APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday December 18, 2012
Quote of the day:
"When I grew up I discovered that Lieberman is a chronic disease, which almost all Jews have contracted with varying degrees of severity."
--Yedioth commentator and TV news program presenter Yaron London in a powerful Op-Ed in Yedioth. **
Front Page News:
- Changing the map of Jerusalem: Planning committees approve extensive construction over the Green Line
- Obama: We failed in protecting our children
- Ashdod Port employees to receive thousands of shekels in raises
- The strange announcement by Israel's embassy in Dublin
- Researchers say that the origins of the gypsies is north India
- New (industrial) zone to be built on last sand dunes (of coastal plain)
- No money for nurses, but there is for port workers - 4,000 shekel raise for Ashdod port employees; Senior nurse: 13,000 shekels/month, Senior port worker: 35,000 shekels/month + 4,000 shekels increase
- The (Palestinian) Territories return to the campaign - Yachimovich: "I won't hurt the settlements' budget"; Livni and Lapid attack: "You can't improve society's situation without stopping budgets to settlements outside of the blocs
- The break-in to the Galant estate - Computer stolen and cellphone stolen from the famous house
- "We will do everything in order to protect our children" - Obama in moving speech in memory of victims of Newtown massacre
- (Singer) Dani Litani almost completely lost his hearing. Now he's singing about it
- Tablet tax - Customs defined two Samsung instruments as phones and will collect sales tax on them
- Despite legislation, hundreds of pedophiles without supervision - Difficult statistics on scope of pedophilia phenomenon in Israel - 215 pedophiles who completed prison sentences live near children without any supervision (Hebrew)
- Forgotten in reserve duty - They left everything...and reported for Order #8 duty for Operation Pillar of Cloud, but 34 days passed and they are still in reserve duty (Hebrew)
- 1,500 apartments approved for construction in Ramat Shlomo
- 500 employees of Channel 10 expected to receive dismissal letters today (Hebrew)
- How many student dormitories were built since Netanyahu's promise a year and a half ago?
- 1500 housing units approved in Ramat Shlomo - Right-wing: "Strengthening of Jerusalem"; Left wing condemns: "Political considerations"
- Indictment against Lieberman likely today
- MK Shamalov-Berkovich: "Whoever votes for 'Hayisraelim' (The Israelis) party is essentially voting for Ramon and Livni"
- Amnon Lipkin-Shahak hospitalized; in critical condition
- Today is 16th day to nurses' strike: the progress in negotiations, the main dispute - the duration of the agreement
- From mourning to celebration: After the mourning period from his father's death he discovered he won 14 million shekels
Israel approves another 1500 homes in a Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem, the Attorney General demands a determination of moral turpitude if Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is found guilty and the IDF releases a video of the killing of the youth in Hebron - without any gun in sight. Meanwhile, Labor party chief Yachimovich causes a storm and the reports in Ynet and Israel Hayom on the apprehending of a 'terrorist cell' leave more questions than answers.
Israel has approved construction of 1,500 homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo, which sits on and adjacent to lands of the Palestinian neighborhood of Shuafat in the northern part of the city. Palestinians called the plan 'dangerous and alarming' and the Palestinian Authority said it would seek a UN Security Council meeting on the decision. The construction was first approved in 2010, but Israel quickly froze it when it caused a fury during the visit of US Vice President Joe Biden pended. (Haaretz+) The story got little play in Yedioth and Maariv, but front pages in Israel Hayom and Haaretz. Both Meretz and Yesh Atid parties accused Netanyahu of approving this to get more right-wing voters' support. Ynet writes that "the Palestinians' newfound UN status could potentially give them access to the ICC, sparking fears they could sue Israel for war crimes - particularly over its settlement building."
Attorney General Weinstein intends to file the indictment against resigning Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman today and demands it include the determination of moral turpitude if Lieberman is convicted. Lieberman wants to avoid this at all costs because it would mean he would have to resign from office in the next government. Yedioth reported that the case is expected to take months.
After the Israeli papers hailed the female Border Police officer as a hero for shooting dead a Palestinian youth who she said held a gun to her fellow soldier's head (the gun was later said to be fake), the papers write today that a video the IDF just released shows no gun. Most of the papers focused now on the fact that it shows that the youth assailed the soldier first, pummeling him before being shot dead. (He competed internationally in wrestling for Palestine.) Haaretz noted that the video is 43 seconds long and has been edited. "Salima is seen approaching the officer and speaking with him, then walking around near the guard post before attacking the police officer with his fists," writes Haaretz. Maariv writes that the youth can be seen arguing with the soldier then suddenly the youth jumps at him and while they are fighting it appears that the youth is winning. "After a few seconds of battling the female soldier comes and shoots three bullets into Salima's body." Maariv makes no mention of seeing a gun in the video. Noam Sheizaf at 972mag writes that "Unless the teen was indeed holding a gun, the soldiers don't seem to be under threat at that moment." The title of the Yedioth article reads: "The video confirms: The youth attacked." (Note, Yedioth was the only newspaper to call the youth a 'terrorist' in the original news story.) But the article says that while it can be seen that the youth punched the soldier first, "it is not possible to see that the youth threatened the soldiers with a gun." Furthermore, Yedioth writes that "The fake gun was found in his pocket after the incident and it was claimed that he used it to threaten the soldier. It is not possible to see that behavior from the video."
Israel Hayom and Ynet wrote almost identical stories [as if copied from a press release -OH] about the apprehending of a 'Hamas-affiliated cell in E. Jerusalem. Strangely, the 'terrorists' are three teens whose crime was throwing stones and and Molotov cocktails at the police. In the past such crimes were not considered terrorism.
Labor party leader Shelly Yachimovich sparked a storm yesterday when she said in an interview at the Ynet studios that until there is no diplomatic agreement with the Palestinians, Israel must continue to give settlements budgets. Meretz and Yesh Atid parties slammed her saying that budgetary support for isolated settlements takes money from the poor. Yachimovich also said she supported the transfer of E. Jerusalem neighborhoods to the Palestinian state. She said she supports the Clinton Parameters that speaks about the '67 borders and keeping settlement blocs. Jerusalem would be divided between Jewish and Arab neighborhoods. This was possibly the first time Yachimovich discussed her views on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. She also said that the Labor party: "Is not a left-wing party and never was a left-wing party. It's a center party that seeks peace from pragmatism and not from some romantic dream of peace. " (Ynet Hebrew only) Even Hatnua party leader Tzipi Livni responded by saying she would not transfer budget money to isolated settlements. (Ynet Hebrew only)
Palestinian poll: Hamas' Haniyeh would win PA presidency over Abbas (Haaretz+)
New poll by Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research finds that Barghouti would win in face off with Hamas leader; in the aftermath of recent Gaza offensive,popularity of Hamas leader is highest since 2008.
Some 48 percent of the electorate would vote for Haniyeh, compared with 45 percent to Abbas. (In a poll published three months ago, the results were 40 percent to Haniyeh and 51 percent to Abbas.)
If the candidates were Haniyeh and Marwan Barghouti, however, voter turnout would be 73 percent, and the imprisoned Fatah leader would win: 51 percent would vote for Barghouti, and 42 percent for Haniyeh.
Despite this, 44 percent of those surveyed believe that the Palestinians' "most vital goal" first of all is to end the Israeli occupation, and the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, including East Jerusalem. Some 33 percent of those surveyed believe that the most vital goal is to ensure the right of return of Palestinian refugees, and 14 percent believe it is to build a religious society on Islamic lines.
Poll: 67% of centrist Israelis wouldn't elect party that splits Jerusalem (Haaretz+)
Findings reveal surprising positions of centrist and rightist voters regarding Israel's foreign and security policies, as about 20% centrist voters hold hawkish position. Poll commissioned by the rightward-leaning Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.Half of the centrist voters said they would not vote for a party willing to evacuate the Jordan Valley.
80% of Labor supporters and 62% of Yesh Atid voters attach importance to the fact that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, while 60% and 71% respectively do not believe that retreating to the 1967 borders and the partition of Jerusalem will lead to peace.
57% of Labor voters and 65% of Yesh Atid supporters do not believe that the Palestinian leadership can reach binding decisions to end the conflict, compared to 97% of Shas voters and 91% of Likud voters.
Asked what is preferable, so-called defensible borders or peace agreements, 50% of Labor voters and 45% of Yesh Atid supporters preferred defensible borders. 2% of Likud supporters prefer peace arrangements to defensible borders.
Asked whether, in the context of a peace agreement, they would support the evacuation of settlements not included in the large settlement blocs, 35% of Yisrael Beiteinu voters and 30% of Habayit Hayehudi voters said they would. In addition, 30% of Habayit Hayehudi voters said Israel should not react to the Palestinian Authority's efforts to be recognized as a state, while 35% of them opposed annexation of lands as a response to the Palestinian move.
Among Labor voters, 31% support punitive actions against the Palestinians, but most opposed annexation.
- Israeli embassy in Ireland's latest Facebook post: If Jesus were alive, he'd be lynched by Palestinians - Israel's embassy in Dublin posts image of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, saying that as Jews without security in Bethlehem they would be attacked by Palestinians. The image has since been taken down, and the embassy published an apology. (Haaretz+ and Times of Israel)
- Attorney General: Not enough evidence to disqualify Arab MK Zoabi - Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein says there isn't enough proof to warrant banning Arab MK from elections. (Ynet)
- Arab suspected of attacking security guard in Bnei Brak - Masked Arab man suspected of trying to steal female security guard's gun at defense company facility in Bnei Brak. Both individuals lightly hurt in incident. (Israel Hayom)
- State to evacuate disputed Hebron compound - After facing High Court criticism following a petition filed two years ago by Peace Now, state prosecution finally decides that Jews residing in commercial compound in Hebron should be evicted. Now considering converting it into a public facility that is to be used by the entire Jewish community in the city. (Ynet)
- Landau awards Mari-B gas field rights without a tender - Landau's announcement, just six weeks before the coming Knesset election, is in practice the transfer of a public asset worth billions of shekels to private hands - without any compensation - and in an unprecedented process carried out extremely quickly. (Haaretz+)
- Impact of Israeli gas field has been hugely underestimated, says analyst - CEO of Epsilon Mutual Fund says that Tamar natural gas field will contribute NIS 12 billion to Israel's economy in 2013 alone. (Haaretz+)
- Navy unit honored for excellence - IDF Missile Boat unit accepts chief of staff excellence award for second consecutive year. 'During Operation Pillar of Defense, we were first to attack alongside Air Force,' says Lietenant-Colonel Asi Ben Hamo, who noted that the soldiers protect the gas rigs in the Economic Zone, approximately 200 km from Israel's shores. (Ynet)
- Israel raises 2013 growth forecast to 3.5% due to gas output - Start of natural gas production cited as reason for rise in forecast. Gas production from the Tamar field, which has an estimated 274 billion cubic metres of reserves, expected to commence in first half of 2013. (Israel Hayom)
- Abbas thanks Pope for supporting Palestinian UN bid - PA president meets with Pope Benedict XVI; the Vatican says it hopes UN Palestinian vote will bring peace. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- \US: Hagel nomination irks pro-Israel conservatives - Political figures criticize likely nomination of former Nebraska senator as defense secretary citing his refusal to recognize Hezbollah as terror organization, criticism of Israel. (Ynet)
- November sees rise in flights to Turkey - While most airlines report decline in activity during Israeli operation in Gaza, Turkish company records 7.56% increase in number of passengers on Tel Aviv-Istanbul route. (Ynet)
- Egypt urges Israel not to destroy West Bank memorial - Cairo, Jerusalem negotiate about order to take down unlicensed monument for Egyptian soldiers in Beit Lakia. (Ynet)
- Explosion in Hezbollah weapons depot - Lebanese media reports of mysterious blast in Tair Harfa, town near Israel border. Hezbollah cordons off area. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Syria: Palestinians must not shelter 'terrorists' - Syria's FM tells UN Chief Ban that Palestinians should not offer 'shelter or assistance to terrorist groups.' (Agencies, Ynet)
- Syria 'genuinely worried' extremist groups could get hold of chemical weapons - In a letter to UN chief Ban Ki-moon and UNSC, Syria's UN envoy expressed concern that other states might equip extremists with chemical weapons and accuse Assad of using them. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Iran FM: Tehran, world powers must end impasse over nuclear program - Iranian FM Ali Akbar Salehi says the two sides 'have reached a conclusion that they must exit current stalemate'; UN, Iran talks expected to lead to renewal of probe into nuclear program. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Iran slams EU for not acting 'when Israel attacks Palestinians' - Remark comes as Iranian Foreign Ministry criticizes EU for granting human rights and freedom of thought prize to two Iranians, a lawyer and a filmmaker, one of whom is in solitary confinement in an Iranian prison and the other who is under house arrest for spreading anti-government propaganda. (Israel Hayom)
- Iran says it captured two more U.S. drones before ScanEagle - Remarks of Revolutionary Guard naval chief follow Iranian claims that it downed a U.S. drone that was gathering information over Persian Gulf waters. (Agencies, Haaretz)
Poland is rediscovering its Jews, but landmines remain in its ties with Israel
Poland's new envoy to Tel Aviv is proud of the developing ties between Israel and his country, which takes a growing interest in matters Jewish. Still, painful issues continue to dog Polish-Jewish ties. (Haaretz+)
Makings of history / Going, going, gone
Public auctions and eBay sell historic documents to the highest bidder, including 772 items connected with Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion. (Tom Segev, Haaretz+)
**The Lieberman within me (Yaron London, Yedioth and Ynet) Yaron London discusses his constant battle with 'chronic disease' most Jews have contracted. "I feel the level of the Lieberman rising in my stomach when we are attacked and when it seems that the world does not comprehend our situation or is unwilling to provide us with all the assistance we ask for."
Not rushing to celebrate - Lieberman is good for the Palestinians (Akram Attallah, Yedioth - originally published in Al-Ayam and translated by 'Ofek for Arab Media') Among the Palestinian citizens of Israel, the name 'Lieberman' mainly raises fears. That's not surprising, because the resigning Israeli Foreign Minister believes that the Palestinians who are citizens of Israel signify a security and demographic danger, and in the last Knesset his party offered many bills whose goal was to curtail their steps, weaken their power and encourage their emigration outside of the state....But the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were not quick to celebrate his resignation. In recent years, Lieberman served the Palestinian hasbara (PR) well across the world, especially through his demonized personality and vulgar behavior. Most leaders of the world see him as a persona non grata and who would believe that US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton would ever avoid meeting an Israeli Foreign Minister? During Lieberman's term, the Palestinians succeeded in isolating Israel and revealing its ugly face. During his period, Israel won new opponents and the boycott campaign against it got stronger...Lieberman was good for the Palestinians.
You call this centrist? (Alexander Yakobson, Haaretz+) It is true that in Israel the terms left, center and right are defined mainly by the attitude toward the Israeli-Arab conflict, but if Labor is centrist in this respect then what does centrism mean.
First Zoabi, then you (Sami El-Ali, Ynet) Extreme rightists blame Arab party - not occupation - for all of Israel's troubles.
A Palestinian boycott of Israeli goods won't hurt Israel (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) A closer examination of the figures for Palestinian trade with Israel, of which Fayyad is no doubt well aware, shows that he is thinking about the internal Palestinian political atmosphere and not about damage to the Israeli economy.
Fighting with our hands tied (Anonymous , Ynet) IDF officer says stricter rules of engagement create absurd situations in West Bank.
Falafel republic (Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz+) Netanyahu knows he cannot shut down Channel 10 a month before the election. But he wanted to intimidate the station, and every other media outlet.
A loss for corruption (Yaakov Borovsky, Israel Hayom) Weinstein's decision to close the Lieberman corruption case will force investigators to work harder in the future.
For Lieberman, plea bargain would be a trap (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) Lieberman has lost faith in the justice system, but luckily for him so have his supporters.
The myth of an Israeli-Palestinian demographic disaster (Oded Carmeli, Haaretz+) Prophets of doom like Paul Ehrlich warn of demographic disaster, but the data show that the human race is diminishing in numbers. The Arab world is a major case in point.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.