News Nosh: June 11, 2018

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday June 11, 2018
 
Quote of the Day #1:
“I just saw that there were realities beyond what was on my plate, and those realities almost inevitably informed what was – or was not – for dinner…I came away from the experience deeply embittered, confused – and determined to make television differently than I had before.”
--Anthony Bourdain once explained that a visit to Beirut changed the way he reported on food, and later took him to places of conflict. Haaretz's Dina Kraft wrote that it was his depictions of everyday life in Gaza that drew the strongest reactions, particularly from Palestinians, who along with others across the Middle East, now shared their sadness at his passing.*

Quote of the Day #2:
“The problem - it is not profitable to the security establishment. This system can not be sold to anyone. Its operation is also cheap, so it is impossible to make a living from it.”
—Dr. Oded Amichai, an Israeli expert on homefront defense, laser and military technology, missiles and rockets writes in Maariv that Israel avoids using cheap efficient equipment against Palestinian drones and rockets and instead uses expensive equipment it has developed because that helps sell it abroad.**

You Must Be Kidding: 
**Israel admitted in court that it allotted East Jerusalem land to a Jewish settler group, which intends to evict the 700 Palestinians living there, without making proper checks about the nature of the trust that holds the land or the Ottoman-era law that applies in the case.***

Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Closer than ever [Trump-Kim summit]
  • A world a little more sane // Ben-Dror Yemini
  • Teachers for life - At festive ceremony led by President Rivlin, 6 ‘Teachers of the State’ were declared for 2018
  • Speed cameras in freeze
  • Private parking in Tel-Aviv - at the cost of an apartment in Beersheva
  • The princess and the lens - We found Meghan Markle’s Israeli photographer
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
The fear and hope ahead of the Trump-Kim summit, the destruction of an alleged Hamas commando underwater tunnel, the inability of the Israeli Security Cabinet meeting to decide how to stop the humanitarian-economic crisis in Gaza and the latest on the southern fence with Gaza and the northern border with Syria were top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also, the latest on ‘diplomacy.’

The IDF destroyed a land-sea tunnel it said was for the use of Hamas naval commandos, it also introduced a new burning kite attack drone called ‘Firefly,’ which may have been the one used on Friday, and which will be presented for sale for the first time at the Eurosatory exhibition in Paris next week. Dr. Oded Amichai, an Israeli expert in drones and missiles, wrote in Maariv today that Israel uses expensive solutions against the Palestinians in Gaza so it can make a profit selling the equipment abroad. (See Commentary/Analysis below.)

While the IDF and the Israeli military industries have been busy putting out fires, literally, the political leaders are unable to make any decisions, the papers reported today. At a three-hour cabinet meeting Sunday on how to help the Gaza economy and provide humanitarian aid, politicians took no decisions, despite security officials' warnings of an economic collapse in Gaza. Maariv’s Yossi Melman wrote an insightful analysis of the politicians’ problem. (See Commentary/Analysis below.) Yedioth reported that an ‘embarrassing' disagreement broke out in the meeting between Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot. And senior ministers expressed criticism of the seriousness of the discussion held by the political-security cabinet regarding the fear of the collapse of the Gaza Strip, calling them "Improvised measures, nothing new,” Maariv reported. And Ministers Gilad Erdan and Naftali Bennett demanded that the youth squads of kite launchers be assassinated. Meanwhile, 1,500 Palestinians demonstrated in Ramallah calling on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to lift punitive sanctions imposed on Gaza in an attempt to weaken Hamas.

DIPLOMACY and SECURITY QUICKEES:
  • Netanyahu boasts Israel only Mideast country that 'welcomes gays' - Addressing an American Jewish Committee gathering, prime minister extols Israel's economic and social achievements, lauding its robust democracy and equal rights afforded to all religions and minorities; ‘This is the one place in the Middle East where gays walk proudly.’ (Ynet)
  • Israel’s relations with Arab states improving ‘beyond imagination,' Netanyahu tells Jewish conference in Jerusalem - Netanyahu reveals that Israel has surpassed Japan in per capita income and urges delegates to pray at egalitarian plaza at Western Wall during speech at American Jewish Committee Global Forum. (Haaretz)
  • With contacts frozen, U.S. and Palestinian envoys trade barbs in Haaretz - With the Palestinian Authority boycotting the Trump administration, Saeb Erekat and Jason Greenblatt have turned to the media to accuse each other of preventing peace. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Netanyahu: Removing Iranian forces from Syria 'is a process' - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that removing Iranian forces and their proxies from Syria "is a long process." (Ynet)
  • Assad: Israel, Russia not coordinating on Iranian pullout from south Syria - Syrian President Bashar Assad continues insisting there is no coordination between Russia and Israel on the withdrawal of Iranians forces and their proxies from the Golan Heights. (Ynet)
  • Amid Tensions, Israeli Army Launches Surprise Drill in Golan Heights - Last week, the Israel Air Force conducted a four-day drill in bases across Israel. (Haaretz and Ynet)
     
Quick Hits:
  • ***Israel Admits It Allotted East Jerusalem Land to Jewish Group Without Making Proper Checks - The case involves 5.5 dunams (1.4 acres) of land in the Silwan neighborhood where about 700 Palestinians live and are now threatened with eviction. Deed issued to the Benvenisti Trust, was established about 120 years ago to provide homes in Jerusalem to Jews from Yemen. Trust now controlled by Ateret Cohanim, organization that encourages Jewish settlement in E. Jerusalem. The government acknowledged it had not investigated nature of trust, the Ottoman-era law that applies in the case, or condition of buildings now on land before issuing the title deed in 2002. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel appeals officer's lenient sentence for fatal shooting of Palestinian teen - Court sentences ex-policeman Ben Dery to 9 months in prison for shooting and killing Nadim Nawara in 2014 with live ammunition when he was supposed to use rubber bullets and "even though Nawara presented no danger to the armed force and even though Dery did not feel in any danger." As part of a plea deal, the Jerusalem District Court sentenced the former officer to a fine and 9 months in prison.  State Prosecutor says that 'the imprisonment period is inappropriate given the severity of his actions.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Five months imprisonment for a traffic policeman convicted of two assaults - In the first case, Shai Portal rammed his head into the face of a man who refused a body search and then wrote a false report that the man had attacked him. In another case, he slammed a metal box into the head of handcuffed detainee and sprayed him with pepper spray, causing him ‘real injury.’ The judge took into account Portal’s bad economic Portal’s situation. (Maariv)
  • Announcing before murdering - Is it possible to stop a lone-wolf terrorist on his way to perpetrating an attack? -  A new study found that 60% of those involved in terror incidents in the years 2015-2017 gave information on social media networks, which could have pointed to their intentions. Study initiated by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and US  Secretary for National Security Kirsten Nelson and was prepared jointly by the Public Security Ministry and the Int’l Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) headed by Boaz Ganor. (Yedioth, p. 14)
  • Soldier who accidentally killed comrade sentenced to 1.5 years in prison - Prison term of Sgt. N., the Duvdevan elite unit soldier who accidentally shot and killed his fellow soldier Staff Sgt. Shachar Strug, is determined after mediation process between defense and prosecution teams. (Ynet)
  • MK Oren Hazan threatens: "If Rajoub wants to deal with the ball - we will meet him with a bullet (ball in Hebrew) of an M16" - The [firebrand] Likud MK sent a message to the chairman of the Palestinian Soccer Association in an interview with Radio South, saying that "instead of giving a platform to the terrorists with suits, we have to take their heads off.” (Maariv)
  • Knesset Interior Committee will discuss a bill to dismantle the (mostly Arab) Joint List faction - MK Yoav Kisch (Likud) proposes that a list of three or more parties will receive funding only for two parties: "The time has come for (Joint List Chairman Ayman) Odeh to cut himself off from Balad party’s purse strings." MK Aida Touma-Suleiman (Joint List): "Racist law whose only purpose is to shut [our] mouths.” (Maariv)
  • For second time in a month, Shin Bet detains left-wing activist at Ben-Gurion airport - Yehudit Ilani detained, but not questioned, after covering Gaza-bound flotilla for a media outlets. She says she has no connection to the flotilla organizers. (Haaretz+)
  • Lieberman doubtful government will crash over draft law - Speaking in an exclusive interview with Ynet, defense minister says any party which brings down the coalition would 'pay a price', expresses faith in Trump's ability to reach an agreement with N.Korea, which would 'impact Iran.' (Ynet)
  • Tel Aviv University: "Hatikvah" (national anthem) will not be heard at the end of graduation ceremonies - Instead of the national anthem, they will sing Arik Einstein's "You and I" at the Faculty of Humanities. University administration: "This is not an official ceremony and the feelings of the Arab students must be taken into account.” (Maariv)
  • The phone calls testify: Netanyahu advanced the things agreed upon between him and Noni Moses - The investigators' evidence indicates that the prime minister, who is expected to be questioned again on Tuesday, agreed to reduce the distribution of "Israel Hayom” newspaper. In addition, Netanyahu will be confronted with findings brought by the State witness, Nir Hefetz. (Maariv)
  • New poll shows Netanyahu's Likud far ahead with 31 seats - Yesh Atid comes in at distant second with 18 seats, according to Channel 10 poll • On question of who is best qualified to serve as prime minister, 39% say PM Benjamin Netanyahu, 13% say Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and 7% say Labor leader Avi Gabbay. (Israel Hayom)
  • Eurovision may give Israel’s public broadcaster lease on life - Government considers delaying law splitting Kan into two because it would jeopardize its membership in the music competition’s sponsoring organization. (Haaretz)
  • Austrian chancellor visits Yad Vashem, Western Wall, meets Holocaust survivors on Israel visit - Sebastian Kurz, who formed a coalition with far-right Freedom Party that has anti-Semitic roots, also scheduled to meet Holocaust survivors. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Charles Krauthammer Says He Has Weeks to Live - Krauthammer, 68, has been outspoken for decades in his support of Israel, and was a lacerating critic of the Obama administration. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Spain’s Third-largest City Votes to Boycott Israel - Following Valencia’s vote to boycott Israel, the leader of Spain’s third-largest party, the  far-left Podemos party, called the Jewish state a 'criminal country.’ (Haaretz)
  • "Israeli intelligence is working": Twitter boycotting against IDF’s Arabic-language Spokesperson - Calls on Arab social networks for a boycott against Captain Avihai Adre'i. The campaign's initiators, activists from Syria and Lebanon, claim that he is spreading Israeli propaganda. (Maariv)
  • Jewish N.Y.C. Politician Sparks Controversy With Gender-segregated Beach Days Plan - Chaim M. Deutsch draws both praise and anger for plan that would let Muslims and Orthodox Jews visit beach together on separate days for men and women. (Haaretz)
  • Blackstone Said to Be Among Suitors for Bezeq Parent B Communications - B communications' controlling shareholder says it has received multiple offers from unidentified local and foreign groups. Sources said potential buyers included the giant U.S. private equity fund Blackstone Group, led by Steven Schwarzman with more than $430 billion under management. Another large but unidentified overseas fund is also among the suitors. (Haaretz)
  • No need to share headphones: Music reaches social media - Israeli company MUGO brings the message of listening to music together to social media. After winning competitions, raising several million dollars in investments, and closing deals in South America, the entrepreneurs are looking to reach more places around the world. (Ynet)
  • Netanyahu offers to save 'countless' Iranian lives with Israeli water tech - In 2-minute video intended for Iranian consumption, prime minister announces plans to launch Farsi website detailing Israeli know-how so 'Iranian farmers can save their crops and feed their families.' (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Iran's Rohani Criticizes U.S. 'Unilateralism' Over Nuclear Deal - 'The U.S. efforts to impose its policies on others are expanding as a threat to all,' Iranian president says. (Haaretz)
  • Iran's Khamenei: "Netanyahu murders children and makes himself out to Europeans as a victim“ - In a series of Tweets, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic attacked the prime minister harshly, but claimed, “We do not call for throwing the Jews into the sea, we want justice for the Palestinians.” Instead, Khamenei said that the fate of the Land of Israel should be determined by a referendum between what he defined as its original inhabitants, that is, the Palestinians and the Jews who were in it before Zionism. (Maariv)
  • Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states will provide $ 2.5 billion in economic aid to Jordan - During the quadripartite summit in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait announced that they would transfer funds to support the Hashemite Kingdom due to the severe economic crisis it is experiencing. (Maariv)


Features:
*From Israel to Iran, Mideast unites in praise of compassionate chef Bourdain
American chef’s TV specials on Iran, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza are seen as some of his best work, hailed for avoiding stereotypes and telling complex stories with rare humanity. For Bourdain, landing in peacetime Beirut one day and finding a city at war the next transformed his mission. The harsh realities that informed the countries he was visiting could no longer be ignored, he wrote. “I just saw that there were realities beyond what was on my plate, and those realities almost inevitably informed what was – or was not – for dinner…I came away from the experience deeply embittered, confused – and determined to make television differently than I had before.” Bourdain did a show from Bethlehem, a settlement and a kibbutz, but it was his depictions of everyday life in Gaza that drew the strongest reactions, particularly from Palestinians. (Haaretz+)
Alone in the campaign: the struggle of the National Service girls (who come from abroad)
They come from abroad imbued with ideology, but find that being a solo volunteer in Israel’s  National Service is not a simple task: Beyond loneliness, the economic shortage forces many of them to work another job to survive. (Ilana Stutland, Maariv)
In Photos: Palestinians travel from West Bank to Al-Aqsa on last Friday of Ramadan (Maan)
 
Commentary/Analysis:
A Successful Trump-Kim Summit Could Be the Prelude to War With Iran (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) In Singapore, the Trump administration hopes to ‘clear the table’ of the North Korean distraction before dealing with what it sees as the real threat: Iran. And the hawks in Washington have already made clear that diplomacy is not an option with Tehran.
Even if he comes out victorious due to the very existence of the summit, Trump's Nobel Prize is still far away (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) President Trump is already reaping handsome profits from the upcoming meeting with Kim Jong-On. Even for Trump, who is exposed and is reported about in the media at a scale and pace that no president has ever received, attention to this summit meeting is on the scale of a tsunami wave.
Response to Jason Greenblatt The Trump administration, peddling Israeli extremism, is killing the peace process, not me (Saeb Erekat, Haaretz+) In dozens of meetings, Mr. Greenblatt refused to discuss substance: borders, settlements, even the two-state solution. This White House can't come remotely close to facilitating a just and lasting Mideast peace.
When you hear Nasrallah, the Iranians and Hamas, you can not help remembering the excited Nasser (Yossi Ahimeir, Maariv) It is good to recall that brilliant victory in the Six-Day War, but it is important to learn the lessons, because 51 years later, hostility toward Israel in the Arab-Muslim world is only intensifying.
In Bizarro World, Trump Might Triumph in Summit With Kim - but at What Price? (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Israel wants the U.S. president to succeed and get stronger, but not to the point that he will seek a negotiated deal with Iran as well
Full gas in neutral:  Cabinet ministers are unable to make a decision on the future of the Gaza Strip (Yossi Melman, Maariv) In private conversations, most of the ministers support a decision that will make it possible to improve the lives of the two million Palestinians, who live there in garbage, literally, without a sewage system, without electricity, without drinking water. But before they get to the discussion, they Tweet,  they give interviews and they deliver messages that contradict their original position. In short, one mouth and another heart. Cynicism at its best. And this is also politics in the pasture. The ministers know very well that the position of the defense establishment is that easing the situation in Gaza can perhaps ease the tension on the border and reduce violence, but whether they are afraid of the Goldin family, whose only desire is to see the remains of their son brought to the grave, and whether they are considering their ratings - the result is the same. The cabinet ministers and the prime minister at their head are unable to make a decision about the future, and that’s while it is clear that the cease-fire agreement with Hamas reached after Operation Protective Edge four years ago is collapsing. Instead of trying to make every effort to take a decision, the ministers avoid it. The only one who has shown a trace of the backbone is the Minister of Transport and Intelligence Yisrael Katz, who has been proposing for several years to establish an island and a port in Gaza. When he found out that there was no chance that his proposal would be raised for discussion, even though it had strategic significance, Katz removed his proposal. In the background stands the position of the Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who does not believe in any arrangement that will provide relief to the economic distress of Gaza residents as long as Hamas is in power. Most of the ministers believe that the recommendations of the defense establishment should be accepted, but because of their cowardice and the pressure exerted on them by the Goldin family and the fear of public opinion - even though most of the public supports providing relief - the Defense Minister succeeded in forcing his position on the cabinet. The even bigger problem is the fact that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who only last week expressed his support for a package of concessions to Gaza, is not prepared to confront Lieberman while the investigations against Netanyahu hang on him. Proposals for the transfer of humanitarian aid and for economic activities for industries in the fields of water, sewage and electricity are abundant, and there is also a commitment by the international community - Europe, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Japan and elsewhere - to transfer billions of dollars. But the government of Israel prefers not to make decisions, and in the meantime the heavy price will continue to be paid by the residents of the Gaza perimeter, which might have reduced the current wave of terrorism that comes in the burning of fields with kites and firebombs. Humanitarian aid is an Israeli interest, even if Hamas enjoys it, too.
Silwan, a Model for Oppression (Haaretz Editorial) The state and a right-wing group are shamefully fighting to evict Palestinians from a Jerusalem neighborhood, citing technical grounds.
**Why does the security establishment ignore the solution to the (Gaza) mortars and kites threat? (Dr. Oded Amichai, Maariv) There is another solution (to prevent the) launches from the Gaza Strip - and it is necessary: A commercial laser of several hundred watts, already on the shelf, will do the job. There are several types of such a laser. They are all small. Most of them are good and efficient and are used in the material processing industry. No need to develop anything. All it takes is to integrate into the laser an appropriate optical system. A simple, short and inexpensive project. The problem - it is not profitable to the security establishment. This system can not be sold to anyone. Its operation is also cheap, so it is impossible to make a living from it. What can you do when today these are the decisive considerations against its use…We are also operating as if there were a solution to the threat of tens of thousands of precision rockets, through the use of the Iron Dome missiles, the Magic Wand, the many times more expensive Arrow 2 and 3. But that’s the thing. Those are not a solution. Unfortunately, the security establishment continues to ignore the only solution that can remove the threat of the mortar shells and the simple and precision rockets: the (Israeli-made) Skyguard laser interception system, which was ready for production more than a decade ago and was ready to transfer production to Israel. Eight lasers would hermetically seal the Gaza Strip. Nothing would come of it. No kites, no mortar shells, no rockets.
Is Israel starting to kill business with ideology? (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) The cancelled friendly soccer match with Argentina and the gratuitous ban on Indonesian tourism are signs that Israel's vital interests are being sacrificed to politics.
Why Not Posthumously Declare a Medic a Terrorist? It's the Easiest Solution (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) Of lies and soldiers.
How to beat Hamas' guerrilla terrorism (Amiram Levin, Israel Hayom) The IDF needs to change tactics and go on the offensive to punish Hamas, rather than trying to "deter and contain" it. But we also need a solid diplomatic plan to complement a military victory.
Jordan, the Only Democracy in the Middle East (Odeh Bisharat, Haaretz+) The country’s king is more democratic, and its police carry on a respectful dialogue with demonstrators. In Israel, every police officer is a walking piece of steel.
Is Jordan burning? (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) Now mired in the instability afflicting our region, Jordan is facing an Iranian-Shiite threat from abroad and an economic crisis at home – which Islamist elements in the kingdom, with Iran's help, are liable to exploit.
Should Palestinians 'return' to Judaism? (Seraj Assi, Haaretz+) 'They belong to our people': Why Israel's founders believed Palestinians were originally Jews, and how this discredited theory could offer hope for reconciliation today.
Iran's fighting force in Gaza, calling and firing the shots: This is Islamic Jihad in Palestine (Yaniv Kubovich, Haaretz+) Hamas may rule the Strip, but it’s Islamic Jihad that will determine whether rockets are directed at Israel.
A resounding failure (Daniel Siryoti, Israel Hayom) As the campaign for a "March of Return" went on and the extent of Iran's involvement in Gaza became clear, Palestinians began to distance themselves from the Hamas-organized protests on the border.
How to Solve the Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza (Moshe Arens, Haaretz+) Maybe international inspectors could make sure that resources from abroad go where they’re supposed to go, not to Hamas' nefarious projects.
A day on the frontlines of the Gaza riot war (Nikki Guttman, Israel Hayom) Seen from up close, the events on the Gaza border are clearly war, and despite criticism of its tactics, the IDF knows exactly where and why it is shooting. Its goal is to protect Israelis living near the border while minimizing Gazan casualties.
 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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