APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday May 26, 2013
Quote of the day:
"But no one wants us to deteriorate the area to a state where we are killing 12-year-old Palestinians from morning till night."
-- IDF Etzion Sector Commander Colonel Yaniv Alalouf explains that decision to build new settler road in West Bank will prevent having to shoot dead Palestinian boys has happened until now. (Ynet English)
Front Page News:
- Peri Commission expected to approve military draft reform today
- Stockholders decided to takeover IDB Holdings; Dankner: I won't resign
- Week of clashes: Riots in Sweden spreading outside of capital
- Alone in the war against terror - Obama's speech needs to concern decision-makers in Israel // Chemi Shalev
- Despite the Treasury's opposition: Lapid to transfer 50 million shekels to Ariel University
- The Jerusalemites pleasure in desecrating the Sabbath
- Nasrallah: We will not abandon Assad
- Dankner: I am not giving up
- How the young men got into gold trouble - The three Israelis, former commandos, were arrested in Hong Kong on suspicion of trying to smuggle 342kg of gold
- Song of the wedding turned into the song of the funeral - Woman caught deadly virus while preparing for wedding
- Careful, the snakes are leaving their holes
- It is I - Victims of sexual harassment speak about the dilemma of revealing themselves
- It hurts me so badly - Shai Agassi eulogizes Better Place
- Peres will call on Abu Mazen: "Israel wants peace, it's possible to bridge the gap" - Israeli President expected to give dramatic speech tonight at World Economic Forum in Jordan (Hebrew)
- Habayit Hayehudi opposes IDF's draft guidelines in the Peri Commission
- Syria: Hezbollah alongside the army in harsh battles against the rebels in Qusayr
- Sunday Times: Russia will not supply Assad with S300 missiles
- After London: Muslim dressed in galabiyeh stabbed French soldier in his neck
- Dankner on way out? Representatives of IDB Holdings trying to take over conglomerate; Dankner: I will make a better offer
- For the information of the (former) students Eitan Fox and Anat Waxman, 'Rene Cassin' high school in Jerusalem is up for sale
- (Tycoon) Dankner in the fight of his life - Earthquake in the economy - Nochi Dankner likely to lose control of IDB Holdings
- How does Dankner's departure affect the pension funds of the public?
- Attorney General likely to rule that decision to continued service of (Ramat Gan Mayor) Tzvi Bar - is extremely unreasonable
- "Syria failed in its cyberattack on Haifa"
- Report: "Better Place" likely to file for bankruptcy
- Ministerial committee for 'sharing the burden' to discuss Peri (Commission) conclusions
- 89-year-old stabbed his wife and was shot by a policeman
- London effect? Soldier stabbed near Paris
Hezbollah leader stands behind the Syrian regime, IDB Holdings stockholders take over conglomerate from Israeli tycoon, and division ahead of vote tonight over the ultra-Orthodox military draft reforms were top stories in todays' Hebrew papers. Also, US Secretary of State John Kerry left the country - and the ball in the Israeli and Palestinian court, President Shimon Peres will go on the diplomatic offense in Jordan - and anger many. Haaretz reveals details of a report by development agencies in the West Bank who slam the EU's inaction over Israel's Area C policies. Meanwhile, the subject of increased Palestinian stone-throwing gets more attention: Ynet and NRG Hebrew reveal plans to build a new settler road in the West Bank - and in doing an IDF commander reveals how his forces severely injured and even killed Palestinian boys to stop stone throwing - while Israel Hayom reports on a settlers protest at junctions across the West Bank Friday.
Kerry focused on peace talks in his meetings with Israelis and Palestinians Thursday and Friday, the papers report, and not on freezing settlements, which he said should not be an impediment to restarting negotiations - although it would help if Israel would stop construction. He said the sides that the time is approaching when leaders need to make hard decisions. The Israelis say they are happy to begin talking. An unnamed senior Palestinian official told Maariv that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is under serious pressure by Kerry to enter talks with Israel without the precondition to stop settlement construction. (NRG Hebrew)
Haaretz's Barak Ravid and Maariv's Shalom Yerushalmi noted that Abbas gave an 'upbeat' speech yesterday at the World Economic Forum being held in Jordan, speaking about hopes for the future without even mentioning a halt to construction in the settlements as a precondition to renewing negotiations." Maan has full quotes from his speech here. Abbas also said that the leadership in Ramallah was working to form a unity government within weeks.
According to Ravid, the borders of the future Palestinian state and the security arrangements Israel requires will be the first topics discussed once talks are restarted. He quoted Kerry as saying that the goal will be to integrate Israeli demands with Palestinian demands - "along the 1967 lines with swaps and recognizing changes that have taken place on the ground" - in other words, the large settlement blocks.
Meanwhile, Maariv reported that Peres will tell the audience of leaders at the World Economic Forum today - and specifically Abbas - that most of the gaps between the Israelis and Palestinians can be bridged and that Israel 'has an absolute majority in favor of a diplomatic solution based on two states for two peoples in the 1967 borders, with agreed upon and equal border adjustments." Maariv's Shalom Yerushalmi wrote that Peres is aware that a number of Israeli ministers will 'drop jaws' at those words, 'but that won't deter him.' Israel Hayom reported that Peres met with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Friday to discuss the central issues that will come up during Peres' trip. [Did Netanyahu know of and approve of Peres' speech? - OH] (NRG Hebrew)
Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said he would stand by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's side and warned that if Syria falls, so will Palestine. That support does not come as a surprise in light of the thousands of Hezbollah fighters involved in Syria and the losses Hezbollah has taken in the fighting in the Syrian town of Qusayr. The battle still rages there with at least 22 people were killed just yesterday.
Hezbollah's #2, Sheikh Naim Qassem, was more confronational in a TV interview Friday. He addressed the possibility that the Syrian conflict would develop into fighting in the Golan Heights, and said, "If needed we are willing to help." As for an Israeli response he said, "We have the power to deal with any foolish act on Israel's part."
The Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA) said the EU governments have not launched the coordinated, effective diplomatic efforts against Israel's policies in Area C of the West Bank. AIDA will officially publish its report tomorrow, the day the EU's Foreign Affairs Council convenes. Here are some numbers in the report from over the past year:d
94% of Palestinian applications for building permits denied
535 Palestinian structures demolished (including 71 in E. Jerusalem)
30 structures funded by the EU destroyed (including water cisterns and toilets).
32 Palestinian master plans submitted to the Civil Administration more than 18 months ago have not yet been approved
1,967 tenders for new housing units for settlers were made - with 613 built
150 Palestinians were injured by settlers (including 33 children) in past year
On Friday hundreds of settlers protested the rise in rock-throwing incidents by holding demonstrations at several key junctions across the West Bank. "Every rock thrown has the potential to kill, and the military should respond to a rock like a bullet," said the Kedumim Regional Council head. On Saturday night, after Shabbat ended, the IDF commander of the Etzion Battalion Yaniv Alalouf held a meeting in the Gush Etzion settlement of Efrat with 150 residents on the subject of the increased stone-throwing at settler cars by Palestinians. He said a new West Bank road would be built to avoid that. [And the Palestinian land that will likely be confiscated to build it will only cause more stone-throwing or worse - OH] Alalouf said that the profile of stone-throwers were 12-14-year-old boys: "There were incidents in which we used [live fire and sniper fire of elite units because we thought it was right to act that way] and as a result Palestinians were critically injured or killed," he added. "We limit the Palestinians and bolster coordination policies. We will not spare where harsh actions are needed, but no one wants us to get to a state of killing 12-year-old Palestinians from morning to night." [NOTE: YNET ENGLISH AVOIDED TRANSLATING the section in brackets - OH] (Original in Ynet Hebrew) A local police commander recommended to the settlers: "If stones are thrown at you and no one is critically injured just keep on driving. Jews also drive in a catastrophic manner down these roads, which is why we bolstered enforcement." (NRG Hebrew)
Haaretz analyzes the complaints reported by Maariv of Israeli soldiers that they are not allowed to respond with fire to Palestinian stone and Molotov cocktail throwing and concludes: "One gets the impression that the fighters are complaining more about the sense of humiliation and insult to what they consider national pride, than about a genuine tactical or strategic problem." Moreover, write military affairs reporter Amos Harel and settlements reporter Chaim Levinson: "There is a great deal of logic in Alon's argument that unnecessary harm to Palestinians, when not required for reasons of self-defense, will only reignite the West Bank, and for a long time."
- Teen shot by Israeli forces suffers partial paralysis - Atta Sabah, 13, was walking with school friends in Jalazoun refugee camp near Ramallah on Tuesday when Israeli forces opened fire at the group and hit him in the back. (Maan)
- Palestinian injured in clashes near Qalqiliya - A Palestinian man was injured in the head by a tear-gas cannister shot at close range during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces in Kafr Qaddum west of Nablus and east of Qalqilya (Maan)
- Settlers use chemicals to destroy over 100 olive trees - A group of settlers from Yitzhar destroyed over 100 olive trees in a Nablus village on Saturday after spraying them with toxic chemicals, later tested by the PA Ministry of Agriculture. (Maan)
- Fire destroys 10 dunams of land in Hebron - The blaze broke out in the village of Idhna, and destroyed mainly olive trees. Police have opened an investigation into the incident. (Maan)
- Committee: 2 injured in clashes near Hebron - Palestinian youths hurled stones at Israeli soldiers, who responded with riot dispersal means. One man was shot in the back of the head by a rubber-coated steel bullet. (Maan)
- Man found dead near Bethlehem - Fawzi Ibrahim Thuweib, 23, was found in scrub-land near the village of Zaatara Friday. Medics said he had died recently and police have opened an investigation into the cause of death. (Maan)
- Israeli Finance Minister Lapid approves NIS 50m aid plan for Ariel University - Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein had blocked the transfer of the money to the West Bank institution, saying it wasn't a good idea during an election season. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
- Haniyeh urges Egypt to rethink Israel peace deal - Ismail Haniyeh said during Friday noon prayers that Egypt would be better off if its leaders reconsidered or even canceled the US-brokered peace agreement. (Maan)
- Habayit Hayehudi demands that IDF draft reform includes Arabs - Committee submitted recommendations that all Haredim be required to enlist at 21, though 1,800 exceptional students each year would be exempt. (Haaretz)
- Israeli Ex-General denies statements regarding Syrian cyber attack - Isaac Ben-Israel says reports of failed Syrian attack on Haifa water infrastructure are false, and originated in Iranian media. (Haaretz)
- Report: Syria cyber attacked Haifa's water system - Israeli official says failed cyber attack was launched two weeks ago; hundreds of such attacks every minute against crucial infrastructure, he claims. (Ynet)
- Major military exercises with 18 countries expected soon in Jordan - Jordan armed forces host troops from 18 'friendly countries', for military exercises, held following Amman calls on international community for more support in dealing with influx from Syrian war. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Yesh Atid minister: Isolated settlements should be dismantled - Days after Yair Lapid told The New York Times he opposes a freeze on settlement construction, Social Affairs Minister Meir Cohen says some settlements should be evacuated unilaterally. (Haaretz)
- Today National Homefront Drill begins - The week-long exercise will simulate missile attacks all over Israel, including in urban population centers and areas of strategic importance. Two sirens will go off on Monday, during which citizens are asked to head for the nearest safe-room. (Israel Hayom)
- Peres to leave for WEF conference in Jordan - President's men refuse to disclose names of Arab leaders Peres will meet, citing sensitive nature; Abbas: Still a chance for peace, freeze settlement. (Ynet)
- Police fail to report resignation in murder of Bedouin sisters - Dismissal of officer whose station failed to prevent murder of two young girls presented by police as quick response to failure, but Ynet learns commander asked to step down immediately after incident. Police: Commissioner adopted committee's recommendations before officer's appeal. (Ynet)
- Hundreds of Israelis demonstrate in protest of plan to export natural gas - At previous demonstrations, protesters clashed with police, but a large police presence kept the demonstrators in check on Saturday night. (Haaretz)
- Knesset summons Mark Zuckerberg - MK Moshe Gafni surprised to discover fake Facebook profile using his name. After failing to contact social network's management, he invites its founder and CEO to attend urgent discussion at Israeli parliament. (Ynet)
- Today the flow of water from the Sea of Galilee to the Jordan River will be renewed - For the first time in 50 years, clean water will be allowed to pass continuously into the Jordan River. It was stopped in the 60's causing the Dead Sea to shrink. After pressure [from Friend of Earth Middle East - OH], the Water Authority decided to allow millions of cube a year to flow to partly rehabilitate the ecological system in the river. (Yedioth, p. 10)
- Fragments of Dead Sea Scrolls up for sale - Collectors fork out millions for small pieces of this archaeological treasure. Israel, evangelical Christians, Palestinians and others vie for the last remaining pieces. (Israel Hayom)
- Al-Jazeera draws fire over self-censorship - Qatar-based network criticized over decision to remove controversial article posted on its website amid claims story is 'anti-Jewish.' (YnetVideo)
- Ramallah company organizes event to support Gaza Arab Idol finalist - Thousands of Palestinians gathered Friday in front of offices of Qirrish Motor Mall in Beitunia near Ramallah to watch the live transmission of the Arab Idol competition and express support to the Palestinian finalist from the Gaza Strip Muhammad Assaf. (Maan)
- Sheldon and Miriam Adelson donate another $40 million to Birthright - Gift brings Adelsons' total donations to the program to historic $180 million, making them by far the world's largest private donors to Birthright Israel. "We are committed to improving the world through cultural exchange," says Dr. Miriam Adelson. (Israel Hayom)
- Israel transfers 35 Gaza prisoners to Nafta jail - Israel's prison authority on Friday transferred all Gaza prisoners detained in the Negev prison to another jail, a detainees center said. (Maan)
- Palestinian Administrative Detainee taken to hospital as health declines in Israeli jail - Mansour al-Shahatit was transferred from Ramon prison to Soroka Hospital, after his health seriously deteriorated. His father said he had heart problems. Also Friday, a prisoners radio station reported that Murad Abu Maeleq, a cancer patient and prisoner in Israel, was hospitalized five times over a two-week period. (Maan)
- Livni reviews cases of terrorists PA seeks to release - Justice Minister Tzipi Livni is to review cases of more than 100 Palestinian terrorists who were imprisoned in Israel prior to Oslo Accords. Still unclear whether the Palestinian Authority demands their release as a precondition to resuming peace talks. (Israel Hayom)
Breaking Israel's holy trinity: Settlers, religious and the wealthy
Is there any hope for reviving the radical spirit of the early Zionists? (Haaretz)
The trap of being apolitical (Zeev Sternhell, Haaretz) Anyone who refuses to define himself as 'left' and to fight against poverty and the occupation, will end up on the right.
Slain Bedouin girls' mother, a victim of Israeli-Palestinian bureaucracy (Amira Hass, Haaretz) The dismissive treatment Dandis received shows how the Bedouin are considered simply to be lawbreakers by their very nature. As a resident of the West Bank, Abir Dandis was met with indifference by the Israel Police and the Palestinian security forces' inability to act.
Let them take responsibility (Amnon Lord, Maariv) "Since the Second Lebanon War and the two small wars in Gaza, 'Cast Lead' and 'Pillar of Defense', it has been clear to Israel that any territorial concession means handing over territories to the control of Hezbollah and Hamas. Territories under Hamas's control means missiles at the Israeli home front." Lord writes that US Secretary of State John Kerry, "still lives in The New York Times-esque euphoria of the Arab Spring, the wonderful democratization, of the year of protest, 2011," and is still clinging to the land-for-peace formula despite the rampant - and spreading - violent instability in the region. "One need not be right-wing in order to understand that today there is no chance for any Israeli concession on its eastern border."
Analysis: Palestinians should invest in a Plan B (Daoud Kuttab, Maan) One of the most important lessons any negotiator needs to know is that the ability to conduct effective negotiations requires one to have a credible alternative in case negotiations fail. Abbas' leadership has made clear that violence is not an alternative, so that means that the only credible alternative has to be of the nonviolent kind. Although not enough effort has been invested in this area, the options in this regard are many.
The John Kerry-Atlantic Council connection (Yoram Ettinger, Israel Hayom) President Obama's foreign policy and national security teams reflect the worldview of the Atlantic Council, a prestigious, Washington-based multilateralism-driven think tank.
League of illusions (Guy Bechor, Yedioth/Ynet) Saudi peace initiative nothing more than a diplomatic whim; Arab street will never accept it.
Lawless land (Haaretz Editorial) After Homesh was evacuated and its houses demolished, the IDF declared it a military zone closed to Israelis; the order hasn't bothered the right-wing organizations, though, as they've been holding rallies on the ruins of Homesh ever since.
Don Quixote John Kerry vs. the Middle East's hysterical hypochondriacs of history (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz)The cynical know-it-alls in Jerusalem and Ramallah are united in their disdain for the naively persistent Secretary of State. I know who I'm rooting for.
Israel and the Palestinians have launched a mutual charm offensive on Kerry (Barak Ravid, Haaretz) Both sides know the chances of a breakthrough are slim, but neither side wants to be the one Kerry blames for failure.
Israel can act fast on gun control, so why not on peace talks? (Ilene Prusher, Haaretz) New regulations were announced only one day after a bank shooting in Be'er Sheva, yet the government has been unable to move forward with the Palestinians.
Could U.S. reality star Samy Bouzaglo become Israel's Kitchen Nightmare? (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz) When you look at an Israeli reality television star in the United States like Samy Bouzaglo, you realize that not every emigrating Israeli is necessarily a brain drain.
London, Boston, Toulouse: Terror overwhelming Western intelligence (Ely Karmon, Haaretz) Western governments, above all the U.K., have yet to realize that the impunity enjoyed by radical Islamist leaders to publish, organize and incite violence is the single greatest danger to their security.
Wonders never cease (Oudeh Basharat, Haaretz) Dear committee members, as you wish, Mohammed al-Dura wasn't killed; he's safe and sound and hiding somewhere. But what about the 951 children that human rights group B'Tselem says were killed during the second intifada?
A nation of pedophiles (Kobi Niv, Haaretz) Both groups are pedophiles: those who wish to cover young girls up in the name of God; and those who expose girls before viewers in the name of profit.
It's spit, not rain (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) Dear thug who attacked me, do you really think an Israel with no remnant of the peace camp, no High Court of Justice, no human rights groups, no Haaretz, no 'Israel haters,' no 'Arab lovers' and even no yours truly will be a better country?
No police for the Bedouin (Haaretz Editorial) In the aftermath of two violent incidents that took place over the past week, it appears the police simply dismiss the Bedouin.
Obama's counter-terrorism speech may alarm Israeli policy makers (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz) After 12 years in the trenches of the 'war on terror', the American president tells Israel the U.S. is pulling out, symbolically at least. And that he intends to pursue peace with the Palestinians.
From treating Kings and Shahs to revolutionizing Israeli medicine - the enigmatic life of Professor Moshe Many
Prof. Moshe Many flourished in private medicine but now believes it should be abolished. Even stranger, he served as Israel's go-between to key Middle Eastern figures, including Saudi King Fahd. Looking back at a remarkable life. (Interviewed by Yoram Gabison, Haaretz)
Israeli defense at The Hague
Lt. Col. (res.) David Benjamin, an Israel-based attorney specializing in international law, the law of armed conflict and counterterrorism, talks to Israel Hayom about defending Israel in the International Criminal Court at The Hague. (Israel Hayom video)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.