News Nosh 03.29.15

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday March 29, 2015

Quote of the day:
"However, within the framework of the maneuvers – and with no immediate security need – the Palestinian residents become extras who are not asked whether they want to take part in the dress rehearsal, and receive no warning of what is about to take place."
--Haaretz+ military affairs analyst Amos Harel accompanies IDF soldiers on a training maneuver in a Palestinian village.**

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Israel preparing for day after nuclear agreement – Talks in Switzerland: Iran and the West on verge of agreement
  • The second strike on the Ganon family – Daughter injured in nightclub, son injured in Gaza in Operation Protective Edge
  • Because of the slowing down of economy, 1/3 of employers requiring their employees to take Passover holiday
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • The concessions document – The race for the nukes: The world powers and Iran are on verge of signing; Criticism in the US: “The agreement and the war in Yemen – proof of the failure of Obama’s policies”
  • Obama is galloping towards an agreement, be what will be // Boaz Bismuth
  • Fell on a young woman in a nightclub – and severely injured her

News Summary:
The nuclear agreement that Iran and the world powers are expected to sign this week and the Palestinian tax revenues that Israel decided to release – minus debts - were the top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also in the news were the statements by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas against Israel that echoed statements by Israel against Abbas and by the US against Israel. In addition, Abbas made harsh statements against Hamas, just as Egypt decided took Hamas off its terror list and the European Union left it on.

German and French foreign ministers joined the final stretch of Iran nuclear talks yesterday to try to iron out the remaining disputes in order to reach a framework agreement by the Tuesday deadline. US Secretary of State John Kerry called Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday to update him on progress.
Haaretz and Maariv reported that by alienating the Congressional Black Caucus, Netanyahu may have helped Obama get an Iran deal. While Israel Hayom wrote of Obama's 'failed policies,' Maariv's Yossi Melman wrote how Netanyahu's policy of trying to prevent any agreement with Iran, even at the expense of a conflict with Obama, failed.
Out of fear of the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, Netanyahu conceded to the recommendations by the Defense Minister, the Shin Bet and the IDF to release the frozen Palestinian tax revenues Israel had been withholding as a punishment to the Palestinians for their applying to join the International Criminal Court. It appears that the immediate possibility of having to take on the responsibility for caring for millions of Palestinians was scarier than possibly being charged with war crimes at The Hague.
The Palestinians slammed Israel for taking money from the frozen Palestinian monies to pay for Palestinian debts to Israel without permission. The papers noted that when speaking at the Arab League summit yesterday, Abbas said Netanyahu's election win proves “there is no Israeli partner for peace.” He also used the terminology used by Obama and his spokesmen recently saying that the Palestinians were “reevaluating” diplomatic, economic and security relations with Israel. Only Maan noted that Israel did not confirm whether it would be resuming the normal monthly payment of around $127 million in Palestinian customs duties.

And the Israeli papers failed to mention that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi demanded an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land through the Arab Peace Initiative. France is pushing for an end to the Israeli occupation through a UN Security Council resolution.
Few of the papers reported that Abbas and his associate called on the Arab states to bring down Hamas. Ynet and Israel Hayom reported that Abbas caused a furor when he used the military strikes by Sunni Arab states against Yemen as an opportunity to slam Hamas: "I hope the Arab states carry out the same policy that they are in Yemen in the case of all Arab nations that suffer from internal conflicts – such as Palestine, Syria, Libya, and Iraq." Abbas's statement came a day after his associate, Mahmoud al-Habash, declared that Arab countries must mobilize and hit Hamas with an iron first because it led a coup in Gaza.
However, in Egypt, an Egyptian lawyer withdrew his appeal to define Hamas as a terrorist organization, after the sudden withdrawal of the state prosecutor’s withdrawal of its appeal on the issue, meaning that Egypt no longer considers Hamas’ politburo a terrorist organization. The previous ruling caused relations between Egypt and Hamas to deteriorate. (MaarivHamas welcomed the Egyptian decision, but in Europe, Hamas was not as successful. The European Union decided to leave Hamas on its terror list till the end of the year-long appeal process - despite an EU court ruling otherwise. Hamas called the decision 'unjust and wrong.’
Only Haaretz+ reported that the predominantly Arab Joint List asked to relinquish seats on the sensitive and prestigious Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in exchange for seats on the Finance Committee. This is notable for two reasons. To begin with, the Hebrew media has long-accused the Arab parties of focusing only on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while the Arab MKs say that the Hebrew media never reports on the local issues that they work on, and the relinquishing of these seats is an example of this. Secondly, Netanyahu and his campaign team spread a falsehood during the election campaign when they said that opposition leader Isaac Herzog planned to make Arab MK Ahmad Tibi the chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Now the Joint List, of which Tibi is a senior member, shows it isn’t even interested in the confidential security committee.

Quick Hits:
  • Thousands bury Ramallah youth slain by Israeli soldiers - 20-year-old Ali Mahmoud Safi was buried in al-Jalazun refugee camp north of Ramallah Thursday, as thousands mourned the first Palestinian youth from the camp to be killed by Israeli forces so far this year. (Maan
  • Israel seeks to demolish Palestinian village on ‘archaeological’ grounds - Residents of Sussia granted temporary injunction against demolition in 2014, but state wants to move them to nearby Yatta. (Haaretz+) 
  • March for Bedouin rights in Israel set to reach President’s Residence - Representatives of all the major Arab parties are expected to be on hand, even though President Reuven Rivlin is out of the country. (Haaretz+) 
  • Arab Joint List asks to relinquish seats on Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee - Predominantly Arab party would prefer increased representation on the Finance Committee, to focus on improving the lot of its constituents. (Haaretz+)
  • The surprising tour of Jews to Shuafat - A group of about 100 Jewish Israelis took an organized tour last week to Shuafat refugee camp in E. Jerusalem to the sounds of drums and a particularly celebratory chorus. The reason: the local neighborhood councils invited them to in order to improve relations with neighbors, and on the way, to show how difficult life is there. Jamil Sandoka, one of the heads of the neighborhood councils that is beyond the separation fence: "We just want to live, we want peace." (Mynet+PHOTO)
  • Pisgat Zeev: Shuafat residents throw garbage - A new phenomenon: North Jerusalem residents complain that Palestinian residents of tallest buildings in refugee camp dump garbage from their windows into road. The adjacent Palestinian shop owners also suffer from the rubbish and say residential buildings were built without elevators and residents are lazy to carry down their garbage. (Mynet+PHOTO
  • Israel High Court criticizes army's claim that soldiers only (need to be) paid 'pocket money' - Allowances paid to soldiers must cover living necessities, says High Court, giving IDF 60 days to rethink its position. (Haaretz+ and Ynet
  • Wife of activist for IDF recruitment of Christian Arabs was attacked - The woman required medical care and the attacker was arrested by the Akko/Acre police. The pressure and coercion against Christian (Arabs) who want to join the army is only increasing. (Maariv
  • Israeli forces briefly detain, threaten Ramallah governor - Soldiers reportedly threatened Governor Laila Ghannam with ‘direct targeting’ if she continues to participate in the weekly march organized by the popular committee against settlements and the separation wall in Nabi Saleh village. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces suppress weekly marches, injure 8 - Eight Palestinian and foreign activists were injured and one child detained by Israeli forces during weekly marches across the West Bank on Friday, which also saw dozens suffer excessive tear gas inhalation. (Maan
  • Israeli settlers assault farmer, 2 sons in Hebron - Four masked Israeli settlers from Bat Ayin in the Hebron area assaulted Palestinian farmers while they were working on their land in Beit Ummar Saturday morning. (Maan
  • Israeli prisons impose over $20k in fines on detained minors - Israeli courts continuously impose fines on prisoners in order to financially exhaust prisoners' families, said Abd al-Fattah Dawla, representative of minors being held in Ofer prison. He said fines range from 1000-10,000 shekels ($280-$2800). (Maan)
  • Marwan Barghouthi moved to prison clinic - Israeli authorities on Thursday transferred jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti from the Hadarim prison to the clinic of the al-Ramla jail for "necessary routine tests." (Maan)
  • Israeli Islamic Movement leader sentenced to 11 months for incitement - Sheikh Ra’ad Salah was originally sentenced to eight months in prison but was given a harsher punishment upon appeal. Salah called for an intifada in a 2007 speech. (Haaretz+) 
  • The boys threatened the bus driver with a pocket knife - Youths rioted on bus that departed from the settlement of Adam, threatened the driver of bus #142 and pulled a knife on him. Egged bus company has reported to police repeatedly about phenomenon of youth from Adam taking bus without paying and making acts of vandalism. Settlement council: "We are dealing with the issue." [Note: Driver likely Arab. – OH] (Mynet)
  • Israel prevents ex-prisoner from entering West Bank - (E.) Jerusalemite Salah Hammouri, 29, said Israeli intelligence gave him a military order preventing him from entering the West Bank for six months. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces deliver stop-work notices in Hebron - Israeli authorities delivered a notice to halt construction on a concrete factory, as well as on a home and agricultural road, in the Hebron district late Thursday. (Maan
  • Golan Heights residents caught spying for Syrian government - Majdal Shams resident Siddqui Al Maqt, who served a 27-year sentence in Israeli prison, was caught spying on IDF activity in the Golan Heights and passing information to Syrian intelligence, along with two others. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Hungry Jerusalemite pupils seek food from teachers - A school that distributes clothing to needy students. A teacher who gave a bed and closet to a student. A cafeteria that gives out free food. And the student who approached the principal asking for money for food. More and more (Jewish) Jerusalemite students from struggling families are in need of financial assistance. In the absence of an alternative, teachers function as social workers and take care of providing students with food, clothing and even furniture. (Mynet)
  • Ancient beer-making pottery found in the heart of Tel Aviv - The 5,000-year-old fragments are first evidence of Egyptian settlement so far north; 'Tel Aviv has been city that never sleeps for thousands of years,' says archaeologist. (Ynet)
  • Jerusalem's most expensive apartment gets Swiss Jewish buyer - Apartment situated in Isrotel luxury hotel in German Colony neighborhood; costs NIS 17.7 million for 212 square meters. (Ynet)
  • Are Israelis giving up the dream of a house with a garden? - High construction costs force people into apartment blocks.  Housing starts are mostly in Jewish settlements beyond the Green Line and in Arab villages within Israel. Starts on houses in Jewish towns within the Green Line are almost entirely in the periphery, where house construction has been growing. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinian fathers can now be with their Israeli wives during childbirth - Jerusalem court sets precedent with decision, but for some it comes too late. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinian Unity govt meets in Gaza amid public employee protests - Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah pledged Thursday that Palestinian factions would "work fast" to find solutions to issues facing Gaza. This was only his second visit to Gaza since the formation of a national unity government between Fatah and Hamas in June. (Maan)
  • In Gaza, demand grows for a plastic surgeon's services - Some of Salah El-Zanin's patients want to repair scars left by bombs and bullets; others are young men and women seeking everything from nose jobs to breast enlargements. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Hamas rejects Amnesty report on war crimes - While the report claims that Hamas killed both Israeli and Palestinian civilians using indiscriminate projectiles, Hamas criticized the findings as being unbalanced, adopting "the Israeli version of the story." (Maan)
  • U.S. lawmakers introduce legislation to prevent Israel boycotts - 'Boycott Our Enemies, Not Israel Act' tabled by Republican congressmen aims to prevent companies participating in BDS activities from winning U.S. government contracts. (JTA, Haaretz
  • France-based firm pulls out of Jerusalem cable car project - Suez Environment backs out of cable car project linking west and east Jerusalem to avoid 'political interpretation' as the planned route passes through parts of mostly Arab areas of East Jerusalem. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Israeli students 'adopt' lone wounded Syrian boy - A Syrian boy who lost his leg in a blast while shepherding his family's herd of sheep arrived in Israel for treatment, where he captured the hearts of six medical students • The students are doing their best to make him feel loved and cared for. (Israel Hayom)
  • Egypt jails two over Israel espionage charges - Giza court sentences man and woman to lengthy prison terms for passing 'strategic information' to Israeli intelligence officials. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Turkey unveils restored Great Synagogue as Jewish population fades - Five-year, $2.5 million government project restored synagogue's lead-clad domes and resplendent interior. Yet it coincides with a spike in anti-Semitism in predominantly Muslim Turkey and a wave of Jews moving away. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Arab alliance strikes Houthis' long-range missiles - Saudi-led coalition against Yemeni rebels targets Scud missiles aimed at southern city of Aden as international staff pulled out of Gulf nation. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Yemeni citizen to Israel Hayom: No one to call for help  - "Everyone is afraid now in Aden and try to close the doors because maybe someone will attack you to take things from your home, again there is no government, there is no police so you can't call anyone to help you," Ali Sam, a resident of Aden, says.  (Israel Hayom)
  • Nasrallah: Saudi Arabia forgets Israel is the enemy - Hezbollah chief condemns intervention in Yemen, says Saudis abandoned Palestinians and aims to control Yemen. Nasrallah also Abbas for supporting Saudi action in Yemen: "How can you support a war against a people when your people are under occupation?" (Ynet)

**IDF playing war games, but with real Palestinians
The Israeli army used a training maneuver in the West Bank (town of Birzeit) this week to prepare for potential unrest in the territories. Haaretz accompanied the soldiers, and witnessed a surreal exercise. (Amos Harel, Haaretz+)
Israeli forces conduct military training in Birzeit
While Haaretz reported the exercise was planned with the intention to cause "relatively little disruption to the routine of Palestinian life," the account included a training exercise that involved a raid on the home of a Birzeit University college student, whose house was searched during the night while he stood in his pajamas with an Israeli soldier. Birzeit is in Area A, falling under full civil and military control of the Palestinian Authority according to the Oslo Accords. (Maan)
A French Jew and an Iranian judge try to settle Israel-Iran oil pipeline dispute
Iranians are suing Israel in arbitration cases in Switzerland over oil supplied before the Islamic revolution, as well as over assets of jointly owned pipeline company. (Aluf Benn, Haaretz+) 

Forget taking power — the center-left must become a real fighting minority (Ram Fruman, Haaretz+) We must focus on liberal education and making our geographic power centers even more pleasant and ethical places to be. 
So this is what a 'prime minister for all' means (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth/Ynet) Netanyahu's speech at the President's Residence was the exact opposite of what came out of his mouth only nine days earlier; those who are not part of his camp could experience for a few moments what it feels like when your prime minister doesn’t incite against you.
Netanyahu is faking democracy, so we must fight for it (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) What more needs to happen for our economic freedom fighters to understand that Netanyahu and the extreme right have emptied democracy of its values? 
The people were wrong (Susie Becher, Ynet) Israelis went to the polls with their eyes wide shut, thinking the status quo is sustainable. It isn’t. Israel is on its way to becoming an international pariah, and the people – who once again chose might over right – have only themselves to blame.
Ahead of an agreement with Iran: Israel cannot observe from the side anymore (Alon Ben-David, Maariv) Netanyahu has been given an opportunity that happens once in 100 years: Middle Eastern borders of the 20th century have been deleted - and now they can be re-shaped for the 21st century.
Time to give up on two states, but not on coexistence (Nir Baram, Haaretz+) This idea has become the obsession of small, elitist circles in Israel, together with the international community; they both lack the clout to force its acceptance by Israel. 
Keep Lieberman out of Defense Ministry (Ariela Ringel Hoffman, Yedioth/Ynet) A defense minister must be a person who understands what an army is all about, who doesn’t talk about occupying Gaza or sending IDF to show Lebanese what we're capable of. He must also be someone the prime minister trust.
When Zionist parties wooed Palestinian-Israeli voters  (Seraj Assi and Arnon Degani, Haaretz+) The early Israeli establishment allowed Arab citizens to vote and Zionist parties even courted their support. Today, however, the Arab vote is seen as a threat. 
Obama forsakes his allies (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) The Arab states figured they should not wait for President Barack Obama to act. They had to go it alone. The region is ablaze and the conflict in Yemen is no longer confined to the Arabian Peninsula. 
Israeli people's vote must be honored (Yifat Erlich, Yedioth/Ynet) The internal and external pressure on Prime Minister Netanyahu could lead Israel's citizens to a reality they didn't vote for. 
Zionist Union must help carry the stretcher of Israel’s national interests (Israel Harel, Haaretz+) Isaac Herzog has a chance prove that although he was helped by outsiders during the election campaign, he doesn't do the bidding of Obama and other hostile elements.
Israelis haven't lost hope in peace, but are more prudent about process (Asaf Romirowsky, Yedioth/Ynet) Israeli commitment to a two-state solution predates Netanyahu and represents a consensus that encompasses left to right. Both sides need to make concessions, but Israel’s security and Jewish identity concerns deserve as much attention as Palestinian territorial claims.
A Palestinian's message to Israel: Congratulations on your democracy – now fight for your future (Nizar H. Farsakh, Haaretz+) This world has a brighter future; achieving it is contingent on our actions. 
Two states for one people (Hanoch Daum, Yedioth/Ynet) The members of the Israeli media, which represents only the left, would do well to get out of Tel Aviv and see how the rest of Israel thinks.
Iran takes over Iraq (Dore Gold, Israel Hayom) Above all it is what is going on in Iraq today that is altering the shape of the Middle East and consequently the kinds of challenges Israel will face.
We don't need another failure (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) Given the upheaval in the Arab world, Obama needs to ask himself why he thinks a Palestinian state is viable right now; meanwhile, Israel's right needs to understand that its actions are leading to a bi-national state. 
Why we’ll never see a Jon Stewart or John Oliver in Israel (Rogel Alpher, Haaretz+) Oliver’s goal is not just to entertain, but also to present an opinionated, reasoned, unapologetic view, whose liberal agenda is obvious. Israeli television doesn’t have even one show like this.
When Jews become a minority in Israel (Dror Ze'evi, Ynet) The right, which went out in droves to vote for Netanyahu for fear of the Arabs, brought the hope of Jewish independence to an end and laid the foundations for the development of a different entity – an Arab state. 
War by other means (Sarah N. Stern, Israel Hayom) Obama's behavior toward Iran is tantamount to a woman believing an abusive boyfriend who promises to stop beating her after they get married.
The price of intra-Jewish ethnic condescension in Israel (Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz+) Mizrahim suffered widespread oppression, discrimination and neglect. Today this is no longer the case, but what remains – the condescension and derision – is just as bad. 
Yemen is just part of Iran's Mideast master plan (Smadar Perry, Yedioth/Ynet) Israel has spent five years warning that Iran seeks Shiite domination of the Muslim world, and the Gulf States know by now not to rely on the Obama administration.  

'The Palestinians are the real transparent people'
Ohad Hemo, Palestinian affairs correspondent for Channel 2 News, says Israel has become a racist and ignorant country: 'We don’t know the other, and he doesn’t interest us.' (Interviewed by Ayelett Shani in Haaretz+)

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