News Nosh 11.20.13

APN's daily news review from Israel

Wednesday November 20, 2013


Quote of the day:

"I heard one of them saying he's in favor of human rights but not civil rights [for Palestinians]. Meaning, they shouldn't be allowed to vote. It's like in South Africa."
--Former cabinet minister Dan Meridor wonders what happens to the morals of his party, Likud.**

Front Page News:


Yedioth Ahronoth


Israel Hayom


Peace Talk Highlights:
The UN Political chief said that Israel's settlement construction could irreparably damage the peace talks and the Arab League blamed the construction for creating an impasse in the talks. UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman said that a recent announcement for an unprecedentedly high number of new housing units over the Green Line posed a 'significant setback' to negotiations with Palestinians. And an Arab ministerial committee in charge of monitoring the Middle East peace process blamed Israel for the impasse in negotiations with the Palestinians after a Tuesday meeting in Kuwait. "Israel is responsible for the deep crisis in negotiations because of its intensifying of settlements (construction), repeated attacks against the sacred Al-Aqsa mosque (Temple Mount), seizing of Palestinian lands, and strengthening the blockade against Gaza," it said in a statement.

Iran-related News:
Nuclear talks restart today and the Israeli papers say a deal will be made with Iran, although some say it won't happen this week. Haaretz writes that the postponing of US Secretary John Kerry's trip to Israel is a sign that an agreement is expected to be signed, Maariv writes that Kerry will visit Israel next week to discuss Iran and the peace talks. Another possible sign is the the phone call UK Prime Minister David Cameron made to Iranian President Hassan Rohani  - the first in a decade. US President Barack Obama said it was unclear whether a deal will be achieve this week or next.
Netanyahu flew to Russia today to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to pressure for a 'better' deal. Maariv/NRG Hebrew's Eli Bardenstein writes that it appears that Netanyahu has already accepted the fact that a deal will be signed with Iran and now he is trying to influence its content. One Israeli source told Maariv a deal won't be signed till the third round of talks. Bardenstein writes that the gaps between the powers and Iran are great, but that Putin is interested in repeating the success he had on the subject of Syria's chemical weapons and wants to be the one who succeeds in bridging the gaps and bringing about a deal. Israeli sources said the Iranians trust the Russians more than the Americans and therefore the Russians have a better chance of succeeding. It's possible that Putin will also give Netanyahu calming messages from Rohani, with whom he spoke two days ago.  And, Israel Hayom reports that Israel is depending on the French to get a 'better' deal.
Yedioth writes there are two issues still in dispute for a deal to be signed: Ending the construction of a plutonium reactor in Arak and what will be done with the uranium that was already enriched to 20%.
Meanwhile, both Iran and Israel are making last minute efforts to sway world public opinion their way. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Iran is heading towards the Middle Ages and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif urged the world on YouTube to seize the opportunity and accusing Israel of trying to sabotage talks.

Quick Hits:

  • Israeli soldiers get six months in jail for beating blindfolded Palestinian - Military judges ruled the soldiers had harmed the man's body, his dignity and 'the IDF's image as a moral army.' (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Israeli forces attack, detain 2 fishermen off Gaza coast - In the third such incident in less than 10 days, Israeli naval forces opened fire on two Palestinian fisherman near the Gaza Strip and subsequently took them into custody. The soldiers opened fire on the fishermen and then surrounded the boats, demanding the two fishermen swim to their boat. (Maan)
  • The return to Joseph's Tomb (in Nablus): (Jews) no longer have to sneak in - Every month thousands of Israelis come to Joseph's Tomb with coordinated security. Despite the relative calm, the IDF does not reject the possibility of an attack on visitors. (NRG Hebrew)
  • Bedouins call on court to save their Negev village - 'The court could avoid making a clear ruling,' says attorney for Umm al-Hiran villagers. 'The bench is very mixed and anything could happen.' (Haaretz)
  • Palestinian arrested, others injured in beauty salon by clashes (in E.) Jerusalem - Israeli forces arrested Tamer Hassan Zumurud while he was on his way to a medical center during the clashes that started after Israeli forces raided the area in Issawiya neighborhood of E. Jerusalem. Several Palestinians were hit with rubber-coated steel bullets, and three others were injured by stun grenade splinters which were fired into a beauty salon. (Maan)
  • Official: Israeli forces set up fence near Hebron camp - Israeli forces on Monday placed a 6-meter-high iron fence on the main road adjacent to al-Arrub refugee camp north of Hebron. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces issue demolition orders for Nablus park - Israeli forces issued demolition orders for two rooms, bathrooms and seats in a building located in the park in the Nablus village of Burqa. (Maan)
  • Selected state prosecutor lauded, slammed - A Knesset member says Shai Nitzan, a deputy to the attorney general, has a 'hostile view of the settlement project.' (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Police suspect West Bank settlement developer of bribery, tax fraud - Documents obtained by both the police and Haaretz show that for the past five years the company has been a sinkhole for public funds. (Haaretz)
  • Palestinians cast first-ever vote in UN General Assembly - After status upgraded last year, Palestinian delegation participates in international decision-making. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • **Former Likud minister bashes own party for pushing apartheid legislation - In an interview with an American student, Dan Meridor laments Likud's departure from its roots. (Haaretz)
  • Palestinian father of IDF soldier gets Israeli ID after nine-year wait - Hussein married and later divorced an Israeli woman, but his son's IDF service made him eligible for permanent residency. (Haaretz)
  • High Court upholds Israel's 3-year detention of Al-Qaida weapons expert - Samer al-Baraq, a Palestinian suspected of being an Al-Qaida biological weapons expert, has been secretly held in Israel since August 2010. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Two IDF officers injured in explosion near Lebanon border - Soldiers accidentally detonated explosive device during routine operation. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Israel Air Force strikes Gaza in response to rocket fire - Israeli military attacked empty building, Hamas says; no casualties reported. (Haaretz)
  • UN Palestinian agency to stop paying wages - The United Nations will stop paying wages to thousands of workers helping Palestinian refugees next month because of a growing cash crisis with a $36 million deficit. (Maan)
  • Refugees to shut down UNRWA offices, programs - The popular service committees of Palestinian refugee camps in the northern West Bank will shut down all UNRWA offices and programs, except clinics and schools, Wednesday and Thursday as part of ongoing protests against "UNRWA's systematic reductions" in services provided to Palestinian refugees in the region. (Maan)
  • Intel officers express reluctance to move south - Plan to create Military Intelligence center in Negev facing difficulties as officers express reluctance to make move south; IDF warns: Brightest minds will find work outside army. (Yedioth, p. 1/Ynet)
  • Employees wary as ad magnate takes over Israel's Channel 10 - New dominant shareholder Yafit Greenberg's commercial interests and lack of experience raise questions as to whether she is the right person to pull the channel out of its financial rut. (Haaretz)
  • Rajoub wants to cut sports ties with Israel - After agreeing to cooperate with Israeli counterpart two months ago, chairman of Palestinian Football Association slams 'occupation of fascism and Nazism,' calls for 'escalation in popular activity.' Israel Football Association: This is incitement. (Ynet)
  • Mazal tov: Lion cubs born in Gaza! - Hamas-run zoo names one Fajer in honor of Iranian missiles fired at Israel in the November 2012 conflict, and the second, Sejeel, the name which Hamas called their offensive. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Al-Qaida-linked group claims responsibility for deadly Beirut attack - Lebanese officials say cultural attache at the Iranian embassy is among the 23 dead. Al-Qaida affiliate Abdullah Azzam Brigades says it carried out the attack. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • As US clout wanes, Russia inks arms deal with Cairo - Russian Technologies chief Sergei Chemezov says Egypt also expressed interest in combat jets and helicopters. The deal comes as U.S.-Egyptian relations continue to waver over Washington's criticism of the July 3 military coup. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Obama to Congress: Halting nuclear talks will bring Iran closer to bomb - Senators commend Kerry's negotiation efforts, but urge him to 'be mindful' of Iran's ties to global terror, anti-Israel rhetoric. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • In rare public display, Iranian Jews rally in support of nation's nuclear program -
  •  ranian Jewish community, the largest in the region outside Israel and Turkey, tends to keep a low profile. (Agencies, HaaretzPHOTOS)

Israel's next state prosecutor must restore the public's faith most of all (Haaretz Editorial) Shai Nitzan, who has been recommended by a special committee, needs to tackle organized crime as well as violence against women and children. 
The state must decide (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) The state received a blank check from the High Court of Justice over the Judea and Samaria outposts, but it doesn't know what to do with it. 
They rattle the public space then get excess rights (Dror Zarsky, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) The state can find every Palestinian terrorist, but it fails to catch 'price-tag' criminals and organized crime organizations.
Rabbis are not divine - only God is (Uzi Baram, Haaretz) A campaign must be waged to ensure a democratic Jewish state, rather than a 'Jewish' one as defined by self-anointed rabbis who hold themselves as almost divine.
Netanyahu has nothing to lose except losing (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) The good half of Netanyahu's week ended when Hollande left. Now he needs to keep up the good fight over Iran's nuclear weapons. 
Source of the boycotts - the South African danger (Einat Wilf, Yedioth) Wilf claims that post-apartheid South Africa has set the pattern for and launched many of the global anti-Israel campaigns, including academic boycotts of Israeli institutions, the abuse of human rights discourse, the mislabeling of Israel as an 'apartheid' regime, etc. "When phenomena born in South Africa reach European leadership and campuses in the US, Israel and the Jewish organizations mobilize to block them. But at this stage, there is a need for major investments against a strong current. Therefore, instead of most resources being directed at the US, some to Europe and none to South Africa, the resource allocation pyramid should be turned on its head and major resources should be invested in blocking or softening anti-Israel initiatives in South Africa. The greater the success in waging the struggle at the epicenter, the more it will be possible to prevent the damage from spreading to other parts of the world."
The time to prepare for evacuation of the West Bank is now (Gilead Sher, Haaretz) The recommendations of the Matza Commission, which looked into the evacuation of Gaza, need to be implemented immediately. 
A strike on Iran: Complex, but possible (Prof. Efraim Inbar, Israel Hayom) History and common sense point toward an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.
Brave new region? America's Mideast allies face U.S. withdrawal (Anthony Bubalo, Haaretz) Obama's modest new Middle East policy is costing the U.S. the trust of its allies while emboldening its adversaries.
Why are we feeding Palestinian terrorism? (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) Why look the other way when Abbas signs checks to terrorists, feeding the narrative that murdering and maiming Israelis is a heroic enterprise?
Iran talks: The first round or the last? (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) Iran is in dire need of an agreement, both for the reduction of sanctions and to begin to relieve public pressure on the government.
Life in Israel intolerable (Naor Krekoano, Ynet) If you're not rich, a criminal or have strong connections, you have no chance of succeeding here.
Lebanon turning into a decisive battlefront in the Syrian civil war (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) The current battles for the Qalamoun Mountains could tip the scales in the ongoing conflict, which is increasingly encroaching on Lebanon.
Party eats its chairpersons: Is Shelly at the end of her journey? (Avraham Tirosh, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) Tirosh comments on the Labor Party leadership contest tomorrow between incumbent MK Shelly Yachimovich and challenger Yitzhak Herzog and suggests that, "Labor's problem is that no matter who is chosen, the party will not emerge from these elections with a leader who will be portrayed as a proper candidate for prime minister." Tirosh rebuts the claim that the winner will have four (the remainder of the current government's term) to build him/herself up as a credible candidate for the premiership and says that 1) general elections will be held well before then, 2) neither Herzog nor Yachimovich will be able to change doubts about their characters and abilities, and 3) "Who says that tomorrow's winner will remain in office until the next elections, whenever they are? This is the Labor Party."
Beirut bombing: Hezbollah fights in Syria, Lebanon pays the price (Amos Harel, Haaretz) Beirut bomb unlikely to enable Iran to play the victim during renewed nuclear talks in Geneva.


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