News Nosh 10.23.13

APN's daily news review from Israel

Wednesday October 23, 2013


Quote of the day:

"...history's judgment will doubtless be damning. And it will cite, inter alia, his obsessive demand for Palestinian recognition as proof that he always intended to avoid a pragmatic, two-state solution, despite his Bar-Ilan declarations."

--Journalist and commentator David Landau explains in Haaretz why Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel "as the Jewish state" is proof of his disingenuousness regarding peace between Israelis and Palestinians.**

Front Page News:



Yedioth Ahronoth


Israel Hayom


News Summary:
Today the US Secretary of State will pressure the Israeli Prime Minister for clear positions on a final status agreement, while yesterday the Palestinian President warned that if talks failed, the Israelis would be blamed. The subject on the negotiating table now is water, the Palestinians say Israel won't give it the list of Palestinian prisoners scheduled to be released next week and Turkey may cancel a secret agreement with the Mossad.

For seven long hours today, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will sit together today in talks in Rome. Netanyahu is expected to bring up the Iran nuclear issue, as he did yesterday in a statement linking Iran and Israel, when he warned that however the Iranian issue is resolved is liable to have a decisive impact on the Palestinian issue, for better or worse. 

But Kerry intends to get Netanyahu to focus on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Haaretz's Barak Ravid reports that Kerry is "seeking clear answers from Netanyahu on what compromises he is willing to make to obtain a final status agreement," I.e. where does he think the borders of the Palestinian state should lie and how does he envisions the final status agreement.   

Maariv reported last week that talks were stuck on the control over the West Bank crossings to Jordan. Indeed, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said yesterday, "We will not accept control of the Israeli army over the borders of the Palestinian state. After signing a peace agreement there will not be an Israeli presence on our land." Abbas said if the talks collapse over this then "they (the Israelis) will be the reason for the collapse, not us," Abbas told the Baltic News Service during a visit to Lithuania, current holder of the European Union's rotating presidency. (also NRG Hebrew)
AFP reported that the peace talks this week discussed the West Bank water, the greater part of which Israel takes.
The Palestinian Prisoner Affairs Minister Issa Qaraqe also said that Israel has refused to hand over the names of 26 prisoners expected to be released in the second batch of veteran prisoners next Tuesday. Qaraqe said that the Palestinian leadership has demanded to participate in choosing the names for the next batch.
Meanwhile, according to a Turkish columnist, Turkey may annul its (no-longer) secret cooperation agreement with Israel's Mossad.  According to Abdulkadir Selvi of Yeni Safak daily, the Turkish intelligence chief will soon recommend cancelling a deal that allows Israeli agents to act freely on Turkish soil. The agreements with the Mossad were signed at a time when "Turkey's democratically elected government didn't have full control over the country's territory," Selvi wrote. This report comes days after the Washington Post reported that Turkey's intel chief, Hakan Fidan, revealed the identities of up to 10 Iranians working as agents for the Mossad. Yesterday it was reported that the US was cancelling a drone deal with Turkey as punishment. Turkey rejected the allegations. (More from Times of Israel)

Quick Hits:

  • Settlers uproot 53 olive trees in Qalqiliya, attack farmer in separate incidents - Israeli settlers from the Karni Shomron settlement uprooted around 53 olive trees belonging to Suleiman Jaber in Kafr Laqif village. In a separate incident, settlers from Yitzhar settlement assaulted and beat Mohammad al-Zein from Burin village while he was cultivating his land. (Maan)
  • Israel displaces 17 families for Jordan Valley military drill - Israeli forces temporarily displaced 17 Palestinian families from their dwellings in Burj al-Mayta and al-Baziq neighborhoods in the northern Jordan Valley late Monday night and Tuesday morning for military drills in the area. (Maan)
  • IDF says terrorist killed in cave 'threatened forces for months' - After anti-tank missiles take out Islamic Jihad operative Mohammed Assi, who was hiding in cave near Bilin, army warns of 'terror atmosphere' in West Bank. Israel Police's counter-terrorism forces identified the man as 28-year-old Mohammed A'atzi, one of the people responsible for Tel Aviv terror attack during Operation Pillar of Defense. (Ynet and Haaretz)
  • Defense Minister Yaalon: attacks in Psagot (settlement) and the Jordan Valley started for criminal reasons - Defense Minister said that (neverttheless), they treat these events as nationalist crimes, "because of the intolerable ease with which a girl is stabbed intolerable or a Jew is murdered, as a result of incitement." (Maariv, p. 14/NRG Hebrew)
  • Clashes in Abu Dis following Israeli house demolition - Clashes broke out overnight Monday and continued into Tuesday morning after Israeli bulldozers accompanied by over 30 military vehicles demolished aPalestinian home in the Jerusalem town of Abu Dis. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces set up checkpoint in Jenin village, sparking clashes - Israeli forces raided the Jenin village of Qabatiya on Tuesday and set up a military checkpoint. Eyewitnesses said that four Israeli military patrols and a military vehicle carrying 20 soldiers were stationed at the southern entrance to Qabatiya. Clashes broke out as local villagers reacted to the military checkpoints' presence. (Maan)
  • Elderly Palestinian hit by settler car dies from injuries - An elderly Palestinian man knocked down by a settler car in Qalqiliya last week died on Tuesday from his injuries, relatives said. Family member Nabil Tayyim said that the settler responsible for hitting Tayyim turned himself in at the nearby settlement of Qedumim. (Maan)
  • Palestinian Minister: Israel refusing to release sick prisoners - Prisoners minister Issa Qaraqe on Tuesday said that the Israeli government refused Palestinian Authority requests to release prisoners facing serious health problems. He also said the PA was working to fight "medical negligence" in Israeli jails. (Maan)
  • Bennett calls opposition 'an economic terror attack' - In a fiery debate in the Knesset plenary, economy and trade minister blasts opposition parties for "anti-entrepreneurial policies."  How many jobs have you created in your lives? Bennett asks Meretz MKs. (Israel Hayom)
  • East Jerusalem man sentenced to 42 months for aiding Hezbollah - Former Egged bus driver contacted Hezbollah agent in Beirut, was told to correspond with the terrorist group through email and Facebook. Jerusalem District Court judge says this type of crime has grown in recent years, "requires deterrent punishment." (Israel Hayom)
  • 8 arrested for suspicion of using IDs of Israelis staying abroad - Police raid two Beit Shemesh apartments after receiving information that fake IDs were used to vote in municipal elections; 200 fake IDs seized, 8 people arrested. (Ynet)
  • Frustration and apathy in East Jerusalem on election day - The PLO has called for a boycott of municipal elections since 1967, when Israel occupied East Jerusalem, and it urges that no Palestinian from there should participate in the elections either by voting or running for a seat. (Maan)
  • Texas A&M University to establish new campus in Nazareth - U.S. university to take over operations of the Nazareth Academic Institute, which has not received state funding since its establishment in 2010. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • University tuition higher in Israel than almost all of Europe, study finds - Only in Britain is it more expensive, and loan programs tend to be more available in Europe, according to the Knesset research center.  (Haaretz)
  • Popular Palestinian(-Israeli) wedding singer shot dead - Shafiq Kabha was shot dead late Tuesday by unidentified gunmen in Umm al-Fahm. Born in the village of Kafr Qara in northern Israel, Kabha is considered one of the most popular Palestinian wedding singers both in the West Bank and Palestinian towns in Israel. (Maan)
  • Pentagon deploying Israeli-developed micro-robots - The US is fast-tracking deployment of Roboteam's stair-climbing Micro Tactical Ground Robot with US Army Special Forces. (Globes)
  • Woman faces U.S. immigration charges for lying about role in Israeli bombing - Woman of Palestinian descent was allegedly convicted for a deadly bombing in Israel in 1969. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Israeli water tech exports top $2b annually - Israeli companies are displaying innovations in desalination, wastewater treatment, control, and water quality systems at Watec. (Globes)
  • Defeat for Haneen Zoabi: Defeated in Nazareth elections for mayor - MK Hanin Zoabi attempted to overthrow the old Nazareth Mayor Ramez Jaraisy, who has held office for twenty years, but was defeated. Zoabi, a controversial figure in the Israeli public, is considered the exact opposite of the accepted Jaraisy, who is popular in the halls of the Israeli government. She won only 3812 votes. (Globes Hebrew)
  • Jerusalem -Tel Aviv railway link to Old City planned - The Transport Ministry and Israel Railways are planning a 2.5 kilometer underground extension to Mamilla near the Jaffa Gate. (Globes)
  • Gaza's poorest struggle to survive - Conditions in Gaza have worsened since 2007; Blockades enforced on Hamas' territory by Israel, Egypt. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Australian government's support of Israel alienates local Palestinians - Aussie Palestinians resigned to a rocky period, given the Abbott government's pro-Israel stance and its intention to deny funding to those advocating boycott of Israel. (Haaretz)
  • Druze youth from Golan flocking to Syria to join Assad army - At least three youths have crossed the border to fight for the regime, according to Syrian reports; these mark first known cases of Israeli citizens fighting for Assad. (Haaretz)
  • IDF closely follows possible Syrian attacks on Lebanese border - Lebanon reports Syrian fighter jets attack near border, other media outlets claim rockets fired from Syria land in Lebanon. Other reports: IDF operates near border. (Ynet)
  • Saudi Arabia warns of 'major' shift away from U.S. over Iran and Syria policies - The ruling family and intelligence chief in Riyadh are vowing to make a 'major shift' in relations with the U.S. to protest American inaction over Syria's civil war and recent overtures to Iran. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran nuke overture more of a promise than an offer, diplomats say - Details of Iran's offer remain confidential, but two diplomats agreed to give The Associated Press some insight. They demanded anonymity because they are under orders not to discuss the issue. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Bushehr nuclear plant to begin producing fuel in three months, says Iran nuclear chief - Ali Akbar Salehi's remarks carried by IRNA month after he said Iran taking control of the civilian nuclear reactor from Russia; it is as yet unclear when Iran will begin using locally produced fuel. (Haaretz)

**Netanyahu the fundamentalist (David Landau, Haaretz) History will damn the Israeli prime minister's obsessive demand for the Palestinians to commit heart and soul to the idea of Israel as the 'Jewish State' as a precondition for peace. 
Naftali Bennett's Tea Party (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz) Naftali Bennett is an extremist. Not only in his opinions, but primarily in the intensity of the loathing he feels for both the diplomatic and the economic left. 
Nothing but venom (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) The media's loathing for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu goes far beyond politics. [Note, Eydar was Netanyahu's speech writer. -OH]
No liberalism in appointment of Flug as central bank governor (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) The appointment of a woman as governor of the Bank of Israel does not make Israel a beacon of liberalism; we still have a long way to go.
Something rotten in the state of Israel (Dr. Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) The local elections will answer the fundamental question of whether Israelis will allow government corruption to continue flourishing.
The unavoidable war (Moshe Arens, Haaretz) Did 2,700 soldiers who died defending Israel against the combined attack of Egypt and Syria in October 1973 lose their lives in vain? 
19 years of peace with Jordan - Not on the King's path (Eitan Haber, Yedioth) Haber comments on the upcoming 19th anniversary of the signing of the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty. "We loved the peace treaty with Jordan, apparently much more than our Jordanian neighbors," and says that many Israelis seem to have forgotten that, "The Palestinians in Jordan would regard us, the Israelis, almost the same as their brothers in Nablus, Gaza and Hebron would...The peace with Jordan is of incomparable strategic importance," to both countries.
Back to Assad? New proof the rebellion is failing (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) Why the U.S. may conclude there is no group it can work with to carry out a revolution in Syria. 
The burden of proof is on Abbas (Abraham H. Foxman, Israel Hayom) While Abbas' recent U.N. speech was an improvement over past displays, the Palestinian president must now demonstrate how his affirmation of peace and partnership will be implemented at the negotiating table. 
Stop calling them 'infiltrators' (Haaretz Editorial) Combination of inflammatory rhetoric and oppressive laws against the weak is a characteristic of undemocratic states.

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