who killed a Palestinian in cold blood, a sentence fit for a bicycle thief.
Trump helped Netanyahu pave road for one-state (Orly Azoulay, Yedioth/Ynet) The meeting with Trump loosened Netanyahu from the shackles of the two-state proposal. Netanyahu doesn’t have to freeze settlement building, or face threats and reprimands from Washington. Most importantly, he no longer has to fake interest in a peace process based on two states. 
'The will of the people' (MK Benny Begin, Israel Hayom) Despite claims to the contrary, not every law passed by the Knesset represents the public's wishes. The High Court must be protected so it can in turn protect the rights of everyone.
Hyperbole Over anti-Semitism Weakens Liberal Opposition to Trump (Jonathan S. Tobin, Haaretz+) Be appalled by Trump’s stalling over denouncing anti-Semitism. But the president didn’t invent Jew hatred in America, and trying to pin the 'anti-Semite' label on him won’t work. 
Win wars, not trials (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) Any citizen would tell you that the role of the military is first and foremost to win and only after that to preach morals and ethics.
 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.

Listen: Peace Now's Anat Ben Nun "Current Challenges to the Israeli Peace Movement"

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On February 22nd 2017, APN hosted Peace Now’s Anat Ben Nun for a briefing call on the challenges that Israel’s Peace movement is facing. She addressed the political situation following the Trump-Netanyahu meeting in Washington, issues relating to West Bank settlements, anti-democratic Knesset legislation, and more.

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News Nosh 2.22.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday February 22, 2017
 
Quote of the day:
"Take the sentence and run, Elor Azariya. All those who tell you that you are a hero, that you did what was needed to do – are doing a great injustice to you, to the IDF, to the state. As an outstanding combat soldier, as a combat medic, you were supposed to know that. The court had to convict you, Elor Azariya. Not because you are ‘everyone’s son.’ If it did not convict you – there would be no future here not for you and not for the rest of everyone’s sons.”
--Senior Yedioth political commentator, Sima Kadmon, writes to Elor Azariya, the soldier who received a light sentence after being convicted of killing an incapacitated Palestinian assailant.*
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Join us: Israel Study tour June 2nd - June 7th

 

I’m old enough to remember the relief and joy and pride we felt on June 10, 1967, when Israel brought a victorious end to the Six Day War. The euphoria was palpable. IDF soldiers streamed through the Old City of Jerusalem, off-limits to Israelis since the end of the War of Independence in 1948. Ordinary citizens took to their cars for the short drive to Bethlehem, a city that only the day before had seemed so very far away. Suddenly the beautiful Golan Heights were part of Israel, and the Syrians routed in humiliation.

Was it all a miracle? Certainly it appeared so to religious Israelis – evidence of God’s hand in the world. To the rest of the Jewish world, it meant that Israelis could now breathe freely.

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February 21, 2017 - One state, two states, regional approach: Trump said, Bibi said

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Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

This week, Alpher discusses the mixed messages from the Trump-Netanyahu press statements last week in Washington - two-state solution or one-state solution, direct bilateral negotiations or broader Arab involvement; what Netanyahu's increasingly powerful right-wing supporters want; "the regional approach"; and the nuances of the one-state proposition.

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News Nosh 2.21.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday February 21, 2017
 
Quote of the day:
“It started in his family, which was swept up in the incitement around it and which raised a boy who shot an injured helpless person – practically corpse abuse – and it continued with the education system that doesn’t deal with the problem of semi-fascist content in the guise of patriotism, and then the political establishment, which incited a soldier who is unable to cope with the ongoing brainwashing, and it continued to publicly support the criminal act, and then the IDF, which ignored the wounded [Palestinian] man, who was injured and left in the street and killed like a dog.”
--Maariv commentator Ran Adelist writes that Elor Azariya, the young Israeli man serving in the IDF who shot in the head Abdul Fattah al-Sharif, an already wounded incapacitated Palestinian young man, was not the only one guilty for the execution for which Azariya is being sentenced today.*
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News Nosh 2.20.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday February 20, 2017
 
Quote of the day:
“Netanyahu always signals left and when he comes to the intersection, if it has a right turn he turns right.”
--Hatnua party leader, MK Tzipi Livni, commented on the report that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu backed out of a regional peace arrangement.
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News Nosh 2.19.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday February 19, 2017
 
Quote of the day:
“The president of the United States is talking like a tin-pot dictator, like an enemy of democracy, and the only people celebrating are Islamic fanatics, white supremacists, complete anti-Semites and one Benjamin Netanyahu.”
--In front page Op-Ed, Haaretz’s Washington Bureau Chief, Chemi Shalev, reviews Trump’s first month - and makes a comparison to Nazi Germany.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
Only in two out of 17 cases, in which Israeli civilians attacked Palestinian terrorists who had been already neutralized or innocent people who were suspected of terrorists, were indictments filed, according to a document submitted to court.**
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