APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday November 5, 2012
Quote of the day:
"If tomorrow I send you to Tapuach (settlement) to put up a block to prevent reinforcement in Migron (outpost), will you be able to do it?"
--- Judea and Samaria Division Commander Brigadier-General Hagai Mordechai asked ultra-Orthodox soldiers, some settlers, if they would refuse orders. (The soldier did not answer.) Ynet**
Front Page News:
- Olmert and Livni against Netanyahu's renunciation of Abbas
- The DNA did not match, the police ignored that and an innocent (Palestinian teenager) was jailed for six months
- Rescue of the car industry divides the dangerous US city
- State to cancel privatization of psychiatric hospitals
- CEO of Electricity Corp deflecting the fire from enormous mistake in budget
- Thousands of homosexuals in the US fighting for right to be straight
- America is divided - 24 hours to US elections
- It's not too late to be a mom - New statistics: Sharp rise in births among 45-year-old women
- Moving donation from a sister - 8-year-old Shilat has cancer, her sister will give her her hair
- Electric strike - 1.4 billion shekels disappeared from Electricity Corp, the lack of funds was discovered after weeks
- Friends of couple killed in motorcycle accident not giving up their bikes
- 2/3 of public: Economic policy of government is not good - Economic situation of 40% of Israelis got worse over last four years, situation of 23% improved (Hebrew)
- Wave of price raises: Family expenses grew 850 shekels/month (Hebrew)
- Almost half of Israelis have trouble finishing the month
- Tomorrow elections in the US - Moment before, small lead for President Obama (Hebrew)
- Price of water for consumers to rise by 2.2% at beginning of 2013 (Hebrew)
- Progress in plan to create artificial island across from Israeli coast (Hebrew)
- Head to head - It's not a suspense movie, but real life: Day before (US presidential) elections, most polls say they are tied
- Right of Return? Abu Mazen retracted, but the debate continues
- "The Prime Minister ordered to prepare for an attack in Iran; Barak: Ashkenazi claimed the IDF was not ready"
- Successful test of Iron Dome: It shot down long-range rockets
- Couple killed in motorcycle accident were buried
A day to go to the US presidential elections, an Israeli attack on Iran thwarted by Israelis, and $360 million missing from the Electricity Corp coffers were top stories in today's Israeli newspapers. The debate between politicians from the government and from the opposition continued over conciliatory statements made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Israeli Channel 2 News. And meanwhile, the pressure is on Abbas – again - to drop his bid for Palestinian statehood recognition at the UN.
'Israel's security chiefs rejected orders to prepare for Iran strike in 2010' screamed the headlines. Israeli investigative television program, Uvda, is set to air tonight its investigation that reveals that two years ago, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the heads of the IDF and Mossad to prepare for a strike on Iran, but they refused in fear it would lead to war reported. Then Mossad chief Meir Dagan told Netanyahu it was 'illegal' to start a war without an approval from the cabinet. Barak said that then IDF chief Gabi Ashkenazi said that the IDF 'was not ready.' Ynet and Haaretz have the story here.
Yedioth's military affairs reporter Alex Fishman wrote that according to Israeli sources, Valerie Jarrett is US President Obama's secret envoy to talks in Iran that the New York Time reported on October 21st. Jarrett, writes Fishman, was born in Shiraz, Iran to US parents who were there on an agricultural mission. The sources say that Jarrett initiated the contacts with the Iranians and was head of the negotiations. The talks were apparently held in one of the emirates, probably Bahrain. The Iranians asked to continue them after the elections, and only if Obama wins. The US State Department believes that economic pressure on Iran will reach its peak at the beginning of 2013 just after the president is inaugurated, which will help the US achieve its desired results.
Now former prime minister Ehud Olmert has joined the fray in attacking Netanyahu for rejecting Abbas' statements to Channel 2 News last Friday about a two-state solution. Olmert also said that Netanyahu's policies harm Israel's interests and bolster Hamas. Former Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni followed, hailing the Palestinian president's conciliatory statements and said he held the same position in negotiations with the Olmert government in 2008. Israel Hayom emphasized in its article on the debate that Abbas said his statement about not returning to his native city of Safed except as a tourist does not mean he gives up on the Palestinian Right of Return. But the opposition politicians focused on the offer for a two-state solution on the '67 borders. After the attacks on him began, Netanyahu said yesterday that only direct talks could reveal Abbas' true position. Israeli leaders complained that Abbas is trying to influence the coming Israeli elections. In Ramallah, writes Maariv's Arab affairs reporter, Palestinians were shocked that Abbas gave up his right to return to his city of Safed and that he agreed to the '67 borders. "I heard he said he loves his city (Safed), but does not want to live there," one man in his 50's said. "He should never have said that. What does he get in exchange? The Israelis don't give peace, they don't give anything. The (military) checkpoints and settlements are still here."
Meanwhile, the US and the EU are urging Abbas to postpone UN bid for statehood recognition. Interestingly, the are trying to convince him to drop it by warning him that submitting the status upgrade bid prior to the Israeli elections would play into Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's hands and halt peace efforts. [In other words, they are acknowledging that the two Israeli leaders are responsible for the lack of negotiations. - OH]
The Israeli Foreign Minister has his own plans on how to thwart Abbas' UN bid. Lieberman is convening Israeli ambassadors in Europe in an attempt to convince as many nations as possible to oppose the bid.
- Palestinian teen wrongly imprisoned for 5 months after police botch rape investigation - The 16-year-old, a shepherd from the Hebron area, was held despite an eyewitness denying that the perpetrator could be the teen in custody. (Haaretz)
- 'Price tag' graffiti found in Shufat - Unknown vandals puncture tires, spray-paint hate slogans such as 'Death to the enemy' in Jerusalem neighborhood. (Ynet)
- **Officer questions ultra-Orthodox IDF battalions' commitment - Netzah Yehuda battalion's request to serve in volatile West Bank sectors denied over fears soldiers would refuse orders regarding settlement eviction. Yesha Council livid over 'IDF blackmail.' (Ynet)
- Church of the Holy Sepulchre requesting aid from Obama and Putin - The Israeli water company blocked the church's access to its bank account over a 9 million shekel ($2.3 million) debt. The church received water for free for many years and now has asked the powers to help. (Maariv, p. 17)
- IDF successfully tests upgraded Iron Dome anti-missile system - The new system can now intercept more rockets and offer wider protection of the area where it is set; Barak: Within a few years, the multi-layer missile defense system should be able to protect all of Israel. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Drop in number of Jews in Congress likely - 40 Jews served in this last Congress, all Democrats with the exception of Eric Cantor. (Maariv, p. 5)
- Sderot residents in pro-Obama video clip - Video funded by Jewish organization that supports the Democratic party interviewed people in Sderot thanking US President for financing the Iron Dome anti-missile system. Albert Tzadikov said because of Obama, Sderot residents can sleep peacefully. (Maariv, p. 5)
- Israeli company at US Army exhibition - Al-Sorag from Moshav Emunin chosen to participate in annual Defense Meeting & Exposition, one of world's largest land warfare exhibitions and professional development forums. (Ynet)
- Tunisian party to sue Israel over hit on Abu-Jihad - Tunis' Wafa Party to base charges on old IDF officer's interview regarding 1988 assassination of top PLO operative; international convention that defines such hits as 'crimes against humanity.' (Ynet)
"I shot Abu Jihad"
Israeli censor releases commando account of killing of then deputy of Palestinian chief Yasser Arafat, 24 years after it happened, meaning Israel finally acknowledged the assassination. ‘I shot him with a long burst of fire,’ says special ops commander Nahum Lev, detailing the mission to neutralize Abu Jihad in Tunis in 1988. (Yedioth '7 Days' magazine followed by Times of Israel and BBC)
A humane impulse meets the system in Ofer military court
Soon after convicting the defendant, the judge revoked his decision. Suddenly he saw the person, not the confession of guilt. (Amira Hass, Haaretz)
Bringing Palestinian poetry to Jewish audiences
The popular Israeli-Arab actor Norman Issa talks about directing his new show, 'Einayim,' at the Fringe Night Festival, why children make the best audience, and how he almost became an insurance agent. (Haaretz)
Yes to Abbas (Haaretz Editorial) The interview with Abbas depicts a brave, pragmatic Palestinian leader who supports resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict peacefully.
Again that guy with his peace talk (Akiva Eldar, Haaretz) Abbas' statement is in fact a warning to the right-wing government, which threatens to respond to any 'unilateral' move at the UN: When you get a third intifada don't blame me.
Abbas gave up Safed, not right of return (Dr. Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) Only when our enemies internalize we will never go away will peace have a chance.
Is it racist to call Russians racist? (Dmitry Shumsky, Haaretz) Since Barack Obama was elected president, one of the most popular jokes in Putin's Russia is: "Obama's election as president - the black humor of Americans." Would it be racist to argue that a cultural group, which embraces such a joke, is a group characterized by clear racist tendencies?
An important election for Israel (Isi Leibler, Israel Hayom) Most Israelis perceive a Romney administration as tougher on Islamists.
So few Jews, so much clout in U.S. polls (Yisrael Fischer, Haaretz) Jews make up only 2 percent of the U.S. population, so why are their votes considered so important?
Obama better for Israel (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) History has taught us that Republican administrations less attentive to Israel's needs.
How Lieberman learned to stop worrying and love the bomb (Asher Schechter, Haaretz) To some, he's Israel's savior and to others, its greatest threat. Either way, Avigdor Lieberman's ascension from club bouncer to potential prime minister charts an impressive rise to power.
In U.S. vote, Israeli Americans are from Mars, Jewish Americans are from Venus (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz) Senior Haaretz analyst Chemi Shalev writes that telling American Jews that they should be guided by the pro-Romney vote of Americans living in Israel is the height of chutzpah.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.