News Nosh 12.03.12

APN's daily news review from Israel

Tuesday December 03, 2013


Quote of the day:

"We inform Hamas in a timely manner, that we will be in such and such area, and Hamas spreads out its people on the other side to maintain the peace."
--Channel 10 reveals conversation in which Gaza Division commander Gen. Miki Eisenstein reveals on coordination between Hamas and Israel.**

Front Page News:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • Worrying rise in obesity among children
  • Soon: State Comptroller report on Netanyahu's residential expenses
  • The revolutionary square in Ukraine
  • Instead of a paper ID: every soldier will receive a smart card


Israel Hayom

  • Ukraine: Between Putin and Europe
  • "The sanctions are collapsing and they expect us to send a fax to the White House" - Senior official in Prime Minister's Office rejects criticism by Olmert and Lapid over (Netanyahu's) conduct with the US
  • Tragedy in Beersheva: 12-year-old found hung in his room
  • The crisis at 'Hadera Paper': Tonight - attempt for compromise
  • The 'Reverse Flotilla': Some 150 activists on 19 vessels left Gaza, they demonstrated - and returned to the beach


News Summary:
The tension in US-Israel relations sparked criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu by Israeli officials and also caused Netanyahu and an associate to say Israel needs to make more friends, making headlines in Hebrew newspapers this morning. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry lands in Israel tomorrow reportedly to pressure Netanyahu on the peace talks. And Maariv reports that two Israeli generals revealed in separate conversations that Israel is coordinating security with Hamas and that Israel believes that Gaza is on the verge of a humanitarian crisis.

Israeli officials are publicly and privately criticizing Netanyahu for the present tension between Israel and the US over the nuclear agreement. Netanyahu has repeatedly and fiercely slammed the agreement to the point that he was told by the US to stop. Haaretz's Barak Ravid writes that Netanyahu suspects that US President Barack Obama will only try to delay Iran's nuclear project long enough to toss the hot potato on to his successor. But US officials told Ravid that was false. Maariv/NRG Hebrew's Eli Bardenstein writes that Israeli officials have criticized Netanyahu for his conduct over the last two months, during wish he refused to hold any dialogue on high levels between Israeli and Western officials over the negotiations between Iran and six powers, declaring that there should be a final agreement with Iran and not an interim one. More involvement would have helped get a better agreement, say the Israeli officials, who claim that the improvements to the deal were not because of any Israeli pressure, but rather due to the tough stance of the French. Bardenstein notes that after the nuclear agreement was signed, Netanyahu decided to give a chance to discussions with the US and sent ministers to Washington to discuss the final nuclear agreement.

Yesterday Finance Minister and leader of Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid said the "US is Israel's most 'strategic asset." In interview with CNBC, Lapid attempted to calm the tensions, saying: "I think it's OK to have disputes within the family as long we keep it within the family." A day earlier, former prime minister Ehud Olmert criticized Netanyahu's conduct and made the front pages of Hebrew papers.
However, Netanyahu believes Israel must not rely solely on its relationship with the US. Israel Hayom's Shlomo Cesana wrote that in closed meetings in Rome, Netanyahu said that the US is Israel's biggest friend and "I always recommend keeping the relations with the US strong, but it's clear the world is changing" and that when this is discussed, as when Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said recently that the "relations with the US are decreasing and we more allies" - the intention is to open a window for cooperation, especially economic, and not a strategic alliance that would replace the US. Nevertheless, an associate of Netanyahu who is with him in Rome told Maariv, "Israel cannot rely solely on the Americans and is working on cooperation with China and Russia."
Kerry arrives in Israel Wednesday in order to pressure Netanyahu on the Palestinian issue, Maariv/NRG Hebrew's Eli Bardenstein wrote. But the State Department fears that because of Netanyahu's disappointment over the Iran nuclear agreement, he will harden his stance against the Palestinians and even try to ruin US efforts to bring about real progress. According to US sources, Kerry will try his best to make sure negotiations make progress before a third group of veteran Palestinian prisoners are released by Israel before mid-January, writes Maan. Maan quoted from the Walla Hebrew website that reported that several meetings were held between the Israelis and Palestinians despite the resignation of the Palestinian negotiation team. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman will meet Kerry for first time since returning to the Foreign Ministry, but it will be in the US next week. He will also meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, Haaretz reported.
Israel's head of the Civil Administration, the body that is responsible for civilian affairs of the Palestinians, said Israel fears of a humanitarian disaster in Gaza.  In a briefing he gave to EU officials, Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot said the fuel shortage, the prolonged outages and sewage flowing in the streets - are a direct result of the closing of smuggling tunnels by Egypt, Maariv/NRG Hebrew reported. Dangot was visiting Brussels at the initiative of the Israeli ambassador there. A senior official from the Israeli Foreign Ministry said that Dangot spoke of 16-hour power shortages on average daily, on sewage running through the streets because the sewage pumps don't work without constant electricity and about the shortages in drinking water due to the water pumps not working without electricity.  The lack of gasoline has serious consequences because garbage trucks can't work and garbage is piling up in the streets. Dangot said he is working with the Palestinian Authority to provide some fuel to the Gaza Strip, but the Hamas government in Gaza does not accept the rule of the PA. Dangot also said he opposed the decision by Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon to prohibit construction materials from entering Gaza, after tunnels were found that led into Israel. The decision has a serious conseuquences harming employment in the Gaza Strip, he said. He even recommended Yaalon approve allowing entry of construction materials for projects by the international community. Indeed, that approval was given, Haaretz reported today, after UN Secretary General Ban called Yaalon and asked him to do so. Yaalon agreed as long as Ban Ki-Moon made a statement against the tunnels.

**In a conversation with Israelis that was obtained by Channel 10 News, Gen. Miki Eisenstein, the Gaza Division commander, revealed 'surprising security coordination' between Israel and Gaza through Egypt. "We have today an area of a hundred yards (from the security fence) from which we operate inside the Gaza Strip. In the beginning, they (Hamas) demanded that we don't enter even one meter. We passed them a message that it was to their advantage, and that it will reduce their need to act against the Palestinians who go to the fence to riot and they accepted that...We operate in those hundred yards, from our point of view, in order to prevent mines from being laid and all sorts of other things on the fence. We operate there without tanks, only with bulldozers that make tests, find mines from time to time.  We inform Hamas in a timely manner, that we will be in such and such area and it spreads out its people on the other side to maintain the peace. That is how this activity looks." That said, Maariv's Amir Rappaport belives that it is just a matter of time till Hamas attempts to kidnap a soldier through a tunnel into Israel. (NRG Hebrew)

Quick Hits:

  • Thousands join funeral of Palestinian laborer shot dead by Israelis - Thousands of mourners on Monday followed the funeral procession of Antar al-Aqraa, who was shot dead Saturday by a volunteer in the Israeli border guard police. (Maan)
  • Jordan Valley demolitions leave 50 Palestinians homeless - Israeli forces on Monday demolished four houses and eight agricultural structures in the southern Jordan Valley, leaving at least 50 Palestinians homeless in Al-Auja village. (Maan)
  • Israel Police order media hand over all photos from Bedouin protests in Negev - Haaretz and Israel's two biggest news networks, Channel 10 and Channel 2, say they will challenge the order in court. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Israeli rights group slams police response to anti-Prawer protests - The Association for Civil Rights in Israel slammed "disproportionate police conduct" and intimidation of protesters following the widespread crackdown across the country against Saturday's "Day of Rage" demonstrations. (Maan)
  • Press body accuses Israel army of targeting journalists - The Foreign Press Association accused the Israeli army of "deliberately targeting" journalists after soldiers fired rubber bullets and threw stun grenades at photojournalists clearly identified as press. (Maan)
  • Video: Israeli soldier fires gas canister at rights volunteer - Israeli human rights group B'Tselem on Monday released video footage of an Israeli soldier deliberately firing tear gas canisters at a Palestinian volunteer in Beit Ummar. (MaanVIDEO)
  • Defense Minister approved 3,000 new West Bank homes in first four months of term - Despite Israel's declarations, construction was not limited only to settlement blocs; Barak approved 6,200 West Bank housing units during his last four months in office. (Haaretz)
  • Referendum bill heads to Knesset for final readings - The bill mandates a referendum and a special majority vote in the Knesset for any government decision involving ceding sovereign Israeli territory in east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights as part of a peace deal. (Israel Hayom)
  • Hundreds of settlers escorted to Joseph's Tomb near Nablus - Ten Israeli military vehicles escorted hundreds of settlers in dozens of buses to visit the site near Balata Refugee Camp at dawn, during which a number of Palestinian young men hurled stones and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers. (Maan)
  • Palestinian security to start wide-scale campaign in Nablus district - Following controversy between Palestinian officials over the need for a wide-scale security campaign to restore order in Nablus in the northern West Bank, 500 officers of the Palestinian national security service arrived in the area Monday. (Maan)
  • Peres highlights nuclear Iran and Islamist extremism in video address to Arab leaders - Peres also raises his vision of peace to 29 representatives of the Arab and Muslim world attending the Gulf States Security Summit in Abu Dhabi. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Netanyahu in Rome: Menorah embodies the spirit of our people - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lights candles for fifth night of Hanukkah at the Great Synagogue in Rome. Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta attends event. Netanyahu to Letta: Your commitment to the welfare and security of Israel is clear. (Israel Hayom)
  • Deri and Herzog agreed: we will overthrow the government from the opposition - At a meeting between the chairmen of Labor and Shas parties, the two decided to topple the Netanyahu government through parliamentary cooperation. Herzog's spokesman: "(We) can rally around common themes, such as the fight against poverty or protecting the rights of workers." (NRG Hebrew)
  • Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee inactive since Lieberman's reappointment - Labor lawmaker demands chairman be appointed immediate to deal with several urgent security and political issues. (Haaretz)
  • The Harpaz affair : Former Israeli army chief pushed hard for probe into 'personal attacks' against him - In the end, the Shin Bet security service and the attorney general ignored former Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi's requests. (Haaretz)
  • It's not so bad in Israel, according to world index on suffering - Gallup poll rates Israel as 34th happiest nation; a lot happier than Syria and Afghanistan, but not as happy as Iceland, Qatar and Sweden. (Haaretz)
  • Israel to allow building materials into Gaza - but only for international aid - Defense officials warned that mass unemployment in the Gaza construction industry would have serious defense repercussions for Israel. (Haaretz)
  • Hundreds of Gazans protest at sea over Israeli naval blockade - Palestinian fishermen say they cannot meet demand in Gaza due to the blockade limiting fisherman to within six nautical miles (11 km) from the coast. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Israeli army fires into Syria after gunmen shoot at IDF soldiers on Golan Heights - IDF statement says 'hit confirmed' on Syria gunmen; mortar shell hits Druze village of Majdal Shams in apparent spillover from Syria civil war. (Haaretz)
  • UN rights chief accuses Assad of war crimes, as Syrian death toll hits 126,000 - Death toll among children reaches 6,627, monitoring group says. Assad responsible for crimes against humanity, UN human rights chief says. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Report: Western firms lining up to revive business with Iran - Wide set of European, US companies stand to regain lost Iranian trade in wake of Geneva agreement, Wall Street Journal reports. From Siemens to Nestle, western companies 'following developments closely.' (Ynet)
  • Israeli, Iranian in Christmas duet - Young Israeli singer Liel Kolet, exiled Iranian singer Ebrahim Hamedi record together English version of song originally performed by Israel's Boaz Sharabi in Hebrew. 'We wanted to convey a joint message of peace from a Jew and Muslim,' Kolet says. (YnetVIDEO)


An unending settler pogrom (Michael Sfard, Haaretz) It's time we listened to the sounds emanating from the Palestinian shtetl of Burin. We might recognize familiar sounds from our own collective past.
Israel fears Obama is leading region towards catastrophe (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) Small, ideological group encircling Obama, calling for final deal with Iran, regardless of price, forcing US to lose international leadership position. In Israel, officials believe Israel lost ability to influence White House on deal with Iran, pointing to greatest crisis of confidence in 20 years.
Netanyahu, the flawed historian (David Landau, Haaretz) When Prime Minister Netanyahu invokes 'the spirit of the Maccabees,' he probably isn't thinking about their respectful cultivation of the superpower of the day; but he should.
My sea, my day (Muna al-Fara, Ynet) With most of Gazans' human needs unfulfilled, there's nothing worse than losing hope.
Jews need the Pope (Vered Kellner, Haaretz) It's impossible to imagine an Israeli chief rabbi with the guts and vision of Pope Francis. Even worse, it looks like the Catholics now have all the best jokes. 
Bedouin, ultra-Orthodox, and settlers - they are our people (Yaron London, Yedioth) Many of the Bedouin sector want to preserve their customs, and some of them connect that to their way of life which does not sit well with the accepted arrangements of the modern state. The ultra-Orthodox also want to preserve their special customs and some of them connect that to their way of life which does not sit well with the accepted arrangements of the modern state...The plan that Beni Begin is signed on conditions recognition of the Bedouin communities (that are presently unrecognized by the government) if the number of residents is no less than 500. This rationale is not used (for settlers) in the occupied (Palestinian) territories, where the state supplies services to every far out and isolated (settler) house, whether it received approval to be built or not, and it is not the case for many (Jewish) communities inside the state's borders, and of course it does not apply to 'isolated (Jewish) communities' in the Negev, the same part of the country where live the Bedouin, whom the government wants to crowd elsewhere in order to move them towards modernity. The Begin(-Prawer) plan is not evil, it is not a conspiracy to evict the Bedouin and the good of the Bedouin requires an enormous investment that the state is willing to invest. But if you were a Bedouin, would you believe that? Would you give your trust in the state where there is one law for Jews and another for Arabs?
Obama's Iran optimism will fade (Prof. Abraham Ben-Zvi, Israel Hayom) In the face of growing domestic criticism and weakening public support for Obama, the president would be wise to calm Israel's fears and offer it a package of confidence-building measures in the defense sector. 
Did Obama best Bibi's own red line? (Graham Allison, Haaretz) It would be hard to imagine after the gnashing of teeth from Prime Minister Netanyahu, but the interim agreement with Iran is good news for Israel and the world - even by Bibi's own measure. 
The prudent Prawer plan (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) The Prawer-Begin plan for Bedouin resettlement is a privilege, not an obligation. It is an opportunity, not a loss. 
Iran, Turkey coordinating moves as Assad plans next stage in Syria (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) Disarray between the resistance militias and their political leadership leaves Assad as the only authority able to ensure stability in Syria.


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