--Likud Minister Yuval Steinitz slammed his fellow right-wing politicians for supporting giving a pardon to Elor Azariya, the soldier convicted of manslaughter in the execution of a prone Palestinian assailant.*
- Committee for choosing justices appointed three conservative candidates who will change the face of the High Court
- Anti-constitutional revolution // Aluf Benn
- She promised and fulfilled // Ido Baum
- Police Investigation of Police Unit expected to announce that the incident in Um al-Hiran was not a terror attack
- The fruit of incitement // Or Kashti
- Labor Party to probe whether Amir Peretz fictitiously registered friends in the party without their knowledge
- Herzog’s 10-Point Plan – Head of opposition wants to talk with Palestinians, but only in another decade
- Workers in nursing homes: We knew in advance about the surprise visits by the Health Ministry
- Unification of the (democratic) camp // Emilie Moatti
- The conservative revolution – four new justices chosen for High Court
- A new courtroom // Tovah Zimuki
- A message to judges // Shlomo Pyotrkovsky
- They ran over the truth – “Terror attack,” “Terrorist,” “ISIS,” Minister Erdan and the Police Commissioner were quick to declare after the policeman Erez Levy was run over and killed in Um al-Hiran. But the police investigation reveals, it wasn’t a terror attack…
- Haste is from the devil // Ben-Dror Yemini
- The youth in Israel: Optimistic about their career, despairing over the likelihood they will be able to purchase a home
- The new High Court justices
- “There is evidence of failures in conduct of police” – the car-ramming in Um al-Hiran
- Change in the High Court: 3 out of 4 new justices – conservative
- 63%: In favor of pardon for Elor (Azariya)
- Police Commissioner: “Investigation by Police Investigations Unit of car-ramming incident in Negev is not over”
- Tuesday: State Comptroller to publish two sections from Tunnels report
Also, in the footsteps of the President of Singapore, the Australian Prime Minister told visiting Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that only the two-state solution will bring peace. Separately, Yedioth reported that Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American who supports the BDS boycott of Israeli-made products, led a fundraising campaign that donated $56,000 to the Jewish cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri, in which Jewish gravestones were toppled. “We pray that we will succeed in returning a sense of security and peace to the Jewish-American community, which is, without doubt, horrified by this incident.”
Three out of the four new justices appointed on Wednesday were conservatives, who are expected to shift the balance of power in the High Court to allow for more settler-supporting decisions and less intervention in problematic Knesset legislation. (See Commentary/Analysis below for more insight.)
An internal police investigation is set to show that the incident in the Bedouin village of Um al-Hiran, which security officials were quick to call terror, was otherwise. The Bedouin driver who was shot by Israeli police was not carrying out attack, and the conduct of the Border Police, who opened fire on him, was problematic. Yaqoub Abu al-Qiyan’s family is calling for the resignation of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and police chief Roni Al-Sheik – and so did the Haaretz Editorial today. “My brother was murdered,” said Abu al-Qiyan’s brother and called for a separate investigation. Haaretz+ prepared a list of other cases in which Bedouin were killed by police and it was either concealed, closed or is still being probed with dragging feet.
*An Israel Hayom poll found that 63% of Israelis support pardoning the soldier, Elor Azaria, who executed an incapacitated Palestinian assailant and was convicted of manslaughter. Netanyahu also said he supported a pardon, Maariv reported. IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot slammed politicians' conduct during the affair, accusing them of lying about his conduct in the case, and told politicians not to pressure the army to give a pardon. Likud minister Yuval Steinitz also slammed Israeli politicians for demanding a pardon: “You don’t understand the need to defend the IDF? The IDF’s chain of command? That you can’t give legitimacy to every soldier who decides [things] for himself?' Prof. Asa Kasher, who wrote the IDF’s code of ethics said the "The chief of staff's statement was correct and appropriate.” (Maariv) President Reuven Rivlin visited Golani troops urging unity.
- Israel Barring Palestinians From Entering for Medical Care Over Cellphones, Witnesses Say - Gaza women say they were turned back at border because they didn’t have their cellphones, which were taken by Hamas. (Haaretz)
- Amnesty report: Israel unlawfully killed and tortured Palestinians - Annual report claims Israel infringed upon rights of thousands of Palestinians in 2016, among them children; Palestinians, on the other hand, are accused of killing 16 Israelis and a foreign citizen. (Ynet)
- Rehovot resident accused of attempting to set Palestinians on fire - Rehovot resident accused of planning to throw a Molotov cocktail at a Yavne warehouse inhabited by eight Palestinians, claiming he 'is sick of them.' (Ynet)
- Israel opts out of invoking land-grab law to save illegal settler homes - State opposes settlers' request to seal Ofra homes slated for demolition rather than razing them. (Haaretz+)
- IDF chief: Hezbollah suffering from crisis of morale - Eisenkot asserts Nasrallah's recent threats to fire rockets at sensitive facilities in Haifa and Dimona are merely meant to create deterrence and maintain the status quo with Israel while his organization was deep in crisis over its involvement in Syria. (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
- Report: Israel prevents 5 EU lawmakers from visiting Gaza - Israeli policy allows foreign diplomats, professional and humanitarian officials to enter Gaza as matter of routine, but five are not among them, Israeli official says • Cypriot MEP slams "systematic" entry bans, says Israeli explanation "unacceptable." (Israel Hayom)
- Soldier very lightly hurt during overnight operations near Nablus - Explosive thrown at IDF force from the Paratroopers Brigade's 101st Battalion while it was securing the entrance to Joseph's Tomb in Balata as Jewish worshipers visited; soldier treated on the scene and then taken to the hospital. (Ynet)
- Israel wraps up tests to improve Iron Dome anti-missile system - For the first time, the system now has been making use of American-made components. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
- Netanyahu's US visit found to be on expensive side - A document made public on Tuesday shows the costs of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent trip to the US; some of the pricier items on the list include $13,000 for phone calls and $3,500 for hair and makeup for Netanyahu and his wife Sara. (Yedioth/Ynet)
- MK Hasson in hot water over fake PM resignation letter - Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman is after MK Yoel Hasson (Zionist Union) after the latter Tweeted a fake resignation letter from the PM; Braverman is attempting to convince the AG to pursue criminal complaint over PM's signature forgery. (Yedioth/Ynet)
- New head of Police Investigations Unit loses key responsibilities - In a break with convention, Lahav 433—the unit responsible for the most important investigations the police conduct—will likely pass to Commissioner Alsheikh instead of the new head of the Investigations and Intelligence Unit. (Ynet)
- On LGBT Rights Day, Knesset Learns That Only Tel Aviv Seriously Funds Gay Youth NGO - Israeli Gay Youth head tells lawmakers that in nearly three out of four cities where it operates, group gets nothing at all. (Haaretz+)
- ISIS affiliates gaining ground in Golan offensive - A major offensive by an ISIS-allied group in the tri-border region of Syria, Jordan and Israel has quickly captured four villages and is endangering the strategic city of Daraa, whose southwest suburb is already under the control of the group. (Yedioth/Ynet)
- Trump’s inspiration for 'last night in Sweden' filmed himself throwing stones at Palestinians - 'Palestinian Road Trip!' by Ami Horowitz, a documentarian who often appears on Fox News, talks about life in the West Bank and claims West Bank checkpoints does not disrupt Palestinian daily life. (Haaretz+)
- Anti-Defamation League receives bomb threat - After a bomb threat is made to the Anti-Defamation League's headquarters in New York City, Law enforcement agencies open an investigation to determine if its validity and if its possible connection to threats against other Jewish institutions across the nation. (Ynet)
- Netanyahu: Trump's strong stand against anti-Semitism is very important - In first comments since Jewish centers in U.S. faced bomb threats and cemetery vandalized, prime minister says incidents are 'sad reminder' hatred still exists. (Haaretz)
Settler leaders should have been put on trial, not Azaria (Amnon Abramovich, Yedioth/Ynet) As a child, Elor Azaria was a victim of the education he received at home and of his political opinions. As a soldier, he was a victim of his service in Hebron. As a culprit, he was a victim of his advisors.
With Supreme Court Picks, Netanyahu's Government Launches Anti-constitutional Revolution (Aluf Benn, Haaretz+) Israel's justice minister has created a court that will serve her political aim of perpetuating the occupation and annexing the West Bank without granting the Palestinians citizenship.
The new Supreme Court: more conservative, more right-wing (Tova Tzimuki, Yedioth/Ynet) After the four new judges selected on Wednesday are sworn in over the next six months, Israel will receive a court which is more restrained in its intervention in Knesset legislation and government decisions and more ‘sympathetic’ to the rightist-religious-settler agenda.
Israel's Public Security Minister Actively Fomenting anti-Arab Incitement (Or Kashti, Haaretz+) Conflict with Arabs is the lifeblood of the fourth Netanyahu government, the justification for its existence. That’s why ministers vie with each other to nurture it.
Keep religion out of politics (Yoaz Hendel, Yedioth/Ynet) The Reform Jewish movement’s protest will not stop David Friedman’s appointment as US ambassador to Israel, but it definitely harms the movement’s own status among Israeli society.
Isaac Herzog Details His 10-point Plan for Israeli-Palestinian Peace (Isaac Herzog, Haaretz+) Israeli opposition leader's plan: Sides will agree on decade of calm, during which time West Bank will be a violence and incitement-free zone; settlement construction outside blocs will be frozen, with more powers to Palestinians – only then negotiations.
Please all, please none (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) Logically, the claims of mitigating circumstances that were rejected outright in Pvt. Elor Azaria's conviction for manslaughter would never have returned as grounds for an easy sentence for a serious crime.
A Glass Ceiling for Druze Women? (Eman Hasisi Amasha, Haaretz+) How about the ceiling put in place by the Haaretz writer who insists that anyone who doesn’t live according to her worldview is challenged.
Israel in Trump’s eyes: An asset or a burden? (Udi Dekel, Yedioth/Ynet) The annexation and construction policy, alongside an implementation of the red lines on Iran, may lead to an escalation on the northern and Palestinian fronts, which is set to clash with the US president’s cost-benefit calculations and with Israel’s strategic value.
In the name of political correctness (Dr. Eyal Levin, Israel Hayom) In a world where the basic values on which we were raised are blasted as outdated, any show of support for the soldier who shot a neutralized terrorist is a foreign language.
Who Needs The Hague When You Have Israeli Army Justice? (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) There's nothing more Israeli than this court that gives a soldier, who killed a Palestinian in cold blood, a sentence fit for a bicycle thief.
Trump helped Netanyahu pave road for one-state (Orly Azoulay, Yedioth/Ynet) The meeting with Trump loosened Netanyahu from the shackles of the two-state proposal. Netanyahu doesn’t have to freeze settlement building, or face threats and reprimands from Washington. Most importantly, he no longer has to fake interest in a peace process based on two states.
'The will of the people' (MK Benny Begin, Israel Hayom) Despite claims to the contrary, not every law passed by the Knesset represents the public's wishes. The High Court must be protected so it can in turn protect the rights of everyone.
Hyperbole Over anti-Semitism Weakens Liberal Opposition to Trump (Jonathan S. Tobin, Haaretz+) Be appalled by Trump’s stalling over denouncing anti-Semitism. But the president didn’t invent Jew hatred in America, and trying to pin the 'anti-Semite' label on him won’t work.
Win wars, not trials (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) Any citizen would tell you that the role of the military is first and foremost to win and only after that to preach morals and ethics.