News Nosh 2.15.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday February 15, 2017
You Must Be Kidding: 
"How is it that the laws of the Left are constitutional and mine are not?"
--Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) blasts the High Court for repealing laws the Knesset passed.*
Quote of the day:
"Those who legislate anti-democratic laws should not be surprised if the High Court invalidates them."
--MK Revital Swid (Zionist Union) explains.*

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Administration in crisis – Blow to US President: New National Security Advisor Michael Flynn lied and was fired
  • Culture of lies // Nadav Eyal
  • Dark shadow // Ronen Bergman
  • Ahead of summit today: White House ordered a report of Netanyahu’s investigations
  • El-Al airlines: Fateful day
  • Soon at Ben-Gurion Airport: Pension for dog
  • Camel, do you have a license
  • Expose: The state lost the cellular phone of Tair Rada
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s hopes for the meeting with US President Donald Trump today – and that the dismissal of Trump’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn won’t affect the meeting, the return of Israel’s ambassador to Egypt due to security concerns and the crisis at El-Al were today’s top stories in the Hebrew newspapers. Also in the news, a stormy Knesset session on its 68th anniversary.
Netanyahu sat with his advisors in Blair House last night “going over every situation and practicing every scenario for the meeting, in order to achieve the best results,” one of his associates told Maariv’s Dana Somberg in Washington. The leader of ZOA, a right-wing Jewish-American organization, said Netanyahu and Trump will insist that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas break off the unity government recently formed with Hamas. Haaretz’s Barak Ravid said Netanyahu hopes he can get Trump to push a regional peace plan with the Arab world. Besides negotiations with the Palestinians, settlement construction and Iran are the top issues on the agenda. What surprised many yesterday was that an unnamed US official told reporters that Trump said he wants Israeli-Palestinian peace, but that does not have come in the form of a two-state solution and the White House won’t dictate it. Interestingly, Yedioth discovered that Trump requested detailed reviews of investigations against Netanyahu ahead of the meeting. Meanwhile, Israeli officials said Netanyahu was unlikely to resign in case of indictment and that he had reached an understanding with Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

*In special Knesset session marking 68 years to its establishment, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) excoriated the High Court for repealing laws that the Knesset passed. The opposition reminded him that those who pass undemocratic laws should expect them to be invalidated. And Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said that annexation of areas in the West Bank where there is an Israeli consensus that they will remain part of Israel in any final peace agreement—would be positive for Israel.
Quick Hits:
  • Two Palestinian teens detail their torture at the hands of Israeli authorities - Musab Muhammad Ghuneimat was was shot and injured in the foot by Israeli forces on Oct. 23, 2015, after he allegedly stabbed an Israeli soldier. The soldiers chased after him and shot him in the foot, immobilizing him. After he stopped, a soldier shot at his wounded foot from point-blank range. At an Israeli hospital, he was interrogated before receiving treatment for his injuries. (Maan)
  • Physicist Stephen Hawking Fundraises for Palestinian Students - Hawking, perhaps the most influential living scientist, asked his 3.8 million Facebook followers to pitch in to the Palestinian Advanced Physics School, a physics lecture series for West Bank masters students. 'I support the rights of scientists everywhere to freedom of movement, publication and collaboration,' says the scientist. (Haaretz
  • Temporary Homes for ex-Amona Residents Being Built, Despite Own Settlers' Opposition - The homes are going up - in some sites illegally - even though the former residents of the illegal West Bank outpost say they will not move to a temporary location. (Haaretz+) 
  • Israeli authorities demolish 3 buildings in East Jerusalem neighborhood - A large number of Israeli police officers stormed Salih Turk’s home and forcibly evacuated his family, “preventing us from taking our belongings.” Bulldozers then demolished the house, leaving 11 family members, including six minors, homeless. (Maan
  • Palestinian sentenced to 17 months in prison for Facebook 'incitement' - The resident of the Shuafat refugee camp in E. Jerusalem was convicted Tuesday, a settler website reported. In recent months, Israel has detained scores of Palestinians for social media activity, alleging that a wave of unrest that swept the occupied Palestinian territory in October 2015 was encouraged largely by "incitement." (Maan)
  • Inter-party committee to give recommendations on legislative reform - The Knesset speaker meets with all faction leaders; in response to controversy following proposed changes to private bills and increase governmental oversight, special committee to be set up. (Ynet)
  • Trump's Pick for Israel Envoy Not an Extremist, Jewish Group Tells Senate - David Friedman is not an extremist simply because he opposes the two-state solution, [far right-wing - OH] Orthodox Union urges Senate panel ahead of confirmation hearing. (Haaretz+) 
  • First female soldiers trained for repel and rescue team - After the female fighter pilots, infantry commanders and special ops combatants, female soldiers are breaking another glass ceiling in the IDF: 6 female soldiers were accepted to a prestigious course that will teach them to climb, rappel and rescue both civilians and soldiers and to command and instruct fellow soldiers. (Yedioth/Ynet
  • Ultra-Orthodox Faction Recruits Women in Drive Against Israeli Army Draft - The army's 'disregard for anything connected to religion was terrible,' tells mother of one conscript to thousands of women gathered at conference on the topic. (Haaretz+) 
  • Palestinian teenage girl convicted of 'attempted murder' in Jerusalem court - Malak Muhammad Salman, 17, was convicted for allegedly attempting to stab Israeli officers on Feb. 9, 2016 at the Damascus Gate entrance to occupied East Jerusalem's Old City. (Maan
  • Israeli prosecution accuses 2 Palestinian prisoners of stabbing prison guards - Mahmoud Amir Nasser, 22, was accused of assault. His lawyer said that at least 30 Israeli prison officials raided the section of the prison where Nasser was held, firing sound bombs and using pepper spray on the prisoners, and violently assaulted Nasser. (Maan
  • Netanyahu and the noose: Case closed against student - Jerusalem District Court closes case against Bezalel art student due to lack of culpability two months after a controversial poster lampooning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was displayed on the academy's walls. (Ynet)
  • 102 of Bnei Menashe tribe to immigrate to Israel from India - Members of Bnei Menashe community, who claim descent from one of Israel's 10 lost tribes, will arrive in Israel throughout this week • Bnei Menashe community in Israel numbers some 3,000 people • Aliyah project facilitated by Shavei Israel organization. (Israel Hayom)
  • Attorney General Tells Cops, Welfare Ministry to Finally Solve Problem of Construction Accidents - Between 2011 and 2015, 303 people were killed in work accidents, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit says. (Haaretz+)
  • 2,700-year-old jug found in south helps archaeologists focus digs - A man meets an Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist in an elevator and tells him he has an ancient amphora • Vessel dates from the First Persian Empire • Director of IAA Marine Archaeology Unit Kobi Shavit: Finds from the seabed are relatively rare. (Israel Hayom
  • Holocaust survivor, former Olympic gymnast wins Israel Prize at 96 - Agnes Keleti won 10 Olympic medals in gymnastics after having survived the Holocaust. 'A unique woman, powerful and brilliant,' says prize committee. (Haaretz+) 
  • Israeli forces open fire towards Gaza fishermen - Fishermen told Ma'an that Israeli military ships fired at them off the coast of Beit Lahiya. No injuries were reported. (Maan)
  • Families of Palestinians killed in Gaza war protest at Palestine TV office - The 50-day offensive in the summer of 2014 caused the deaths of 2,251 Palestinians, 1,462 of them civilians, and 72 Israelis, five of them civilians, according to UN documentation. The relatives have been protesting since January against the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) failure to disburse allowances to “martyrs’ families.” (Maan
  • Syrian forces used chemical weapons in final push for Aleppo - Syrian government forces executed at least eight chemical attacks during the final weeks of the battle for Aleppo, killing nine and injuring hundreds more. (Agencies, Ynet)

David Friedman Is Unfit to Serve as U.S. Envoy to Israel (Haaretz Editorial) There's little standing in David Friedman's way to the ambassadorship, but it is to be hoped that just as Trump reevaluated the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, he'll also freeze this miserable appointment.
Crossed a red line: the political majority utilizes its power in an almost unprecedented way (Attorney Sharon Avraham-Weiss, Maariv) One may disagree with the policy of the New Israel Fund, but it seems that decision makers have chosen another another way: instead of dialogue they impose their views. 
After eight years fighting Obama, Netanyahu is looking for victory lap in Trump's White House (Barak Ravid, Haaretz+) Netanyahu will seek to align Jerusalem and Washington as much as possible, and hopes to have Trump push a regional peace plan with Arab world. Also on the agenda: settlement construction and Iran.
Why Israel should accept Fayyad as UN’s Libya envoy (Smadar Perry, Yedioth/Ynet) Instead of thwarting the former Palestinian prime minister’s appointment, Israel could use its good relations with him to enlist his help in the battle against weapon and money shipments to Gaza. 
The Green Line Is Not Sacred (Uri Avnery, Haaretz+) Settlers are trying to conceal the differences between them and us Israelis to eradicate the 1967 border and have Israel annex all the occupied territories. 
"Up in the Air": Trump is not capable of answering the serious questions of Netanyahu (Shmuel Rosner, Maariv) The Prime Minister came to talk with the president on important issues, which have not yet been decided who will take care of them. Our policy is based on the answers given to us, but it is not clear when the Prime Minister will receive a proper answer, if at all. 
What Has Netanyahu Really Got to Offer Trump, the Deal-Making President? (Yishai Schwartz, Haaretz+) The prime minister’s smiles and back-slapping with the president will disguise his deep sense of unease: that the dramatic shifts in American foreign policy leave Israel acutely vulnerable.           
The expected and the unexpected: The resignation of Michael Flynn will resonate in the Trump-Netanyahu meeting (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) The President’s embarrassment will be felt in the meeting of leaders. Ostensibly these are two good friends who awaited the meeting that was supposed to open a new and promising chapter in their relationship. But the host arrives damaged and dishonored.
Flynn's Resignation Is a Blow to Netanyahu - but Could It Be a Blessing for Israel? (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz) Is the loss of Donald Trump's national security adviser a setback for Israel? In the short term, certainly, but in the long term, it depends on whom you ask. 
What Happens When a Tulane Student Queries Jews' 'Whiteness' (Carly Goldberg, Haaretz) When I heard my professor ask 'What's a Jew?' I expected a nuanced discussion of identity and race, not least in today's political climate. I didn't expect to be shut down and worse.
Without intent: The hostages' families must disclose the information known to them (Ran Adelist, Maariv) Facing the argument that "there is now an opportunity to return the bodies of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul” [held by Hamas in Gaza – OH], it is important to understand that not only Hamas rejected Israel's offers, but also Israel rejected Hamas’ offers. A few months ago, the prime minister's representative dealing with hostage issues, Lior Lotan, said Hamas refused Israel's proposals. This is, in my view, an evasive answer. The Israeli government passed a proposal that says that in exchange for the bodies of Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin it will return all the POWs and the bodies it caught in Israel during the operation. Hamas said: "We heard you, and we reiterate our first proposal from the end of the first operation. The ‘prisoners’ that Israel offers to return are Palestinians citizens of the Gaza Strip seized two years ago during the operation (summer 2014) and are being held in Israel as bargaining chips. It’s an injustice and it’s insolent. Hamas, in turn, demands that in return for our bodies, Israel must release the prisoners who were released as part of the Shalit deal and then jailed again by Israel as part of its response to the kidnapping of three youth [Operation Brother’s Keeper]. The prisoners, about 70 in number, are residents of [East] Jerusalem and the West Bank. After they were captured during the operation to get the release of the youth, their original prison sentences were imposed on them again. The government’s reason for refusing is because releasing them will play into Hamas' hands in the struggle between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas for control over the West Bank… 
Trump Will Be the Arbitrator Between Israel's Petty Rivals (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) At the summit, what should be Netanyahu’s strategy regarding settlement lover Naftali Bennett? Either way, Trump gets to control Israeli politics. 
A Shadowy Edict of Israeli Occupation (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) A corollary of Military Edict No. 1933 is that army commanders obey settlers' instructions to prevent Palestinians from reaching their lands.
New Hamas leader: Is the next war with Israel on the horizon? (Yossi Melman, Maariv) Yahya Sonwar and his colleagues in the military wing seek to renew the battle against Israel and they will focus on building Hamas’ military capabilities. But he also knows that he alone cannot decide on the opening of war.  
On Eve of Netanyahu Summit, Will Peace Fans Whitewash Trump? (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) If the new U.S. president pushes a Palestinian deal, Israeli leftists could easily declare him completely kosher.

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