APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday May 3, 2013
Quote of the day:
"But in this affair, the army is showing itself once more as the willing indentured servant of the settlers by allowing them to take over the place gradually on various ludicrous pretexts."
--Dror Etkes, an independent researcher of settlement expansion, on an IDF commander's decision to give an abandoned outpost, which Palestinians wanted for a hospital, to settlers for outdoor performances.**
Front Page News:
- Treasury initiating across-the-board tax rise of 1.5%; electricity rises this month by 6.3%
- Yaalon decided: Shorten military service by four months
- Changes in the burden equation // Amos Harel
- Commander of Northern Command: "No winds of war"
- Ministers approved the law to make it difficult to topple the government
- Yossi Olmert retracted and said he did not receive money from the state witness
- Police decided to open criminal investigation against (anchorman) Emmanuel Rosen
- This is how the authorities mistreat Daniella De Rocha - A mother of Israeli girls, lives without rights for 7 years
- The financial edicts - We will pay: rising prices, budget cuts, taxes
- And, record price hike in electricity tariffs
- IDF service to be shortened
- What happened to me with Emmanuel - First woman to reveal her story of indecent act; Rosen to be summoned for questioning under caution
- Good health to Yonit and her fetus - Pregnant Channel 2 News anchorwoman lightly hurt in car accident
- Cutting the matriculation exams - Peek inside the exam revolution that Education Ministry is planning
- About one month after natural gas began flowing, electricity tariff rises 6.3% - Minister of Finance gave ministers list of financial edicts, including tax hike of 1.5% and cut in child allowances to 142 shekels per child (Hebrew)
- Tension in the north: Assad threatened response, Putin spoke with Netanyahu
- 3 years after takeover of Marmara, Israel and Turkey concluded draft of reconciliation agreement (Hebrew)
- Yossi Olmert's U-turn in Holyland trial mainly confused his brother's defense
- Rift in religious Zionism after Bennett's decision to support Rabbi David Stav for chief rabbi (Hebrew)
- The green battle - Settlers, Palestinians and Bedouin in joint struggle against establishing waste disposal site in Yehuda desert (southern West Bank)
- Income tax: Another 1.5% - Financial edict blow - Budget to be presented today; It's likely we will all receive less - and pay more
- (Military) service revolution - Men and women to serve two years eight months; combat soldiers to serve three years and to be paid for difference
- Criminal investigation - Now it's official: Police to summon journalist (Emmanuel Rosen) for questioning; Suspicion: sexual harassment
- Tension in north: Two errant mortars fell in Golan Heights
- Winds of reconciliation: Agreements in Israel-Turkey talks
- Holyland: Yossi Olmert retracted - and declared and declared a hostile witness
New painful financial edicts, a shortening (and lengthening) of obligatory military service and the opening of a criminal investigation into a leading anchorman were top stories in today's papers. Meanwhile, tension on the northern border as Syria threatens, China admonishes, Russia and Israel talk and errant mortars fall in the Golan. And in the meantime, Yesh Atid shot down the controversial peace referendum bill.
"There are no winds of war," IDF Northern Command Maj. Gen. Yair Golan stated Monday. And while Israel does not expect Syria to retaliate for the weekend strikes (at least not for now), tension is still high. Maariv reported that according to a Kuwaiti paper, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad secretly told the Russians that he would respond with fire if Israel did not stop attacking. Damascus denied the report. But, it is known that yesterday Russian President Vladimir Putin called Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and passed a series of messages to him. So IDF's Northern Command decided to significantly downsize an annual military exercise that was scheduled to begin in the north of the country this week with a view to avoid flaring up the tense situation in the region any further, as well as to prevent increased activity of military vehicles near the border [which could become targets - OH]. And just as Netanyahu was arriving in China for an official visit, China issued a veiled criticism of Israel saying it opposed the use of force and urged restraint and the respect of sovereignty. Lebanon also complained, urging the UN to condemn Israel for violating its airspace during the Syria raids. Meanwhile, two errant shells fell in the Golanhttp://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4376842,00.html during fierce battles between Syrian rebels and Assad forces, but there were no injuries. Ynet has a video. Iran denied reports that the arms targeted in Syria were Iranian. The Syrian opposition was conflicted over the Israeli strike, some thanking Israel, while others said that it was 'tarnishing' the revolution. And, a senior Syrian minister criticized the Assad regime for not responding militarily to the Israeli attacks. Haaretz has an excellent timeline of the aftermath of the air strikes (no paywall).
Some Israeli officials told Yedioth that it was because of the reconciliation process with Turkey that Israel was able to attack Syria. The sources told diplomatic affairs reporter Itamar Eichner that Netanyahu's apology to Turkey for the killing of nine Turks on the Mavi Marmara allowed Israel to operate freely in the north without fearing conflict with Turkey. [Indeed, the always vocal Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has not said a word about the attack. - OH] It also allows future cooperation against Iran and terror organizations. Yesterday, the Turkish and Israeli delegations neared a final deal on compensation for Gaza flotilla victims during their meeting in Jerusalem. The actual amount for payment has yet to be finalized. It remains unclear whether the wounded will be paid as well. However, in a statement read on board the Mavi Marmara - now anchored in Istanbul - the families of the victims said they oppose Turkey opening discussions with Israel until all restrictions on Palestinians are removed.
Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid party blocked bill for a national referendum on peace deals. During a faction meeting yesterday, Yesh Atid MKs decided to oppose a cabinet proposal to make a national referendum over a peace agreement with the Palestinians part of the law. As a result, half of the 22 ministers opposed: five of Yesh Atid, four of Yisrael Beiteinu and two of Tizipi Livni's Hatnua. Likud and Naftali Bennett's Habayit Hayehudi supported the bill. "The discussion (surrounding the referendum issue) is hypothetical at the moment, as there is no diplomatic momentum," Yesh Atid MK Ronen Hoffman said in the meeting. "When the time comes, we will be able to discuss the need for a referendum specifically - not necessarily as a basic law." Yedioth reported that 'surprise decision' angered Likud, which said that the Yesh Atid was violating the coalition agreement. And Lapid's associates said that Bennett pulled a fast one on Lapid. They said that Bennett wanted to meet Lapid on the referendum and Lapid answered that he would look into the issue first, but then Bennett announced that Lapid and Bennett were advancing the bill together.
Tomorrow, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and special Israeli envoy Yitzhak Molho will meet US Secretary of State John Kerry for the second time this week to discuss Palestinian talks. The meeting will take place in Rome. Kerry has only one before the end of the deadline he set to get the two sides to meet for talks. Haaretz's Barak Ravid writes, "So far, he seems to have been unable to achieve real progress, other than the Arab League statement.
- Clashes as Israelis visit Nablus holy site - More than 1,000 Israeli visited Joseph's Tomb near Balata refugee camp east of Nablus guarded by Israeli forces on Sunday night. Clashes erupted between Israeli forces and Palestinians. Three Palestinian teenagers suffered tear-gas inhalation and were transferred to hospital. (Maan)
- Settlers tour Al-Aqsa mosque compound - A group of some 40 settlers toured the compound escorted by Israeli police officers to commemorate the eve of Jerusalem Day, a national holiday in Israel celebrating the "unification" of the city. Clashes broke out between Israeli forces and Muslim women barred from accessing the mosque, after soldiers verbally insulted the women and pushed them. One woman was taken to hospital for treatment. (Maan)
- Settlers attack vehicles, torch fields near Nablus - Dozens of settlers gathered Monday near Tappuah checkpoint south of Nablus [where settler was killed last week - OH] and threw stones at Palestinian vehicles, completely destroying two cars and damaging dozens more. Earlier, settlers set fire to agricultural fields in the village of Burin, damaging 20,000 dunams of olive and fruit trees. (Maan)
- Israeli forces demolish Hebron wells, electric network - Israeli forces on Monday morning damaged agriculture lands and destroyed an electric network and water wells in Beit Ula village west of Hebron, officials said. (Maan)
- Israeli ministers endorse controversial plan to relocate Bedouin - The Ministerial Committee on Legislation overcame serious disagreements to approve a legal framework for moving the Bedouin into recognized communities; vote had been postponed two weeks to allow Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi to study the issue. (Haaretz and Maan)
- Israeli ministers back bill to stymie no-confidence motions - Yisrael Beiteinu proposal would also raise the threshold for a party to enter the Knesset, effectively making it harder for Arab parties to secure representation. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Israeli ministers back law calling libel against IDF a criminal offense - Ministerial Committee for Legislation endorses 'Jenin Jenin' law, meant to exact a legal price for defamation of Israeli soldiers, named after the 2002 movie implicating the IDF in a massacre in the West Bank city. (Haaretz)
- **IDF allows Israeli settlers to renovate abandoned base in Gush Etzion - Palestinians sought to build hospital on site that is now used by settlers to stage events. (Haaretz)
- Mandatory IDF service to be shortened; combat units to be paid for part of their service - Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon approves plan that will see military service cut by four months beginning July 2015; soldiers in combat and special units to receive higher compensation for three-year-service. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- lDF plan aims to recruit religious women, extend service for yeshiva boys - Military hopes new measures will draft thousands of haredim annually; army service to be reduced to a maximum 32 months, varying according to role. (Ynet)
- Israel to release terrorist behind 2002 attack in Tel Aviv - Military Court rules arrest of Jamal Tirawi, who planned deadly attack on Tel Aviv coffee shop, violated amnesty deal with Palestinian Authority. (Ynet)
- (Likud) Interior Minister to marry news presenter - Minister Gideon Sa'ar, Channel 1 anchorwoman Geula Even decide to tie the knot after six-month romance. (Ynet)
- Turkey launches military exercise near Syrian border - Turkey launches a military operation at NATO air base 60 miles from the Syrian border during time of heightened tension; the exercise will test readiness for battle and coordination with government ministries. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Arab (Israeli) students to Morgan Freeman: Boycott the Hebrew University - The academic institution has a close relationship to the 'Israeli apartheid,' claimed they claimed in a letter to the movie star. University: The boycott call is perverse and reprehensible. (Maariv, p. 20/NRG Hebrew)
- Minister Shalom visits Hungary, urges increased efforts against anti-Semitism - Meeting in Budapest, Energy and Water Resources Minister Silvan Shalom asks Hungary PM Viktor Orban to help see to it that Hezbollah is placed on the European Union's list of terror organizations. (Haaretz)
- Post-army Israelis set to embark for US for summer camp program - For first time, pre-army candidates also accepted into the Jewish Agency-sponsored counselor program. Among the Israeli emissaries is Eyal Tawil, a Druze youth, who says: "For me this is an important mission, for both education and Zionism. (Israel Hayom)
- It's official: Tourists to start paying value-added tax starting June 1 - Move pushed forward by Finance Minister Yair Lapid will bring the government an extra NIS 300-400 million annually. (Haaretz)
- US-led Gulf naval exercises underway - Forty-one countries practice minesweeping, protecting ports and energy installations in Gulf. American Navy says drills not specifically tailored to counter Iranian threats, aimed at 'enhancing capability to preserve freedom of navigation in international waterways.' (Agencies, Ynet)
- Egypt's prime minister unhurt by shooting near his car - Police detain five men who opened fire on Hisham Kandil's convoy in Cairo's Dokki district. Agencies, Haaretz)
- Booze and bikinis are welcome in Egypt, says tourism minister' - We had talks with these Salafi groups and now they understand the importance of the tourism sector,' Minister Hisham Zaazou says. (Agencies, Ynet)
- UN has testimony that Syrian rebels used sarin gas - United Nations human rights investigators have gathered testimony from casualties of Syria's civil war and medical staff indicating that rebel forces have used the nerve agent sarin; no evidence yet of government use of chemical weapons. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Kenya: Iranians who 'planned attacks on Israelis' get life - Ahmad Mohammad and Sayed Mousavi, who were arrested in June while in possession of 15-kilogram stash of explosives, sentenced to two life terms for plotting to attack Western targets in Nairobi, Mombasa. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Diplomats: Iran may be limiting growth in atom stockpile - Western officials say Tehran continuing to convert 20% uranium gas into fuel for medical research reactor in order to 'allay concerns on international community.' Expert: Reconversion is not hard. (Agencies, Ynet)
Jewish (Israeli) veterans of Soviet Red Army suffering in solitude
The veterans parade in uniform every year on Victory Day to mark Nazi Germany's surrender to the Soviet Union. The rest of the year, nobody notices them. (Agencies, Haaretz)
Of course Israelis want peace, but now's not a good time. Can you come back later? (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz) The Middle East is boiling, Israelis are otherwise engaged and the recent Arab League formula proves that time is on our side anyway.
Israel's reported attack on Syria unlikely to draw immediate response from Assad (Amos Harel, Haaretz) If the quiet holds, it will largely be testimony to Syrian President Bashar Assad's limited room to maneuver.
To arm or not to arm? That is Obama's question (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) The U.S. president's decision on weapons for Syria's rebels is due shortly − either way, the risks are steep.
Red lines -- oops, never mind (Richard Baehr, Israel Hayom) When Obama's cheerleaders rationalize staying out of the Syrian conflict, U.S. reassurances to Israel regarding Iran ring increasingly hollow.
Time for Israel to do a little warmongering in Syria (Cameron Brown, Haaretz) Only by convincing Assad and his allies that Israel is actually itching for a fight can we successfully deter Syrian retribution, now and in the future.
Falling into Assad's trap (Orly Azoulay, Yedioth/Ynet) Israel's military activities in Syria could easily turn into match that will ignite next war.
Mahmoud Abbas can't meet Israel's basic requirement for peace (Moshe Arens, Haaretz) The Palestinian President can't meet the basic requirement that a treaty must end the conflict, with no further acts of terror launched by Palestinians against Israel.
Syria is Israel's problem (Alon Pinkas, Haaretz) Syria is an immediate security threat to Israel - and this geopolitical reality is what impels Israel's policies, including its aerial strikes, and not any interest in dragging the U.S. into the conflict.
Close Saharonim Prison (Haaretz Editorial) Locking up asylum seekers stands in opposition to Israel's international responsibilities and to the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Freedom.
Between commander and commandment: Is the IDF becoming more religious? (Yuval Elbashan, Haaretz) A new book presents a wealth of views related to the religionization of the Israel's army and society - and they should disturb anyone who defines himself as Israeli.
Assad and the Arab Spring's pincer (Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) Although the Arab Spring eroded stability on Israel's borders, it also provided a unique opportunity to rewrite the rules of the game vis-a-vis its northern adversaries.
Yair Lapid's goal: Becoming Israel's prime minister within two years (Yossi Verter, Haaretz) While Netanyahu and Lieberman disagree in public, Lapid is quietly advancing on his own ambitious plan. However, surprisingly, the finance minister has kept mum on the Arab League's proposal.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.