APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday January 2, 2013
Quote of the day:
"Under a blessed cloud of secrecy, important negotiations were held with Hamas about the future of Gaza..."
--Former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy writes about Israel's quiet but active new policy with Hamas.**
Front Page News:
- Black December of Likud-Beiteinu: Lost 5 mandates
- Bennett's party platform: "Reveal the truth about the media"
- Undercover (dressed as Arabs) force revealed in village near Jenin and caught in clash with Palestinians
- Second generation of caravillas residents (evicted Gaza settlers from 2005) refuse to pay rent
- Senior economists warn that Fiscal Cliff agreement worse for America
- Kinneret law failed, price to enter beach doubled
- 'Apartments' Street, corner of 'the Low Place' - E. Jerusalem, where the streets have no (political) names
- Feiglin's transfer - Senior Likud officials bypassing Netanyahu from the right
- Wonder drugs for cancer or deceptin? - How did Hana Elraz, a bankrupted welder, turn into the hope of desperate cancer patients willing to pay 8000 shekels/month for his mysterious formula
- The smile returned - Three months after a liver transfer in Belarus former Mossad chief Meir Dagan is recuperating at home
- Millions shekels, baby - The most moving story of the subsidized health basket
- You've got wings - Five youth gave up on an athletic career to go to IDF pilot's course
- New report: 50,000 children don't study math and English (Hebrew)
- Sad journey at the Temple Mount - a pitcher from the Byzantine era thrown into a pile of dirt, a wall tile from the ancient Arab period buried in refuse. Maariv reporter visited Temple Mount and saw up close the neglected treasures - a moment before they disappeared from history
- This is how stolen cars are smuggled from Israel into the Gaza Strip (Hebrew)
- Netanyahu chastised his election campaign team following drop in polls The mess of this campaign must stop (Hebrew)
- For first time in four years: Drop in motivation to enlist in combat units (Hebrew)
- The soldier who killed terrorist was removed from serving in Hebron due to fear of revenge (Hebrew)
- "Hamas could control Judea and Samaria (W. Bank)" - Netanyahu answers Peres
- Violent clashes near Jenin
- Itai was killed when he drove to bring pizza to soldiers
- The strike of winter: Sharp rise in flu cases
- When the empire is in trouble - Noni Mozes' dirty war // Dror Eydar
- Next week: Discussion to establish investigative committee on Harpaz document affair
- 'Fiscal Cliff' compromise: Signs of Republican opposition in House of Representatives
West Bank clashes erupt as undercover IDF unit arrests wanted man, the Israeli ambassador's conference generates more controversy and Likud's popularity drops, worrying the Prime Minister and making top news in the Israeli newspapers this morning. Meanwhile, members of Likud called for the annexation of the West Bank, in opposition to the party's official platform and Haaretz reveals how the Israeli police have been making life difficult for an E. Jerusalem neighborhood.
Israeli soldiers disguised as Palestinian vegetable vendors sparked clashes as they revealed their identities while trying to arrest a wanted man in a village near Jenin. More than 30 people in the village were injured due to live fire, (according to Maan 100) and the IDF said it did not consider the riot as anything irregular. [Indeed, News Nosh readers will have noticed from reports from Maan Palestinian News Agency that there have been many such clashes recently. - OH] (Haaretz) Ynet has an interesting piece describing what the incident reveals about the undercover unit's methods.
In a thinly veiled criticism of President Shimon Peres, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned against Israel "rushing forward" into peace, saying that Hamas could take over the West Bank before or after an agreement and that a withdrawal from the West Bank could lead to a third Iranian base in the heart of Israel. Speaking earlier at the annual conference for Israeli ambassadors, Peres had said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was a partner for peace and criticized the government's and the Foreign Ministry's conduct. Peres was not alone in his criticism. At the conference, Israel's highest-ranking diplomat, Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor, asked the National Security Council chief Yaakov Amidror if it were wise to announce plans to build in E-1, for which he got a round of applause from his colleagues. The incident is now being called the 'ambassadors' protest.' Amidror responded angrily telling them to quit if they didn't like the policy. Ynet reports that former diplomats say Amidror's response was inappropriate. Almost as if warning them, their former boss, resigning foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, said he plans to return to his job in spring, Yedioth reported. Former director of the Foreign Ministry, Reuven Merhav, called on diplomats "Not to be washouts. You have the right to express your positions."
At a conference by the settler group, Women in Green, several Likud officials called for the annexation of the West Bank yesterday, in contradiction with the party's official policy. Moreover, Likud's most far-right figure, Moshe Feiglin, proposed paying $500,000 to each Palestinian family in the West Bank who leaves, Yedioth and Ynet reported. (Note, Ynet wrote 'to leave Israel.' - OH] Despite being instructed by the Likud campaign not to give interviews, Feiglin made the controversial statements. Minister Yuli Edelstein endorsed a gradual process of imposing Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank, MK Yariv Levin expressed similar views but admitted the chances of imposing Israeli law beyond the Green Line were not high. Zeev Elkin proposed imposing sovereignty in the Jewish-populated areas first and later in the Palestinian areas, Ynet wrote. Earlier on Tuesday, police detained Feiglin after he tried to pray at the Temple Mount, for which he will likely be indicted.
East Jerusalem villagers told Haaretz that the Israeli Police are subjecting them to collective punishment. Up to 50 residents of Issawiya have been arrested over the last month, accused of throwing stones or firebombs. Police forces are constantly in the village and a legal crackdown is ongoing. Employees of Jerusalem's water and sewage company removed water meters and soldered the pipes at several homes that had run up a debt, inspectors from the Nature and Parks Authority came to fine residents in possession of wild birds, a police force enters the village almost every evening to carry out arrests, and usually encounters stone throwing and responds with tear gas and stun grenades. "There's an intifada here, but it's an intifada of the police and not of the residents," said a village resident. "In the past days, there have been no demonstrations, no marches, nothing - only police provocations." (Haaretz)
- State accuses Mustafa Dirani interrogator , 'Captain George,' of abuse - 'Naked walks' at the holding facility, leaks from the Dirani interrogation, and soldiers who said he demanded they disrobe in order to threaten detainees being interrogated. A year after the enormous suit 'Captain George' filed for being dismissed from the army - the State answers the most famous interrogator of Unit 504. (Yedioth/Ynet)
- Settlers raid Nablus village - Dozens of settlers raided the northern West Bank village Qusra overnight Monday, uprooting more than 190 olive trees. Palestinian security guards chased the settlers, and detained four of them for a short period of time. The Israeli forces quickly intervened, entered the village, and released the settlers. Last Thursday, dozens of settlers uprooted 40 of the village's olive trees. (Maan)
- Suspicion of shooting at girls' school bus in Har Hebron - Police, IDF and Shin Bet are investigating incident of possible shooting at a bus traveling Monday night near Hakvasim Junction to Beit Haggay settlement. [Note: Maan reported that settlers from Beit Haggay raided nearby Dura village on Friday, accompanied by soldiers, and that soldiers raided the nearby Yatta village last Wednesday sparking clashes and injuring locals.] (Israel Hayom)
- IDF soldier with Arab-sounding name accuses El Al of discrimination - Asaf Abudi was in Brussels representing Israel in a horseback-riding competition. (Haaretz)
- After four years, a drop in motivation to enlist in combat units - Despite the IDF declaring proudly the rise in demand to enlist in combat units, the number dropped in November by 3% compared to those who were drafted at the same time last year. Military source: "This is a warning, not a red light." (Maariv, p. 6/NRG Hebrew)
- East Jerusalem, where the streets have no (political) names - City sticks to neutral names like 'Flower' or 'Hotel' street. (Haaretz)
- Egypt remands Israeli detainee for 15 days - Cairo Prosecution to keep Andre Pshenichnikov in custody pending further investigation. (Ynet)
- Shalem Center recognized as academic center - [Right-wing think tank - OH] Can award bachelor degrees in the liberal arts. (Israel Hayom, p. 17)
- Friends of Israeli held in Egypt insist he's 'a peacenik' (not a spy) - Andre Pshenichnikov's friends say espionage, terror allegations 'ridiculous'; insist he's an avid peace activist. (Ynet)
- Supreme Court orders state to evacuate West Bank outpost of Amona by end of April - The justices did not give reasons for their decision but ordered the state to provide a situation update by March and ordered the residents to submit a position paper outlining their stance. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Israel begins charging evicted Gaza settlers for their mobile homes - Many angry residents, who have been living at a mobile home site since being evicted in the disengagement from Gaza in 2005, say they will not pay. (Haaretz)
- IDF hikes vacation budget for soldiers - Career army men are enjoying bigger discounts than ever on luxury hotels. (Haaretz)
- Approved: Palestinians to report at crossings on all amounts of money above 12,000 shekels - Constitution, Law and Legal committee of Knesset approved an order obligating any person traveling between Gaza and Israel to report on transfer of money he carries. Decision made following request of Shin Bet Chief Yoram Perry to expand the existing order from the Allenby crossing to include the Gaza-Israel crossings. People at other Israeli crossings must declare holding over 100,000 shekels. (Israel Hayom, p. 7)
- What interests Israelis? The United States, Rabin, and the zipper - Or at least, so says Wikipedia's list of the most popular entries in various languages. (Haaretz)
- IAF squadron deploys pilots in self-censorship operation on heritage books - After a veteran pilot discovered that he was presented in a negative light in the squadron's 'yearbook', the unit sent members of an aircrew to collect the books from the homes of its veterans. (Haaretz)
- Worldwide Jewry numbers 14 million - Extensive survey from Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life finds that 59% of Jewish people live in countries where they are a minority group. (Ynet)
- Rockets, rifles and axes in Fatah rally - Video shows dozens of veiled men marching in Dheisheh refugee camp to mark 48 years since Fatah's inception. Palestinian security forces conspicuously missing from scene. (Ynet)
- Car thieves present: This is how we bring cars into Gaza - The police revealed the method: Thieves steal the cars in Israel, dismantle them in the Palestinian Authority, and bring them in as 'used parts' through the crossings to Gaza, where they are reassembled and sold. (Maariv, p. 6/NRG Hebrew)
- 'Israel will fall within 10 years, Jewish occupiers must leave' - Dr. Essam el-Erian, a senior Muslim Brotherhood official, called on Jews who left Egypt to return, as "Israel will be destroyed within a decade." A spokesman for President Mohammed Morsi says the presidency is not responsible for El-Erian's statements, and that he does not speak on the president's behalf. (Israel Hayom)
- Clashes in Syria shut down Aleppo airport - Clashes between troops, rebels force international airport in Aleppo to stop all flights; fierce battles rage in Damascus suburbs. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Poll: Likud-Beiteinu losing more ground to Habayit Hayehudi - While Netanyahu and Lieberman's joint list is down one Knesset seat from the previous poll to 34, Naftali Bennett's party is up to 14, only two seats less than Labor. (Haaretz)
- Livni: "Or bitchy or weak - there is no middle" - Chairwoman of Hatnua party discussed the image of women in politics at an event at Haifa College. "I thought sensitivity would be perceived as weakness," she said. Olmert attacked Livni: "What is there behind the slogans?" (Israel Hayom, p. 7)
- Likud member targets Bennett using Holocaust symbols - Ad shows Habayit Hayehudi chairman behind barbed wire and uses the word 'ghetto.' Likud says ad is unofficial and asks election committee to remove it. (Haaretz)
Yedioth's question to the political parties: Does Israel need to build in E-1?
Likud-Beiteinu: "It's a national, settler, and vital security interest."
Labor: "In the present situation, we should not build in E-1. Unilateral moves cause the continuation of the freeze and international isolation of Israel."
Habayit Hayehudi: "E-1 is Jerusalem - it's adjacent to Mt. Scopus and 300 meters from the Begin Hwy. Building in Jerusalem needs to be a given."
Shas: "Shas is in favor of construction in settlement blocs."
Hatnua: "Building in E1 will happen only as part of a diplomatic process with the Palestinians and through an understanding with the US, and not as an act of provocation."
Yesh Atid: The party supports the two-state solution, while preserving the settlement blocs and the wholeness of Jerusalem. Therefore, we support building in E-1."
Yehadut Hatorah: Told Yedioth they support construction in all parts of Jerusalem, but not as an intentional provocation against the countries of the world.
Meretz: "The party opposes building E-1. The government wants to build at the site in order to make the two-state solution impossible."
Hadash: "The construction endangers peace in the region."
Raam-Taal: "It's a disastrous decision."
Balad: "A state that disregards the international law acts like a criminal."
David Broza sings for peace, but the message is lost on Diaspora Jews
After a night spent at a David Broza concert in Ottawa, Mira Sucharov says that it's time for Jews in the Diaspora to do more than just listen to Israeli peace songs. (Haaretz)
Netanyahu's nominee for next envoy to U.S.: The brains behind his support for Romney (Barak Ravid, Haaretz) The prime minister reportedly wants U.S.-born advisor Ron Dermer to replace Michael Oren in Washington. But, for a number of reasons, he might want to rethink the nomination.
The heart of the conflict (A. B. Yehoshua, Ynet) A.B. Yehoshua says dovish camp must demand end to settlement enterprise before joining Bibi's third government.
Lesson of 2012: Israel's progressive Jews will continue to dissent (Carlo Strenger, Haaretz) Israel's progressives represent one of the deepest values of Jewish history: the value of dissent. For millennia, Jews flourished without having a politburo that told us how to think - and we will not let either Netanyahu and Lieberman or Rabbis Ovadia Yosef and Dov Lior dictate to us what to think, speak, or write.
Will 2013 be the year American Jews secede from Israel? (Bradley Burston, Haaretz) If American Jews think that what is being done in their name is self-destructive, oppressive, blockheaded and wrong, it stands to reason they would want it to stop.
**Between rounds - Talking with Hamas (Ephraim Halevy, Yedioth) "...There were other significant results from Operation Pillar of Cloud. We saw a significant change in Israel's policy towards Gaza - not a declared policy, but an active one. Under a blessed cloud of secrecy, important negotiations were held with Hamas about the future of Gaza, even if the dialogue was not direct, but through a third party. They held a fiction of diplomacy that allowed the two sides, each with its own principles, to preserve its ideological innocence. Both sides came out winning in the eyes of their supporters. At the moment, it appears it's possible to advance in this way in the future as well. Among other things, it allowed Israel to...make gestures such as extending the point where Gazan fishermen can fish at sea...allow a new fleet of buses to enter the Strip and also tons of building materials...Israeli spokesmen hint that if the quiet continues, and maybe the stopping of Iranian weapons into the tunnels, Israel will make more gestures...As long as we learn to develop these patterns of action, we will be able to design a reality in which we do not need to deal with the extremist ideology on whose flag is embossed the destruction of Israel and the other side will not be demanded to recognize the controlling Jewish state on most of the holy land. In this way we also won't have to deal with the dilemma of initiating an ultimate operation to root out Hamas from Gaza. The Palestinian Authority did not have any part in the results of Operation Pillar of Cloud. The Fatah movement will have to deal with the new Egyptian demand for reconciliation between it and Hamas, it appears. It's possible the development of things between Hamas and us will make it easier for us as we won't need to try again and again to 'format' (in the words of Avi Dichter) the Palestinian society. In our hands is great material for thought and action, and a variety of instruments that we can use to advance the real interests of Israel."
What kind of society uses jail as a deterrent for debtors? (Vardit Dameri Madar, Haaretz) The recent arrest warrant issued for celebrity chef Eyal Shani shone a spotlight, once again, on using the threat of debtors' prison to get people to pony up.
In praise of the ethnic genie (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) A society that knows how to respect and nurture ethnicities and cultures doesn't turn them into genies.
Incitement against migrants disguised as concern (Haaretz Editorial) Collective hatred and violence against migrants will not solve the real problems of those who live in south Tel Aviv.
Vital Mizrahi ethnicity (Avi Shilon, Haaretz) The ethnic devil stopped being a devil long ago. It's now a card politicians play when they're in trouble. The problem is, it's a losing card - and it has been from day one.
Season of Palestinian threats (Amira Mass, Haaretz) Over the past few weeks, Palestinian spokesmen have made three main promises that would shake up and disrupt the violent complacency with which Israel continues to dominate the Palestinians.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.