APN's daily news review from Israel
Friday February 1, 2013
Quote of the day:
Taking human life without justification damages the legitimacy of the IDF's actions in the territories, in the eyes of both Israeli society and the international community.
-- Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon, head of the Israel Defense Force's Central Command, writes a letter to his officers, asking them to show restraint instead of shooting Palestinians, Haaretz reports.**
Front Page News:
- To be continued - While Iran and Syria threaten Israel in response to the strike attributed to it; the US warns President Assad: Stop transfer of weapons to Hezbollah
- Why did Israel attack now?...Hezbollah did not disappear // Amos Harel
- Be quiet when your enemies fall // Amir Oren
- UN report: Put sanctions on Israel because of settlements
- Battle of princes: Netanyahu and Lapid agree on almost nothing // Yossi Verter
- Medical committees will be able to prevent fertility treatment from couples with disabilities
- Price of privatization in youth village (boarding school): neglect, mold and lack of supervision
- Report on pollution from refineries - cases of cancer from air pollution
- Lesson in hatred: Comparison between Israeli and Palestinian school books
- Hall of injustice - Ordeal of cleaning ladies of the courts till they receive their salaries
- Jews planted overnight - European Judaism through a small and forgotten hotel in Rome
- 1/4 page ad: Invitation to tours, Hebrew and English - Two states for two peoples? Come experience the day-to-day life of two peoples in the West Bank...Machsomwatchtours@gmail.com
- High tension - Despite the belief that Syria and Hezbollah won't retaliate immediately for the strike on the weapons convoy, IDF is not taking chances: Northern Command declared high alert....
- Battleline // Nahum Barnea
- One-time show // Alex Fishman
- El-Al: The security guard becomes a partner
- Their hero - For one full hour the soldiers of Captain Ziv Shilon applauded their commander at a ceremony that was postponed three months till the injured officer was able to attend
- The teacher of the country, teacher of life - Yedioth/Ynet readers can nominate
- Iran threatens to attack Tel-Aviv, IDF prepares for shooting from Lebanon (Hebrew)
- The campaign between campaigns // Amir Rappaport
- Heart of regional discrimination // Nadav Eyal
- Exchanges in the Prime Minister's Office: Tzvi Hauser announced his resignation (Hebrew)
- Former El-Al security guard on the way to becoming owner of the national airline
- Despite the promise to Kahlon: "Yesh Atid" also demands the Israel Lands Authority (Hebrew)
- Battle in Likud echelons: Erdan, Saar and Steinitz candidates for Minister of Finance (Hebrew)
- Pressure in Shas - Eli Yishai: We will give up my position (as minister) in exchange for a compromise on draft
- Who is behind the UN Human Rights Report that rules that settlement violate international law and they must be evacuated? // Ben-Dror Yemini (Hebrew)
- US US in message to Assad: "Don't transfer weapons to Hezbollah" - Damascus and Teheran threaten: Attack in Syria will not pass without a response
- In Syria and in Hezbollah they prefer to avoid from war at the moment // Yoav Limor
- Hagel's Iranian slip // Boaz Bismouth
- Within a few days: Two combat battalion commanders dismissed - Five Lt. Colonels dismissed in last two years
- Netanyahu to received the mandate to form a coalition on Saturday night; 82 MKs endorsed him
- Israel on UN Human Rights report: "Flagrantly biased and one-sided"
- The charges: (Ramat Gan mayor) Tzvi Bar took 2 million shekels in bribes
- Rain, flooding - and snow: Winter is back, big time
High tension in Israel after strike on Syria, UN committee calls to sanction Israel for settlements and a former El-Al security guard became the main owner of the national airline, making top stories in Israeli papers Friday morning. Meanwhile, Haaretz reports on another IDF commander who called for restraint in shooting Palestinians.
Syria has threatened to retaliate for the Israeli airstrike in its territory. Syrian sources claimed the strike on the 'research center' was meant to test the country's air-defense capabilities, but failed to damage military labs. As Yedioth's Alex Fishman writes, the strike was so sophisticated that no official Syrian spokesperson is able to show evidence of the bombing of the weapons convoy and cannot explain the contradictions between the Syrian reports on the attack on the military facility near Damascus and the convoy destined for Hezbollah. "Maybe there were two different events made by two different sources and maybe it was one event and the convoy was next to the military facility," writes Fishman. What is certain, he says, is that this was a 'one-time show' and it cannot be repeated without 'lighting up the region.' The attack or attacks was meant to tell Syria it cannot transfer weapons to Hezbollah, he writes. Syria has threatened to retaliate against Israel and the Deputy Iranian Foreign Minister said the strike will have 'surprise implications' for Israel.
The Arab League condemned the bombing and demanded that Syria be paid for damage. Egypt's Foreign Minister said the airstrike was a danger to Mideast security. But the US warned Syria not to transfer weapons to Hezbollah. On the eve of her last day in office, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton accused Iran of playing a prominent role in the Syria violence and warned of a larger regional conflict, but refrained from commenting on reports of the Israeli airstrike. Haaretz's Jacky Khoury writes that Assad has unlikely allies: Israel and an opposition leader because the attack inadvertently threw the Syrian president a lifeline, just as rebel Syrian groups sought a nonviolent solution to the civil war.
Israel's Northern Command, meanwhile, is on high alert and Israelis in the north have been cleaning out bomb shelters. Yedioth reports that all Israeli embassies around the world are on high alert, particularly in Buenos Aires, London, Baku and New Delhi, and diplomats were instructed to be aware. One diplomat said, "We think twice about whether to go to the park with the kids." Assad supporters have already taken revenge: Hackers attacked websites of Israeli guesthouses in the north. And, Iran announced it plans to speed up its nuclear fuel work.
A UN panel has concluded that Israeli settlements are illegal. The first report by the UN Human Rights Committee's fact-finding mission' on settlements said settlements exist exclusively for the exclusive benefit of Israeli Jews, creating a system of total segregation. The mission called on Israel to remove all settlers at once and it called for sanctions on Israel if it does not. Haaretz's Barak Ravid writes that the report paves the way for sanctions and further isolation. Palestinians felt vindicated by the report. Hanan Ashrawi said the report proves Israel carries out 'ethnic cleansing' in the West Bank and that even if Israel boycotts the council and ignores its report, it can't ignore that it is now isolated even further, Haaretz writes. The Fatah movement said the "rules of conflict have changed." Conservative commentator Ben-Dror Yemini writes on page three of Maariv that a great deal of the information on which the committee based its conclusions comes from "anti-Zionist organizations and Haaretz newspaper."(Hebrew) Yemini also blames the government for avoiding evacuating settlement outpsots, which he says causes "policy defeats." Yemini also says that those who initiated the investigation committee "are not known for being supporters of the two-state solution. Au contraire, they are from the camp whose problem is not the occupation, but the very existence of Israel as a state for the Jews."
For the second time in a week, a high-ranking IDF commander instructed his officers to show restraint before opening fire on Palestinians, Haaretz reported. Head of the IDF Central Command Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon's instruction followed four incidents where soldiers killed unarmed Palestinians in last two weeks. In a letter sent to the commanders earlier this week, Alon told them to instruct their soldiers to strictly adhere to the IDF's rules of engagement. Four separate Military Police investigations have been opened into the four incidents. In three of the cases - a youth killed in the village of Budrus near Ramallah, a young woman shot in Al Aroub near Bethlehem and a young man shot next to the separation fence south of Hebron - serious violations of the IDF's standing orders on when to open fire were found, writes Haaretz. On January 25th, News Nosh translated an article in Maariv, which reported that Brig. Gen. Hagai Mordechai, Commander of the Judea and Samaria region, told his officers the same: Sharpen the rules of engagement for opening fire. (NRG Hebrew)
- Senate panel holds confirmation hearing for Chuck Hagel - At Senate Armed Services Committee panel on Thursday, the former Republican senator nominated by U.S. President Obama to become the next defense secretary promised to ensure Israel's qualitative military edge if confirmed, and assured his policy on Iran is prevention, not containment. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Lapid: Most Israelis support a two-state solution - In interview with US TIme magazine, Lapid also predicts he will be prime minister one day. (NRG Hebrew)
- Netanyahu's cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser to resign - Announcement comes after Zvi Hauser, who was one of three officials to inform attorney general of Natan Eshel's alleged sexual harassment, chose not submit candidacy for Likud Knesset list. (Haaretz)
- Rabbi Ovadia Yosef hints at compromise on ultra-Orthodox IDF draft - Shas spiritual leader in letter to President Shimon Peres: 'Not every Haredi is entitled to exemption from military service'; Bennett tells president during their consultations that he recommends tapping Netanyahu to form next coalition. (Haaretz)
- Shas Minister Yishai: We'll give up ministry for yeshivas - Shas party leader says religious party 'must join next coalition' to 'prevent rift in the nation.' (Ynet)
- U.S. Jewish donor to Upper Nazareth threatens to cut funding after mayor opposes Arab school - Don Green says the Israeli town should heed local demands and build a school for Arab children. (Haaretz)
- (Immigrant) Absorption Ministry: Jewish Agency activities encourage Israelis who emigrated to stay abroad - Ministry claims the investment in creating community frameworks for Israelis who left Israel harms the efforts to bring them back. (Maariv, p. 8)
- Israel falls near bottom of press freedom rankings - The Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index ranked Israel 112 out of 179 countries, 20 spots lower than last year, due largely to Operation Pillar of Defense and a new ranking methodology. (Haaretz)
- Israel's Iranian weapon - Persian-Israeli singer Rita to perform at the UN General Assembly on March 5th. She will sing Persian songs from her latest album and her big hits. (Yedioth, p. 16)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.