APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday November 21, 2012
Quote of the day:
"The political echelons of Israel don't want a paper, for the same reason that Hamas wants one. The Israelis prefer to make a verbal agreement. Putting the conditions on paper will limit Israel's freedom to act militarily in the future..."
--Senior Israeli political analyst Nahum Barnea in Yedioth today.**
Front Page News:
- Ceasefire delayed; 2 killed in the south
- At six o'clock, before the end of the war, that's what we hoped
- The budget mud - Another consideration for a ceasefire: The operation cost 3 billion shekels till now
- No pain-relievers: Severe lack of medicine and medical equipment in hospitals in Gaza
- The State: Egged (bus company) must advertise photos with people on buses in Jerusalem
- The Louvre opens section for Islamic Art; Turkey: Central exhibit was stolen from us
- Soon in Tel-Aviv: Bus passengers can get on from the back door
- On the verge of a ceasefire
- The toughest day - 2 dead, 8 wounded of whom 2 of them seriously
- Soldier and civilian killed in south
- IDF destroyed Hamas infrastructure in Gaza Strip
- Severe hits to Home Front while contacts continue over ceasefire
- Rishon L'Tzion - Fajr missile laden with 90kg of explosives hit three upper apartments; No injuries, heavy damage (Hebrew)
- Eshkol - Another IDF soldier, Sgt. Yosef Partuk from Emmanuel (settlement) was killed yesterday from a mortar shell. In another incident (an Arab) employee of the Defense Ministry, Alian Al-Jabari, was killed
- Missile in the heart of Rishon L'Tzion
- Most difficult day: Soldier and civilian killed, some 20 injured, direct hits on houses; Air Force striking in Gaza: The problem is the fuel tunnels
- Battle over quiet
- Sgt. Yosef Partuk killed from mortar hit - Another killed: Alian Salem al-Nabari
- Guide for residents of south: My house was hit, who do I turn to?
- Israeli ambassador in Washington Michael Oren, in a special Op-Ed
- Special entertainment section for children of south
Ceasefire gets stuck and Israel suffers the hardest day so far making top news in the Israeli papers today. Israel continues to pound the Gaza Strip, a building is hit near Tel-Aviv for the first time, Jerusalem gets another siren, and Yedioth offers some numbers.
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi said Tuesday that the conflict would end later that day. The Egyptians are hosting and mediating the indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle also was involved. He left Israel en route to Cairo yesterday, assumably to introduce amendments to the ceasefire agreement draft, Yedioth's diplomatic affairs correspondent Itamar Eichner wrote. Israel Hayom reported that Morsi also telephoned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to ask him to convince Islamic Jihad head Ramadan Salah to stop attacks on Israel. Hamas, wrote Israel Hayom, was furious because Salah was not being flexible in the talks and is making demands that even the Egyptians do not agree with.
Early yesterday evening, Hamas said a deal was struck and the ceasefire would be announced at 7PM and go into effect at 9PM. But an Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said, "We're not there yet." Indeed, the ceasefire was delayed. According to Maariv and the Israelis, it was Hamas' fault. According to the nuanced analysis by Nahum Barnea, that is not completely true (see translation below). According to Haaretz, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Ehud Barak disagreed on the terms. A statement by Hamas and Islamic Jihad said that the imminent lull in the fighting was delayed at the last minute over 'Israeli requests.' One Israeli official told Haaretz that Egypt wants to see gains for Hamas. Maariv writes that Israel demands that a two-stage outline: first stopping the fire and only after will they get the perks.
Maariv's Gaza stringer, Sami Ajrami, wrote in a small piece on the bottom of page eight that all the talk in Gaza was about a ceasefire. "In the evening the conditions were released and at 10PM a press conference was supposed to take place during which it was to be officially announced. Everyone waited for (the ceasefire) to commence at midnight, they hoped. When it became clear that the announcement was delayed, the disappointment was great." Ajrami writes that people in Gaza understand that "Israel's air force has the upper hand and that the Israeli army can do whatever it wants. The hope of the residents is that tomorrow morning everything will change, there will be a ceasefire and it will be the last. That after that there won't be any more bombing. Until that happens, people are passing the time hoping they won't be hurt in the hours that are left."
Meanwhile, all day while the back and forth of negotiations took place, Israel made a 'blitz' on Gaza with massive bombing of infrastructure, Maariv wrote. For the most part, Israeli press did not mention how many people were killed in Gaza. Ynet writes that the IDF identified the Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees as the perpetrators of Tuesday morning's rocket fire, but that Hamas was responsible for the intense rocket salvo fired at Beersheva. "Despite the ongoing rocket fire, the IDF recognizes a reduction in its scope, noting that most of the rockets aimed at Ashdod and Ashkelon." The IDF also attacked the central bank in Gaza claiming it doubled as a Hamas headquarters. It also struck the homes of Hamas commanders at the levels of company and regiment commander, after shooting preliminary warning shots at the building, which residents were supposed to understand meant that an airstrike was imminent.
Islamic Jihad fired a rocket fired which landed between two Palestinian villages in the West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Some of the Israeli media reported it as if it were a shot on Jerusalem. The first direct hit on a house in the Gush Dan region (Tel-Aviv surroundings) made headlines. No one was hurt.
The papers reported that hundreds demonstrated in Beersheva, Ashkelon and Ashdod against a ceasefire. The demos were organized by students through social media networks and when they saw that few people had showed up, they moved to where the TV stations were broadcasting live and tried to voice their protests on camera while the reporters were giving their live reports, Maariv wrote.
Barak Ravid reported that for the first time, the state ceremony in memory of Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, at his Negev kibbutz of Sde Boker, was held under a media blackout because of the concern that Hamas in Gaza would try to target the gravesite where senior Israeli officials gathered. "This may seem an insignificant anecdote, but it says something about the situation in which Israel finds itself at the end of a week of hostilities in the Gaza Strip and on the cusp of a potential cease-fire. When dozens of kilometers from Gaza, the prime minister of Israel was unable to speak live on Israeli television, it's difficult to convince the Israeli public that the Israeli military operation, Pillar of Defense, had been replete with success," writes Ravid.
Haaretz's Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff write that neither Israel nor Hamas thinks a truce would last forever. Diplomats told them that the hope is for a couple of years of quiet. Indeed, the IDF Spokesman told Ynet that there is no operation that can restore calm 'once and for all.' And the normally war-mongering Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Ynet: "We can't invade Gaza before elections."
With all the soldiers lined up in waiting outside the rim of the Gaza Strip, it's no wonder that one was killed yesterday by a mortar and there were many complaints from reservists who say they are being used as pawns.
On page 3, Yedioth had a box with a 'Week's Summary':
3 seriously wounded
4 moderately wounded
72 lightly injured
58 of them civilians
18 of them children
1,500 - targets hit in Gaza
1,270 - rockets launched from Gaza
380 - shot down by Iron Dome
47 - of them blew up in built-up areas
56,000 - reserve soldiers reported for duty
85% - percentage of reserve soldiers called up who reported for duty
- Israeli strikes on Gaza Tuesday kill 2 children and 25 others - Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip on Tuesday afternoon killed two children, bringing the day's death toll to 27. Since the Israeli bombardment started, 141 Palestinians have been killed and over 900 injured. Among the killed Tuesday was Mohammad Rezeq al-Zahar, in his 30s; his three-year-old son, Ahmad, was wounded. Three Palestinian journalists were also killed yesterday. (Maan)
- Pillar of Defense effect: High alert in West Bank, Lebanon - Increase, intensification in West Bank riots lead to high alert in territories. Similar alert levels on Lebanese border after rockets aimed at Israel found. (Ynet)
- Internal Arab protests against Gaza operation spread - A woman is severely injured by a stone in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc. Two soldiers are wounded during demonstrations in the West Bank. Dozens protest against Gaza operation in Acre. (Israel Hayom)
- Rocket lands near West Bank Arabs: 'Not angry with Hamas' - Gush Etzion Palestinians say want bloodshed to end, but justify rocket attacks 'when children in Gaza are being killed'; claim Netanyahu 'waged war to 'win elections.' (Ynet)
- IDF drops leaflets in Gaza City warning residents to evacuate outlying areas - See Haaretz's Day 8 Live Blog. (Haaretz)
- Beersheba residents against truce: We've had enough - Dozens urge government to reject Egypt-brokered truce ceasefire proposal, chant 'we want Hamas eliminated.' (Ynet)
- Israeli mayor calls on State to declare Arab city 'hostile to Israel' - Claims Nazareth is becoming 'a nest of terror in the heart of the Galilee, a center for the spread of hatred of Israel that supports and backs every anti-Israel initiative.' (Haaretz)
- Lieberman to UN chief: sUrging Israel to avoid ground offensive bolsters Hamas - Ban Ki-moon arrives in Israel as part of an extensive diplomatic push, aimed at bringing Israel and Hamas to hold their fire; Hillary Clinton to land later in the day. (Haaretz)
- Hamas executes 6 suspected Israel collaborators - Masked gunmen publicly kill suspected of working with Israel, drag one through the street while screaming 'Spy!' (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Armed man attacks US Embassy guard in Tel Aviv - Israeli man in his 40s strikes guard with ax. Other guards restrain attacker. Police: Suspect appears to suffer from mental disorder; attack was not connected to nationalistic motives. (Israel Hayom)
- Netanyahu sends Morsi condolences on sister's death - Amid ongoing efforts to achieve cease-fire, Israeli PM tries to ease tension by sending Egyptian president personal message; two have had little contact since Morsi came to power. (Haaretz)
- A costly conflict - So far, the cost of Operation Pillar of Defense is estimated at 5 billion shekels ($1.3 billion). More than 1,400 structures and vehicles were damaged by rockets. (Israel Hayom)
- Ambassador Oren rebukes Israel's Jewish critics but calls for new and stronger relationship with U.S. Jewry - At GA closing plenary, Reform leader Rabbi Rick Jacobs says intolerance for dissenting views threatens to tear our community apart. (Haaretz)
- Mohammed Deif in rare video: Our path leads to paradise - Head of Hamas' military wing is heard saying 'Israel underestimated us, put your faith in Allah and in your ability to win.' (Ynet)
- Mustafa Barghouthi visits Gaza Strip - Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouthi visited Gaza with delegation from his political party the Palestinian National Initiative. He said what he saw was proof enough of "the scale of Israeli crime and genocidal war against our people in Gaza" and urged international community to sue Israeli leaders in international criminal courts. (Maan)
- Entering Israel, Mexican tourist busted with drone parts in luggage - Unusual cargo had gone undetected at airports in Mexico and France; man alleged that he was merely bringing them into the country for repairs. (Haaretz)
- Bahrain lawmaker burns Israeli flag in parliament - Lawmaker in Bahrain sets fire to Israeli flag in theatrical show of support for Gaza. (Ynet)
- Lebanese army dismantles rockets pointed at Israel near border - The rockets appear to have put in the area since the Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip began last week, Lebanese security sources say. Hezbollah has not commented on reports. (Israel Hayom)
- Iran says Palestinians should be 'equipped' to defend themselves - Iran has denied supplying Hamas with the Fajr missiles that have reached Tel Aviv. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- 'US Navy sends ships to region in case of evacuation from Israel' - Amid escalating violence between Gaza and Israel, U.S. to keep three warships on standby in Mediterranean in case Americans need to be evacuated from Israel, CNN reports. (Israel Hayom) US prevents UN statement excluding rockets - United States, Germany, Britain oppose statement to press led by Russia, which fails to mention rocket attacks, Israel's right to defend itself. (Ynet)
African athletes win medals, but Israelis take the cash
Local competitions offer prizes for Israelis, honor for foreigners. It happens in other countries too, but does that make it right? (Haaretz)
Bombs away: The indignities and small comedies of rocket dodging
Prostrating oneself on an anthill or trying to get a bite to eat in an abandoned shopping center, running for cover in southern Israel has never been riskier. (By Roy (Chicky) Arad, Haaretz)
After seven days of Pillar of Defense, Hamas is scoring diplomatic points (Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz) It’s still too early to sum up Israel's operation in Gaza, but one can say with certainty that while Hamas may have suffered military blows, it has emerged as the party that Israel is negotiating with; Abbas and his Fatah faction have become irrelevant.
Who needs a victory shot? (Eitan Haber, Yedioth and Ynet) What image do our political, military leaders need to satisfy Israeli population's desire for a military victory?
US media: Israel may win battle but Hamas wins war (Yitzhak Benhorin, Ynet) Leading US media outlets say Israel's moves only strengthen Hamas. What Israel considers to be a military achievement might bring further decrease of Mahmoud Abbas' power and distract attention from the crisis in Syria, they say.
Look who's talking (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth) Along with the residential tower in Rishon L'Tzion, a few other 'towers,' which flowered in recent years, collapsed. Like, for example, that it cannot happen that a city near Tel-Aviv will be in the range of missiles from Gaza. Like, for example, that the Netanyahu-Lieberman government, which in its coalition agreement committed to bring the collapse of the Hamas government - would internalize the limits to its power and seek a ceasefire...Israel is holding negotiations with Hamas. Maybe it's not direct, maybe in separate rooms - but there is no other way to call what is happening in the last two days...
Gaza conflict turns into battle of missile vs. missile (Aluf Benn, Haaretz) The success of the Iron Dome system in Operation Pillar of Defense has shown that the technological advantage on the battlefield has shifted from offense to defense. (Haaretz)
**Departing in a good situation (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth) When the two sides are convinced that today is the last day to fight, they do their best to launch, bomb, shoot - everything in order to sully the final celebration party of the other side. Yesterday was a day like that: In Cairo, negotiations took place, but the fighting forces gave all they had to the other side. It was a difficult day, a bad day...The Israeli political echelons claimed that Hamas was the source (of the failure of the ceasefire to take place). The people involved in the negotiations for Hamas are insisting on a paper to describe the achievements they will receive in exchange for a ceasefire. Egypt is supposed to provide the paper. The paper, say the Israelis, will be a ladder that will allow the Hamas leadership to come down from its high tree and to justify in the eyes of its public the death and suffering it brought on them. It's a fictitious ladder, say the Israelis. Hamas is fighting in negotiations for words, for gestures, not for real needs. Hamas, is guilty of insisting on details, say the Israelis. Diplomatic sources say that the Israel behavior in the negotiations is no different from the behavior of Hamas. It's a mirror. The Israeli negotiator gets his orders from the political echelons, which are in the eve of elections. It's very important for the Israeli Prime Minister and Likud ministers to come out looking good from this story. If that requires another day of mutual bombings, another day of losses and fears, so be it. The political echelons of Israel don't want a paper, for the same reason that Hamas wants one. The Israelis prefer to make a verbal agreement. Putting the conditions on paper will limit Israel's freedom to act militarily in the future, also in terms of the Americans and the Egyptians. A written document will expose the prime minister and his ministers to public criticism. Either way, no one in the political echelons of Israel believes that the conditions, written or not, will hold for a long period. One of the (Palestinian militant) organizations will launch a rocket at some point at the south. Israel may restrain itself initially, but will respond after the second round. At some point, there will be a mine on the fence. The IDF will have to again operate beyond the fence in order to thwart other mine attacks...There is another aspect, with interesting potential, to this operation and the understandings it may lead to. The US administration is trying to use it in order to strengthen the Sunni axis in the Arab world vs. the Shia axis. The enemy is Shia Iran, and Hezbollah and Assad's Syria...Hamas which has had the help of Iran till now will have to choose which coalition's policies it is serving: Egypt's or Iran's. From Iran it can get arms and money. From Egypt it can get sovereignty over Gaza, recognition, an open gate to the world and immunity from Israeli attacks. If the Sunni axis proves its leadership and operational capacity, it will be a great achievement for US diplomacy, one that may encourage the US to attack Iran's nuclear facilities. Israel is not involved in that development. It is hated in the Sunni and Shia streets. But Israel also has no doubt who is moderate and who is dangerous in the hegemony over the Muslim world. Egypt's first test is to train Hamas (to submit to its will). It's a challenge, but also an opportunity. HIlary Clinton wants to encourage the process with a check of $4.5 billion from the IMF. Beyond the suffering involved in the continuation of this present round, there may be an opportunity.
The limits of Israel's online hasbara (PR) (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz) With the Israeli offensive in Gaza, the generals of Israel's public relations say they are 'ruling Facebook' and 'winning on Twitter.' Deserting the Internet is not an option, but Israel has to acknowledge its limitations. Hasbara can achieve at most a tie.
The right decision at the right time (David Buskila, Israel Hayom) I'm the mayor of Sderot and I approved this operation.
On our field (Alex Fishman, Yedioth) Now the ball is in Israel's court. The escalation in rocket shooting and the hit on a house in Rishon L'Tzion are delaying the decision by Israel for a ceasefire...In Cairo they are still waiting: Will the Israeli cabinet discussions end this morning, will it be possible to declare a ceasefire during the day, or will they have to wait a bit longer...If the draft of the understandings is not accepted within the next day or two, the round of fire will enter a new phase, and the price will be clear. Israel will have to change its goals because a ground invasion into Gaza will undermine the Hamas government - or in other words: Israel will have to conquer the Gaza Strip...From the point of view of the security apparatuses, the goals were achieved and this is the time to arrive at a ceasefire and end the operation without getting into trouble...
Tzipi Livni is the anti-Madonna (Asher Schechter, Haaretz) While the pop queen has taken more risks than an Israeli fighter pilot, Livni has failed to live up to her hype.
Jordan's king fears Gaza conflict may further complicate his struggle for survival (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) As public opinion in the kingdom presses on with demands for reform, King Abdullah is casting a worried glance westward, to Gaza.
Netanyahu is looking for a victory photo (Mazal Muallem, Maariv) 'Strong against Hamas" - that was the campaign slogan Likud headed by Binyamin Netanyahu used in the 2006 elections, which ended in a defeat against Kadima. Now, when he's in the midst of an election campaign frozen because of the military operation he initiated against Hamas and he is prime minister, Netanyahu will try to burn into the public conscience a photo of victory. But, in light of what we saw coming yesterday, Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman will have trouble marketing something that will be perceived as a great achievement against Hamas, particularly for their right-wing electorate. Hamas is far from being defeated, although it got a beating, it's capacity to launch still exists and is kicking as the residents of Rishon L'Tzion and Beersheva experienced....(But) Netanyahu's advantage with the right-wing bloc of voters is in no danger since the election game will be within the blocs. If the operation ends in a bad way it will likely only hurt the Likud-Beitenu coalition...
Using a cease-fire to our advantage (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) If Hamas, or any other organization, fires rockets from the Gaza Strip, it will have broken a promise to the West and the Arab world, giving Israel a legitimate pretext for its next offensive.
Hold the elections on time (Haaretz Editorial) Narrow interests are seeking to trump the public interest. Election Day must not be changed once again.
Winds of war, winds of calm (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Even if the reserves are spared a ground campaign, this will have happened because of the decision to deploy them in the first place.
Why do rockets buy dialogue with Israel, and not nonviolence? (Anat Ben Nun, Haaretz) What message does Israel send by talking to those Palestinians who use violence against it while ignoring Palestinians who are committed to nonviolence and who call for dialogue with Israel?
Knowing when to hit the brakes (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) Jerusalem got the green light — but not a blank check.
Netanyahu's alibi for 'conceding' to Hamas (Barak Ravid, Haaretz) Although the exit strategy from Pillar of Defense is almost identical to the one from Cast Lead, the balance of power it leaves between Israel and Hamas is worse.
Israel Defense Forces is like a child in a toy store (Meirav Arlosoroff, Haaretz) Showered with money, the army squanders vast amounts on prestige projects while ignoring basic needs.
Terrorists crossed red line (Moshe Ronen, Ynet) Rocket fire on Jerusalem, Tel Aviv a symbolic attack on Israel's capital, financial center.
Morsi the mover and Erdoğan the spoiler (Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) Although the Egyptian president refrains from mentioning Israel in his speeches, he works responsibly and proactively.
Mohammed Morsi, Israel's brother (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) It is worth remembering that Morsi is not a religious legal scholar, and the Muslim Brotherhood is not a Hasidic sect.
Negating the Diaspora at our peril (Gusti Yehoshua Braverman, Haaretz) Reform leader Rabbi Rick Jacobs sees that the community in the United States is no longer giving blind and unquestioning support to Israel. Not only has Israel ceased to be a source of pride for them, in many cases it is causing discomfort.
Iron Dome: A manifestation of Israel-US ties (Michael Oren, Israel Hayom) Iron Dome is the pinnacle of strategic partnership.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.