APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Quote of the day:
"Recognition of a Palestinian state by most countries of the world does not mean denying or negating the existence of the State of Israel."
--From a confidential Israeli Foreign Ministry report whose conclusions regarding the de-legitimization of Israel in the world completely oppose the Israeli government's policies. (Maariv Hebrew)**
Front Page News:
- Small but stable lead for Obama in key states
- Kahlon regretted, won't establish new party
- Shas launched its election campaign
- Amos Gilad made a slip of the tongue and revealed the depth of the crisis with Egypt
- The email was forgotten and the Electricity Corporation lost 1.4 billion shekels
- French President advancing single-sex marriages, Church outraged
- Zionism as told by the country's [Palestine] Arabs to the Sultan
- "Don't believe Netanyahu" - Kahlon won't run: "Disappointed with Bibi, but won't hurt the Likud"
- Last arrangements in Ohio - US elections
- Giving up on the Right of Return - Historical declaration. Abu-Mazen: "I was born in Safed, but won't return there." Made clear: Palestinian state - only '67 borders"
- Mom and dad killed on motorcycle
- Foreign Ministry report: Diplomatic freeze (with Palestinians) causing damage to Israel (Hebrew)
- The ball is in Netanyahu's (court) [Large photo of Palestinian demonstrators burning picture of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas] (Hebrew)
- Most reviled on internet: The Arabs - Study looked at 4000 posts in Hebrew: One-third included violence and racism (Hebrew)
- The party that wasn't - Moshe Kahlon / Mazal Mualem
- Record army enlisters: High Schools in periphery - Religious schools star at top of list of enlisting in IDF (Hebrew)
- Two central candidates' last efforts in Ohio - 2 days to US presidential elections
- Restaurateur Shaul Avron, considered one of the most influential in Israeli culinary, died
- 48 hours to US presidential elections
- Kahlon: I'm not running
- A real shortage of eggs
- Motorcycle trip in north that ended in tragedy
- Iran surprises: "We suspended the enrichment of uranium to 20% as a good-will gesture, we hope the Western countries will respond by removing the sanctions"
- IDF to hold this week "Parachuting of fathers and son" at Atlit beach
Last minute efforts ahead of US presidential elections, a public damning of the Egyptian leadership by an Israeli security official and a decision by a Likud star not to start rival party made top stories in today's Israeli newspapers. There were also mixed reactions over statements made by the Palestinian President to an Israeli TV news channel. And Maariv reported on an internal Foreign Ministry report that determined that no talks with the Palestinians was hurting Israel. Finally, a look at how two stories are reported - or not - in the Israeli media.
Senior Israeli defense official Amos Gilad shocked Israelis when he came out publicly against the Muslim Brotherhood leadership in Egypt on Friday, describing it as a "terrible dictatorship," and saying President Mohammed Morsi's regime "won't talk" to Israel. Speaking to students at an event in the Israeli city of Herzliya, Gilad claimed there was virtually no chance Israel and Morsi would engage in dialogue, but he stressed the importance of maintaining the peace treaty. Defense Minister Ehud Barak's office quickly released a statement saying, "The remarks reported today by Maj.-Gen. (Res.) Gilad do not reflect the defense establishment's position, nor do they reflect Gilad's position."
The Israeli President lauded him, Hamas blasted him and he clarified his words. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he did not hint that he would give up the Palestinians' Right of Return when he told Israeli Channel 2 News that he would only return to his native town of Safed inside Israel as a tourist. Barak told Haaretz that he welcomed Abbas' conciliatory remarks and that the Netanyahu government should have done more to advance peace. Haaretz also reported that Abbas told the Egyptian media outlet Al-Hayyat in a follow-up interview on Saturday that those remarks reflected his own personal opinion and should not be taken as policy. Abbas also declared his commitment to a two-state solution for which Israeli President Shimon Peres told the Israeli public (again) that Abbas is a partner for peace, while Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Abbas' words were empty. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh blasted Abbas, saying support for a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders was 'extremely dangerous.' Meanwhile, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip held a demonstration against Abbas for his statements.
**The man who just spent several years heading the Foreign Ministry’s department dealing with the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign against Israel concluded in a wide-ranging and confidential report that Netanyahu's central policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians, the settlements and anti-Israel activists is not only wrong, but it's hurting the country, Maariv's Eli Bardenstein revealed. "We have become more of a stationary target, that does not create its own agenda, but rather reacts to the agenda of others," wrote D.J. Schneeweiss, a respected diplomat who was appointed over the summer as Israel’s new consul-general to Toronto and Western Canada, in a Foreign Ministry report surveying the de-legitimization campaign against Israel. (NRG Hebrew)
Here are the report's main points:
On Palestinian request for recognition of statehood by the UN.
"Recognition of a Palestinian state by most countries of the world does not mean denying or negating the existence of the State of Israel."
On the demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state:
"Recognizing Israel as a Jewish state is does not ensure Western principles of legitimacy."
On dealing with anti-Israel activists:
"One cannot forget that our behavior also affects and shapes the reality."
On the diplomatic freeze with the Palestinians:
"There is no doubt that proper management of the diplomatic (peace) process can limit the effects of the hostile campaign of the various anti-Israeli messages."
On the government decision regarding Judea and Samaria (W. Bank):
"One must take into account the way that Western countries will perceive such moves."
Schneeweiss also opposes the automatic assertion that every anti-Israeli act is anti-Semitic and every criticism against settlements is de-legitimization, Bardenstein wrote.
Eye on the media: Ynet and Haaretz reported on the stabbing of a Jewish settler by a Palestinian in an E. Jerusalem neighborhood on Friday and on Jewish attacks on Palestinian property in the village of Burqa Saturday in the same article. Yedioth and Israel Hayom reported only on the attack on the Jew. However, Israel Hayom's English-language newsletter did report on the attack on the Arab property, but presented it as if it were a response to the attack on the settler, when it wasn't. Haaretz explained it was likely a response to IDF removal of nearby settlement outpost structures.
Arab property vandalized in east Jerusalem after Jewish man stabbed - Cars spray-painted, tires slashed, but no suspects yet. Price-tag attack comes a day after Jews protest stabbing of a man in east Jerusalem. Police looking for suspects in both incidents. (Israel Hayom)
Jewish settler stabbed by two Palestinians in East Jerusalem
In an unrelated incident, the Binyamin Territorial Brigade was called in to take care of a series of settler acts of violence against Palestinians. Cars were set on fire and walls were spray-painted with graffiti in the Palestinian town Burqa. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Internet of hate - At least 1/3 of the posts and more than half of the talkbacks regarding politics and society on the Internet in Hebrew contain expressions of violence and racism, found a study requested by the New Israel Fund. It is directed at Arabs (50% of the posts on Arabs), left-wingers (43%), settlers (32%), (African) refugees (43%), and academics (18%). The most reviled politicians: The Prime Minister and Finance Minister. (Maariv, p. 12 and NRG Hebrew)
- IDF reprimands settler official over illegal construction - The security official was filmed using his IDF-issued vehicle to transport material used for illegal construction, which violates army regulations. (Haaretz)
- PA official: 1 injured in settler raid on Nablus village - Walid Safadi, 19, received head injuries in the incident. An Israeli army spokeswoman said around 20 settlers and 20 Palestinians gathered near Yizhar settlement opposite Urif village, but had no reports of arrests or clashes. (Maan)
- Amnesty: Israel must release Bassem Tamimi - Israeli authorities must end the harassment, intimidation and arbitrary detention of Palestinian activist Bassem Tamimi, said Amnesty International. The non-violence leader from Nabi Saleh was detained on Oct. 24 during a protest at an Israeli supermarket in a Jewish settlement near Ramallah. (Maan)
- Kahlon throws support behind Likud, aborts independent run - Putting an end to speculation, the highly popular communications minister endorses Netanyahu and says he will not run on a separate list. Kahlon, who was projected to win 20 seats, chooses to take a two-year leave from politics. (Israel Hayom)
- Three Syrian tanks enter demilitarized zone in Golan Heights - Tanks cross into Beer Ajam village, only several kilometers away from Israeli border; IDF lodges complaint with UN. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Fire erupts in Golan; apparently caused by Syria infighting - Army says shrapnel from Syria may have started blaze in Mount Hosek area; IDF outpost not damaged. (Ynet)
- Russia vs. Jerusalem Municipality: "It neglected Sergei's Courtyard" - Russian government requested court to give it an exemption from paying arnona (municipal taxes) because the municipality handed back the historic building in such a dilapidated state. (Maariv, p.16)
- Greek Orthodox leader slams clergy for encouraging IDF service - Patriarch Theophilus says the Church calls on its young people to be peacemakers, so serving in the army goes against its values. (Haaretz)
- IDF fires at suspect trying to place explosive device on Gaza border
- Palestinian sources said that the man was seriously hurt. (Haaretz)
- Israel Air Force crews to try out next-generation fighter jets by 2016 - Israel is set to purchase 19 of the aircrafts at a combined cost of $2.75 billion. (Haaretz)
- Public officials to get salary bump - Ministers, MKs and other senior civil servants will enjoy additional NIS 1,000 per month as of January 1, despite soaring prices and lay-offs. (Ynet)
- Olmert trial enters appeal phase as former PM mulls election bid - State Prosecution likely to ask Supreme Court to render harsher sentence in Olmert's corruption trial and to overturn acquittal in the so-called Talansky Affair. Former PM might run again if Obama wins re-election, but may be legally barred from top job. (Israel Hayom)
- Holy Sepulchre Church's (Israeli) bank account blocked - Clergyman from church built on site where Jesus Christ is said to have been crucified says its bank account has been frozen due to long-standing dispute with Israeli water company. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Bust of Winston Churchill, Israel's 'forgotten friend,' to be unveiled in Jerusalem
- 'Strange that no major Israeli street or building named for him,' says British trustee of the Jerusalem Foundation. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
- As Visitors From Israel Plummet, Turkey Shuns Tel Aviv Tourism Fair - For the first time since its inception in 1994, Turkey will not participate in the International Mediterranean Tourism Market in Israel. A few days ago, an unknown perpetrator broke the windows of the Turkish Tourism Office in Tel Aviv. (Translation by Al-Monitor of Maariv)
- Turkey's Erdogan plans to visit Gaza Strip - The Turkish PM also told reporters aboard a plane returning to Turkey from a visit to Germany, that Netanyahu has sent 'very strange' envoys to try to improve Israel-Turkey relations. (Ynet and Haaretz)
- Egypt seeks to amend economic pact - Ministry of Trade and Industry in Cairo says looking to reduce value of Israeli components in exported goods providing duty free access to US markets. (Ynet)
- Iran and Turkey Closing in on Israel When It Comes to Science - A new study indicates that Middle Eastern countries have been heavily investing in research and university budgets in recent years. Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and especially Iran have shown remarkable scientific growth while Israel has whittled down government support for science, engineering and math. (Translated by Al-Monitor from Yedioth)
- Iran's parliament to grill Ahmadinejad on currency - Iranian president to be questioned over his refusal to regulate local currency; has one month to answer. (Agencies, Ynet)
This is the house that Israeli taxpayers built (and a former IDF chief is using)
The temporary housing built for Moshe Ya'alon's bodyguards is now part of his own home. Meanwhile the state if still funding quarters for the guards elsewhere. How did it happen? (Haaretz)
The paradox of rebranding Islam in Europe (Shay Fogelman, Haaretz) A kinder, gentler Mohammed was created in Austria by the provocative Israeli Public Movement.
Diseased soccer family (Yehuda Shohat, Ynet) Soccer fans' abhorrent behavior is a reflection of the racist, vulgar and violent Israeli society.
By keeping Abbas under a glass ceiling, Israel is forgetting its real enemy (Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz) Israeli politicians continue ignoring the Palestinian president and forgetting that without him, they could face an extremist leader or a third intifada. Even Abbas' UN bid is not the existential threat Lieberman and his colleagues would like to believe.
The ball is in Netanyahu's court (Ben-Dror Yemini, Maariv)The new statement by Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) in an interview on the Friday news, in which he hints at giving up the Right of Return (for Palestinian refugees), requires a serious and expansive Israeli response...
A brave declaration (Roni Shaked, Yedioth) On Palestinian Authority Chairman Abu Mazen's recent remarks about the Palestinian 'right of return': "In the Palestinian Authority leadership, especially since Arafat's death, there is more and more acceptance of the idea that it will not be possible to realize the right of return...The Palestinian public as a whole, and not just the refugees, is not ready to countenance the renunciation of this right, which means giving up on the dream of a Greater Palestine...What the Palestinians view as the homeland is the village, the home and olive and lemon trees. They do not regard the homeland as a holistic idea. Therefore, the refugees' demand is not to return to the Palestinian authority areas, but to their original homes and villages as they were in 1948...This gap between the leadership and the public is great and vast...But the Palestinian public is not ready for this, particularly the refugees. Hamas would vehemently oppose [any renunciation of the 'right of return'], especially because of it's hard line ideology, which sees all of Palestine as land that according to Islam is forbidden from giving up...especially not to Jews."
Rabin's legacy is conflict, not unity (Meretz MK Zahava Gal-On, Israel Hayom) Democracy is not unity. Reconciliation is impractical.
There were Palestinians? Elections (in Israel) (Emmanuel Rozen, Yedioth) Rubbing my eyes in shock in front of the TV. Abu-Mazen, remember him? Chairman of the Palestinian Authority in an interview on Channel 2 News. Not an exclusive interview with Netanyahu about Iran, not an exclusive interview with Kahlon on the price of milk, an interview with Abu-Mazen on the process, that one that they used to call the 'peace process,' about terms that we almost forget about, like borders and refugees. Channel 2 acting like the History Channel. There are numerous reasons and explanations why the Israeli-Palestinian issue became sidelined and almost disappeared from our national agenda and from the strange election campaigns that is taking place here. Obama lost interest, Netanyahu conquered the whole public debate with the Iranian threat, Abu-Mazen never showed energy and impressive leadership, and of course the quiet and fake feeling of security. If there aren't any attacks - there are no Arabs that we should or that it's important or urgent to talk to...The ignoring of the Palestinian issue suits the strange masked ball taking place here. When everyone is busy with the question who is connecting with whom when (in which party), it's comfortable to forget what will be laid on the table the next day...
An open letter to the Hamas movement (Issa Younis, Maan) I remain an advocate of the right of Hamas to govern and I absolutely reject the double standards employed by the international community towards the movement. The financial and political sanctions on Gaza are simply unjust and scandalous. Hamas won a free and fair election in 2006. But my recognition of Hamas’ legitimacy does not mean that I agree with the way in which Hamas has been ruling Gaza.
Dictatorship, a la Gilad (Haaretz Editorial) Amos Gilad's position reflects the traditional arrogant attitude whereby anyone who doesn't support Israel's policies and who doesn't want ties with Israel is necessarily a 'terrible dictator.'
Is Israel's Nuclear Ambiguity Worth Preserving? (Adam Raz, Maariv - translated by Al-Monitor) The Israeli left-wing Meretz party is calling for an end to Israel's "nuclear ambiguity policy." Such a move is likely to actually step up the nuclear arms race in the Middle East — and to induce other countries to join in.
The Arab world’s missed opportunities (Khaled Diab, Haaretz) Arab rejectionism and division from 1947 onwards unwittingly helped to build Israel and to lose Palestine. Partition then surely would have been less catastrophic for the Palestinians than the complete dispossession they have been left with.
Prepare for the coming of the president (Eyal Megged, Haaretz) If Peres wants to go down in Jewish history as a great leader he cannot afford to stand idly by. There is nothing this nation needs more than a seasoned guide to preach a bit of morality from his authoritative pulpit.
Kahlon's teachable moment (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Moshe Kahlon knows the value of being the nice guy, but now he also knows the price.
The Levy report vs. international law (Juan Pedro Schaerer, Haaretz) Under the law of occupation, which is part of international humanitarian law,'territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army.'
Let the right win (Uri Misgav, Haaretz) If the polls that persistently predict 65 seats for the right-wing/religious bloc are correct, this will be the chance of a generation. We must therefore start working now so as not to miss it when the moment of truth arrives.
Zion in Las Vegas (Yossi Sarid, Haaretz) Fortunately the Zionist dream was fulfilled only partially rather than completely, and the failure proved to be to our advantage, because more than Israel preserves the Diaspora, the Diaspora preserves Israel.
Bringing Arab Israelis to the ballot box (Mohammad Darawshe and Amnon Be'eri Sulitzeanu, Haaretz) From a turnout of 75 percent in the national election of 1999, the voting rate among Arabs had declined to 54.4 percent a decade later.
J-Street President Calls Israel's Palestine Policy 'Unacceptable'
President and founder of the Jewish lobby J Street Ben Ami is used to living between Israel and the US. He understands Hebrew but is deeply involved in American politics. Formerly President Bill Clinton’s advisor on domestic policy, he nevertheless knows Israeli politics through and through. (Interviewed by Moshe Ronen in Yedioth, published Oct. 31, 2012 - Full translation at Al-Monitor.com)
“There are things that have to do with Israel that no political candidate in the United States can say anything about,” Ben-Ami told Yedioth Ahronot in an interview.
“Everyone is convinced of the power of the Jewish vote and is afraid of it.”
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.