News Nosh 02.25.15

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday February 25, 2015

Quote of the day:
"Lock the Customs safe containing the tax money, turn off the switch at the Israel Electricity Corp., don’t open the (water) tap. Nobody’s hands get dirty, there are no casualties, fear of the occupier is maintained and there’s more to come."
--Haaretz's Zvi Bar'el slams the Israeli decisions to 'punish' the Palestinians.

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Housing failure – The Crisis: In 5 years housing prices shot up in Israel by 55%.
  • Responsible: Olmert and Netanyahu governments failed in dealing with this; The Danger: Middle class could collapse. Tonight State Comptroller report to be published
  • Nursery school teacher with crutches was dismissed
  • Bamba (salty peanuty snack) prevents allergies, according to international study
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • “Iran will receive a license for atom bombs,” warns Prime Minister; Kerry: “Whoever attacks the deal – doesn’t know it”
  • Today: Report on housing crisis
  • Against allergies – there’s nothing like bamba
  • (Elections Committee) Judge Jubran rejected the petition against Israel Hayom
  • The right to a spectrum of opinions // Haim Shine
  • The dismissals at Israel Chemicals Co.: Hundreds demonstrated; National Union (Histadrut) threatens strike
  • Sad ending: The corpse of the man missing since the storm was found
  • Southern Command awarded Medals of Courage to participants in Operation Protective Edge

Election 2015 Polls:
Haaretz poll: Likud, Zionist Union tied at 23 seats each
Three weeks before election, Lapid's Yesh Atid rises to 12 seats – the same number of seats as Bennett's Habayit Hayehudi and the Joint List comprised of the Arab parties. (Haaretz+ and Haaretz)
Poll: One-fifth of Israeli voters still undecided, three weeks before elections - 43% of Zionist Union voters, 36% of Likud supporters would consider alternative slate. (Haaretz+) 
Poll of the Organization of Self-Employed: 19% with Lapid; Only 5% with Likud - 
Survey shows that 19% of them believe that Yesh Atid best promotes their own interests. 27% will vote for Zionist Camp. (Maariv)
Maariv’s wandering election polling station: 29 seats for Zionist Camp - According to the poll that was wandering in Nes Ziona and Rechovot, Netanyahu has cause for concern: 15% for Labor party in last election, jumps to the 24% for the Livni-Herzog partnership, 24% and passes the Likud. The top considerations: cost of living. (Maariv)

News Summary:
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was slammed in the Hebrew newspapers (with the usual exception of Israel Hayom), first for the housing crisis and second, by US Secretary of State John Kerry, for Netanyahu’s comments on the impending Iran nuclear deal making today’s top stories. What did not make most of the newspapers was anything about the IDF killing of a 19-year-old Palestinian in a refugee camp late Monday night or the results of the autopsy.

Yedioth and Maariv continued to press on the housing issue today, just ahead of the release of the State Comptroller’s report tonight, which will say who is responsible for the incredibly high jump in the cost of housing over recent years. Yedioth did not wait and pointed to Netanyahu and former prime minister Ehud Olmert. The papers reported that the Likud party is already preparing to blame former finance minister, Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid.
Meanwhile, Kerry insinuated that Netanyahu doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Kerry slammed those who criticized the deal being cobbled with Iran, when they don’t know its details. Kerry's criticism comes shortly after Netanyahu attacked the deal, saying, "Unfortunately, the information that I have received over the last few days confirms many of our fears about the developing agreement between the powers and Iran.”
Meanwhile, Habyit Hayehudi leader Economy Minister Naftali Bennett announced he will travel to Washington to support Netanyahu, but Zionist Camp leader Isaac Herzog said he cancelled his planned speech at the AIPAC conference in the US, because his position on Iran is known and he doesn’t need to travel there to say what he can say from here – and more importantly, while US Jews are important to him, his present goal is to topple Netanyahu.

Netanyahu declined – or as Ynet put it he ‘snubbed’ the US Democrats' invitation, saying he did not want to “compound the misperception of partisanship regarding my upcoming visit.” But President Barack Obama's national security adviser Susan Rice told Charlie Rose on PBS that Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress was what was "destructive" to the bipartisan relationship between the two countries. Nevertheless, the ADL has called for bipartisan support despite Netanyahu’s 'ill-advised' to make the Congress speech. Ynet reported from i24News that Netanyahu did not consult his national security advisor on Congress speech.
With the exception of Haaretz, the Hebrew newspapers failed to report on the IDF killing of 19-year-old Jihad Jihad Shehadi al-Jaafari at a Palestinian refugee camp late Monday night. The autopsy results showed that he was shot with an M16 bullet in the upper body at close range and then bled to death, Maan reported. His family had him autopsied in order to document what he called Israeli crimes and violations against Palestinians. His death only made it to the news websites and there was no information about the autopsy results. IDF troops opened fire after failing to disperse clashes that erupted when they raided the camp to arrest people. Residents of the camp said that the Palestinian rescue forces were initially not permitted to reach him, Ynet reported. One IDF soldier was lightly wounded in the incident. Thousands attended al-Jaafari’s funeral, Maan reported. Maan has more details of the aftermath of the killing and photos from the funeral here. Stores in Bethlehem closed their doors as a mark of respect for the killed teenager.

Quick Hits:
  • Palestinian girl injured after being hit by settler vehicle in E. Jerusalem - Mariam Karim Dana, 10, was hit by a settlement guard's jeep that was speeding between houses in the Silwan neighborhood. Israeli police arrived at the scene but allowed the driver to leave without being detained or questioned. (Maan)
  • Palestinian hit by settler car south of Hebron - Hasan Abd al-Rahman Badran, 21, sustained moderate injuries after being hit by a settler car south of Hebron. He was taken to the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba by an Israeli ambulance. (Maan)
  • Crisis resolved: New Zealand to appoint separate envoys to Israel and PA - Israel previously refused to accept an ambassador that would manage ties with both Israel and the PA; now a special envoy will oversee relations with PA, instead of the ambassador overseeing Israel ties. (Haaretz+)
  • PLO, Palestinian Authority 'deeply disappointed' by US court decision - Palestinian cabinet ministers slammed US court decision that ordered Palestinian Authority and PLO to pay $218 million in damages to US victims of six separate attacks in Israel between 2002 and 2004. The ministers noted that in that period Israel virtually destroyed all civil society and security institutions in the West Bank, reoccupied all major Palestinian cities, and killed hundreds of Palestinians. (Maan)
  • Israeli guards (collectively punish Palestinians at) Rimon jail - A day after a prisoner reportedly attacked a guard with a piece of wire, special squads raided three Rimon prison wards, assaulted Palestinian prisoners, confiscated all their belongings, and left them handcuffed and standing outside for more than eight hours. Three prisoners were sent to solitary confinement "without blankets" despite the cold weather. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces demolish 4 Bedouin homes near Beersheba - Israeli forces demolished four Bedouin homes in the Tel Sheba area of Beersheva on Tuesday, leaving dozens from the al-Nabbari family homeless. The pretext was that the homes lacked building permits. (Maan)
  • Forced from Damascus, Hamas establishing itself in Turkey - Islamist group sets up 'West Bank and Jerusalem Headquarters' in Istanbul, taking advantage of deteriorating ties between Ankara and Jerusalem, using it as base for recruitment. (Yedioth/Ynet
  • Months later, Israel admits to failure in Israeli Arrow 2 missile system test - Team of defense ministry retirees solves months-old riddle of what caused interceptor to miss its target. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Housing Ministry plan: One fifth of new homes to go over Green Line - Habayit Hayehudi Housing Minister Uri Ariel is holding treasury hostage with his budgetary demands, refusing to approve IDF transfer to new Negev bases unless excess settlement expenditure gets okay. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Legal group calls for disqualification of UN Gaza probe - "William Schabas' resignation is not enough to retroactively remove his influence," says Legal Forum for Israel attorney. Forum sends letter to U.N. Human Rights Council urging the nullification of the inquiry into the Gaza war due to bias. (Israel Hayom
  • 25,000 new houses proposed west of Jerusalem\ - Greens object to Israel Lands Authority's plan including new town near Tzur Hadassah, effectively reviving rejected Safdie plan. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinian Authority ordered removal of 6 Israeli products by end of the month - Two weeks after the announcement of the confiscation of goods, products of "Strauss", "Tnuva", "Osem", "Elite", "Prigat" and "Yifora-Tavuri," shall not enter into PA. (Maariv)
  • Who did Netanyahu transfer $145,000 to? He's not telling - PM Netanyahu refuses to disclose the recipient of a transfer he made from a foreign bank account in 2002, when he was not in office. (Haaretz)
  • Election overseer rejects request to suspend Israel Hayom paper - Petitioner claimed that newspaper was effectively campaign literature for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu declared: "No unity government shall be established with Tzipi (Livni) and Buji (Herzog)" - The Prime Minister explained that "the ideological chasm between us is great" and asked to form a "broad national (government) along with our natural partners, first and foremost Habyait Hayehudi.” (Maariv)
  • MK Tibi: Arab politicians won't join coalition as long as occupation continues - 'Because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the continuing occupation, the situation is not ripe for us to join the government,' said Tibi. (Haaretz+) 
  • GOC Southern Command honors 20 IDF soldiers - Maj. Gen. Turgeman awards citations to 18 soldiers for acts of valor and bravery during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, as well as one officer and one trooper who fell in combat. (Ynet)

New TV series 'Fauda' explores idea tough on Israeli ears: terrorist as human being
Inspired by the local situation, the program presents a fighter in the IDF's undercover unit chasing a wanted Hamas man. Here, the show’s creators explain why they refrained from moral judgment about the characters. (Gili Izikovich, Haaretz+)  
Tapestry of conflict: When Jews and Arabs shared an identity
Historian Menachem Klein's new book 'Lives in Common: Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa and Hebron' adds greatly to our understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its devastating human cost. (Adam LeBor, Haaretz+)

Cutting Palestinians' electricity: It isn't just business, it's personal (Haaretz Editorial) The PA and parts of East Jerusalem are totally dependent on Israeli power, and cutting off a city means directly harming essential services.
In this election, vote for coexistence (Hazar Masri-Hussein, Yedioth/Ynet) Despite the difficult summer the Israeli society experienced, our politicians are avoiding dealing with the issues of racism and Jewish-Arab relations.
Obama vs. Netanyahu: A clash of legacies over Iran (Peter Beinart, Haaretz+) For both Obama and Netanyahu, giving up in the current fight over Iran would mean giving up on the way he sees himself.
I am the State (Ben Caspit, Maariv) The likelihood of stopping the agreement with Iran depends on reaching a majority of two thirds of the members of Congress, which could overpower President Obama's expected veto, and impose new sanctions on Iran. But that no longer exists and that's a fact. After the dirty trick in which Netanyahu and Republicans worked behind the US President’s back to arrange Netanyahu’s speech became known, the number of members of Congress who have changed their position and now won’t support the initiative against their president has grown and the chance for its success has dropped. This is a fact. No one can change it.
**Abusing the Palestinian corpse (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Controlling the water, electricity and taxes, Israel’s mob - IEC, Customs and the infrastructure ministry - shows the Palestinian Authority who’s the boss.
Netanyahu, stop telling me where my home is (Elie Jesner, Haaretz+) As a Diaspora Jew I am part of a tradition going back some 2,600 years; the Israeli prime minister should stop undermining and delegitimizing my choice to live elsewhere.
Israel's Hebron handiwork: Its most heinous endeavor since 1948 (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) The sickest imagination of present-day anti-Semites cannot compete with the handiwork of Israel and its emissaries the settlers in Hebron for the past 20 years. 
Crying 'wolf' for a reason (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) U.S. President Barack Obama is prepared to ask the Persian cat to watch over the cream.
Will the Palestinian Authority be forced to dissolve? The dangers of Palestinian recession (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) The PA cannot guarantee its residents a fair economic subsistence, even under the occupation, due to Israel's prohibitive policies, which in eight years have cost the authority tens of billions of shekels. 
Cheap strategy is intolerable in the national context, and in the context of (Netanyahu) ‘Mr. Security’ (Haim Asa, Maariv) Israel is publicly against the Iranian nuclear program. But it can operate quietly, letting the United States to do the job. However, our Prime Minister won’t give up the on the voting machine. 
Will the change in Greece mean a boon to ties with Israel? (Zvi Bar’el, Haaretz+) The focus for now is finance, but the new leftist government might opt to provide a real counterweight to Turkey.
What was Herzog thinking? (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) The Zionist Union leader says he trusts Obama on Iran because he has proven himself. Herzog is wrong, big time.
This time, Lapid, just don’t get in the way (Sefi Rachlevsky, Haaretz+) If Lapid prevents a government of Herzog, Kahlon and the Haredim, the system will once again align itself – unwillingly – in favor of Netanyahu.
The center-left finally found its new father figure (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) The party that’s supposed to lead the center-left bloc needs a disciplinarian 'father' in order to get to its feet and reach the finish line in one piece.
Génocidaires of the Palmach (Martin Kramer, Israel Hayom) It's only possible to conclude, as Ari Shavit has, that horrific war crimes were committed in the conquest of Lydda, by excluding ‎most of the evidence and making up the rest.
Obama should send high-level rep to AIPAC conference (Shai Franklin, Haaretz+) Snubbing AIPAC will help lock in the caricature of a president who dislikes Israel and disrespects the pro-Israel community.
Meet the lesbian rabbi about to lead a crusade against racism in Israel
Noa Sattath, the director of the Reform movement’s local advocacy arm, plans to arm herself with Jewish texts to promote a shared society. (Interviewed by Judy Maltz in Haaretz)

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