News Nosh 02.09.15

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday February 9, 2015

Quote of the day:
"These data prove that the Netanyahu government continued in 2014 to energetically promote the End of Days vision of an apartheid state, where settlements are built simultaneously all over the West Bank, and millions of Palestinians live as second-class citizens in the enclaves between them.”
--Researcher Dror Etkes, who heads the Peace Now settlement tracking project, on the government plan to make major expansions of four settlements.** 

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The stain of the blue uniform - The shake-up in the police takes heavy price from people in field
  • Netanyahu: I won’t make a government with Herzog and Livni
  • A son was born to Moral and Mahmoud
  • Come choose the teacher of the country
  • Dangerous path – Why do so many terrible accidents happen to Israeli backpackers abroad?
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom

Election 2015 Polls:
Channel 10 Poll: Likud, Zionist Camp tied at 23 seats each
Channel 10 poll finds Bennett's Habayit Hayehudi dips to 14 seats; 43% prefer to see Netanyahu as prime minister. (Haaretz)
Poll: Zionist Camp ahead by large margin among voting 12th graders
At the end of a conference, which was attended by about 1,000 12th graders from across the country who will be voting in the upcoming elections for the first time, about half of the students took part in a poll: 99% of voters said they intended to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming elections, 36% intend to vote for the Zionist camp, 12% for Habayit Hayehudi, 11% for Kulanu headed by Moshe Kahlon, 10.3% for Meretz, 9% for Yesh Atid and only 9% for Likud. (Maariv)

News Summary:
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu insists he won’t give up on his speech to Congress making top story in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also in the news was the Mideast Quartet calls for the renewal of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Meanwhile, Netanyahu ruled out a coalition with the Zionist Camp list and Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett got into hot waters speaking to Jewish and Arab 12th graders. And there was an interesting verbal clash between Qatar's Foreign minister and Israel’s Likudnik Intelligence Affairs minister on a panel at the Munich Security Conference.

Netanyahu said that Israel will do everything it can to halt the nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers, while US Secretary of State John Kerry held a second round of talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif on the sidelines of the Munich conference. Zarif accused Israel of using the nuclear 'threat' to hide its atrocities against Palestinians, while Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said he would sign the nuclear deal 'in the making,' Ynet reported. "I would go along with any agreement that could be made. Of course, if it is not a bad deal,” said Khamenei. However, Maariv reported only the second half of Khamenei’s quote: “No agreement is better than an agreement which runs contrary to our nation's interests." 
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin also had comments regarding the rift with the US over Netanyahu’s speech to Congress. Rivlin told an audience of Israeli diplomats that disagreements between allies should not be allowed to damage relations. "...It should be remembered that even such close friends can have a difference of opinion, and even agree to disagree on the issue of Iran, or on the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian tragedy through which we have been living for so many years.”
As he battles Naftali Bennett of Habayit Hayehudi for the votes of the right-wingers, Netanyahu announced he would not form a coalition with the leftist parties, meaning Meretz and the Zionist Camp.
Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett was not so popular at an elections event for high school seniors from across the country, in what Yedioth dubbed the ‘Thieves Speech.’ Arab students and Jewish Meretz activists stormed out calling Bennett’s words “racist and nationalist when Bennett said there was a phenomenon of car theft near Arab-populated areas and that “in every Arab town and every Arab city, you can’t enter because the State of Israel decided that the rule of law only operates in Tel-Aviv and Ra’anana, but not in those places.” Yedioth and Maariv reported that both Arab and Jewish students walked out. Haaretz’s reporter was apparently not present and only reported on the Arab students who left. The Times of Israel reported that Bennett has threatened to sue an Israeli journalist who also walked out on the speech and accused Bennett of racism on Twitter.

Read JPost’s report for a fascinating look at why tones rose between Qatar's Foreign Minister Khalid Mohamed A. Al-Attiyah and Israel’s Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz on a joint panel at the Munich Security Conference Sunday. Al-Attiyah said that the chaos in the Middle East was due to the fact that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has not been solved. Steinitz said that negotiations failed because the Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Al-Attiyah responded saying, “The world is fighting a group calling itself Islamic State, and you want to come and say [you are] a Jewish state.” Steinitz accused Qatar of supporting Hamas, "the same as the Islamic State" Al-Attiyah responded saying, Hamas was not a terror organization and “If you lift the occupation, Hamas does not have to fight you. It is a movement of liberation.” (Also in Maariv in Hebrew.)

Quick Hits:
  • **Israel preparing major expansions in four West Bank settlements - Kedumim, Vered Yericho, Neveh Tzuf, Emanuel slated to grow. There has also been a change in settlements’ areas of jurisdiction. Last year they increased by 1,162 dunams. (Haaretz+)
  • Report: Israel approves 64 new settlement houses in East Jerusalem - A local planning and construction committee of the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem has approved a call for bids to build 64 new settlement houses in Ramot settlement in the northern outskirts of East Jerusalem. (Maan
  • Israel publishes tenders for 580 hotel rooms in East Jerusalem - The rooms would be built in the E. Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal Mukabber on an area of 70 square kilometers which Israel confiscated when it occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 and were reportedly part of a larger plan to build 1,350 hotel rooms. (Maan)
  • High Court orders state to demolish 9 homes in Ofra settlement - Petition originally filed by Palestinian landowners in 2008; government instructed to carry out demolition within two years. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • More than 400 rabbis call on Israel to end (Palestinian) house demolitions - Rabbis for Human Rights sponsors letter calling on Israel to end administrative demolitions of Palestinian homes and give residents a say in planning their communities. (Haaretz)
  • Palestinian illegally staying in Israel saved two Jews from a mob - Judge shows leniency after accused defended Israeli doctor and his son from rock-throwing mob in Samaria village, calls accused 'a righteous among the nations'. (Ynet)
  • Soldier driving military truck accidentally enters Qalqilya, returned by Palestinian security forces - The soldier was stopped at a Palestinian checkpoint by by Palestinian security forces, who transferred him to the Israeli District Coordination and Liaison office. (Ynet)
  • Traumatized by war, Gaza youths join Hamas training camps - "The Israelis killed my niece last summer. Now I want to kill them," Hatem, 14, told AFP after completing a week-long youth training camp with militants from the Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas. (Agencies, Maan
  • UNRWA to provide aid to homeless Gaza families - UNRWA said in a statement that $1.1 million has been allocated for distribution to some 800 families in the Strip starting next week. (Maan)
  • Gaza: Man torches self out of despair, sustains critical burns - A 30-year-old man was taken to Shifa hospital in critical condition after he burnt himself. They said they believe the dire economic conditions could be the motive behind the man's decision to set fire to himself. (Maan)
  • In protest of siege, stranded Gaza students hurl diplomas into the sea - Many students who study outside Gaza have all but given up hope of catching up with their college credits after being stranded in Gaza for months due to the closure of Egypt's Rafah crossing with the Strip. [Israel does not give them permits to cross to the West Bank to leave through Jordan, either.] (Maan)
  • Sunday E. Jerusalem violence round-up: Two incendiary devices thrown on Sunday at Jewish buildings in Arab E. Jerusalem neighborhoods. No injuries. Stone thrown on bus. Six cars belonging to Palestinians living in Silwan and Abu Tor neighborhoods were burned. However, according to police it did not appear to be the work of Jewish radicals. (Haaretz+)
  • Dozens protest arrest of Palestinian children in E. Jerusalem - The protest in front of the Israeli municipality in Jerusalem was organized by a committee of parents in the al-Tur neighborhood of the city. According to a 2015 report by the Child Rights International Network, some 700 Palestinian children per year are arrested and face "ill-treatment" by Israeli forces. (Maan)
  • After nine years: the head of the Jewish (terrorist) underground, Ofer Gamliel, was released from prison - Right-wing activist who was convicted of attempting to carry out a terrorist attack at an (Arab) girls' school and the Al-Maqassed Hospital (both in E. Jerusalem), finished his sentence Sunday because the prosecution and the Shin Bet had no objections. His lawyer Adi Keidar from (right-wing) Honeinu organization: "He was a model prisoner.” (Maariv)
  • 9 people murdered in the Arab sector in a month - Police have not announced any leads, as victims' relatives accuse police force of negligence and looking the other way. (Ynet)
  • Israeli troops tear down E1 protest camp for fourth time - A bulldozer and Israeli military vehicles stormed the protest camp "Gate to Jerusalem" at 4:30 a.m., demolished brick room activists built on Friday in protest against an Israeli plan to build Jewish-only settlements in E1 corridor east of Jerusalem on the way to Jericho where Palestinian Bedouins have been dwelling for decades. (Maan)
  • Netanyahu rejects judges’ candidacy for Israel Prize for Literature panel - Professors Avner Holtzman and Ariel Hirschfeld were informed of the decision after they had already begun their work. (Haaretz)
  • Balad party to Egyptian poet: Boycott Israel - Famous Egyptian poet Hisham Al-Juh, known for his nationalistic poems, was invited to read them Wednesday and Thursday before an Arabic-speaking audience in Nazareth and Baqa al-Gharbiyeh. Balad  says it is "recognition by you of aggressive Israel. You will break the cultural boycott on Israel." (Yedioth, p. 6)
  • Herzog to Netanyahu: You failed to cripple Hamas - Head of center-left camp attempts to hit prime minister on his go-to talking point – security – saying Netanyahu was weak on Hamas, let them grow strong. (Ynet
  • Israeli remix king takes on election - Noy Alooshe – known for popular online auto-tuned remix videos of Israeli politicians – gives Ynet readers exclusive new song which pokes fun at 'Bibi/Buji' divide. (Ynet)
  • Lapid: Attorney general should investigate Netanyahu - Yesh Atid chairman says a culture of corruption surrounds PM and that his speech to Congress makes it seem like Israel has a good relationship with Republicans, not the US. (Ynet)
  • Amid Congress speech row, Steinitz stood in line to shake Biden's hand - As Likud was criticizing Zionist Camp leader Herzog for meeting with Biden and Kerry in Munich, one of its senior ministers was waiting to shake the American VP's hand. (Ynet)
  • Over half of current government's decisions were not implemented - 42% percent of the decisions on this government's agenda were implemented, says report, showing clear correlation between length of term in office and its ability to carry out promises. (Ynet)
  • Kuwait Airways bars woman from flight because of Israeli citizenship - Woman files suit, charging bias and violation of civil-rights laws. Airline says suit has no merit because policy is based on citizenship, not religion. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Logic Industries lays off Israeli employees for major Arab client  Information technology security firm letting go 250 of 600 employees as it tries to maintain contracts with companies based in countries with which Israel has no diplomatic relations, sources say. (Haaretz)
  • No-show by Israeli minister causes diplomatic incident with Italians - Yuval Steinitz was 'trapped' listening to speech by U.S. VP Biden, and feared that exiting the room at that point would be seen as snub. (Haaretz+) 
  • Bethlehem hotels lure pilgrims in search of a bargain - Palestinian hotel official denies the city is taking tourism revenue away from Jerusalem. (Haaretz+) 
  • Top Abbas aide testifies at Dahlan graft trial - A senior aide to President Mahmoud Abbas took the stand Sunday in the trial of exiled Gaza strongman Mohammed Dahlan who is being tried in absentia on corruption charges. (Maan)
  • PA to pay civil servants portion of January salary - 
  • Since Israel decided in December to withhold tax money which it collects from Palestinian merchants when they import goods via Israeli ports, the PA has started to face financial troubles and was unable to pay monthly wages to its civil servants. Civil servants received only 60% of their December salaries and haven't received January salaries yet. (Maan)
  • U.S. delivers $25m worth of military aid to Lebanon, says fighting 'same enemy' - U.S. envoy to Beirut says weapons would be used to 'defeat the terrorist and extremist threat from Syria.' (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Amal Clooney wants to meet Egypt's Sisi over jailed journalist - Famed human rights lawyer and wife of George Clooney requests meeting with Egyptian president to discus prospects for release of Al-Jazeera reporter Mohamed Fahmy. (Agencies, Ynet)

Are Sharia and international law compatible?
Mahmoud Abbas’ recent ratification of global treaties was a reaction to the failure 
of peace talks. A Palestinian legal expert says this is actually the perfect time to improve local legislation. (Haaretz+)
After the bus-truck crash disaster: "If it had happened to the Jews, there would have been a huge outcry" Police pledge to investigate the terrible accident on Route 31 that claimed the lives of eight (Bedouin) women, and the Ministry of Transport promises to build a highway to put an end to the carnage on the well-known bloody highway. But the (Bedouin) town of Hora is still trying to pick up the pieces. (Tamar Dresler, Maariv
Diaspora and depression: The story of Roger Cohen's wandering Jewish family
The globe-trotting New York Times journalist's memoir reflect on anti-Semitism and immigration, and doubles as a love letter to his haunted mother. (Haaretz+)

ISIS threat brings Jordan and Egypt closer to Israel (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) The Jordanian and Egyptian moves against jihadists implicitly strengthen their ties with Israel.
Netanyahu's empty seats address (Eitan Haber, Yedioth/Ynet) The American public and media debate will likely focus on the half empty chamber at the US Congress during the Israeli PM's speech, diverting the attention from the important issue he arrived in Washington for: The Iranian nuclear program.
The hummus in Oslo is good, but for Gazans the aftertaste is bitter (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) At a Palestinian restaurant in a city known for Israeli deception and lies, you can hear about the life sentence of the people back home.
Netanyahu must call off his speech to Congress (Haaretz Editorial) He is endangering Israel’s most important relationship and trampling the remnants of Israeli diplomacy. 
Go, Bibi, go (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) President Barack Obama's 'strategic' move against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is what puts the free world at risk, not Netanyahu's speech to Congress. 
Obama is not the person to address on Iran (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) If Netanyahu really wants to influence the nuclear talks' outcome, he should deliver his speech in Paris and London, not in Washington – unless he has a different motive.
The defenders of Israeli corruption (Amir Oren, Haaretz+) The wide-ranging suspicions against Netanyahu justify investigation. 
Obama’s conciliatory approach (Omer Dostri, Israel Hayom) U.S. President Barack Obama's attempts to portray Muslim extremists as hapless victims of imperialism and intolerance give radical Islam an incentive to try and undermine the West. 
Netanyahu, do the right thing: Don’t go to Washington (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) Agreement with Iran will be determined by US administration, not by Congress. That's who Israel's prime minister should address, warn and maintain a good relationship with. Instead, he is turning our most important and strategic friend into a rival.
Jews to Europe, Palestinians to Haifa (Oudeh Basharat, Haaretz+) If Haneen Zoabi weren’t around, the right would have to invent her. Because if not, where else could one channel the hatred that is raging here? 
The "Only Bibi" Coalition: Herzog needs a miracle to win (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Netanyahu announced he would not to go with Herzog, Lieberman won’t go with the Left, Herzog won’t go with Bibi-Bennett and Bennett will join a government only if Ayelet Shaked gets the Public Security Ministry…
'Moderate' ambitions -- for a bomb (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) Khamenei, one can assume, is struggling to believe how easy Washington is making it for him. 
Fire Ron Dermer. Now. (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) How much damage, really, can one Israeli ambassador to Washington do? We're certainly finding out. He has become a liability even to the GOP that he once served.

Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.