APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday February 7, 2013
Number of the day:
--The number of civilian deaths the IDF revealed it is probing out of the 164 Palestinians killed in Operation Pillar of Cloud.**
Front Page News:
- (Netanyahu's top security advisor) Amidror: Construction in settlements causes political damage
- Turkel Commission: Political echelons responsible for preventing soldiers' crimes
- White House: Obama will not bring with him new peace initiative
- An attempt to help the IDF // Amos Harel
- On the use of force // Aeyal Gross
- Education Ministry did not translate social studies to English - Arab teachers forced to teach in Hebrew
- Rare scenery of salt flats is disappearing from the country
- Who are the "zugarim' (unwed couples living together) and why did their number more than double in the last decade?
- The meeting, the dispute - Effort for breakthrough as Netanyahu and Lapid meet today to advance the coalition negotiations
- The great compensation - Following Yedioth investigative report of the psychiatric pills: Producers of 'Big Brother' reality show to pay 3 participants 2.15 million shekels
- Surfing experience - A first look into the office of Google Tel-Aviv that spoils its employees
- Singer Shmulik Krauss fighting for his life
- Tomorrow: This is how theft of smartphones has become a phenomenon across the country
- (Prawer) Plan to formalize the status of Bedouin settlement in the Negev - is not implementable - Half the land the state committed to transfer to the Bedouin are not available (Hebrew)
- Between Damascus and Haifa - Tension in North: Authorities ordered to evacuate the civil airport in Haifa and Rambam Hospital is completing an atomic shelter [Before and after satellite photos of place where arms convoy bombed in Syria)
- Parting from the Judge Professor Menahem Alon, who passed away (Ynet)
- Two weeks since the report on the rape of a little girl in Modiin Illit, the concern and fear in the "city of ultra-Orthodox children' rises (Hebrew)
- Day after: 44 MKs who parted yesterday from the Knesset answered the question: What do they intend to do tomorrow?
- Netanyahu to Lapid: Come, with the ultra-Orthodox
- White House: Obama won't bring a new (peace) initiative to Israel
- "I made up everything, the five-year-old was not raped," says supervisor of kindergartens in Modiin Illit; investigation continues
- Abu Mazen met with Ahmedinejad in Egypt and invited him to an 'historic visit' in Ramallah
- Within a decade: Jump of 2.5x in number of unwed couples living together
A key meeting today between Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid and the announcement that US President Barack Obama won't be coming with a new peace plan were the top stories in Israeli newspapers today. Also, the Turkel Committee makes some interesting suggestions regarding use of force by Israeli soldiers and an Israeli ambassador tries to stop airport harassment of foreign tourists.
The papers expressed surprise that the White House announced that Obama's scheduled March visit is not connected to efforts to restart Mideast peace talks. White House spokesman Jay Carney said that Iran and Syria will be the topics of discussion. This comes one day after US Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, said the opposite. Maariv writes that people in Washington find it hard to believe that peace negotiations will not be a main topic, particularly after US Vice President Joe Biden spoke at US Secretary of State John Kerry's swearing-in of the hope that "we will make peace between Israel and the Palestinians during Kerry's term."
Netanyahu's closest advisor, Ron Dermer, decided to leave the Prime Minister's Bureau after Obama's visit. Dermer requested to be appointed the ambassador to the US, instead of Amb. Michael Oren, who finishes his position this summer. Maariv writes he likely won't get the job because he is seen in a bad light by the US administration since he is believed to be behind the alleged intervention of Netanyahu in the US elections with Netanyahu's support for the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney. The papers write that Obama has no intention of holding a joint summit with Netanyahu and Abbas.
A US team has already arrived to begin coordinating the three-day visit, during which Obama will also make a short visit to Palestinan President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. Yedioth writes that the Americans are open to the President visiting a number of sites during his visit. The Americans want him to visit Mt. Herzl and Yad Vashem and to meet with children and representatives of the various ethnicities. The Foreign Ministry has offered 30 different sites. Yedioth further writes that the a fight has erupted between the offices of the Prime Minister and President Shimon Peres over who is the official host and who will hold the State meal in his honor. The other question is where Obama will give a speech. The Knesset wants to host it, but Obama wants to speak directly with Israelis, so he will likely prefer to speak before students, "above the Prime Minister's head," writes Yedioth. Michelle and the couple's daughters will not be joining Obama for the trip.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu's top security adviser Yaakov Amidror reportedly said that settlements impede Western support of Israel, Haaretz reported. Amidror, who spoke in closed-door discussions in the Prime Minister's Office, said he was very worried about Israel's deteriorating international standing. Interestingly, Amidror has long been considered politically right-wing, but in his work as national security advisor he has taken a very moderate line, writes Haaretz, based on the professional analyses done by his own staff, the Foreign Ministry and the defense establishment. Amidror and Isaac Molho are scheduled to visit Washington ahead of Obama's visit to Israel to prepare the diplomatic agenda - especially on Syrian, Iranian issues - and discuss ideas for restarting peace process, writes Haaretz.
The other big news was the meeting being held today between Netanyahu and Lapid. One Likud source told Haaretz that Obama's arrival paves the way for Yair Lapid into the coalition government. Likud sources said that without Lapid in government, the peace process and universal service are no-go zones. Netanyahu is going to ask Lapid to be more flexible on the draft of the ultra-Orthodox, because, he says, the ultra-Orthodox are needed in government. Ynet writes that Netanyahu wants a broad coalition with Lapid, Habayit Hayehudi's Naftali Bennett, the ultra-Orthodox parties, Tzipi Livni's Hatnuah party, and Shaul Mofaz of Kadima. A source told Ynet that the goals of the next government are peace negotiations and 'sharing the burden' (ultra-Orthodox draft) and "He believes achieving these two goals will be impossible if the government will hinge on ultra-Orthodox cooperation." The Knesset will only begin its proceedings in April, writes Israel Hayom.
The State commission probing the 2010 Marmara raid in which Israeli soldiers killed nine Turks, issued a second report, which said
that in future probes, the political echelon could be held criminally responsible for alleged IDF war crimes. It suggested using legislation to establish new norms of accountability. Haaretz writes that the defense and intelligence officials are expressing their reservations. Haaretz also writes:
Part of the report deals with the interrogations conducted by the Shin Bet security service. The committee recommends significantly increasing the external oversight of Shin Bet investigations, adding that complaints by those interrogated should be transferred to the Justice Ministry department for the investigation of police officers. The panel also states that contrary to current procedure, all Shin Bet interrogations should be videotaped, under guidelines to be determined by the attorney general in coordination with the head of the Shin Bet.
An Israeli ambassador has taken an unusual step of demanding answers from his government for the humiliation of Dutch tourists at an Israeli airport. "We stood in the cold for a long time, half-naked and humiliated," wrote the Dutch couple in a complaint to the Israeli embassy in Holland. "After we completely undressed they left us in a room, naked, and asked us to admit that the luggage was not ours. My girlfriend had to undress in front of boys and they left the curtain open so everyone could see she was half naked. After an hour they let us go without any explanation as to why we were interrogated." Following this letter and others that arrived at the Israeli Embassy in Holland, Amb. Haim Dibon wrote the CEO of the Foreign Ministry. "This is not another case of impoliteness. This is evil..." He called on the Foreign Ministry to make a campaign on being nice to tourists. Until he gets a response, he said he will invite the couple to the embassy and he will apologize to them.
- **IDF probing deaths of 70 Palestinian civilians - Military Advocate General stresses army under lo legal obligation to conduct inquiry, says probe doesn't suggest any violation of the law during Pillar of Cloud, only commitment to international law. Palestinians reported 164 fatalities and 1,200 injuries in operation. (Ynet)
- IDF breaks pledge to remove two illegal fences around W. Bank settlements preventing Palestinians from reaching their land - IDF completed its preparatory work and passed project on to Defense Ministry for approval of funding, but request has not gone through; IDF never informed High Court that it would be unable to meet timetable. (Haaretz)
- Member of Bat Ayin underground (Jewish terrorist group) approved for early release - Ofer Gamliel, convicted of attempting to set off explosives at (a Palestinian) girls' school, is approved for early release for good behavior. (Haaretz)
- The Yiddish cartdriver's last hurrah - Minister Yisrael Katz seeks legislation to ban horse-drawn vehicles on city streets. Cites animal cruelty and traffic jams as main reasons for new law. (Israel Hayom)
- Sara Netanyahu's fashion faux pas creates controversy - Shas Leader Aryeh Deri says preoccupation with PM's wife's revealing dress improper; Minister Limor Livnat accuses critics of chauvinism. (Ynet)
- Israel's Education Ministry neglects to translate civics curriculum into Arabic - Ministry says translation of one book to become available soon, but disclaims responsibility for second book, which was published by a private company. (Haaretz)
- Hebrew University takes its place in stars - Former alum names asteroid in honor of university, with appropriate moniker of 'Hebrewu.' (Ynet)
- Labor Party dismissed party members who supported other parties - Labor Party members who announced on Facebook they were voting for another party received a letter from Labor CEO, Hilik Bar, dismissing them from the party and its institutions. (Israel Hayom, p. 3)
- IDF orders evacuation of civilian aircraft from Haifa airport - Citing security concerns, the Israeli Airports Authority has instructed all civilian planes making use of the northern airport to divert to other airports. Lebanese reports: Israeli warplanes conducting mock raids over Nabatiyeh. (Israel Hayom)
- "If the racism can't be stopped, Beitar should not exist" -Deputy State Attorney and Beitar Jerusalem soccer fan, Eli Abarbanel, says racism among fans against Arabs can be stopped by preventing 300-400 problematic fans from coming. (Maariv, p. 10)
- Four Israeli citizens living in Gaza challenge ban on visiting family - One converted to Islam and married Palestinian, three sisters moved to Gaza with Palestinian father after Israeli mother died. (Haaretz)
- Israel applies for 2nd astronaut - Jewish state in talks with world's space agencies to send Israeli astronaut to International Space Station. (Ynet)
- IDF to post first 'cyberdefense' officers to its regional commands - Officers will be under the direct command of the army's Computer Service Directorate. (Israel Hayom)
- Bulgaria: Burgas bombers are living in Lebanon - Two living suspects behind the 2012 bombing at the Bulgarian resort town, which killed five Israeli tourists and their Bulgarian bus driver, belong to Hezbollah, says Bulgarian security official. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Hezbollah: Burgas bombing charges are part of Israeli smear campaign - Deputy of the Lebanese Islamist militant group dismisses Bulgaria's accusation that Hezbollah is responsible for an attack that killed five Israeli tourists. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
- Criticism in Lebanon: Where is Hezbollah leading us? From Burgas to Beirut, critics slam Hezbollah for attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria and its influence on Lebanon. (Ynet)
- Survey: Last decade saw 60% rise in number of single new moms - 5,050 single women living alone gave birth to children in 2011, as compared to 2,600 in 2000 • There were 13,500 single moms in 2011 raising kids under 17 as compared to 8,400 in 2000. (Israel Hayom)
- Protests erupt in Tunisia after opposition leader assassinated - Chokri Belaid, a critic of the Islamist-led government, was killed outside his home; this marks the first assassination in post-revolutionary Tunisia. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Fighting erupts in Damascus following suicide attack on Syrian intelligence building - Clashes follow a suicide car bomb attack on a military intelligence compound in the city of Palmyra that caused dozens of casualties, Syrian opposition activists say. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Turkey: Patriot on our land will not protect Israel - In wake of criticism from opposition, Iran, Turkish Defense Minister promises NATO's Patriot anti-missile battery on Syrian border won't shoot down Iranian missiles. (Ynet)
- Palestinian president, in Cairo, mixes up names of Morsi and Mubarak - Mahmoud Abbas, in Cairo for an Islamic summit, makes an awkward gaffe as he thanks Egyptian president for his support of the Palestinian cause. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Abbas thanks Iran for backing PA's UN bid - Palestinian president meets with Iranian leader in Cairo six months after two's first meeting. 'Iran is ready to annihilate Israel if it attacks one of the Islamic nations,' Ahmadinejad says. (Ynet)
- Ahmadinejad: Iran already a nuclear state, but has no intention of launching attack on Israel - In interview with Al-Ahram on eve of Islamic Summit Conference in Cairo, Iranian president also says his country opposes outside intervention in Syria. (Haaretz)
- Iran, West agree to resume nuclear talks Feb. 26 in Kazakhstan - U.S. State Department: "Our view is it's time for Iran to discuss substance." Senior Iranian official: "The [West] will never want real dialogue and negotiations." (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
- Despite sanction, Iran offers Egypt aid package - Iranian President Ahmadinejad offers Egypt's Morsi to use Tehran's 'expertise' to boost struggling economy; asserts Islamic Republic is a nuclear power. (Agencies, Ynet)
Yusuf and the dreams
Arab, Christian, married to a Jewish woman - actor Yusuf Sweid escapes nametags, prefers that you think about him foremost as a father. And when he dreams about the future of his little son, Alexander, who was both circumicized and baptized, he mainly sees his own past. Now he's opening acting classes in his living room. (By Danny Spector in Yedioth, '24 days' supplement)
Obama's visit to Israel is better late than never (Haaretz Editorial) After four years as U.S. president, Barack Obama is hastening to try to save Israel from itself; centrist parties wishing to join the coalition must now pay their dues and embark on a diplomatic rescue mission.
Anything but 'anything but Shas' (Ari Shavit, Haaretz) It's impossible to march toward a diplomatic horizon with brother Naftali Bennett and sister Orit Strock of Habayit Hayehudi. It's impossible to advance toward a diplomatic horizon if we prefer hating the Haredim to stopping the settlers. The obligation of the Zionist center is not to exclude Shas, but to embrace it.
No smiles, please (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) There's a danger lurking for Israel - the smiley government.
A diplomatic visit with political consequences (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) It appears that the Obama administration is encouraging Netanyahu to include the Center-Left in his coalition.
Bloomberg's friendly advice to pro-Israel, anti-BDS protesters: shut up! (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz) NYC mayor says vocal campaign against Brooklyn College BDS forum has 'created a monster;' tells politicians who threatened to cut funding for school to 'go to North Korea.'
After hating Israel, nothing in common (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) Shiite Islam, led by Ahmadinejad's Iran, considers Morsi's Sunni Muslim Brotherhood movement as an enemy.
Ahmadinejad in Egypt: Not the start of a beautiful friendship (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi knows that an overly close relationship with Iran could hurt him.
Obama's Israel visit will be the moment of truth for Netanyahu (Itamar Rabinovich, Haaretz) The upcoming presidential visit represents an unprecedented attempt to shape an Israeli coalition amenable to the peace process. Resolving the conflict, in Obama's view, is key to the U.S. relationship with the Arab and Muslim worlds.
Kerry determined to resolve conflict (Yitzhak Benhorin, Ynet) Unlike Obama, top US diplomat has not lost faith in stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The Turkel report: A no-confidence vote in the IDF's internal investigations (Amos Harel, Haaretz) The second part of the Turkel report could have long-term ramifications for how Palestinian deaths are investigated, but its fate will be in the hands of Netanyahu's next government.
Turkel panel calls for IDF commanders to take greater responsibility (Aeyal Gross, Haaretz) Report concludes there is room for improvement in the way Israel investigates IDF conduct, but stops short of calling for major overhaul that some legal experts say is necessary to ensure independent, impartial probes.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.