APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday November 28, 2012
Quote of the day:
"True, we’re going to see fireworks in Ramallah but the settlements will remain exactly where they are and the IDF will continue to operate in the same areas."
--Israeli official tells Yedioth that Palestinian statehood won't change anything.**
Front Page News:
- Haaretz poll: Right-wing bloc strengthens, Tzipi Livni taking votes from Lapid and Labor
- (Tycoon) Dankner suspected of securities fraud in shares of IDB Holdings, prohibited from leaving country
- New protocol of Immigration and Population Authority prevents rights of stateless people
- Morsi can't get control over the protest: Tahrir Square has filled up again
- Natural gas processing terminals to be built in Hagit and Hefer Valley (despite objections)
- "I came to fight" - Tzipi Livni runs for the Knesset at head of 'Hatnua' party
- A seat in the Knesset through a shady deal - Investigation: Yedioth runs fictitious candidate in Likud primaries and reveals how through 'vote contractors' and secret deals it is possible (to buy votes) to enter the Knesset using the back door. The dark side of Israeli democracy
- The mother who with her own two hands made a terrorist flee
- The illness that turns adults into babies
- With a strong hand - With an amputated hand from Operation Defensive Shield, Izi Ezgi was ready to return to Gaza in Operation Pillar of Cloud
- Dankner interrogated - Denies suspicions that he was involved in securities fraud over IDB shares
- Suspicion in Jerusalem: European states to support Abu Mazen - 15 states, led by France, will vote in favor of the Palestinian bid, according to estimations (Hebrew)
- The protest returns to Tahrir (Hebrew)
- Careful, rockets in the area - Police: Hundreds of unexploded rockets that landed in Israel during Operation Pillar of Cloud could hurt hikers (Hebrew)
- Cold reception for Livni - After she debated, waited, made contacts, Livni will run at head of new party named "Hatnua" (The Movement)
- Lieberman likely to be found guilty of breach of trust in lesser affair; Central case likely to be closed
- Hero - Mother of four who fought terrorist
- Who would have believed? Interrogation and prohibition to travel abroad for (billionaire) Nochi Dankner
- France disappoints: Will support accepting Palestinian Authority as a observer state in the UN
- New evidence: Iranians testing bomb 3x stronger than Hiroshima
- Egypt stormy: Protest expands against Morsi's moves
Livni makes a comeback, Israel climbs off its UN tree, and the IDF makes strict new rules of engagement on the Gaza fence. Meanwhile, two papers report different stories about the same settler homes.
Former foreign minister and Kadima party chairwoman Tzipi Livni finally announced her decision to return to politics - at the head her own party. "The Movement headed by Tzipi Livni" is the full name of the new party - which in short is called 'Hatnua' (The Movement). (Maariv writes she got much criticism for the name.) Livni reportedly turned to all the centrist parties and people: Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid, Shelly Yachimovich of Labor and Ehud Olmert and got cold shoulders. Or at least offers of being #2 - which she did not want. Meanwhile, six Kadima MKs have left their party to join hers. Yedioth writes that while Livni is going for an 'anti-Bibi' campaign, neither Lapid nor Yachimovich have ruled out joining Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in a future coalition government. (See Election Quickees below for more.)
**After many many months of threats by Israel against the Palestinian bid at the UN, Israel is now downplaying the move, knowing that it has lost the battle. Not only will the Palestinians make their bid tomorrow, but they will win it by a large majority. Haaretz's Barak Ravid writes that the new Israeli policy involves lowering its media profile. One state official dismissed concerns that Palestinians may try Israeli statesmen and officers over settlement construction and war crimes in the International Criminal Court, saying: "We need not fear this," Yedioth wrote. Meanwhile, Israel is stepping up its criticism of Abbas. Israeli officials have gone back to saying that the Palestinian president is no longer relevant and that his UN bid is meant to guarantee his personal political survival. France, yesterday, was the first European Union member to publicly declare its support for the Palestinian bid, which the US called a 'mistake,' saying that negotiations are the only way forward. The Palestinian envoy to the UN Riyad Mansour compared the French government's decision to France's move last year when they voted in favor of Palestinian membership of UNESCO. It "is something that will always be appreciated by the Palestinian people and their leadership," he said. Australia, one of Israel's closest allies, will be forced to abstain after the ruling party members revolted against their prime minister, Haaretz reported. US and Israeli officials had tried to pressure the Palestinians into 'softening the wording' of their General Assembly resolution. Haaretz wrote that the push did not succeed because the Palestinians refused to add a clause to the draft that would prevent them from filing criminal charges against Israeli officials at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Also on Tuesday, pro-Israel leftist lobby J Street urged the U.S. administration "to fill the diplomatic vacuum and to launch, in early 2013, a renewed and bold diplomatic initiative to achieve a two-state solution" – this, it said, instead of punishing the Palestinians by freezing its economic aid, Haaretz wrote. Meanwhile, Abbas has received the support of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. All the factions in Gaza will rally tomorrow at noon for the bid in a central square. The announcement came amid renewed efforts to demonstrate Palestinian unity in the aftermath of Israel's deadly assault on the Gaza Strip a week earlier, Maan wrote.
A week after Gaza operation, IDF soldiers are now under strict rules of engagement. Palestinian farmers wishing to work their lands can now approach to about 100 meters from the border fence without being shot, report Haaretz and Maariv. Maariv's reporter writes that "before the operation (IDF soldiers) would shoot almost regularly at every Gazan who would get close to the fence, but that situation has changed almost completely." There is no longer automatic shooting at anyone even if he damages the fence. Moreover, soldiers may try to arrest any Palestinian who encroaches within 100 meters of the fence, and if he tries to harm the fence they may open fire - but only at his legs. (That said, Anwar Qdeih was killed on Friday when he was shot in the head as he approached the fence during a demonstration to hang a Hamas flag.) Inside Gaza the situation has changed as well, writes Maariv. Before when the IDF identified militants setting up a launcher, it would attack from the air immediately. Now, the militants will not be attacked unless they shoot first. (NRG Hebrew) Commander of the IDF Southern Command General Tal Russo said he was "surprised" by how quickly Gaza became quiet so soon after the ceasefire. Only three rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza since last Thursday - all of them in the hour after the cease-fire.
Two completely different reports about the same subject: the Givat Ulpana residential buildings built on privately owned Palestinian land within the Beit El settlement. Haaretz's excellent settler affairs reporter Chaim Levinson writes that the settlers dropped their bid to be named the owners of the land under the buildings. During the legal battle, they argued that they had bought the land in 2000. But the claim was investigated by the Israel Police and was found to be false. The Israeli legal rights organization Yesh Din said the only purpose of the settlers' false claim was to "pull the wool over the eyes of the High Court and the public." Meanwhile, Maariv reported that bulldozers began destroying the homes yesterday, as was required by a High Court ruling, but emphasized that this is taking place contrary to the agreement between the settlers and the government hat the homes would be sawed into pieces and moved. [Two of them had already been moved and the results were not pretty. - OH] (NRG Hebrew)
- (Another) Man dies of injuries from Gaza assault - Several people (in Gaza) have died from their injuries since a ceasefire agreement was signed last Wednesday. Ahmad Ali Masharawi died on Monday after sustaining severe burns when an Israeli missile hit his garden in Gaza City on Nov. 14, killing relatives 11-month-old Omar and 19-year-old Hiba, who was pregnant with twins. At least 170 people in Gaza were killed and over 1,000 wounded from the assault on the Gaza Strip. (Maan)
- Fatah, Hamas jointly mourn Gaza dead - A Fatah delegation on Tuesday joined premier of the Hamas-run government in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh in a ceremony to honor families bereaved in the latest Israeli military offensive. (Maan)
- Palestinian who broke into Israeli home eluded Gaza border defenses, IDF probe finds - Army believes Palestinian man who stabbed a woman at her house near the Gaza Strip on Monday intended to carry out a terrorist attack. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
- Israel adopts new protocol for stateless people - Leaves stateless persons without any social rights for over a decade, and doesn't address the issue of Bedouin who were never registered with the population registry and thus have no status in Israel. (Haaretz)
- Ceasefire deal brings new types of fish to Gaza markets - Israel agreed to allow fishermen to sail six miles off the coast of Gaza instead of three. But the head of Gaza's fishing association Mahfouth al-Kabriti says that the 6-mile zone is mostly sandy, and fishermen need to go 10 or 12 miles out to sea for sufficient hauls. (Maan)
- Gaza children return to rubble-strewn schools - Gaza's ministry of education said 52 schools had sustained moderate to severe damage during the Israeli bombing campaign. The UN expressed "deep concern at the devastating and lasting impact the crisis in Gaza and Israel is having on children." At least 33 Palestinian children were killed in Israel's aerial bombardment. (Maan)
- FIFA pledges help to rebuild Gaza stadium - Soccer's world governing body to help rebuild Palestine Stadium partially destroyed in IDF airstrikes during Operation Pillar of Defense. Stadium was used to fire rockets at Israel. (Agencies, Ynet)
- World Bank to fund Gaza water services rehabilitation - The World Bank approved on Tuesday a $6.4 million grant to improve and expand coverage of water and sewage services in the Gaza Strip, the financial institution said. (Maan)
- Italy urges EU to reopen Gaza border station - Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Giulio Terzi has asked EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and others to reopen the EU Border Assistance Mission to Gaza, officials said Monday. (Maan)
- Experts exhume Arafat, seek evidence of poison - Switzerland hospital that carried out original tests on Arafat's clothes says results expected in several months. (Agencies, Ynet)
- IDF social media director blasted for 'blackface' photo - Army's 'Twitter warrior' is branded as racist for image that shows him with mud on his face under caption 'Obama style.' NYT also wrote about it. (Ynet)
- Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails launch solidarity hunger strike - Prisoners in Israeli jails launched a one-day hunger strike on Tuesday in solidarity with two long-term hunger strikers at risk of death: Ayman Sharawna (150 days) and Samer Issawi (119 days). (Maan)
- Jenin man sentenced to lifetime hard labor for collaboration - The 21-year-old man was convicted of serving a hostile army and of providing Israeli agents with information about Palestinian fugitives who were eventually killed by Israeli forces. (Maan)
- Steinitz asks Barak to grant Ariel university status - Finance minister urges defense minister to approve the upgrade before he steps down from politics. Steinitz vows to provide 50 million shekels ($13 million) to the center in its first year as a university. (Israel Hayom)
- Tel-Aviv bombing suspect related to 1978 terrorist - Man suspected of placing bomb on Tel Aviv bus last week related to family of Dalal Mughrabi, who carried out attack that killed 35 Israelis in 1978. (Ynet)
- $1M per missile: Watch Magic Wand test - If development goes ahead as planned, air defense system will be able to intercept any object launched from a distance of at least 70 kilometers. (Ynet)
- On one stage: Lieberman, Barak and Salaam Fayyad - The three are among the many who will be participating in the 9th Saban Forum for Israeli-US strategic dialogue will take place this weekend. (Yedioth, p. 34)
- Egypt seizes arms shipment en route to northern Sinai, report says - Ma'an news agency cites Egyptian security official saying that truck held Grad rockets, high-grade explosives. (Haaretz)
- Egyptians flock to Tahrir Square to protest against Morsi - Protesters began a sit-in in Tahrir Square three days ago, after Morsi issued a decree making all his decisions and laws immune from legal challenges. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Activists: Syria army warplanes bomb olive press, civilians killed - Dozens killed or wounded in Assad air raid, activists say; hundreds killed in recent Assad raids on Syrian rebels in recent months. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Israeli entrepreneur named 'top global thinker' - Businessman Shai Reshef praised by Foreign Policy magazine for his tuition-free, non-profit online academic institution in which students from all over the world study for bachelor's degree. (Yedioth and Ynet)
- Israeli on Saudi interfaith center's board - Center inaugurated in Vienna to be managed by board with religious scholars from Iran, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia – and Israel. Rabbi David Rosen engages in warm conversation about Torah with King Abdullah. (Agnecies, Ynet)
- Iran's 'peaceful' nuke program three times more powerful than Hiroshima bomb - According to diagram obtained by The Associated Press, Iranian scientists ran computer simulations for a nuclear weapon producing 50 kilotons of force • Nuclear expert: Diagram looks genuine but seems to be designed more "to understand the process." (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
- Hungarian politician denounced for anti-Semitism - Gyöngyösi later made a qualified apology for his statements, saying his call to screen Jews was directed only at dual Hungarian-Israeli citizens. "Hungary should not be afraid of Jobbik but of Zionist Israel and those serving it also from here," Gyöngyösi wrote. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
- Norwegian study foresees world peace in 2050 - University of Oslo researchers say just 7% of countries will be involved in armed conflicts in next 40 years. (Ynet)
- Livni unveils new party: I came to fight for Israel - Livni insists that the absence of an alternative to Netanyahu is what motivates her return to the ring. Lapid: The move is solely motivated by her ego. (Israel Hayom)
- Contacts between Livni and Meridor about his joining her new party - Livni approached the moderate Likud MK Dan Meridor a month ago, but he wanted to run in the Likud primaries. Now he found himself voted out of the top of the Likud list. Yesterday contacts were renewed between their associates. (Maariv, p. 2)
- Several Kadima MKs joining Livni's party - MKs Yoel Hasson, Shlomo Molla, Majali Wahabi and Rachel Adatto announced their plans to leave, and they're expected to be joined by three more Kadima MKs, including Robert Tiviaev. (Haaretz)
- Yachimovich: Like Netanyahu, I am also worried that the list won't be to my liking - Primaries tomorrow in Labor party. (Maariv, p. 3 and NRG Hebrew)
- Livni's confidantes: She initiated a union with Labor party - Sources say Livni turned to Labor's Yachimovich and suggested a Likud-Beiteinu style model with a rotation between the two as head of the list. (Maariv, p. 3 and NRG Hebrew)
- Report: AG set to close main case against Lieberman - Weinstein expected to close corruption case against FM after key witness backs out; charge Lieberman with breach of trust over appointment of ambassador to Latvia. Legal experts: Case will end in plea deal. (Ynet)
- Likely indictment could force Lieberman to resign as minister - Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman will likely face one count of breach of trust, but avoid charges for allegations surrounding dirty business dealings. Lieberman to be denied cabinet portfolio until final verdict, but could stay as MK. (Israel Hayom)
- Netanyahu to Begin: You will continue to be a minister in the government - PM wants him to stay in order to balance the (more) right-wing list. Feiglin celebrated: "It's a change of the guard." (Maariv, p. 4 and NRG Hebrew)
- Those opposing the High Court were the big winners of Likud primaries - Likud voters pushed Danny Danon, Zeev Elkin and Yariv Levin, who advanced legislation meant to battle judicial activism, to the top 10 spots. (Maariv, p. 5)
- Woke up on the right side - Senior Likudniks baashing the results of the primaries: "It's too right-wing, there are names there that do not give us honor." Moshe Feiglin, head of the Jewish Faction bloc of Likud who is known for extremist statements, tried to reassure those who fear him as a Likud MK: "I said all sorts of things that should not have been said. The public will be surprised by how liberal I am." (Yedioth, p. 4)
- "We need to expel the Waqf from the Temple Mount and to encourage Jews to exercise sovereignty."
- "I have a problem with homosexuality as a culture. There is a direct relation between girls who serve in combat units and homosexuality in the army and between the IDF's inability to win."
- "We need to destroy the equipment that prevents injuries in regards to the enemy."
- "The judges of Israel will be chosen by the Knesset. Ahead of every promotion they will need to go through the process again - with an examination of their rulings."
- Defining the Palestinians: "A public of Arab speakers, who suddenly identified itself as a people. Parasites."
Behind the scenes of Anwar Sadat's historic visit to Jerusalem
The Israel State Archives has released dozens of documents covering secret contacts with Egypt, negotiations in Romania and Moshe Dayan's secret mission in Morocco. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
Diary of a war: A journey home
This is the first in a series of journal entries documenting life in Gaza during Israel's Operation Pillar of Cloud. (By Ahmed Ferwana, a language and literature teacher at the American International School in Gaza, Maan)
Hong Kong in Gaza (Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yitzhak 'Jerry' Gershon, Ynet) Out of sense of power rather than weakness, Israel should recognize Hamas government and lift Gaza siege.
Tomorrow's mortar test (Uri Heitner, Israel Hayom) To build proper deterrence, Israel must respond with disproportionate force to even the slightest cease-fire violation.
Ritual (slaughter) practices (Shlomi Eldar, Maariv) Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) is going to the UN...And he's doing it on 29th of November. He knew exactly what that date signified for Israelis. The 29th of November is ours. But some smartass, some spin doctor, advised him to choose our history and create an alternative Palestinian history. And despite our anger, what choice did Abu Mazen have? And what didn't we say about him? That he's weak, that he does not represent the West Bank, not to mention the Hamas-Iran Gaza. "He barely represents himself," Avigdor Lieberman said degradingly to foreign ambassadors and consuls. But read my lips: We will never find as comfortable a partner for future negotiations as we have in him.The 'chick that didn't grow feathers' - as Ariel Sharon disparagingly called him - was brave enough to stand before (Yasser Arafat) and tell him that the armed Intifada is a mistake and dangerous. No one beside him had the courage to say that to him...This non-partner worked vigorously to stop the armed men from all the groups - and to open a new page with the Israelis. Abu Mazen stopped the Second Intifada in the West Bank and changed the Palestinian discourse that supported suicide terror attacks in Israel. But his main problem is that he was and remains naive. In his naivete, he thought that his brave actions will win him points with the Israelis; that his actions will help him build mutual trust that will lead the Israelis to enter negotiations with him.; that he will succeed in returning the trust between Israelis and Palestinians as a condition for negotiations. But Abu Mazen did not understand that you never enter dialogue from a weak position without strong cards in your hand. He did not understand that despite his his long years of experience as a muqawwam (fighter) the Israeli side will not sit at the table voluntarily, only out of necessity. In the Israeli society, sodden with qassams and grads and Fajrs and what not, no sane prime minister would dare to evacuate settlements, to look for an arrangement over Jerusalem or to discuss the refugee issue. Abu Mazen can scream till tomorrow that he has no desire to return to Safed (his birthplace in Israel today) or the '48 lines. The Israeli public does not believe in negotiations, does not want it and does not have a trace of trust in the Arabs in general and the Palestinians in particular. Jewish-Arab relations were never at such a low level. The day before yesterday I met with youth in an "economically established" city in the center of the country and they all had one thing to say: 'We need to give it to the Arabs. It does not matter if they are in Gaza or the West Bank.' Israeli Arabs also won heaps of their contempt. In this public atmosphere, even if Netanyahu or Lieberman would wake up one morning enlightened and filled with admiration for the intentions of the "chick in the Muqata'a" (Palestinian President's headquarters in Ramallah), they won't have a mandate from the Israeli public. The public does not want this peace, and it certainly does not want to pay the price of peace. And so we are left with Abu Mazen, whose going to the UN may strengthen him momentarily, and may weaken him forever and bring the collapse of the Palestinian Authority. And while Israel knows exactly who stands before it in Gaza, it will no longer find a chick in Ramallah, with feathers or without, that is waiting for it patiently to be turned into a ritual (slaughter) practice.
War is not the only solution (Yehoshua Sobol, Israel Hayom) War is not a force of nature; it is a product of politicians' inability to resolve conflicts with negotiations.
The Palestinian bid at the UN: Vote in favor (Sever Plocker, Yedioth) If Israel votes in favor of (Palestinian statehood) recognition, the curse of being considered "peace refuser" will be removed from the Netanyahu government, our relations with the moderate Arab world and with the leaders of the Arab Spring will change, and the Palestinian people will understand that the Palestinian Authority is their future and Hamas is their past...
Women are everywhere in Israeli politics - except Likud (Tal Schneider, Haaretz) Yair Lapid, who sees the growing sisterhood to his left, realizes he should look for his own inner woman. It remains to be seen when Likud will do likewise.
Right side up (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) The fact that rightists like Danny Danon, Yariv Levin and Zeev Elkin were voted into the party's top 10 is a reflection, more than anything else, of the Likud's general direction over the last four years and its slow inching toward the Right.
A new Likud (Haaretz Editorial) If Likud's joint ticket with Yisrael Beiteinu is victorious in the election, as currently seems likely, this will be a great danger to the image and future of the country.
Give the Palestinians a state (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) After Israel gets over its anger, it will realize that an official Palestinian state, even one that Hamas is helping to run, can be a more responsible partner for conducting daily life than two authorities fighting each other.
I am not the enemy (Rawia Aburabia, Haaretz) Those who routinely treat others with racism and hatred are the ones defeated long ago - their human experience is damaged and tainted.
No favors (Eitan Haber, Yedioth and Ynet) Multi-talented Barak has one flaw that prevented him from becoming an admired politician.
Barak's wise decision (Gideon Allon, Israel Hayom) That politics were never "a passion," in his own words, was clearly evident throughout his political career.
Tzipi Livni's new movement brings her full circle back to Israeli politics (Yossi Verter, Haaretz) Livni has chosen to call her new party Hatnuah, The Movement, not in the sense of a Mizrahi movement or a youth movement, but more in the sense of progressing, constant motion - perpetuum mobile.
Tzipi Livni, serial failure (Shlomo Avineri, Haaretz) It is a pity that after months of activity hidden from the public eye she did not manage to overcome her passions and admit her limitations and has decided, after all, to run in the election on an independent list.
The Egyptian revolution goes back to square one (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) President Mohammed Morsi's power grab sent angry crowds back to the streets. Have they achieved nothing?
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.