News Nosh 12.6.17

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday December 6, 2017
 
Quote of the day:
"But there is a high risk that the recognition, logical and justified as it is, will spark - if it is done unilaterally and not part of an agreement - waves of violence across the world. People will be killed. Is this something that is justified? Not certain."
--Yedioth columnist Aviad Kleinberg on the expected unilateral declaration by US President Donald Trump that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Trump alert - US President expected to officially declare tonight: “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel”
  • The Al-Aqsa catch // Alex Fishman
  • Trump’s logic // Shlomo Pyotrakovsky
  • Jerusalem theater // Yoav Frumer
  • Building on discrimination - Housing project being sold to Ashkenazis ‘happily’ but to Mizrachim ‘there’s a limit’
  • Blue and white Amazon - Israeli brain behind revolutionary lock that allows delivery person to enter your house when you’re not there
  • Meet the (first) female tankists
  • Exclusive: Good news for women giving birth: Ultrasound for fetus during labor
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Eyes look to Jerusalem - Ahead of historic move: Trump told regional leaders - the embassy will be moved to Jerusalem; Palestinians are in diplomatic battle to stop it; Fear of riots
  • Moving the embassy - an American interest // Yoram Ettinger
  • A decision that could create an opening for peace // Haim Shine
  • (The first) Female tankists
  • Police investigator who called to demonstrate against the Prime Minister was dismissed; “She harmed trust”
  • Second attack in 72 hours: “Israel again bombed in Syria”
  • (Coalition whip) Bitan will be questioned again today; Appealed against his interrogators: “They are providing leaks, they must let me be interviewed”
  • Avri (Gilad), you have nothing to apologize for // Dror Eydar

News Summary:
Israel and the world brace for the fallout after US President Donald Trump told the Palestinian and Jordanian leaders that today he will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and eventually move the embassy, coalition whip under investigation for corruption MK David Bitan asked for permission to be interviewed about the case and accused the police of leaks, while at the Knesset a fist-fight broke out between two handicapped people, who came to speak about raising stipends. What barely made news and normally would have been front page was that Israel reportedly made a second strike on an Assad regime military target in Syria.
 
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas confirmed that Trump told him (as he told Jordan’s King Abdullah and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu) that he intends to transfer the US embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem, but not immediately, however he will declare today that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel (although moving the US embassy to Jerusalem only requires a new sign on the Jerusalem consulate building, city officials say). Trump's declaration and the embassy move are controversial because it is unilateral and made in favor of one side without both sides reaching an agreement on the subject. (Haaretz prepared a Jerusalem for Dummies: Why the World Doesn’t Recognize It as Israel’s Capital and why doing so now is stressing out half the world.) The Palestinians said it will destroy the chance for peace, it could spark another intifada, and the US will lose its credibility as a mediator. The Palestinians have declared three ‘Days of Rage’ for protest rallies. Abbas’s diplomatic advisor, Nabil Shaath, said the declaration “removes any chance (Trump) will play a role in an agreement. There is no deal that begins with the destruction of the two-state solution." Others warned of violence that could breakout. The US has issued a travel warning for Jerusalem's Old City and the West Bank. European leaders told Trump to avoid a unilateral decision. Germany urged the US not to do it, calling it 'counterproductive.’ Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan threatened to cut ties with Israel if the Trump declaration is made, saying that Jerusalem was a ‘red line’ for Muslims. Israel responded saying that Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital for 3,000 years.
 
Quick Hits:
  • Survey: Most Israelis Agree With Top Diplomat Hotovely's View on U.S. Jews' So-called Cushy Lives - Calls from abroad to oust Israel's deputy foreign minister for disparaging remarks not echoed in poll by Israel Democracy Institute. 51 percent of Israeli Jews “strongly” or “moderately” concur with Hotovely, who accused American Jews of not sending their children "to fight for their country" and of living “convenient lives” that prevent them from understanding the hardships Israelis regularly face. (Haaretz+)
  • Likud lawmaker admits: Police silencing bill was just for Netanyahu - Miki Zohar says his party colleagues 'made a mistake in not saying from the very beginning that this bill protects' the prime minister. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel Police Investigations Into Netanyahu Ally Bitan Puts State Budget in Danger, Treasury Officials Say - The absence of Likud MK and coalition whip David Bitan due to ongoing fraud and money laundering investigations would prove problematic for the 2019 budget, Finance Ministry officials say. (Haaretz)
  • Gabbay slams Likud over mounting corruption scandals - Following the surge of recent allegations, investigations and indictments against members of the Likud, Zionist Union Chairman Avi Gabbay lambastes the right-wing party for what he claims is systematic corruption exemplified and encouraged by Prime Minister Netanyahu. (Ynet)
  • South's residents wary as IDF increases activity near Gaza border - "I see a lot of bustle; it's very clear to us that something is going on in the area, Military Police are preventing access [to certain places]," says one resident near border • Many residents still fear the tunnel issue will eventually lead to disaster. (Israel Hayom)
  • ‘How Israel turned the West Bank into its garbage dump’ - A new report from B’Tselem details how Israel has exploited the legal regime in the West Bank, trucking in hazardous waste to be processed in the occupied territory. (+972mag)
  • Israeli forces detain 17 Palestinians, mother and children, during overnight raids - Israeli forces conducted 147 search and arrest operations across the West Bank between November 7 and November 20. (Maan)
  • Israel orders demolition of Palestinian structures in Qalqiliya-area villages - Israeli authorities reportedly ordered on Tuesday that 17 Palestinians in the Qalqiliya district of the northern occupied West Bank destroy structures that they had built on their (own) lands. (Maan)
  • Israeli court rules in favor of early release for 2 Palestinian prisoners - The Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said in a statement that the two prisoners, Ahmad Ammar Salameh and Ahmad Adel Hazahzeh, were granted an early release by the court. (Maan)
  • Five Palestinian workers injured after ceiling collapse in Israeli settlement - Tens of thousands of Palestinian workers are forced to seek a living by working inside Israel and in illegal Israeli settlements due to crippling unemployment in  West Bank, as growth of independent Palestinian economy has been stifled under the ongoing Israeli military occupation. (Maan)
  • Israel's Glaring Welfare Gap: Recipients in Wealthier Towns Receive Three Times as Much Money - New research indicates that the yawning gap between how much richer and poorer towns spend on welfare only serves to exacerbate social inequality. (Haaretz)
  • Talks Over Voluntary Evacuation of Bedouin Village Break Down - Under the plan residents of Umm al-Hiran were to be housed in temporary accommodation for 15 years, followed by a permanent move to the town of Hura, both of which they were unable to abide. (Haaretz)
  • Israel's Leading Newspapers Found in Violation of Ethics for Jews-only Polls - Citing Israel's Declaration of Independence, a Press Council tribunal ruled that opinion polls of Jews alone are discriminatory, bar a few specific instances. (Haaretz)
  • IDF faces motivation, manpower slump - Fresh statistics indicate short term manpower deficit, but signal surplus starting 2023; young recruits seek meaningful military service with low risk, prefer technology units; motivation to serve in combat units down. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • U.S. House of Representatives Passes Bill Slashing Financial Aid to Palestinian Authority - The Taylor Force Act, named after an American who was slain in a terror attack in Israel, targets Palestinian payment of convicted terrorists and their families. (Haaretz+)
  • US court mulls seizure of ancient Persian artifacts in terror case - Supreme Court justices express skepticism whether artifacts on loan in Chicago museum can be taken to pay $71 million judgment against Iran won by Americans injured in 1997 Jerusalem bombing • Plaintiffs: Iran refuses to pay so artifacts should be seized. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Lebanon's Hariri officially revokes resignation announced in Saudi Arabia - Hariri shocked the nation with his bizarre resignation in a televised broadcast from Saudi Arabia last month. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Features:
Jerusalem trivia: Think you know everything there is to know about Israel's capital? Prove it
Reports about U.S. President Donald Trump's potential declaration of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital are reigniting the ancient debate over the ancient city. (Haaretz)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
President Trump, don’t do us any favors on Jerusalem (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) With Trump set to change U.S. policy, many American Jews will be torn between their support for Jerusalem and their fear and loathing of Trump.
Not to their delight: American Jews are not enthusiastic about the transfer of the embassy (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) The Jewish community in America is in favor of the planned move, but many still regard it as a political trick that won’t add a fraction of sympathy to the conduct of their country's leader.
Trump Is Bringing Bloodshed, Not Peace, to Jerusalem (Jeremy Ben-Ami, Haaretz) The U.S. president is apparently willing to wreck Jared Kushner’s peace initiative, risk widespread violence, destabilize Mideast allies and fuel terror just to pander to his political base.
Ahead of Trump’s declaration - For symbols we can wait (Aviad Kleinberg, Yedioth) The question that rises regarding the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is how much is this symbol worth to us? From a practical point, nothing changes even after the transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem, for example. But there is a high risk that the recognition, logical and justified as it is, will spark - if it is done unilaterally and not part of an agreement - waves of violence across the world. People will be killed. Is this something that is justified? Not certain.
Jerusalem is a nonissue (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) Arab countries prioritize blocking Iran's expansion in the region, which they view as the central threat to their security. A decision by President Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital is barely on their radar.
Absent in the clamor about Jerusalem are the Palestinians of Jerusalem (Samer Badawi, +972mag) In Arab capitals speculation turns to panic about Trump’s expected reversal of policy on Jerusalem. Meanwhile, nobody seems to be talking about — or to — the Palestinians of Jerusalem, whose daily reality of occupation will remain irrespective of what comes next.
Let Trump recognize Jerusalem already (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Recognition of Jerusalem would also grant the U.S. president the right to demand that Israel pay the usual price in such deals.
Is Sheldon Adelson behind Trump's decision on Jerusalem? (Eli Clifton, +972mag) The Jewish-American casino mogul, also a major supporter of Prime Minister Netanyahu, has reportedly grown impatient with Trump’s delays to follow through on his campaign promise to move the American embassy.
Ahead of Trump’s Embassy Announcement, Israel Girds for Violence in Jerusalem and West Bank (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) The more concrete the U.S. president’s promise is, the worse the Palestinian reaction is likely to be.
The Biggest Loser in Trump's High-stakes Jerusalem Embassy Decision: Netanyahu (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) It was a trap all along, and Netanyahu could not help but fall in. In the end, the blood that will surely be spilled will not be on Trump's hands. It will be on Netanyahu’s.
Trump Set to Recognize Jerusalem - but Don't Panic Just Yet (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Beyond possible movements on the ground, will Trump’s policy change on Jerusalem have any real implications?
In order for the march of shame (against Netanyahu and the government) to become effective, the entire government must be called to resign (Ran Adelist, Maariv) The condition for turning the demonstration (last Saturday) on Rothschild Boulevard into one that will bring about a revolution is to add to the demand "Bibi go home" the demand "government go home." The battle is against the coalition that determines the rules of the game.
To return to power, Left must avoid repeating past mistakes (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) The real national camp—which is pursuing a Jewish, democratic and an incorrupt state—has an actual chance of creating a political upheaval. But if Likud voters who are fed up with Netanyahu have to choose between a corrupt prime minister and a camp which supports Breaking the Silence, they will favor Netanyahu.
A change in tone (Elliott Abrams, Israel Hayom) The Saudis are getting the military and intelligence cooperation they want from Israel in secret. Public collaboration or concessions to Israel would be politically dangerous.
Why Saudi prince's Sale of the Century won't sell (David Rosenberg, Haaretz) Sale of the century? Crown Prince Mohammad bin-Salman wants to privatize the economy without giving an inch on his political power, but he can’t have it both ways.
The statements of the Crown Prince will change the geopolitical situation in our region (Zalman Shoval, Maariv) One must pay attention to the unprecedented statements made by Prince Muhammad bin Salman, who is striving for a "new Saudi Arabia" that will become the leader of the Sunnis in the Middle East and will influence what is happening in the place where we live.
The Saudi King Has a Problem: The Crown Prince (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) In Yemen and in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia's all out war against Iranian influence has come to precious little. Will the crown prince be able to make a difference?
The man who would be Saudi king (Clifford D. May, Israel Hayom) Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is pursuing modernization facilitated by social liberalization. Neither should be confused with democratization.
A message to Putin: No calm in Syria as long as Iran calls the shots (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) Monday night's alleged Israeli strike on a military research center in the Jamraya area, and Friday night's attack on a military base in the al-Kiswah area, are aimed at indicating to the Russians and Syrians that there is no chance for a political agreement in the country as long as the Iranian military presence continues.
Syria Strikes: Israel Shows It's Willing to Risk Opening a New Front With Iran (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) With regional tensions intensifying and the northern border heating up, Israel should be eyeing the U.S. to form a decided strategy.
Why is Israel legitimizing anti-Semitism? (Sever Plocker, Yedioth/Ynet) How could a minister and a deputy Knesset speaker participate in a conference aimed at distorting the memory of the Holocaust and providing Poland’s racist-nationalist Right with a Jewish-Israeli seal of approval?
 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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