APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday May 23, 2013
Quote of the day:
"In the Border Police, (murderer at the Beersheva bank, Itamar) Alon learned not just how to shoot but how to behave rudely, violently and to solve problems with weapons while receiving respect and glory for doing so."
--Haaretz's Gideon Levy looks at the thread of Israelis who serve in Israel's Border Police and later feel they have license to act violently also outside of the Palestinian Territories.**
Front Page News:
- Murder of the girls: Police ignored mother's complaint
- Preparations for escalation on Syria border - Air Force commander warns of possible surprise war
- IDF did not listen to warnings about defect in mines
- Bank shooter was dismissed from his position as officer because he was wild and dangerous (and attacked Palestinians)
- Yehud mayor arrested on suspicion of receiving bribes
- Secrets of the Chinese regime on the shelf in Hong Kong
- Azrieli planning fourth skyscraper
- In cold blood - Horrifying clip: The killing spree at the bank
- Even at the Technion they had trouble solving the math matriculation exam
- "Tell us why our Roee was killed" Parents of soldier Roee Alfi: His death was avoidable
- Children, you don't need to finish everything on your plate
- Member of negotiation team said in closed talks: Two-state solution is not feasible (Hebrew)
- Air Force Commander: Threat of surprise war exists
- This is how Itamar Alon made certain his victims were dead in the Beersheva bank
- Bad film // Amnon Lord
- Suspicion of terror attack in London: Two Muslims stabbed a soldier to death with a knife and were shot by police
- MK Moti Yogev from Habayit Hayehudi: Bennett acting undemocratically on the issue of choosing a chief rabbi (Hebrew)
- The math matriculation exam storm - Students threatened the Education Ministry's math supervisor: "We are following you, you better correct the injustice"
- From Lod to Paris - For the first time: 1700-year-old mosaic discovered in an archaeological dig in Lod was exhibited in the Louvre
- Chills - Moments of craze, minute by minute: Security cameras at the Beersheva bank reveal the depths of the horror
- "Prepared for surprise war with Syria" - Air Force Commander warns of escalation
- Likely: Arad police chief to be dismissed - Police negligence: Eve of the murder of two little sisters in the Bedouin village of Al-Furah, the mother filed a complaint against the father with the police (that was ignored)
- Terror in London: Soldier decapitated with a machete
- "I welcome the examination of public persons' expenses over the years" - Prime Minister responds to State Comptroller's announcement that in light of reports, he decided to examine Netanyahu's and other's expenses
- Charges: Moshe Peretz evaded paying some 1 million shekels in tax
- Kerry arrives in Israel: today he will meet with Netanyahu
- Call to students: Give up on flashy proms
A chilling video of the murder spree at the Beersheva bank, the Air Force commander's warning to Syria, and the questions over an unusually difficult math matriculation and over an avoidable death of a soldier were top stories in today's Hebrew papers. Meanwhile, both Israeli and Palestinian officials express little faith in a peace process as US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Israel today. Yedioth reveals that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wanted to prohibit demonstrations and that Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has made an interesting change in the passage of laws. And Maariv reported on what the Central Command commander and the settlers had to say about the increase in Palestinian Molotov cocktails and stone-throwing and the 'humiliation' felt by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank.
The tension around the border between Israel and Syria is increasing and after the IDF Chief of Staff and the Defense Minister warned the Assad regime, it was now the Air Force Commander who spoke out, saying Israel was prepared for a surprise war. he also said that advanced weaponry, including Russian S-300 missiles were en route to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. According to a report, the German intelligence has revised its estimate and now says the Assad regime is growing stronger. Meanwhile, a US Senate panel has backed arming the Syrian rebels. Kerry spoke in Amman before a meeting of the Friends of Syria group of nations, saying that Assad's achievements in recent days were only temporary.
Today Kerry lands in Israel and some officials from both the Palestinian and Israeli side have expressed little faith in his efforts to reignite the peace process and bring about a two-state solution to the conflict, both sides blaming the other. The Associated Press interviewed Hanan Ashrawi and other Palestinian officials who said the US effort to restart peace talks is doomed, and that they're preparing instead to resume their campaign of seeking membership in key international organizations as soon as next month.
Meanwhile Maariv reported that a member of the Israeli negotiation team said that a two-state solution is not feasible. Dr. Tal Becker, the diplomatic advisor to Livni, who is responsible for leading the negotiations on the Israeli side, said in closed circles that the reason was that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is not excited to return to talks with Israel, while Israel does want to return to talks. According to Becker, Fatah and the Palestinian street oppose returning to talks and Abbas is aware of that and fearful he will pay the political price if he does. Becker, who presently serves as Deputy Legal Adviser of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, led the negotiation team in the Annapolis peace talks. Israel Hayom wrote that although reigniting the peace process is Kerry's declared agenda, the tense situation in the region means that Kerry will be discussing Syria with Netanyahu today. A few hours later, Netanyahu will meet with British Foreign Minister Alexander Haig to discuss the same subject (and he will meet with former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who is on a private visit). The German justice minister is visiting the country and yesterday, Yedioth noted that she did not meet with her counterpart at Livni's office in E. Jerusalem where Israel's Justice Ministry is [ironically - OH] located, but for dinner in W. Jerusalem. (NRG Hebrew)
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein revealed yesterday that Netanyahu wanted to prohibit certain demonstrations. "Prime Minister Netanyahu and security forces requested permission from me to prohibit demonstrations with a security characteristic, but I refused... Demonstrations are the first right in a democracy," said Weinstein at the Israel Bar Association's crime forum. Yedioth writes that Weinstein refused to say which specific demonstrations he was referring to, but that it was likely he was referring to those taking place over the sale of Palestinian homes to Jews in Silwan neighborhood of E. Jerusalem. Some of the demonstrators are left-wingers and some were right-wingers, writes Tovah Tzimuki. [Maybe the right-wingers were protesting their evacuation from one of the homes in dispute, e.g. Beit Yonatan - OH]
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has decided that from now on - for the first time since Israel was established - the ministerial legislative committee will have to reveal who voted for and against each law, Yedioth reported. The committee is very powerful. Any bill proposed by an MK must get the committee's approval first before going on to the Knesset to be voted and if it does pass, it has a high chance of becoming law, writes Tzimuki.
In the end, GOC Central Command Commander Nitzan Alon did speak to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee - but without the settlers present, as he and the Defense Minister had requested, Maariv reported. And he had news for the MKs on the committee who were carrying the Maariv article in which Israeli soldiers and officers said they felt humiliated that they can't open fire when Palestinians throw stones and Molotov cocktails at them and their outposts. Alon emphasized that this is *not* a new phenomenon, rather the problems are specific and are mostly among the junior ranks and " less quality" reserve units. Meanwhile, the head of the committee, MK Eitan Cabel, said MKs will make surprise visits to examine the situation of soldiers in the W. Bank and a sub-committee for 'IDF preparedness' will be discussing the rules of engagement (i.e. opening fire). After Alon left the room, representatives of the settlers entered. The meeting was very tense, Maariv wrote. They announced: "We won't allow continued harm to our way of life. Until now we let things pass, but if this situation continues, we will not be able to stem the tide. They claim that the IDF has made the rules of engagement harder and that has led to a significant rise in public disturbances and Palestinian daring to act, including inside the settlements themselves. Pro-settler Habayit Hayehudi MK Moti Yogev presented statistics showing a rise of more than 112% in security incidents following Operation Pillar of Cloud last November, compared to the same period the year before. (NRG Hebrew)
- Be'er Sheva bank shooter dismissed from IDF post for attacking Palestinians, released from reserve duty - Friends, neighbors describe Itamar Alon as strange, surprised such a person had been an IDF officer. (Haaretz)
- Israel detains 5 students in Jerusalem - Israeli forces detained five students, aged 13-15, from a school belonging to an Islamic orphanage after they were accused of attacking a settler in Jerusalem. (Maan)
- Israeli forces raid Beit Ummar - Israeli soldiers ransacked the home of Khaled and Nasser Ekhlayel accompanied by dogs and handed a summons order to the son of Muhammad Ekhlayel, locals said. (Maan)
- Man behind Israeli report on infamous killing of Mohammed al-Dura has right-wing ties - Brig. Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser previously worked for the Israel Law Center, which sought to prevent the reporter who broke the story from continuing to work in Israel. (Haaretz)
- MKs: Permit (extremist Likud MK) Feiglin to enter the Temple Mount - 14 MKs from Likud and Habayit Hayehudi signed a petition calling on Netanyahu to cancel the prohibition on Feiglin. They claim: "Giving in to the demands of the Waqf hurts our sovereignty." (NRG Hebrew)
- Palestinians: IDF arrests men involved in Joseph's Tomb shooting - Sources say IDF arrests three members of Palestinian security forces, suspected of killing Limor Livnat's nephew; they were imprisoned by PA in past, released after year later. (Ynet)
- In wake of Netanyahu's bed debacle, state comptroller launches probe - A recent report revealed that PM spent $127,000 of taxpayers money on installing a 'resting chamber' on a flight to London for Margaret Thatcher's funeral; MKs requested the investigation. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Sources allege nepotism in former Mossad chief's business - Meir Dagan's intention to set up a handgun plant in Beit Shemesh encountered objection from local police academy, subsequently withdrawn. Did his friendship with interior defense minister help? (Yedioth/Ynet)
- Police fail to detain Palestinian who tried to steal decoy car - Video obtained by Ynet shows police op to thwart motor vehicle theft in West Bank gone awry. (Ynet)
- Low-cost airline Ryanair mulls Israel-Auschwitz route - The Tel Aviv-Krakow route would cater to visitors of the former death camp near the southern Polish city. (JTA, Haaretz)
- On Saturday: Muslim hackers will attack Israel - A hacker attack on internet sites in Israel is planned for this Saturday by mostly Muslim hackers. 9,000 hackers have signed up and they are using the name of 'Anonymous.' Security professionals in Israel are getting prepared. (Maariv, p. 14)
- Germany backs terror label for Hezbollah - Britain launches bid to add Hezbollah to EU's list of terror groups after discussions on Burgas bombing; Germany says supports initiative. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Islamist militants release seven members of Egyptian security forces kidnapped in Sinai - Six Egyptian policemen and a soldier were freed following talks with kidnappers, who demanded the release of convicted militants, sources say. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Robert de Niro to attend President Shimon Peres' 90th birthday - De Niro, wil arrive in Israel next month to participate in the President's Conference and in the birthday celebrations. (Yedioth, p. 22)
- Turkey shuts Syria border crossing after bombings that killed 51 - Yayladagi gate is last crossing controlled by Assad; bomb-detecting equipment to be stationed at gate; 12 people facing charges over bombings that killed 51; U.K.'s Hague: Iran, Hezbollah 'propping up' Assad. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- IAEA: Iran expanding sensitive nuclear capacity, but remains below Israeli 'red line' - According to report by UN nuclear watchdog, the Islamic Republic increased its capacity to refine uranium by installing hundreds of more centrifuges in Natanz. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- U.S. House committee approves measure to back Israel in case of nuclear Iran attack - New sanctions package targeting Iranian oil exports affirms U.S. support for Israel's self defense if confronted by a nuclear Iran. (Agencies, Haaretz)
Poem of the Week / Salman Masalha and a seaview apartment called homeland
'Haifa by the Sea' is a meditation prompted by the death of Emil Habiby, an Israeli-Palestinian writer and politician whose tombstone inscription refers to the Arab concept of remaining on one's land. (Haaretz)
**The blurred line between hero and murderer (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) It appears Itamar Alon did not fully internalize the fact that what is allowed in the occupied territories is forbidden in Be'er Sheva; with the realities facing IDF soldiers, such is to be expected.
Assad is playing with fire (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) If Damascus instructed its army to fire at an IDF vehicle, this would be seen as a dangerous provocation.
U.S. willing to keep Assad in the picture to avoid threat of all-out Mideast war (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) Due to the lack of U.S. policy on Syria, encouraging a negotiated solution between Assad and the rebels now appears to be the West's least dangerous course of action.
Israel must stop provoking Assad (Haaretz Editorial) The recent volley of aggressive Israeli rhetoric is reflective of a one-dimensional attitude towards dealing with Syrian tensions - and is entirely unhelpful in preventing any future escalation.
S-300 deal not necessarily a tiebreaker (Dr. Gabi Avital, Israel Hayom) The final word about the Russian-Syrian arms deal has not been spoken, especially if Israel can counter the threat.
Lapid's true beliefs, finally emerging, do not bode well for peace (Ari Shavit, Haaretz) After many murky months, Yair Lapid's true stance is finally becoming clear; it appears the man who inherited Israel's political center is about to bury the idea of a two-state solution, once and for all.
Strategic stone (Yoaz Hendel, Yedioth/Ynet) Palestinians realize certain photos can cause more damage than anti-Israel resolutions in UN.
An Egyptian shop called 'Hitler' (Khaled Diab, Haaretz) An urban boutique near Cairo decorated with a swastika raises uncomfortable questions about whether the Nazi dictator is a hero or villain in the Arab world.
Dangerously close to anarchy (Dr. Aviad Hacohen, Israel Hayom) To what degree are we, as a society, responsible for the bloodshed that is becoming ever more prevalent in our streets?
Israel's have-nots will keep paying for Birthright, if Sheldon Adelson has his way (Itay Ziv, Haaretz) Why did Yair Lapid agree to meet with Sheldon Adelson and promise not to cut funding to his pet project?
Why is no Israeli minister in charge of relations with Diaspora Jews? (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz) The broken-up Diaspora affairs portfolio, traditionally manned by governmental neophytes, has had its responsibilities split up between hard-right hawks. Peacenik Jews of the world, don't hold your breath for any change.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.