News Nosh 2.16.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday February 16, 2017
 
Quote of the day:
"They [Jewish Americans] hear the words of flattery from the Jewish state’s prime minister, and they start choking."
-Yedioth's top political commentator, Nahum Barnea explained why it made his 'blood boil' when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said, “There is no greater supporter to the Jewish people or the Jewish state than Donald Trump."**


Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • “Two states, one state, whatever you want”
  • Netanyahu: There was never a better friend to Israel in the White House 
  • Our brother, our king // Nahum Barnea
  • A revolutionary day // Ifat Erlich
  • The President is in love // Orly Azoulay
  • He succeeded too much // Sima Kadmon
  • Time for sovereignty // Shlomo Piotrkovsky
  • A new world // Sever Plocker
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
News Summary:
The long-awaited summit between US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was the Hebrew newspapers' story of the day and while the reporters and commentators focused on Trump’s warm welcome of Netanyahu as well as Trump’s Dr. Seuss-like “One state two states, whatever you want” declaration, which the Israeli right-wing celebrated, Israeli commentators did not see eye-to-eye about whether Trump would be ‘good for the (right-wing) Jews’ or not. See Commentary below for the different and interesting takes.
Israel’s right-wing were joyous after the Netanyahu-Trump press conference, saying that the “Palestinian flag has been taken off the flagpole.” The left-wing was pleased with Trump’s call for Netanyahu to restrain settlement construction “for a little while,” which Netanyahu said he would consider, but accused Netanyahu of selling out the country and a possible two-state solution in favor of domestic politics. Netanyahu also asked Trump to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. You can watch the full joint press conference or read the full transcript.
 
Many American Jewish leaders were appalled and frightened by Trump’s statements. Americans for Peace Now spokesman Ori Nir called the press conference “terrifying” and “a squandered opportunity” to “signal to Israelis, Palestinians, Americans and the world a clear commitment to peace.” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said Trump’s evasive response to a question about the spike in anti-Semitic incidents since his presidential campaign, “baffling.” Of those interviewed, it was the leader of the far right-wing ZOA, Morton Klein, who interpreted Trump’s response far more benignly.
 
For their part, the Palestinians of the PLO and Palestinian Authority slammed Trump’s lack of insistence on a two-state solution. The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said Trump’s statements constitute a "dangerous shift" in the American position on the conflict. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas slammed Israel's 'persistence' of imposing facts on the ground with settlement construction and thus 'destroying the two-state option while replacing it with the principle of one state with two systems—Apartheid.' Oddly, the Palestinians heard reassuring messages about the two-state solution in a secret meeting held a day earlier between CIA director Mike Pompeo and Abbas Ramallah.
 
Also, before the meeting, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned against abandoning the two-state solution and Sweden announced the appointment of a special envoy to solve Israel-Palestinian conflict, to which Israel’s Foreign Ministry responded sarcastically. Daily Show host, Trevor Noah made a very funny show about the press conference.

Meanwhile, left-wing members of Knesset held a conference marking ’50 years of occupation’ with interesting statements from those who attended. Muhammad al-Madani, the head of the Palestinian Authority’s Committee for the Israeli Public, addressed the conference via video, and expressed strong support for the two-state solution: "We extend our hand in peace, the time has come to end the occupation." He also warned that the “threats to annex the Territories will spark fire." (Maariv) Israel recently banned al-Madani from entering the country.
 
Quick Hits:
  • Jordan set to play more important role in Middle East - King Abdullah of Jordan was the first Arab leader to meet with US President Trump, while officials in Amman have been speaking to Washington on behalf of the Palestinians, whose overtures Trump has so far rebuffed. (Ynet)
  • Hearing Held for Israeli Arab Lawmaker Suspected of Smuggling Phones to Palestinian Prisoners - Basel Ghattas, of the Joint List party, faces possible charge of terrorism-related offense. (Haaretz+) 
  • What is a Luftwaffe pilot doing on an Israeli stamp? - The image of a Nazi air force officer wasn’t the only gaffe in a series of Israeli stamps marking a century since World War I. (Haaretz)
  • 20th Anniversary of Helicopter Disaster At Memorial, Rivlin Warns of Hezbollah Threat to Israel - Israeli leaders address hundreds of bereaved parents attending the annual memorial at Kibbutz Dafna, near the Lebanese border. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Israeli officers lied to get tickets canceled, internal police probe says - In three cases investigated, senior cops got off with light punishment. (Haaretz
  • Justice Minister Shaked heckled by BDS activists in Vienna - Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked was heckled during a speech before law students at the University of Vienna by BDS activists who accused her and the State of Israel of apartheid. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Aspiring Palestinian Leaders to Vie for Top Spots at Heated Fatah Meet on Wednesday - Leading contender for key post, Marwan Barghouti, is serving life sentence in Israeli jail. (Haaretz+) 
  • Ransom deal to release Israeli in Arab country falling through - Israeli held in Arab state may be forced to face trial that could end in death sentence • Aid group unable to find official to verify ransom deal • Father: Family of deceased does not want compensation • Judge to rule next Friday, father says. (Israel Hayom
  • Maritime activity raging as navy ships in the Mediterranean display their presence - On the backdrop of the Syrian civil war, navy missile boat fighters are finding themselves sea-deep in work facing dozens of warships in the international waters of the Mediterranean. (Ynet
  • Haredi men disrupt flight by refusing to sit next to women - Police arrest ultra-Orthodox men who caused ruckus on EasyJet flight from Tel Aviv by standing in aisles, constantly pressing call button • Meanwhile, Toronto-Tel Aviv flight stops in London to remove woman who punched passenger, choked flight attendant. (Israel Hayom)
  • Ambassador nominee apologizes, as rabbis call for fair hearing - US President Trump's nominee for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, has ruffled the feathers of many liberal leaders within the Jewish community; most notably, he raised objections for calling Obama a 'blatant anti-Semite'; his pending nomination now puts pressure on him to show remorse over such statements. (Ynet)


Features:
"Thanks to Trump": A rare coexistence between Muslims and Jews in New York
The continuing growth of anti-Semitism in the US and the President’s Immigration Order [7 Muslim countries entry ban – OH] are not to be seen in Brooklyn, where Muslims and Jews live side by side. "We don’t know any of any incidents of animosity, we are fortunate." What is the secret of success? (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv Magazine supplement, pp. 8-9)

Commentary/Analysis:
Israel's Honorable President (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) When the right’s screamers cry annexation, the state president tells them there’s only one annexation – the kind that grants full, equal civil rights to all the annexed area’s residents. 
Netanyahu’s unforgivable statement in White House meeting (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) Donald Trump is the person who opened the door to the rise in anti-Semitism in America by making racist comments, by encouraging radical right-wing movements and by refusing to condemn them. This is not the way a great supporter of the Jewish people acts. This is not even the way a small supporter of the Jewish people acts. 
Netanyahu’s Fawning Over Trump Is a Slap in the Face to American Jews (Chaim Landau, Haaretz+) Israel’s government has failed to distinguish between establishing good working relations with the new administration and sycophancy. Progressive Israelis must step in and speak out on behalf of U.S. Jews. 
Netanyahu's High With Trump Portends an Inevitable Fall (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Netanyahu's preferred to curry favor with the new president and his underlings rather than empathize, however faintly, with American Jews. 
Two-state solution looks battered, ragged and ridiculed in an irreversible way (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) Such a warm welcome for an Israeli leader was not seen in Washington for years…(But) after the press conference, the idea of a two-state solution looked irreversibly battered, ragged and ridiculed. “Two states, one state, whatever the sides want.” Thus, in a light tone and half-joking, the US president waved away the two-state solution, which has international consensus and is accepted as a reasonable and attainable solution. 
Trump Is Delusional and Ignorant About Israel. His Meeting With Netanyahu Proved It (Ilene Prusher, Haaretz+) 'So I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like,' Trump said, but finding a deal both sides like is exactly the problem.
Trump’s 'Deal' for the Mideast Sounds More Like Netanyahu’s Wishful Thinking (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Despite Netanyahu's love for his 'newfound Arab partners,' it will take a lot to get Saudi Arabia and its allies to tinker with the Arab Peace Initiative.
The carrot, the stick and the narrative (Giora Eiland, Yedioth/Ynet) The change of governments in Washington and in Gaza is both an opportunity and a need to create a change. Israel should respond to the new government in the strip through a change in policy, rather than by just preparing for an inevitable conflict the old way.
Trump-Netanyahu Meeting: Ignorance, Contradictions and Empty Talk of a Deal (Barak Ravid, Haaretz+) Trump stressed repeatedly he wants a 'deal' for Israel, the Palestinians and Arab states. But it’s hard to understand how all the internal contradictions could be sorted out to realize such a goal.
Israeli Schools' History Lessons Create Good Soldiers (Uri Misgav, Haaretz+) The teaching of history in this country involves indoctrinating pupils with a worldview of the Chosen People, hounded and threatened, at the center of human history. 
A Palestinian state -- good for the US? (Yoram Ettinger, Israel Hayom) A Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria would transform ‎Israel from a security asset into a security burden, denying the U.S. an effective beachhead in an economically and militarily critical area.‎ 
Despite Trump's Statements During Netanyahu Meet, Abbas and Palestinians Get Another Reprieve (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) Trump came and Trump will go, while the Palestinians remain with their demand to be freed of Israeli rule, which for them means military occupation, colonialism, apartheid. 
Hamas' musical chairs (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) Neither Israelis nor Palestinians can expect new tidings from Gaza, certainly not from Yahya Sinwar and his cohort now leading the terrorist organization.
Rivlin, Liberal or Annexationist? (Haaretz Editorial) The only realistic solution, which could end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict justly and morally, is the two-state solution. Any other proposal is a dangerous trap. 
Now Israel's President Also Wants Annexation (Israel Harel, Haaretz+) Sovereignty should be declared over all the territory under Israeli civilian and military control in the West Bank, known as Area C. 
Any bet goes: We are all are far from knowing where Trump wants to go (Ben Caspit, Maariv) The bottom line is that there is nothing about which to congratulate at this stage, nothing to rejoice over. Both on the right and on the left there are reasons for concern. The question is how the US President will respond when the “dream deal” fails - and he will be facing the pieces.
A Wounded Trump Hurts a Wounded Netanyahu. And the Israeli Right Smells Blood (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) Trump believes he's the one man in the world who could forge the 'ultimate deal,' a workable peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians. In their gut of guts, many hardliners fear he may be right.
The Daily Dose of Excitement (Ziva Sternhell, Haaretz+) While the lively gathering certainly added a bit of spice to the news, coverage of the Amona outpost evacuation gave a boost to the popular notion that 'the people' as a whole have swung rightward.
For Netanyahu, Trump’s Flynn storm is deja vu of Clinton and Monica Lewinsky (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) The last time the prime minister met a president preoccupied with Washington scandal, he viewed it as a godsend. 
 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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