News Nosh 4.9.18

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday April 9, 2018
 
Quote of the day:
"The presence of journalists in the field is critical in order to know what is really happening along the fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip. Shooting them is criminal, according to any criteria. Lieberman’s attempt to belittle the killing of a journalist is particularly grave."
--Haaretz Editorial responds to Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman's statement about the IDF killing of Palestinian journalist Yaser Murtaja.*


Breaking News:
Russia Outs Israel, Says Two Israeli Fighter Jets Struck Iranian Base in Syria
Russian military says Syria intercepted five of eight Israeli missiles, Iranians among 14 reported killed in strike. Israel declines to comment. Israel bombed the site twice in the past. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • “They were sprawled on the floor. Elderly, women, children. When we realized they were having trouble breathing, we understand it was chemical weapons”
  • The murderer (Photo of Bashar al-Assad) - More than 70 killed in chemical attack Syrian army
  • License to kill // Ben-Dror Yemini
  • American test // Nadav Eyal
  • The battle over the ceremony: Netanyahu will light a torch instead of giving a speech
  • When the state celebrates 100 - How will life look here 30 years from now
  • Remembering in your living room - This is how you can host a testimony get-together with a Holocaust survivor
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • Trump hinted that he would attack in Syria: “Assad is an animal, Russia will pay”
  • An odd move // Tal Lev-Ram
  • Radio silence // Shlomo Shamir
  • In the wake of the torches storm - Netanyahu in the role of Ben-Gurion
  • Good enough for a competition, not good enough to be allowed to make Aliyah (immigration) - Ethiopian representative for the Torah Quiz was forced to give guarantees that he would leave Israel before he could enter
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
The Syrian army massacred dozens of Syrian civilians with chemical weapons near Damascus, and injured hundreds, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein came to a compromise over Netanyahu’s insistence on giving a speech at the ceremony for Israel’s 70th Independence Day, but the controversy over the participation of Honduras’ president continued, making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also in the news, the IDF Chief of Staff ordered an inquiry into the killings of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers, while chief prosecutor at The Hague International Criminal Court (ICC) said she might probe the events on the Gaza-Israel border in which Israeli soldiers shot Palestinians and the possible use of Palestinian civilians as ‘human shields.’
 
Whole families were found dead in Douma with foam in their mouths and some say the death toll has surpassed 150. Chief Sephardi Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, said Jews were morally obliged to end the Syrian genocide and Arab MK Ahmed Tibi slammed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying, "A leader is not supposed to shoot at his civilians.” (Maariv) US President Donald Trump accused Russia and Iran of backing Assad, the ‘animal,’ but Russia said the reports were fake news. The attack came just as the US was setting up two new bases in Syria and Trump had announced a ‘rapid end’ to the US military mission. Following the attack, the Syrian rebels have pulled out of their last foothold in the eastern suburbs of Damascus. Israeli officials warned of Iran’s 'dangerous empowerment' in Syria, saying Iran's participation in a recent summit with Turkey and Russia guaranteed its future presence in Syria.

So at the 70th independence anniversary ceremony, Netanyahu will not give a speech, however, he will get to light a torch and say a blessing —contrary to protocol. And Speaker Edelstein won’t boycott the ceremony. The list of other torch lighters was released and besides Netanyahu, the other problematic one is the President of Honduras, who is accused of human rights violations. Former Israeli diplomats have come out against his participation.

At the ICC, Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she is closely watching the Gaza violence for war crimes and the IDF has appointed a special IDF investigator to probe the IDF’s killing of Palestinian protestoers, particularly of journalist Yaser Murtaja. (Maariv) But Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said it was B’Tselem human rights organization which needs to be investigated for its call on soldiers not to shoot unarmed Gazan protesters.

Meanwhile, Israeli tanks fired seven shells towards three Palestinians who crossed the Gaza-Israel fence before returning to Gaza. Then early Monday morning, the IDF attacked a Hamas target in the Gaza after discovering two improvised explosive device the three placed there.
 
Quick Hits:
  • Palestinian families evicted from their East Jerusalem homes amid dispute with settler group - The houses belong to the Rawadi family, whose family member Raziq Rawadi was murdered three years ago. Police suspect it was because of his cooperation with the right-wing group Elad. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinian shot after allegedly attempting to stab Israeli with screwdriver in West Bank - The Israeli was unhurt, though three others were treated for shock. (The Palestinian was transferred to hospital). (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Palestinian injured by Israeli gunfire at West Bank checkpoint succumbs to wounds - Muhammad Anbar, 46,  died in Israeli custody on Sunday when he succumbed to wounds sustained last week when he was shot by Israeli forces at a checkpoint in the northern occupied West Bank city of Tulkarem. (Maan)
  • Injured in the “March of Return," and they petitioned Israeli High Court: Let us leave Gaza for medical treatment - Two Palestinians who were shot during the clashes on the Gaza Strip border petitioned Israel’s High Court for (permission to cross Israel to receive) medical treatment in Ramallah. Petitioners claim: "If we do not receive treatment, our feet will be cut off.” (Maariv)
  • MK Hanin Zoabi at UN: 'Millions of Palestinians should march on Jerusalem' - At UN press conference, Arab MK calls on West Bank Palestinians to join Gaza residents in protest, noting however that 'we can't do it, because the Israelis would kill them'; she further claims that 'the occupation and the siege are not an act of self defense, but rather one of terrorism.' (Ynet)
  • Abbas: I will not return to Gaza unless Hamas cedes control - Palestinian Authority president issues blow to months of U.S.-backed Egyptian efforts to negotiate deal to sideline Hamas and enable PA to return to Gaza. Abbas says unless he has full control of Gaza, he will "not be responsible for what goes on" there. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Lebanese Foreign Minister tells Maariv: "The risk of a confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah has decreased" - Gebran Bassil, who is close to President Aoun, participated in the International Economic Conference for the Development of Lebanon in Paris, and said: "The government is successfully fighting terrorism, we have advanced on these issues.” (Maariv)
  • Hezbollah operations in Colombia revealed - Colombian police investigation sheds light on Hezbollah operations in Latin America; ESO or Unit 910, responsible for Burgas, Buenos Aires terror attacks, maintains presence under guise of legitimate organization while engaging in drug smuggling, money laundering and agent recruiting. (Ynet)
  • Protests against Israel's asylum seeker deportations to occur at Uganda embassies around the world - 'Force Israel to find a solution for refugees', activists urge Uganda in run-up to embassy protests. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel sent asylum seekers to Uganda without required vaccine for deadly disease - According to the office of Ugandan president, entry without inoculation for yellow fever is against Ugandan law. (Haaretz+)
  • Defense Minister Lieberman accused Palestinian photographer killed in Gaza of operating drone despite lack of evidence - 'I don’t know who he is, a photographer, not a photographer – whoever operates drones above IDF soldiers needs to understand that he is endangering himself,' said Avigdor Lieberman. (Haaretz+)
  • Jeremy Corbyn Calls for Review of U.K. Arms Sales to Israel Over Gaza Border Deaths - 'The killing and wounding of yet more unarmed Palestinian protesters yesterday by Israeli forces in Gaza is an outrage.' (Haaretz)
  • Israeli athletes banned from taekwondo event in Tunisia - Anti-normalization group argues in lawsuit that the athletes' presence would clash with constitutional provisions and agreements signed by the Tunisian government, say Tunisia has committed "to denouncing and refusing Zionist occupation and colonization." (Israel Hayom)
  • BDS movement urges Argentina's national soccer team to cancel match in Israel - Argentina’s national soccer team is scheduled to play against Israel in its last friendly match on June 9 in Tel Aviv, one week before the opening of the World Cup in Russia. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Direct flights between Israel and Latin America to resume after six-year hiatus - Starting in December, Latam will fly three times a week from Santiago to Tel Aviv via Sao Paulo. (Haaretz)
  • Israel to sign 5 major free-trade agreements in 2018 - Israel Hayom learns that deals are being finalized with South Korea, Vietnam, India, China and Eurasian Customs Union • Issues with South Korea on Judea and Samaria companies resolved. 70% of Israeli exports go to countries with which it has free trade. (Israel Hayom)
  • Iran: If Trump pulls out of nuclear deal, US will regret it - Warning that "our response will be stronger than what they imagine and they would see that within a week," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Iran is preparing for every scenario • Iran has vowed to ramp up its nuclear program if deal collapses. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Iran hit by global cyberattack that left US flag on screens - Alongside image of U.S. flag, hackers warn, "Don't mess with our elections" • Iranian minister: Attack affected 200,000 router switches worldwide, including 3,500 switches in Iran. No data was lost, Iranian IT expert says. Identity of hackers unknown. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Newly uncovered documents reveal inner workings of ISIS regime - Some 15,000 document found in Iraq show Islamic State wielded power over its caliphate using both brutality and bureaucracy • ISIS developed diversified income sectors and strong civil systems that helped it weather the West's airstrikes for years. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)


Features:
Crime Is Rampant in Arab Israeli Communities, but Police Lack the Resources to Bring About Change
A new study reveals a complex picture in which personnel shortage is just one of many problems police chiefs in Arab communities are faced with. (Josh Breiner and Jack Khoury, Haaretz+)
Now You See It: The Mystery of the Disappearing Tankers That Carry Kurdish Oil to Israel
Northern Iraq has oil bubbling out of the ground and a Kuwaiti oil trader in Sweden knows where it’s heading. (Yaron Cohen-Tzemach, Haaretz)
IN PHOTOS: 10 Staggering Images From the Gaza-Israel Border Violence
Videos and photos from the march have been seen around the globe with images of protest met with violence sparking outrage. (Haaretz and Reuters)
Letters to the Editor: Boycott Israel Over Refugees, Israel's 'Thought Police' (Haaretz)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
*Cease Fire on the Gaza Strip (Haaretz Editorial) The presence of journalists in the field is critical to understanding what is happening on the Israel-Gaza border. Shooting them is criminal, according to any criteria.
For now, Palestinians are winning war of public opinion (Ronni Shaked, Ynet) It may be time to come up with a new strategy concerning Gaza that will include not only a security-aggressive response, but also an economic-social-diplomatic response. Whether we like it or not, Gaza is our problem, and the Israeli interest requires us to think outside the security box.
'I was just following orders': What will you tell your children? (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) 'How did you destroy villages?' one daughter will ask. 'How did you agree to imprison two million people?' another will whisper. The answers will only make their weeping louder.
IDF officer: Our activity on Gaza border is preventing war (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) The Israeli army scored a significant achievement in the last two Fridays' clashes: It stopped Palestinian protestors from breaking through the fence, it prevented the situation from deteriorating to a comprehensive conflict and it didn’t violate Israeli communities' holiday routine with Code Red alarms. This achievement also proves that Hamas can gain full control on the ground when it wants to.
The Preventable War Crime: How the West Failed to Prevent One Syrian Chemical Attack After Another (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) In the history of war, no war crime has been so well documented and so predictable to those who had it in their power to prevent it from recurring.
A slippery security slope (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) The civilian character of the protests on the Israel-Gaza border is quickly fading as they have become more military in nature, and it is getting increasingly harder for Palestinians in the West Bank not to join them.
The Massacre of Arab Nationalism (Salman Masalha, Haaretz+) 'Palestine is the top Arab issue'? How repressive Arab regimes use Gaza as their scapegoat to reject their own people.
The horror in Syria only illustrates how much Assad is unpredictable - something Israel must take into consideration (Tal Lev Ram, Maariv) The international community and the European Union and the United States in particular have no right to pretend to be surprised by the chemical attack. The world knows and hardly does anything, from a legal or military perspective.
Israel Is Now Directly Confronting Iran in Syria (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Israel won't say it is indeed behind the overnight strike in Syria, but admitted in the past of attacking the T-4 air base. Iran continuing to establish a foothold in Syria may encourage an aggressive Israeli approach.
A rift between Hamas and the organizers of the original "March of Return" (Pinchas Inbari, Maariv) The original spirit of the march, and the main organizer, Ahmed Abu Ratima, expressed his opposition to the “Friday of tires” from the very first moment. In his opinion, there was no need to approach the fence at all…The thick smoke of the tires last Friday, which covered the Gaza border, was not only directed against IDF soldiers and Israel, but also caused a rift in Gaza between the original "March of Return" activists and the Hamas movement. Abu Ratima expressed his opposition to the "sixth day of the tires" from the first moment, and in his opinion, there was no need to approach the fence at this stage of the struggle. According to the original plan, which was published last week, the move toward the border should only come on Nakba Day itself, ie 14.5. Until then, one must move away from the border and gather in safe areas. In the opinion of Abu Ratima, the organizers must engage in educational activities, folklore, and consolidate the marchers. The things themselves received a lot of attention on his Facebook pages. Abu Ratima also said that he strongly opposed violent activity and went so far as to say that "the martyrs died for nothing." He added that "if it is impossible to guarantee the lives of the participants, it is better that they do not come to the activities.” These reactions angered Hamas leaders and he was accused of treason by the organization. One of his followers on Facebook, 'Abd al-Rahman Jaber, wrote: "Stop the march! The great criminals (Hamas) made sure martyrs fell!" There is a big difference in the perspective of Hamas and between the initiators of the march with regard to the goals of the march, which will probably no longer take place. While the initiators, who acted on behalf of non-governmental organizations in Europe, are focusing on the implementation of the right of return, Hamas spokesmen are interested in other matters. Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, who also appeared last Friday in front of the activists, said: "Gaza has said its word, it will no longer suffer the suffering and the siege." These things indicate that neither the refugees nor the right of return interests Hamas. Only one thing stands at the head of the organization, which is in a major crisis: easing the current suffering in the Gaza Strip before the anger is directed at the organization itself. In Hamas' view, the refugee question is important, but not pressing. (The writer is a researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) [Far right-wing think tank. - OH]
Why Do Netanyahu and Erdogan Clash When They Are So Similar? (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The parallel between the Turkish president's enormous damage to Turkey society and what is being done in Israel by the Netanyahu regime is unavoidable.
A battle for our identity (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) The secularization of the Jewish people is not the end of the story. It is just the individuation stage in the maturation of our national identity.
The Source of Gaza’s Woes (Moshe Arens, Haaretz+) As long as Hamas continues to rule in the Strip, there will be no relief for the population there and no respite for Israel.
Hamas doesn't know when to fold (Daniel Siryoti, Israel Hayom) Hamas' gamble on mass "nonviolent" protests at the border seems to be paying off, at least in the short term. But the organization doesn't know when to quit.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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