APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday February 27, 2013
Quote of the day:
"Occupation is slavery. In the name of occupation, generation after generation of Palestinians have been treated as property. They can be moved at will, shackled at will, tortured at will, have their families separated at will. "
--Haaretz's Bradley Burston comes to new understandings after seeing the film, 'Lincoln.'**
Front Page News:
- European consuls call to impose economic sanctions on settlements
- Palestinian restraint // Amira Hass
- Israel's (Atomic Energy Commission) violated the (gag) order it requested // Barak Ravid
- Saar letter revealed as fake, claims in it won't be investigated
- Vote contractor in Habayit Hayehudi claimed that he also helped Likud MK
- UN demands explanations from Israel on repatriation of Sudanese to their country
- Obstacle removed: Hagel on way to Pentagon (NYT)
- Lack of hours of sleep hurts body's genetic functioning
- Mother of young woman from Ashdod who was identified as Alexandra Brandt is missing for two days
- Letter against Saar is fake
- "Nasrallah hospitalized in Iran"
- Vote contractor: I also worked with a Likud MK
- Yaron London's secret son (Friday)
- Holyland trial - Judge: Many of the indicted would be willing to change places with Olmert
- Choosing a queen - 20 candidates to compete for "2013 Beauty Queen" title
- Police Commissioner: Letter against Education Minister is fake (Hebrew)
- Vote contractor to investigators: "I received cash, MK Slomiansky acted as the head of an octopus"
- Yesh Atid's suspicious demand from Likud: Cancel the agreement with Livni (Hebrew)
- "They called me and asked if I were willing to enter Nablus alone. I was scared, I could have become another Gild Shalit" - Dr. Micha Shamir was transferred during the height of the riots by helicopter...to treat a Palestinian who was shot (Hebrew)
- Hezbollah denies reports about Nasrallah's state: He is healthy and did not travel to Iran
- The Israeli winner at the Oscars: Yael Melamed abandoned architecture for the golden trophy (Friday)
- "Iran activated its Plan B for the bomb" - UK's Daily Telegraph reports today
- Police Commissioner: "Letter against Saar is fake"
- Vote contractor testified: I met with other politicians, there was a meeting with Bennett
- Possible proposal: If they aren't drafted, they won't be funded
- They navigated their way to the top: Waze won the title of best app
- Almost 70,000 people signed letter for release of Pollard to be sent to Obama
- After weeks of battles: Hagel's appointment as Secretary of Defense - approved
- The second charge against Rabbi Moti Alon was dropped
The fabricated letter to get rid of the education minister, another vote-buying incrimination and reports that Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah is sick with cancer were top stories in Israeli papers today. Meanwhile, clashes died down in the West Bank, but a rocket flew out of Gaza, the EU consuls recommended economic sanctions on Israeli settlements and Maariv reports that an Israeli doctor was secretly flown into the Palestinian city of Nablus to save a young man's life.
The day after the funeral of Arafat Jaradat, who died in the hands of the Shin Bet on Saturday, only sporadic clashes took place across the West Bank. A senior IDF officer told Haaretz that the violence that had raged across the West Bank was waning, but far from over. The Central Command officer blamed the Palestinians' economic situation and the diplomatic impasse for the recent outbreak of clashes between Palestinians and IDF soldiers - and not the hunger-striking Palestinians in Israeli jails or the man accused of throwing stones who died in Megiddo prison.
But a surprise single rocket flew out of Gaza and landed in a field of Ashkelon. It was the first rocket since the end of the Israeli operation against Gaza in November, after Hamas and Israel made an agreement. Fatah's military wing, Al-Aqsa Brigades, claimed responsibility for the lone rocket. In a statement carried by the Palestinian news agency Maan, the group said it was a response to Jaradat's death at the Megiddo prison on Saturday. Interestingly, Hamas refused to acknowledge the breach of the agreement, saying that Israel lied about the rocket and that it was an attempt by to divert attention from the unrest in the W. Bank, Ynet's Elior Levy reported. Haaretz's military commentator Amos Harel wrote that Hamas leadership still wants to maintain the cease-fire that ended the November conflict.
On the same day that Jaradat died in an Israeli jail, settlers attacked locals in the Palestinian village of Qusra. They fired live ammunition and seriously wounded a 27-year-old Palestinian man. The next day, as riots took place across the West Bank over Jaradat's death, Dr. Micha Shamir got a call asking if he would agree to be secretly smuggled alone into the city of Nablus to save a young man's life. "I didn't think twice," he told Maariv. The wounded man, whose name was not given, was transferred to a hospital in Nablus, but his condition worsened and the hospital had asked for Israel's help. "Israel apparently wanted very badly to save him," said Shamir, an anesthesiologist at Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital. [Maariv mistakenly wrote the young man was wounded on Sunday. - OH] In coordination with the mayor of Nablus and Israel's Civil Administration his secret entry into the city was arranged with an escort of Palestinian police officers. Inside Nablus an undercover car awaited the Israeli team, which raced through the city to the hospital, passing Palestinians demonstrating against IDF soldiers at the military checkpoint. Shamir told Maariv of his fear: "The entry into Nablus was unpleasant and there were moments of fear." Once at the hospital, Shamir and Israeli paramedic Moshe Salah spent one hour stabilizing the young man. When they left the hospital the Israeli twosome noticed many people standing outside the hospital. "When we went in no one knew who we were, but when we left they did." Nevertheless, the operation continued without any hitches. The Israeli team and the injured man were transferred to a Red Crescent ambulance and from there to an IDF base just outside of Nablus. "The escort we were given would have put the Prime Minister's convoy to shame," concluded Shamir, noting there was another ambulance acting as a diversion near where a demonstration was taking place. "Police cars escorted us, along with police on motorcycles." A helicopter with combat soldiers from Unit 669 took them to Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem. The Palestinian man is still in serious condition, but Shamir says his chance of recovering are much higher at the Hadassah Hospital than they were at the local hospital in Nablus. (NRG Hebrew)
Ynet gave an extensive report Saturday on the attack by settlers from Shilo and the Esh Kodesh outpost on the village of Qusra. Ynet also showed the young man's x-rays from the Nablus Hospital and a photo of the bullet and interviewed the Palestinian doctor. A Palestinian teenager was also wounded, shot by a rubber bullet to the eye. The article also quoted the settler 'news' agency, Tafnit, which gave an entirely different version of the events (surprise! - OH).
It is this sort of violence that led the European consuls to recommend to the 27 EU member states to "prevent" all financial transactions that support Israel's settlement activities in the West Bank. In a just released report for 2012 that focuses on Israeli construction in E-1, policy in East Jerusalem and the endangering of the two-state solution, the heads of mission here called to actively encourage European divestment from settlements. (More from Israel Hayom and Haaretz.)
- Arab woman attacked by Jewish women in Jerusalem - Two days after a lynch by Jewish youth of an Arab man in Tel-Aviv, another attack by Jewish youth on an Arab woman in Jerusalem. 'Religious woman punched her face,' says passer-by. Photos submitted to the police by an eyewitness evidently showed young (religious) Jewish women attacking an Arab woman at a light rail station; passersby and lightrail security did not intervene. (Haaretz and YnetPhotos)
- Israel denies entry to American teacher working in West Bank - After failing to satisfactorily answer security questions, the American daughter of Palestinians was turned away from Israel en route to her job teaching English in Ramallah. (Haaretz)
- 63,000 Israelis sign 'Free Pollard' petition - Ahead of US President Barack Obama's visit to Israel, calls to use opportunity to convince him to free Israeli spy grow louder. (Yedioth, Ynet)
- UN urges independent probe of Palestinian death - World body's political chief says Israel must conduct 'transparent' investigation into prisoner Arafat Jaradat's death; calls Tuesday's Gaza rocket fire on Ashkelon 'troubling.' (Ynet)
- UN demands Israel explain secret deportation of Sudanese migrants - Israeli human rights activists and politicians blast deportation as immoral and in violation basic obligations under international law; no response has yet been received from Netanyahu or Interior Minister Yishai. (Haaretz)
- Israel repatriates six Syrians treated for civil war wounds - Another Syrian remains under Israeli medical care with severe wounds sustained in the insurgency against Syrian President Bashar Assad, according to an IDF statement. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Burglars may have stolen secret info from top nuclear official - Victim tells police that intruders stole communication device, briefcase and his wallet from home in Moshav Beit Yitzhak near Netanya. (Israel Hayom)
- Police: Letter accusing Sa'ar of inappropriate conduct fake - Commissioner Danino says document claiming education minister had inappropriate relations with employee in his office 'definitely a forgery. (Ynet)
- Lieberman on 'Prisoner X': No one disappears in Israel - Former FM says State's conduct in Ben Zygier case was 'without fault'; adds Iran stalling nuclear talks. (Ynet)
- Survey shows Israeli Jews becoming more superstitious - In the past 15 years, the number of Jews who profess belief in irrational concepts -- defined as beliefs ungrounded in science -- has grown from 44 percent to 50%. Israeli Jews becoming less supportive of state religious institutions. (Israel Hayom)
- Holyland judge hints the case against Olmert is weak - The judge presiding over the Holyland corruption case against former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert suggested the prosecution did not have strong evidence - the first clear indication of his thinking on the case. (Haaretz)
- 'Harlem Shake' gets the shakedown by IDF commanders - Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai circulates memo to army commanders telling them to prevent soldiers from uploading "visual content unbecoming of the spirit of the IDF" to social media websites. (Israel Hayom)
- Kerry: Obama planning to 'listen', not present peace plan, on Israel trip - As tensions in West Bank rise, Kerry lowers expectations ahead of Obama's Mideast trip, says he hopes to proceed 'calmly.' (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Israel will lose $175 million in U.S. foreign aid due to sequestration cuts - Cuts in foreign aid and direct defense allocations will take effect on Friday if Obama and Congress don't reach compromise deal. (Haaretz)
- US Senate confirms Hagel as secretary of defense - Senators back Obama's controversial nomination by 57-41 vote. Sen. Coats: He has an embarrassing lack of knowledge about our Iran policy. (Agencies, Ynet)
- U.S. Vice President Joe Biden to address AIPAC conference - Outgoing Defense Minister Ehud Barak also scheduled to speak at American pro-Israel lobby group's annual policy event; Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to deliver video message. (Haaretz)
- Egypt-Gaza tunnels must be destroyed, Cairo court rules - An estimated 30 percent of goods that reach Gaza's 1.7 million Palestinians come through the tunnels, circumventing the blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt for more than seven years. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Reports: Nasrallah flown to Iran for cancer treatment - Turkish news agency quotes sources 'close to Hezbollah' as saying terror group leader was admitted to private hospital in Beirut and later flown to Tehran; Lebanese website says he has cancer. (Ynet)
- Mugniyeh's fateful last words made public - New report lends ironic tone to Hezbollah arch-terrorist's last moments as Saudi network says his last words were 'I'll be back in a few minutes'. (Ynet)
- Iran missile experts set up camp in Gaza to aid Hamas and Islamic Jihad, report says - Israel security and diplomatic sources confirm the Iranian presence, as reported by Walla!, but won't release any more information; this is not the first instance of Iranian emissaries in Gaza, Walla! quoted the sources as saying. (Haaretz)
- Researchers: Stuxnet used against Iran in 2007 - Computer virus attacked Iran's Natanz facility two years earlier than previously thought, Symantec researchers say. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Iran pursuing nuclear bomb through plutonium production, new satellite images reveal - British newspaper Daily Telegraph releases satellite footage indicating that a heavy-water factory is in operation at nuclear plant near Arak, an element in the production of plutonium, an alternative to uranium used to build nuclear bombs. (Haaretz)
- Big powers offer Iran some sanctions relief, await reply - Western diplomats describe first day of nuclear talks in Kazakhstan as 'useful,' but say Iranian negotiators did not immediately respond to P51's demand that Tehran close underground Fordo facility. (Agencies, Ynet)
- World powers, Iran wrap up crunch nuclear talks - Two days of talks in Kazakhstan conclude with no sign of breakthrough; experts to meet in Istanbul in mid-March, negotiations to resume early April. (Agencies, Ynet)
Coalition-forming and other Inside Politics Quickees:
- Lapid also opposes agreement between Netanyahu and Livni - After Bennett made clear he won't accept Livni being responsible for negotiations with the Palestinians, Yesh Atid says it also opposes and also won't agree to Livni's party getting two ministries. Meaning: Agreement between Netanyahu and Livni in danger. (Maariv, p. 1/NRG Hebrew)
- Bennett confirms hiring private eye to examine vote-buying claims - The private investigator's firm was apparently hired by Habayit Hateyhudi leader associates during the height of Bennett's campaign to wrest the party leadership from former chairman Zevulun Orlev. (Haaretz)
- Lost race? Lapid acting to get chosen leader of opposition - Over last few days, both Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich have been trying to convince leaders of Meretz, Hadash and the Arab parties to support them to be chairperson of the opposition. By law, the chair does not automatically go to the largest party, but to the one that has the most support from the other opposition parties. (Israel Hayom)
- Poll: Lapid to get 24 mandates, up from 19 - According to Channel 2 poll, if new elections are held, Likud-Beiteinu to drop from 31 to 28, Habayit Hayehudi to jump from 12 to 14. Labor to go from 15 to 12, Shas from 11 to 12, Yehadut Hatorah to remain with 7 and Meretz to go from 6 to 7. Arab parties will stay the same. (Yedioth, p. 6)
- Likud moves closer to agreeing on plan for drafting ultra-Orthodox - Bennett drafts plan, with Lapid's blessing, for drafting ultra-Orthodox. Likud may agree to it. Shas: Maybe it is something we can live with. (Israel Hayom)
The state as smuggler (Haaretz Editorial) The secret deportation of Sudanese migrants who were sent back to Sudan via a third country over the past few months cannot be defined as anything other than state-perpetrated smuggling.
Worrisome findings on decision-making (Ephraim Lavie and Matti Steinberg, Haaretz) Looking back at the era of PM Sharon, in theory, one could understand the logic of escalation and re-conquest of the PA areas if the Palestinian issue was a strictly military issue. But it isn't - it is first and foremost a demographic, diplomatic, cultural and moral issue.
Who's encouraging a 'third intifada'? (Prof. Ron Breiman, Israel Hayom) Why does the Israeli media use the Arabic term "intifada," and why does it interview our enemy's representatives?
Israel's seventh gatekeeper (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) The head of the Shin Bet security service has to decide right now how to stop the next intifada.
Yachimovich's moment (Yossi Beilin, Israel Hayom) If Labor is offered veto power over the participation of other parties in the coalition, it would be hard to explain a decision to stay out of such a government.
**As Lincoln abolished slavery, Israel must abolish occupation (Bradley Burston, Haaretz) I realize now that I am an abolitionist and that occupation is slavery. I also realize that I need to pay more attention to Abraham Lincoln, in his ability to remind us all of the wisdom hidden in the obvious.
Five perfectly functioning cameras (Uri Heitner, Israel Hayom) "Five Broken Cameras" ostensibly represented Israel at the Oscars, and was funded by our taxpayers' shekels, but it seems that I am no patriot: I didn't want "our" movie to win.
Israel's Atomic Energy Commission violated state-issued gag order (Barak Ravid, Haaretz) The home of a senior PMO official was broken into on Monday, and on Tuesday a court issued a gag order on almost all details of the case. So why did it make the headlines?
The Jaradat Intifada (Ruthie Blum, Israel Hayom) The death of a Palestinian man in Israeli custody is providing Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas with exactly what he wants: to reap the benefits of a mass uprising without having to lead one.
Why hasn't a third intifada broken out yet? (Amira Hass, Haaretz) Palestinians have not enjoyed the quiet Israelis have experienced the past three months, but a lack of confidence in their leaders keeps most of them home.
Kerry and the 'peace process' (Elliott Abrams, Israel Hayom) There must be something in the water at the State Department.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.