APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday June 25, 2013
Quote of the day:
"When the Government places the future in the hands of (Habayit Hayehudi) Housing Minister Uri Ariel and (far-right Likud) Deputy Minister Danny Danon and, at the same time, gives up on (National Security Advisor Yaakov) Amidror, it is not just the Right that has a problem, Israel has a problem."
--Conservative Maariv commentator Ben-Dror Yemini on the influence of extremists in the government and the resignation of Amidror.**
Front Page News:
- Amidror resigned because of fear of conflict of interests in gas reserves market
- Stormy session in Knesset over law for Bedouin relocation
- 6 Rockets shot from Gaza
- Governor of Bank of Israel Frankel only to begin position in a few months
- Frankel is good for Netanyahu // Sami Peretz
- Education Ministry admits math matriculation exam was too difficult
- "Netanyahu losing the Likud"
- Rising pressure to renew diplomatic negotiations
- No minister came to memorial for casualties of Second Lebanon War
- The difficult matriculation exams: 20 points compensation in math, but none in history
- Nightlines - Map of buses that will operate late into the night in 65 cities
- Netanyahu decides to release Palestinian prisoners and considers freezing construction outside the (settlement) blocs (Hebrew)
- Interior Minister demands 30 million shekels for mayors' security
- Hamas-Iran crisis - Renewal of Grad rockets from Gaza: Syrian civil war reaches Western Negev (Hebrew)
- Price of a humanitarian gesture - Dispute between security and health ministries: Who will pay for the hospitalization of the injured Syrians treated in Israel (Hebrew)
- Dear Governor - Prof. Yaakov Frankel's salary will be more than 62,000 shekels a month - more than the Prime Minister and the President (Hebrew)
- The fear: "Abu Mazen will return to negotiations - and then cause them to end"
- You understood the math matriculation was difficult? We told you! // Yuval Kahlon
- The one that 'oleh' and the one that takes off - Among the new IAF pilots is B., who immigrated alone from the US in order to join the army.
- Suspected: 17-year-olds got drunk at nightclub and were raped; Police to youth: Be careful on holiday
- Arab MKs tore up the draft, but the "Bedouin Bill" passed in the Knesset
- The world is praying for Mandela
The possible renewal of negotiations, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's loss of influence over his party, and the Education Ministry's admission that a math exam was too hard were top stories in today's Hebrew papers. Meanwhile, the papers gave their analyses of Sunday's rocket fire from Gaza that broke the calm and Arab MKs found new ways to protest the Bedouin relocation bill - but it passed anyway.
It will be a mutual compromise to renew the peace talks, the Israeli papers report. US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives Thursday to give a 'last chance' to renewing the peace process, and he reportedly pressured both sides to make a gesture they can show to their people. Netanyahu will pass an official decision in the government cabinet on the freezing of settlement construction outside the settlement blocs, Maariv and Israel Hayom reported. Maariv's Eli Bardenstein also wrote that Netanyahu decided to release some Palestinian prisoners. At the same time, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has reportedly agreed to hold direct talks with Israel without one of his main pre-conditions: negotiations on the basis of the '67 borders, something Netanyahu refused. Abbas reportedly agreed to the talks if they were held for a limited period of time, in order to test the seriousness of the Israeli government. If Netanyahu does not propose serious suggestions and demonstrates that the Israeli government is not interested in reaching a peace agreement quickly, then Abbas will go instead to the United Nations, a Channel 2 News report said. Kerry's goal is for a Netanyahu-Abbas meeting to take place during this visit. From Netanyahu's point of view, he has done well because he only gave the Palestinians 'gestures,' but did not accept negotiation pre-conditions. According to Israel Hayom, Kerry put most of the blame for the freeze on Abbas and Abbas knew that this was the last opportunity. According to a Palestinian source, the Obama administration made clear that if Abbas did not compromise on some of his pre-conditions - he would be declared as having refused peace. But Israel is concerned that Abbas will torpedo negotiations shortly after they start. However, Haaretz writes that the Palestinians are trying to play down the reports. They say Abbas won't resume negotiations until Israel accepts Palestinian terms. Neither Israel nor the U.S. has presented Palestinian leaders with a viable initiative, they said. Associated Press writes that US officials say that Obama's policy team is trying to 'reign in' Kerry from all his pledges to allies and rivals, including a historic breakthrough in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Meanwhile, at the dedication of an Israeli school in the West Bank, Netanyahu avoided any clear statements on the peace process or the future of the settlements, Haaretz noted. However, his government ministers continue to express their lack of support for negotiations. Sports and Culture Minister Limor Livnat (Likud) criticized Central Command Chief Nitzan Alon, who recently told the foreign press that he feared an escalation in hostilities should the peace talks with the Palestinians not be renewed. "I thought the days of the Oslo Accords are behind us, and there's a new government about," she said.
Indeed, while Netanyahu is pressured to negotiate with the Palestinians he is losing his party's support, Yedioth and Haaretz report. The election Sunday of Likud's governing institutions is likely to make Likus more right-wing and more hostile to the prime minister. Not only is far-right-wing Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon expected to be elected chairman of the Likud party conference, he will likely also be chosen chairman of the party's central committee. Fellow hawk and settler Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin is considered the leading contender for chairmanship of the party bureau − the entity that sets the party's ideology. Yedioth writes that senior party officials say Netanyahu sold the Likud to Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beiteinu party and he is now losing the remains.
Israeli intelligence revealed to the Israeli media that the real reason for Sunday's rockets on Israel: It was a 'price-tag' by Islamic Jihad against Hamas. Not only did Amos Harel explain that 'rocket attack from Gaza is Islamic Jihad's way of settling score with Hamas,' Maariv's Asaf Gabor takes it further and writes that Islamic Jihad is filling a vacuum created after the crisis and cutting off of relations between Hamas and the Syria-Iran-Hezbollah axis and that it is presenting itself as an alternative authority in the Gaza Strip. (NRG Hebrew) Yedioth's Alex Fishman writes that Jihad gave its people a green light to shoot 'Spontaneously, without consulting, from pain and anger.' At whom? At Israel, of course. This was the ultimate punishment against Hamas: to set the border on fire and hurt Hamas' policy of restraint." Interestingly, Abbas' Fatah party and the, PFLP-GC slammed Hamas for taking a stand against the Assad regime. The two parties criticized Hamas leader and Palestinian Parliament speaker Aziz Dweik for taking sides in the Syrian conflict. Dweik said Monday that the Palestinian parliament supported the Syrian opposition and that support took priority over Palestine's struggle against Israeli occupation. A Fatah spokesman said Dweik's comments were "very dangerous and very harmful to the higher Palestinian interest." Meanwhile, MK Avigdor Lieberman declared "Israel has no choice but to consider conquering Gaza." Speaking to Israel Radio, Lieberman said, "Israel must conduct a thorough cleaning of the Gaza Strip." But IDF Spokesman Yoav Mordechai said conquering Gaza was not on the agenda; the implications are vast. In Gaza, an inquiry is being opened into the killing of an Islamic Jihad militant by Palestinian police, which sparked the attack on Israel.
A storm broke out in the Knesset during the vote of the Begin-Prawer Plan, which will see the relocation of between 20-40,000 Bedouins to places that the government has 'recognized.' Arab MKs ripped up the draft and MK Ahmed Tibi poured water over the Knesset podium. They were removed from the Knesset plenum. The vote passed 43-40. The plan is estimated to cost the state NIS 6.8 billion and it has sparked fury in the Bedouin community, who call it immoral and impractical and racist.
- 21 tires slashed, graffiti sprayed in fourth suspected 'price tag' attack in a month - Assailants puncture tires of 21 cars in Beit Hanina in north Jerusalem; Netanyahu condemned similar incident in Abu Gosh last week as 'contrary to Jewish values'; President Peres at Abu Gosh: We were all hurt by this horrible crime. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
- Israeli press group slams army's detention of Palestinian journalists - Israeli Journalists for Palestinian Issues condemned the detention of two Palestine TV journalists covering clashes in the Kafr Qaddum village in Qalqiliya on Friday. The group said Israeli forces must treat journalists as "neutral" and should not expose them to risk of shooting or assault. (Maan)
- Witnesses: Residents, Israeli soldiers clash in Beit Ummar - Israeli forces raided the town of Beit Ummar near Hebron on Monday and detained a 19-year-old, leading to clashes with locals. Soldiers fired plastic-coated bullets, shooting one young man in the hand and another in the back. (Maan)
- Gaza crossings closed for 2nd day - Israel continued its closure of all crossings into Gaza on Tuesday for the second day. The passenger crossing in northern Gaza, Erez, will also remain closed, except for humanitarian cases. (Maan)
- Yachimovich: Why can't Israel catch 'price taggers?' - Referring to 'price tag' attacks in E. Jerusalem, Labor party chief said: "It is not logical that Israel, which is blessed with intelligence and operational capabilities that are among the best in the world, cannot catch an extremist group that causes indescribable damage." (Ynet)
- Israel bars Gaza families from prison visits - Israeli authorities barred 80 Gaza residents from leaving the coastal enclave Monday to visit relatives in Israeli jails, following the closure of all crossings. (Maan)
- Bethlehem prisoner on hunger strike - Ahmad Hamdan, 23, will be joining his brother Ayman on the hunger strike, which the latter began on 28 April. There are 24 prisoners on hunger strike, the Palestinian Prisoners' society said. (Maan)
- Police: Gaza man dies after self-immolation - Yousef Nassar, 30, suffered severe burns after pouring a flammable substance over himself and setting it alight in the Shujaiyeh neighborhood of Gaza City. Police are investigating. (Maan)
- Going to reserve service - Yedioth reports on a rise in motivation among reservist soldiers to do reserve duty, after a drop last year. Men from kibbutzes and moshavs are the serving the most (42%), and after them the settlers (41%), according to the IDF statistics. Only 33% of those eligible nationwide are serving. (Yedioth, p. 2-3)
- More Ethiopian-Israeli women ending up in military jail, IDF data shows - Percentage of soldiers from Ethiopian community who are in military prison, absent without leave or have deserted is five times that of the general population. (Haaretz)
- Shas leader Deri: Haredim, Arabs need to feed their kids too - Opposition parties slam State budget with no-confidence motion, claiming budget deepens social gaps. Shas leader Aryeh Deri turns to coalition members, asks for 'compassion.' (Ynet)
- UN blasts Israel for holding migrant kids in detention centers - The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child condemned Israel policy of holding the children of migrants and asylum seekers in detention centers. (Ynet)
- Netanyahu's national security adviser resigns amid conflict of interest probe - Israel's attorney general examines possibility that Maj. Gen. (res.) Ya'akov Amidror advised cabinet on matters of energy even though he was barred from doing so. (Haaretz)
- Ancient Arabic inscription discovered in Jaffa hints at unknown grand mosque - The inscription, dating back to the 14th century, was discovered during restoration work on a public fountain in Jaffa. (Haaretz)
- Israel's biometric database to begin operating in two weeks - The database was supposed to have started working in November 2011, but was delayed due to longer-than-expected legislative proceedings, including an appeal to High Court. (Haaretz)
- Woman to serve as Israeli ambassador in Muslim country - Carmela Shamir makes history by becoming Jewish state's ambassador in Uzbekistan; her deputy will also be a woman. (Yedioth/Ynet)
- Argument between defense and health ministries: Who will pay for the hospitalization of wounded Syrians treated in Israel? Northern hospitals treated some 50 Syrians at the cost of some 3 million shekels. (Maariv, p. 3/NRG Hebrew)
- Egypt's crackdown on Gaza tunnels takes economic toll on Palestinians - Amid intensified crackdown on smuggling tunnels, prices of commodities such as cement and fuel are soaring. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Qatar's emir abdicates, transfers power to son - Qatar, though a small country, is the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, a global investment powerhouse and a financial backer of Arab Spring revolts. (Agencies, Haaretz)
Israeli startup lets you eat like a local - with locals
A bad trip to the tourist traps of Crete gave Guy Michlin, the founder of EatWith, plenty of food for thought. (Haaretz)
Teaching Israel how to negotiate (Orni Petruschka, Haaretz) Israel should strengthen its negotiating position with the Palestinians - by walking away from the table.
Iran and Israel are similar, after all (Sefi Rachlevsky, Haaretz) The two countries are alike historically, in their tension between religious extremism and freedom and in their dramatic struggles between the public's desire for change and the opposition of calcified elements of the regime.
**No place for different opinions (Ben-Dror Yemini, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) Yemini discusses the resignation of National Security Adviser Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror. "Amidror was supposed to be part and parcel of the Prime Minister's Bureau. He is not from the Left. He was considered part of the Right. But he had a problem. He had somewhat independent, i.e. substantive, thinking." Yemini cites reports that the key issue was the decision to build in E-1, which was in reaction to the UN General Assembly decision on upgrading the status of Palestine at the UN, and adds, "One need not be the National Security Adviser to understand that this was the stupidest and most anti-national decision possible, even from the perspective of someone who believes in the Greater Land of Israel," because, "instead of criticizing (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas), whose appeal to the UN was in breach of previous agreements with Israel, Israel saw fit to turn itself into the obdurate nay-sayer. As soon as the construction was declared, criticism of the Palestinian move stopped...When the Government places the future in the hands of Housing Minister Uri Ariel and Deputy Minister Danny Danon and, at the same time, gives up on Amidror, it is not just the Right that has a problem, Israel has a problem."
Alice Walker's crass bigotry exposed (Alan M. Dershowitz, Haaretz) Alice Walker's new book of half-truths and lies paints a cartoonish picture of Jews and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. By proving she opposes peace talks, the two-state solution and any rational approach to the conflict, Walker writes herself off as irrelevant.
There must be 50 ways to hate an Arab (Moshe Arens, Haaretz) Unfortunately, there is a broad spectrum of hostility toward Arabs throughout Israeli society. It is not limited to the 'price-tag' gangs.
Dressing Anne Frank in Palestinian garb to boycott Israel (Bradley Burston, Haaretz) From Anne Frank in a keffiyeh to Jihad rockets: Are 'price tags' a new model for Israel/Palestine extremism?
Key to Israel's current zenith: Oslo Accords, Lebanon withdrawal, Gaza disengagement (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz) These much-maligned landmarks dispersed Israel's enemies, improved its international status, legitimized the use of force and enabled the proliferation of Jewish settlements.
IDF's lessons from last Gaza conflict: Buy new tank carriers, train troops away from front lines (Amos Harel, Haaretz) Israel's Operation Pillar of Defense revealed that the army's antiquated tank transporters weren't sufficient to cope with a sudden military flare-up.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.