News Nosh 09.16.13

APN's daily news review from Israel

Monday September 16, 2013


Quote of the day:

"It is these facts on the ground, not the guidelines, which threaten to make a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict impossible."
--Former EU leaders - including former Spanish foreign minister Miguel Moratinos, who is considered relatively close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - wrote a letter saying settlements harm peace and calling on the EU to stand firm on new guidelines forbidding any EU money to institutions or people linked to activities in the W. Bank, Golan Heights, or E. Jerusalem.**

Front Page News:


Yedioth Ahronoth


Israel Hayom


Peace Talk Highlights:
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with US Secretary of State John Kerry for three hours Sunday in Jerusalem, discussing mainly the diplomatic negotiations with the Palestinians. Afterward at a press conference, Netanyahu stood next to Kerry, who said, "a two-state solution is acceptable to both sides." But Likud ministers and coalition members and MKs had a very different message.  Meanwhile, Netanyahu's associates say they fear that Minister Tzipi Livni will bypass the Prime Minister in the negotiations and jurors from around the world with connections to Israel protested against the Palestinians.

Kerry's visit to the country was only six hours and it was mainly to discuss peace talks with Netanyahu, Yedioth and Maariv reported. At the press conference, Netanyahu said: "We both know that the path is not easy, but we started this path together with the goal of succeeding and in order to achieve an historical reconciliation between the Israelis and the Palestinians."

Only a few hours later, Likud Minister Silvan Shalom said there was no chance that the talks would bring peace with the Palestinians, Israel Hayom reported. Speaking at a Likud activists' convention, he said, "No one believes it is possible to reach a permanent agreement within nine months." And the papers reported that Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon reminded the activists of Netanyahu words from 11 years ago: "Yes to a Palestinian state means no to a Jewish state." The convention was hosted by Shalom with the participation of Elkin and Levine.

Levine, meanwhile, was one of the initiators of a letter by government coalition members sent to Netanyahu hours before his meeting with Kerry calling on him not to cede land to the Palestinians. Make it clear to Kerry, we won't transfer land, the 16 or 17 wrote Netanyahu in a letter saying, "We won't go back to the Oslo guidelines." Six of the signatories were deputy ministers, NRG Hebrew reported. The letter was initiated by the Lobby for the Land of Israel. Read more from Israel Hayom and Haaretz
NRG Hebrew/Maariv reporter Ariel Kahane reported that Netanyahu associates are concerned that Minister Tzipi Livni, who heads the Israeli negotiating team, will present positions in peace talks that are unacceptable to Netanyahu. The sources say that Livni has completely different views than Netanyahu on everything dealing with the division of Jerusalem - Livni is willing to divide, the evacuation of settlements - Livni is willing to evacuate many, while Netanyahu thinks he can leave some under Palestinian sovereignty [!], and the security arrangements in the Bakaa Jordan Valley - Livni is willing to use international forces there, say Netanyahu's associates. Kahane also quotes 'Western sources,' which say there has been no advancement in the talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The Israelis presented 21 subjects to discuss, while the Palestinians repeat their principle positions and reject any Israeli forces in the Bakaa Jordan Valley. The Western sources say that this strengthens the belief that within a few weeks, the goal of the talks will change to achieving an interim agreement instead of a permanent one. (NRG Hebrew)
Hundreds of jurors from around the world called on the US to "demand from the Palestinians to sabotaging the negotiations, Israel Hayom reported." The jurors, who are all connected to the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, signed a letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry asking him to demand that the Palestinians stop 'threatening and pressuring' companies to boycott Israel (in E. Jerusalem and the W. Bank) and to stop 'threatening' international pop stars so that they cancel their shows in Israel. The former Canadian ambassador to Israel, Adv. Alan Baker, was one of the signatories. 

Israel cautiously welcomed the Syria deal, saying that implementation was key. Netanyahu said that efforts to disarm Syria and stop a nuclear Iran will be judged by the results and other MKs echoed this view. And they also discussed the exchange of letters between US President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. But they emphasized that a strike is not off the table - neither for Syria or Iran. 'Obama: Iran mustn't think that we won't strike,' read headlines.

And while a Homeland series production has pulled out of filming in Israel due to the [almost gone - OH] tension over Syria, Italy has decided to loan Israel a Botticelli work after all. Originally, Italy's Culture Ministry had declined to send the 15th-century "The Annunciation of San Martino alla Scala" to the Israel Museum due to geopolitical and logistical considerations. But yesterday, the okay came. Yedioth's Menachem Gantz wrote from Firenze that it took time, and special guarantees, as well as tiring diplomatic appeals to get the Italian consent in the end.

Quick Hits:

  • **Former EU leaders to Ashton: Stand firm on settlement guidelines - Letter signed by 15 former EU leaders counters attempts by Israel and U.S. to scrap or delay the move to stop cooperating with firms in the settlements. (Haaretz)
  • Ex-Shin Bet chief warns of 'next Yigal Amir' - Carmi Gillon criticizes authorities' handling of 'price tag' perpetrators, says any progress in peace talks will bring forth terrorist acts. (Ynet)
  • Report: Only 13% of those arrested last year got to consult a lawyer before questioning - Public Defender's Office report also shows rise in false arrests and unnecessary detainment of suspects in jail overnight. (Haaretz)
  • For the first time: Palestinians allowed to enter (former settlement) Homesh - No less than eight years after settlement in northern Samaria (W. Bank) was evacuated, IDF announced it finally removed prohibitions on entry to area by Palestinians. This happened when General Nitzan Alon of the Central Command had the list of settlements updated and Homesh was removed from the list. (Israel Hayom, p. 9)
  • Prison Authority decision cancelled: Head of Bat-Ayin underground won't be released - District court decided to reject appeal of Shlomo Dvir, 'Head of Bat-Ayin underground', to release him after serving 2/3 of his sentence, which he was given 15 years ago after he placed a bomb outside a Muslim (girls') school. The court decision cancelled the Prison's release committee decision, ruling that "Dvir did not prove that his early release won't endanger others." (Israel Hayom, p. 8)
  • Yaalon hinted: I don't plan to implement what is written in the ultra-Orthodox draft law - "I am not obligated to the number who get exemptions," said the Defense Minister during discussion over the law, but also noted, "The Peri guidelines (for drafting) are the best." (Maariv, p. 1/NRG Hebrew)
  • To tweet or not to tweet? The IDF answers the question - Internal documents from the IDF Spokesman's Office, obtained by Haaretz, reveal the thinking behind the army's social media strategy. (Haaretz)
  • Watch: Bricks thrown at police near Jerusalem - Officers attacked by mob while trying to restore order after brawl erupts in Palestinian village. (Ynet)
  • 'Homeland' Israel shoot moved to Morocco - The show's American producers, concerned over situation in Syria, contacted their Israeli counterparts Sunday to inform them of decision. Israeli production companies estimate a loss of hundreds of thousands of shekels over the location change. (Israel Hayom)
  • Vacation in Israel: Only for the rich? - survey ranks Israel sixth in world in average price of hotel room, NIS 798 - more expensive than Switzerland, Norway, US, Italy, France, Holland. (Ynet)
  • Israel's Channel 10 again on verge of bankruptcy - The channel's biggest shareholder, U.S. businessman and Jewish activist Ronald Lauder, has agreed to inject NIS 80 million into the ailing operation on condition that steps would be taken to reach breakeven. (Haaretz)
  • Israel imports Moroccan citron for 1st time - First deliveries of 1,500 etrogim arrive from African country just in time for Jewish holiday of Sukkot. (Ynet)
  • Did Netanyahu propose resettling Gazans in Sinai? Egyptian newspaper set to release tapes in which Egypt's Hosni Mubarak reportedly says Israeli PM offered him to resettle Gaza residents in Sinai but rejected proposal. (Ynet)
  • Egyptian army destroyed 152 smuggling tunnels to Gaza since July - A spokesman said that the Egyptian army has clamped down on tunnels on the Egypt-Gaza border following Hamas' support for Sinai jihadists. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran says willing to build trust with US on nuclear issue - FM Zarif tells Lebanese network he hopes WMD disarmament plan has lifted threat of military strike on Syria, urges Washington to present 'genuine desire for peace and stop using language of threats.' (Ynet)


Farewell to chemical weapons (Haaretz Editorial) The chemical disarmament of Syria gives Israel the opportunity to revisit its position on the Chemical Weapons Convention. Ratifying it will show Israel is doing its part to rid the region of weapons of mass destruction.
Left has learned nothing from Syria crisis (Shaul Rosenfeld, Ynet) As West becomes more sensitive to human rights, its willingness to use force in order to protect them decreases.
An iron fist in a silk glove (Eitan Haber, Yedioth) If there had not been an ocean dividing the White House from the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, it's certain it would have been possible to hear the shouts of victory coming from the Oval Room to the holy cit. It would was President Barack Obama shouting loudly: "We did it." And if he was less modest: "We did it." In the meantime, Obama's victory is only on paper...Apparently by next week we'll know, more or less, the truth about the Syrian chemical weapons (if the Syrians don't succeed in pulling one over on the Russians, the Americans, us and the whole world). Our experience with the Syrians since the Independence War was one of a snake and its prey...The Syrians tried to cheat the State of Israel often, and in all the military confrontations they wanted to be the one's with the last word...Now the Americans, the Russians and ourselves have no choice but to follow after what is happening and see if the paper agreement turns into 'something big' - Syria giving up on years of secret work producing chemical weapons....The last diplomatic battle can be a first sampel of an 'Obaman action' against Iran: the iron fist could be wrapped in a colorful velvet cloth. But if the Iranians want to live and (to have) nuclear facilities for peaceful purposes, they will need to accept the Syrian sample. If not, Obama will have to do what he won't want to do at all: sign a presidential order for the US army to turn the Iranian nuclear facilities into rubble. And until then, G-d is great.
A wasted people (Yitzhak Laor, Haaretz) Since the war, the word 'blunder' jas become the major alibi used by 'the people' - the news customer who is always right - due to its share of the responsibility. Even the depiction of the collapse as a victory is unmatched by this nonsense: 'blunder.' 
Next stop Tehran (Orly Azoulay, Yedioth/Ynet) Once Syria's non-conventional weapons are destroyed, Obama will move on to Iran.
Legitimizing Middle East peace through referendum (Jimmy Carter, Haaretz) Both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples should bring any peace deal negotiated by their leaders to national vote - while the U.S. must act as an impartial broker.
There's a new sheriff in town (Uri Heitner, Israel Hayom) Today Vladimir Putin is the world's most influential person. That is bad news. 
Yom Kippur in Israel, or, why guilt is no good for the Jews (Bradley Burston, Haaretz) My father-in-law taught  his daughter that the sages said that if you come upon a beggar, you are not obligated to give to him, but you are obligated not to look away. Simple, right? Not at all. I thought of my father in law's lesson again when I read Peter Beinart's explosively accurate article "The American Jewish Cocoon" in the current New York Review of Books.
Assad's future is looking bright (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) There is no reason to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Oslo Accords.
Listening to Israelis and Palestinians: Reflections on the 'American Jewish cocoon' (Carlo Strenger, Haaretz) Peter Beinart's latest article is a reminder of the importance of Israelis and Palestinians building mutual trust.


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