News Nosh 10.31.13

APN's daily news review from Israel

Thursday October 31, 2013

 

Number of the day:

5000.

--Number of new settler homes the Netanyahu government will now advance plans to construct.**



Front Page News:

Haaretz

Yedioth Ahronoth

  • "I wanted to stay in Teva" - Shake up in enormous pharmaceutical company: CEO dismissed, stocks dropped
  • Scapegoat - Jeremy Levine was sacrificed because Teva stockholders wanted blood // Sever Plocker
  • This is how the ultra-Orthodox man from Ramle became the sole inheritor of the composer Moshe Vilnsky, and receives all the royalties of the Hebrew singer
  • The most dangerous man in Israel - Expose: Secret police report ranks the ten biggest crime organizations in the State.
  • Zoglobek (meat company) affair: Class action suits on the way

Maariv

Israel Hayom


 

News Summary:
Across the board condemnation from the West For Israeli plans to advance new homes over the Green Line, Channel 2 reveals that Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett agreed to the prisoner release, despite his recent blasting of it and attempts to stop it and Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon says the US must put the Iranian nuclear issue before Mideast peace. On security issues, Maariv reveals that Israel participated in a meeting with Arab and Iranian representatives on the subject of nuclear weapons and may attend a conference on dismantling nuclear weapons. But on the subject of chemical weapons, Haaretz reveals that Israel is staying intentionally vague. Meanwhile, the battle between the security establishment and the Finance Ministry over military budget cuts heated up and Israel asks the US to give Egypt military aid.
 
**Israel is advancing plan to construct some 5000 new settler homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including in isolated settlements. The plans met with sharp condemnation. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' spokesman called the plan "destructive to the peace process and is a message to the international community that Israel is a country that does not respect international law." UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described it as being "contrary to international law" and "an obstacle to peace." The US State Department said it does not 'create positive environment for negotiations' and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the EU "deplores the recent settlement announcements. Any actions that could hamper or undermine the on-going negotiations must be avoided. Bold and decisive leadership is needed for these negotiations to succeed."

Israel Hayom reported that Channel 2 investigative reporter Udi Segal revealed that the Chairman of the pro-settler anti-Palestinian state Habayit Hayehudi party Naftali Bennett originally agreed to the opening of negotiations with the Palestinians and releasing of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for continued settlement construction. Four people were present in the Prime Minister's Office and heard his affirmation. But Bennett's office said, "That's a lie."

Hardline Likud Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon said that in anycase, a peace deal with Palestinians by May 2014 is "wishful thinking." He told journalists,"If I could speak to President Obama today...I would say, let's finish with the threat coming from Iran by May 2014, and then go to the negotiation table... with the Palestinians."
 
Security Highlights:
Last week, Israeli representatives met with representatives of Arab countries and Iran in an isolated place in Glion, Switzerland to discuss conditions to be agreed upon for attending a conference for dismantling nuclear weapons in Middle East. The Arab states had been pushing to hold a conference to discuss nuclear weapons in the Middle East following the renewed contacts between Iran and the US and the US-Russian agreement over the dismantling of Syria's chemical weapons. There was an attempt in March to hold such a preliminary meeting between the Arab states and Israel, like the one held last week, but the Arab states refused suspecting it was an Israeli attempt to prevent the conference from taking place or for making an alternative conference through never-ending discussions, wrote Maariv's Eli Bardenstein. This was the first time they met with the Israeli representatives. Israel has long said that the time is not ripe for such a conference, since there are no peace agreements between Israel and the Arab states and Iran threatened to 'wipe Israel off the map.' Some say that Israel has reason to worry about attending as it might be marked as the only Middle East state with nuclear weapons, wrote Bardenstein. That said, Israel was willing to attend a preliminary meeting to the conference's agenda, which must be agreed upon. There are no details still from the meeting in Switzerland. (NRG Hebrew)

On chemical weapons, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu opted to stay vague, Haaretz reported. Netanyahu held a meeting with the Security Cabinet about Israel's policy on the Chemical Weapons Convention, which outlaws the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons, and which Israel has signed but not ratified in the Knesset or cabinet. At the end of the meeting the ministers decided to continue with the existing policy, wrote Ravid. However, many defense officials believe Israel should ratify the chemical arms treaty in the wake of Syrian disarmament, an Israeli official told Haaretz's Barak Ravid.
 
A meeting of the Political-Security Cabinet sparked a heated debate yesterday on budget cuts for the IDF. Finance Minister Yair Lapid said that budgeting the army comes at the expense of middle class. The IDF says that the original cuts, which stood at 3 billions shekels and have grown to 7.5 billion shekels, could lead to a "military shutdown." Indeed the question being discussed daily in the Israeli media now is whether the Treasury is cutting off the IDF's fat or harming Israeli security.

Netanyahu asked US President Barack Obama not to cut military aid to Egypt's military government. The request came during their meeting at the beginning of October. Netanyahu said it would hurt regional stability and that it opposes peace agreements. (NRG Hebrew)
 

Quick Hits:

  • Settlers destroy over 600 olive trees in Nablus - Yitzhar settlers cut down hundreds of olive trees belonging to the Hamad, Hussein and Allan families in the village of Einabus, near Nablus. Settlers also used a chemical agent to destroy the trees. (Maan)
  • Video: Settlers attack farmers, volunteers at olive harvest - The Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem released video footage and photos of masked Israeli settlers who approached al-Mughayir village and attacked the Na'asan family with stones while they were harvesting olives. (Maan PHOTOSVIDEO)
  • Israel demolishes residential building in East Jerusalem - Ayman Qarsh, owner of the building, said that the building had three floors and four commercial properties and was home to eight family members. There was no prior warning. On Tuesday, Israeli forces demolished the Shwaiki family's apartment building in Beit Hanina. (Maan)
  • Orders to demolish 5 houses in Silwan - Israeli forces distributed five orders to demolish houses on Wednesday in the Ein Allouza neighborhood in Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem. The 50 houses were built in 2002. (Maan)
  • Israel detains 12 Palestinians, including 3 Hamas leaders - Israeli forces raided Ramallah and Beitunia and detained Sheikh Jamal al-Taweel, the former mayor of al-Bireh, Sheikh Hussein Abu Kwaiek, and Sheikh Faraj Rumana. On Sunday night, Israel arrested 15 Hamas members, including two MPs. (Maan and NRG Hebrew)
  • MKs approve funding for new 'Jewish Identity' body - without knowing budget - But NIS 14 million won't be transferred until body explains what it will actually do with the funds, following Labor MK Stav Shafir's opposition. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli communities near Gaza protest removal of army guards - Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon tells residents protection isn't two soldiers at a gate but deterrence and intelligence. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Despite rise in West Bank terror, IDF in no hurry to declare new intifada - Statistics show 157 incidents of stone-throwing in September, compared to 121 in same month in 2012; Israelis have not seen such a series of attacks in a short time span since 2010. (Haaretz)
  • Watch: Paratroopers fire advanced Spike missile - In special training exercise held in preparation for tour of northern border, IDF paratroopers fire advanced Spike-MR missile, one of IDF's most advanced portable guided missiles. Watch it in action. (Ynet)
  • Freed Palestinian prisoner speaks of 'oppression and humiliation' in Israeli jails - Osama Abu Hanana said Israeli officials often raided cells with police dogs, transferred prisoners to faraway locations and sometimes prohibited family visits altogether. There are still 5,007 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, including 137 administrative detainees, 12 women and 180 children, according to prisoners support group Addameer. (Maan)
  • Group: Israel confines released prisoners to Palestine for 10 years - The human rights organization Tadamon said Wednesday that Israel bans freed prisoners from leaving the occupied Palestinian Territories for 10 years after their release and are confined to their home districts for a year. (Maan)
  • Prosecutors drop indictment of two East Jerusalem youths for assault - Security tapes, which the accused say the Israel Police refused to view for 18 days, proved that the arrests were unwarranted. (Haaretz)
  • Paula Abdul in Israel: I won't want to leave - International singing and dancing superstar Paula Abdul meets with President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem. Abdul to Peres: Everyone told me you're so sababa [cool], and it's true. Abdul also expected to visit Tel Aviv, Galilee during her trip. (Israel Hayom)
  • Lapid: There won't be separation of religion and state in Israel - Finance Minister Yair Lapid advances civil marriage bill, allowing same-sex couples to marry in Israel. Lapid: "How can this country be Jewish if it also wants to be a democracy?" Ultra-Orthodox parties: "This bypasses rabbinical authority." (Israel Hayom)
  • Ultra-Orthodox to go to special IDF induction center - New induction center designed to encourage ultra-Orthodox to serve in the IDF. Yearly presentations on ideal service options to be given to haredim before signing deferment papers. IDF human resources: Our goal is to convince them to enlist in the army. (Israel Hayom)
  • Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett could earn $600,000 from Soluto exit - Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett served as Soluto's CEO for three months in 2009. (Globes)
  • Hamdallah unveils plan to boost Gaza development - Interim Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said the plan would focus on development and infrastructure projects, especially for water. (Maan)
  • Kuwaiti report: Deal between Iran, Western intel agency to expose details on missing navigator Ron Arad - Al-Siasa newspaper quotes Western intelligence sources as saying that deal would reveal information on Ron Arad in exchange for details on Iranian diplomats who vanished in 1980s. (Haaretz)
  • Lebanese Report: Israeli combat jets and helicopters operated in Lebanon - Lebanese media reported yesterday on Israeli air force operating in area over villages of Atia Al-Shaab, Bint Jbeil and Marjayoun. Lebanese army reported that Israeli jets circled above various areas at 13:40 and 17:05. (Israel Hayom, p. 7)
  • Saudi report: Jordanian citizen convicted of spying for Israel - According to a Saudi report, a Jordanian citizen was sentenced to nine years in a Saudi prison and 80 lashings for spying for Israel. He admitted to sending emails to Israeli intel officers and even to Netanyahu for which he was paid. (Israel Hayom, p. 7)
  • IDF 'special devices' in Egypt turned off before 1973 war, documents show - Newly declassified testimony by 1973 intelligence chief Eli Zeira: We ignored pleas to use crucial technology that could have provided Israel with early warning on war. Defense Minister Moshe Dayan may have been misled when he asked Zeira on the matter. (Israel Hayom)
  • New documentary challenges evangelical bonds with Israel - A new documentary about Palestinian Christians is challenging mainstream evangelical assumptions about the Holy Land in the United States. (Maan VIDEO trailer
  • Israel mulls gas export options - Cyprus wants a joint liquefaction facility, but a pipeline from Israel to Turkey is also an option. (Globes)
  • Turkish minister: We're interested in Israeli gas - Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz: Although there are political problems, they are solvable. (Globes)
  • Israel in gas talks with Russia - Russian companies are examining options of participating in the development of Israeli gas, the Prime Minister's Office says. (Globes)
  • Israel 39th in 'Prosperity Index' - According to Legatum Institute's index, Israel ranks high on education, community, low on trust in government, employment; world's most prosperous state is Norway. (Ynet)
  • Area 51 used to test Soviet jets loaned to U.S. by Israel - Tests conducted by the U.S. Air Force at the notorious Area 51 base in the Nevada Desert, according to declassified documents released this week and reported on by The Guardian. (Haaretz)
  • Next round of Syria talks in Geneva may be delayed due to U.S.-Russia disputes - Washington and Moscow differ over who should represent the Syrian opposition, while the main opposition group has not committed to attending. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Assad to UN envoy: Peace talks can succeed only if foreign aid to rebels stops - Syrian president meets Arab League-UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in Damascus, casts doubt on efforts to convene an international peace conference to try to end the country's civil war. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • 'Congress loves Israel, but is even more averse to another conflict' - Bob McNally, adviser on energy to former President George W. Bush: "There is a concern in Congress about tightening the sanctions so much that it would lead to a conflict."  Obama presses Senate to hold off on new sanctions to give Iran talks a chance. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)


Commentary/Analysis:

Never forgive? That's no way for Israelis to treat the prisoner release (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) The purpose is to build an atmosphere of trust, to open a new chapter - as in all blood-drenched conflicts that people try to resolve. 
Betting on the negotiations (Yael Paz-Melamed, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) Paz-Melamed notes the lack of information about the ongoing peace talks with the Palestinians and writes, "The problem with us is that nobody is betting that anything will come out of these talks and, what is worse, nobody cares." Paz-Melamed believes that the current government, "will do everything so that there will not be a diplomatic agreement," and ventures that Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who, ostensibly, is responsible for the peace talks is not politically strong enough to fight the right-wing elements in the coalition. "The talks as they are held today, with full American support, with the tailwind of the EU, and with such an determined Israeli representative (Livni), will not continue. Whatever did not happen until now will not happen in the foreseeable future. And that's what Israel wants."
Even Ben-Gurion exploited the Holocaust when it suited him (Yechiam Weitz, Haaretz) No research has been done yet on Ben-Gurion's relation to the Holocaust during his years as prime minister. But it's important to note that he had no restraints when it came to rhetorical use of the Holocaust and comparisons with the Nazis. 
Peace talks: Between stalemate and progress (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Both Netanyahu and Ya'alon gave the impression that the talks with Abbas would not bear fruit. That the Palestinians will not accept even the most basic conditions demanded by Israel. But is that really the case? 
Shimon Peres has a moral obligation to prevent a nuclear Iran (Ari Shavit, Haaretz) At what price has the Israeli president spearheaded opposition to a military option? 
Borekas politics (Gilad Sharon, Yedioth) "The Prime Minister reached a situation in which he had to pay in order to sit with the Palestinians. But he chose a form of payment [the release of an additional 26 Palestinian prisoners] that he should not have...Even if he decided to pay in order to talk, and it is clear that he should have chosen something reversible; he has already frozen construction without getting anything in return. If the talks would fail, the way is open before him to go back and build. It is very likely that nothing will come from the talks, and what then? The murderers will continue to party."
The Israelis' poisoned morals (Israel Harel, Haaretz) This week's release of terrorist murderers in exchange for absolutely nothing illustrates just how low the national resilience has sunk. 
Releasing prisoners is a slippery slope (Prof. Alexander Bligh, Israel Hayom) In the distant past, Israel received a captive in exchange for a terrorist. For a while now, Israel has progressively sweetened the deal. Every time prisoners are released there is a significant upsurge in terror attacks.
Let the IDF win (Amos Harel, Haaretz) The minute budgetary reserves free up, the defense establishment digs in.
Israel's secular liberals should claim minority status (Carlo Strenger, Haaretz) Political liberalism is floundering in Israel. But even if we cannot win at the ballot box, we have a right to our identity, and must begin to fight for it.

 

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

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