News Nosh 11.10.13

APN's daily news review from Israel

Sunday November 10, 2013


Quote of the day:

"Think of the scandal we'd see if Palestinian policemen, or other foreign troops, were to use a Jewish cemetery for practice purposes."
--Yesh Din's Yossi Gurvitz, writes about the organization revealing that Israeli soldiers used a Muslim cemetery in Hebron for training space.**

Front Page News:


Yedioth Ahronoth


Israel Hayom

  • France blocks concessions (for Iran)
  • Israel Hayom to sue to remove gag order over on Harpaz affair
  • Suspicion: (crime boss) Domrani blackmailed, threatened and took control over the choice of mayor of Netivot


News Summary:
While all eyes and ears were focused towards Geneva and the agreement being hammered out there to the intense displeasure of the Israeli government, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas traveled to Egypt to discuss Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and violations amd the Egyptian Foreign Minister said settlement construction made him skeptical about peace. Meanwhile, settlers are up in arms over a Facebook post about a firebomb attack that lightly injured two settlers.
Israel conducted a 'desperate battle' over the weekend to prevent the conclusion of an agreement with Iran, writes Yedioth's Itamar Eichner. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was very angry with the US over its willingness to 'capitulate' to the Iranians. Netanyahu warned US Secretary of State John Kerry before the latter left for Geneva Friday that Israel was not bound by any deal between Iran and the West. In other words, that Israel could take unilateral military action against Iran if it chose to do so. Economy Minister Naftali Bennett wrote a letter to worldwide Jewish organizations in the Diaspora asking them to pressure their governments to stop the 'bad deal' with Iran. US President Barack Obama called Netanyahu on Friday to reassure him that the US was committed to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. But by Saturday night the agreement was not signed and it was the French that had prevented it, the Israeli papers were eager to note. Meanwhile, the Daily Beast already reported that the US had already begun easing sanctions on Iran since June.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas traveled arrive to Cairo Saturday on a three-day visit to discuss with Egypt's interim Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy the peace talks and the ongoing Israeli violations against Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Maan reported. Fahmy told AFP that he was growing "skeptical" that an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal will be reached.  "We are worried, I would even add to it, to a degree skeptical, but committed to trying to help as much as we can," Fahmy said. "Settlement expanding and also going to the heart of the West Bank."

A couple from Meitzad settlement, according to Israel Hayom, in southeast Gush Etzion, were lightly injured when a Molotov cocktail was thrown at their car, burning it completely. (Haaretz mistakenly reported that a mother and daughter were injured.) The incident follows the deaths of two Palestinians in the two days previous: one young man who was shot at a bus stop when shooting flares and another who allegedly charged at Border Police soldiers with a knife. (His brother, who was with him, says he was shot dead after being forced out of their car.) Interestingly, the Efrat settlement council chairman, Oded Ravivi, was accused of misrepresenting the attack in order to keep the price of real estate high in his settlement, NRG Hebrew reported. Ravivi wrote on his Facebook page that an IDF officer told him that after catching the Palestinian who threw the firebomb they knew that it was "clearly not a nationalistic firebomb." He also said that the attack was near at the T-junction on the way to Meitzad settlement and not next to Efrat, which was true, but was construed as meant to mean that Efrat was not a dangerous settlement to live in.

Quick Hits:

  • Palestinian security forces fight crime in Jerusalem neighborhoods - Palestinian police entered the occupied areas of al-Ram, Beit Hanina, Shufat, Anata, and al-Sawahira Friday and began a crackdown on criminal activity, detaining 25 suspects. A Palestinian minister said that PA police forces intervened given Israel's neglect of its security responsibilities in the areas. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces shoot Palestinian protestor in the face near Jerusalem - Usaid Afana, 16, was hit by a stun grenade in the face, when Israeli forces attempted to disperse a demonstration on Friday, seriously injuring him. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces open fire on West Bank protests, injuring dozens - Israel forces injured dozens of Palestinians and international activists after opening fire on demonstrations in four cities across the West Bank on Friday afternoon. The weekly demonstrations also protested the killing of two Palestinians by Israeli forces on Thursday and marked the 9th anniversary of the death of former President Yasser Arafat. (Maan)
  • Mount Scopus enclave: security convoys on the way home - The reality as described by Channel 10 reporter Roy Sharon about the north-eastern slope of Mount Scopus [area over the Green Line in northern Jerusalem - OH] is familiar to anyone who has a connection to the soldiers at the Ofrit military base. (NRG Hebrew)
  • Dozens injured after settlers attack Palestinian villagers near Nablus - Israeli settlers and soldiers attacked Palestinian villagers in the village of Burin Saturday afternoon, leading to dozens of Palestinian casualties from excessive tear gas. An Israeli army spokeswoman said that Palestinians "approached Givat Ronen," a settler outpost, and Israeli forces "prevented them from crossing" to it. (Maan)
  • Israeli authorities to destroy olive groves for 'security purposes' - Families in the Palestinian town of Yabad woke up Saturday morning to find their olive trees covered in Israeli military signs in Hebrew and English announcing the army's intention to chop down their olive orchards. (Maan)
  • Housing Ministry publishes tenders forcing planners to build in West Bank - Tender requires firms to commit to projects both within Green Line and in West Bank; 'it's clear that there's a political intent,' says one planner. (Haaretz)
  • **Israeli forces using Hebron Muslim cemetery for military drills - Israeli troops have been using a Muslim cemetery in Hebron as a location for military drills and practice, said Israeli human rights group Yesh Din. (Maan and Yesh Din video)
  • Dozens of gravestones were desecrated and shattered at Kibbutz Givat Oz - Graves of babies, IDF soldiers and Holocaust survivors - great destruction in the cemetery. Gravestones were destroyed last month in Kibbutz Mizra. "It was like a pogrom." The acts are believed to be done by youth from the nearby (Arab) village of Salem. (NRG Hebrew video)
  • Former Military Intel chief Yadlin delayed at Heathrow Airport - Turkish arrest warrant due to 'Marmara massacre' holds up Yadlin in London airport some 10 days ago. After 45 minutes, immigration officers grant him entry. About three weeks ago Brig. Gen. Marom was detained at Heathrow and allowed to continue on his way a few minutes later. (Ynet)
  • Attempt to arrest Dichter, Meridor in Spain fails - Pro-Palestinian activists demanded warrants for the arrest of Dichter, Shin Bet chief during Shehada assassination in 2002, Meridor, cabinet minister during Marmara takeover. (Ynet)
  • Israel detains 25 Palestinian activists over Facebook posts -  Israeli police detained 25 Palestinian social media activists in East Jerusalem on Thursday over alleged incitement. Fifteen were later released and 10 will be brought before an Israeli court. (Maan)
  • Education Ministry bans disposing of books containing God's name - Education Ministry memo tells principals to ensure that students place books bearing God's name in a special storehouse and not throw them away. Surprised principal: "What do they expect from us? Where will this religious coercion end?" (Israel Hayom)
  • Russian report: Evidence does not prove Arafat poisoning - Despite publication of Swiss report claiming Arafat was poisoned, parallel Russian report quoted by Palestinian claims 'development of Arafat's illness does not give sufficient evidence' to support claim. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Palestinians: Israel the only culprit in Arafat's death - Fatah official who heads commission of inquiry into Palestinian leader's death says in press conference Swiss lab report affirms commission's investigation. (Ynet)
  • Habbash denounces Hamas decision to ban Arafat commemorations - Palestinian Minister of Endowment and Religious Affairs Mahmoud al-Habbash denounced Hamas' decision to forbid the commemoration of the 9th anniversary of the death of President Yasser Arafat in the Gaza Strip. (Maan)
  • Prisoners to protest against Israeli medical 'negligence' - Palestinian prisoners held in Israel's Nafha prison are threatening to begin protests in solidarity with sick inmates. The demands come four days after the death of Hasan Turabi, a Palestinian inmate who suffered from leukemia. (Maan)
  • Video: Palestinians declare Balfour anniversary National Reading Day - The Palestinian Ministry of Education organized a national reading day in the West Bank's Cremisan Valley last week to coincide with the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces detain Jerusalem journalist at Ben-Gurion airport - Mohammad Abu Khdeir, an East Jerusalem resident with permanent Israeli residency who works for al-Quds newspaper, was stopped by Israeli authorities at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport and detained. (Maan)
  • IDF worries about significant lack of female soldiers - Some 42.6% of draft-age women opt out of military service, says Maj. Gen. Orna Barbivai. Overall, 70.3% of eligible new soldiers willing to serve in combat units. Tel Aviv draft rate: 68.9%, in 48th place among Israeli cities. (Israel Hayom)
  • Education Ministry bans disposing of books containing God's name - Education Ministry memo tells principals to ensure that students place books bearing God's name in a special storehouse and not throw them away. Surprised principal: "What do they expect from us? Where will this religious coercion end?" (Israel Hayom)
  • Report: Peres considering returning to politics - President Shimon Peres considering returning to politics at the end of his term in July 2014, Diplomatic reporter Ayala Hasson reported on Channel 1. (Israel Hayom, p. 13)
  • After acquittal, cabinet to pave way for Avigdor Lieberman's return to power - Leftist leader decries Avigdor Lieberman as 'worst foreign minister' in Israeli history. (Haaretz)
  • Belgium raises Palestinian diplomatic status - After holding talks with Abbas in Jordan, Belgian FM announces upgrade in Palestinian diplomatic status, joining Ireland, Denmark, Finland. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Lebanese government denies report of sale of poisonous Israeli tomatoes, Egypt investigates - Reports of poisonous Israeli tomatoes have surfaced in Egypt and Lebanon causing a health scare in both countries. (Haaretz)
  • Mayor: No gays in Beit Shemesh - In Channel 10 interview Beit Shemesh Mayor Moshe Abutbul suggests Health Ministry, police should handle gay community. 'Abutbul not worthy to be public official,' resident says. (Ynet)
  • Morocco expels fugitive Israeli rabbi - The leader of a fringe ultra-Orthodox community in Jerusalem is wanted for allegedly sexually assaulting a number of disciples. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • George W. Bush to headline fundraiser for Texas proselytizing group - The event will raise funds for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, which aims to lead Jews to 'Yeshua the Messiah.' (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Suriname leader's son 'cuts a deal' with Hezbollah - Dino Bouterse, son of South American ruler, agrees to provide heavy weapons, home base to American undercover agents masquerading as Hezbollah operatives. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • U.S., Israel lose UNESCO voting right in dispute over Palestinians - Loss follows U.S., Israeli failure to pay dues in protest over world governments' decision to make Palestine a UNESCO member in 2011. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Egypt to expand Russia cooperation after fall out with US - Russia's defense, foreign ministers to visit Cairo, discuss arms sales, relations. 'It's about broadening choices,' Egypt's foreign minister says, after US freezes $1.5 billion annual aid since Morsi's ouster. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Iran begins production of new anti-aircraft missiles - The Sayyad-2 missiles will allow the Islamic Republic to hit helicopters, drones and other aerial targets at medium range, Iran's defense minister says. Iranian state television broadcast simulated missile attack on Israel. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Rohani: Iran's rights to uranium enrichment are red lines - 'We will not answer to any threat, sanction, humiliation or discrimination,' Iranian president tells National Assembly. (Haaretz)


Is the Jordan Valley is a strategic asset for Israel?
The Prime Minister presented the Jordan Valley as one of the main obstacles on the way to a permanent settlement with the Palestinians. However, senior Israeli officials are divided about whether we can do without it. (Maariv Friday Magazine/NRG Hebrew)
The new rules: Trade secrets from Gilad Shalit's negotiating team
Attorney Moty Cristal, an expert on negotiations and crisis management, explains why a combination of an iron fist and a velvet glove is the only way to get results. (Haaretz)
Hebrew's infiltration into Arabic
It's referred to as Aravravit, Al-Arabriyeh or simply: Israeli Arabic. It is the Arabic language mixed with Hebrew that permeates all aspects of life in the Arab sector: work, hospitals, schools and the internet. There are some who see it as a cultural weakness and preach to avoid it, but life is stronger than any ideology. (By Rubik Rozental, Maariv, p. 1/NRG Hebrew)
A year after Pillar of Defense some families have yet to return home
On the last day of Operation Pillar of Defense, two rockets destroyed two houses. A year after, two families struggle to return to routine as they wait for houses to be reconstructed. (Ynet)


Netanyahu's harsh criticism of U.S. on Iran is a political boomerang (Haaretz Editorial) Netanyahu can disagree with the American conception of how to best thwart Iran's aspirations, but boasting of Israel's ability to thumb its nose at the international diplomatic process is a dangerous threat in itself.
Breach of trust in training: IDF activity in Palestinian villages (Dror Zarsky, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) The decision to allow the IDF to train in residential Palestinian areas is a blatant injury to the property and the personal dignity of the residents.
Kerry's antagonism unmasked (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) A Channel 2 interview turned Kerry from a naive guy on a stop-gap diplomatic mission into a threatening envoy, oblivious to the explosive situation he is creating.
The maestro who should be our president (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) A citizen of the world, Daniel Barenboim fights to turn his near-far country into a more just place. He appears with our philharmonic, but only in Israel; he does not boycott, but he is not prepared to mislead the world.
Cyprus joins the Middle East (Daniel Pipes, Israel Hayom) Thanks to its new-found gas and oil reserves, Cyprus has entered the maelstrom of the world's most volatile region -- and needs support from a strong U.S. Navy.
Lieberman is unfit to be a minister (Friday Haaretz Editorial) Despite acquitting him, the judges were scathing in their characterization of his conduct as a public official.
Israel is going about Iran all wrong (Amos Harel, Haaretz) Now that the entire international community supports a compromise with Iran, any Israeli military action would come at the price of extreme isolation.
The fallibility of Iron Dome missile defense (Reuven Pedatzur, Haaretz) The operational capabilities of Israel's missile systems have not been proven and relying on them in a war would be a grave error.
The Palestinians and the Iranians will benefit, and we will pay the price (Shalom Yerushalmi, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) The political and economic situation of Iran is at a low and the sanctions work. This is the time to pressure more. But Kerry is ready to make Israel pay a high price. Netanyahu's arguments do not interest him. He comes to Israel, gives an anti-Israeli interview and flees to Geneva to finalize things with Rohani.
Nuclear accord with Iran could create fierce diplomatic storm between U.S. and Israel (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz) Netanyahu's harsh rejection of Geneva accord signals looming battle that could strain relations, split the Jewish community, raise prospects of a unilateral Israeli attack - and put Avigdor Lieberman in the spotlight.
War can be good (Gonen Ginat, Israel Hayom) What's wrong with the recent wave of crime family assassinations? The police should be helping them kill each other, not stopping them.
If Iran and world powers want a deal, what's causing the delay? (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) No one wanted to go home from the Geneva nuclear talks empty-handed, least of all the Iranians.
Can Arafat sabotage peace from his grave? (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Many parties would benefit from having the story of Arafat's poisoning stick.
The Americans are desperate (Amnon Lord, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) The interview John Kerry gave to Channel 2 revealed the US Secretary of State as he is: a thankless ideologist who identifies with the Palestinian struggle.
Naive and foolish (Alex Fishman, Yedioth) "None of the steps that the Iranians have committed to stop the race to a bomb and certainly do not turn back the clock," and adds, "The technique of gradual agreements, that do not include clear agreement on the dismantling of Iran's nuclear capabilities at the end of the process, allow Tehran to continue leading the world astray: The gradual reduction of sanctions and a return to the family of nations, without committing in advance to giving up the nuclear project." The author contends, "One of the sides in these contacts is either naïve or stupid, or both, and it isn't the Iranians. The Americans are so hot to reach an agreement, in light of their situation in the international arena and Obama's situation at home and abroad. The crisis that developed yesterday in Geneva has put the President in an uncomfortable position: Netanyahu is running amok, the Saudis and the Gulf states are outraged and everybody is appealing to Congress." The paper concludes: "And thus the talks have deepened the rift between Jerusalem and Washington. Until the weekend, Israel did not believe that the American administration would sign an agreement with Tehran in complete contravention of its own position. Over the weekend it understood that it had received a slap in the face."
On Iran, Israel playing role of 'party pooper' (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) Israel must take care not to overdo its criticism, says a European diplomat, because it is liable to be pushed into a corner in which it will no longer be relevant.
Whose land is this anyway? (Emily Amrousi, Israel Hayom) Does Judea and Samaria belong to the Jewish people and the State of Israel, or are we actually land thieves with a good reason to steal?
Israel can't muzzle the world's media - not even CNN (Barbara Opall-Rome, Haaretz) Israel's security establishment and its servile defense reporters need a few lessons in quality journalism and the rights of a free media beyond its borders. 
What has Iran learned? (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) Iran now knows it can get gifts from the U.S. in Geneva while burning American flags in Tehran, all in the same week.
Kerry, give it a rest (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) Failure of Israel-PA talks won't lead to third intifada as expectations are so low on both sides.
Kerry, send the peace process to the Security Council (David Landau, Haaretz) Enshrining the two-state solution in a binding resolution means that both Israel and the Palestinians would have to act in terms of their international obligations, at long last.
The assault on Resolution 242 (Dore Gold, Israel Hayom) Israel needs to remind the world that it is not obligated to withdraw to pre-1967 borders.
After acquittal, Lieberman sets his sights on Netanyahu's chair (Yossi Verter, Haaretz) Avigdor Lieberman got a new lease on life this week with his acquittal; but if he's seriously gunning for the premiership, he'll have to rebrand himself.
Two Israels are negotiating peace with the Palestinians (Ilene Prusher, Haaretz) Could one of the reasons for lack of progress in peace talks be that Israel's representatives are not on the same team?
Lieberman's acquittal pushes Netanyahu further to the right (Carlo Strenger, Haaretz) Now that Lieberman has been acquitted, his popularity is likely to surge, putting enormous pressure on the prime minister.
International conspiracies (Nadav Eyal, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) "Apparently, a bad agreement is better than the rifts in the West that were revealed last night in Geneva...If the window of opportunity is missed in the current circumstances, the collapse is liable to provide Tehran with a blank check to run forward with its nuclear program. The crisis in the talks does not stem from a united international position vis-a-vis the Iranians; its origin lies in the deep rifts that exist among the group of powers. The Western powers were to have gone to negotiations like these well-prepared and coordinated. They came coordinated - with Tehran, not each other...The Iranians found themselves with a winning hand. If an agreement is achieved that rejects the French position and allows them to continue building a heavy water reactor in Arak, their position will have been accepted. If, on the other hand, it becomes clear that the deal fell through mainly due to opposition from Paris, the Iranians will be able to continue with their nuclear development plans unhindered." Eyal believes that France is coordinating closely with Saudi Arabia, "which is as uninterested in an agreement as Israel is...Whereas Israel's protests were once received in Geneva with ridicule, now the situation is much worse: They are being ignored. Israel is playing such a transparent and clear game and its positions are so automatic that their effectiveness is especially low...Israel is now intentionally broadcasting a hysterical message in order to harden the West's positions...Prime Minister Netanyahu's gun has no bullets. Any agreement with Iran would completely obviate any possibility of an Israeli attack; even the contacts being dragged into a deep stalemate would neutralize the chance of Israel taking action. The credibility of the Israeli military threat is zero - at least in the near future."


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