News Nosh 5.17.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday May 17, 2017
 
Quote of the day:
“If there is no indictment, I will go public and tell everything."
--Former defense minister Moshe Yaalon implicated Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in 'Case 3000', the submarine corruption affair.*


Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • “US has no demand to freeze settlements”
  • Preparations for President Trump’s visit at their peak; Won’t give speech at Masada – rather at Israel Museum; Will visit Wailing Wall alone
  • State Comptroller: Minister Ariel transferred millions of shekels of public funds to his associates
  • Horror in Jerusalem – they murdered their neighbor and dismembered his corpse
  • Hadassah Hospital demands: Impose an injunction against resignations of doctors
News Summary:
US officials said that Trump leaked to Russia secret intelligence, provided by Israel, Gulf States reportedly offered Israel unprecedented steps to improve relations in return for halting settlement construction and Minister Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) invested in central Israel millions of shekels that were earmarked for the periphery through his associates who he appointed to key positions - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also in the news, former defense minister Moshe Yaalon accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of corruption involving the submarine affair, ‘Case 3000,’ and threatened to go public 'with everything' if an indictment were not filed against the Prime Minister.
 
Defending his leak of top secret intel to the Russians, Trump said he had the “absolute right to do so.” But US officials said that the intel Trump leaked puts a spy planted by Israel inside ISIS in danger. It was that spy who supplied the intelligence that led to the US 'laptop ban,’ according to ABC News. Haaretz+’s Amir Tibon noted that the Trump leak was not the first time the U.S. divulged 'Israeli' intel.
 
Other Trump-related news:
*In a scathing TV interview on Channel 2 with Lior Dayan, former defense minister Yaalon implicated Netanyahu in the submarine corruption affair, which is currently being investigated by the police. "I knew about previous prime ministers who were corrupt," said Ya'alon. "Here, I heard gossip about conduct, and it wasn't really interesting. But the disregarding of priorities by a prime minister who prefers a favor, or money, over the interests of the state—that for me was a crisis." Dayan was surprised by his answer and asked whether Yaalon thought that Netanyahu and attorney David Shimron, who is Netanyahu's cousin and personal attorney and who represents the representative of the Thyssenkrup Corporation, were involved in the affair. Yaalon replied: "I have no doubt that Netanyahu and Shimron are involved in the matter. The entire matter of the ships and the shipyard is polluted. Interests outweighed the good of the State of Israel." Afterward he was asked what he would do if there were no indictment: “If there is no indictment, I will go public and tell everything." From Netanyahu’s office the response given was: "This is nonsense, and his gross lies will soon become apparent. Needless to say, the Ministry of Justice issued an official statement, according to the State Attorney and the Attorney General, that the prime minister is not a suspect in Case 3000. It would have been better for Bogey (Yaalon) to look for other ways to pass the threshold [to enter the Knesset)." (Maariv)
 
Quick Hits:
  • Israel's anti-BDS Ministry Pushes to Keep Its Activities Secret - Draft legislation meant to ensure the confidentiality of the Strategic Affairs Ministry's activities against the BDS movement, also those carried out through non-governmental groups on campuses abroad. (Haaretz+) 
  • Palestinians in Gaza mourn fisherman 'killed in cold blood' by Israeli forces - Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip took part in the funeral march on Tuesday for 26-year-old Muhammad Majed Bakr, an unarmed fisherman who was fatally shot by Israeli naval forces the previous day while sailing off the coast of northern Gaza. (Maan)
  • Palestinian hunger strikers to be moved to hospital in central Israel - Decision to move Palestinian security prisoners to geriatric care facility in central Israel stems from security considerations and the desire to keep prisoners from disrupting care at government hospitals • Residents blast plan, organize protest. (Israel Hayom)
  • Barghouthi to stop drinking water as Israel fails to respond to hunger strike's demands - As the mass “Freedom and Dignity” hunger strike in Israeli prisons entered its 30th day on Tuesday, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs announced that leader of the strike Marwan Barghouthi will stop drinking water in response to Israel’s continued refusal to respond to the hunger strikers’ demands. (Maan
  • Activists block West Bank roads calling for increased support of hunger strikers - Dozens of angry youth were able to close the road leading from Nablus to the cities of Tulkarem and Qalqiliya with rocks and burning tires for more than two hours. Israeli forces arrived to the area, fired dozens of stun grenades at youths, and detained an unspecified number of Palestinians including mayor of the village of Burqa Sami Daghlas, witnesses said. (Maan
  • ICRC: 'Crisis is looming' in Gaza amid ongoing fuel and power shortages - The ICRC said a “crisis is looming,” with the lack of power and fuel “endangering essential services including healthcare, wastewater treatment and water provision.” (Maan
  • Video: Islamic Jihad warns Israel not to 'test the resistance' - The video, which is titled “Do not test the resistance,” shows Islamic Jihad fighters preparing to shoot Nitzan Alon, an Israeli army general, while other fighters also work on setting up missiles and traveling through tunnels constructed in the besieged Gaza Strip and into Israel. (Maan)
  • Presenting credentials, Amb. Friedman pledges to renew Israel-US ties - In a ceremony marking his official inauguration as US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman highlights Jewish connection to Jerusalem since ‘the times of King David’ and said, “I am so grateful to President Trump for giving me the opportunity, for having confidence in my abilities, and most importantly for sending me off this past week with the unequivocal and unambiguous mandate to support the State of Israel in every way, and in all ways." (Ynet and Haaretz+)
  • Israelis set up new illegal outpost in northern Jordan Valley - Settlers set up mobile homes and solar panels in the area where the village of Khirbet al-Sweida once stood in the northern Jordan Valley. (Maan)
  • Footage: the assassin who killed senior Hamas figure leaves the scene - Hamas held a press conference in which it presented a photograph allegedly incriminating Ashraf Abu Laila in the assassination of senior Hamas figure Mazen Fukha in the Gaza Strip. (Ynet
  • Hamas: Three suspects confessed to killing top commander on Israel's orders - In a Hamas video, one of the detainees says he 'fired six bullets at him [the Hamas chief] and ran off in an escape route determined by the Israeli operator'. (Haaretz
  • Israel returns body of slain teenage girl to family in Ramallah - Israeli authorities returned the slain body of 16-year-old Fatima Hjeiji to her family in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah on Tuesday, after the teenager was shot and killed by Israeli forces earlier in the month under disputed circumstances. (Maan
  • Israel once again delays decision on releasing bodies of 5 slain Palestinians - The Israeli High Court has once again granted Israel’s general prosecution more time to provide justification for continuing to detain the bodies of five Hamas-affiliated Palestinians who died while carrying out attacks on Israelis. (Maan
  • Thousands of Palestinians commemorate Nakba Day in West Bank, Gaza on Sunday - Every May 15, commemorations recall the Nakba, during which hundreds of Palestinians were killed by Zionist militias and more than 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their lands in 1948 and scattered across refugee camps in the occupied West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and neighboring countries. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces suppress Nakba day rallies in Bethlehem, Ramallah - Witnesses told Ma’an the Israeli forces were deliberately launching tear gas canisters directly at demonstrators on the main street in northern Bethlehem where the march culminated, and continued to shoot tear gas at those attempting the escape, causing numerous people to suffer from tear gas suffocation. (Maan
  • Australians hold Nakba day, prisoner solidarity march in Sydney - The march, which was also held in support of some 1,300 Palestinian prisoners who entered their 30th day of mass hunger strike on Tuesday, drew a large crowd of people, including politicians, parliament members, activists, and diaspora Palestinians. (Maan
  • Fatah maintains majority in local councils by going largely uncontested - While approximately 65 percents of seats up for grabs during Saturday’s election went to registered or independent lists in 145 municipalities, another 181 villages and towns mainly saw Fatah lists run unopposed. (Maan
  • Israelis Charged With Planning Terrorist Attack on Soldiers - Investigation reveals that a terror cell planned to carry out an attack against IDF soldiers in the Negev as revenge for Israel’s decision to outlaw the northern branch of the Islamic Movement; plotters monitored soldiers’ travel patterns in the area, acquired machine guns and remote bomb-detonating devices. (Haaretz+ and Ynet
  • Comptroller finds 77% of Haredim asking not to serve receive mental exemption, while medical treatment for soldiers is delayed - While examining the IDF practices in regard to potential recruits and current soldiers, State Comptroller Shapira discovers long waiting lines before treatment, sweeping exemptions for the ultra-Orthodox and unsatisfactory minefield clearing. (Ynet)
  • Report highlights effects of settlement freeze on Jerusalem population - Only 639 homes built for Jews in east Jerusalem between 2012 and 2016. Jewish majority in city smaller than believed. Over the last 50 years, Jerusalem's Jewish population has grown by 174% while Arab population has grown by 374%, research finds. [NOTE: This is a very skewed report on housing. - OH] (Israel Hayom
  • Report: Israel sentences man to 14 years for spying for Syria - Syrian media reports Sudki al-Maqat—who previously served 27 years for espionage—is sentenced to 14 years after being convicted of providing intelligence information to Syria on IDF activities near the northern border. (Ynet)
  • Israel employs untrained local staff in diplomatic roles abroad, harming its foreign relations - Israel's comptroller finds missions are hiring locals to take on tasks normally reserved for envoys, despite Foreign Ministry claims to the contrary, with damaging results. (Haaretz)
  • Former Israeli soccer players seen as bridge - recruited to improve trade relations with Turkey - A delegation of 100 Turkish businessmen made a first visit to the israeli Federation of Chambers of Commerce. Two Israeli soccer players who played on Turkish teams, Haim Revivo and Pini Balili, were recruited to attend events due to their popularity in Turkey. (Maariv, p. 18 and 'Sponser Hebrew' and Ynet Hebrew)
  • Doctors from Wolfson Hospital implanted a valve in the heart of a child from Iraq - Nine-year-old Marwan fled from Damascus to Wolfson, where he was treated by a pair of doctors, an Israeli and a German, who are working to save the lives of children with heart problems in Third World countries. (Maariv)
  • Globetrotter sets Guinness record after Israel relents and allows him to visit - The visit by Dustin Pfundheller, 31, has earned him a world record as the youngest person to visit every country in the world. (Haaretz+)
  • Mini Israel comes to Manhattan - Israeli entrepreneur brings the large-scale, miniature model of Jerusalem and other world cities to the heart of Manhattan; models part of project called 'Gulliver's Gate' and hopes to attract a million visitors a year. (Ynet
  • Airstrikes on ISIS in Syria kill 30, mostly civilians - More than a dozen children said to be among the dead after airstrikes believed to be carried out by U.S. coalition planes. (Haaretz
  • Israeli minister: ‘The time has come’ to kill Bashar Assad - Yoav Galant says revelation the Syrian president is executing prisoners and burning their bodies ‘crosses a red line.' (Times of Israel)
  • Iranian Reformist Drops Out of Election, Supports President Rouhani - Move expected to strengthen incumbent's campaign in election viewed as a referendum on the nuclear deal struck with world powers. (Haaretz
  • Vying to Stay in Power, Iran’s President Makes Bid for Reformist Vote - Hassan Rohani has lashed out at his three conservative rivals ahead of Friday’s election, criticizing the Revolutionary Guard and accusing one candidate of executing people. (Haaretz+)
  • Saudi king touts Trump's Islamic summit as 'new partnership' - Saudi Arabia invites dozens of heads of state to summit during U.S. President Donald Trump's first presidential visit to the Middle East. Trump and King Salman will hold talks intended to ease relations that grew strained under Obama administration. (Israel Hayom
  • Old anti-Semitic conspiracies fuel demonization of George Soros - Since migrants and refugees began flooding into Europe, nationalists across the continent have increasingly accused Holocaust survivor and billionaire George Soros of using his money to enforce his own liberal values, including support for refugees. (Israel Hayom


Features:
At Mideast's Particle Accelerator, Israeli and Iranian Scientists Rub Shoulders
Decades in the making, the SESAME particle accelerator project – ‘a kind of giant x-ray machine,’ says the Israeli scientist who’s helped to spearhead it – is being inaugurated in Jordan. (Ido Efrati, Haaretz+)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
Yes to the Initiative (Haaretz Editorial) Israel should accept the Gulf states’ proposal that envisions a construction freeze outside the settlement blocs. 
The Wall, the Embassy and Now the Intel: What Else Can Go Wrong Ahead of Trump's Israel Visit? (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+) Trump administration's flip flops, stumbles, and sins could present an opportunity for Netanyahu in his time of need. 
On the eve of his visit to Israel: President Trump arrives in a bitter and injured (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) A moment before his arrival in Israel, the US leader felt anger and a desire to avenge the criticism of him for the dismissal of the FBI director. We, too, need to be careful of the  shock surgeons of his mood also need to be careful of the blast waves of his mood. 
A New Palestinian Generation (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) Nakba Day, which was observed this week, marks the 69th year of the Palestinian nation’s disaster, but also of its dignity, capabilities and strength. 
Almost 40 years of Likud rule: What else has to happen? (Amnon Abramovich, Yedioth/Ynet) All Likud leaders—in fact, all prime ministers apart from Benjamin Netanyahu—were guided by two principles: that the state is more important than me and my family members; and that nationality comes before the party. 
The Gulf nations offer a deal Israel's gonna refuse (David Rosenberg, Haaretz) The sheikhdoms aren't even forcing peace down Israel's throat, but offer normalization in exchange for a settlement freeze. But can you imagine Israel doing anything the settlers oppose. 
Why Religious Zionism Is Growing Darker (Tomer Persico, Haaretz+) Certain people in this camp, Betzalel Smotrich among them, turn to Jewish identity and use a mythic narrative to enlist support for anti-liberal ideas. 
Adding fuel to Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) Instead of showing Marwan Barghouti the video in which he was caught eating and demanding his cooperation, or making sure it reached his enemies in the PA, Public Security Minister Erdan chose to release the footage and gain a few more right-wing votes. 
Trump's visit to Israel - the messiah isn't coming (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) It's hard to digest the Israeli left's newfound enthusiasm for President Trump, even if one accounts for the pleasure of watching Netanyahu squirm. 
Trump’s Leak of Israeli Secrets Threatens an Intimate Intelligence Relationship (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Israeli officers now know that the commander-in-chief of their American counterparts is clearly compromised.
Dangerous amateurism: Trump probably did not act maliciously, but damage was caused (Yossi Melman, Maariv) The classified intelligence the President transmitted to Russia about ISIS, which reports say came from Israel, could reach Iran and Hezbollah - and endanger operations. In the defense establishment, they are moving away from issue like from fire. 
Can We Now Please Dispense With the Notion That Trump Is 'Good for Israel'? (Asher Schechter, Haaretz+) It’s time to face the facts: Pro-Israel, pro-settlements right wingers have been duped. 
Background noise and true celebration (Dr. Gabi Avital, Israel Hayom) Why is the media manufacturing problems and controversies over U.S. President Donald Trump's upcoming visit to Israel?
Trump's Russian Intel Leak Is the Last Thing Netanyahu Needs (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Trump's negligent revelation of an ally's intelligence on ISIS to Russia raises concern about three kinds of damage. 
Russians Are Having a Field Day With Trump's Intel Leak Bombshell (Amie Ferris-Rotman, Haaretz) Like the firing of FBI's Comey or the flaunting of Russian hacking, Trump’s shock announcement that he gave the Russians classified information is yet another Russian 'win' in the Cold War reprise that's unfolding.
Peace process kabuki (Richard Baehr, Israel Hayom) Despite renewed hope for success in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, there is no evidence of overlapping sets ‎of minimally acceptable positions between the two sides. 
We Israeli women call on Trump: Help end our endless wars (Anat Saragusti, Haaretz) You’ll be meeting our leaders, the men who run our lives and decide whether to embark on yet more violence. We ask you to listen to Israel’s women, we who pay the price of the bloodshed.
 
Interviews:
Livni ahead of Trump's visit: 'Netanyahu and Bennett deal in illusions'
Next week's visit by the US president pushes the opposition on the right to renew the diplomatic negotiations and the demand to transfer the embassy to Jerusalem; 'Netanyahu and Bennett are selling to the public delusional things that will never materialize," Livni told Ynet. (Interviewed by Attila Somfalvi, Ynet)

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