News Nosh 01.05.15

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday January 5, 2015

Number of the day:
--Number of Israelis who renounced their citizenship in 2014, a 65% increase over the previous year.**

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Likud list: Embarrassing glitches
  • In the middle of counting, the observers were removed at the request of Netanyahu
  • 250 officers: Don’t investigate Operation Protective Edge
  • (Media person) Sharon Gal goes to politics: Joins Lieberman
  • First ski at Mt. Hermon
  • Who is taking care of him? The nursery school teachers are collapsing, the mothers are angry: What is happening to the toddlers in the subsidized municipal nursery schools?
  • Bus crisis – Hundreds fired in Israel due to import of cheap buses from China
  • Delicious Morocco – Chef Avi Levy returned from a colorful and magical culinary journey with a list of recommendations
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
While Israel seeks to punish the Palestinians for their petition to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Palestinians seek to charge Israel with ‘crimes’ it committed during Operation Protective Edge and to resubmit their bid for statehood at the UN Security Council making top stories in the Hebrew papers along with all the ‘irregularities’ in the counting of votes in the Likud primaries.
Israel has asked US congressmen to halt aid to the Palestinians, but in any case, US legislation passed last month states that the State Department would have to stop American aid to the Palestinian Authority, which comes to some $400 million annually, if the Palestinians initiated any action against Israel at the ICC. Yesterday, top official and legal experts confirmed that the Palestinians plan to take Israel to the ICC over last summer's Operation Protective Edge. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Ynet: “We are an authority without authority. The Israeli government has left us with no option but to make unilateral steps.” Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that the PA had chosen to take a path of confrontation with Israel, and that he would “not let soldiers be dragged” to the ICC. Meanwhile, as an internal probe takes place investigating Israeli soldiers in the killing of innocent civilians during Operation Protective Edge, Yedioth reported that 250 IDF officers in reserves wrote the IDF Chief of Staff calling on him to stop the probe. The officers believe that the probe must be done by IDF commanders and not by jurists.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry is now going on attack mode, the Foreign Ministry told Israeli envoys in Europe and has launched a campaign in Europe to reveal 'lies and distortions' made by MPs during debates on recognition of Palestinian statehood. Meanwhile, following the change in the composition of the UN Security Council, which would likely make it more Palestinian-friendly, the Palestinians plan to re-submit their bid for an end to the Israeli occupation and the creation of a Palestinian state to the UN Security Council. However, even if the bid got the necessary nine votes to pass, the US would likely veto it. [However, for that the US would pay a price, both with its allies in the US-led fight against ISIS and in the Arab street. – OH] After the UNSC bid failed last week, the Palestinians looked for another non-violent way to end the occupation and they applied to join 16 international conventions, including the ICC.
It was interesting to see how the Israeli media covered the arrests of a Hebron-based cell that allegedly planned attacks and made one unsuccessfully against soldiers. The Shin Bet said that Israeli forces ‘nabbed an ISIS-linked cell in the West Bank” and most of the papers reported that as fact. Israel Hayom even called it 'an ISIS cell.' Only Maariv was specific and explained that the connection to ISIS was ideological. The three are accused of a failed attack on soldiers and a plan to attack a soldier and a settler and use their weapons to make a terror attack [which doesn't sound very different from other attacks by Palestinians - OH.] Moreover, the Shin Bet did not say whether the planned attack would be against civilians or military - it calls attacks both ‘terrorist’ acts, although the Geneva Convention allows an occupied people to attack occupying soldiers.

Quick Hits:
  • Netanyahu, Ya'alon agree to divert $18m from defense budget to expand Beit El settlement - PM sought to allocate money last month as part of the agreement with Beit El settlers over the 2012 removal of five apartment buildings, but former Finance Minister Lapid blocked the move. (Haaretz+)
  • Labor leader: If elected PM, I will block funds to settlements - Labor leader Isaac Herzog: Funding from WZO's Settlement Division will go only to Negev and Galilee regions, not Judea and Samaria (West Bank). Herzog pledges not to raise taxes, says he acted legally in campaign finance probe 15 years ago. (Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • Israelis’ confidence in public institutions rises, dips for politicians - Confidence in the IDF and other security forces rose in 2014, but more than two-thirds of the public lacks faith in the political parties. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinians, settlers, greens declare victory in court ruling on separation barrier - After 3-year battle, judges freeze state's plan to build fence at UNESCO-protected environmental site near village of Battir, after army, government decide it wasn't such a security priority after all. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Israeli troops leave some communities near Gaza, irking residents - Mayors call for soldiers to remain until a better barrier is put up at the border to thwart Hamas. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Hezbollah: Sunnis, Shiites will unite against Israel in next war - Report in Lebanese paper quotes top Hezbollah official as saying radical Shiite group will have 'thousands' of Sunnis fighting alongside in next battle against Israel. (Ynet)
  • Lieberman, Dahlan deny reports of secret meetings in Europe - FM Lieberman and Abbas' enemy Mohammed Dahlan issue denials, but Walla says Netanyahu confirmed in message to Abbas that a 'senior Israeli minister' had met the former Gaza strongman. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • Israelis open up about why they renounced citizenship - 785 Israelis renounced their citizenship in 2014, a 65 percent increase; reasons given include money, ideology, and corruption. (Ynet)
  • **Report: Jordan suspends talks with Israel over $15b gas deal - Move comes after Israeli Anti-Trust Authority recommended breaking up a consortium of two energy companies developing Israel’s largest gas fields. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • 4 policemen indicted for allegedly pouring boiling water on detainee - An officer and three detectives in Be’er Sheva face trial, after a man of Ethiopian origin was admitted to hospital with second-degree burns in 2011. (Haaretz+ and Ynet
  • Incoming tourism drops only 1% in 2014 - Summer's Gaza conflict had a minor effect on overall number of visitors to Israel this year, thanks to a significant increase in arrivals in first half of year. (Ynet)

In the West Bank, every flat tire tells a story
'There’s no chance of things getting better,' concludes the flat tire king of the Jalazun refugee camp. 'All that's left is making a living.' (Amira Hass, Haaretz+)

Israel's suspension of tax transfer is perverse revenge for Palestinians' ICC bid (Haaretz Editorial) The Palestinian application to join the International Criminal Court is uncomfortable for Israel, which should have considered the implications before shoving President Mahmoud Abbas into a corner. 
Thoughts on land, citizenship and identity (Annika Hernroth-Rothstein, Israel Hayom) I have a Swedish address and a Jewish identity, my home is Israel and my passport says Sweden. This should not scare anyone.
Why France doesn't care about anti-Semitism (Esti Judah, Haaretz+) The challenges facing French Jews are but a microcosm of greater ills in the country. 
Politics belongs in the academia (Ze'ev Tzahor, Yedioth/Ynet) The main reason for encouraging political activity on campus stems from the principle of pursuing the truth and the assumption that there is sometimes more than one truth.
A reckless prime minister (Uri Misgav, Haaretz+) The delicate tapestry of checks and balances, which is the very breath of democracy, is being trampled before our very eyes by Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Arab oil era is over (Guy Bechor, Yedioth/Ynet) As the Gulf states are left with no money to spend and are experiencing internal shocks, the era of destructive Arab power is coming to an end; the Israeli mind and innovation era, on the other hand, is just beginning.
Spot the difference between the Zionist Camp and the right (Oudeh Basharat, Haaretz+) With an alliance like the supposedly dovish duo of Herzog and Livni, you should prepare for a continuation of the occupation.

Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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