APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday December 2, 2012
NOTE: News Nosh was in the field today with APN's Israel Study Tour to observe the latest developments and future plans for settlement construction in and around East Jerusalem. Today's News Nosh is shorter, but tomorrow's will include a report from today's trip.
Quote of the day:
"The U.S on Friday condemned the Israeli decision to build 3,000 new homes in the settlements, which came as a response to the UN vote to upgrade Palestine's status to a non-member observer state."
-- Haaretz now refers to the former 'Palestinian Territories' as 'Palestine.' The other Israeli papers continue to call it the 'Palestinian Authority' or 'the Palestinians,' despite the UN decision last week.
Front Page News:
- US furious over Netanyahu decision to advance construction that will prevent the creation of a state in the West Bank
- Clinton: The Israeli decision hurts the peace process
- Peretz: Labor party must raise a diplomatic flag in the clearest way possible
- Israel's punishment // Haaretz Editorial
- The new Yachimoviches // Yossi Verter
- Morsi tightening his grip over Egypt: Will bring constitution to quick referendum
- Hapoalim and Leumi banks to cut 1600 jobs
- State Prosecutor Lador (rationalizes) on Lieberman case: It's difficult to bring witnesses from abroad for corruption cases
- Where did the 'likely chance' (of indicting Lieberman) go? // Amir Oren
- The recognition - and the punishment - The world condemns the government's decision to expand settlements
- Women in the Labor party - 6 women elected to realistic spots in the party
- Keren begged: Daddy, kill me - For three years, Keren Shtelrid battled with cancer. When it was clear she had no chance to win, she begged her father, Dr. Moti Shtelrid, to help put an end to her pain, suffering, to her life. On Friday he gave in, killed her and committed suicide
- Defense establishment opposes Netanyahu's (W. Bank settlement) construction plan (Hebrew)
- Israel informed the US about the decision to build over the Green Line two hours before it was announced in the media
- Prime Minister against Israel // Ben-Dror Yemini (Hebrew)
- The doctor killed his sick daughter and committed suicide
- Hugs and friction - Labor party
- The Labor is just beginning // Mazal Muallem
- The first woman // Guy Meroz (Hebrew)
- Egyptian President Morsi: The new constitution reflects the revolution, next month will hold people's referendum on it (Hebrew)
- In Labor party: War - Labor party moves left; Yachimovich's biggest problem: Amir Peretz
- Israel: The construction - a response to the UN
- Peretz, control yourself // Dan Margalit
- "Yedioth" against Shelly // Shlomo Cesna
- Pollard hospitalized - Israeli spy collapsed in jail
- Price of mercy - Keren Shtelrid could not handle the pain and begged for death; Her father saved her from her pain and committed suicide
- If there is no last minute change, nurses expected to strike tomorrow
- Suspicion of three hit-and-runs over weekend: 1 dead, three wounded
- US Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, in a special Op-Ed "Getting to the Ceasefire"
Israel approves 3000 homes in the West Bank and makes plan to build in the controversial E-1 area getting world condemnation, the Labor party's new list of representatives sparks friction among its leaders and a father euthanizes his daughter then takes his own life making top stories in today's Israeli papers.
Even the Israeli defense establishment and the senior right-wing Maariv political affairs commentator thought it was too much. On Friday the forum of nine senior cabinet ministers the construction of 3000 new housing units in the West Bank and the advancement of planning procedures to build thousands more in East Jerusalem and other settlement blocs including in E-1, the section that connects Maaleh Adumim and Jerusalem. Israel said the decision was part of its security road map, but all the papers said it was a retaliatory move to the UN vote that gave Palestine state status. Haaretz stressed that it outraged the US, while Maariv stressed that the defense establishment opposed the move. Israel Hayom played down the decision, putting the story on page 5 and noting that the cabinet had considered other (lesser) options, including bringing about the collapse of the Palestinian Authority.
The decision was made early last week, but only announced to the press on Friday. The Israelis waited to see if the US would succeed in getting the Palestinians to stop their UN bid for statehood recognition. The US, writes Maariv, was informed only two hours before the press of the Israeli decision.
The US was particularly incensed by the decision to pursue “preliminary zoning and planning preparations" in E-1, a segnebt of land between Jerusalem and the settlement of Maaleh Adumim. E-1 is particularly important because Israeli construction there will prevent territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian state because it would prevent passage between the northern and southern parts of the West Bank. As Maariv wrote, the advancement of the plan to build in area E-1 comes "despite prime ministers, including (Prime Minister Binyamin) Netanyahu, giving a clear commitment to the presidents of the US and to the Germans that Israel will not build in this area." Haaretz writes that Israel plans to build a new settlement in E-1, to be called Mevasseret Adumim, with some 4,000 new homes. The project already existed, but was halted a few years ago early on in the design approval process, despite pressure on Netanyahu from settlers. "There is still a long way to go before the bulldozers move in, but the ministers' decision starts the ball rolling," writes Haaretz. The papers Jerusalem correspondent, Nir Hasson, explains how Israel has already been working on ways to sever the physical link between the Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem. "They include the declared establishment of a new national park on the slopes of Mount Scopus, of the new Israel Defense Forces colleges camp at the top of Mount Scopus and a new landfill for building waste near the Arab neighborhood of Isawiyah"
Maariv reported that the Israeli defense establishment opposed the move, preferring to use it if the Palestinians tried to sue Israel at the International Court of Justice. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said now Palestine has the right to go to the Hague, "but we will do so only when we see a need for it." Former prime minister Ehud Olmert had harsh words for the Israeli government. Speaking at the Saban Forum he said the government's decision was "the worst slap" possible in US President Barack Obama's face and that Abbas is the best partner Israel has had for peace.
Maariv and Yedioth write that it must be made clear that most of the housing units that were approved for construction were within settlement blocs or in (East) Jerusalem and will remain in Israel's hands in any future arrangement. They assume that the E. Jerusalem neighborhoods as well as Ariel, Karnei Shomron and Maaleh Adumim settlements will all remain part of Israel in a two-state solution.
Interestingly, even the right-wing Maariv commentator Ben-Dror Yemini wrote that the government response to the Palestinian upgrade status will boomerang at Israel. "It's not clear who was the satanic mind behind the Palestinian plan to destroy Israel in phases," writes Yemini. "What is clear is that the combination between the Palestinian steps and the Pavlovian responses of the Netanyahu government create together this plan." (NRG Hebrew)
- UN tweet mistakenly calls for one-state solution - Twitter message released on day that UN voted to grant Palestinians nonmember status featured 'typo of epic proportions.' (Ynet)
- Abbas: Palestine is an occupied state - Palestinian president says UN recognition will require international community to hold Israel accountable for infractions, calls for renewed talks with Jewish state. (Ynet)
- US struggles to get Palestinians, Israel to negotiating table - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Washington to discuss moving stalled peace efforts forward. (Israel Hayom)
- Hamas complains to Egypt after IDF kills Gaza resident - Medical officials say 21-year-old man had been among six Palestinians wounded by gunfire during Friday's demonstration near southern Rafah, and had later died in hospital. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Abbas on return from UN: The future is ours - President Mahmoud Abbas returned from New York, where he won a UN vote to admit Palestine, to cheering crowds in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday. (Maan)
- Hamas to 'allow Fatah members to return to Gaza' - Hamas will allow twenty Fatah members who fled Gaza during fighting in 2007 to return to the coastal enclave, a Fatah official said Sunday. (Maan)
- Hamas grants amnesty to collaborators, official says - Interior minister Fathi Hammad said that anyone who confesses to collaborating with Israel will be pardoned and the details of their crimes kept secret from family and friends. (Maan)
- Haniyeh says Hamas not a terrorist organization - Hamas and other Palestinian factions should be removed from international lists of designated terrorist groups, Gaza prime minister Ismail Haniyeh said Sunday. (Maan)
- House demolitions take center stage in new play about Arab-Israeli relations - At Acre's alternative theater festival, 'The Peacock of Silwan,' gives new meaning to a 'full house.' (Haaretz)
- Israel bids adieu to Joe Lieberman, a staunch ally in U.S. Senate - In a farewell interview with Haaretz, retiring U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman calls for Palestinian elections, American military aid for Assad's opponents and an end to Congress' partisan feuds. (Haaretz)
- Mitzna: Livni only alternative to Netanyahu - Former Labor chair officially joins ex-Kadima chairwoman's new party; says public mustn’t accept elections featuring only one candidate for PM. (Ynet)
- Seven MKs split from Kadima, securing funds for Livni's new party - MK Meir Sheetrit joins his six breakaway colleagues at Livni's Hatnuah; by joining Livni, the seven MKs, who constitute one quarter of the Kadima faction in the current Knesset, will bring the new party funding money and allotment of campaign airtime. (Haaretz)
- Plaza sold; Tshuva gets NIS 850M in cash - New York hotel owned by Israeli businessman's real estate arm sold to Sahara Group, owned by Indian billionaire Subrata Roy. Tshuva acquired Plaza in 2004 for $675 million from Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia. (Ynet)
- PA farmers hung out to dry while Israelis flourish in Jordan Valley - Kibbutz Ginosar's bananas alone receive the equivalent of 25 to 40 percent of the water that Israel allocates to the village of Ein al Beida as a whole, including for the personal needs of its 1,900 residents. (Haaretz)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.