News Nosh 11.01.13

APN's daily news review from Israel

Friday November 01, 2013


Number of the day:


--The percentage of Jewish Israelis who think a peace agreement will come out of the present talks.**

Front Page News:


Yedioth Ahronoth


Israel Hayom

  • Shooting incident in Gaza Strip
  • IDF attacked in Syria
  • "There was a start-up to run Ashkenazi to be prime minister" - says Boaz Harpaz
  • The doctor warned, the administration ignored - and the baby was severely harmed
  • Anger in the police: "Yedioth invented an article from its imagination" - "In the Investigations branch and the intel there is no document ranking the crime organizations in Israel"
  • Netanyahu: "Israel's security border will always be on the Jordan River"
  • The State Comptroller prevents dismissal of employees who exposed corruption in Zichron Yaakov municipality
  • Don't forget: As of today, you must turn on headlights on highways - during day, too


Peace Talk Highlights:
Amid conflicting reports about the resignation of the chief Palestinian negotiator and his team, Haaretz reported that the Palestinian Authority is under pressure to end peace talks in response to Israeli settlement expansion and it wants the international community to define settlement construction as a war crime, Maariv reported. All this comes days before US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives here to meet with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to invigorate the peace talks. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared that Israel would always retain security control over the West Bank border with Jordan and a poll shared what has been being said for some time: that most Israelis don't believe a peace agreement will come of these talks.
Chief Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat denied Thursday night reports claiming he and his team had resigned. According to Maan, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas neither accepted or rejected the resignation and instead called  for a Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee meeting to discuss the issue as soon as possible. As of now, next week's meetings between the Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are expected to take place as scheduled.

Haaretz reported that at the PLO emergency meeting, there was pressure to get the Palestinian Authority to end peace talks in response to Israeli settlement expansion. Haaretz's Barak Ravid said that PLO considered steps such as appealing to UN bodies and ceasing negotiations. After the meeting the PLO announced it would take a series of steps in response to the new wave of Israeli settlement construction.
One of them may be to get settlement construction defined as a war crime, PA Foreign Minister Riyad Maliki announced he is considering this in order to stop Israel from building over the Green Line," Maariv/NRG Hebrew reported. "It harms security and regional stability," he said, adding that it makes a two state solution impossible.

Kerry is due to arrive in the Middle East next week and visit a number of countries. He will visit Israel and the Palestinian Territories to discuss Iran and to invigorate Israeli-Palestinian talks. On Wednesday he will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and Abbas in Ramallah. Haaretz's Ravid reports there have been 15 meetings between the Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams so far, including two this week. Despite the ramped-up rate of talks, there has been no breakthrough.

One of the sticking issues is over control of the West Bank border with Jordan. Netanyahu declared yesterday that Israel would always keep Israeli forces along the West Bank border with Jordan. Speaking yesterday at a ceremony in honor and commemoration of commanders from the Yom Kippur War he said, "The State of Israel's security border will always remain on the Jordan (River)." Netanyahu also said Israel was working to stop a nuclear threat from Iran. President Shimon Peres also spoke at the event and said, "The biggest threat we face today is the Iranian threat. Throughout history, we were not enemies of the Iranian people, but we will never be its victims. If they act forcefully against us, they will be answered with a power whose strength they are unaware of." Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon said, "Our enemies understood, particularly because of the heroism of our IDF soldiers during the Yom Kippur War, that they cannot overcome us in the battle field. Therefore they have turned to the path of missiles and rockets, terror and de-legitimization."

**Israel Hayom Poll: Do you believe the present negotiations will lead to a peace agreement with the Palestinians? (500 Hebrew-speaking Jewish Israelis over the age of 18 polled)
83.8% - No
7.9%  - Yes
8.3%  - Don't know

Security Summary:
Israel is angry over another US leak of an Israeli attack on Syria, Israeli forces exchange fire with Palestinian militants near the Gaza border and the Israeli Minister of Finance capitulates to the security establishment's demand for a bigger budget making top news in today's Israeli newspapers. Meanwhile, Yedioth reported that Habayit Hayehudi is initiating a bill to allow Jews to pray on the Temple Mount.
Throughout Thursday, the strikes in Syria that reportedly destroyed Hezbollah-bound missile shipment near Latakia and a target in Damascus were unclear. Al-Arabiya reported that Israel was responsible, but it wasn't till evening, when CNN quoted a US official who confirmed that Israel struck a military base near Latakia, that the picture became clear - greatly angering senior Israeli officials in Jerusalem, Yedioth reported. In Washington they say the timing was terrible because it came on the exact day that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stood by his commitment and allowed the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons facilities. According to Yedioth, the leak revealed a deep rift between Washington and Jerusalem. This was the third leak of an Israeli attack on Syria by the US administration. Senior Israeli officials told Yedioth that the leaks express the US administration's fear that the Israeli actions could spark a regional fire.
The papers reported that several Israeli soldiers were injured by an explosive device near the Gaza Strip border while trying to uncover or destroy additional tunnels between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The Israeli army responded with tank fire, killing one Palestinian and injuring at least one other. It was unclear from the reports if the Israeli soldiers were inside the Gaza Strip or not.

Lapid gave in and agreed to decrease the defense establishment budget cut by 2.75 billion shekels ($783 million). The cut was originally supposed to be 7.5 billion shekels ($2.14 billion) and will now stand at 4.75 billion shekel ($1.35 billion) cut. "It's very disturbing that a dramatic decision on a NIS 2.75 billion increase to the defense budget was a result of arm wrestling within the government... this raises questions on the decision-making process in Netanyahu's cabinet," Opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) said in response.

If the prisoner release shook the coalition government, putting Habayit Hayehudi at odds with Likud, the next storm will be over Habayit Hayehudi's initiative to allow Jews to pray on the Temple Mount - something that has been prohibited since Israel conquered the Old City and the West Bank in 1967, Yedioth reported. The pro-settler party, whose Chairman is the Minister of Religious Services, has already prepared new special regulations for the Ministry of Religion that would give Jews specific hours daily during which they could pray, writes reporter Akiva Novick. Since Israel conquered the West Bank and E. Jerusalem, it has not allowed Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, so as to prevent major security problems and to prevent anger from the Arab world. Whoever is caught praying is removed by the police. But recently there has been a significant upsurge in the number of Jewish religious tours of the site, in which right-wing MKs and rabbis participated. However, making the changes requires the approval of Netanyahu and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. So Habayit Hayehudi in cooperation with Knesset Interior Affairs Committee Chairwoman Miri Regev (Likud) are looking at other ways of allowing it 'under the radar,' such as changing the law for protecting religious sites so that the Temple Mount will be defined as a Jewish holy site in the law, which would mean Jews must have access to pray there. The Interior Affairs Committee will hold a discussion on the subject on Monday. According to a High Court ruling, there is no official prohibition against Jews praying on the Temple Mount, but the police is given the authority to prevent them for fear of disturbing the public order. In actuality, the police decided overwhelmingly that Jews praying at the Temple Mount is a danger, wrote Novick.

Quick Hits:

  • Palestinian killed by IDF fire in Qabatiya - Palestinians report large IDF forces entered village near Jenin overnight; subsequent clashes left young man dead. (Ynet and Haaretz and Maan)
  • Army calls off protection of settlement following violent assault on soldier, driver - A Palestinian driver was beaten with a club and a soldier was attacked with pepper spray by masked men at the entrance to the settlement of Bat Ayin. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Israeli forces 'deliberately' damage Palestinian vehicle near Jenin - Three Israeli military vehicles entered the town of Yaabad, fired stun grenades, and "deliberately" hit a vehicle parked on the side of the road belonging to the electricity department. Clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli forces after the soldiers hurled stun grenades at young men in a café. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces 'seal entrance to West Bank village' - Israeli forces on Thursday morning set up a checkpoint at the entrance of Beit Ummar village north of Hebron and fired tear gas and stun grenades at Palestinians and fired live bullets into the area. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces hand out demolition orders in Hebron - On Thursday handed out three stop-work notices for houses and agricultural properties in the Wadi Aziz area in Idna village west of Hebron. Three days ago, the Israeli forces handed notifications and stop-work orders for properties belonging to the Idna association for cooperation and livestock development. (Maan)
  • Tension between IDF and rabbis over the integration of women - A program by the IDF Personnel Directorate chief will help women in the army, but make it difficult to recruit ultra-Orthodox. Among the steps: require religious soldiers to listen to women singing and require officers command female soldiers. (Maariv/NRG Hebrew)
  • Huwwara checkpoint closed after gunshots, Molotov cocktail - Israeli forces on Thursday closed Huwwara checkpoint south of Nablus after Palestinians fired gunshots and hurled a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli settler bus traveling near Huwwara checkpoint. (Maan)
  • Likud MK: Bennett agreed to prisoner release, then backtracked - Hanegbi says he can't recall another senior minister agreeing to cabinet understandings only to later dismiss them, making Israel looking insincere in its decision-making • Labor MK calls for urgent meeting over Habayit Hayehudi conduct. (Israel Hayom)
  • Poll: Habayit Hayehudi dips for first time since elections - Naftali Bennett's ploy over the Palestinian prisoner release rebounded, while Yesh Atid may have stopped the rot. (Globes)
  • Uruguay wants Israel to help it become high-tech nation - Uruguay VP Prof. Danilo Astori tells "Globes": You're the pioneers in this area, and you have a global reputation. (Globes)
  • Disabled athlete suspended for allegedly competing on Yom Kippur - Table tennis champ denies breach of ban on Israeli athletes from competing on Yom Kippur, but may miss 2016 Paralympics. (Haaretz)
  • New Gaza textbooks focus on resistance - The Hamas-run government in the Gaza Strip has introduced amended textbooks for grades eight, nine and 10, adding lessons about various methods of Palestinian resistance. (Maan)
  • Gazans mark Balfour Declaration anniversary with sit-ins - Palestinians Thursday organized sit-ins at international organizations in Gaza during demonstrations marking the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. (Maan)
  • U.S. war vets seek to assuage PTSD in 'Birthright'-type Israel trip - New Jersey-based organization 'Heroes to Heroes' brings groups of former U.S. soldiers to Israel, where their distress, they feel, doesn't fall on deaf ears. (Haaretz)
  • IN PICTURES: Military memorials dot the countryside of Israel - It's no surprise that even in peacetime, the shadow of Israel's military past looms large over everyday life.  (Haaretz)


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