News Nosh 09.29.13

APN's daily news review from Israel

Sunday September 29, 2013


Quote of the day:

"These two words, 'Israel' and 'peace,' are not contradictory words; they live together, they must live together and don't let anybody convince you otherwise."
--Chief Israeli peace negotiator Minister Tzipi Livni in a speech at the annual J-Street Conference.**

Front Page News:


Yedioth Ahronoth


Israel Hayom


Peace Talk Highlights:
While clashes took place across the West Bank between Palestinians and Israeli forces on Friday marking 13 years since the start of the Second Intifada as well as in protest of a recent increase in (right-wing) Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount, peace was being discussed across the Atlantic. The Mideast Quartet met for updates on progress, chief Israeli negotiator Minister Tzipi Livni gave an inspiring speech at the annual J-Street conference and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed (again) his support for a two-state solution. But, Maariv reported that Israel is not willing to discuss land swaps and that talks are stuck.
On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly Friday, the powers that make up the Mideast Quarter called on the Palestinians and Israelis to take "every possible step" to make the negotiations successful. Without naming names, Quartet envoy Tony Blair said restrictions on Palestinians must be eased so the Palestinian economy can improve.

Speaking at UNGA for first time in the name of the State of Palestine, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that most Israelis back the two-state solution and that he has the authority to reach such a deal and that Israel must abandon its security obsessions because time is running out for a just peace. He also stated that the Palestinians refuse to enter into a 'vortex' of interim deals with Israel. 
**At the annual J-Street Conference, Justice Minister and Israeli chief peace talks negotiator Tzipi Livni declared she both fights for peace and for Israel's security.
Haaretz's Barak Ravid shared highlights from the first night of the J-Street conference, which he attended. He quoted J-Street founder and chairman Jeremy Ben-Ami, who said that the two-state solution is J-Street's fundamental credo. According to Ravid, "The conference could be read as J-Street's aspiration to community leadership as much as an urgent call for American involvement in advancing the peace process."

In the first discussion about borders, Israel has already refused to discuss land swaps, Maariv's Eli Bardenstein reported. According to a 'foreign diplomat involved in  the peace talks' the two sides have been stuck since they last met ahead of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot and began discussing borders. "Until one of two things happen - or the Americans get involved or Netanyahu and Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) hold a meeting - these talks are futile," said the diplomat. Livni and Netanyahu's personal envoy [and some say envoy to watch over Livni - OH], Yitzhak Molcho, refused to discuss the possibility of compensating the Palestinians with land for putting settlements under Israeli sovereignty. Livni and Molcho made clear that Israel plans to leave settlement blocs under Israeli sovereignty, but they refused to say which settlements they were referring to and what approximate size of land Israel wants to annex. They refused to answer chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who asked them about the type and scope of compensation to be given in exchange for annexation, and refused to recognize in principle the idea of a land swap, wrote Bardenstein. They also refused to discuss which settlements would not be annexed. Bardenstein writes that it is known that Netanyahu thinks it is possible to leave settlements to exist inside a Palestinian state, an idea Abbas opposes. Bardenstein noted that in his speech at the UNGA, Abbas emphasized that the Palestinians would not agree to a peace agreement in which a Palestinian state would be established on less than 22% of the land between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan. [Bardenstein mistakenly wrote, 'That is the size of the West Bank,' when it is actually the size of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip together. - OH] And he noted that the US expects Israel to agree to the principle of a land swap at a 1:1 ratio, which Netanyahu opposes. (NRG Hebrew)

Iran-related News:
The phone call between US President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was the top story in Israeli newspapers today, with them all noting that it broke a disconnect of 34 years. The papers also reported on the intention of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to counter what some of them referred to as Rouhani's 'smiles attack' with a speech at the UN General Assembly that will 'prove' that behind the smiles, Rouhani and his country are in a race to build a nuclear bomb. Netanyahu will call to increase sanctions against Iran, not ease them. Netanyahu plans to tell Obama in their meeting Monday at the White House that Israel will abandon the diplomatic path on Iran's nuclear program if it is not completely dismantled. Maariv writes that Netanyahu, who left yesterday to the US, will be making a PR attack, which will include a series of interviews with the US media, warning against a deal with Iran. Haaretz reported that hours before departing, Netanyahu instructed Israeli officials not to publicly discuss Iran, fearing that his ministers or official spokespeople might make diplomatic gaffes by criticizing Obama or US foreign policy. Minister Yuval Steinitz already gave an interview to the New York Times expressing the Israeli government's concern over a US-Iran rapprochement. Minister Gilad Erdan also expressed concern over the positive responses in the West to Hassan Rohani's speech at the UNGA. Meanwhile, Yedioth noted that the US returned a stolen Iranian antiquity as a token of the normalization of ties between the two countries.
It appears the US has tried to alleviate some of Israel's concern about the thaw in US-Iran relations by informing Israel in advance of the Obama-Rohani call and briefing Israel afterward. Haaretz writes that Israel's National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror traveled to Washington Friday morning to lay the groundwork for Netanyahu's meeting with Obama and he was also briefed on the meeting Secretary of State John Kerry held with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in New York on Thursday.

The papers also noted that Rouhani was greeted with both cheers and protests upon his return to Tehran, following his speech at the UNGA and his phone call with Obama. AFP reported that Iran's Jews are among those who are pinning their hopes on Rouhani, hoping for an improvement in their standing.

Sunday: Meet with Turkemenistan Foreign Minister and Canadian Foreign Minister
Monday: Meet US President Barack Obama in White House, US Vice President Joe Biden, US Secretary of State John Kerry and attend farewell party for outgoing Israeli ambassador to US, Michael Oren
Tuesday: Gives speech at UN General Assembly, meets UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon
Wednesday: Meets with heads of Jewish organizations, returns to Israel

Quick Hits:

  • Thousands mark Second Intifada anniversary in Gaza - Masses chant 'we are all the resistance' in Hamas rally in central Gaza, burn Netanyahu, Peres effigies. IDF use tear gas on crowd who approach border. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces - Violent clashes broke out on Friday in Jerusalem's Old City over a recent increase in Jewish visitors to al-Aqsa. (Israel Hayom)
  • Medics: 23 Palestinians injured in Hebron clashes - Clashes broke out across the West Bank on Friday, with protestors throwing rocks and empty bottles at Israeli military forces in Qalandiya, Nablus, and Jerusalem. Of the 23 wounded Palestinians in Hebron, three were injured with live bullets and 12 were struck by rubber coated steel bullets. (Maan)
  • 2 Palestinians injured in clashes in Nablus - Hamdi Allam, 17, was struck with a rubber coated-steel bullet in the head near Huwwara checkpoint in clashes with IDF soldiers Friday. (Maan)
  • Settlers attack 2 Palestinian girls in Jerusalem - The two 13-year-old girls were passing through the Jewish Quarter of the Old City when they were punched in the face. The attack was caught on camera. (Maan)
  • Israel is more Jewish than democratic, new civics textbook asserts - The book was revised to counter claims that it was critical of Israel. Now it presents the country as Jewish state, neglecting its democratic character, a report on the textbook claims. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli forces issue orders to access East Jerusalem rooftops - Israeli forces entered several homes and handed homeowners the notices, threatening to arrest anyone who refused to grant them permission to use their rooftops. (Maan)
  • Video: Arrest of settler who bolted himself to floor - Bags filled with urine, feces thrown at police officers during arrest of Yitzhar resident Boaz Albert, who violated administrative order banning him from settlement. It took police hours to unchain him from floor. (Ynet)
  • Settlers set 2 cars on fire near Ramallah - Israeli settlers on Friday set two Palestinian cars on fire in Al-Zeraa neighborhood in al-Jalazone refugee camp near Beit El settlement. (Maan)
  • The (Palestinian) man whose (Jewish Israeli) employer threw him into the street to die - More than a week after Ihsan Abu Sitta died at a Tel Aviv building site, his relatives are still in shock. (Haaretz)
  • HRW urges Israel to stop displacing Bedouins - Organization for human rights calls on Israel to stop trying to displace West Bank Bedouin families, following last week's incident in which IDF clashed with diplomats on aid mission. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • French diplomat who struck soldier to be expelled from Israel - Marion Fesneau-Castaing, a cultural attaché at the French Consulate in Jerusalem, to leave Israel before the end of the year. Israeli official: This was an isolated incident that does not characterize Israel-France relations. (Israel Hayom)
  • Argentina: Iran committed to investigate 1994 Jewish community center bombing - Iranian FM meets with Argentine counterpart in New York. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Report: Israel warned Kenya of Nairobi attack - Local paper says Israel warned Kenyan officials of plans to attack Israeli property ahead of Jewish High Holidays. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Palestinians smash hole in Israel's separation wall - Dozens of Palestinian youths on Friday smashed a hole in Israel's separation wall in Abu Dis, near Jerusalem. (Maan)
  • Israel scrambles jets over north and south, apparently due to unidentified aircraft - Last week, fighter jets thundered over Tel Aviv on their way to intercept a suspicious signal which turned out to be a flock of birds. (Haaretz)
  • Jerusalem has no country in iOS 7 - World Clock app in Apple's new operating system lists Israel's capital city without state. (Ynet)
  • Shin Bet probe reveals scope of Hamas money laundering through Chinese banks - Laundering continued years after the Bank of China affair, Israel's security service reveals. (Haaretz)
  • IDF memorial defaced in Jordan Valley (in West Bank) - Signs bearing names of fallen soldiers ripped out, stolen from IDF memorial in Jordan Valley. (Ynet)
  • Israelis pay more for agricultural produce - OECD report shows State's support for farmers has led to increase in food prices. Agricultural products in Israel 11% more expensive than OECD average. (Yediot/Ynet)
  • Israel sends 'Bethlehem' to Oscars - Film focusing on relationship between Shin Bet agent, Palestinian informer takes home Ophir Award for Best Picture. Movie to represent Israel at Academy Awards in Best Foreign Language Film category. (Ynet)
  • Palestinians launch online radio network - In first attempt of its kind in PA territories, collection of six new community stations addressing under-exposed issues about to hit airwaves - over Internet. (Ynet)
  • Israelis' visits to Turkey up 157% in August - Although numbers are still lower than record year 2008, Israelis seem to be flocking back to Turkish resorts with 29,356 visits this August compared to 11,394 in 2012. (Ynet)
  • Hague chemical arms watchdog approves Syrian disarmament plan - Approval clears the way for vote on a draft resolution by the UN Security Council in New York on Friday night. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • UN inspectors to probe seven Syria chemical cases, some after Aug 21 attack - Global chemical weapons watchdog to discuss Friday a disarmament plan for Syria that calls for inspections of country's chemical arsenal to begin by Tuesday. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Syria vows to abide by UN resolution on chemical weapons - PM Wael al-Halqi's comments Saturday come a day after the UN Security Council voted unanimously to purge Syria of its chemical weapons program. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran shows off new advanced aerial drones - The Shahed-129, or Witness-129, is an unmanned drone with a range of 1,700 kilometers (1,060 miles), 24-hour non-stop flight capability and the ability to carry eight bombs or missiles. Iran is also working on developing a kamikaze drone. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Egypt Reopens Rafah Crossing to Gaza - After nine-day closure, Egypt reopens Rafah crossing with Gaza Strip. Some 300 Palestinians expected to cross from strip to Egypt on Saturday. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Egypt foreign minister calls for a nuclear-free Middle East - Nabil Fahmy tells UNGA that Egypt welcomed the American effort to resume the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks; calls on Israel to ensure Gazans have access to basic supplies. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Sewing the seeds of change for Israeli Arab women
It started as a way to pick up some extra cash. But the Jaffa Dolls project has become a symbol of the struggle of Israeli Arab women against the societal constraints that limit their progress. (Haaretz)
Confessions of a Jewish-Iranian spy
Now residing in Australia, Kooshyar Karimi, 44-year-old Jewish Iranian who suffered persecution at hands of Iranian regime, forced to spy on other Jews, discusses hardship in Islamic Republic. (Ynet)
Jenin's mean streets
Three residents of this refugee camp have lost their lives in confrontations with the IDF in recent weeks, but there's no room left for burial in the local cemetery. (By Gideon Levy, Haaretz)


Thaw between Washington and Tehran brings Israel and Gulf states closer (Barak Ravid, Haaretz) Much like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Arab foreign ministers are voicing concern over an Iranian 'honey trap' that could ensnare the U.S.
As U.S. celebrates diplomatic coups, Netanyahu comes to town as Debbie Downer  (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz) PM's counterthrust against Rohani's charm offensive complicated by the looming shutdown showdown and the Republicans' internal convulsions.
No one likes a party crasher (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) Netanyahu has a problem: He needs to expose Iran's true colors to a world that doesn't want to hear the facts.
Netanyahu's goal: Preventing the U.S. from sliding down Iran's slippery slope (Amos Harel, Haaretz) Even if he prepared a brilliant speech, Netanyahu knows that at best he can only expose the cracks in the new front Iran is displaying to the world; he will not be able to turn things around.
No alternative to peace talks (Ariela Ringel-Hoffman, Yedioth/Ynet) Even if held under fire, negotiations will determine quality of our lives in coming decades.
Reconciliation with U.S. could bolster Iran's regional power, global standing (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) After years of championing its nuclear program as the national symbol, Tehran is changing direction. The talks have already boosted Iranian currency and backed Saudi Arabia into a corner.
'Winds of Munich' blowing in the West (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) When the appease-at-all-cost approach dominates international diplomacy, no one wants to listen to warnings against the trap set by the axis of evil nations.
A civics lesson (Haaretz Editorial) Shay Piron must wrest the school curriculum from the vested interests and end the interference of right-wing bodies in education.
Superpower Ltd. (Yoaz Hendel, Yedioth/Ynet) Based on President Obama's previous term, his plan to focus on Arab-Israeli conflict is bad news for those seeking Mideast peace.
Why Israel should think about re-pivoting towards China (Niv Horesh, Haaretz) China won't be replacing the U.S. as Israel's strongest ally anytime soon, but Israel should still look to build stronger bridges with the newest 'responsible adult' in the international community.
Likelihood of Israeli attack increased (Amir Rappaport, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) In they IDF they deduce: The Iranian "moderation attack" is a deception aimed at paving the way through the Ayatollahs to the bomb. There is a feeling that the US is tired of wars...
When it comes to hypocrisy, Rohani is no challenge for Netanyahu (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) Maybe the sanctions really worked and Iran is reconsidering? But no, it's automatic: Rohani is lying. Let's bomb.
Public TV presents: More of the same (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) The outrageous Channel 1 promo featuring "right-wing killers" underlines the urgent need for more political balance in public broadcasting.
Look the truth in the eyes (Alexander Yakobson, Haaretz) In discussing the Palestinian 'right of return,' we must face a complicated reality.
The Obama-Rouhani talk: To a summit or an abyss (Nadav Eyal, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) On Friday, the Middle East observed an Olympic jump. It can end in a bridge over one of the crises that threatens world peace. It could also end in a fall into an abyss that will very painful to both leaders...
Israel's Gantz shows he's the right man to lead the army (Amir Oren, Haaretz) Benny Gantz has a rare opportunity to put the Israel Defense Forces back in line with society - like reducing military service by 2024.
Israel's Cassandra moment (David Harris, Haaretz) Israel must find more effective and less shrill ways of making the case for caution, vigilance, and strength regarding Iran's nuclear ambitions - or risk being left alone and unheeded.
The holes in Rouhani's charm offensive (Dore Gold, Israel Hayom) The West will have to see to it that Iran offers tangible concessions and not just empty generalities about its desire for peace. 
Netanyahu must urge a suspension of Iran's nuclear program (Ari Shavit, Haaretz) If Iran's president wants economic prosperity, he should have no problem agreeing that while he and the powers conduct talks, uranium enrichment should be suspended.
Jihad without borders (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) The West closed its eyes and allowed Islamic terrorism to spread. The Middle East and Africa are the main victims. Jihadists are recruiting militants from Europe and the U.S. The world responds leniently and gives legitimacy to supporters of terror.
Netanyahu, a sad reflection of Homo Israelus (Eyal Megged, Haaretz) It seemed that perhaps now Netanyahu's true stature would be revealed, his unquestionable ability to take the bull by the horns. But no; as has been the case again and again, the Danon takes over.
In this UN act, Iran is the star and Israel is the grumpy complainer observing from the sidelines (Amos Harel, Haaretz) 'We are the kid who shouts that the emperor has no clothes,' Strategic and Intelligence Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, Netanyahu's close ally, said this week. But the shouting is being ignored.
Netanyahu seeks to thwart love affair between Iran and West, but remains handcuffed by 'allies' at home (Yossi Verter, Haaretz) Instead of giving him freedom to maneuver the roiling political domain, a noisy group of politicians followed him to Ben-Gurion Airport, badgering and pestering him on the Palestinian issue.


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