APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday March 03, 2013
Quote of the day:
"Obviously, everyone will start screaming 'apartheid' and 'racism' now. This really doesn't feel right, and maybe (the ministry) should find a different solution, but the situation right now is impossible."
--An Israeli bus driver who starting tomorrow will be driving Jews-only buses in the West Bank.**
Front Page News:
- Netanyahu advisors: We will have to freeze construction outside of the settlement blocs
- State budget for reform in matriculation exams: the tasks that await the new government
- Injury time // Yossi Verter
- Rise in chances of plea bargain - Case against Olmert weakened following death of State witness
- Demand to cancel the trial - demagoguery // Ido Baum
- Obama signed on across-the-board cuts - In Israel, fear it will hurt funding of Iron Dome and military aid
- AIPAC conference meeting in shadow of uncertainty
- Genetic tests planned for Israelis in Gaza (who want to enter Israel)
- Experimental plan in Treasury: Gradual retirement till pension
- Study: Central cause of diabetes is not obesity, but use of sugar
- Netanyahu received an extension from the President : "I didn't complete forming a government because there is a boycott by part of the public in Israel"
- Bennett: "Lapid stood by his word with me, it's our turn to stand by our word. Your word is your word."
- "I'm a loser?" //Nahum Barnea
- Who here is boycotting // Sima Kadmon
- State witness died - Prosecution to ask for time to prepare - Judicial sources: ...case against Olmert weakened
- Hit the target - Enormous achievement for sharpshooter Sergei Richter: Won European Championship
- Bob Marley's sons visiting Israel and say that life is good
- Obama effect - US budget dramatically cut - and we will feel it here
- Al-Qaeda rebels in Syria took over Scud missile arsenal
- Arsenal threat // Amir Rappaport (Hebrew)
- Death of State Witness, S.D., expected to hinder the prosecution's ability to convict Olmert in Holyland trial (Hebrew)
- This is how Netanyahu expects to bring the ultra-Orthodox back to the government: Advancing a diplomatic initiative (with the Palestinians) within a few months that will cause Bennett to leave the government (Hebrew)
- More than a year after the explosion of the Natan Eshel affair: R. leaving the Prime Minister's Office (Hebrew)
- "Holyland trial to continue" - Death of a witness
- The trial must continue // Dan Margalit
- Crisis of the boycotts - After mutual accusations: Netanyahu and Bennett to meet today
- The suspected judge to be interrogated: "His children support him"
- Spring? Summer! Warm weather
- US cutting its budget; Israel fears: military aid will be affected
- Again: Mortars from Syria landed in the Golan; Rebels: Assad's army hit the most ancient synagogue in the world
The Prime Minister's extension, a State witness' death and the effect of US budget cuts on Israel were top stories in today's Hebrew newspapers. Maariv reports how the Palestinians will help the Prime Minister push out Habayit Hayehudi in exchange for the ultra-Orthodox parties and Haaretz reports on plans to freeze settlement construction. Israel fears the US budget cuts will affect Israel's military aid and AFP revealed that the Prime Minister secretly visited Jordan.
Saturday night, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu indirectly blamed Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi for his inability to form a coalition in the 28 days he was given, when he asked President Shimon Peres for an extension. Explaining the reason he failed to form a government, he said: "The main reason that I did not succeed to form a government until today is the boycott of a sector of the State of Israel and that does not fit with my outlook." Netanyahu was referring to the unwillingness of the two parties to sit in a government with the ultra-Orthodox. Peres gave Netanyahu another 14 days.
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid wrote on his Facebook page that he "doesn't hate ultra-Orthodox Jews," but "there won't be a disaster if they sit in the opposition." Indeed, the ultra-Orthodox are reportedly coming to terms with the fact that they won't be part of the new government. However, Maariv writes that is temporary. According to reporter Zeev Kam, Netanyahu held a meeting with a small group of people to discuss the formation of the next government. According to the formula, initially the government will be formed with Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi and without ultra-Orthodox parties. But in a few months, the PM will announce the advancement of the renewal of the diplomatic process with the Palestinians, either through freezing construction in West Bank settlements or through advancing the negotiations themselves. This will force Habayit Hayehudi to leave the coalition. They will be replaced by the ultra-Orthodox, who will be told in advance to wait for this step. Haaretz writes that the settlement construction freeze will come from international pressure. It writes that the freeze will take place beyond the separation fence, but not including E. Jerusalem and the major settlement blocs of Ariel, Maaleh Adumim and Gush Etzion. The source said that the pressure will also force Israel to renew talks with the Palestinians, but that won't necessarily lead to negotiations.
Yedioth writes that there are four possible coalition formations:
61 mandates - Narrow right-wing gov't with ultra-Orthodox and Habayit Hayehudi
70 mandates - Right-wing center gov't with Kadima, Hatnuah, Yesh Atid, Habayit Hayehudi
76 mandates - With ultra-Orthodox, Yesh Atid, Kadima, Hatnua
88 mandates - Right-wing center with ultra-Orthodox, Yesh Atid, Habayit Hayehudi, Hatnua, Kadima
According to Yedioth, the second option of 70 mandates is most likely, the first has a slight chance and the last two have no chance because Lapid said he won't sit with ultra-Orthodox in the same government.
Labor MK Merav Michaeli said yesterday that there really is no difference between Netanyahu, Lapid, and Naftali Bennett, the leader of Habayit Hayehudi. "We're speaking of three white, capitalist and very rich men who see the world the same way and have the same right-wing policy," she said at a cultural event in Holon.
Israel fears that the US' $85 billion 'sequester' cuts will affect the military aid Israel receives from it. Maariv writes that will be at least $300 million and Ynet writes that Israel may lose up to $760 million. Of particular concern is the funding for the Iron Dome rocket interception systems, which is now pending approval in the US Congress: $210 million for 2013 as part of the four-year package of $680 million. Then there is the special aid package of $268 million that Congress was working on for a joint Israeli-American development of Arrow and David's Sling missiles for protection from ballistic missiles. "Out of this sum, $100 million are guaranteed but $168 million are now in danger," writes Ynet. Maariv writes that equipping the F-35 combat planes could also be affected. Maariv reported that former AIPAC official Doug Bloomfield wrote in 'New York Jewish Week' that AIPAC will pressure Congressmen to exempt the aid to Israel from the sequester cuts. (NRG Hebrew)
The French News Agency AFP reported that Netanyahu secretly visited Jordan last week to discuss ways to advance peace between Israel and the Palestinians and to discuss regional issues. His office, however, refused to confirm meeting took place. This is the second meeting Netanyahu held with King Abdullah. Yedioth writes that it is believed that they discussed Jordan mediating the peace talks, something the King announced in January that he would be happy to do after Israel forms its new government.
- **Ministry launches 'Palestinians only' buses, following complaints from settlers - Transportation Ministry sets up designated bus lines for Palestinian passengers in West Bank; insists lines are for general public, but only Palestinian villages have been advised of their existence. (Ynet and Haaretz)
- Settlers perform religious rituals in evacuated Jenin settlement - A heavy Israeli army presence accompanied the group to visit Homesh settlement, which was evacuated in 2005. (Maan)
- Photos prove: The Jewish girls are the ones who attacked Hana Imtir - A series of photos received by Maariv strengthen's Imtir's version that she was attacked first by three young women in the capital. Jerusalem police opened an investigation, but the suspects have not been found. (Maariv, p. 16/NRG Hebrew PHOTO)
- Tear gas disrupts Fayyad's visit to Bilin - Palestinian prime minister's bodyguards remove him from West Bank village as security forces fire tear gas at Palestinian stone throwers during procession marking eight years of anti-fence struggle. (Ynet)
- Palestinians race to disrupt Israeli marathon - Palestinian racers started off in the historic Lifta village to counter the Israeli marathon that began from the Knesset building Friday. "Palestinian youths participating at the marathon handed the Israelis a formal paper written in English explaining what this marathon really means for Jerusalem," said a Fatah official. (Maan)
- Friend of Prisoner X: Mossad made 'big mistake' recruiting Zygier - Lior Brand, who knew Ben Zygier, tells Haaretz he believes had he been permitted to see him in jail, he wouldn't have killed himself. Meanwhile, the controversial issue of "dual loyalty" is still being debated in Australia. (Haaretz)
- Tissue tests planned for Israelis in Gaza who want to cross border - Testing procedure involves opening a case file in family court, hiring a lawyer, finding a biological relative and coordinating a meeting at border crossing to submit saliva samples. (Haaretz)
- Palestinians critically wounded by live fire - Two people critically wounded by live fire on Friday as hundreds of protesters rallied across the West Bank to protest the death of a Palestinian prisoner last week. Mahmoud Audah, 20, was shot in the head with live fire during clashes with Israeli soldiers at Qalandia checkpoint. Palestinian journalist Jihad al-Qadi was shot in the abdomen by Israeli forces while covering clashes outside Ofer detention center. (Maan)
- Palestinian Authority: Jaradat died in room for informers - The Palestinian Authority Prisoners' Ministry report described the "stool pigeons' room" as the most dangerous arm Israeli intelligence services turn to when interrogating Palestinian detainees. (Maan)
- 3 minors released from Israeli custody - Three children were released Thursday in Nablus after being detained for allegedly hurling rocks at the Israeli army. The children are Rebhi Mazooz Malitaat, 14, Iyad Mohammed Zaki Hanani, 13, and Hasan Rafik Ahmed Malitaal, 12, all residents of Beit Surik village. (Maan)
- Clashes at Hebron rally marking mosque massacre - The rally in central Hebron marked the massacre of 29 Palestinians by a Brooklyn-born settler, Baruch Goldstein. Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters, hitting a Palestinian Authority police officer in the head with a canister and another police officer with a rubber bullet. (Maan)
- Prisoner dies in Palestinian Authority custody - Ayman Mohammad Sharif Samara, 40, died while being detained on charges of assault. (Maan)
- PA: Settlers damage cars near Yitzhar settlement - Guards of Yitzhar near Burin village arrived near a local Palestinian boys school Thursday and began shooting toward the building, sparking clashes in the area. Israeli forces arrived firing tear gas canisters and stun grenades before settlers started attacking cars with rocks. (Maan)
- Clashes erupt at checkpoint south of Nablus - Clashes erupted between Israeli forces and dozens of Palestinian protesters on Thursday on Jerusalem road near Huwwara checkpoint south of Nablus. (Maan)
- Mortar shells hit Golan Heights; none injured - Most likely the result of misfire during battles between Syrian rebels and Assad's forces, at least three shells explode in Golan, near Syria-Israel border. (Ynet)
- EU to teach how to turn Galilee into Tuscana - Agriculture Ministry launches projects, in collaboration with EU, in which experts from Germany and Italy will teach Israelis how to upgrade tourism sites. (NRG Hebrew)
- Legalists: State in jam following Holyland witness' death - Unexpected death of key witness in case pending against former PM Olmert may mean court would have to deem testimony inadmissible. (Ynet)
- Kosher and halal - a gastronomic peace - Following successful career in US Department of Energy, 76-year-old Moustafa Soliman of Washington DC promotes finding common Israeli-Palestinian ground via 'Peace Truck.' (Ynet)
- Gaza protesters shoot across Israeli border; three Palestinians wounded by IDF fire - Violence comes three days after Palestinian militants launch rocket from Gaza into southern Israel; protests erupt across the West Bank as well, against Israel's security barrier. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Concern for Palestinian cartoonist in Israeli jail - Palestinian media rights advocates expressed concern Tuesday for the life of Palestinian cartoonist Mohamed Fayeq Sabaana and demanded his release. Since his detention Feb. 16, he has not been allowed visits from his family or legal representative. (Maan)
- Ehud Barak will meet with U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in Washington Tuesday - 'The secretary is honored that Minister Barak will be the first foreign counterpart that he will host at the Pentagon,' an American official told Reuters. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- How much will Obama visit cost Israel? Accommodation of US president this month expected to total NIS 10-15 million from state budget. 'Such a visit is worth the cost,' says Treasury official. (Ynet)
- U.K. Zionist Federation refuses to accept left-wing pro-Israel movement - The split in the pro-Israel community in Britain has been clear and evident for years now. The question is, why does Yachad need the Zionist Federation's recognition? (Haaretz)
- As Kerry arrives in Egypt, one protester killed in clashes with police - Violence in cities of Mansoura and Port Said came as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Cairo talking with opposition figures ahead of his Sunday meeting with President Morsi. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- UN's Ban: Erdogan's Zionism comment 'hurtful' - Ban Ki-moon joins White House, US's National Security Council in denouncing Turkish PM's comments. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Kerry: Turkish PM's comments complicate Mideast peace processU.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says comments by Turkey's Erdogan equating Zionism to crime against humanity are 'objectionable.' (Agencies, Haaretz)
- WATCH: Syria report: Prophet Elijah's synagogue bombed - Rebel forces issue video featuring Damascus synagogue damaged, claim Assad forces bombed the Jewish place of worship. (Ynet)
- Chuck Hagel: U.S. should only provide 'non-lethal support' to Syria's opposition - Hagel's comments, at his first news briefing since taking over the Pentagon on Wednesday, came a day after the United States said it would for the first time give non-lethal aid to Syrian rebels. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Syria, Iran say Assad to remain in power until 2014 elections - Damascus' ally insists incumbent president will see out his term despite escalating civil war. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Long-range Scud missiles fell in hands of rebels in Syria - New video clips distributed by the opposition show rebels, including Islamic Jihad people, and an organization associated with Al-Qaeda after taking over three Scud arsenals in the area of Dir a-Zur and Aleppo. (Maariv, p. 1)
- Assad: We'll retaliate against Israeli airstrike - Addressing January attack on arms convoy, embattled Syrian president tells The Sunday Times 'we have always retaliated for Israeli actions, but we in our own way;' attacks 'naive, confused, unrealistic' UK government for considering to arm rebels. (Ynet)
- Israeli dairy farm planned in northern Iraq - Kurdish government officials visit Kibbutz Afikim to tap into Israeli expertise in production of dairy products. Israeli delegation to travel to Iraqi Kurdistan in bid to implement plan. (Yedioth/Ynet)
- Moroccan film unearths forgotten memories of lost Jewish community - Once home to some 300,000 Jews, Morocco is increasingly taking a fresh look at its long history with Judaism and spurning the flat rejection of all things Hebrew found in so many other Arab countries. (Agencies, Haaretz)
Palestinian film maker doesn't win Oscar, but he's still dancing on rooftops
Everyone who has a human soul should be moved by a Palestinian and an Israeli making the film '5 Broken Cameras' together. (Haaretz)
West Bank romance shakes religious settler community
Secret love affair rocks Shomron settlement; a settler security officer, a Bedouin scout and their love child. (Yedioth/Ynet)
What killed Arafat Jaradat?
Attorney Sabbagh explains that a suspect coming into the Shin Bet interrogation rooms is like someone who comes to the doctor with a broken pinky and is immediately given a comprehensive examination of his entire body. (By Gideon Levy and Alex Levac, Haaretz)
The public is entitled to know (Haaretz Editorial) The Kahan report led to the removal of Ariel Sharon from his position as defense minister while hurting the careers of other officers in Military Intelligence and the IDF's ground forces.
I'm a loser? (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth) Barnea writes that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was compelled to request an additional two weeks in which to form a government partly because the, "rookies [Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid] gave him a lesson in politics." Barnea asserts that in his remarks last night, the Prime Minister, "spoke against factionalism after he tried to split two parties; he spoke against boycotts after he tried to push away from the government the party that is closest to him, Bennett's; he spoke about the ultra-orthodox parties agreeing to equality even after it became clear to him that United Torah Judaism is refusing any outline, and Shas is being dragged along after it." Barnea says that Netanyahu's dilemma is that, "He is dependent on the goodwill of his rivals, and he hates being dependent."
The IDF - too big to assail (Reuven Pedatzur, Haaretz) The IDF is too big and too well equipped with expensive weapons that were developed to counter threats that are no longer relevant.
The imperative to snoop for peace (Amir Oren, Haaretz) High-ranking intelligence official's blessing is their curse: Their exposure to secrets is both addicting and corrupting.
The new Israeli politics of emptiness (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) Israel's new politicians, so breathlessly anticipated, are even worse than their antecedents.
The censorship minister (Friday Haaretz Editorial) A complex, conflicted reality calls for critical, not mobilized, art. True, in some countries this is not the case. Israel must not become one of them.
Historic opportunity to change the system (Meir Dagan, Ynet) Election results offer opportunity to change system of government, restore trust in politicians.
A vainglorious war is coming (Eyal Megged, Haaretz) The next Netanyahu government will start a politically motivated war it will come to regret.
There is no peace in the horizon (Oded Tira, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) Tira analyzes Abu Mazen's current situation: "Abu Mazen and Fatah control Judea and Samaria thanks to the Israeli military presence there. He also understands that if general elections are held in the Palestinian Authority, he will fall. On the one hand, he wants the IDF to stay and protect him and his regime; one the other hand, he hopes to gain strength from his diplomatic moves, including the major move of appealing to the UN. In order to maintain the Western world's illusion that he seeks peace, he is likely to fashion a semblance of dialogue with Israel, but as the negotiations approach any positive agreement, he will torpedo them lest there be an agreement under the terms of which we will leave Judea and Samaria, Hamas will take power and he will fall. Abu Mazen is maneuvering fairly well and the Israeli Left is going astray after his false magic."
Time for Bibi to start looking out for the rest of us (Yoel Marcus, Haaretz) Having narrowly secured his political future in the recent election, it's time for Netanyahu - and the rest of the politicians - to secure Israel's future by restarting peace talks.
Effects of BDS campaign (Yoaz Hendel, Ynet) Future leaders of US, Britain attend prestigious universities where anti-Israel activity is most virulent.
Israel actually suffers from a litany of burdens (Yossi Sarid, Haaretz) Tragically, the issue of 'sharing the burden' - drafting ultra-Orthodox Jews into the army - is overshadowing the burden of the occupation.
Hagel's zealous detractors ultimately guaranteed his confirmation as U.S. defense secretary (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz) The former Nebraska senator owes his appointment to Ambassador Rice, Democratic Senator Schumer and the packs of Israel-swearing critics who hounded him from the start.
Three intifadas and you're out (David Rosenberg, Haaretz) A Third Intifada is an event waiting to happen among the Palestinians, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems incapable of doing what it takes to avert it.
Israeli-Palestinian tensions could ultimately spark a major confrontation (Amos Harel, Haaretz) At some point, in the year ahead, depending on the deployment of troops on the ground and the nature of the specific trigger that is pulled, there could be a serious explosion between Palestinians and Israelis.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.