APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Quote of the day:
"Yariv Oppenheimer, Secretary-General of Peace Now, will not bring us peace. But he is he only one who is succeeding in blocking the settlers and preventing the expansion of the outposts."
--Maariv commentator Yael Paz-Melamed profiles Oppenheimer in today's paper. (Full translation in "Commentary/Analysis")**
Front Page News:
- Netanyahu's compensation to the settlers: Another 851 housing units in the (Palestinian) Territories
- (Defense Minister's Spokesman) Koren's testimony reveals tricks and paranoia in the state leadership
- Allowances for ultra-Orthodox - only if they go out to work
- A city of army bases is moving towards the Negev and the nearby cities are fighting for every military man
- Carmen goes up to Masada: 40,000 to see "the queen of the operas" beginning tonight
- The (Givat) Ulpana crisis:
- The caving in - Moment before the vote, the ministers and deputy ministers who vowed to defend Ulpana neighborhood left the hall and the bill failed to pass
- The evacuation and compensation - Settlers are angry at "betrayal of Netanyahu and his ministers." PM in reconciliation effort: promises to build 851 apartments instead of the 30 to be evacuated
- Harpaz affair - Testimonies revealed; (former chief of staff) Ashkenazi, yesterday: Barak is obsessive about me. One would expect him to spend his time on the security of Israel
- Netanyahu approved building 850 apartments in West Bank; US condemns
- Ashkenazi: " Barak is obsessive, he wants my head" - Ahead of completion of State Comptroller report on Harpaz affair
- Only community service for Shula Zaken (former Olmert aide) in Tax Authority affair. Rishontours and Holyland affairs still await her
- From Arik Sharon's avocado to the nights of the (Palestinian) Fedayeen: Old-timers of Kfar Malal celebrate 100 years
- Assad massacres children again
- The compensation: Another 851 apartments in settlements - The Authorization Law was dismissed by a large majority; PM: Obligated to settlements - and the law
- Ashkenazi renews war against Barak
- Yael Lerner on (Olmert aide) Shula Zaken's chutzpah: She got off easy and she's complaining
- Tehila Grabovsky from Beit El (settlement) is world mathematics champion (of religious women-only competition)
The settler's bill may have failed to pass in the Knesset yesterday, but Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave them a sweet compensation: 851 new housing units in settlements across the West Bank, making headlines in Israeli papers. As a result settler violence has gone wild. The other main story was from the testimonies leaked in the Harpaz document affair over the choosing of the IDF chief of staff. Meanwhile, the CEO of the Kaspersky Internet security firm scared people's wits with cyberwarfare scenarios at a panel in Tel-Aviv, Haaretz reported.
Now the physical fight has begun. Angry settlers and far right-wingers, unaccustomed to their bills not being passed in the Knesset have already begun rioting after MKs rejected the legislation meant to prevent the evacuation of the Givat Ulpana of Beit El settlement in a 69 to 22 vote. As Rabbi Yair Frank from Amona settlement outpost told Ynet, "For the record – we did not lose (the vote). We are on the road to victory. The fight for Ulpana will now be fought on the street." The chief of police ordered forces to be on high alert after right-wing activists vowed to unleash a 'tsunami of protests' following the failed Ulpana vote. The settlers already set tires on fire on the major highway that leads to Jerusalem, in an attempt to block the city's main gateway, and they set a dumpster on fire and pushed it down towards the light rail station in the city causing temporary disruptions to traffic. (Note: There were very few arrests and most likely those people will be released. Yet, last week a 19-year-old E. Jerusalemite was sentenced to 18 months in jail for throwing a stone at the light rail. -OH) Settler teens also clashed with security officials in the W. Bank
The rioting settlers were much more concerned with the passing of the bill and preventing the evacuation of five settlement buildings than with the fact that Netanyahu announced they would be getting 851 new units in compensation (which, of course, the US condemned). Moreover, Israel plans to legalize 13 West Bank outposts that are at the center of High Court battles. Because the 13 outposts are not built on privately-owned Palestinian land, Haaretz reports, the legalization process could make the petitions against them moot. Five other outposts will be evacuated.
Maariv interviewed Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon who said that "politicians in the right poisoned the settlers." Yaalon, who until this week was seen as a leader of the settlers and a candidate to lead the right-wing camp in the future, became a target of attacks by settlers for his part in causing the failure of the bill to pass. Meanwhile, Netanyahu is working to dismiss the chairman of the government coalition, Zeev Elkin, who is considered a leader of the far right in the Likud and who voted in favor of the bill, Maariv reported.
The Yesha Settler Council, which has been waging an ad campaign praising or condemning MKs in newspaper ads, ran a full-page ad on page 13 of Maariv today saying, "There are politicians whose word is their word. Thank you to all the MKs who voted according to their nationalist values and their consciences." Half of the ad was the names of the 22 MKs who voted in favor, including Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and Coalition Chairman Zeev Elkin.
"Cyber attacks could mean end of world as we know it," warned Eugene Kaspersky, the founder of the Russian Internet security firm that alerted the world to the Flame virus. Yesterday he 'ignited a fire of his own yesterday in Tel Aviv' when he described nightmare scenarios that cyber-warfare could cause, Haaretz reported. On a panel at a cyber warfare conference at Tel Aviv University Kaspersky said the film,"Live Free or Die Hard," in which Bruce Willis, as cop John McClane, teams up with a young computer hacker to stop a cyberterror attack that is shutting down the United States, could become reality. After watching the film for half an hour, Kaspersky said he began shouting at the screen: "Why are you telling them [how to do this]?" Haaretz wrote that "Kaspersky is painting these extreme scenarios to support his campaign to get countries to stop developing cyber-warfare tools and to establish an international treaty which prohibits the use of such measures."
- Jerusalem: Ultra-Orthodox Jews attack elderly Arab - Eyewitness says ultra-Orthodox hit Arabs with belts, yelled 'death to Arabs' following demonstration near Mea Shearim. (Ynet)
- Indictment: Border Guard officers robbed Arabs in Jerusalem - Internal Affairs Division says three armed, off-duty officers in uniform led Arabs to alley, stole their money. (Ynet)
- IDF orders 40 youths throwing stones at Palestinian vehicles near Havat Gilad to disperse (00:08 Breaking news headlines, Haaretz)
- Palestinian activists 'occupy' their own little piece of land in London - Palestine Place in central London employs the Occupy movement's techniques to promote an anti-Zionist agenda. (Haaretz)
- Jerusalem court sanctions deportation of South Sudan nationals from Israel - Some 1,000 South Sudanese are believed to be in Israel, part of a larger influx of African migrants who have poured into the country in recent years. (Haaretz)
- Peres to ask for Pollard's release after receiving top US honor (Israel Hayom)
- Israel gets its first exclusively woman driver taxi service - Company has hundreds of loyal customers, many of whom are religious women and employees of women organizations. (Haaretz)
- Going up? Cemetery builds multi-tier vertical burial system (Israel Hayom)
- 68% of Arab-Israelis prefer to live in Israel - Survey by Haifa University shows over two-thirds of Arab-Israelis are resigned to living in a Jewish state, but 73% said they believe that the government treated Arabs as second-class citizens undeserving of equality. (Ynet)
- Israeli-American family found dead in suspected murder-suicide (Israel Hayom)
- Muhammad Ali celebrates his grandson's bar mitzvah - The legendary boxer attended the ceremony of his fifth daughter, Halia's son, Jacob Wertheimer at Rodef Shalom Synagogue in Philadelphia. Despite once being an activist in the Islam Nation of Malcolm X, Ali later became a symbol of inter-religious tolerance. (Maariv, p. 15)
- UNSC asks to visit Palestinian territories - The 120-member Non-aligned Movement of mainly developing countries says it will ask the UN Security Council to respond favorably to the Palestinian request. (Agencies, Ynet)
- French right-wing leader threatens Madonna with lawsuit over swastika image - At her recent concert in Ramat Gan Stadium, Madonna performed while showing a video of Marine Le Pen with a swastika affixed to her forehead. (Haaretz)
- New Syria massacre reported as world prepares more sanctions (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Hama massacre: 'Is this child an Israel collaborator?' - Amid reports that Assad forces massacred some 100 people in central Syria, video posted on web exposes the horror; meanwhile UN envoy Anan to present new plan for ending crisis. (Agencies, Ynet + VIDEO)
- Barbara Walters apologizes for helping Assad aide - ABC veteran tried to help daughter of Syrian ambassador land job, get into Columbia University. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Assad names Baath stalwart as new Syria prime minister - Riyad Hijab was agriculture minister in the outgoing government. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Egypt shuts down production of film that 'promotes' Israel ties (Haaretz)
- Iran says hopes to conclude nuclear deal with IAEA soon - Western diplomats doubt that Iran will implement any accord that it signs with the UN nuclear watchdog. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- 'Mubarak suffering nervous breakdowns, hooked to respirator' (Israel Hayom)
The dark side of Tel Aviv Special: (Ethiopian) Journalist poses as African infiltrator, spends week in Tel Aviv’s most volatile neighborhood
(Danny Adino Ababa, Yedioth)
Genetic GPS: Your mutations reveal where your ancestors lived An Israeli-American research team teases out origin based on DNA, with remarkable accuracy. (Haaretz)
Sacrificing a pawn (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Honoring a bad judgment made by a good institution is preferable to destroying the authority of the High Court of Justice just to preserve five buildings in the Ulpana neighborhood of the Beit El settlement.
A stain on the Knesset (Haaretz Editorial) Israeli construction in the occupied territories is not a consolation prize for people whom the state and court have accused of serious breaches of the law.
Netanyahu 1, settlers 0 (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth and Ynet) Bibi taught settlers a lesson this week, showed them that he’s the master of the house.
A display of leadership with a price (Haaretz Editorial) Instead of bowing and scraping to the settlers, Netanyahu should return to the diplomatic course he charted in his speeches at Bar-Ilan University and to the U.S. Congress.
Will settlers win the war? (Donniel Hartman, Ynet) Settler leaders want to train Israelis to think settlement evacuation is impossible.
Let the IDF do the sawing (Uri Misgav, Haaretz) Netanyahu and his frightened ministers jumped at the sawing at any cost to avoid the image that's impossible to bear: bulldozers destroying Jewish homes.
Our Zionist dream (Baruch (Brad) Kitay - Australian immigrant, Israel Hayom) With three weeks to go before we are transferred from Ulpana to a cardboard box somewhere, we turn to the prime minister and ask, where did we go wrong in our Zionism?
Ulpana the way the settlers pronounce it (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) If Israel remains apathetic in the face of the corruption being exposed at Ulpana, there's no camp of law-abiders here.
What is the Right protesting? (Uri Heitner, Israel Hayom) The relocation of Ulpana and the promise of 10 new houses for every one removed is a win-win, so why are the settlers objecting? It seems that they care more about asserting that they are in charge.
Toward a halakha state (Israel Harel, Haaretz) We can imagine the forces that are ready to exploit the anticipated chaos to advance their agenda - a halakha state, run according to Jewish law.
In attempt to garner votes, Obama is ignoring the Palestinians (Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz)Three-plus years in the White House have given the public more than enough time to reach some conclusions about President Obama's Mideast policy.
Long term vs. short term goals (Uzi Baram, Israel Hayom) The public must focus on Israel's main objective: changing our dire situation. Meanwhile, the Right must present its long-term alternative, something which it has never done.
From nation-builders to racism: 'No one wants Mohammed hanging around' (Joel Greenberg, Haaretz)'Hebrew labor' has its roots in early Zionism, but in modern-day Israel, the practice of employing Jews only is against the law.
The lessons of June (Ari Shavit, Haaretz) While the June 1967 war was an almost wondrous event of a crushing Israeli triumph, the June 1982 war was a severe event of depressing Israeli failure.
Last chance for two states, as apartheid beckons (Muhammad Shtayyeh, Haaretz) The hopes and expectations embodied in the Oslo Accords of 1993 have nearly vanished completely. The occupation is fast becoming irreversible. We are facing the last chance to save the two-state solution, and Israeli leadership is urgently needed.
**Against the lords of the land (Yael Paz-Melamed, Maariv and NRG Hebrew) A young man, dedicated and possessing public courage is standing now practically alone in front of all the settlers, especially those who are sitting on privately owned Palestinian land in illegal outposts. His name is Yariv Oppenheimer, and he is driving the settlers crazy because he is succeeding again and again to put a few limits up to this bunch of people, who are sure that all the land beyond the Green Line ('67 border) is their private territory, and they can do with it as they will and no one will bother them. Most of the government institutions are afraid of them, grovel before them, and don't dare to confront them. For this reason, their shock is so great that the prime minister prefers to act according to the rules of the High Court and not according to their and their rabbis' guidelines. Yariv Oppenheimer is the Secretary General of 'Peace Now,' a fairly small social and political movement, that knew more beautiful days than these, and it is likely the last remnant of a strong, kicking and relevant left-wing, that 30 years ago succeeded in getting hundreds of thousands into the street. Not anymore. Oppenheimer's strength is in his determination and his unwillingness to compromise, many times against all odds. Together with that there are another few hundred, or even a few dozen, determined and committed activists like him, because of whom the movement succeeds to stand up to dozens of settlers, some very extreme, who don't care about anyone, and rightly. They are the lords of that land, and to a great extent, also of this land. With diligence and courage, Oppenheimer and his people succeed in bothering the settlers, without being deterred by threats, from talkbacks that verge on madness, from burning hatred, from slanderous calls that they are traitors, post-Zionists, Israel-haters, and all the other nonsense of that type. Until now they succeed in upsetting the settlers to the point that senior Likud people have claimed that Netanyahu's decision to build 10 homes for every building destroyed in Givat Ulpana was meant to anger "Peace Now." Goliath is angry at David, even before he took out his slingshot. Oppenheimer's slingshot is a non-stop and uncompromising documentation of the construction in the Territories. 'Peace Now' people go out into the field, they are everywhere, writing, photographing, checking documents, comparing promises Israel gives to the world leaders with the existing reality. And everything they know, they publish. Both in Israel and in the world. An act that brings historic levels of hatred to them.
Oppenheimer is not a politician. He doesn't have that in him. He doesn't know how to leverage his activities and fame for personal advancement. When he ran in the primaries of the Labor party a few years ago, he wasn't elected to a realistic spot. Better that way. There are 120 MKs. But there is only one secretary-general of Peace Now. It's difficult to predict for 'Peace Now' a bright horizon. Peace is not sexy. It doesn't get a rating. Certainly not 'now.' For that reason, the objective that the movement took on - to stop somewhat the rampage of the settlers in everything having to do with land and establishing outposts - has unparalleled importance. There is no one else that will do it. The Labor party led by Shelly Yachimovitch - certainly not. At the moment, she has no interest in such political issues. Kadima? That party contributed what it did by joining the government. Any attempt to torpedo the Authorization Law would not have succeeded were it not for Kadima sitting in the government coalition. Meretz party is left, but it has only three members. A few weeks ago, 'Peace Now' organized an annual left-wing conference, as they do every year. Hundreds of people arrived, talked, argued, expressed unclear optimism about Israel's future. Yariv Oppenheimer went from discussion hall to discussion hall, without any snobbery. He was just one of the crowd, checking that everything went as should be, happy like a father who arrived at the annual celebrations at his children's nursery. It was impossible not to think that in Israel's public sector we are lacking a few more people like him. Especially in the Israeli Left.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.