News Nosh 09.02.13

APN's daily news review from Israel

Monday September 02, 2013


Quote of the day:

"Sandwiched between two Arab civil wars, expecting nothing from the peace talks, quietly legalizing discrimination against its minorities - Israel's year of superficial calm."
--Don Futterman sums up a less than positive year in Israel ahead of Rosh Hashana.**

Front Page News:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • The hospital for wounded Syrians - Visit to secret IDF facility in Golan Heights that has absorbed hundreds of injured
  • (Druze village) Beit Jan in third place for passing matriculation exams
  • "He would have murdered me too. I only remained alive by a miracle" - Young girl who survived the killing spree of her father speaks
  • HPV vaccine for female pupils being re-examined - Fear of side effects
  • Why did the Netanyahu couple cancel the get-together for ministers
  • Second generation Levin - Hanoch Levin's son follows in his father's footsteps and puts on his own political satire play
  • Her choice - Karnit Goldwasser joins Huldai in running for a place in the Tel-Aviv city council


Israel Hayom


Peace Talks Highlights:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he went to the negotiating table, not for the release of prisoners, but because the US guaranteed the peace talks would be based on the '67 borders. Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said Israel will release more Palestinian prisoners at the end of this month and the US State Department said that US Middle East envoy Martin Indyk took part in one of the peace talks sessions. It was not clear why the State Department decided to make the disclosure.

Syria News:
US President Barack Obama informed Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu prior to his speech of his decision to delay the strike on Syria, but that did not stop Netanyahu and associates from becoming very concerned. Meanwhile, Maariv writes that the decision over a strike might wait for the UN General Assembly and the US, Russia and Syria are in contact over disarming Syria of its chemical weapons. Ynet writes that Hamas is divided over whether to support the Assad regime.

While a window has opened for finding a political-diplomatic solution that will cancel a military action against Syria, Israel is concerned, not only because the Syrian regime will take advantage of the window to attack the rebels, but because the delay in the strike has implications in Iran's race for nuclear weapons, writes Maariv's Eli Bardenstein. Israel believes that the US attack in Syria will emphasize the US's importance in the region and it will pass a sharp message to Iran and other extremist groups in the region including Hezbollah. Netanyahu's associates in the Prime Minister's Office, along with US Ambassador to Washington Michael Oren, believe that the US administration is interested in reducing its military presence in the region and focusing instead on internal US problems. Netanyahu fears that 'America's hesitation to act militarily conveys to Iran that the US won't act militarily to stop Iran's nuclear program and it will increase the motivation of groups like Hezbollah to deteriorate the security reality in the Middle East. Jerusalem fears that Israel will be left alone to deal militarily with the Iranian nukes, without the US, at least in the first strike. There are those who also doubt that the US would provide a diplomatic umbrella for Israel the day after an attack, writes Bardenstein.

The window of time that Obama opened is larger than what he described on Sunday, writes Bardenstein. While Congress is expected to discuss a strike on Syria after it reconvenes on Monday, 'the view is towards the UN General Assembly on September 17th, when the UN inspectors, who returned from Damascus, will have present their findings on the regime's use of chemical weapons.

Senior diplomats are receiving dispatches on messages being transferred between the Kremlin, the White House and the Syrian presidential palace, writes Bardenstein. Russia is working hard to prevent an attack and examining possibilities of dealing with the Syrian chemical weapons, by removing them or even by destroying them and giving the UN access to confirm this was done. (NRG Hebrew)

Meanwhile, the IDF released most of the reservist soldiers it called up last week, but demand for gas kits remains high. MK Avigdor Lieberman warned Syria and criticized the international community, only hours after Netanyahu criticized a minister for blasting the US.

Meanwhile, Hamas is divided and Abbas is silent over support for the Syrian regime, writes Ynet's Roi Kais. Hamas' military wing has decided to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but this goes against the view of the group's political leadership, which favors a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis.
Syrian Quickees:

  • U.S. positioning aircraft carrier for possible help with Syria - Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and other ships in its strike group are heading west toward the Red Sea. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Comptroller to examine disorder at gas mask distribution centers - Complaints of long lines, chaos at ABC kit distribution centers posted on State Comptroller's office Facebook page. (Ynet)
  • Jews helping Syrians: Never invited, always welcome - A group of Israelis has been smuggling aid into Syria for 18 months, taking in some 300,000 meals, five ambulances, and 700 tons of aid. (Haaretz)
  • Arab states urge international action against Syrian government - The final resolution of an Arab League meeting in Cairo urged the United Nations and international community to "take the deterrent and necessary measures against the culprits of this crime that the Syrian regime bears responsibility for." (Ynet)

Quick Hits:
Sharp rise in settlement building starts - Despite government's efforts to increase construction in bid to reduce housing prices, slowdown in building starts ongoing since 2011. While first half of 2013 sees 6% drop in number of building starts in Israel, construction in Judea and Samaria up 141%. (Ynet)
German bank vows to bar settlers from West Bank landfill it's planning - Government-owned development bank says landfill will only take garbage from Ramallah and El Bireh. (Haaretz)
Dozens of Palestinians protest against Hebron settler house - People gathered outside of a property belonging to the al-Rajabi family and demanded that settlers leave the premises. The Israeli high court is due to hold a session on Monday to decide the fate of the property, which has been disputed for years. (Maan)
Bill equalizing labor rights for (Israeli women working in) West Bank handed back to military - Netanyahu delays cabinet vote on controversial Struck Law to give the IDF a chance to issue an order equalizing the rights of women working over the Green Line to those inside Israel proper. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
Netanyahu: Law discriminating against women in West Bank to be amended - According to PM, controversial bill initiated by MK Strok to amend law that discriminates against women beyond Green Line will take effect by October, either by army order or by applying Israeli law on territories. (Ynet)
Israeli forces reopen Hebron road after 12 years - The al-Harayeq gate, south of Hebron will be open 24-hours a day as of Sunday. In July, Israel opened the road for eight hours daily, ending a 12-year-closure that begin during the Second Intifada. (Maan)
Lapid meets Palestinian finance minister - Finance Minister Yair Lapid met in his office with his counterpart in the Palestinian Authority, Shukri Bashara. The two discussed different options to expand the economic cooperation between the two entities. (Ynet)
The excuses Israel comes up with to destroy Palestinian villages - The absence of a Palestinian human right to have two domiciles will be one of the arguments to be presented to Supreme Court justices by state attorneys on Monday, in an attempt to uphold the destruction of eight villages south of Hebron. (Haaretz)
Shin Bet foils Hamas terror attack on Jerusalem mall - Five operatives from East Jerusalem planned to plant bomb during the upcoming Jewish High Holy Days. (Haaretz and Ynet)
Ministers: "Sarah Netanyahu did not want to invite (Minister Naftali) Bennett - so the get-together was cancelled" - For four years, the Netanyahu couple have held an event in their home ahead of the holidays for members of their coalition. But this year the invitations were not sent. PM's Office: "They marked the New Year at the cabinet meeting with apples and honey." (Yedioth, p. 18)
Labor MK: Lieberman refuses to convene defense committee - Labor MK Omer Bar-Lev says members of Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee are not receiving the basic information they need to fulfill their duties. Committee Chairman Avigdor Lieberman: Unfortunately, some are looking for headlines at any cost. (Israel Hayom)
IDF delays massive donation to soldiers, days before holidays - Group collects NIS 420,000 for needy soldiers, only to be denied by IDF moments before Rosh Hashanah. IDF claims fears discrimination between units. (Ynet)
Israel to restore more than 20 ancient mills in Galilee riverbed - Israel Nature and Parks Authority and Israel Antiquities Authority restoring ancient Galilee mills. (Haaretz)
Aliyah organization sending mixed messages to Russian Jews: Come, or stay there - State comptroller's report accuses Nativ of budget inconsistencies, wasteful spending, lack of coordination and encouraging emigration from Israel. (Haaretz)
Milestone: No illegal African migrants enter Israel in August - Population and Immigration Authority says August is the first month in which no illegal infiltrators entered Israel through Egyptian border. 168 migrants from Sudan and Eritrea leave Israel voluntarily. Interior minister: We are progressing day by day. (Israel Hayom)
Former IAF chief: Only 'chance' kept Tel Aviv from being bombed in Yom Kippur War - Defense Ministry declassifies and publishes trove of documents in honor of 40th anniversary of October 1973 war. (Haaretz)
Former Israeli security official weighs testifying against Bank of China - Despite not having approval to do so, former security official Uzi Shaya sends letter to lawyers of plantiffs in Bank of China lawsuit saying he is inclined to testify if no deal is reached between the sides within three months. (Israel Hayom)
Egypt destroys homes by Gaza for possible buffer zone - Egypt detains militant suspected of leading an Al-Qaida-linked group in an ambush that killed 25 off-duty policemen. (Agencies, Ynet)
Egypt expels Al-Jazeera journalists in crackdown on Qatari channel - Egypt deported three Al-Jazeera journalists on Sunday, days after the Qatari-owned channel carried appeals from leaders of ousted President Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood to stage protests against the army-backed government. (Ynet)
Morsi to stand trial for inciting killing of his opponents - Morsi has been held incommunicado since since military coup in early July; no date has been announced yet for the trial. (Agencies, Haaretz)


No longer in his father's shadow
Crazed submarine commander decides to shoot nuclear missiles on Iran? No, it's not the wacko reality but a new play written by Aharon Levin, the son of, with his partner Yaron Edelstein. An interview on fears, successes and on how, even after death, his father remains the most highly appreciated playwright in the country. (Yedioth, '24 Hours' supplement)
Vying to be the first Israeli-British MP in the U.K.
A self-described 'Londoner above all else,' Israel-born Alon Or-Bach aims to represent Labor in Margaret Thatcher's old seat of Finchley and Golders Green. (Haaretz)


**Wars of attrition: Israel's year in review (Don Futterman, Haaretz) Sandwiched between two Arab civil wars, expecting nothing from the peace talks, quietly legalizing discrimination against its minorities - Israel's year of superficial calm.
Israel, stop kibitzing and let Obama work (Haaretz Editorial) At the end of the day, it is essential that a decision to attack Syria be made on Capitol Hill, not in Jerusalem.
The evil guys are smiling (Amos Gilboa, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) "If against Syria, in a limited military action, the President of the US sways, hesitates, almost pleads to be taken down from the tree, in his characteristically poetic speech, what will be against Iran?" Gilboa reminds his readers that after declaring that the Assad regime had used chemical weapons, the Secretary General of NATO said, "It was not NATO's prerogative to respond" and he adds that "about the UN, like the EU, there is nothing to say...Whoever proposes that in future peace agreements with the Palestinians, we should place our trust in 'international guarantees' or that a NATO force should come to the territories, all ostensibly in order to provide security (in place of the IDF) - should forget about it!...(Iran, Syria and Hezbollah) smell weakness like hunting dogs, and understand that if there is an American action, it will be a light slap and afterwards Assad will be able to go on using planes, missiles, tanks and butcher knives...Whoever sets red lines needs to be certain that if they are violated, he will be ready and capable of responding as he has threatened. If this readiness does not exist at the outset, then it is better not to set lines at all."
Who's in charge of the home front? (Reuven Pedatzur, Haaretz) Emergency situations require coordination between a very large number of institutions, but the complexity of this coordination does not justify the failure of all governments over the last two decades to solve the problem. 
Obama's decision is the most appropriate one (Yael Paz-Melamed, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) In Israel, they don't believe in talk, but Obama did right when he showed determination and decided to go to Congress, even though he is not obligated to.
Arab MKs missed their chance (Yoaz Hendel, Ynet) Leaders of Arab-Israeli community should have been among first to demand international intervention in Syria.
When the bleeding hearts call for bloodshed (Yitzhak Laor, Haaretz) The so-called conscientious were not calling for an end to the war, God forbid, but only to the taking of pleasure in the punishment, because punishment is the greatest pleasure that accompanies morality. 
We can only rely on ourselves (Zvika Fogel, Israel Hayom) Credit should be given where it is due, and the government and defense branches deserve it for how they have handled things so far: responsibly, without overexcitement or inducing panic.
The brave new Arab world. Really. (Oudeh Basharat, Haaretz) Despite the terrible tragedy in Syria, the news coming from the public squares of the Arab world should infuse optimism into every democrat in the world. 
The atom and the red line - a wink on the way to a bomb (Yaron London, Yedioth) "How will the US act when Iran approaches a bomb? Is it possible to rely on the White House's decisive statements that Iran will not have nuclear weapons? The black dot at the end of this strong sentence is suspiciously similar to the red line that Obama set for Syria one year ago. Now it becomes clear that it is not the shortest distance between two points; it bends...No promise from the White House will succeed in dissipating the suspicions of Israel's leaders...If it is possible to live with a nuclear Pakistan and a nuclear North Korea, it is possible to live and prosper with a nuclear Iran."
Obama stuck with grenade in hand that he doesn't want to throw (Amir Oren, Haaretz) The high-sounding talk of national debate is a thin disguise for his failure to mobilize support from the public.
Striking while the iron is cold (Prof. Alexander Bligh, Israel Hayom) Waiting for congressional confirmation essentially means avoiding striking while the iron is hot.
Israeli soldiers Gangnam style with Palestinians - and the world goes wild (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz) The video of this event was so bizarre and unexpected that once it hit the Internet, through a Palestinian website, it swept the world news scene.


Syrian sister points accusing finger at Israel, U.S.
Why a Carmelite nun believes the chemical attack in Damascus was faked. She was born Fadia al-Laham, 61 years ago in Jounieh, Lebanon (her parents had fled Nazareth in 1948). When she was 15 her father died, and, as she herself admits, over the next few years she became a hippy and flower child who used drugs and drifted between Nepal and India. On her palm, concealed by her nun's habit, she still has a few tattoos from India - a memento of that time in her life. She says she loves to listen to The Doors, The Rolling Stones and Santana. Her Indian experiences led her to embrace a cloistered life and, for 22 years, she lived in utter solitude in a Carmelite monastery in Lebanon's highland region.... Currently she lives in Damascus and is an international peace activist trying to warn the world of the dangers of a jihadist takeover of her adopted country. She is fighting what she considers a pack of lies, trying to counter the propaganda and disinformation in the Arab and international media, and documenting the atrocities of the war for the organization she has established. She arrived this week to visit relatives in Nazareth and to participate in an interfaith conference in Israel. (Interviewed by Gideon Levy in Haaretz)


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