News Nosh 09.17.13

APN's daily news review from Israel

Tuesday September 17, 2013


Quote of the day:

"This right-wing is sitting in the government and speaking about two-states for two peoples, release Palestinians prisoners and is making diplomatic moves. This is very surprising and, of course, it is the result of the Oslo Accords."
--Yossi Beilin, an author of the interim peace agreement, says it made the right-wing more left-wing.**

Front Page News:


Yedioth Ahronoth


Israel Hayom


Peace Talk Highlights:
Peace talks held in Jerusalem, opposition chief gives prime minister support against his coalition members and former left-wing leaders share their thoughts 20 years since the Oslo Accords.

AFP reports that Palestinian and Israeli negotiators held peace talks in Jerusalem on Monday. Israeli sources refused to confirm the meetings.

In response to calls to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from members of the coalition not to cede land to the Palestinians, the head of the opposition, Labor party chief Shelly Yachimovich, wrote Netanyahu asking him "not to give in to political pressure of supporters of a bi-national state. She also said she supports him in contrast to members from his own party and of Habayit Hayehudi and asked him to declare that he "won't establish a bi-national state," NRG Hebrew reported.

**In today's article from a Maariv series on 20 years since the Oslo Accords, reporter Arik Bender interviewed left-wing leaders. Yossi Sarid claimed that the peace accords did not die, Ran Cohen believes that the left-wing movement will revive. Ron Pundak blames former prime minister Ehud Barak for the failure in achieving peace. And Yossi Beilin thinks the present government proves that his camp won and that the political map in Israel is moving left. "Today there is no right of the right of the right in the government. And this right-wing is sitting in the government and speaking about two-states for two peoples, release Palestinians prisoners and is making diplomatic moves. This is very surprising and, of course, it is the result of the Oslo Accords." According to Beilin, Israel must leave Oslo behind and make a permanent peace agreement. "Unfortunately, Oslo is not dead. I tried in the past to convince Rabin to go straight to a permanent agreement in the spirit of the parameters of Clinton and the Geneva Initiative. Oslo was held by the right-wing as an agreement that allowed the continued existence of the settlements. Those who opposed Oslo are today its biggest supporters, and I say at every opportunity, we need to stop Oslo." (NRG Hebrew)

Syria and Iran-related news:
A German paper reports that Iran is willing to dismantle a nuclear facility, a US paper claims Netanyahu told US Secretary of State John Kerry to accept the Russian deal over Syria yet Maariv reports that the US Ambassador to Washington was actively trying to convince US politicians to approve an attack on Syria.
The big news in the Israeli papers today, besides the overturning of the infiltrator law by the High Court, was the German daily Der Speigel's report that the new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has agreed to shut down the Fordo nuclear facility if the West agrees to lift the economic sanctions on Iran.

Also, high up in the news was the report by the Wall Street Journal claiming that Netanyahu told Kerry by phone that the US should not attack Syria and should accept the Russian deal, saying he believes Russia 'wasn't bluffing.' Netanyahu's aides denied the report. Maariv/NRG Hebrew writes that it is believed that the leak to WSJ was by US officials and it was meant to involve Netanyahu in the decision to avoid a military attack and to support the Russian deal.  The UN report yesterday said that sarin gas was indeed used in Syria, but it did explicitly blame Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Western powers believe that the report leaves little doubt that Assad was behind the gas attack and warned Assad of consequences if he failed to hand over chemical weapons.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu has postponed his UN General Assembly speech to October 1st in order to meet with US President Barack Obama, writes Maariv/NRG Hebrew.

Quick Hits:

  • Is Israel getting an Air Force One? - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appoints committee to check whether there is a need and economic justification for purchasing plane for use by top politicians • Netanyahu's flight to New York City later this month on El Al plane will cost $1.3 million. (Israel Hayom)
  • Senior members of coalition government advancing new highway from Gush Etzion to the Dead Sea - In the midst of negotiations with the Palestinians, (Likud) Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, (Yisrael Beiteinu) Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir and (Yisrael Beiteinu chairman) MK Avigdor Lieberman will take a tour today of the route of the road (through the West Bank) whose paving is expected to begin in four months. (Maariv, p. 1/NRG Hebrew)
  • Settlers hurl stones at car carrying Maan board members - Tareq Jabara, a member of the board, told Maan that settlers from Bet El hurled stones at their car on the Ramallah - al-Jalazun road. No injuries were reported. (Maan)
  • Israeli teachers fear civics textbook biased by right-wing reviewer - There is only one academic adviser reviewing changes to primary civics textbook, and no Arab input. (Haaretz)
  • Under pressure, popular Israeli folk singer cancels performance in settlement - Concert was to take place in Susya community in Judea and Samaria. Ehud Banai chose location to promote dialogue in a controversial place despite personal views, and "has said more than once that he does not boycott concerts beyond the Green Line." (Israel Hayom)
  • Public broadcaster removes 'right-wing murderer' promo after outcry - Promo for new satire show featuring the characters Yigal Amir, Baruch Goldstein and Yona Avrushmi singing and prancing between rainbows sparks harsh condemnations. Habayit Hayehudi MK Ayelet Shaked: This is what our tax money pays for? (Israel Hayom)
  • Erekat: Still no justice for Sabra and Shatila victims - On the 31st anniversary to the Sabra and Shatila massacre in Lebanon, PLO official Saeb Erekat said Monday: "Thirty-one years later, there is still no justice for the victims. In fact, those responsible, including then Defence Minister Ariel Sharon, would go on to have very successful political careers, adding further insult to the injury." (Maan)
  • The head of the Shin Bet's nighttime clash - Head of Shin Bet Yoram Cohen and a group of youth living in the same neighborhood in Jerusalem give two different stories about what happened when they were listening to loud music. The youth claim he acted violently, grabbing one's hand and pushing. Cohen's people say it was the youth that acted violently towards him and his bodyguard. Photos show his vehicle traveling in a way that could have hurt the youth and one of them said he was hit in the leg. (Yedioth, p. 26)
  • Osama Al Baz, an architect of Israel-Egypt peace, dies at 82 - 'Al Baz was an Egyptian nationalist who regarded cooperation with Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians as a supreme Egyptian interest.' (Haaretz)
  • Legal term for interim PA cabinet expires Tuesday - The interim Palestinian Authority cabinet of caretaker prime minister Rami Hamdallah will convene on Tuesday for the last time before the expected announcement of a new permanent cabinet. (Maan)
  • Israel's GDP to pass NIS 1 trillion mark for first time this year - Central Bureau of Statistics sees economy growing 3.4%, unchanged from 2012. (Haaretz)
  • Satellite images show how Israel changed over 40 years - Two sets of photos, one from 1970 and one from 2013, show regional transformations - from different parts of Jerusalem to the nuclear reactor to Gaza City. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli group wants Facebook to unlike Iranian ministers - 15 Iranian ministers recently open Facebook accounts. Current sanctions prevent any American company from providing services to Iranian government officials. Facebook is a California based company and is thus subject to U.S. law. (Israel Hayom)
  • Jericho: 112 graduate from security studies program - 112 officers graduate from security studies program in Jericho. Palestinian President Abbas, foreign diplomats attend graduation ceremony. (Ynet)
  • Israel, Hamas join forces to keep Gaza residents in place - Even the Gaza Supreme Court has come out in support of Hamas' right to curtail freedom of movement. (Amira Hass, Haaretz)
  • Hamas to produce film about Gilad Shalit - Islamist group's culture ministry announces it will produce film about Gilad Shalit's years in captivity; will emphasize that force is the right opposition. (Ynet)
  • Turkish warplanes shoot down Syrian helicopter - Turkey to file official complaint with the UN Security Council, NATO. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Al-Qaida leader urges restraint in first 'guidelines for jihad' - Document provides a rare look at Al-Qaida's strategy 12 years after the September 11 attacks. (Agencies, Haaretz)

From Yom Kippur to Oslo: All roads lead to the 1967 borders (Rachel Neeman, Haaretz) Even today, Israel's lethal blend of arrogance and chauvinism is dictating its conduct in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
The right-wing concept: Force is preferable (Yael Paz-Melamed, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) In the country's DNA, a diplomatic agreement with the Palestinians is a default - even if the results are similar to those achieved with the use of force.
The Syria crisis is keeping Jordan's King Abdullah on his toes (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) Jordan is grappling with a strategic dilemma: If Assad falls, the new Syrian regime might jeopardize Jordan's stability, but if he remains in power, Jordan might conceivably find itself stuck with half-a-million Syrian refugees.
Obama failed, and we're stuck with the bill (Dr. Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) In China, Iran, North Korea, Lebanon and Syria, they now know that American threats are actually empty. 
Chemical disarmament pact tightens the noose around Assad's neck (Amos Harel, Haaretz) The U.S. has not given up on supporting the Syrian rebels; it will now focus on training and arming them, together with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
A Syrian groom without a bride (Dr. Reuven Berko, Israel Hayom) The Syrian rebel groups are refusing to accept the arrangement crafted without them and will continue to fight Assad. 
Closest to the national trough (Haaretz Editorial) Quite aside from the enormous sum the treasury is offering workers to be laid off from Israel Military Industries - a sum that, given the current budget crunch, could easily be put to much better use - it's impossible not to be outraged by the injustice of this proposal.
Pawn on US-Russian board (Yitzhak Benhorin, Ynet) UN chief Ban a serious diplomat, but he merely executes decisions of five permanent Security Council members.
Reading America and Russia wrong (Yehuda Ben-Meir, Haaretz) The Syrian precedent of American-Russian cooperation is also likely to work on Iran. And in any case, the very fact that this possibility exists constitutes a deterrent from Iran's standpoint.
An island of tranquility: the Middle East as seen from space (Moshe Arens, Haaretz) Any alien would be surprised to hear that Israel is considering leaving areas that are tranquil and abandoning them to the looming storm.
From Damascus to Dimona (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) If the deal with Syria goes through, pressure will mount on Israel over its nuclear reactor in Dimona. 
High Court sees African migrants for what they are: People (Aeyal Gross, Haaretz) In overturning the instant three-year detention of migrants, court hands them and south Tel Aviv residents a victory.


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