APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday April 15, 2013
Quote of the day:
"It is shameful that a man who claims we should celebrate the death of others is the commander of soldiers."
- A soldier at IDF Radio responds to the racist comment that one of his commanders posted on Facebook.**
Front Page News:
- IDF Chief of Staff: "Don't let the quiet fool you"
- Let's say we won // Doron Rosenblum
- Army needs heroes, also self-criticism and a sober look at a changing reality // Amos Harel
- In the depths of the Israeli genome - the fertility craze - the cellular phone obsessive disorder - the Toblerone culture - returning to the songbooks: Israeli customs and habits 2013
- Join us, Hebrew suffragette - The women who believed Zionism and feminism infringe on each other and who fought for the right to choose
- 10 June, 1969: Arab armies attack Israel - In the spring of '68, the US simulated another round in the Middle East and prophesied the next war
- Thanks to them - At 11AM, a minute of silence and Israel will unite with the memory of 23,085 who fell; The President: They have not discovered in the world the hug that will move the wheel of life backward
- Celebrating - And tonight: Israel celebrates its 65th birthday with events and performances from the north to the south
- That the future may win // Tzuriah Shalev
- We still dream // Eitan Haber
- A Zionist story // Rubi Rivlin
- This is home // Raanan Shaked
- BBQs in the rain? Weather forecast for holiday: Cold and chance for thunder and lightning
- The pain (Memorial Day ceremony at 11AM) and the pride (Independence Day celebrations at 8PM) (Hebrew)
- President Shimon Peres in a festive interview
- One state, two souls // Ben-Dror Yemini
- For the next year // Mordechai Chaimovitch
- For the first time in 30 years: Rain on the morning of Independence Day and sharp drop in temperatures
- British present to Israel: Original Balfour Declaration to arrive in Israel (Hebrew)
- With tears and pride
- Israel, not just land // Dan Margalit
- 8,018,000 residents in Israel
- Legacy: Balfour Declaration document to arrive for the first time in Israel for exhibition
The ceremonies for Israel's fallen, the stories behind the names and the celebrations ahead filled the pages of today's Israeli Hebrew newspapers. The Independence Day holiday supplements shared special stories about Israeli citizens from the many different sectors of society. Only Haaretz told about an alternative Memorial Day ceremony for both Israeli and Palestinian fallen. Yedioth and Maariv shared interviews with President Shimon Peres who got angry with Yedioth's reporter and shared a secret with Maariv's. Only Haaretz reported on the decision to extend the controversial order preventing Palestinian citizens of Israel from marrying Palestinians across the Green Line. Haaretz's Amira Hass revealed that stone-throwing is not only a Palestinian protest method. And Maariv's NRG website reported on a racist commander in Israel's Army Radio.
At the state Memorial Day ceremony in Jerusalem for Israel's fallen soldiers, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the Jewish people have 'always had to fight for our liberty' and that 'if forced we will wield our sword' and President Shimon Peres said 'Our enemies know the IDF will always prevail.' However, at the Alternative Memorial Day ceremony held by Combatants for Peace in Tel-Aviv, Palestinians and Jews spoke of the need to remember the victims on both sides and to do what is necessary to stop the violence. It was the eighth year Combatants for Peace held the ceremony and attendance has been growing from year to year. Only Haaretz reported on it. Thousands attended and some had to watch a broadcast from outside the pavilion. Only 44 of the participants were Palestinian. Under pressure from politicians, Israel's Civil rejected more than half of the 109 applicants.
Israel extended the law restricting unification of citizens with spouses from 'enemy states.' The 'Citizenship Law' denies entry or living permits to partners considered a security threat, explained Haaretz, the only paper of the four to write about it. The law mainly affects Israeli Arab citizens and their families from the West Bank and Gaza. Meretz party head Zahava Gal-On slammed the decision as placing "draconian restrictions on Israeli Arab citizens' right to marry," and she called the designation of all Palestinians as a security threat "racist" and discriminatory. Israel generally grants citizenship to spouses of Israelis in a gradual process. In the spirit of this process, a similar process was instituted for the naturalization of spouses of permanent residents, though the process is a little longer. A 2002 temporary order excluded Palestinian spouses from these processes and barred them from becoming Israeli citizens, Haaretz wrote. Palestinian official Saeb Erekat called the law "racist" and an attempt to "distort the Palestinian social fabric and force the displacement of Palestinian families."
Haaretz's Amira Hass, who was attacked recently for writing an Op-Ed in defense of Palestinian stone-throwing against Israel's military occupation, discovered that stone-throwing is an old Jewish custom. (Haaretz, no paywall)
**On the eve of Memorial Day, Sergeant Major Avi Ben-Hamo chose to write a racist post against Arabs on Facebook: "An Arab asks a Jew on Memorial Day: Why do you stand during the siren for the minute of silence? The Jew answers: We stand to remember the Jewish soldiers who were killed in Israel's wars. The Arab asks: And what about our fallen? The Jew answers: That we will celebrate tomorrow.' Soldiers interviewed at the radio station condemned his words. "It is shameful that a man who claims we should celebrate the death of others is the commander of soldiers." (NRG Hebrew)
- Court rejects case brought against state by former IDF interrogator - Court rules statute of limitations expired, but criticizes authorities for concealing tapes that support claims brought against Israel by 'Captain George', who was responsible for interrogating Lebanese man Mustafa Dirani. Dirani complained George had subjected him to violence and even raped him resulting in George's ouster from the intelligence corps unit. George subsequently sued the state for NIS 5.5 million, arguing that he had been fired unjustly, and that this caused him great harm. (Haaretz)
- Jordanian ambassador: Naharayim killer will not be released - Parents of seven girls who were killed by Ahmad Musa Mustafa Daqamseh in 1997 hold Memorial Day ceremony in front of Jordanian embassy; ambassador guarantees killer will serve full sentence. (Ynet)
- Israeli population exceeds 8 million on eve of Independence Day - Jewish-Israelis make up about 75 percent of the population; 70 percent of them are native-born. In the past year, approximately 19,500 immigrants arrived and the country's birthrate came in at 1.8 percent. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- IDF acting as if one soldier's blood not equal to another's, says MK - Omer Bar-Lev calls newest change of protocol "severe ethical failure adding insult to injury." Protocol changed after chief of staff did not place flag on most recent fallen soldier because grave was in section for those with unclear Jewish identity. (Israel Hayom)
- Erdogan confirms plan to visit Gaza in late May - The Turkish leader, who has for years spoken of his desire to visit the Palestinian enclave, was expected to travel there this month but postponed his trip last week at the request of Washington, the Turkish daily Hurriyet and other local media reported. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Deputy foreign minister tells US Jews not to pressure Netanyahu - "Pressure from overseas should not guide the prime minister in his careful management of the diplomatic process," says Deputy Foreign Minister Ze'ev Elkin. Earlier this month, 100 prominent U.S. Jews called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take steps to show Israel's willingness to compromise for peace. (Israel Hayom)
- Israeli NGO to sue Palestinian Authority for terrorism - Organization urges terror victims to testify on Facebook for ICC lawsuit in 'Terrorizing Terror' campaign. Chairwoman: PA starting war against soldiers, we'll defend them. (Ynet)
Yedioth and Maariv shared interviews with President Peres for the holiday. In Yedioth, he was interviewed by Yaron London, who told at the beginning of the piece that he had written a commentary years earlier blasting Peres for wanting the position, which should be held by a younger person. London admitted he had apparently made a mistake, because Peres was loved by everyone. That said, London was a tough interviewer. After Peres spoke at length about how the power of a global economy had overrun the nationalist governments,
London said: "You are loyal to your perception that in our era, economy is more important than ideology."
Peres: What you are saying is simplistic.
London: I can expand. You coined the phrase 'New Middle East' about a world perspective that is fundamentally materialistic. You assumed that if close economic cooperation is created between Middle East countries, we will raise the standard of living of the residents and we will arrive at a quiet (in the region). In actuality, religion and nationalism won.Peres: I see it differently. I believe that if we were to get the London Agreement that I wrote with the former King Hussein, we would be establishing a new middle east. And despite losing this we won an enormous advantage, because the desire for peace gave Israel a move between nations. We were not seen only as an occupying power.
London: That does not contradict my claim that at least in the Arab and Muslim world the fundamentalist ideas won over the desire for economic success.
Peres: It's true that among them, history moves on crutches, not on its feet, and it is possible that what I thought would take five years will take 20 years. So what? The Middle East is stormy now, but the parties that took power are unable to control. They don't have an answer to the questions of the young generation...
London: The democratic vision does not frustrate you? In our region, when the masses were given the ability to decide their fate, they did not choose a democratic rule. The majority in Egypt put their fate in the hands of religious rulers... *
Peres said he was surprised that Yesh Atid won so many votes in the elections. He said it was the first time Israelis put economic issues ahead of security ones, but said that that the "question of peace and security is still in the focus."
When London asked if he still believes in the division of the land for peace,
Peres answered: I recognize that the land is divided. I would not divide it, that is not my desire. I compare it to the alternative which is a bi-national state.
London: ..Are you willing to consider the claim that it is no longer possible?
London: Because, among other things, the Palestinians don't agree to end the conflict between Zionism and the Arab national movement. There are cases where the optimal solution is not possible, because the opponent sees the solution is less than the minimum.
Peres: That's not true. First of all, the Arabs are making compromises. Even though the word 'compromise' does not exist in Arabic.
London: I didn't know that.
Peres: The word does not exist. Because Arabs don't compromise. It does not mean he does not make compromises, but that he doesn't say compromises. The approach is an exchange of gestures, but the giver and the taker remain erect. Golda, for example, thought that it was hard to make peace with Sadaat because he would not let go of the Palestinian issue. Did he? And Arafat, did he not write the letter to Rabin in which he recognized Israel as a Jewish state and that he wanted peace? He wrote it.
London: So what are you saying?Peres: I'm saying don't listen to the language. Look at the facts, at the reality that you find on the way....
London: Do you believe the intentions that the Prime Minister (Binyamin Netanyahu) announced in his Bar-Ilan speech? [Two-state solution - OH] Do you believe that he is not working towards this because he does not want it, because he believes his opponent is not honest in his declarations, or because he does not have the political ability to do so?
Peres: My question is different: What is preferable: That the right-wing continue to act for Greater Israel and the left-wing continue in its way and lecture about two-states, or that at least from an ideological point of view we talk in one voice? The speech created a common basis, which is the two-state solution and this is a fact with the greatest importance.
London: After Obama's visit, how do you see the White House's policy regarding the Palestinian issue?
Peres: In my view, the attitude of all the US Presidents is the same and can be summarized in the same two-state solution that we accept....From Ben-Gurion I learned to judge a man only by his record, not by his words. Under the leadership of Obama, the relations and cooperation reached new heights...
In Maariv, he was interviewed by Amnon Lord and Shalom Yerushalmi. To them he admitted that he was negotiating with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with Netanyahu's knowledge. When asked what does Israel lack "after 65 years to sail smoothly, to get out of the siege?"
Peres: Peace....Reporters: Do you believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu is able today to achieve that with Abu-Mazen (Abbas)?
Peres: Yes...The truth is that I negotiated with with Abu Mazen with Netanyahu's knowledge.
Reporters: In Jordan?
Peres: In all sorts of places. And he has no problems with that. He did not demand anything. Did you hear about this? No. Every trip was coordinated with the prime minister. He received a full written report and never said a word. His right."
The reporters then wrote that Peres in his talks with Abu Mazen prepared the political platform, a type of document of principles on the basis of which it is possible to conclude the negotiations. Some of the President's associates say Netanyahu could have run for elections with the Peres - Abu Mazen agreement and won more votes, even without the union with Avigdor Lieberman. But in August 2011 Netanyahu decided to cancel it all, exactly as Yitzhak Shamir had done when Peres was negotiating with the former King Hussein on the London Agreement.
Peres: I had arrived at an agreement with Abu Mazen on many many issues. There was a moment when the prime minister thought he had a very good proposal. And then he rejected it.
Reporters: And a better proposal did not come?
Peres: That's it. More than that I don't want to say.
Peres also gave an interview to Ynet, where he claimed peace would prevail by Israel's 70th birthday and said Abbas 'chose peace and displayed courage.'
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.