News Nosh 04.07.15

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday April 7, 2015 

Quote of the day:
"No time was devoted to educating toward peace; and no enhanced studies of civics or humanistic values were initiated. Political education? No such thing."
--Ruth Feriel writes in Haaretz+ why Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was re-elected.**

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The wounds of Sajaieh (sic – Shujaieh) – Officers tell about the worst entanglement of Operation Protective Edge: The old APC, the moment of the explosion, the mistake in navigation, the heroism of the force
  • “Public transportation is only for use of Leftists?” – Transportation Minister Katz (Likud) called citizens who want transportation on Sabbath “Leftists” and sent them to (Opposition leader) Herzog
  • Talk to Obama // Shaul Mofaz
  • Crowded on the holiday: The sites that have space for everyone
  • Back to running – Radit Balta, the Olympic hope who was confined to a wheelchair, does not give up
  • We are from the West Bank – SodaStream changed its tag on products in the US following political pressure
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
A young man who hoaxed a kidnapping apologizes, the US President continues to try to assuage Israeli fears over the Iran agreement while Israel pushes to stop it, and the IDF lets soldiers and officers tell the media about the bloodiest ambush of Operation Protective Edge making top stories in the Hebrew newspapers. Meanwhile, the papers also reported on the plight of the Palestinians in the refugee camp in Damascus that was conquered by ISIS and the Arab League has prepared a ‘timeline to end the occupation.’

Maariv reported that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will meet with US President Barack Obama in Washington as the conflict between them over the Iran nuclear deal continues. US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro told Channel 1 that the meeting will take place in Washington after the formation of a new government, as is traditionally done after an election. This trip is of great interest because of the differences between the two. Haaretz+ reported that Israel is pushing a bill in Congress that would hamper the nuclear deal. Meanwhile, Obama continues to try to calm Israeli fears. In an interview Obama said that if Iran breached the nuclear deal, even the military option would be on the table. He also reiterated that the deal is not predicated on Iran recognizing Israel and that Israel demanding this recognition of legitimacy would be a 'fundamental misjudgment.'

To Netanyahu’s chagrin, the previously anti-deal Saudis announced that they welcome the Iran deal as the path toward freeing the Middle East of WMD. The mostly-Arab Israeli party, the Joint List, also called yesterday for establishing a Middle East free of nuclear weapons – including in Israel, Maariv reported. Party members said, "Netanyahu's aggressive rhetoric and incitement against the agreement reflect a colonialist approach." Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Iran nuclear deal would not create an arms race in the Middle East. And Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said the Iran deal rules out the specter of regional and world wars because the “Israeli enemy was always threatening to bomb Iranian facilities and that would definitely lead to regional war.” However, he said that said another war between Hezbollah and Israel could happen soon. Nasrallah also spoke about Hezbollah's revenge attack for the Israeli assassination of Jihad Mughniyeh, saying
"We chose to attack Israel from Lebanon because we wanted to send a message for both our enemies and allies to internalize. The response from Lebanon was important for strategic reasons. Had we reacted from Syria, it would have had less of an impact strategically."
He called Israel “an enemy that has no compassion." 

All the main Hebrew newspapers ran interviews with soldiers involved in the battle between Gaza militants and Israeli soldiers in Shujaiyeh during Operation Protective Edge, which ended in seven Israeli soldiers dead, one of whose corpse was taken by the militants and won't be returned without negotiations with Hamas. [Note: This may be a prep for Israeli citizens to accept a deal that would involved releasing Palestinians in exchange for the body. - OH] See Features section for interviews.
The Israeli papers also reported on the terrible situation of the Palestinians in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, after it was conquered by ISIS. A UN official said the situation is “beyond inhumane.” The camp was under attack Monday from the Syrian regime, after ISIS stormed the camp a week ago. This was ISIS’ deepest foray yet into Damascus. Ynet interviewed residents of the camp who said they weren’t sure which was worse, the beheadings by ISIS or the starvation in the camp that preceded it. Arab MK Ahmed Tibi accused the world of a moral double standard because it was ignoring the ISIS massacre of Palestinians. The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting Monday to discuss the Palestinians’ plight there. Palestinian ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour urged the Security Council to take action to ensure safe passage for up to 18,000 Palestinians still living in the besieged camp. A senior Palestinian official said Monday he was headed to Damascus for talks with the Syrian regime on helping residents inside the camp, Maan reported.
On the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri said that the Arab League Ministerial Committee on the Palestinian issue had made a "timetable for ending the occupation." The Arab states will submit a proposal to the Security Council, which includes a detailed plan, in order to implement the decisions from the recent Arab League summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Maariv reported. Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour said adopting a resolution with a timetable would be "one of the most effective measures to combat extremism in our region, because extremists receive their fuel from the injustice of the Palestinian people." 

Quick Hits:
  • Palestinian boy, 13, loses eye apparently from Border Police bullet - Victim’s friend says troops fired at them a week ago; Jerusalem police say father originally told them his son, Zakariya Julani, a 13-year-old boy from the Shuafat refugee camp, fell. Researchers from Association for Civil Rights in Israel raised possibility that Julani was hit by a black sponge bullet of type Jerusalem police recently began using. (Haaretz+ photos here)
  • Habayit Hayehudi pushing legislation to increase settlement construction and curtail High Court power - Naftali Bennett's rightist-religious party also demanded the advance of legislation to weaken the judiciary in relation to the Knesset. Party still shy of agreement on coalition terms with Netanyahu's Likud. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • IDF to develop new phone-based alert system for civilians - Estimated to cost around 100 million shekels, system will allow Home Front Command to alert people in a specific area under attack, so as not to "paralyze" an entire city or population. System is based on determining precise location of missile impact. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli suspected of staging his kidnapping says he was hiding from criminals - 22-year-old Be'er Sheva man Niv Asraf is released from custody; police say they plan to indict him and his friend this week. Friend says he helped in order to save him. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Israel restricts access to Aqsa compound, bans 3 Palestinians - Israeli police briefly closed most of the compound's entrances on Monday, leaving only the Chain, Council and Hatta gates open, and prevented all worshipers under the age of 30 from entering the compound. (Maan)
  • PA: Israeli forces raid Nafha prison - Israeli special forces raided the cells, assaulted prisoners with batons, and damaged their property, before moving eight prisoners to solitary confinement. Prisoners were also punished with no electricity and bans from prison yard, said Palestinian Authority's prisoners department. (Maan
  • Israel detains 100 Palestinians from Hebron in March - 25 were children. 34 of the 100 detained were transferred to administrative detention, with 18 said to be students. (Maan)
  • Israel cut back lumber shipments to Gaza, Palestinian importers say - Israeli authorities overseeing the transfer of goods to the Hamas Islamist-run enclave were not immediately available to comment. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Jordan to host 300 companies supporting Gaza reconstruction - September international exhibit is being organized in coordination with PA, will include delegations from Gaza, Egypt and France. (Haaretz
  • Israel seizes electronics bound for Gaza militants - Inspectors foil attempt to smuggle banned equipment, including special cameras and communications devices, through checkpoint. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Jewish cemetery in Poland vandalized - "It's shocking and troubling that these things are happening in 2015. I will meet with the local mayor and the heads of the church and ask them to help us clean and repair the cemetery," says Johnny Daniels of Mimaamakim Holocaust education organization. (Israel Hayom)
  • Turkey lifts ban after Twitter complies with demands - Twitter heeds request to remove photographs of Istanbul prosecutor held at gunpoint by far-left militants; Talks with YouTube still underway, Turkish official says. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Middle East updates / UNICEF says at least 74 children killed in Yemen fighting - Obama tells Oman's leader that the months leading up to an end-of-June deadline will be used to finalize technical details to ensure Iran program's peaceful nature. (Haaretz)

Genius or sneaky? Introducing the new planted agents of propaganda
The Danes hate us? The Irish despise us? The Germans mock us? A secret guerrilla factory is planting PR agents among groups of tourists in Israel under the guise of innocent students, and trying to convince them of our righteousness. (Einat Olivier, Maariv)
The Iranians are praying for an agreement
Orly Azoulay finds herself watching Netanyahu's Congress speech from the lobby of an Iranian hotel, and encounters a country desperate for a deal that will free it from crippling sanctions. (Washington correspondent Orly Azoulay in Iran, Yedioth/Ynet)
Loneliness, guilt, accusations: Testimony from the Gaza war's 'APC of death'
Israeli soldiers recall the incident from this summer's Gaza war that left seven Golani Brigade soldiers dead. (Gili Cohen, Haaretz+) 
Oron Shaul’s commander: "They made me feel that I could have prevented the abduction” 
Captain Ohad Roisblatt tells about the night they were caught in an ambush in Shujaieh neighborhood, during which seven Golani soldiers were killed and the body of one of them was taken. (Noam Amir, Maariv)
Behind the maple leaf: Gideon Levy visits Israel's second best friend
It’s not hard to imagine what would happen if lecturers from Tel Aviv University were to preface every event at the institution by noting that their university stands on Palestinian land – First Nations land. (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) 
Recordings from 1975 attack on Savoy Hotel uncovered
Audio reels capture the nerve-wrecking hours of negotiations with the terrorists, who held hostages inside the hotel, and the firefight that ensued when the IDF's Sayeret Matkal stormed the hotel. (Yoav Zitun and Rotem Elizera, Ynet
In Lebanon, destitute Palestinian camp becomes militant refuge
Lebanon's Ain al-Helweh camp has long provided a stable, if destitute, bolthole for Palestinian refugees, some of whom have lived within its walls since fleeing their homes more than six decades ago. But the war in neighboring Syria has transformed parts of the southern camp into a safe haven for militants travelling to fight there. (AFP, Maan)

Israel is punishing Palestinian activist through vindictive administrative detention (Haaretz Editorial) If Khalida Jarrar broke the law, Israel must put her on trial and prove she committed a crime. If, on the other hand, the reason for her detention is revenge, she must be released immediately.
Obama was right, Iran capitulated (former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy, Yedioth/Ynet) Netanyahu should accept the American offer of dialogue on the draft agreement reached in Lausanne, instead of signalling his intent to scupper it out of hand. 
Lowering the flame, continue to confront: This is how they are dealing with the nuclear agreement (Yossi Melman, Maariv) Intelligence and security establishments in Israel are working behind the scenes with their US counterparts to formulate understandings: When there will be agreement, what will constitute a breach of the agreement by Iran, what will be defined as a violation, and what does the United States intends to do in that case.
What's the alternative to Obama's nuclear deal with Iran? (Peter Beinart, Haaretz) If the U.S. follows Netanyahu's advice and walks away from this agreement, Iran's isolation will ease and America's will grow.
Now is the time for Israel to twist America's arm (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) Netanyahu needs to stop the hysterical rhetoric and start thinking about the benefits Israel can get - like full coordination, a diplomatic umbrella, fighter jets and missile defense funding.
Any initiative for a comprehensive solution of the (Israeli-Palestinian) conflict is not practical without a solution in Gaza (Amos Gilboa, Maariv) The situation in Gaza requires Israel to make an initiative to lift the siege and rebuild the Gaza Strip, through the mediation of the United States and under the auspices of the Arab countries, in return for a commitment from Hamas for a truce. And if at the same time we win points in public diplomacy, that is enough.
Blocking the French initiative (Zalman Shoval, Israel Hayom) It seems that the French believe there is no contradiction between supporting a Palestinian statehood resolution at the U.N. and exercising caution when it comes to Iran.
**Israel's education ministers need an education (Ruth Feriel, Haaretz+) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made sure that all his education ministers augmented nationalist and militarist education in state schools. 
Is Obama worse than Chamberlain? (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) The comparison between Lausanne 2015 and Munich 1938 lets Iran off lightly, as Germany at the time wasn't calling for 'Death to the Jews'.  
Will no one follow ex-Mossad chief Meir Dagan’s example? (Niva Lanir, Haaretz+) Dagan was the first to publicly oppose Netanyahu and Barak's plans to attack Iran, and the only one who spoke out loudly against Netanyahu in the election campaign.
Called to the flag: The greatest danger for the Left now is despair (Uri Sevir, Maariv) This is the time to fight for Israel's image because while the Right won the elections, it did not conquer the country. 
Obama’s good intentions for the Mideast require a clear plan (Sefi Rachlevsky, Haaretz+) The Kurds must get a state, as must the Sunnis in Syria and Iraq. And don’t forget the Palestinians.
It's not personal (Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) Netanyahu's opposition to the deal with Iran is not based on a personal grudge against Obama. Rather, it stems from his feeling of responsibility for Israel's future, which is threatened by Iran.
Criticism of Saudi Arabia is the latest victim of Egyptian censorship (Zvi Bar’el, Haaretz+) This is another nail in the coffin for the freedom of expression that was promised by Egypt's 2011 revolution. 
"I'd be happy to use this channel for the benefit of the State"
Prof. Eliezer Rachmilewitz, the Director of the Department of Hematology at Wolfson Hospital who helped bring back Gilad Shalit, is still in contact with the senior Hamas official with whom he negotiated. Reaching the age of 80, one of Israel’s most senior doctors is far from thinking about retirement, prefers to reconcile the major conflicts of the medical world and does not stop fighting over his reputation in the affair over the treatment of Desi Rabinowitz, although almost 20 years have passed since. Acting as a mediator for Israel in the negotiations over the release of Gilad Shalit in exchange for Palestinian prisoners was not the first time that Professor Rachmilewitz was 'sleeping' with the enemy. He stayed as a guest in Beirut during Operation Peace for Galilee, he still provides medical advice to a family in Dubai, and recently he published an in depth medical study together with his partners, two of them Lebanese and a third Iranian. His ties are given additional significance in light of the fact that Professor Rachmilewitz is a member of the team of three personal physicians of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which publishes an annual report on his medical condition. (Interviewed by Tal Ariel Amir in Maariv)
'Gaza conflict was victory for Israel, defeat for Hamas'
In a special Passover interview, the head of the IDF southern command maintains that Hamas had never been hit so hard, but warns that they are gearing up for the next round of fighting. (Interviewed by Yossi Yehoshua in Yedioth/Ynet)

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