APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday, February 20, 2012
Quote of the day:
"Present the story of settling Gush Katif (former Jewish settlements in Gaza Strip) as one of the possible responses to the question, 'How is Zionism carried out.'"
--Instructions on card game that was part of a kit distributed to Israeli teachers to mark Gush Katif Day.**
Front Page News:
- US assessment: Barak pushing to attack Iran, Netanyahu hesitating
- End to Eshel affair: Will admit to unbecoming conduct and resign
- Yossi Verter/Netanyahu's shameful silence on the Eshel affair
- Initiative: Israel's Civil Administration promoting legislation to let settlers build dirt roads in West Bank without planning approval
- This is how the Education Ministry marks Gush Katif day
- ‘Pesek Zman (candybar) protest’ expands: Soon boycott on all Strauss products (Hebrew)
- When a femme fatale [Amanda Knox] becomes an author, the book’s success is not a given (Hebrew)
- [1/4 page ad: Letter to Prime Minister: Government denial about Ethiopian Jews]
- Netanyahu did not give backing to senior officials who complained (about harassing PM bureau chief)
- Sima Kadmon/Inappropriate behavior (of Netanyahu)
- Crash track – Minister of Transportation signed agreement to pass maintenance of train carriages to outside company; Labor union furious
- The Likud threw us out – Founding members of party and tens of Etzel fighters dismissed from Central Likud Committee
- Histadrut Labor Union: Minister of Transportation has declared war on the economy – In surprising step, Israel Railways board decided to outsource train carriage maintenance
- Plea bargain: (PM’s bureau chief) Eshel admitted to unacceptable photographs and will resign
- Gasoline price to rise following tension with Iran
- War on the tracks
- Eshel admits to unacceptable conduct – and resigns
- Iran cutting back oil (exports); price will jump – here too
- For first time, Iron Dome battery to be deployed in greater Tel-Aviv area
- Improvement in Rabbi Eliyashiv’s health: opened eyes
- Ministerial committee for legislation approved: involuntary hospitalization for anorexia
The US pressure on Israel not to attack Iran, defense measures taken in the Tel-Aviv area, the resignation of the Israeli prime minister’s chief of staff, and the outsourcing of work by the Israel Railways were today’s main stories in Israeli newspapers. On the sidelines, details of the Amman talks between the Palestinians and Israelis were revealed. And Haaretz had an update on hunger-striking Palestinian detainee Khader Adnan.
According to Haaretz, the Americans think it is the Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak who is pushing for an attack on Iran, while the prime minister is hesitating. Senior US officials have been in talks with senior Israeli officials since yesterday reportedly in an attempt to convince Israel not to attack and to give the US a head’s up. The British foreign minister has also joined in urging Israel not to attack Iran and Ynet quoted US officials from an article in today’s New York Times saying that an Israeli attack on Iran would require 100 planes. The Iranian appear to be bracing for the worst. The Iranian foreign minister said his people are ready to face a ‘worst-case scenario’ in defense of their civilian nuclear program and so are the Israelis: Israel Hayom reported that the Knesset security has requested all MKs to give details of their travels abroad, countries and travel dates, because of the fear of Iranian attacks on Israeli diplomats and the IDF will be deploying the Iron Dome anti-missile system in the Tel-Aviv area for the first time.
An Israeli official met with reporters yesterday to give them Israel’s spin on the talks last month with the Palestinians. Israel Hayom (IH) and Haaretz had very different stories. IH reported that Israeli-Palestinian talks ended because the Palestinians refused to agree to settlement blocs and would not compromise on E. Jerusalem as their capital. According to IH, the Palestinians wrote in the ‘borders’ document they presented to the Israelis in Jordan that they wanted 98.1% of the West Bank (or as IH wrote: ‘of Judea and Samaria’). From that the Israelis inferred that the Palestinians would not agree to Jewish settlement blocs in the West Bank or Israeli control over E. Jerusalem. According to an Israeli official, those requests were ‘non-starters.’ IH noted that the Israeli government refused to give the Palestinians an Israeli document outlining its desires for borders regarding the West Bank and E. Jerusalem. Another Israeli official told IH that if the PLO and Hamas reach a breakthrough in unity talks next week Israel will probably decide for the third time in a year to freeze transfer of Palestinian funds to the Palestinian Authority. IH noted that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (whom IH refers to without a title and only as ‘Abu Mazen’) blamed Israel for the failure of the Jordan talks. Haaretz reported that Netanyahu was willing to relinquish sovereignty over the Jordan Valley in a verbal proposal very similar to the one proposed by Tzipi Livni during the 2008 Annapolis Conference. More details here.
Adnan Khader update: Israel’s High Court will rule Thursday on whether to release the Palestinian detainee who is on hunger-strike for his 65th day. It is unclear if he will live till then. More here. Also, Haaretz’s link to Gideon Levy’s comprehensive article does not work (Haaretz's website is having technical problems), but the article can be accessed through here.
- Government allocates NIS 5 million to preserve Tel Shiloh in West Bank - Archaeological excavations and other preservation work will take place at Tel Shiloh, a biblical site in the West Bank, where a large tourist center is also planned as part of the project. (Haaretz)
- **Education Ministry school program presents Gush Katif as the epitome of Zionism - 'Gush Katif Day' took place in schools across Israel in an attempt to strengthen what Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar believes is the 'legacy' of the settlements. (Haaretz)
- Sunday night: 2 Qassam rockets explode in Negev - Rockets fired from Gaza after midnight land in open areas; no injury, damage reported. (Ynet)
- Steinitz: IDF inciting against Israeli cabinet in bid to avoid budget cut - Finance Minister reacts to recent comments by army chief Gantz and senior brass, who warn of harm to IDF preparedness in wake of planned cut to defense funds. (Haaretz)
- IDF to draft more ultra-Orthodox in bid to counter decline in recruits - Number of new Israel Defense Forces conscripts expected to hit a new low this year. (Haaretz)
- IDF to hold joint military exercise with Polish military (Israel Hayom, p. 11)
- Neglect at schools spurs strike by parents in Bedouin communities - The parents’ committee of the Bedouin area of El Azazme has shuttered 12 kindergartens for the last 12 days, while at Lakiya, some 5,000 pupils are on strike. (Haaretz)
- PM: Arab Spring puts strain on efforts for agreement with PA - Speaking to US Jewish leaders Netanyahu says unrest in region puts enormous pressure on Israel's security efforts. (Ynet)
- Despite lack of burial plots, Be’er Sheva won’t let Christians build new cemetery (Haaretz)
- Palestinian television still glorifies terror attacks against Israel (Haaretz)
- F ire erupts at Iranian petrochemical complex (Agencies)
- Iranian ships disrupt Syrian opposition communications (Ynet)
- Egypt recalls its ambassador to Syria amid persisting violence (Haaretz)
Left to die at the side of the road After being seriously hurt in an accident, a Palestinian car thief was dumped in the middle of the night, shoeless and clad only in a thin hospital gown. Police and hospital staff blame everyone but themselves for his death that night. (Haaretz)
The Likud threw us out – They aren't makers and shakers. They don't make deals. But they fought in the Etzel (pre-state underground/terrorist group) and founded the Herut movement (pre-Likud). Nevertheless, that was not enough. Fact: Yechiel Kadishai, Zalman Samasanov, Eli Shitrit and doezens of others from the mythological founding generation of the Likud were dismissed from the Central Likud Committee. "The decided to get rid of us." ('24 Hours' supplement, Yedioth)
Was al-Dura video fabricated? French Supreme Court acquitted Israeli doctor accused of slandering Jamal al-Dura, but controversy surrounding authenticity of video pointing to IDF culpability still very much alive. (Ynet)
Iranians desperate as dark economic clouds gather Tightening international sanctions over disputed nuclear program, combined with rampant inflation, drastically restrict ability of working-class Iranians to feed themselves and their families. (Reuters on Ynet)
Israel should try talking to Iran before launching a strike (Akiva Eldar, Haaretz) For dialogue with Tehran to succeed, the insolent tone and threatening language of the Israeli government spokespeople and their neoconservative friends in the United States must be toned down.
Israel must listen to U.S. warnings against Iran attack (Haaretz Editorial) Does Iran truly intend to use nuclear technology for military purposes, or do its leaders recognize that the international response to such a development could jeopardize its very survival?
En route to a natural gas army (Roi Arad, Haaretz) The IDF is apparently going to establish a new military body − a marine border police. Security publications are talking about buying submarines and missile ships, and about an Israeli air station to be built on Cyprus to protect gas rigs.
Like passengers in a blazing car (Oudeh Basharat, Haaretz) The Arabs have a saying: 'When it rains, it rains on everyone.' Rain is from God; discrimination is not. And even a thousand prayers cannot atone for intentional discrimination.
Their Qatar (Eli Avidar, Maariv) "Egypt is in chaos, the Saudi regime is in survival mode and the leadership of the Arab world, all of a sudden, is being filled by Qatar. From the point of view of Israel, that’s good news... The weakening of the Arab world pushes forward a country like Qatar, which is not interested in becoming a superpower, and has no direct conflict with us, and whose real power is limited. An Israeli delegation even worked from there until Operation Cast Lead (on Gaza in 2008-9). The Arab League’s declared goals of the fall of the Assad regime and stopping the Iranian expansion are exactly the same as Israel’s goals. The Arab leaders may not want to admit it directly, but we have the same enemies: Syria, Iran and Hezbollah. When the Palestinian issue has been wiped off the Arab world's agenda and when the map of genuine interests is spread on the table; Israel can open a direct dialogue with the Gulf States. Intelligent, but assertive management, and the creation of correct ties with the moderate leaderships, could fundamentally change the balance of alliances and threats against Israel for decades to come. We should all hope that this is understood in Jerusalem."
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.