News Nosh: May 14, 2018

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday May 14, 2018
 
Quote of the day:
"The (Israeli) political echelon's fear of reaching a decision that will give some sort of a horizon to the population in Gaza makes Israel a partner in what is happening. It is impossible to let Gaza die and to come with complaints that it is doing so on our doorstep."
--Top Yedioth political commentator, Nahum Barnea, today.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
Infamous Beitar Jerusalem soccer club, known for its racist fan club and for never hiring an Arab player, added 'Trump' to its official name.**


Breaking News:
37 Palestinians Reported Killed by Israeli Gunfire at Gaza Border Fence (Updated at 15:53 GMT+2)***

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Our celebration (1/2 page photo of US flag and Wailing Wall and 1/2 page photo of Israeli Eurovision contestant winner Netta Barzilay) Historical Day - US embassy moves to capital; After winning the Eurovision, Netta Barzilay will come to Kikar Rabin to celebrate
  • What we want to be // Chen Artzi-Sror writes that Netta Barzilay changed what it means to be ‘normal’
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • (2/3 page:) Jerusalem Day - A holiday for the city - and for relations: US embassy moves from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem
  • Exclusive: US State Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin in interview: “The embassy move should have happened long ago”
  • Jerusalem will fulfill its own promise // Yaakov Achimeir
  • The unity and the states: A climax of friendship // Avraham Ben-Tzvi
  • “We were like dreamers” - and the dream came true // Haim Shine
  • (1/3 page:) “You are amazing” - Tonight Netta is at Kikar Rabin!

News Summary:
Israel and Netta Barzilai rejoiced after she won the Eurovision contest - and tonight she will perform her song at Tel-Aviv’s Rabin Square, (although some activists slammed her for ‘cultural appropriation’ or for being a cover for ‘apartheid’) and Israel prepared for the Palestinian protests in the West Bank and along the Gaza Strip border as the US embassy in Jerusalem is inaugurated today making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

US EMBASSY OPENING AND JERUSALEM DAY:
At a gala event yesterday for the relocation of the embassy attended by US officials, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Steven Mnuchin, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told visiting foreign dignitaries (only four from the EU) to also move their embassies to Jerusalem. As he spoke, tens of thousands of right-wing Israelis did the annual Israeli ‘flag march’ through Jerusalem’s Old City Muslim Quarter. They were celebrating Jerusalem Day, the day marking the conquering of E. Jerusalem by Israel. Israel’s State Comptroller also marked the day - by releasing a report slamming the government for ignoring the city’s poor population and the infrastructure in their neighborhoods - namely the Palestinians in E. Jerusalem, 76% of whom live below the poverty line (as opposed to 29% of the city’s Jewish population) and who are severely lacking in classrooms and public buildings. Also on Jerusalem Day, the Israeli cabinet approved a $560 million plan to  increase Israeli sovereignty in East Jerusalem, partly by encouraging Palestinian schools to use the Israeli curriculum — which some Arab parents call an attempt to wipe out their children’s Palestinian identity. A $14 million budget was approved to register property in East Jerusalem over the next seven years. Yedioth wrote that this “is meant to further strengthen Israeli sovereignty in the contested eastern part of the city…This would be the first time Israel applies sovereignty to east Jerusalem in practice since it officially annexed it in 1980.” Earlier in the day, a commonly seen irony took place: Right-wing Jews provoked Palestinians and the police then clashed with the Palestinians. This time it was at the Temple Mount, where a record number of Jews visited (over 1000!) and started to pray, which they are prohibited from doing due to the post-war status quo of 1967.

US EMBASSY QUICKEES:

***PROTESTS AT GAZA BORDER:
As this is being written, the number of Palestinian people killed by IDF fire increases - practically by the minute. Out of the 25 killed - update 3:09PM 28 killed - update 3:34PM 37 killed - the IDF said it killed three militants. The protests to mark Nakba Day tomorrow and in opposition of the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem were taking place in the West Bank, too. Yesterday, Gaza hospitals prepared in advance for mass-casualties. And Israel and Hamas exchanged threats. Israel dropped flyers warning people not to protest (which obviously didn’t work), while Hamas sent over 100,000 text messages to encourage residents to participate in the mass protests (which partially worked). Hamas also uploaded videos warning Israelis 'We'll break through the border and reach all the way to your communities, and we will not die alone.' Israel also enlisted amateur drone racers to knock down any 'kite bombs' flying over from Gaza, Haaretz reported.
 
Quick Hits:
  • Israeli Police Saw Leftist MKs as ‘Threat’ in 2011 Before UN Decision - 'Only dictatorships have enemies of the state,' Meretz's Tamar Zandberg retorts amid revelation the police marked leftist and Arab lawmakers as potential riot instigator. (Haaretz+)
  • Rivlin, Lieberman commemorate Six-Day War, point to Iran as Israel's new peril - Israel's president and defense minister attend a ceremony marking the Six-Day War, taking the opportunity to point to Iran as the greatest new threat the country now faces; DM Lieberman: 'Even today, as back then, the international community is burying its head in the sand.' (Ynet)
  • Secular students segregated by gender at high school assembly in central Israel - Students at Kfar Sava school say speakers were almost all religious at event marking anniversary of merger between East and West Jerusalem. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel’s abortion rate falls as birth control, traditional mores rise - Experts also say fewer young men are seeking to have sex and are surfing the internet instead, including online pornography. (Haaretz+)
  • Police recommend severe charges for staff in flood deaths of 10 Israeli teens - The counselor in charge of the teens who found their death in a hiking trip should be charged with manslaughter, program director with negligent homicide. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Israel Set to Pass Bill Beefing Up Construction-site Safety - Legislation requires sites to have safety officer on hand; today, nobody at construction sites is responsible exclusively for safety. (Haaretz+)
  • In the line of rocket fire, northern Israel's Druze had almost no place to hide - Few homes in the Golan Heights have bomb shelters, while public ones are often too far away to reach in time. Residents say schools also lack protection. (Haaretz+)
  • Satellite images show damage from IAF Syria strike - Intelligence report by ImageSat International (ISI) shows Iranian Quds Force headquarters The Glasshouse at the Damascus Airport, as well as bombed storage facility housing advanced weapons. (Ynet)
  • Erdogan: Israel sowing fear and pushing region to war - In BBC Arabic interview, Turkish president accuses Israel of using unnecessary aggression in Syria and criticizes US President Trump’s decision to withdraw from nuclear agreement with Iran. (Ynet)
  • Norway declares boycott against Israel is legal - Norway's Foreign Affairs Ministry says boycotting goods coming from Israeli settlement is legal; Norway's foreign minister sign document saying boycotting Israel is inappropriate; Several local authorities, municipalities make boycott initiatives; Norway's high education establishment cast academic boycott on Israel. (Yedioth/Ynet)


Features:
Africa IN: Foreign Ministry cadres open their hearts ahead of their first mission
Africa, with all its might: The Foreign Ministry's "flowers of diplomacy" are directing its cadets for a diplomatic mission in one of the countries on the Black Continent: "They want to be there before the Chinese, the Turks or anyone else.” Is it possible that the boycott movement in the West against Israel is starting to have an effect?  (Yanir Kozin, Maariv Magazine supplement)
Israelis Discover Palestinian Indie Music's Finest. Take a Listen
The hottest names in the Palestinian independent music scene showed Tel Avivians how you party. Here are the acts you need to look up on YouTube. (Bar Peleg, Haaretz)
"National hero, James Bond and Lady Gaga of the Shiites": Who is Iranian General Qassem Suleimani?
From his responsibility for the shooting at the Golan last week to Lieberman's call to Assad: "Get him out of your country." Who is the commander of the al-Quds Force in the Revolutionary Guards, who manages to keep the leaders of the entire Middle East awake? (Yasser Okbi, Maariv)
Who Is Qasem Soleimani, the Head of Iran's Quds Force That Attacked Israel
Once an ordinary construction worker, Soleimani quickly climbed the Revolutionary Guards' ranks to become one of Iran's most prominent military figures. (Haaretz)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
Israel’s Citizens Will Pay the Price (Uzi Baram, Haaretz+) Netanyahu, unlike Trump, may actually be capable of weighing substantive considerations, but he’s a prisoner of both religious and secular hawks and of his defense minister, who lacks any real judgment.
*Trump did his thing - Jerusalem Syndrome (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth) John Bolton, the new US National Security advisor, said over the weekend that the transfer of the embassy won't distance peace, but will bring it closer. Those are empty words: There isn't any basis for an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians at the moment. All the rest is a game, something given to the Jewish son-in-law to run with...The question is,w what can be do with no peace. It's possible to do many things. The IDF is dealing in the last weeks with thousands of Palestinians in Gaza who are breaking through the fence [sic, thousands demonstrated, but only some tried to break through - OH], burning fields, setting on fire border crossing facilities near Kerem Hashalom. Tomorrow, Tuesday, Nakba Day, the wave is expected to reach its zenith. Hamas is responsible for the (explosive demonstrations). The fear of the political echelons to reach a decision that will give some sort of a horizon to the population in Gaza makes Israel a partner in what is happening. It is impossible to let Gaza die and to come with complaints that it is doing so on our doorstep. Jerusalem is also an example of the paralysis that has taken over the government. Yesterday, for Jerusalem Day, the State Comptroller released a report that slammed the government for not fulfilling its obligations to Jerusalem, and that includes the obligation to transfer government ministries to the capital. It's an anomaly. The Israeli government is less loyal to Jerusalem than Trump, wrote Ofer Berkovitch, a candidate running for mayor of Jerusalem. Yesterday, as an act of thanks, Eli Tabib (suspended owner of Beitar Jerusalem soccer team) and Eli Ohana (his representative) are adding Trump's name to the team's name. From now on it will be called Beitar Trump Jerusalem...The fact that no Arabs or Muslims play on the Beitar team won't horrify Trump. Now it can be said, Beitar Trump Jerusalem, the racist team of the country.
Because of political semantics under the guise of Zionism, blood may be shed here (Ron Kaufman, Maariv) Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people even without the support of President Trump. It was before him and would be many years after him. We really do not owe his approval to the history that was set for thousands of years in blood, a lot of blood.
Trump's embassy move intensifies America's immoral support for Israel's alt-right government (Diana Buttu, Haaretz+) Opening the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem escalates decades of America coddling Israel's occupation, unopposed by a quisling Palestinian leadership and world powers who barely whisper their condemnation.
Most US Jews oppose embassy move (Yael Patir, J-Street’s Israel director, Yedioth/Ynet) It’s time Israelis understand that Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem aims to satisfy his evangelical supporters rather than the Jews. About 80 percent of the US Jewry sees the embassy move as a dangerous step which could negatively affect America’s position as a decent mediator between Israel and the Palestinians.
In the plan to Israelize East Jerusalem, security is no longer No. 1 (Nir Hasson, Haaretz+) The government is increasing funding, but its unwillingness to grant citizenship to the 330,000 Palestinians in the city will block the closing of socioeconomic gaps and keep the tensions simmering.
You sour pickles, try to rejoice: no achievement will change the opinion of those who hate Bibi (Meir Uziel, Maariv) All the commentators and some of the politicians know that they should be happy (about the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem). But how hard it is, because this is a success for Netanyahu, whose successes and those of his government recently have caused a terrible mood.
West Bank Palestinians protest Trump - but abandon their Gazan brothers (Muhammad Shehada, Haaretz+) Protesting the U.S. embassy move gives the Ramallah elite an opportunity for some rhetorical righteousness. It's an indulgence for Gazans, who are marching for their right to life.
Gaza: A failed experiment by Hamas (Jason Greenblatt, Israel Hayom) All parties interested in bringing change to the Gaza Strip and the Palestinians living there need to face the reality that Hamas has failed its own people.
Foundations for a New Middle East: Trump believes that the United States is a superpower that can shape a reality that will make it easier for the US (Brigadier General Yossi Kuperwasser, Maariv) Israel, naturally, is very pleased with Trump's moves, which form a common ground between it and the United States and strengthen the common interests between it and pragmatic Arab states.
Trump, take note: How Jerusalem went from hosting 16 embassies to zero (David B. Green, Haaretz+) The U.S. and a handful other nations are moving their embassies to Jerusalem. But in the past, other countries - including Chile, the Netherlands and Kenya - sent ambassadors to the city, and then left it.
Rejoice with Jerusalem (Meir Indor, Israel Hayom) The people who fought for Jerusalem and withstood battles, siege, terrorist bombings and attempts to redivide the city are taking to its streets today to celebrate its reunification.
Restore Hope to Jerusalem (Haaretz Editorial) The problem with the decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem is its one-sidedness. Trump would be wise to balance this by announcing his willingness to open an embassy in a future Palestinian state.
Apparently There Are Sane People in Tehran (Odeh Bisharat, Haaretz+) The last two weeks have seen unprecedented fighting between Israel and Iran, yet there have been no real Israeli causalities. Odeh Bisharat questions why.
Between Tehran and Gaza: From the dangerous threat to the explosive threat (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) Iran’s ayatollahs and media fell for Qassem Suleimani’s ‘fake news’ about the deaths and serious damage his forces inflicted on Israel, but the Quds Force commander knows the truth—and that’s what counts. Meanwhile, the IDF is working to prevent new conflict in the strip by wearing out the ‘human tsunami’ before it reaches the fence area.
No longer alone facing Iran (Moshe Arens, Haaretz+) Israel now has the backing of the most powerful country in the world, and Trump’s position has seemingly influenced the Europeans’ attitude toward the Israeli-Iranian conflict.
The tyrants of countries that were once friendly already understand that Israel knows how to stand up for itself (Yossi Ahimeir, Maariv) We have already learned that in the Middle East everything is fluid. It is doubtful that the oppressive regimes in Iran and Turkey, who are gripping their enlightened peoples, will endure for years. In the face of all the upheavals that were and will be, Israel demonstrates its deterrent capabilities well.
Israel’s Eurovision Win: When Netanyahu, anti-BDS Activists and #Metoo All Do the Chicken Dance (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+) Whether to strut over the BDS fail, cheer the victory of a feminist song or anticipate the return of the pro-LGBT competition to conservative Jerusalem, everyone had a reason to celebrate Netta Barzilai’s triumph.
 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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