News Nosh 11.22.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday November 22, 2017
 
You Must Be Kidding: 
"I say with sincere regret, I have not yet come across the Palestinian Sadat who will declare his desire to end the conflict, who will recognize the State of Israel inside borders, whatever they may be, and support our right to live in peace and security.”
--In a speech at the Knesset, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ignored the numerous statements by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in support for a two-state solution and the Israelis' and Palestinians' rights to live in peace and security.*

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Ranking the hospital emergency rooms
  • Development in ‘Breaking the Silence’ case - Senior person at State Prosecutor’s office: “The case could be re-opened”
  • It’s final: Negev Ceramics factory in Yerucham will be closed, 140 employees will be dismissed
  • Campaign advertisements: the end - Parting from one of the oldest symbols of the election campaigns
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
Russian President Vladimir Putin met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad then spoke on the phone with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, more evidence and denial in the case of the ’Breaking the Silence’ Spokesman and a rejection of a call to fire his ambassador father, and conflicting reports about whether the Palestinian representative office in Washington was still operating and whether the Palestinian diplomats had suspended contact with the US making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Putin held a meeting with Assad Tuesday and a phone conversation with Netanyahu to discuss the political settlement in Syria ahead of his meeting with the leaders of Iran and Turkey today about the future of Syria. It was only the second time Assad left Syria during the seven-year civil war. Maariv reported that according to Western sources, Putin told Assad that the Allawite rule had to end and that he must make a constitution. Afterward, the Kremlin said Putin updated Netanyahu in a 30-minute phone call about the issues along Syria’s southern border. Netanyahu repeated Israeli concerns over Iran’s military presence near the border with Israel. Putin also updated US President Donald Trump about his meeting with Assad and said his meetings today with the Iranians and the Turks were to calms the situation in Syria and advance a political process in the country.

On a full page in Yedioth and front-page of Haaretz the papers reported that Channel 2 News found and interviewed the Palestinian young man from Hebron whom Dean Issacharoff, Spokesman of ‘Breaking the Silence,’ claimed he had beaten two years ago. Faisal al-Natche confirmed he was beaten by soldiers but said he wouldn’t be able to recognize by whom. As a result of the interview, a senior official in the State Prosecutor’s Office told Yedioth that it’s likely the police probe over whether Issacharoff had really assaulted a Palestinian in Hebron or not, would be re-opened. But Yedioth commentator Yoaz Hendel noted that the details between Issacharoff’s testimony and al-Natche’s interview did not exactly match up. Al-Natche said he was beaten by a number of masked soldiers, while Issacharoff said he had alone beaten Al-Natche till he was unconscious. A sergeant who commanded Issacharoff, called the whole thing a big lie. Haaretz’s Judy Maltz explained “How Israel Is Trying to Break Breaking the Silence – and How It Could Backfire.” After Israel Hayom reported yesterday that Issacharoff's father is the Israeli Ambassador to Germany and like other ambassadors he was instructed to take steps against Breaking the Silence, today it reported, (but didn't translate to English) that numerous people (right-wing) called for the ambassador's dismissal, but that the call was rejected. In a Twitter post, Amb. Jeremy Issacharoff called on Israeli ministers to stop inciting against his son, for which the neo-fascist right-wing group, Im Tirtzu, tried to get him fired. Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely opposed such a move saying he an "excellent man of values" and a division needed to be made (by the public) between his diplomatic work and his son's "problematic" work.

After Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ordered Palestinians to stop contacts with US officials Tuesday, following the US threat that it would close the Palestinian mission in Washington, D.C. if the Palestinians didn’t drop their plan to sue Israel at The Hague Criminal Court, it wasn't clear who the Palestinians were talking with. Israel Hayom reported that only contacts with lower level Palestinian officials stopped and Haaretz+ reported that only contacts with lower level Palestinian officials continued. Top Palestinian diplomat Saeb Erekat said the US move was the result of “pressure by the Netanyahu government at a time when we are trying to cooperate to achieve ‘the ultimate deal.’” And Palestinian Ambassador to the US, Riyad al-Maliki, said that the Trump Administration is reconsidering its move to close the PLO Mission in D.C. Maan reported that after the PLO halted ties with the US two days ago, the Arab League stepped in to try to salvage the peace process and resume US-led peace negotiations.

**Meanwhile, at a special Knesset session dedicated to the anniversary of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat's historic visit to Israel in 1979, which almost no Knesset members attended, Netanyahu said he lamented not finding a ‘Palestinian Sadat' on 40-year anniversary of Egyptian leader's visit: "I say with sincere regret, I have not yet come across the Palestinian Sadat who will declare his desire to end the conflict, who will recognize the State of Israel inside borders, whatever they may be, and support our right to live in peace and security.” The statement is odd in light of Abbas’ numerous declarations of hope for a two-state solution, most recently at the UN General Assembly in September. Indeed, Abbas has even asked the Trump Administration for clarification that it supports a two-state solution.
 
Quick Hits:
  • (Likud) MK Amsalem argues recommendations bill 'is for the public' - As MK David Amsalem defends bill that would forbid police from recommending indictments; State Attorney lists 'terrible' implications, suggests shifting bill's focus to publication of recommendations. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • State Prosecutor Slams Bill That Would Jail Journalists for Publishing Material From Police Probes - Shai Nitzan says the bill, which seeks to prevent the police from making their recommendations public, would 'tie our hands behind our backs.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Israel Watchdog Suspects Settlement Body of Illegally Funding NGOs Connected to Far-right Lawmaker - The State comptroller report found settlement body Mateh Binyamin Regional Council funded right-wing settler groups tied to Bezalel Smotrich. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Army Reprimands Two Commanders as Part of Investigation Into Lethal West Bank Shooting - A Palestinian man was killed and his sister wounded after soldiers opened fire on their vehicle in October. Military police are currently investigating the shooting. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel Arrests 10 men and 5 women in East Jerusalem for Conducting Polls on Palestinian Authority's Behalf - Overnight raids part of Israel policy barring Palestinian Authority activities in East Jerusalem. (Haaretz and Maan)
  • PM, police chief attend inauguration of Jisr az-Zarqa, Kafr Kanna police stations amid criticism - PM Netanyahu inaugurated police stations in Jisr az-Zarqa (one of poorest Arab towns in Israel) and in Kafr Kanna with Commissioner Alsheikh, Public Security Minister Erdan. In a flurry of criticism, locals accused the move as purely cosmetic. Netanyahu said success depends on 'business development, law enforcement', promised to assist Israeli Arabs 'crying out for change'; local residents said similar move failed in other Arab towns, demanded commitment from police to eradicate crime.  (Ynet)
  • Board rejects Hamas release plea, citing Goldin and Shaul - Parole board throws out request by security prisoner, saying that given Hamas's refusal to hand over remains of Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, granting early release ‘would harm public confidence in judicial system.’ (Ynet)
  • Report: 84% of Sex-crime Cases in Israel Get Closed, Usually for Lack of Evidence - Head of Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel, which issued report, says it shows ‘gloomy picture’ of prosecutors’ handling of problem. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • Day after she complained about sexual harassment, she was dismissed from the Dimona Municipality - Nine city council members voted to remove Ilana Azoulay from her position, four opposed, and one (female) abstained. During the hearing she argued: "The mayor is not worthy of his job.” (Maariv)
  • Bank of Israel: Arab Citizens of Israel, 21% of the Population, Hold Only 2% of Mortgages - Israel's central bank cites problems in Arab towns like disorderly land registries and difficulty repossessing homes as the main barriers to getting mortgages. (Haaretz)
  • Former Israeli Tourism Minister Sentenced to 15 Months in Jail - Stas Misezhnikov of party Yisrael Beiteinu was convicted of funding a college festival in return for a job for his girlfriend. (Haaretz+)
  • Oren Hazan explains his (turnaround) support for the president: "To protect Azaria is the sanctification of the name, but without incitement" - A Likud MK who called on Rivlin to go home was photographed the next day with a banner in support of him. MK Ben-Ari: "A little pathetic." Hazan: "I'm not comfortable with the picture of the kaffiyeh." (Maariv)
  • AEPi, the 'Jewish frat' with close ties to GOP donors, coming to an Israeli campus near you - AEPi, officially apolitical but a member of the Jewish Conference of Presidents organization that receives frequent donations from Sheldon Adelson, just opened a full-fledged chapter at Tel Aviv University. (Haaretz+)
  • IDF Oketz canine commando unit holds week-long drill - With intelligence estimates pointing to the Palestinian arena as being a hotbed of threats that risk a major escalation, IDF’s canine unit called in for surprise week-long drill simulating missions to locate MIAs, finding explosives and countering terror attacks in Gaza, West Bank. (Ynet)
  • Waze didn’t work: A 66-year-old woman from Kiryat Ono was rescued from Palestinian territory - Rachel Meitlis returned from a family visit in Samaria (northern West Bank), and after her internet cellular network stopped working, she found herself in the middle of Bidiya village. Due to fear of her life, armored cars entered to rescue her. "I was afraid I would not come home.” (Maariv)
  • Come Into the BDS Light': Roger Waters and Brian Eno Rip Nick Cave Over Israel Concert - 'This isn’t about music, it’s about human rights,' Waters writes after Nick Cave says BDS is what brought him to Israel. (Haaretz)
  • Burn Bird Poop Instead of Coal to Save the Planet, Israeli Scientists Propose - Perhaps Donald Trump and alternative fuel buffs should consider retraining coal miners as turkey farmers. (Haaretz)
  • Palestinian Reconciliation Hangs in the Balance as Hamas, Fatah Meet in Egypt - Talks between Hamas and Fatah will continue in Egypt on Wednesday in an effort to reach agreement on implementing the next phases of their reconciliation deal. A long road lies ahead for the reconciliation deal as key issues remain unsolved and both sides accuse each other of evasion. (Haaretz+ and Maan)
  • Save the Children: Rights of Palestinian children being eroded in West Bank - “Distance, risky roads, the presence of settlers or of military checkpoints had presented insurmountable challenges for many children to reach the nearest schools,” said Jennifer Moorehead, country director of Save the Children in the occupied Palestinian territory. (Maan)
  • Russia Praises Resignation of Saudi-backed Syrian Opposition Leader - 'The retreat of radically minded opposition figures from playing the main role will make it possible to unite this motley opposition - internal and external,' said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Lebanon's Army Chief Urges 'Full Readiness' on Israeli Border, Citing 'Enemy's Threats' - The head of Lebanon's army says troops ready to 'preserve stability' against Israeli 'violations'; Israeli official calls threat 'nonsense.’ (Haaretz)
  • Hariri Returns to Lebanon for First Time Since Surprise Resignation - Two weeks after resigning from office on Saudi TV, Hariri said he would 'declare my political stance' back in Lebanon for its Independence Day. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran's Rohani Slams 'Worn-out' Arab League After Accusing Hezbollah of Terrorism - Iran's Rohani says ISIS is over, lashes out at Arab League for supporting Saudis in proxy war in Yemen, where Iran-backed rebels fired on Riyadh. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Rouhani warns Mideast countries to not 'fall for Israel's trap' - Iranian President Rouhani cautions Middle-Eastern countries from 'falling for Israel's trap'; on Hezbollah, Rouhani says organization's role is to 'defend Lebanese people', that its weapons are for 'defensive purposes only.' (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Saudi Arabia claims it was hit with cyber espionage attack that also targeted Israel - Saudi's cyber officials say that they are among five Middle Eastern countries targeted in cyberattack attributed to 'MuddyWater' group. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Features:
‘West Bank lands mean liberation’: Post-Six Day War cabinet minutes released
Transcripts of cabinet meetings held immediately after Israel’s great military victory in 1967 focus on the country’s changed borders. Jordan claimed Western Wall belonged to Waqf, Foreign Minister Abba Eban voiced his concern for Jews living in Arab states, and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan offered a correct forecast for 1973 Yom Kippur War, saying ‘I don’t believe the Arabs will accept the current ceasefire lines.’ (Itamar Eichner, Amihai Attali and Goel Beno in Yedioth/Ynet)
Former Israeli Parliamentarian Says Homegrown Companies Can Help Build Saudi Future City Neom
Over the last decade, intelligence and commercial ties between Israel and the Gulf countries have been on the rise, a result of a perceived mutual interest in limiting Iran's influence. Israeli former parliament member Erel Margalit participated in a regional conference in Qatar last week. (Orr Hirschauge, Calcalist/Yedioth)

Commentary/Analysis:
To Whitewash Occupation, Netanyahu Crew Casts Breaking the Silence Whistle-blower as Bogeyman (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Right-wing sadists harass Israeli Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff to act against his own son.
Under the auspices of Trump's peace plan, the government threatens to return us to Lebanon (Ran Adelist, Maariv) We will return to the Lebanese mud to provide the Saudis with a picture of victory after they failed in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and Iraq. The hope is that the army will not be dragged into the politicians' trap.
Israeli left should note history: When you try to appease the right, you lose (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) Israel already has more than enough political parties who have set themselves the goal of scorning humanistic values, debasing democracy and abusing minorities with pseudo-patriotic justifications – which is nothing but pure and disgusting racism.
This Is Netanyahu's Dying Israel. Where the Doctor Is the Disease (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) The rabid incitement against president Rivlin was the worst since the eve of the Rabin murder. But the meaning of Netanyahu's grin was clear: This is not hate speech, it's simply evidence of a healthy democracy.
Netanyahu, who has become a heavy burden on the nationalist camp, has to go (Nadav Haetzni, Maariv) Even in a glorious political career you have to know when to say enough. From the desperate steps that the Prime Minister may take to try to save his skin are dangers that require him to leave the stage.
Israel Wants a Führer, Not a President (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) This country needs a Robert Mugabe, a Rodrigo Duterte, not a president like Reuven Rivlin who prattles about democracy and dares refuse to pardon a convicted killer in uniform.
Why Trump’s Mideast peace plan is doomed (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) The truth must be told: Regardless of the new initiative's parameters, it won’t lead to an agreement. On the contrary, it will hinder the chances for an arrangement, because no matter what the US president offers the Palestinians, their answer is predetermined. They will say no.
Israeli Academia’s Real Problem (Vardit Gilor, Haaretz+) There’s no shortage of women with advanced degrees, but the number of Israeli Arab women with doctorates is far below their representation in the population, and that hurts the whole country.
The Problem With Zionism: Israel Was Born in the Holy Land, Not Uganda (Kobi Niv, Haaretz+) The adoption of Judaism by secular politicians is neither cheap election pandering nor spiritual embrace of religion. It's the result of Zionism's inherent flaw.
The cancellation of the huge deal with India would seriously damage the relations between the two countries (Yossi Melman, Maariv) Although the announcement that Rafael Company would supply anti-tank missiles to the Indian army caused quite a few eyebrows to raise, the announcement of the cancellation surprised the Israelis. But there seems to be no smoke without fire.
Labor Party's Support of Deportation, Imprisonment of Asylum Seekers Cheapens the Israeli Opposition (Haaretz Editorial) Avi Gabbay's odious attempts to include non-traditional Labor voters alienate him from the values that justify a legitimate opposition in the first place.
Palestinians in Gaza Suffer Enough Without Being Defamed as Sexual Deviants and Mentally Ill (Brian K. Barber, Haaretz) ‘Rampant sexual abuse, drugs and despair’, as a recent Haaretz article claimed? Not in the Gaza we know. Gazans have outlived all predictions that they would break as individuals and as a society.
 
Interviews:
Tel Aviv's mayor pans Prime Minister's 'power-drunk' conduct
Speaking in a special interview with Yedioth Ahronoth, Ron Huldai decries Netanyahu's 'sourpuss speech' as 'vulgar, made by a government that thrives on inciting one sector against another, and by a person in distress who can't manage to maintain any stateliness.' (Interviewed by Amira Lam in Yedioth ‘7 Days’ Magazine/Ynet)

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