Sunday November 18, 2012
Quote of the day:
--Yedioth Political affairs commentator Shimon Schiffer says 'just' a cease-fire will only lead to the next round of conflict.** (see full translation below)
Front Page News:
- Netanyahu: I am ready for a general ceasefire, but if the shooting does not stop - we will invade Gaza
- The bottom percentiles absorbed the majority of the raise in prices
- Petraeus undermines Obama's credibility in the affair of the attack in Libya
- The comprehensive reforms at Israel Broadcasting Authority come to decisive stage
- Completion of pig's genetic mapping reveals similarity with human genetics
- Effort for a ceasefire
- Come back in peace - Tens of thousands of reserve soldiers got called up
- Pillar of Cloud Day 5: Israel threatens Hamas: Ceasefire or ground invasion
- The steel defense - The real hero of the operation is the Iron Dome anti-missile battery
- Contacts for achieving a ceasefire
- Israeli envoy was in Cairo in order to advance an arrangement with Hamas with Egyptian mediation and US backing
- The reservists are drafted
- Shot down (rocket) after six hours in action - Iron Dome above Azrieli (building in Tel-Aviv)
- State on reserve duty - Our forces preparing for ground invasion; At the same time, contacts for ceasefire. Morsi: Signs of an arrangement are close
- Training ahead of the attack (Photo of soldiers training in fake urban warfare setting)
- "We saw the missile entering the building"
- "Iran getting closer to nuclear weapon"
- Guide: All the benefits, discounts and attractions for residents of south
- Special entertainment section for children of the south
- Siren at Jerusalem's Bloomfield stadium and second loss straight for Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Ground invasion vs. ceasefire. This was the question of the day and the Israeli papers discussed it from all angles. The Egyptians are mediating a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel and at the same time Israel is completing its preparations for a ground invasion, for which there were numerous stories about reservists. The papers also gave more space to sharing the pain on the other side of the fence and they discussed the financial aspects of Operation Pillar of Cloud for Israelis.
The international pressure is on to agree on a ceasefire. Netanyahu told foreign leaders that Israel will accept a comprehensive ceasefire if the rocket fire stops. And if it doesn't, Israel will invade Gaza. Ynet, however, wrote that the Daily Beast reported that Netanyahu told Obama on Friday that Israel was not planning a ground operation. Saturday night Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi said a ceasefire is close. Meanwhile, the Tunisian foreign minister visited Gaza and more delegations will be coming from Egypt. Ynet reports that Israeli mayors from the south oppose a ceasefire. They want Hamas to suffer a severe blow before accepting a truce, believing that this will stop the rocket fire once and for all.
Meanwhile, troops and tanks amass on the border and Yedioth dedicates a few pages to interviewing reservists: one whose wife is due to give birth to their first child any day, another are a pair of married reservists who say they are "fighting for their future children." Israel Hayom also writes about them, saying "When the phone rings, they don't think twice about it."
Maariv wrote that the IDF has struck 950 targets in the less than 400 square meters that makes up the Gaza Strip. Among its targets were the office of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. Yedioth reported that the judicial elite of the state is participating in all of the war discussions in order to 'protect' the political and military decision makers from being arrested abroad and from war crime suits in the ICJ. Another reason for their participation is to approve operations that are 'grey,' such as attacking Hamas people in civilian facilities or attacking military facilities in civilian areas. In the meetings the State Attorney Yehuda Weinstein and his assistants Raz Nisri and Shai Nitzan as well as the head JAG Brigadier General Dani Afroni and head of the international department in the State Attorney's office, Roi Sheindorf. Apparently, Israeli TV ran a story last night saying that Weinstein opposed the attack on the Palestinian government building saying it contradicted international law, because Israel Hayom reported today that Weinstein denied saying that.
Coverage on the Palestinian side was much more extensive today than it has been in the past. Maariv ran a page and a half story from Gaza by its Palestinian stringer, Sami Ajrami, whose daughter lost three fingers from an IDF strike last week. Amira Hass covers the deaths on the Palestinian side extensively, revealing the extent of the civilian deaths. Ynet ran a piece interviewing Gazans titled, 'Gazan: Ground offensive bad for both sides' and describes life without electricity and the endless sounds of explosions. Roni Shaked interviewed Palestinians in Gaza for Yedioth. One man told him that"everyone minute there is an explosion." The Palestinians say: 42 killed, 28 of them civilians, he writes.
There was lots of talk of the monetary price of war for Israel and Israelis. Defense Minister Ehud Barak seeks 750 million shekels to speed the delivery of more Iron Dome systems. Treasury officials say it is too early to the gauge cost of Pillar of Defense, writes Haaretz. Israel Hayom writes that according to estimates, a ground assault lasting several weeks would exact a heavy toll on Israel's economy. Up to now, analysts believe the war has cost the country up to NIS 250 million ($63 million).
70 million shekels - for each day of loss of work in the south
930,000 shekels - damage from rocket hit
220 - number of requests for compensation
70 - factories closed down
15,000 - employees not working
4,200 shekels - loss of income for an employee
(Numbers from Yedioth)
- "The missile was directed at Lieberman" - Siren was heard in Jerusalem and in the settlements around it after a rocket fell in Gush Etzion between a Jewish settlement and a Palestinian village. One senior Israeli officials said: "We were surprised by the shooting at Gush Etzion. We didn't know they had weapons that could shoot that far...They were aiming for (Foreign Minister Avigdor) Lieberman." Lieberman lives in Nokdim settlement. (Yedioth, p. 18)
- Staffer for Israel's U.S. ambassador erroneously tweets his support for dialogue with Hamas - According to the website BuzzFeed.com, CNN misinterpreted statement made by Michael Oren, who says he encouraged dialogue with 'Palestinian neighbors,' not with Hamas. (Haaretz)
- Saturday: Iron Dome missile nearly hits Ashdod homes - Missile launched to intercept Gaza rocket lands in residential area due to technical malfunction. (Ynet)
- Shabbat Shalom Sderot'; support for Israel from around the world - Jews, non-Jews worldwide send photos, video clips to express their support for Israelis living under rocket fire. (Ynet)
- Arab MKs observe moment of silence for Gaza 'martyrs' - MK Zoabi says IDF op is part of Netanyahu's election campaign; MK Zahalka mourns 'victims of occupation.' (Ynet)
- Jabari praised in Arab sector protests - Hundreds of Israeli Arabs demonstrate against Operation Pillar of Defense, linking it to upcoming elections. 'Gaza will not be humiliated,' they say. (Ynet)
- Hamas video threatening Israelis draws more parody than fear - Due to the video's bad translation and technical problems, it has become one of the hottest parodies on the web. (Haaretz)
- IDF goes all out in PR battle against Hamas - IDF Spokesperson's Unit publishes videos highlighting lies propagated by Hamas in the media. Jewish communities around the world rally in support of Israel. IDF targets two Gaza buildings that house media outlets. (Israel Hayom)
- Israel's online PR offensive sees blowback - Israel is aggressively using the Internet to defend its military actions. Some say it's going too far. (Haaretz)
- Protests held worldwide against IDF op - Hundreds of people demonstrate against 'Gaza slaughter' in Turkey, South Korea and Australia. Pro-Israel rally held in New York. (Ynet)
- Politicians call for election delay - Operation Pillar of Defense has already halted campaigning and could lead to a postponement of Likud and Labor primaries. Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan: We won't endanger citizens. (Israel Hayom)
- Rockets fail to deter looters in Beersheba - As residents seek cover from rocket attacks, thieves rob kitchen design store. 'No one can be trusted, not even at times like these,' manager says. (Ynet)
- Author barred from Jewish book festival - Organizers of book festival in Atlanta cancel Peter Beinart's scheduled appearance following pressure from local Jews over his outspoken criticism of 'Israeli occupation.' (Ynet)
- Syrian civil war spillover draws Israeli fireIDF says soldiers fired at Syrian troops after coming under fire in the Golan Heights; it is not clear whether fire came from forces loyal to Bashar Assad or rebel groups. (Haaretz)
- EgyptAir to let hostesses wear hijabs - National airline ends restriction imposed in Mubarak era, allowing its stewardesses to wear Islamic headscarves if they wish on flights to Arab states. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Train hits school bus in Egypt, dozens of children killed - At least 47 kindergartners were killed, officials say, after a speeding train crashed into a bus; witness says train hauled the bus for more than a kilometer. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- UN report: Iran says it has delayed activation of Arak nuclear reactor - Without giving any reason for the postponement, the Islamic Republic stated that the heavy water reactor would only come online in early 2014; Western experts say the plant could offer Iran a second path for developing a nuclear bomb. (Agencies, Haaretz)
A look at Israel's 'Iron Dome' missile defense
Produced by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Iron Dome is meant to shoot down rockets and artillery shells with ranges of up to 70 kilometers. (Agencies, Haaretz)
Israel should avoid a ground operation in Gaza (Haaretz Editorial) If the Gazans are stubborn, Israel could find itself dragged into a ground operation merely so it doesn't appear to be deterred.
**The concluding picture (Shimon Schiffer, Yedioth) Hundreds of thousands of Israelis hear about the contacts for a ceasefire and ask themselves: For what did we do this? What did we achieve till now? Wars end in one picture that is meant to be engraved in the consciousness of the victors and to affect the trust they have in their leaders. From Hamas' point of view, the pictures in which residents of Tel-Aviv are seen hunkered down and upset near their cars is a clear illustration that they succeeded to get to the Tel-Aviv region and make the Israelis lay down in the highway. There is no doubt that the concluding photo of this present campaign will influence Israelis' decision about whether to give Netanyahu another chance, third, in the Prime Minister's Office - and he will take that into account when he decides when and how to announce to us the end of the operation. The basic facts that are on the decision-makers' table are these:
1.) Israel exhausted its qualitative advantage that the IDF and security apparatuses made available to it.
2.) Israel's international legitimacy to operate is about to end. A ground invasion and the risk of hurting the civilian population are not acceptable to Obama and his colleagues in Europe. Israel is endangering itself in a conflict with the Egyptians and the possibility of the removal of Jordanian King Abdullah.
3.) Hamas continues to fire, and has no intention of begging for a ceasefire, as Ehud Barak was quoted as saying.
It's very likely that in the upcoming days Netanyahu will be demanded to respond to the Egyptian ceasefire proposals. He is likely to ask himself if the ceasefire, which was already violated a few times in the past, will be accepted by the Israeli public opinion. It's possible to assess that Netanyahu and Likud ministers will say they are not willing to negotiate with Hamas. That's a fallacy because just one year ago Netanyahu held indirect negotiations with Hamas over the fate of Gilad Shalit and paid the full price. So then, why does the prime minister refuse to acknowledge that he is holding negotiations over the fate of one million Israelis? The Egyptians will present today to Netanyahu a proposal for tahdiye, calm for an unspecified period. But Netanyahu faces another far-reaching possibility: He can try to offer Hamas a commitment not to hurt the heads of the Hamas entity and to end the siege on the Gaza Strip. In exchange, he must demand from Hamas a commitment to stop arming itself with missiles and for the demilitarization of the Strip under the supervision of international observers. Any other arrangement will lack significance and will signify the beginning to the next round between the sides, for which Hamas will arm itself with improved missiles with longer-ranges.
Israelis and Gazans: Don’t buy your leaders’ rhetoric (Khaled Diab, Haaretz) As the fog of war distort people’s vision and compassion, can both the Israeli and Palestinian public reject the strategy of violence offered by their leaderships?
Compromise, not win (Yossi Yehoshua, Yedioth) Whoever expected the destruction of Hamas, and heard about the draft of 60,000 reservists to this end, will be disappointed this morning following the intensive contacts for a ceasefire. After months of increasing shooting, and at the end of a week in which life just stopped, the residents of the south hoped the operation would end by getting Hamas onto its knees. A ceasefire, in their view, is a compromise, not a win....
Let's try something new (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) The Palestinians try three different approaches, weapons, diplomacy and nonviolent resistance, and Israel says no to all three.
The ongoing failure of military thinking (Yagil Levy, Haaretz) When military thinking is paramount, diplomatic possibilities are pushed to the sidelines - such as the assumption that sometimes it is worthwhile working toward bolstering the sovereignty of the rival.
Abu Mazen wants a state, not the right of return (Shaul Arieli, Haaretz) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas sees the UN bid as his last, best chance to negotiate with Israel.
Israel holds its breath for Hamas' decision: Target Tel Aviv? (Bradley Burston, Haaretz) For the first time since the waves of suicide bombings in Israeli cities during the Palestinian uprising, Hamas could target Tel Aviv; such an attack could also jeopardize the political capital accrued by the prime minister and his defense minister.
Along with the rockets, psychological warfare has hit Tel Aviv (Amir Oren, Haaretz) Military action against the hostile organizations and their commanders is correct, but futile, as long as it is detached from the broader context of a national goal.
Keep the peace with Egypt and Jordan (Friday Haaretz Editorial) Israel will derive little security benefit if the military operation succeeds in liquidating another few senior Hamas figures and destroying another few command posts and missile stockpiles.
Let Morsi work (Smadar Perry, Yedioth) This is what was cooking behind the scenes between Washington and Cairo: Egyptian Prime MInister Hisham Kandeel was sent to Gaza only after President Obama telephoned the Egyptian President, Morsi, to recommend in an aggressive American way: Start working on a ceasefire. Now it's possible to reveal that the Egyptian intelligence suspected that Israel was "cooking something" in Gaza. Not only that they suspected an "election operation," but they worked towards getting Gaza to offer a ceasefire and the prepared to send envoys to calm the people at the Defense Ministry in Tel-Aviv. The assassination angered them. We can say we pulled one over on them regarding the timing, but we did not catch them completely by surprise. Only those with sharp eyes noticed that Kandeel did not go to Gaza alone. Morsi's Chief of Staff, Amb. Rifaat Tatawi, made sure to give an interview to CNN before joining the delegation of Egyptian mukhabarrat (intel), to make clear that his president got the message from Obama's two telephone calls....Let Morsi work, don't branch off to other mediators. Let the Egyptians lead the move. The most urgent goal is to keep Hamas from shooting the Fajr they are saving for the moment before the agreement, in order to create for themselves a victory photo. When there is no more Jabari, Morsi's people are looking for the responsible adult in Gaza. It's recommended not to bother him: Let them lead, threaten, calm. They can receive the credit. Morsi is no lover of Zion, but he's from the neighborhood and is not going (in the meantime) anywhere.
Long live Haniyeh, down with Abbas (Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz) Haniyeh is a man after our hearts, they say in the Netanyahu-Lieberman offices. He doesn't prattle idly about peace and compromise but fires missiles at the south and lets us return to the arena where we do so well: targeted assassinations, shelling and threats of a ground operation.
Israel doesn't want to topple Hamas, just rein it in (Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz) If the major forces of Sunni Islam in the region act as responsible adults, there is still a chance that Gaza will not see a reprise of Operation Cast Lead, an experience whose scars Gaza Strip residents still bear four years later.
The third front (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth and Ynet) Soldiers killed in ground offensive on eve of elections would be catastrophic for Netanyahu.
The political echelons will decide (Amir Rappaport, Maariv) Operation Pillar of Cloud has arrived at a critical stage: The air strikes exhausted themselves, the contacts over a ceasefire are increasing. From last night the ball is in the hands of the political echelons, which must decide between a ceasefire and a ground invasion. The IDF assessment is that the campaign achieved its goals and it's possible to end it now without a ground invasion and at the same time, parallel to the ceasefire contacts, the army almost completed drafting the forces necessary for a ground invasion....According to the IDF intelligence assessments, Hamas got a serious blow to its morale as well as physically and its leaders are already hoping for a ceasefire, even if they declare at the end "victory." Were the results of the operation sharp enough to assure continued quiet, even without continuing in a ground invasion? Of course not.
Operation Pillar of Defense is Ehud Barak's test (Aluf Benn, Haaretz) In the Gaza campaign, Netanyahu will take credit for victory and blame Barak for failure.
Swallow your pride, leave south temporarily (Ariana Melamed, Yedioth and Ynet) Leaders doing civilians injustice by not instructing them to leave danger zone.
Staying here to tell the world (Assaf Farhadian, Ynet) Beersheba student explains why he won't leave southern city despite ongoing rocket fire.
For Israel’s PR war on Gaza, it may be all downhill from here (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz) Despite the sympathy of world leaders and the Twitter and YouTube wizardry of Israeli spokespeople, history teaches that the continuation of the Gaza campaign will inevitably lead to increasing criticism and condemnation.
Prepare for escalation if you want calm (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) For Netanyahu and Barak to avoid the need to expand the military operation, Israel must truly and earnestly prepare for it.
War by all means – How the IDF fights in 2012 (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz) Israel has taken a new tactic in the current round of violence, centered both in the air and in cyberspace.
Israel's right to self-defense against Hamas (Alan M. Dershowitz, Haaretz) The media and international community's failure to distinguish between the Israeli military and Hamas terrorists is not only immoral but encourages terrorism and erodes the basic principles of just warfare.
Israel prefers cease-fire over ground move (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) Israel's goal was and remains restoring the IDF's deterrence and bringing quiet to the south.
'You didn’t knock me out!' - The horrible logic of Gaza escalation (Carlo Strenger, Haaretz) Netanyahu and Barak's worst mistake in the current confrontation was to let Hamas dictate the terms of the game, paving the way for Hamas to claim another symbolic victory.
Morsi's challenge: An Israel-Hamas truce (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) From Israel’s perspective, ignoring Egypt’s truce proposal in order to do more damage to Hamas now could ruin the chances of Cairo being an effective mediator in the future. Acceding could thus serve both sides’ interests.
At Ramallah protest, Hamas’ green overcomes Fatah's yellow (Amira Hass, Haaretz) Rallies marked by Hamas flags have been something of a rarity in the West Bank, but they could augur the future.
Go for it, Mr. Abbas (Ilan Baruch, Haaretz) A move in the General Assembly is crucial to ending the stalemate of the last four years, one that was exploited by the Netanyahu government.
Four tremors that could shake Israel (Daniel Levy, Haaretz) President Obama will continue to navigate the shifting geopolitics and earthquakes in the region with patience and pragmatism. But he will do so without a confidant in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office for as long as Benjamin Netanyahu is its occupant.
A call to U.S. progressive Jews: Support Israel's 'get tough' policy in Gaza (Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, Haaretz) My answer to progressive American Jews who ask me why Israel can’t just muddle through rocket attacks from Gaza: Israel came into being so that Jewish children would never again have to huddle together in fear, terrorized by enemies of the Jewish people, while their parents stood by helplessly.
For Netanyahu, Gaza escalation could pave the way to Iran strike (Amir Oren, Haaretz) Until this week, Prime Minister Netanyahu took pride in never having lead Israel into a war. Now he may be on the verge of starting not one but two.
Turkey on the warpath (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) From his proposal to reinstate the death penalty to his attacks on various world bodies, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is pushing assertive local and regional agendas.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.