APN's daily news review from Israel
Friday November 16, 2012
Quote of the day:
"The real Qassam (rocket) are the economic problems."
--Avi Haviv, 34, of Netivot tells Maariv.**
Front Page News:
- Second day of operation: Dead in the south, missiles in Tel-Aviv
- Lessons from Operation Cast Lead //Amira Hass
- The ceasefire that was thwarted? Israeli who was in contact with Jabari: His assassination prevented a calm
- After a decade, new leadership in the biggest country in the world
- 60 years to the reparations agreement: Germany to increase the compensation
- 1/4 page ad: NO TO WAR OF ELECTIONS - We refuse a war and bloodletting; We refuse the wave of hatred and incitement against the residents of Gaza; We refuse the abandonment of the south for a political spin; Join us in protest demonstrations and activities across the country. SIGNED: AIC, Yesh Gvul, Coalition of Women for Peace, New Profile
- On the way to Gaza - 3 (Israelis) killed in the morning, sirens in Gush Dan (Tel-Aviv area); 15 Palestinians killed by air force strikes; limited reservist draft approved, IDF forces preparing outside of Gaza Strip
- [PHOTO OF BLOODIED ISRAELI BABY IN PINK PJS and caption: Israel distributed this photo of a slightly injured baby in Kiryat Malakhi across the world. Her mother was killed in the missile hit.]
- First time since Gulf War: Two rockets shot towards Tel-Aviv
- The casualties: Aharon Samadja (49), Mira Sharaf (25), Yitzhak Amsalam (27)
- Front from the south to Tel-Aviv - For first time since '91: Sirens in all of Gush Dan. Missiles towards Rishon L'Tzion and Tel-Aviv, looking for the falls in south of city. Today: Egyptian PM arrives in Gaza.
- IDF drafting reservists: Our forces preparing for Gaza; Finding shelter in Tel-Aviv; Tragedy in Kiryat Malakhi
- The escalation and you: Special economic guide
- Heroes of the south: Iron Dome with already some 100 interceptions
- Also today: No school in the southern communities
- Special entertainment section for children of the south
Day 2 of Operation Pillar of Cloud: three Israelis dead and rockets in Tel-Aviv yell the front pages of the Israeli papers. They all report that the Egyptian Foreign Minister comes to Gaza, some report that Israelis demonstrated against the military operation, and a couple mentioned what was happening on the Palestinian side. News Nosh reports with highlights from the papers' commentators.
Israel won't halt Gaza operation until Hamas begs for truce, say officials, according to Haaretz. [Odd since, yesterday Yedioth reported that Hamas asked Egypt to mediate a truce after the first day of the campaign - OH] From the Israelis' point of view, the two main events yesterday were the direct hit on a building that killed three people in Kiryat Malakhi and the fact that Palestinian rockets arrived as far as Tel-Aviv for the first time since 1991. Islamic Jihad shot two Fajr-5 rockets, the ones that can travel 75 kilometers. Some landed in open fields around Rishon L'Tzion, south of Tel-Aviv. Others were in the vicinity of Tel-Aviv [according to my sources, at least one fell in the water off the Jaffa beach - OH] According to Yedioth's Alex Fishman, Islamic Jihad launched them from a site in a populated part of southern Gaza City. "Israel knew about the site, but saved 'treating it,' for a later stage in order to avoid harming the civilian population in the first wave of attacks on the Strip." The consequence of their launching, writes Fishman, is that now the IDF has added the other ones located in populated areas to its 'bank of targets.' Regarding the Hamas launches, they were prepared for an emergency situation ahead of time, he says. "There were no concrete orders to the launch cells and no guiding hand. The amount launched is very small compared to its capability and the speed was fairly slow. But then the picture changed yesterday evening. Hamas sent out its commanders to posts and began discussions about the continuation of the resistance, with a wink towards ending the combat. Now Hamas is looking for an opening, a victory photo that will symbolize the end of the fighting that Israel forced it into. Therefore from now on, it is giving all it can: attempting to hit planes, tanks, shooting at Gush Dan (Tel-Aviv area) and centralizing its efforts at shooting heavily on certain communities. Last night they announced they shot down an Israeli drone. They want a photo. If not the drone or the shooting on Tel-Aviv, Hamas wants a building to collapse with a many casualties. This is the critical stage for Israel, because Hamas' search for a victory photo tests the sang froid of the Home Front and of the Israeli leadership. On its part, Israel is waving the threat of a ground invasion, which neither it nor Hamas wants." Defense Minister Ehud Barak approved the draft of 30,000 reserve soldiers and already drafted hundreds to help the Home Front Command....The likelihood that Hamas will agree to an Egyptian initiative to stop the fighting in the coming days is not high. On contrary, starting yesterday evening the direction was escalation. We will see that this conflict is only in the first third of its journey."
Maariv's Amir Rappaport writes that the tremendous quality and quantity advantage that Israel has over Hamas militarily does not mean that Israel's operational goals are guaranteed. It must define clear combat goals and particularly when it will end. Otherwise, Israel will find itself in another Second Lebanon War. Haaretz's Amira Hass asks if Israel learned the lessons of Operation Cast Lead and said Hamas is doing everything it can to prove it can do better than Fatah as a ruling party and can thwart the Israeli occupation.
On the ground:
**A Maariv reporter interviews locals in the south of Israel. In Yavne, Shlomo Kanfo told him the success of "Pillar of Cloud" depends on "what strikes we give them there. Yesterday our plane gave them a show in Gaza. But this is a war of attrition. They are playing with us. If I were Ehud Barak, I say to him, 'Good for you, but throw the floor on their head.'" In Kiryat Malakhi, he goes to the Chabad neighborhood where the building was hit, killing three people. Radical right-wing MK Michael Ben-Ari and activist Baruch Marzel are there among the crowd calling for "turning Gaza into a parking lot." The photographers there "are angry they aren't allowed to photograph the evacuation of the wounded, the only dividend Israel can take from the sad house for the battle for international public opinion." In Netivot, Maariv's Chen Kottas-Bar and Arik Sultan spent time with the local 'parliament,' a group of men from both Labor and Likud who say that in Netivot the problem of making a living worries everyone more than the security situation, which is maybe '10%' of what worries them. "The real Qassam (rocket) are the economic problems," said Avi Haviv, 34.
Egyptian PM visits GazaL
The visit today to Gaza by Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandeel was approved by Israel, Yedioth reported. The latter promised to temporarily stop the airstrikes during the few hours Kandeel is in the Strip. However, Maan reported today that Israel and Gaza continued to fire on each other. Kandil met with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and visited Shifa hospital in Gaza City, during which the bodies of two Palestinians were brought in after an Israeli airstrike on Jabalia, Maan reported. Seven people, mostly children, were injured in the strike on the home of the Abu Warda family, medics said. The Egyptian premier denounced Israel's attacks in comments to reporters at the hospital and said Egypt would do its utmost to secure a ceasefire. Yedioth's Roni Shaked called the visit an Egyptian "insurance policy" for Gaza and said that it could pave the way for a cease-fire.
Coverage of the Palestinian side:
Both Maariv and Haaretz ran first-person pieces by Palestinian journalists in Gaza. Abeer Ayyoub, a female journalist writes that the current atmosphere in Strip is like 'ghost' town and describes her personal feelings and thoughts. Maariv ran a half-page article titled: Daughter of Maariv reporter in Gaza injured by shell. While Sami Ajrami was covering Jabari's funeral, his daughter Bisan (9) was evacuated to hospital. She lost three fingers from shrapnel during an (Israeli) shooting at a cell of launchers. Ajrami: "People of the Strip are not sleeping, we will need psychological treatment, I don't know how people handle it...It's true the IDF shells fall in open areas, but they fall sometimes near homes. That's why there are so many slightly injured, mostly from shrapnel, and we arent' even talking about the shell-shocked. There is no psychological treatment in Gaza after such shock injury."
Yedioth and Israel Hayom make no mention of the Palestinians at all except regarding threats by Hamas and only in a subtitle did Maariv mention that 15 Palestinians were killed, but does not write that many of them were children and women.
Both Haaretz and Israel Hayom reported on different gatherings of Israeli protesters calling for an end to the Gaza operation. Haaretz reported on one in Tel-Aviv where extremist activists from the National Union party held a counter protest, chanting 'everyone knows left-wingers are traitors.' Israel Hayom called protesters at the Hebrew University from Hadash and the Zionist Meretz party "radical left-wingers" because of their protest against the Gaza campaign
Anshel Pfefer writes that Israel is involved in a massive PR policy to 'civilize' the assault.The National Information Directorate in the Prime Minister's Office, the Information Ministry, the Foreign Ministry's press operation, IDF Spokesman Unit and a long list of governmental and private volunteers are working together to mold the public perception of the operation in Israel and around the world. Maariv commentator Ben-Dror Yemini writes that "Goldstone is coming." He says "Hamas' industry of justification has begun operating. 'It's because of the siege, it's because of the Netanyahu government's policies.' The experts at turning the reality upside down have begun operating (too). Yedioth writes that foreign journalist were taken for a tour of areas hit by rockets.
Ahmed Jabari's successor:
Maariv and Israel Hayom reported that Marwan Issa (48), from Jabalya, will replace Ahmad Jabari. He, too, was involved in the capturing of Gilad Shalit and the negotiations for his release. In 1998, he was arrested by the Palestinian Authority and imprisoned for four years. He was released during the Second Intifada. Maariv writes that Issa was responsible for the special operations of Hamas' military wing. He also made numerous attacks on settlements in the Gaza Strip and was commander of the operation to conquer them after Israel evacuated them in 2005. In 2006, he was injured in an Israeli attempt to assassinate him.
Channel 10's excellent Arab affairs correspondent Shlomi Eldar, who wrote a book on Hamas from his meetings with their leaders, wrote in Maariv that Israel needs to be concerned about Jabari's successor. Hamas, he writes, is much busier trying to preserve its militant image among Palestinian public opinion than improving the people's lives. Now, in order to be accepted by all the factions, especially the extremist ones, the next Hamas military commander will have to prove his commitment to jihad and intensify the military resistance to Israel.
Yedioth's renowned political affairs commentator interviews two people in his piece. Michal Waser lives in Kibbutz Kfar Azza and is doing a doctorate in history on the bombing of civilians from the air in WWII. She opposes this campaign saying it's a mistake. "I don't know what should be done, but I know what is being done should not." She voted for Kadima last elections but this time will be voting for Meretz. "They are not trying enough other directions," she said. "We don't have a government interested in peace and that makes me sad." Wasser wrote a letter to Haaretz during Operation Cast Lead four years ago, titled "Cast folly." Barnea also interviewed 'Hermesh' from the kibbutz on the Gaza border. "Two weeks ago there was hysteric prosperity here," he said. "There wasn't a house available. We offered our children to come back to live here. Fifteen families put down thousands of dollars, as a down payment. The plan was to move them in this week."
- Israeli peace activist: Hamas leader Jabari killed amid talks on long-term truce - Gershon Baskin, who helped mediate between Israel and Hamas in the deal to release Gilad Shalit, says Israel made a mistake that will cost the lives of 'innocent people on both sides.' (Haaretz)
- Palestinians ask Security Council to stop Israel - Palestinian U.N. observer says Israel is committing "war crimes" • Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor: Strikes are response; no one complained when Hamas-ruled Gaza rained rockets on Israeli civilians. (Israel Hayom)
- Ahmed Jabari funeral draws large crowds, but no Hamas leaders - "His overcaution is his secret to a long life," friends of Ahmed Jabari, known as the Hamas chief of staff, used to say before he was assassinated Wednesday. Jabari knew he was a marked man once he released Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, an Egyptian daily reports. (Israel Hayom)
- Mourners at Jabari funeral vow to press 'war against the Zionists' - Many in the crowd fired weapons into the air as the processions moved through Gaza's packed streets. (Haaretz)
- IDF warns factories against using hazardous materials due to Gaza rockets - Environmental Protection Ministry teams inspecting 15 factories located within missile range, particularly in the Ashdod and Be'er Sheva areas, in bid to prevent widespread harm. (Haaretz)
- U.K. blames Hamas for Gaza escalation, urges end to rocket fire - In statement, British Foreign Secretary Hague says Hamas attacks create 'an intolerable situation' for residents of Israel's south. (Haaretz)
- Arabs students in Gaza stood in memory of Jabari - Arab students at Haifa University held a memorial service with a minute of silence in memory of the Hamas Chief of Staff Ahmad Jabari. The students stood on the grass in a circle, while Jewish students stood across from them singing 'Hatikva' (Israeli national anthem) in protest. (Maariv, p. 7)
- Errant bullet from Syria strikes Israeli side of border, wounds IDF soldier - Israeli soldier lightly hurt after grazed by bullet; Israeli defense sources to Haaretz: Stray shells fired from Syria don't indicate the Syrian regime is trying to stir conflict. (Haaretz)
- They didn't forget the primaries - A few hours after the opening of 'Pillar of Cloud' on Wednesday, after the assassination of Ahmad Jabari, Likud ministers and MKs arrived at a pub to celebrate the appointment of a party activist to deputy mayor of Ramat Gan. (Maariv, p. 13)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.