APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday January 17, 2013
Number of the day:
--Percentage hike in settlement construction planning in 2012, according to just released Peace Now report.**
Front Page News:
- Netanyahu to Obama: Only Israeli citizens will determine their fate
- Channel 10 poll: Only 32 mandates to Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu
- What do government bonds tell about trust in Netanyahu? // Aluf Benn
- Bennett: "Sara Netanyahu and I took a terror course together"
- Jack Teitel convicted in murder of two Palestinians
- Mayor of Nazareth Illit does not want a school for 1,900 Arab students
- Doctors who studied abroad to pass easier US test (for Israeli certification)
- Two women murdered by their husbands in one day
- Another conflict with the US - Escalation in the dispute: Day after Obama's severe criticism of Netanyahu, State announced construction in Kiryat Arba and Efrat (W. Bank)
- The battle over the (Ministry of ) Religions - Habayit Hayehudi: We will demand to stand at the head of the conversion system and we will act for quickened conversion processes according to Halacha; Shas: We will not give up the Ministry of ) Religions, only we can preserve the Jewish character of the State
- Even Arthur Finkelstein is lowering expectations: Likud-Beiteinu losing mandates
- Drama in Algeria - Al-Qaeda terrorists holding dozens of Western hostages; Will agree to release them if France ends operations against Islamist rebels in Mali
- 3-year-old toddler infected with swine flu: Got fever and died
- Right-wing bloc - 72 mandates, left-center - 48 mandates (Hebrew) - The last polls before elections shows that Likud-Beiteinu gets 37 mandates; Battle between Labor and Habayit Hayehudi over who is the second biggest party; Meretz getting stronger with 7 mandates, Hatnua drops to 5
- French President Francoise Hollande to Maariv: New initiative to advance negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians (Hebrew)
- Today in Eilat: The "Meuravim" (involved) conference - First conference of its type, will deal with involvement of commercial businesses in Israeli society
- Dear readers: Because of rise in prices, the Friday paper will rise to 15 shekels
- Even Habayit Hayehudi needs Form #4 - A moment before elections, Bennett cleans the table: Two years late, he completed the procedures for an occupancy permit for his home in Ra'anana (Hebrew)
- Dying to live - After last week's big storm, the Dead Sea rose for the first time in 10 years (by 10cm)
- Prime Minister responds to Obama: "Citizens of Israel will decide"
- Poll: Likud-Beiteinu 35, Labor 17, Habayit Hayehudi 15, Yesh Atid 12, Shas 11, Hatnua 7, Meretz 5
- The virus did not disappear: 3-year-old died of swine flu
- Drama in Algeria - In response to French operation in Mali, Al-Qaeda identified group kidnapped 41 foreigners, including 7 Americans
- Sometimes the use of force is vital // French Amb. Christophe Bigot
- A day without mercy: Three murders
- Avraham Hirschson released from jail
- Ofekim: 600 workers of Plaxtronix factory in danger of being fired
The Prime Minister reacts to the US President's criticism of him, the State announces more settlement construction, and the latest polls show a smaller Likud-Beiteinu than expected in the upcoming elections making top stories in today's Hebrew papers. Meanwhile, Peace Now reports that settlement construction boomed in the last year and Maariv reported that a post-election diplomatic blitz is coming Israel's way from France.
After journalist Jeffrey Goldberg quoted US President Barack Obama as calling Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu a "political coward" who is ruled by the settlers and therefore cannot make a peace deal with the Palestinians, Netanyahu responded saying, "Only the Israeli people will determine who best represents the State of Israel's vital interests." Netanyahu said he has 'withstood enormous pressure' over the past four years to cease settlement construction and withdraw to the pre-'67 borders.
That pressure is not about to end. Maariv reported that the 'diplomatic blitz is on the way.' French President Francoise Hollande told Maariv that his country has a new initiative to jumpstart negotiations between Israel and Palestine after the elections. Despite the statements attributed to US President Barack Obama by journalist Jeffrey Goldberg that Obama would not waste his time on the conflict when Netanyahu is ruled by settlers, Maariv writes that White House Spokesman Tommy Vietor hinted that US involvement in the diplomatic process is near when he said yesterday: "Both sides need to be serious to renew the talks with the goal of dealing with the difficult subjects that divide them and to create significant progress towards a viable peace. We need to focus on helpful steps that will move the sides towards direct negotiations and the US will continue to help both sides in these efforts." Maariv wrote that it is believed that Obama is waiting till after elections to put pressure on Netanyahu. Moreover, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is also waiting till after elections to renew efforts "to bring about international condemnation of Israel" and at the same time they will join more UN international organizations. (NRG Hebrew)
And if Netanyahu wanted to make his point that he is not giving in to international pressure, he did so when the State announced the approval for 198 new settler homes in the settlements of Efrat and Kiryat Arba. Yedioth wrote that the latest Jewish settlement housing approvals have worsened the dispute between the US and Israel. It quoted Netanyahu's opponents slamming the Prime Minister. "The new tenders are a continuation of provocation by Netanyahu that harms the vital interests of Israel," said Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich. Tzip Livni's Hatnuah party said in a statement: "Netanyahu is destroying Israel's international relations and sacrificing its national interests for political considerations on the eve of elections." Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid party said: "Netanyahu is again proving that he chooses settlers over the collapsing middle class." And while the construction is the compensation Netanyahu promised the settlers when they agreed to have their homes sawed and moved from the Givat Ulpana outpost, the decision is also exceptional, Yedioth wrote. This is the first time in 10 years that approval was given to build in Kiryat Arba, which is outside the settlement blocs. All settlement construction requires the approval of both the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister beyond the approval of the Housing Ministry. Yedioth also wrote that a senior Housing Ministry offiical criticized the "insensitive" decision yesterday.
**This latest settlement construction announcement is part of a wave of settlement expansion this year, Peace Now reveals. A Peace Now report released yesterday shows that settlement plans jumped 300% in 2012.This year, 1,747 new settler homes were built, four new outposts went up where 317 units were built without permits. The State approved building plans for 6,676 residential units in 2012, the vast majority in settlements east of the separation barrier. This represents a huge increase from 1,607 housing units approved for construction in 2011 and the several hundred housing units approved in 2010. The report shows that the Netanyahu government provided at least 3.7 billion shekels in surplus funding to settlements between 2009 and 2012. Likud MK Zeev Elkin welcomed the report's findings for helping Likud's campaign.
- Approval for settlement plans jumped 300% in 2012, says Peace Now - Report by the Israeli NGO says 1,747 new settler homes built in 2012; more than 300 built without permits. (Haaretz)
- IDF demands probe into group calling for 'price tag' attacks - Israeli right-wingers called for soldiers to refuse orders or fire on civilians if deemed necessary. (Haaretz)
- IDF probe: 80 bullets fired without justification in death of West Bank Palestinian - Investigation finds no reason to use live ammunition in the November shooting death of Rushdie Tamimi, 31, in Nabi Saleh, in the West Bank. (Haaretz)
- Two defendants in Jerusalem lynch of Palestinian youth get plea deal - Jerusalem District Court makes deal with two Jewish youths involved in the brutal assault of Jamal Julani in the center of Jerusalem, charging them only with incitement. (Haaretz)
- Court convicts Jewish terrorist Teitel of murdering two Palestinians - Teitel, a Jewish American citizen, was also convicted of two attempted murders, assault and additional charges. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- High Court to state: Don't evict Palestinians from south Hebron firing zone - Justice Joubran issues temporary injunction regarding Firing Zone 918, gives state 60 days to respond to petition. (Haaretz)
- Palestinians riot near Rachel's Tomb - Some 50 Palestinian stone security forces in northern Bethlehem; one soldier lightly hurt. (Ynet)
- 'Celebrating' Palestinian prisoners moved to isolation - Twenty-seven Palestinian prisoners filmed celebrating security prisoner's engagement moved to solitary confinement for violating prison rules. (Ynet)
- Upper Nazareth mayor: No Arab school here as long as I am in charge - Mayor Shimon Gapso rejects appeal to set up an Arab school in the city, claiming the request conceals 'a provocative nationalist statement intended to disrupt the status quo.' (Haaretz)
- High Court gives go-ahead to remove Palestinian tents from E-1 - Court had already given police permission to evacuate protesters from 'Bab al-Shams', but had previously ruled that the tents must remain. (Haaretz)
- Soldier says commander slapped him for tardiness - Soldier claims commanding officer grabbed, shook and slapped him on the face for being late. Officer claims self defense; Military Police investigates. (Ynet)
- UNHRC says Israel wants rights review postponed - Human Rights Council expresses concern that Jerusalem will refuse to cooperate with annual review following severing of ties over UN's probe into West Bank settlements. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Ben-Tzvi's plan to save Maariv: Merge it with Makor Rishon - Weekday print edition to disappear, will be published in digital format only; distribution and printing to be outsourced. (Haaretz)
- Theses in English 'erosion of Hebrew' - The Academy of the Hebrew Language's president admonishes Hebrew University's decision to allow doctorate theses in English, warning against 'Hebrew's erosion.' (Ynet)
- Budget cuts stall program to reverse Israeli 'brain drain' - The opening of two new 'academic excellence centers' has been postponed for several months, yet again. (Haaretz)
- Better Place CEO quits after 3 months - Shortly after promising to embark on new road with electric car venture, Evan Thornley joins long list of executives who have found their way out of company. (Ynet)
- Israel's chief rabbi issues unprecedented halakhic ruling against financial misconduct - Business owners whose actions cause the public monetary losses must bear personal responsibility for the damage and reparations, says Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar. (Haaretz)
- Canadian artist finds Israeli prime ministers picture perfect - Joy Caros fulfilled her dream to have her portraits of Israeli leaders hanging in the government offices in Jerusalem. (Haaretz)
- Saudis to give $100 million to Palestinian Authority - Abbas struggles to convince Arab countries to deliver donations they promised upon securing UN recognition. Ramallah has been struggling to pay public sector due to Israeli sanctions following the statehood bid. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Morsi says his anti-Israel slurs in 2010 taken out of context - Prior to election as Egyptian president, Morsi issued call in 2010 to 'nurse our children' on hatred of Zionists, whom he described as 'bloodsuckers who attack Palestinians... descendents of apes and pigs. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Mubarak pays back Egypt $3 million - Former president of Egypt and his family pay back 18 million pounds for gifts received from a newspaper while in office. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Militants seize foreign hostages in Algeria - Islamist militants attack BP complex in southern Algeria; over 40 people held hostage including Americans, Britons, Norwegians, French and Japanese. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Report: Iran, UN nuclear watchdog to continue talks for a second day - Unconfirmed report by Iranian media claims that the two sides agreed to hold the next round of negotiations on the country's nuclear program at the end of January. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Poll: Former right-wing voters may opt for center left in next week's election - Right-wing voters are less enthusiastic than in '09, while the social protests have boosted the center-left; Ch. 10 poll: Likud-Beiteinu and Labor tickets weakening, Hatnuah and Meretz gaining strength. (Haaretz)
- Habayit Hayehudi eyes Conversion Authority - Shas, Naftali Bennett's party likely to lock horns next term over control of State Conversion Authority, Religious Affairs Ministry. (Yedioth/Ynet)
- Naftali Bennett jokes in TV interview: I was in terrorism course with Sara Netanyahu - The leader of Habayit Hayehudi qualified his remarks some hours after the TV interview, saying that he was kidding. (Haaretz)
- Arab media: Right will win, peace will lose - Arab world's newspaper believe next Israeli administration 'likely to be country's most extreme government to-date.' (Ynet)
- Likud to senior rabbis: Tell registered party members to vote for us - Many settlers who registered with Likud plan to vote for Netanyahu in the elections. Activists in the party asked rabbis Dov Lior and Shlomo Aviner to make a religious ruling that such an act is prohibited, but they refused. (Maariv, p 4)
- A week before elections, politicians already picking winners for cabinet posts - It's still too early to 'earmark jobs', but it is possible to fill in some of the blanks. (Haaretz)
- Poll: Politicians exploiting ultra-Orthdox draft - About 60% of Israeli public believe parties making cynical use of 'equal burden' issue in their election campaigns; half say none of them capable of solving matter. (Ynet)
- MK Dov Khenin: Netanyahu government is dangerous for Israel - " If there is a chance of forming a different government (than Netanyahu's) we will do everything for that to happen. We are not asking to join a centrist government. We will be willing to support it from the outside in the manner that allowed Rabin to pass the Oslo Accords." Hadash MK answers Haaretz readers' questions about chances of joining the next government, the situation in Syria and the two-state solution. (Haaretz)
Stop killing innocent citizens (Haaretz Editorial) The consecutive incidents in which Palestinians were killed in recent days give the feeling that Palestinian blood may be shed with impunity.
Hitting the wall (Ari Shavit, Haaretz) Israel will sober up, eventually. But apparently this will only happen after it hits the wall.
There has never been an Israeli left (Anat Saragusti, Haaretz) The facts do not corroborate the common belief that the state was founded by the left.
If not left, then Livni (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) It's fine to have reservations about Livni. Personally, I'm not going to vote for her. But Livni is the only alternative for people who think that "left" is a four-letter word.
Long road to Tehran (Eitan Ben-Eliyahu, Ynet) Any US military campaign to halt Iran's nuclear program will be accompanied by diplomacy.
Slick and Threatening (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) By positing that Israel is at an apocalyptic crossroads, and that Israel is pigheadedly making wrong and dangerous choices, the international Left is setting the stage for "wiser" actors to intervene "to save Israel in spite of itself."
Debate the flaws of the Left, not just the Right (Gil Troy, Haaretz) It's time to stop the hysterical defensiveness of Progressive Zionists, those self-styled defenders of democracy, who betray their contempt for democratic discourse when they go ballistic when anyone dares criticize them.
Obama's timing no coincidence (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) A week before the Knesset election, U.S. President Barack Obama has given support to Israel's opposition parties.
Root cause of disheartening politics (Gidi Grinstein, Ynet) The 34 parties that stand for election next week distinguish themselves by inciting and polarizing.
Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu: U.S. Jews are fed up with not being valued (Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, Haaretz) In your post-election Knesset speech, address directly the Reform and Conservative majority of American Jews - the heart of our Jewish family and the core of Jewish support for Israel - and who are finished being understanding and patient while Israel's official representatives offend them and denigrate their religious practices.
Slandering Israel abroad (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) Is someone from home trying to help Obama to drive a wedge between Netanyahu and his "gangsters, messianists and medievalists?"
When an Oscar drives a wedge between Israeli and American Jews (Joel Braunold, Haaretz) The publicity spurned by Oscar nominations will bring two Israeli films into the view of prime-time audiences, revealing a truth that will cause American Jews to doubt the good intentions of the people and government of Israel.
Not mad, just short on money (Yaakov Ahimeir, Israel Hayom) Senator Rand Paul's proposal to gradually stem the flow of aid dollars to Israel should be seen in the proper context.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.