News Nosh 09.08.13

APN's daily news review from Israel

Sunday September 08, 2013


Quote of the day:

'Im Tirtzu is a Fascist movement.'
-- A Facebook group name, which an Israeli judge ruled was not a libel against the far right-wing Im Tirtzu movement.**

Front Page News:


Yedioth Ahronoth


  • Achievement for Putin: Obama having difficulty recruiting a majority in Europe and Congress for attack
  • Obama's needs a miracle // Nadav Eyal
  • Putin plays with fire // Amnon Lord
  • A confused and paralyzed world // Ben-Dror Yemini
  • Egypt opened a military campaign in Sinai Peninsula: "The biggest since Yom Kippur War"
  • Rochus Mish, Hitler's bodyguard and personal assistant, died over the weekend at age 96

Israel Hayom


Peace Talk Highlights
Five alleged peace talk leaks by the Palestinians spark an official Israeli complaint, Israel makes a goodwill gesture to the Palestinians, and Palestinians protest against peace talks, while  US Secretary of State meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after trying to convince the Europeans not to boycott Israeli institutions working in the W. Bank.

Haaretz's Barak Ravid wrote that the leaks "reflect growing frustration in Ramallah over the lack of progress in the talks. The Palestinians are accusing Israel of foot-dragging and of trying to play for time without presenting their positions. After six rounds of talks neither side can show the slightest progress."
Here are the 'leaks':
!. PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo, told Voice of Palestine  Wednesday: "until now there has been no progress" and that without American pressure on Israel no breakthrough will be achieved.
2. Senior Fatah official Nabil Sha'ath told the Palestinian news agency Ma'an, there has been no progress in the talks, adding that for the past six weeks Israel has been presenting the issues it wants to discuss.
3. A senior Palestinian official who spoke to the Associated Press anonymously said Israel had proposed a Palestinian state within temporary borders on some 60 percent of the territory of the West Bank, which would leave dozens of Jewish settlements and military bases in the West Bank intact. Palestinians say Israel's security demands would take away 40 percent of West Bank lands.
4. Another Palestinian official who asked not to be identified told the Chinese news agency Xinhua on Wednesday that Israel insists on only discussing security issues. The official said Israel had presented 17 points reflecting its position on the security arrangements. He added that in the course of the talks, a dispute broke out over the Palestinians' refusal to accept any Israeli military presence within the Palestinian state.
5. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told a visiting Arab athletic delegation he might withdraw his land swap proposal and demand all of the territories Israel occupied in June 1967 if Israel reneges on agreements on borders and security reached under previous prime ministers, especially Ehud Olmert.

After releasing Palestinian prisoners, Israel is making another goodwill gesture towards the Palestinian Authority: IDefense Minister Moshe Yaalon is expected to request approval for 5000 new work permits for Palestinians from the ministers at today's weekly cabinet meeting.

Today, Sunday, Kerry is scheduled to meet with Abbas in London, as part of the ongoing conversations Kerry is having with Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The one-on-one meetings are designed to be a confidential way that lets Kerry get a sense of where each stands on various negotiating issues, define their bottom lines and to get an idea of how it might be possible to bridge the gaps between them.

On Saturday, Kerry urged the European Union to postpone its funding ban on Israeli institutions operating in the W. Bank. The ban applies to grants, prizes and financial instruments totaling millions of euros which are awarded to Israeli universities, companies and researchers every year. Kerry said the ban harmed the peace talks. Another US official traveling with Kerry said that the turmoil in Syria and Egypt actually motivates Israelis and Palestinians to reach a peace agreement so that they can avoid it. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton assured that the EU will make sure the new settlement guidelines do not harm relations with Israel.
Meanwhile, in Ramallah, hundreds of people marched Saturday to protest against peace negotiations with Israel. The march was organized by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to protest a return to peace talks and to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the former PFLP leader Abu Ali Mustafa's death.
Syria-Related News:
The Israeli newspapers today continued to focus on Syria, noting that US President Barack Obama seemed to be failing to convince Europe and his own country to attack Syria. Nevertheless, the Israel lobby AIPAC says it has deployed 250 activists to meet with their senators and representatives in Washington in a bid to win support Congressional support for military action in Syria. However, Europe is urging the US to await the UN inspectors' report on alleged Syrian regime use of chemical weapons before any strike.

In the meantime, 1000 sailors and Marines of the US Sixth Fleet docked in Haifa for two days arriving on aboard the San Antonio warship, Yedioth reported. "We want to attack Syria," the fighters said.

And Yedioth shares the story of an Israeli woman who three years ago began helping Syrian refugees - in Syria. 'Yael,' an Israeli activist recruited the help of her organization, a group of Israelis who specialize in helping populations in disaster areas or in areas that Israel has no diplomatic relations. For the last three years they have been providing food, medicine and equipment in Syria, Yedioth's Danny Spector reported. They have worked in Iraq, Indonesia, Pakistan and many other countries. According to an article in 'The Economist,' Yael's group and dozens of other unrelated Israelis are working in Syria to help the refugees. More about the organization at

Quick Hits:

  • PA official: Settlers attack vehicles in Nablus -  Settlers threw empty bottles and stones at cars traveling on the Ramallah-Nablus road near Eli settlement, Saturday night. (Maan)
  • At least 15 arrested as Palestinians, police clash at Temple Mount - Police use stun grenades to disperse crowd after youths throw stones at them; similar clashes took place only days earlier. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli forces detain dozens in Hebron camp - Israeli forces detained over 30 Palestinians at al-Arrub refugee camp near Hebron early Saturday after a firebomb was hurled at a military tower. (Maan)
  • Dutch engineering giant cancels East Jerusalem project - The Dutch government had warned Royal HaskoningDHV against a wastewater treatment plant with the Jerusalem municipality, because it was to be built over the Green Line. (Haarez)
  • Israel-Turkey reconciliation talks near breakthrough, Turkish official says - The official said there are no political obstacles standing in the way of normalization of relations between the two nations. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Enforcer of West Bank building laws promoting development in his settlement - Rami Ziv ranks high in administration behind demolition orders for illegal West Bank homes - but meanwhile he's been seeking sweetheart terms for homes built in his own settlement. (Haaretz)
  • Palestinian film to premiere at Toronto Film Festival - A film by Palestinian director Rashid Masharawi has been officially announced to compete at Toronto International Film Festival. 'Palestine Stereo' follows two brothers rendered homeless by an Israeli airstrike as they try to raise enough money to move to Canada. (Maan)
  • Rejecting bulk of libel suit, court rules Im Tirtzu movement can be likened to Fascism - Extra-parliamentary Zionist movement sued a number of left-wing activists who described it a fascist movement in a Facebook page, demanding compensation of NIS 2.6 million. (Haaretz)
  • Saudi Arabia donates $200 million to Palestinian municipalities - The funding, allocated by Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, will help develop and expand infrastructure in Palestinian cities to support residents against "Zionist Judaization and settlement attacks." (Maan)
  • PA, France sign agreements worth 19 million euros - Around 9 million euros ($12 million) will go towards paying the salaries of over 180,000 PA employees, while 10 million ($13 million) euros will be used to construct a solid waste treatment plant in the Gaza Strip. (Maan)
  • French consulate employee arrested smuggling goods into West Bank - Israeli officials arrested an employee of the French consulate in Jerusalem as he tried to cross from Jordan into the West Bank with some 152 kg in gold bars, nearly $2 million in checks and 500 kg of tobacco. (Haaretz)
  • Ambassador in Israel appointed head of unit in French spy agency - Cristophe Bigot, who was until a few days ago the French ambassador to Israel, was appointed the head of the strategy department of French DGSE. (Yedioth, p. 20)
  • Official: Egypt closes Rafah crossing - Egypt closed the Rafah crossing with Gaza on Saturday citing "security concerns" following a crackdown on Sinai militants. (Maan)
  • Egypt launches offensive against Sinai insurgents near Gaza border - Column of tanks and other armored vehicles appears to be one of largest units deployed to the area in recent years, witness says. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • EU court strikes down sanctions imposed on seven Iranian companies - The U.S. Treasury expresses disappointment at ruling, saying 'the evidence linking these banks to Iran's illicit nuclear activities is clear and strong'. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Netanyahu issues frosty response to Iranian president's Rosh Hashana tweet - Rohani's holiday greetings' only purpose is to divert attention from its quest for the acquisition of nuclear weapons, PM says. (Haaretz and Maan)
  • Iran's foreign minister condemns Holocaust - Amid denials that Iran's president tweeted happy Rosh Hashana to Iranian Jews, Islamic Republic's FM confirms his tweet, condemns Holocaust while taking jab at Israel, comparing 'massacre of Jews by Nazis' to 'massacre of Palestinians by Zionists.' (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Amid Syria fears, Botticelli work stays in Italy - The Annunciation, scheduled to arrive in Jerusalem, will not be delivered to Israel, as Italy is concerned over recent Mideast developments. (Agencies, Ynet)


Between demolition orders, a Palestinian village hangs in a state of limbo
Dakika, a village on the edge of the south Hebron hills, is being slated for demolition with no less than 53 orders from the Civil Administration. (Haaretz)


Ties between Israel and Egypt only getting stronger, despite regional tension (Amos Harel, Haaretz) The two nations enjoy not only tactical cooperation, but a convergence of strategic interests as well.
Disarm Israel of nuclear weapons (Yuval Eylon, Ynet) Israel says nuclear-free Mideast will be possible only when peace is established, but continues occupation.
A Congressional veto of Obama on Syria would harm Israel and its supporters (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz) By 'going all out' in favor of a U.S. attack on Assad, AIPAC and other Jewish groups run the risk of sustaining long term damage to their own 'power of deterrence.'
A confused and paralyzed world (Ben-Dror Yemini, Maariv) "The UN is bankrupt," vis-à-vis its dealing with the situation in Syria..."The EU is at one of its lowest points...There is no European position; the only thing that the European countries succeed in agreeing on, however sluggishly, is aid to the Palestinians and periodic condemnations of Israel...History will remember these days for shame, mainly regarding the free world. Despite all its intelligence tools and all its strength, it stands helpless in the face of the greatest humanitarian crisis of the past decade. It cannot agree on what happened or on what is happening. In the foreseeable future, there is also no chance that it will agree on what needs to be done."
Saddam Hussein of Damascus (Salman Masalha, Haaretz) Saddam, who eliminated anyone who stood in his way, used the platform of Pan-Arabism to perpetuate a tribal and sectarian dictatorship. Syria's Ba'ath Party has done the same.
A place for worry (Alex Fishman, Yedioth) "In the past week, the American administration lost the chance to win international consensus and this week it is entirely possible - if the current polls, which indicate that a Congressional majority opposes an attack, are correct - that he will lose the consensus at home...In such a situation, the American President finds himself facing the world with his feathers plucked: He has no cards for a diplomatic move and no agreement for a military move." However, if US President Obama does secure Congressional approval, Yemini believes that the strike on Syria will be far more massive than was originally planned for four reasons: "One, a symbolic attack after three weeks of threats would be ridiculous. Two, US Sen. McCain and a not inconsiderable group of Republicans in Congress are demanding a significant strike and have received assurances to this effect. Three, in the meantime, Syria has moved around equipment and forces, and therefore, more firepower will be necessary in order to score effective hits. Four, and most important, the number of targets has grown due to a significant change in American policy regarding the rebels. Now there is an American commitment to aid the rebels both with deadly weapons and training and as a part of this commitment, targets have been added that would weaken the Syrian military's ability to strike at them."
In America we trust? (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Israel is the only true supporter Obama has left, but this doesn't relieve Jerusalem of its duty to think about whether Israel can really rely on the U.S.
The Zionism we really want: A third way to look at the morality of the Jewish nationalist project (Chaim Gans, Haaretz) Not ownership rights, but ties of identity and the universal right to self-determination are what support the moral justification for Zionism.
Israel should be more than Yad Vashem with an air force (Haaretz Editorial) Ten years after the Israel Air Force flyby over Auschwitz, the awareness of the Holocaust and the dread of its recurrence are consciously and deliberately blended into the air force's policy, and into the IDF and defense establishment's policy in general.
The pillar of fire that went before the peace camp (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) Uri Avnery, who is turning 90, wasn't just a pioneer of Israeli journalism - he mainly stands out as a statesman and prophet.
New world, old order (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) Obama has had to leave his pipe dream of worldwide brotherhood behind, realizing that the changing world refuses to listen to the U.S.
The Yom Kippur War controversy: Silence is Golda (Amir Oren, Haaretz) King Hussein of Jordan met with then Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and warned her that war was looming. But for immaterial reasons, this detail remains absent from official documents and gives sanction to an ongoing cover-up.
Assad must pay (Clifford D. May, Israel Hayom) Cost-free state terrorism is licensed state terrorism.  
Bush was feared, Obama is barely noticed (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) President Barack Obama is all alone, just as his predecessor, George W. Bush, was when he went to war with Iraq in 2003. It's just that Bush was respected and, for the most part, feared. Obama simply "doesn't count." 
Defining 'who is a Jew' (A.B. Yehoshua, Haaretz) If a Jew need not live in Israel, need not speak Hebrew, need not be committed to formal communal relations with other Jews, need not believe in the God of Israel and His Torah, and does not necessarily have to be the child of a Jewish mother, who then, is a Jew? 
Investing, not donating: Updating how American Jews give to Israel (Elah Alkalay, Haaretz) Should American Jews think differently about where they send their money in Israel now the Jewish state is far less the 'poor relative?' 
The Israeli morality squad (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) If the use of chemical weaponry is so horrible, why doesn't Israel, as that survivor of the Holocaust, dispatch its planes to those targets it knows so well and wipe out those stockpiles of chemical weapons, and maybe the Assad regime too?
One more year of stoking fear in the hearts of many (Uri Misgav, Haaretz) Whether it's Iran, polio or Syrian chemical weapons, there is always something to keep us meek and scared.

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