News Nosh 09.18.13

APN's daily news review from Israel

Wednesday September 18, 2013

NOTE: News Nosh will be on holiday during most of Sukkot, which begins this evening.

Number of the day:


--Length in centimeters of the biggest date in the world, a Saudi Arabian variety, that will be on display in Israeli President Shimon Peres' sukkah.**

Front Page News:


Yedioth Ahronoth


Israel Hayom

  • Drama ahead of elections: High Court dismissed two mayors
  • The message: Don't vote for them // Aviad Hacohen
  • Return the public norms // Dan Margalit
  • Sukkot holiday (preparations)
  • A new start in the Rada family - Couple whose daughter was murdered now has first grandchild
  • Prime Minister: "Increase the pressure on Iran"
  • Residents of south Tel-Aviv demonstrated against High Court decision (to cancel) law on (jailing) infiltrators: "We are refugees in our neighborhood"
  • Father of the children who were murdered by their mother arrived (from Russia) for questioning by the police


Peace Talk Highlights:
US promises of intervention if peace talks stall, Israeli peace gestures towards the Palestinians, and tension between two Israeli ministers over attending a meeting for donors to the Palestinian Authority.

Both sides have agreed to meet twice a week and to focus initially on borders and security, but that's about all they have agreed on and now US Secretary of State John Kerry promised Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas a more active U.S. role if peace talks continue to stall, Haaretz reported. The two sides met in Jerusalem Monday and although the US has called to keep content secret, the Palestinians continue to say that the talks are going nowhere. An Israeli official said Kerry and his aides were mulling a proposal of their own. Meanwhile, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will give briefings to foreign ministers of the Quartet next week.

While peace talks fail to move forward, Israeli gestures towards the Palestinians are advancing. Israel revealed its list of gestures, which includes increasing the number of work permits for Palestinians to work in Israel, renewing the agricultural cooperation, extending the hours for Palestinians to cross into, from Jordan at the Allenby Bridge, lowering the age minimum for Palestinian men to enter Israel and increasing the amount of water Israel transfers to the Gaza Strip [Note: Much of the water that Israel uses is from the aquifer under the West Bank, of which Israel uses the majority and gives the Palestinians about 40% OH]. The number of work permits issued to Palestinians is the highest since the Second Intifada. Haaretz writes that Israel is easing its economic grip on the West Bank and Gaza in order to strengthen the Palestinian Authority in its internal struggle with Hamas. Cement is being allowed into the Gaza Strip for the first time since Israel imposed the economic blockade in 2007. Mideast Quartet Envoy Tony Blair applauded Israel for its gestures, saying that a successful Palestinian economy will be good for Israel. (NRG Hebrew)
There is high tension between Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who heads the Israeli negotiation team in peace talks with the Palestinians, and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz over who will represent Israel at two international events in New York including a conference of the organization of donor countries who donate to the Palestinian Authority, Yedioth and Maariv reported. Sources told Maariv/NRG Hebrew's Eli Bardenstein that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appointed Yuval Steinitz to coordinate the economic aspects relating to negotiations with the Palestinians, and that is not clear why Livni asked to attend a conference of donor countries. Others argued that it was the organization of donor countries that asked Livni to attend.

Iran and Syria-related News:
Another Iranian leader sends a re-conciliatory message, Jerusalem suspects it's a trick and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu calls to continue sanctions and presents his criteria for halting a nuclear Iran. The US shoots down Arab states' call for a resolution critical of Israel's nuclear capabilities, Netanyahu's office denies claims of support for the Syrian rebels and an Israeli general says the Syrian President will be around for a long time.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who rules over his country's nuclear project, hinted at diplomatic 'flexibility' in upcoming nuclear talks, making headlines in Israel. This comes a day after a report that the new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said he agreed to dismantle Fordo nuclear facility in exchange for an end to economic sanctions on Iran. Maariv writes that on the one hand, the Iranians are making declaration 'to give up their nuclear weapons' [although it has not been proven that they have a nuclear weapon - OH], there is a letter exchange with the US President - the first direct communication between the US and Iran since they cut off formal diplomatic ties in 1980 -  (and Iran confirmed the letter exchange) and possibly a meeting between the two, they have allowed Facebook accounts for their ministers and the new president even has his own Twitter account. On the other hand, President Hassan Rouhani is unable to advance any significant internal Iranian issues and he is under the pressure of the Revolutionary Guards, Maariv/NRG Hebrew writes.
In Israel they are convinced that this is a smart tactic with one goal: to anesthetize the West on the way to a nuclear bomb. At a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem Tuesday, Netanyahu presented four criteria for halting Iran's nuclear program: that the Islamic Republic halt all uranium enrichment, remove all of the enriched uranium from its territory, close its uranium enrichment facility at Fordo, and stop the manufacture of plutonium. In regards to the Rouhani's reported compromise, Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin accused the Iranian President of buying time while enriching uranium. And yesterday, Finance Minister Yair Lapid told CNN that the Iranian words must be backed by action. "When the reactor in Qom will be closed, when (Iran) will stop enriching uranium, when they take off the enriched uranium they already have," he said, "then we can discuss the fact whether we can all hold hands and sing hallelujah together," Lapid told the world.  (Ynet article VIDEO)
Meanwhile, the Arab states proposed a resolution critical of Israel's alleged nuclear capabilities at UN nuclear watchdog meeting, but the US said that singling out Israel at the UN would actually harm efforts for a nuclear-free Middle East.
Regarding Syria, Netanyahu's office denied the claims of Israel Ambassador to the US Michael Oren that Israel favors the rebels in a Syrian civil war. "Israel's policy has not changed, and we are not intervening in internal Syrian affairs,'" the PMO said. An Israeli general said Assad could survive in Syria for years. GOC Northern Command Maj. Gen. Yair Golan told Yedioth in an interview that Assad can cause Israel damage, but he cannot wage a serious ground campaign against us.

Quick Hits:

  • Injured Palestinian construction worker left to die on Tel Aviv street - Building contractor denies that he dumped the worker, saying that he attempted to resuscitate him for an hour without success. Witnesses say otherwise. (Haaretz)
  • IDF stops stationing troops in towns on north and south borders - The decision to no longer station soldiers was made for operational reasons and not out of budget concerns, the army says; security at West Bank settlements to continue. (Haaretz, Ynet and NRG Hebrew)
  • History in Brussels: Settlers held special session with EU legislators - Settlers get EU's Foreign Affairs Committee to hold first of its kind session on ways to avert the planned EU sanctions against Israeli settlements. MK Ayelet Shaked tells 15 EU MPs: Delegitimization of parts of Israel by Europe is the new anti-Semitism. (Israel Hayom)
  • IDF troops kill Palestinian during West Bank arrest raid - Soldiers open fire on suspect after he attempted to escape, the army says; similar incident occurred during arrest operation in Jenin three weeks ago. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon: Refugee camps mustn't become terror havens - GOC Central Command says in interview with Ynet that Tanzim, Islamic Jihad members reject PA's security arrangements with Israel, intensifying resistance to IDF arrest operations. (Ynet)
  • Straight from Russia: First parachuting Palestinian women - Four female combat soldiers in their early twenties, members of the 'National Guard,' completed battle parachuting course. "We don't have planes or helicopters, so the only place we can parachute from is tall buildings." (Maariv, p. 1/NRG Hebrew)
  • Border community rearms in protest of IDF withdrawal - Kadesh-Barnea decides to rearm emergency squad in protest of IDF's decision to withdraw soldiers protecting border community from area. 'We have families; we're working people; we don't have time, abilities or manpower to protect ourselves,' resident says. (Ynet)
  • Amnesty International 'comfortably numb' to Roger Waters' anti-Israel sentiments - The former Pink Floyd bassist is known for his calls to boycott Israel, and regularly labels it an apartheid regime • Some Jewish media outlets have denounced Waters' stage props during his performances as anti-Semitic. (Israel Hayom)
  • Not just Netanyahu: Abu Mazen will also meet with Obama next week - Palestinian Authority Chairman (President) Mahmoud Abbas will meet with US President before the UN General Assembly. (Israel Hayom, p. 7)
  • Israeli who joined rebel forces in Syria reported killed - The man's family lost track of him after he traveled to Turkey. They received notice of his death, along with a photo in which they could identify him. (Haaretz)
  • After Syria, Iran laments its own chemical weapons victims - Up to 1 million Iranians were exposed to chemical weapons by Saddam Hussein's army in the Iran-Iraq War, leaving many questioning their country's alliance with Syria. Iranian NGO demands U.N. launch "humanitarian intervention [in Syria] without delay." (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Iranians briefly gain access to Facebook, Twitter due to glitch - The social networks have been blocked since the 2009 anti-government protests. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • **The biggest date in the world will be displayed in President Peres' sukkah - The 10 cm. date is from the Anbarah king variety, which comes from Saudi Arabia. It arrived in Israel seven years ago and was planted at the Eden Agricultural Research Farm in the Beit Shaan Valley. This is the first yield. (NRG Hebrew)


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