APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday August 12, 2013
Quote of the day:
"Building thousands of housing units in the settlements is a roadmine placed by the government to kill the negotiations before they even begin."
--Meretz Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On on the announcement to build 1,200 more settlement homes, the second such decision in three days and just ahead of peace talks.**
Front Page News:
- Fear of crisis following construction in W. Bank and intention to deport prisoners
- Mapping suicides in the army: Most of the soldiers are at the start of their service, 37% are new immigrants
- Nightly battles and the escape of Christians: Chaos in northern Sinai turns into rebellion
- The Egyptian Sinai campaign // Zvi Bar'el
- Child stuck in car for hours - died
- Homosexual couples began receiving visas to the US
- The black list - Last night at midnight: The minister approved the identity of 26 Palestinian prisoners to be released first
- The oil stain of (Mario Blejer) the next governor of the Bank of Israel
- The mountain that begot a mouse // Nahum Barnea on the storm over Har Hahotzvim
- The most principled schools
- The boy locked himself in the car - and died from the heat
- Prof. Ada Yonat: Giving up the European (research) grants is a tragedy
- Building and releasing: Ministers approved release of first 26 terrorists (Hebrew)
- (Heavy) Price tag // Uri Elitzur (Hebrew)
- Bargaining chip // Amnon Lord (Hebrew)
- We pay the bill // Nadav Eyal (Hebrew)
- Plague on the country: Four-year-old got locked in car during heavy heat in Beersheva and died (Hebrew)
- "I was 17, and I remember now like then that decision, sport or theater, soccer or a military band" - 45 years after he gave up a career on the field, (famous actor) Moni Moshonov found peace in playing the image of a pressuring father of an Israeli soccer player who goes to play in England
- (Netanyahu) Had surgery and back to routine (Hebrew)
- At the height of the beach season, not all the beaches have lifesavers. 13 Israelis drowned, five of them died (Hebrew)
- Painful gesture: The list of 26; At the same time as the release: 1,200 housing units in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria
- Negotiations on a tight rope // Dan Margalit
- An end to the quiet freeze // Nadav Shragai
- The Peres Center for Peace refused to exhibit a children's show because of the words: "State of the Jews" - 'because it would have been hard for us to bring Palestinian children to a show that says 'State of the Jews'
- Beersheva: Child locked himself in burning car - and died
- "Recuperating quickly" - PM Netanyahu released from hospital yesterday after hernia operation
- Expose: Atias family received video of car accident in which parents and six of their children were killed
- For the undecided: Why it is important to vaccinate against polio
- Panic at JFK Airport: Two employees harmed from 'nerve gas'
Peace Talks Highlights:
Israel builds and Israel releases were the headlines as the state announced another 1,200 apartments for sale across the Green Line and agreed on the names of 26 Palestinians to be released tomorrow. Haaretz reported that the Palestinian side might not show up for talks on Wednesday accusing the Israelis of trying to derail the negotiations. The papers reveal the considerations taken into account in choosing which Palestinian prisoners to release, and Maariv reports that some will be expelled. Families on both sides are unhappy.
The Palestinians are threatening not to show up to negotiations scheduled to begin in Jerusalem Wednesday because of the settlement construction announcement, the second in three days, and the report that some of the prisoners would be expelled, Haaretz reported. The Palestinians appealed to US and European mediators, saying Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu violated agreements and is not doing anything to prevent his government from derailing the talks. Israel Hayom notes that the announcement comes days after the US State Department explicitly declared it will not accept Israeli construction beyond the 1967 borders.
Haaretz writes, "The Palestinians were notified in advance of the building in East Jerusalem and the large blocs. While objecting, discussion of plans was part of the understandings that led to the renewal of the peace talks, along with the issue of the prisoners. The declaration of construction plans in secluded settlements, however caught the Palestinians by surprise. Netanyahu told U.S. officials that he, too, was surprised by the approval of the plan, but the Palestinians reject this as an excuse." Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat responded saying: "If the Israeli government believes that every week they're going to cross a red line by settlement activity, if they go with this behavior, what they're advertising is the unsustainability of the negotiations." A statement released by the spokesman of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' said: "The Israeli decision was meant to disrupt the efforts to renew the peace process." (NRG Hebrew)
US Middle East envoy Martin Indyk already arrived yesterday to escort the talks. But according to Maariv he will sit in a side room and only come in to the negotiation room when situations arrive that require US mediation.
**Most of the construction will be in E. Jerusalem, but Israel Hayom and Maariv wrote that the construction would be in 'Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria,' while Haaretz and Yedioth were careful to note that the construction would be in East Jerusalem, as well as the West Bank. Not only the opposition, but even Finance Minister Yair Lapid criticized the move calling it a "big mistake." Lapid, who has publicly declared his opposition to giving the Palestinians control of E. Jerusalem, said: "Solutions for the housing problem should be implemented where there is demand. The use of resources designated for housing for the middle class for the purpose of unnecessarily defying the Americans is not conducive for the peace process."
Just hours after the settlement announcement, Housing Minister Uri Ariel spoke at a cornerstone-laying ceremony for a new Jewish neighborhood at the edge of the Palestinian village of Jabal Mukkaber in East Jerusalem, and said thousands more settler homes would be built. Also present at the ceremony were Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Knesset Finance Committee chairman Nissan Slomiansky and prominent religious Zionist Rabbi Shlomo Aviner.
Regarding the prisoners, the Israeli ministers' decision about which 26 Palestinian prisoners to release was influenced by the aim of improving Abbas' standing among the Palestinians, but also not to arouse public scrutiny in Israel. Maariv wrote that Netanyahu decided that the first wave of prisoners are those whose release is 'easiest to digest': Men who are very old, sick or have been in prison for a very long time, or are about to be released anyway. Among the prisoners are members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The paper also reported that 14 native West Bank prisoners will be expelled to the Gaza Strip, a critical issue for the Palestinians. Almost all of the prisoners were convicted of killing Israelis, some were convicted of killing Palestinians collaborating with Israel.
Haaretz reported that the Palestinian Foreign Ministry distributed a letter among its embassies in which it says that the Israeli ministers are the terrorists, not the prisoners. The letter is partially in reaction to Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett calling the prisoners 'terrorists.' [According to international law, an occupied people has the legal right to kill an occupying soldier , but not citizens. Some of the victims were soldiers, but most were citizens. - OH]
Families from both sides were upset with the release. Families of Palestinian prisoners say the Palestinian Authority should not accept expulsions or that the release should be in more than one stage. Yesterday, some 20 bereaved Israeli relatives demonstrated in protest of the release in Jerusalem demanding to meet with the ministerial committee before it makes its decision. That did not happen. Moreover, Maariv/NRG Hebrew writes that the High Court is expected not to overturn previous decisions for prisoner releases and not to intervene in this one.
Yedioth's Nahum Barnea reveals that the big sticking point for the Israeli ministers who decided not to accept the EU's settlement boycott guidelines and refuse a billion dollars in research grants was a mistake. Barnea writes that the ministers were mistakenly told by their own people that Jerusalem's Har Hahotzvim Industrial and R&D zone is over the Green Line and hence all companies with offices there would lose their R&D funding. That would include companies such as Teva Pharmaceuticals, which Deputy Foreign Minster Zeev Elkin said received 200 million euros from the EU as part of an Israel-EU agreement. "From now on, it won't receive a single euro. This is what will happen to Teva, our national company," wrote Barnea. "Horrified, the ministers agreed: Either the EU withdraws its demands or Israel will withdraw from its agreement with the EU (to be part of the prestigious Horizon 2020 scientific research project)...But there was only one problem: Har Hahotzvim is inside Israel. It has been there since 1948, close to the border with Jordan, but not crossing it. Some 150 companies, Israeli and international, sit at Har Hahotzvim and not one of them crosses the Green Line." Among them are Teva, Intel, Medinol, Sigma, NDS and others. There is only one facility sitting on the line: Jerusalem municipality's veterinary institute. Barnea points out: "This mistake can be seen from another laughable angle: The government that makes isolated settlement on the edge of Samaria holy removes from the State of Israel a neighborhood in west Jerusalem. And who does it? Zeev Elkin, the symbol of the right-wing in the Likud." Elkin held a meeting yesterday with the heads of the Israeli universities and said there would be another meeting with the EU foreign ministers in September and until then they should make any criticism of the settlement policy of the government, which led to the European decision.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is also Israel's chief negotiator in talks with the PA, addressed the EU settlement boycott in a joint press conference with the German foreign minister yesterday saying that Israel's borders will be determined through negotiations and "would not be determined by the EU," Israel Hayom reported (VIDEO)
- EU settlement ban casts shadow over Palestinian industry in the West Bank - Israeli business owners wonder how many Palestinians will lose their jobs if companies are forced to move over the Green Line into Israel proper. (Haaretz)
- Young Israeli scientists win a prestigious European grant, but could they be the last? As the EU clamps down on channeling funds to the territories, there is no guarantee Israelis will continue to be eligible for the kind of 1.5 million-euro grant awarded this year to 32 young local scientists. (Haaretz)
- Netanyahu discharged from hospital in good condition - Prime minister released from hospital following successful surgery for umbilical hernia. Expected to resume all official responsibilities within a few days. (Ynet)
- Comedy of errors engulfs top economic team - Senior government official says Israelis feel there is no economic leadership due to 'very significant mistakes' made in past four months. 'This is going to frighten potential investors,' official adds. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Regev: Make 'Hatikvah' mandatory at all national events - MK Miri Regev is outraged over the absence of the national anthem during the visit by FC Barcelona to Israel, and demands to know who ordered that it not be played. Proposes law making it mandatory to play national anthem at every national event. (Israel Hayom)
- Immigrants make up 37 percent of army suicides, Knesset study says - 40 percent drop in suicide rate since army limited number of conscripts who take their weapons home; IDF withholds data on suicide attempts. (Haaretz)
- Zionism on wheels: The journey to bring back the brains - Following the death of his father from cancer, Tom Peled and two friends made a cost-to coast bicycle trip in the US to raise money to bring Israeli cancer researchers home. One agreed and now they are making another trip. (Maariv, p. 13/NRG Hebrew)
- Dermer's exaggerated demands - Ron Dermer has not yet entered the position as ambassador to the US and already he is demanding from the Foreign Ministery things of a senior minister. On the list: A luxury apartment, appointments of his associates in positions of trust for which there is no defined job slot, and an early entry into the job. (Yedioth, p. 13)
- Tel Aviv No. 2 city for tech startups - Boston Globe names Israeli metropolis as second best city for startup entrepreneurs after Silicon Valley, with highest density of tech startups in the world. (Ynet)
- (Racist) Beitar Jerusalem soccer team won't play on Shabbat - One of Israel's top soccer teams says it has come to agreement with local broadcasters to ensure its home games will only be played on Saturday night or on weekdays. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Zimbabwe denies striking secret uranium deal for Iran's nuclear program - Mining ministry dismissed reports in British media as a 'malicious and blatant lie.' (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Egypt army says 12 militants killed in north Sinai - Military officials say helicopters fired at gathering of militants wanted for killing, abduction of seven Egyptian soldiers earlier 2013. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Egyptian general accuses: Hamas is participating in attacks on our soldiers - The second Army commander of the Egyptian army announced that members of Hamas are aiding global jihadists in the Sinai Peninsula. According to him, four members admitted to it. The chaos is brining relations between the Egyptian government and Hamas to an all-time low. (Maariv, p. 10/NRG Hebrew)
- Egypt police to besiege sit-ins within 24 hours - Security officials say will disperse Morsi supporters' camps in Cairo on daybreak Monday, two weeks after bloody clashes claim lives of dozens. (Agencies, Ynet)
Dressing 'critical Zionism' in thriller garb
The protagonist of the 'The Chizzik Sagas' is the quintessential Israeli who through a chance event begins to question what he knew about Palestinians. Author Paul Usiskin hopes his book will help readers do the same. (Haaretz)
We are shooting ourselves in the head
"Disaster for Israeli science." "Closing the oxygen tube." "Fatal blow." With these harsh an unambiguous words, Israeli Noble Prize laureate Ada Yonat and senior Israeli researchers criticize the scientific disconnect from the EU. The financial loss is 1.5 billion shekels a year. The accumulative damage is Israeli detachment from the most important labs in the world. (Yedioth '24 Hours' supplement)
When Ahmad returns: A Palestinian family waits for the brother who hasn't been home in more than two decades
With Israel due to release 104 long-serving prisoners, 26 of them this week, many Palestinians are waiting, and wondering about life after prison. (Haaretz)
How did a Palestinian prisoner father a child without seeing his wife?
How was the sperm of prisoner Abdul Kareen al-Rimawi smuggled out of an Israeli prison to a Ramallah fertility clinic and, from there, to the uterus of his wife? (Haaretz)
Children with swollen bellies in East Jerusalem (Yudith Oppenheimer, Haaretz) Israeli official's remark shows insensitivity and ignorance of 21st-century social policy.
The bill is on us (Nadav Eyal, Maariv) "The announcements regarding construction in Judea and Samaria are merely the implementation of a fairly transparent political deal. It is the Prime Minister's lip service to the Right for the resumption of the diplomatic process...Construction is the compensation to the Likud ministers who are gnashing their teeth over a party that is becoming more extreme. The inclusion of isolated settlements on the map of national priority areas is also part of the same package. Of course, those who are paying and will pay the price for this whole deal is the Israeli public, which is throwing money at places that might be evacuated. But what's new?"
Not just for Jews (Amir Fuchs, Haaretz) Israel is both the nation-state of the Jewish people and a democratic state, despite mayor Gapso's confused Zionism.
Israel can fly under the EU's radar (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Countermeasures over Europe's anti-settlement policy only hurt Israel. We should still sign bilateral agreements, then work around the problematic parts.
To eliminate the Iranian threat, Israel must relinquish the settlements (Henry Siegman, Haaretz) Withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories would address the existential threat facing Israel far better than an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.
More harm than good (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) The Peres Center for Peace and the industry it represents are doing Israel a disservice.
Netanyahu concerned as ever about Iran, but world powers will not allow strike in coming year (Amos Harel, Haaretz) The atmosphere created by Rohani's election leaves the international community with zero tolerance for an Israeli attack - at least until talks between Tehran and major world powers end.
Keeping the peace: It's complicated (Zvika Fogel, Israel Hayom) Peace between Israel and Egypt will continue to be a strategic asset, but only if both countries are willing to pay the price of going public with their cooperation to preserve it.
Sinai is the Egyptian military's Achilles' heel (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) Egypt's military must be careful not to play into Muslim Brotherhood rhetoric as it deals with the security threat in Sinai.
Was the attack in Sinai the beginning of a security romance with Egypt? (Ariel Kahane, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) The events over the weekend in Sinai show that military cooperation with Egypt is strengthening since the military coup. In the south, a new and safer reality is developing.
With munificence, not with revenge (John McCain and Lindsey Graham, Maariv/NRG Hebrew and Washington Post) Even if the government and the army in Egypt despise the Muslim Brotherhood, it would be wrong to distance them from the political developments of the divided country.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.