APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday November 19, 2012
Quote of the day:
"And I know that every moment that passes in this war, more parents lose their beautiful, sweet, innocent children. Yes, I am scared. I cannot fall asleep. But more than that, I am angry."
--Gaza Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, formerly a doctor at the Israeli Sheba Hospital, who lost his three daughters and niece form an Israeli shell shot at his home during Operation Cast Lead, writes to Israelis in Yedioth.**
Front Page News:
- 12 civilians, including 4 children, killed in Gaza; IDF: Apparently a targeting mistake
- Senior Hamas official in West Bank: Israel must hold dialogue with us
- Urban warfare: A day in shelled city of Ashkelon
- Less than 1/3 of public favors ground invasion in Gaza Strip; Jump in support for Netanyahu and Barak
- Hitch caused tragedy - Death of three people in Kiryat Malakhi happened when Iron Dome wasn't working
- The handicapped people's troubles - Many shelters are not wheelchair accessible
- Hit on 4 billion shekels - The success of Iron Dome makes one forget the criticism over its price and the decision making
- The man on the line will win - Israel taking advantage of its control over telephone lines (in Gaza) in order to wage a psychological war in Gaza
- Waiting for the orders - Pillar of Cloud, Day 6: The decision is getting closer: Enter Gaza or ceasefire
- Nursery school teachers in Tel-Aviv area requested: Take your children home, we don't have protected rooms
- What are you supposed to get during war days: Full guide to your rights
- The fear: international embroilment
- IDF completed its preparations outside of the Gaza Strip ahead of ground invasion, but most of the ministers in the 9-member cabinet disapprove
- Permitted for publication: Hitch in Iron Dome brought the deadly strike last week on building in Kiryat Malakhi
- The Mukhtar of the Negev - Parting from Eliyahu Nawi, legendary mayor of Beersheva
- Low fat milk - The situation in the south is also affecting the milk of the cows in the area
- Red Green - The missiles fall, but the bursa goes up. Iron Dome changes the rules
- Returning resident - Criminal Itzik Aberjil requested to serve the remainder of his sentence in Israel
- IDF increasing the pressure: "Getting close to moment of truth"
- Ruling the dome - Iron Dome providing protection from the skies
- Fewer rockets, but more damage caused
- Waiting for the orders
- General on the wheel - When the army calls, a person shows up; Maj. Retired Gen. Udi Adam was drafted into reserves - as a driver leading tanks
- American support continues: "Israel has the right to expect that missiles won't be launched into its land"
- Cyber attack growing: More than a million hacks in the last day
- Special entertainment section for children of the south
News Summary:Rocket fire continues, mediating continues, IDF ground forces ready. Now what? These were the main stories in today's Hebrew papers. Only Haaretz led with the killing of 12 civilians when an IDF air strike hit the wrong house. Yedioth's Alex Fishman describes the ceasefire offers given to Israel and who is behind them. Ynet's Elior Levy has a report with the Hamas conditions.
These are the 48 critical hours for Israel and Hamas to get to a ceasefire. That was what US President Barack Obama said after he expressed his support for Israel to defend itself. Then the countdown began towards either a military ground invasion or a ceasefire. Israel, Hamas, the US, Egypt and others are all involved in the making the diplomatic solution happen. Today the UN's Ban-Ki Moon will land in the region and visit Ramallah, Jerusalem and Cairo. A high-raking Israeli official just returned from Cairo with Hamas' conditions for a ceasefire. Here's a review of day five of Pillar of Cloud.
The most siginificant event yesterday was the killing of at least 11 civilians - four of them children and five of them women - when a single Israeli airstrike hit the Al-Dallo family house. It was the lead story of Haaretz and a subtitle in Israel Hayom's front page, but there was no mention of it in Yedioth and Maariv's front page. Maariv's stringer in Gaza, Sami Ajrami writes about it in and the feeling in Gaza that no place is safe after the Al-Dallo house and media buildings were hit. (Full page article on page 8, Maariv) Yedioth's Roni Shaked writes about the "deadly hit.' He writes that the head of the family, Samah Al-Dallo, an engineer by profession, was "apparently connected to Hamas' rockets." It's not clear whether he was killed in the strike and Yedioth reports that the IDF says it is checking whether among the dead was their target for assassination. But, Haaretz writes that the IDF is investigating how it targeted the wrong house. Ynet collected responses of Gazans to the attack on the Al-Dallo house.
With regards to the ceasefire vs. the ground invasion, Yedioth's Alex Fishman writes that each option has a 50-50 chance of happening and he gives an expansive review of the attempts by Egypt to achieve a ceasefire between the two sides. The attempt to get to a ceasefire began as soon as the hostilities escalated between the two sides - that is after the hit on the IDF jeep and before the hit on Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari when Egypt offered Israel a draft of a "calm package," he writes. But Israel didn't respond and only gave the Egyptians the feeling that it would accept it. Then it assassinated Jabari and opened the Pillar of Cloud campaign. That's when the Americans got involved, writes Fishman, realizing there was a short circuit in the communication between Egypt and Israel. The Americans spoke highly of the Egyptians and the Egyptians softened and last Thursday they sent a message to Israel about a two-stage ceasefire. "The first stage: both sides stopping the shooting on a certain day and hour. The second stage - which is meant to anchor the ceasefire for a longer period than normally - is supposed to happen through mutual obligations. Hamas apparently didn't even get a copy of it. In response, Israel gave Egypt a document with three conditions for an Israeli ceasefire: Palestinians stop shooting, they commit to stop smuggling weapons into Gaza and they stop manufacturing weapons in Gaza. They Egyptians received the response and understood there was nothing to talk about with the Israelis, who needed a few more days. On Friday, the Israelis passed to the Egyptians their own initiative: Create a humanitarian timeout in the Gaza Strip and allow the opening of the Kerem Shalom crossing for humanitarian and other goods as long as there is no shooting. This humanitarian break was a lesson from the Goldstone Report: Humanitarian aid also needs to be photographed. Israel knew that on Friday there wasn't yet a shortage in the Gaza Strip. But it doesn't hurt to get some extra points in the international public opinion. That humanitarian move took place yesterday. During Friday-Saturday-Sunday, the sides began working on ideas for stage two. The idea was that once stage two is figured out, it will be easy to do stage one. On the Israeli side, its mainly the security apparatuses that are running the negotiation. Khaled Mashaal is the Palestinian representative to the talks. He arrived in Cairo in deep mourning for his friend and right-hand man, Ahmed Jabari. the two were partners not only in bloodshed, but also in trying to turn Hamas in Gaza to a political diplomatic body for all intents and purposes. And by the way, the Qataris announced that they will not accept replacing Mashaal as head of the Politburo with anyone else. That was a heavy hint to Haniyeh: Do you want the $400 million check we promised your two weeks ago? Then start calming down and get into an arrangement with Egypt and Israel. Another person involved in teh negotiations is Haniyeh's personal representative, Fathi Hamad, who is probably the Interior Minister in Gaza. From the Egyptian side there is General Nader, who is reponsible for the Israeli-Palestinian file in the Egyptian intelligence. With the exception of a short visit by a high-ranking Israeli official, most of the negotiations take place through the mediation of the Egyptian embassy in Tel-Aviv. Another source involved is an American diplomat well-known to Israel: Jeffrey Feltman....The Arab League made an extreme proposal: cancelling the Arab Peace Initiative, cancelling all diplomatic relations with Israel, cancelling the peace agreements with Israel. This diplomatic escalation could have military significance. In this atmosphere, President Morsi is trying to navigate his way and the way of Egypt within the Israeli-Palestinan conflict...Egypt has an interest in bringing back the stability to Egypt and receiving the money from the West. Anyone who intervenes is acting against Egyptian national interests. It appears that behind the public condemnations and threatening performances of the Prime Minister of Egypt and President Morsi, Egypt is acting to achieve a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel. First of all, for Egypt's national interest."
Meanwhile, Ynet's excellent Arab affairs reporter Elior Levy writes that the according to Palestinian sources: Israel has demanded a 15-year lull and Morsi guaranteed it. He also lists Hamas' demands: the lifting of the naval blockade of Gaza, international community guarantees for the cessation of targeted killings, an end to IDF cross-border raids and the cessation of attacks on fishermen off the coast. More details here. Levy also writes that there are conflicting reports regarding ceasefire efforts with one Hamas spokesman saying the parties agreed on 90% of the truce outline, while the deputy politburo chief saying the group rejected Israeli demands.
Highly significant: a senior Hamas official, Dr. Mahmoud Ramahi, told Haaretz that Israel must negotiate with political Islam. [This is significant because Hamas publicly says it will not negotiate directly with Israel - OH]
Haaretz's Hebrew edition ran the headline: Less than 1/3 of public favors ground invasion in Gaza Strip; Jump in support for Netanyahu and Barak. The English edition ran another headline: More than 90 percent of Israeli Jews support Gaza War. Check out the poll here.
Maariv's Asaf Gabor (who replaced the excellent Arab affairs reporter Reemon Marjieh, who lost his job when Maariv was bought out) reported that there is a rift between Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Hamas claims the reason Jihad opposes a ceasefire and prefers to continue to fight Israel is to serve Syrian and Iranian interests. Jihad accuses Hamas of submission to Israel.
On the international front, Maariv writes that the EU will likely make an announcement of support for Israel and condemn Hamas for shooting rockets on innocent civilians.
- Reporters Without Borders condemns Israeli strikes on building housing media outlets - The attacks on the two high-rise buildings in Gaza wounded six Palestinian journalists Sunday and damaged the equipment of foreign media outlets. (Haaretz)
- IDF bombs Gaza soccer stadium - IDF says long-range rockets fired from stadium in Gaza Strip, multiple weapons hidden under grass. (Ynet)
- The 40 kilometer line: In Tel-Aviv area going to school, in the south no - All schools in Tel-Aviv area will be open tomorrow, despite the rockets shot at the larger cities there. (Maariv, p. 7)
- Amid massive call-up, many IDF reservists report food, supply shortages - Senior army official dismisses 'annoying complaints by a few.' (Haaretz)
- Disabled teen bound to fortified space - Single mother from Sderot keeps her wheelchair-bound son in fortified space until Gaza op ends, fearing she won't be able to get him to shelter in time. (Ynet)
- Ambassadors on the Internet - In 15 'war rooms' across the country, youth between ages 13-17 are working to "prevent the blackening of Israel's face." They are responding to articles on foreign news websites and they are operating blogs and working on the PR front for Israel. "There are many anti-Israeli writings and we are here to fight that." (Maariv, p. 12)
- Guards barring homeless from entering south Tel Aviv shelters - The municipality has placed guards at shelters after homeless people, mainly migrants from Africa, tried to sleep in them. (Haaretz)
- McCain: Without Iron Dome, Israel would be in Gaza - US diplomats comment on Gaza op, support Israel's right to defend itself, but stress need for negotiations: 'No one wants ground war.' (Ynet)
- Kim Kardashian regrets Israel-Palestine tweets - Reality show star apologizes for two tweets she posted found offensive by followers. (Ynet)
Health-care and missile alerts
The professor's orientation siren-demo, taped on his cellphone and played at full volume, is followed by specific instructions: What to do when you hear the real thing. (Haaretz)
Palestinian farmers turn to organic farming
Palestinian farmers turning West Bank plots into organic olive groves; sell produce to high-end grocers in US, Europe. (Agencies, Ynet)
Gaza diary: Trying to sleep between explosions
Gaza journalist describes life in the coastal enclave under Israeli attack: 'We went to sleep early to spend as much time in bed as possible, before the loud explosions resume. At least, for now, our house wasn't damaged.' (Abeer Ayyoub, Haaretz)
**The wound to my heart - Before the next baby dies (Izzeldin Abuelaish, Yedioth) People have been asking me in the last days whether what is happening opens the wound in my heart. the truth is that this wound will never close, so there is nothing to open. I speak every day with my brothers and relatives in Gaza, with my niece, with friends. When we say goodbye, I know that thre is a real fear that I won't speak to them again ever. It's as if everyone is waiting in line to die. No one knows when his turn will come. People ask me if I am scared. Of course I am scared. I am stricken by terror. I am stricken by terror and horror, and in the last few days I feel the rise of rage despite that everyone who knows me knows that I am not an angry person at all. It's hard for me to believe that after the terrible horrors of the previous war, it did not lead as it should have to peace because war cannot bring peace, again the missiles fall like rain from the sky. People ask me if these last days bring me and my children back to that day, in which two missiles fell on our house and killed three of my daughters - Bisan, Miyar and Aya - and the daughter of my brother, Nur. I answer them that that day is with us every moment of every day. The moment before, when they were alive, and the moment after, when their heads and their hands were dispersed around the bedroom. And I know that every moment that passes in this war, more parents lose their beautiful, sweet, innocent children. Yes, I am scared. I cannot fall asleep. But more than that, I am angry. I know that most Israelis believe that Israel wants peace that it is just waiting for the Palestinians to put out their hands in peace. I really believe that many Israelis want peace with all their hearts. The problem is the leadership does not work towards this, and its your responsibility to be more aware of what is really happening. The truth is that one side is controlled in the very tiniest details of its lives, while the other lives freely in every detail. One side is occupied and the other is the occupier. And therefore the situation is not balanced, and one must not get confused about this. Everyone wants to argue the political facts about who is guilty and who did what to whom. But those are not the really important questions when speaking about peace and war. We all need peace, we are all in great danger, not just physical, but also mental and spiritually and only awareness can change that situation. Violence won't change anything. Because peace is not something you get to through missiles. Peace is an internal situation of belief, security, peacefulness and empathy. Each one of us must think in independently and refuse to think and speak in terms of us and them, our children and their children, our space and their space. Instead of this, we must wake up and remember that we are all connected to each other always and we always will be. We are part of one another and those are our children, our problems, our war, our tragedy, our space, our future, and our peace. I know that revenges and violence come, always, from the dark, and only mutual respect, dialogue between equals will lead to the possibility of a real peace. I know that most people in our region wish for peace. I suffered great humiliations as a refugee all my life. Yes - I am a refugee, my family had homes and land inside the '48 line, and I am again a refugee after I lost my beloved daughters to Israeli missiles. But I met Israeli colleagues and patients and also foreigners with amazing generosity and empathy and grace. I won't hate. Whatever happens to me, I am free to choose my internal response. I ask of you all to keep your hearts clean of hatred and to make the steps necessary in order to stop this terrible madness immediately, before another baby dies.
Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, formerly a doctor at the Israeli Sheba Hospital, lost his three daughters and niece form an Israeli shell shot at his home during Operation Cast Lead. He lives in Toronto now.
Give Gaza to Egypt (Shalom Yerushalmi, Maariv) The involvement of the leaders of Egypt in the conflict in the Gaza Strip is in Israel's interest. Now we only need to urge them to also take responsibility for all the Palestinians' needs - from natural gas to electricity and water. Gaza needs to be opened in the direction of Egypt, not in the direction of Israel. To enourage as much as possible go through the Rafah crossing...Within this policy Israel must end the siege on Gaza, which causes us so many problems over the years and complicated our relations with Turkey and other countries. Every ship can enter there, as long as it does not have weapons, and that can be checked from afar. The famous Marmara would have been stuck till today in Gaza if we had allowed it to enter - and its people would have been forgotten there, within the Islamic fog. Because there is no port with deep waters in Gaza, and there is no real possibility of anchoring. If Egypt wants, it can build them a port. And if the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza were ever a demographic threat over Israel, this is the time to remove that danger from us once and for all. The Hamas state needs to be a separate state, or as explained, part of Egypt. That way, maybe the world will act towards us diffferently, not as an occupier but as a liberator. And if they continue to shoot Fajr-5 missiles, we need to respond - as if Syria or Lebanon attacked us - until we achieve with them a long-term hudna, but probably not more than that.
Israeli leaders should think twice before launching a Gaza ground offensive (Amos Harel, Haaretz) A tour along the border with the Gaza Strip, and a series of conversations with commanders on the ground and retired senior officers with knowledge of the situation, raises disturbing questions over the logic of a major ground operation at the current time.
Try talking to Hamas (Avner Fainguelernt, Ynet) Gaza vicinity resident says Israeli leaders have tried out every single weapon in the world – except dialogue.
Jenny's got a gun (Aluf Benn, Haaretz) A Ben-Gurion University student recently posted a (odious) response to an article by Haaretz's Editor-in-Chief Aluf Benn on her Facebook page.
Israel’s collateral damage problem (Richard Baehr, Israel Hayom) Dealing directly with Iran, rather than with its surrogates, may be the place where Israel will need greater reservoirs of international support.
U.S. looks to Egypt to de-escalate Gaza crisis (Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz) While plying the phones to Middle Eastern leaders, America's chiefs feel the pivotal role will be played in Cairo.
Time to thank Amir Peretz (Avi Shushan, Ynet) Former defense minister insisted on developing Iron Dome system despite senior defense officials' objection. His decision is now saving many Israeli lives on a daily basis.
It's hard to finish (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth) The lessons learned from "Operation Cast Lead" were tactical: The intelligence improved and allowed us to attack more quality targets; the harm to civilians in Gaza lessened and of course, Israelis feel more protected because of Iron Dome. But after five days of scuffling, Israel faces the same dilemma that tormented the last government: Hamas did not surrender. It's regime did not collapse; Haniyeh did not leave his bunker with his hands in the air. Hamas continues to shoot, and even if it does not succeed in killing Israelis, it succeeds in disrupting daily life. The government discovers again what its predecessors discovered: all the beginnings are easy but the exits are difficult...
The fight for public opinion and warfare on the Web (Maya Epstein, Haaretz) Both sides have taken the fight to the virtual streets during Operation Pillar of Defense, battling for public sympathy through Facebook posts and fiery tweets. Meanwhile, Israelis flock to web-based news, and government sites become targets for cyber warfare.
Eleven reasons why this is not Cast Lead (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz) Though the pictures from Gaza and southern Israel look eerily similar, this round of violence between Israel and Hamas differs greatly from that of 2009.
The first who noticed (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth) ...Maybe we really missed something in him, Amir Peretz. Maybe we were the ones with the closed binoculars who couldn't see a millimeter past them [In reference to infamous photo of Peretz as Defense Miniser caught looking through closed binoculars, which people saw as a symbol of his inexperience in war -OH] And maybe in this whole story there is a lesson. And we need to learn something from it, particularly now, when the operation in Gaza appears to be going well, and very few people are asking themselves what would be were Netanyahu and Barak people without any military or security past, and there are even those who in light of the performance in Gaza are reconsidering their positions - maybe now we need to remember who so many Israelis need to thank for their lives. The defense minister from Sderot, who thought outside of the box. Maybe it's about time we started thinking that way.
War of attrition in Gaza (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) Terror organizations have learned their lesson from Cast Lead, Second Lebanon War.
The limits of technology (Haaretz Editorial) Iron Dome, a system that has spared large numbers from injury from the Negev to the Tel Aviv area, is not a substitute for policy that Israelis should be thinking about.
Who will decide for Hamas? (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) With outgoing Hamas diplomatic bureau chief still involved in the effort to achieve cease-fire with Israel, it remains unclear to what extent Egypt's Morsi will be calling the shots, despite the significant leverage he exerts.
What should prevail, bullets or butter? (Meirav Arlosoroff, Haaretz) Israel can't afford to have it all. Hard choices have to be made and Ben-Gurion showed how it's done. Meanwhile, the gov't cringing before the bellicose defense establishment is letting everybody down.
Can terrorists be deterred? (Moshe Arens, Haaretz) Preventing the recurrence of rocket attacks on Israel's towns and villages in the coming months requires the cooperation of the Egyptian government.
To the residents of southern Israel (Yitzhak Laor, Haaretz) The pretentious fringes of the left can indulge themselves in the debate over 'either one state or apartheid,' but meanwhile the destruction is being done by the government and the IDF.
Weaken Hamas through diplomacy (Ami Ayalon, Haaretz) We have already learned that we can't destroy a terrorist group through military means. The most effective move would be moderate support for PA President Abbas' request to the UN for recognition of the PA as a non-member state.
Eldar responds to Strenger: Would you want to be a Jewish minority in a Palestinian state? (Akiva Eldar, Haaretz) On the question of a one-state solution, Akiva Eldar tells Haaretz blogger Carlo Strenger: Your frustration and disappointment from the setbacks on the path to the two-state solution is leading you and many other good Israeli peacenicks to an illusion.
Akiva Eldar, thanks to you, Israel’s youth will see peace (Avraham Burg, Haaretz) Eldar is a writer of principles, a journalist who wanted to influence the political system without becoming a part of it, a man who stood for peace in the face of criticism, and politically educated the youth.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.