APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday November 6, 2012
Quote of the day:
"And you are not responding. This is a bit embarrassing..."
--David Grossman, author and moral compass for Israel, writes open letter to Prime Minister asking him to respond to Palestinian President with negotiations after the latter hinted at a renunciation of the Right of Return.** (Haaretz)
Front Page News:
- Nine states will determine the battle today over the US Presidency
- What are you waiting for, Binyamin Netanyahu? / David Grossman
- 'Certificates of appreciation' to be awarded to police who brought an innocent youth to trial
- 15 of the crops most contaminated from pesticides
- Moment of truth - One of the closest races ever for the White House comes to a close: America chooses Obama or Romney
- Who will laugh last? Today US elects a president
- Security apparatuses oppose sanctions that Netanyahu and Lieberman want to impose on Palestinian Authority (Hebrew)
- 71 years late: Arieh Sadeh, one of the survivors from Schindler's list, celebrated his Bar Mitzvah
- Bloomberg magazine rankings: Beni Steinmetz is the richest Israeli in the world
- America votes
- Dan Margalit / 'Uvda' program investigation on Iran: Election broadcast for Ehud Olmert
- Today: Habayit Hayehudi party votes - Orlev or Bennett (as chairman)
- Violence from Syria spills into Golan? IDF jeep hit by stray bullet, no injuries
- Wave of price increases continues: Mega supermarket also raising prices
Israeli newspapers screamed US ELECTIONS today and filled much of their news pages with the subject. In other news, a Turkish court will indict IDF commanders in absentia today and Maariv reported that the Israeli security apparatuses oppose the government's plans to punish the Palestinian Authority with sanctions over its UN bid for statehood. What was not reported in the Israeli media was the visit of the former Arab League chief and proponent of the Arab Peace Initiative to the Palestinian Territories for the first time and his participation in a forum in Nablus with Israeli businessmen...
Twelve of 22 of the news pages in today's Maariv, 14 of Yedioth's 42, 11 out of Israel Hayom's 35 and four out of Haaretz's 12 broadsheet news pages were dedicated to the US Presidential elections and how it is perceived in Israel. Yedioth reported that "Netanyahu fears that because of his support for Romney, Obama might take revenge if re-elected." Maariv ran an Op-Ed by Jesse Jackson titled, "Let Obama Continue." Yedioth's Akiva Novick reported from 'the 51st State': the 'half-American' W. Bank settlement of Efrat, where residents 'work according to the US clock and vote for Romney.' He spoke to the local head of the Obama campaign headquarters, Sheldon Schorer, who pleaded: "Remember his contribution to Israel. He proved that despite the economic crisis in the US, he continues to aid Israel."
**Nevertheless, Haaretz put an open letter to the prime minister from author David Grossman on the front page, too. In it, Grossman writes that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was elected "to lead Israel precisely in order to discern these rare hints of opportunity, in order to transform them into a possible lever to extricate your country from the impasse in which it has been stuck for decades." He refers to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' statements to Israeli Channel 2 News that he would only return to his native town of Safed (in today's Israel) as a tourist. Abbas later qualified that statement saying that it was his personal view and not a revoking of the Right of Return. But Grossman says "there is something new here, there is a hint. There is a new sound amid the regular cacophony of shouts and mutual recriminations which the two sides hurl at each other's deaf ears. A note has been sounded here which obliges a different level of attentiveness and a more complex and creative response. And you are not responding...You surely understand, Mr. Prime Minister, what it means for the leader of the Palestinian people to speak even these hesitant words publicly." Grossman, who has written in the past an open letter to then prime minister Ehud Olmert calling on him to end the violence with the Palestinians, wrote that "where there are people, there is no real deadlock. And where there are millions of oppressed people, there is no real “status quo.”"
A trial opens today in Turkey indicting four top IDF commanders, including former chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi over the killings of nine Turks on an aid flotilla to Gaza, marking another milestone in the deterioration of diplomatic relations between the once strategic allies.
A Palestinian official said the Palestinian Authority would continue to pursue its UN bid for statehood recognition, despite Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's warning against unilateral moves. Meanwhile, the Israeli security apparatuses have come out in opposition to the punishment sanctions against the Palestinian Authority that Netanyahu and Lieberman are preparing if the PA goes through with its bid. "It's better to preserve the close (security) cooperation with the PA," sources told Maariv. They say that recognition of the Palestinian Authority as a "non-member observer" is a cognitive achievement and not a tangible achievement. (NRG Hebrew)
Two related events took place that were completely missed by the Israeli media: Amr Moussa, former Arab League chief and Egyptian presidential candidate who has long been a proponent of the Arab Peace Initiative, made his first visit to the West Bank - and he participated in an economic summit in Nablus (Shchem) with 700 delegates from around the world - including Israeli business leaders - held under the auspices of the World Economic Forum (Davos), Maan reported. Moussa arrived in Ramallah by Jordanian helicopter on Sunday with a delegation of Arab dignitaries, including former Jordanian prime minister Abed al-Salam al-Majali. He told reporters the trip was part of regional discussions "to learn how to rebuild the Arab political system, in order to support Palestine." The participation of Rami Levy in the summit later that day sparked an outrage across the Palestinian political spectrum, because he owns supermarkets in settlements. Moussa was also under fire for attending when 'the settler' Rami Levy was present, the Egyptian media reported.
- Cops who botched rape case to receive 'certificates of appreciation' - Missteps led to wrongful imprisonment of Palestinian teen for nearly six months. But Commander Itzik Rahamim said he wants to support his officers in light of Monday's Haaretz article. (Haaretz)
- Report: IDF kills Palestinian who approached fence - Gaza sources say soldiers shot dead unarmed, mentally disabled Palestinian who approached border fence near Kissufim. IDF: Suspect failed to heed calls to stop (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Family leaves East Jerusalem home after settler attack - The settlers smashed the windows of his home in al-Tur and ransacked his elderly mother's room, causing her to pass out, said Mahmoud Abu al-Hawa. An Israeli court has ruled that a relative of al-Hawa sold the home to the Elad settler association, he said. (Maan)
- Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions: Israel demolishes home near Jerusalem - The house, northeast of Jerusalem, in the West Bank village of Anata, was torn down for the sixth time. After January's demolitions, the UN humanitarian envoy in the Palestinian territories urged Israel to stop demolishing Palestinian homes. (Maan and 972Mag)
- Givat Ulpana (settler outpost) evacuees not recovering - Post-trauma, anxiety attacks, and psychiatric drugs. Parents have trouble going back to work. This is what the day-to-day life of families evacuated from Ulpana looks like. (Maariv, p. 14 and NRG Hebrew)
- Israel High Court cancels mistaken ruling against Palestinian family - The petition by settler association Regavim to prevent habitation of a house the family had lived in since 1993 contained misinformation. (Haaretz)
- IDF jeep hit by Syrian gunfire; none injured - Golani patrol vehicle sustains damage after being hit during routine operation. No injuries reported. (Ynet and Haaretz)
- Russia FM: Hamas can play vital role in advancing Palestinian issue - After meeting with senior Hamas official in Cairo, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Palestinian issue cannot be solved without Palestinian unity. (Haaretz)
- Peres to ask Putin to limit weapons sales to Israel's enemies - Israeli president to meet Russian counterpart in Moscow on Tuesday to discuss Syria, and Iran's nuclear efforts. (Haaretz)
- 'Charcoal production is chemical warfare against Israelis' - At upcoming court session, Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan will claim Palestinian charcoal production harms security of Israeli citizens. Erdan seeking government permission to operate in Area B. (Israel Hayom)
- Arab MK: World must sanction Israel over FM Lieberman's 'racism' - In Op-Ed published in U.K.'s The Guardian, Balad chairman Jamal Zahalka says international community must reject Lieberman-Netanyahu union like it rejected Jorg Haider entrance into Austria's cabinet. (Haaretz)
- 51%: Another political murder possible - Seventeen years after Rabin assassination, majority of public believes lesson has not been learned. Haredim, settlers top list of most hated sectors in Israeli society. (Ynet)
- Municipalities may no longer have power to close schools - Defense, Justice Ministries say only senior military commanders are authorized to cancel studies due to security reasons. Proposed law says employees who stay home when schools are closed unlawfully, won't be eligible for compensation. (Israel Hayom)
- Palestinian girl tries to goad soldiers into lashing out - Video documents 10-year-old cursing, spitting at soldiers in attempt to provoke violent reaction – that never comes [Note: This is reporter editorializing - OH]. (Ynet)
- Palestinian actor killed by rebels in Syria - Syrian-born Palestinian actor Muhammad Rafeh was killed by a brigade affiliated with the Free Syrian Army, which believed he was a member of a pro-regime militia, or shabiha. Rafeh's colleagues insist that while he supported the president, he was not involved in any military activity. (Maan)
- How Israel and China got into a diplomatic row over Knesset members and organ harvesting - Chinese embassy demands clarifications from Jerusalem after report on the settler radio station with the headline 'Israeli MKs to the UN: Investigate China’s organ harvest.' (Haaretz)
- Despite his role in the Harpaz affair, Gadi Eizenkot is favored as next deputy chief of staff - The outgoing Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh is set to step down soon. (Haaretz)
- Report: African torture victims held under devastating conditions in Israel - A report released by Israeli human rights organizations shows that Africans who suffer torture, rape or sexual abuse in Egypt are then victims of 'deficient treatment' and lack of health services in Israeli facilities. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Daylight Savings Time to be extended by 10 days - MKs who initiated bill wanted more but Knesset finally approved bill to extend Daylight Savings Time to period of 193 days. (Ynet)
- Jerusalem official demands 'Zionist architect' for National Library - Attorney Yair Gabbay takes issue with architect Rafi Segal, who co-edited the controversial book 'A Civilian Occupation: The Politics of Israeli Architecture.' (Haaretz)
- Microsoft CEO in Israel to finalize future cooperation deal - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz meet Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to discuss strategic cooperation on teleprocessing technology. (Israel Hayom)
- Intel to invest $5M in Israeli education - Multinational chipmaker's CEO visits Israel, reveals company to cooperate with Education Ministry in bid to encourage students to study exact sciences. (Ynet)
- Group of Golan Druze come out in support of anti-Assad uprising - 'We believe in the revolution of the Syrian people against the dictatorship and therefore decided to set up a movement that would unite all who believe in this principle,' a member of the group told Haaretz. (Haaretz)
- Iran says allowed to build overseas arms facilities - Tehran halfheartedly admits to backing weapons factory in Sudan; FM Salehi says 'If Israel was ready to strike Iran it would have done so by now.' (Ynet)
- UN nuclear chief: Iran not cooperating with probe into atomic program - In his annual report to the General Assembly, Yukio Amano also says he remains 'seriously concerned' about North Korea's nuclear program. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Breslevs Hasidim form new political party - Rabbi Nachman of Breslov Hasidic movement enters political arena ahead of upcoming Knesset elections. 'We'll have positive impact on people's lives,' says founder. (Yedioth and Ynet)
- Members of Rabin camp criticize Labor Party leader Shelly Yacimovich - Making their pilgrimage to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's grave on Mount Herzl, the group says Labor chair forgot the first thing about his legacy – that the peace process and social justice are two sides of the same coin. (Haaretz)
- Newcomer Benent battles veteran Orlev in Habayit Hayehudi primary - The parties 54,000 members will decide whether strongman Zvulun Orlev or rising star Naftali Bennett becomes the party's next chairman and leads it into the January elections. (Haaretz)
Saluting Yizhar Ashdot
While Army Radio prohibits listening to Ashdot's new song "A matter of habit" [about IDF soldiers killing Palestinians - OH], claiming it demonizes IDF soldiers, the club for released soldiers is marketing, 'Saluting,' is releasing his controversial CD at a greatly discounted price. (Maariv, p. 20)
Superstorm Sandy vs. Qassam rockets
Israeli mother of two living in Long Island escapes destructions of Superstorm Sandy; stays with family in Gaza vicinity area. 'At least we have running water and electricity,' she says. (Yedioth and Ynet)
New documents reveal early Palestinian attitudes toward Zionist settlements
Petitions sent by locals to the Ottoman sultan in Istanbul reveal the complexity of early encounters between local villagers and new European immigrants. (Haaretz)
Obama's woman in Tehran
One of US president's senior advisors is secretly making efforts to establish line of communication with Iran. (Yedioth and Ynet)
**An open letter to Netanyahu: It's time to speak to Abbas (David Grossman, Haaretz) When the Palestinian president said he would not return to Safed, he sounded a new note - one that requires a different level of attentiveness, writes Israeli author David Grossman.
U.S. elections: Palestine can't wait (Saeb Erekat, Haaretz) The next American president might very well be the last president of the 'two-state solution' era.
Israel's clumsy response to Abbas (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) If Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was truly interested in reaching a peace agreement, he would not place preconditions on negotiations with Israel.
U.S. expat voters in Europe and Israel: One people, divided (Brett Kline, Haaretz) My experience of how Americans in Europe decide on how to vote differs starkly from the blanket support for Romney among expatriate Americans in Israel.
The different faces of popular resistance (Ramzy Baroud, Maan) Apparently, popular resistance [Palestinian term for non-violent resistance - OH] has suddenly been elevated to a clash of visions or strategies between the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and its rivals in Gaza, underscoring an existing and deepening rift between various factions and leaderships.
Why I entered politics (Merav Michaeli, Haaretz) My greatest uncertainty since joining Israel's Labor Party one week ago is over whether it is indeed possible to influence reality from there.
Boycott recommendation (Yoaz Hendel, Yedioth and Ynet) Richard Falk had two options – forced hospitalization or taking job as UN Rights Council rapporteur.
Barack Obama, Sheldon Adelson and the politics of the Jewish vote (Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz) Republican Jews are trying to prove there is nothing predetermined about the Jewish vote, while their Democratic counterparts are driving home the point that Romney's agenda has nothing to do with the community's liberal values.
Bibi's gamble (Eitan Haber, Yedioth) Haber writes that, as President, Mitt Romney would not diverge from the traditional US line, "which does not accept Israel's hold on the territories and does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital," regardless of what he said during the campaign. If President Obama is re-elected, the author writes, "In his second term, he will not be obligated to anyone."
Barack Obama's second chance (Amir Oren, Haaretz) If Americans give their president another term of office, he will be free to fulfill his vision - and to influence Israel's election.
It interests Israel more (Ben-Dror Yemini, Maariv and NRG Hebrew) Yemini writes that the outcome of the US election will affect Israel's January 22 vote. "Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni, and perhaps other elements, are waiting on the results...Obama's re-election would increase the chances that another centrist party might compete. This forecast stems from the assessment that part of the Israeli public wants a prime minister who will succeed in having good relations with the leader of the greatest power."
Israel holds the key to its relations with the U.S. (Brian Lurie, Haaretz) The new government that will be sworn in in Jerusalem after the January 22 Israeli election will affect the quality of this relationship more than either Obama or Romney.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.