APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday August 11, 2013
Quote of the day:
"Every discipline, including those in the humanities, deserves recognition and support - no less than the army."
-- Israeli historian and writer, Zeev Sternhell, calls on the government to budget money for the humanities, after the Hebrew University announced it will cancel some 100 courses in the faculty due to budget cuts.**
Front Page News:
- Egypt denies Israeli attack in Sinai; Effort to defuse the tensions
- Ministers to decide which Palestinian prisoners to be released this week
- Unnecessary dismissal - This is how they harmed the career of a senior diplomat
- PM Netanyahu hospitalized for hernia surgery after feeling pain
- Health Ministry expanding immunization campaign against polio to all children (under 9) in Israel
- Leading candidate for position of Governor of Bank of Israel: Prof. Mario Blejer to appear before Turkel Committee today
- Israel vaccinating
- Last night: Netanyahu hospitalized for surgery
- City of Governors: Mario Blejer, the candidate for Bank of Israel Governor, comes from Cordova, Argentina. So does Leiderman and Trajtenberg
- Strategic threat - Not only in Sinai: Al-Qaeda terror cells organizing along Israel's borders
- Egyptian honor // Alex Fishman
- In coordination with US: Israel to announce construction of hundreds of housing units in settlements and E. Jerusalem (Hebrew)
- Egyptian army denies reports of Israeli attack in Sinai: "We are responsible for the attack" (Hebrew)
- The Israeli dilemma // Amir Rappaport (Hebrew)
- "2 Drops" campaign expands: About 1 million children to be vaccinated against polio (Hebrew)
- Last night: After complaining of pain, Netanyahu arrived in the hospital for a hernia operation under general anaesthesia (Hebrew)
- "Israel killed terrorists in Sinai"
- 75%: We will vaccinate our children
- Last night: Netanyahu hospitalized for hernia operation
- "Not playing 'Hatikva' national anthem at the Barcelona (soccer team) appearance - scandal and disgrace"
- Special ministerial committee to convene to approve release of 26 terrorists
- Lapid on disappointed Yesh Atid people: "They look at me like schnauzer dogs"
- Beitar Jerusalem soccer team: We won't play on Saturdays; CEO: I'm unaware of such an agreement
It is two days before peace negotiations are set to begin in Jerusalem: Western diplomats arrive in the city, Israeli ministers convene to choose 26 Palestinian prisoners to release, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to announce the construction of hundreds more settlement homes and he has a written a letter complaining about the Palestinians to US Secretary of State John Kerry. Meanwhile, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat says that if peace hinges on dividing Jerusalem, then it should be avoided.
A special ministerial committee decides today which 26 Palestinian prisoners are to be released in the first stage of releases on Tuesday. The names of the prisoners will be posted on the Israel Prison Service website, to allow those who wish to petition the High Court of Justice to do so within 48 hours. President Shimon Peres will most likely not be needed to sign pardons, because the committee will probably not release any of the Arab Israeli citizens in this round. The release of Palestinians only requires the approval of the IDF. Senior diplomatic sources told Israel Hayom on Saturday night that after the release of prisoners this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to demand the exile of prisoners from the West Bank that the Shin Bet considers dangerous.
Netanyahu is also expected to announce the construction of hundreds of new homes in settlements at the same time that the announcement for the release of 26 Palestinians is made, Maariv/NRG Hebrew reported. According to the paper, a US source said Netanyahu coordinated the move with the Obama administration. In essence, this means the US agreed to limited settlement construction in exchange for the release of the first round of prisoners. The housing units are not limited to settlement blocs, but will also be built in isolated settlements. According to the US source, Israel presented the construction as part of its "carrot and stick" policy, which allows it to keep its coalition together and continue the peace process. [This coincides with earlier reports of a secret deal between Netanyahu and the pro-settler Housing Minister of Habayit Hayehudi, according to which, he would be allowed to construct in settlements and Habayit Hayehudi would remain in the coalition - OH]
The newly appointed US Middle East envoy Martin Indyk is scheduled to land in Israel today to meet with both the Israeli and Palestinian sides before the formal negotiations begin on Tuesday. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle is also scheduled to arrive today for a two-day visit with both sides to lend German backing to the revived peace talks,
Netanyahu sent a letter to Kerry last night, accusing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of incitement against Israel. This follows a letter to Kerry from chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who wrote Thursday that Israel's intention to build 1,000 new homes in settlements was an indication of "Israel's bad faith and lack of seriousness" in the talks.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat gave an interview from his home to Israel Hayom, in which he said, among other things, "If the (peace) deal collapses because it hinges on the Jerusalem issue, so be it. It is better not to make any deal than to agree to a bad deal."
In a meeting Thursday evening, Kerry told US Jewish leaders: Israeli-Palestinian peace is a 'strategic imperative' and called on them to endorse negotiations between Israel and Palestinians. But, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the US is not a good mediator in peace talks because 'it stands by Zionists', says talks will 'definitely damage' Palestinian side. US-hosted talks will "definitely damage the Palestinian side and force the Palestinians to "abandon their rights and encourage the occupier."
According to some reports, the IDF bombed rocket launchers in Egyptian Rafah, very close to the border with Gaza and the Israel-Gaza Strip Kerem Shalom Crossing, making headlines in Israeli newspapers. Five militants were killed. However, an Egyptian armed forces spokesperson denied the Israeli strike had occurred. He said the Egyptian army is combing the region and investigating the reports.Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon neither confirmed nor denied Israeli involvement saying that rumors regarding Israeli responsibility will not affect ties with Egypt and that Israel respects Egypt's sovereignty. Maariv's Amir Rappaport wrote that it was in the interest of the Sinai jihadis to accuse the Egyptian military of collaboration with Israel to make it look bad. (NRG Hebrew) Funerals were held for the militants reportedly slain in the drone strike in Sinai. Many of those who attended were reportedly wanted by authorities.
Tomorrow, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Patrick Dempsey will arrive in Israel as a guest of IDF Chief of Staff Beni Gantz with the declared goal of strengthening military cooperation between the two countries. Yedioth writes that Washington is concerned about Israel's threats against Iran. And, US Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III concluded a week-long secret visit to Israel on Thursday as a guest of Israel Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, the Israeli news website Walla News reported Friday. Walla wrote that the visit was kept confidential in light of regional tensions and current discourse over the possibility of attacking Iran's nuclear facilities.
- Israeli soldiers shoot, kill unarmed Palestinian on Gaza border - Palestinian man draws soldiers' suspicions after digging into the ground of the fortified border fence; shot after ignoring calls to turn back, as well as warnings shots. (Haaretz)
- Dispute Mountain - EU claims Jerusalem's Har Hahotzvim R&D and industrial zone is beyond the Green Line. Significance: Companies that work there will not receive grants for research from EU countries. (Yedioth, p. 8)
- Delta Air Lines boycotts Israeli snack? American airline stops serving Achva halva on its flights from Israel after passengers complain product manufactured in 'illegal' settlements. Company says in response product removed as part of 'normal catering cycle and review.' Achva Co. is located in the Barkan settlement industrial zone. (Israel Hayom, p. 7 and Ynet)
- Fear and loathing in Upper Nazareth - Arab and Jewish residents respond to Mayor Shimon Gapso, who is determined to keep his town predominantly Jewish. (Haaretz)
- Israel police accused of 'political' traffic law enforcement in West Bank - Activist Ezra Nawi says he has been a victim of petty faultfinding and repeatedly fined for minor offenses in a region where law enforcement is notoriously loose. (Haaretz)
- Anthem scandal mars Barca visit - Education Ministry refuses to fund FC Barcelona's visit after organizers decide not to play Israel's national anthem at Bloomfield Stadium so as not to offend Palestinian sentiments. (Ynet)
- Obama to award Israeli professor the Presidential Medal of Freedom - Daniel Kahneman, a 2002 Nobel Prize laureate who is considered one of the world's foremost researchers in the fields of behavioral economics and hedonic psychology, is named one of 16 recipients of the U.S.'s highest civilian honor. (Israel Hayom)
- Senior doctors among hundreds of olim from US - Five American doctors and their families among hundreds of new olim; will join Israel's medical workforce. (Yedioth/Ynet)
- Stoudemire applies for Israeli citizenship - New York Knicks star officially decides to take his connection to Judaism one step further while visiting Israel for Maccabiah Games. (Ynet)
- Bilin rallies for Palestinian prisoners - Israeli forces fired plastic-coated steel bullets, tear gas canisters and sound bombs at protesters rallying in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners at the weekly demonstration in Bilin near Ramallah on Friday. (Maan)
- In Israel, Juvenile police records prove hard to shake - Police accused of being rather trigger-happy to file charges against minors, and unlike diamonds, the record is forever. (Haaretz)
- New deal to connect Israel to European electric grid - Energy Minister Silvan Shalom signs deal with Greece and Cyprus • If the plan is realized, Israel will be able to export energy to Europe, and in a crisis could rely on European electricity. Shalom: Agreement attests to close ties between the countries.(Israel Hayom)
- U.S. embassy issues first visas to married same-sex Israeli couples' - Gay rights are human rights,' says U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro. (JTA, Haaretz)
- Israel, Greece, Cyprus sign new energy MOU - The memorandum also states that the countries will cooperate to protect regionally important infrastructures in the Mediterranean where natural gas fields are located. (Globes)
- US to reopen 18 diplomatic missions after threat - US plans to reopen 18 of 19 embassies closed because of intercepted al-Qaeda conference call revealing Yemen-orchestrated terror plot. However, consulates in Lahore, Sanaa to remain closed, US State Department said, citing 'ongoing concerns.' (Ynet)
Settlements will continue to determine Israel's future (Haaretz Editorial) The government will do anything it can to sabotage the talks with the Palestinians. There is no other way to interpret the recent approval of 878 new housing units in secluded West Bank settlements.
A reality TV show put on by Israel's leaders (Amir Oren, Haaretz) Netanyahu and Lapid aren't altering their non-technique that resulted in the failure to get a Bank of Israel candidate appointed - they are just redoubling it.
When Israel shoots itself in the foot (Efraim Halevy, Yedioth/Ynet) Instead of delegitimizing Iranian people's choice for president, Israel should express support for US-Tehran nuclear talks.
Netanyahu and Lapid have tarnished Israel's economic standing (Aner Shalev, Haaretz) The real question regarding the Bank of Israel controversy isn't who needs the Turkel Committee, but rather, why is its authority so limited?
The West pretends not to see (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Why is Europe focused on pressuring Israel over settlements while the Iranian centrifuges continue to spin?
An open letter to Roger Waters: Why Israel is not an apartheid state (Noam Gilboord, Haaretz) I know that your father and my grandfather, who saw and experienced so much pain, bloodshed, and death, would agree that a complex political conflict such as this one deserves a peaceful, productive, and equally complex solution.
Israel's bad neighborhood (Yoram Ettinger, Israel Hayom) The turmoil in Egypt and Syria proves that the Arab Spring has become a tsunami, threatening to plunge the region into chaos.
They're not in it for the money (Yossi Sarid, Haaretz) Our leaders want us to be more respectful to public servants, but is it the citizens who devour the leaders or vice versa?
An Israeli-Palestinian federation is still the way (Uri Avnery, Haaretz) The old dream of a Semitic union still has a chance - a political and economic union similar to the EU.
Are you with me? (Emily Amrousi, Israel Hayom) Why is it that only the settlers are interested in holding onto the mountains of Judea and Samaria -- our only homeland? Where are the rest of the Israelis?
**There's money for war but not for humanities? (Zeev Sternhell, Haaretz) Under no circumstances should Israelis accept the elimination of university disciplines because demand for courses is small.
Constructive unilateralism - Israel's insurance policy (Lolita Brayman, Haaretz) Relocating 100,000 settlers would both complement peace talks and set the foundation for a two-state solution should talks fail.
Canadian MP: Incitement is far worse than checkpoints
Irwin Cotler, one of the world's leading international law experts, slams EU boycott of settlements, dismisses claims that Israel violates human rights. "I was told that Israel must cease to be a Jewish state," he says of meeting with Arab leaders. (Israel Hayom)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.