News Nosh 09.01.13

APN's daily news review from Israel

Sunday September 01, 2013


Quote of the day:

'The wieners will still be used in the IDF, but only under field conditions.'
--Ynet writes about the introduction of healthy food in the Israeli army.**

Front Page News:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • I decided to attack, but with the Congress' approval
  • Obama time // Nahum Barnea
  • Shooting and postponing // Alex Fishman
  • Separation anxiety // Alon Pinkas
  • We'll go alone // Yoaz Handel
  • 40 years to the Yom Kippur War, can you identify who is in this photo?
  • Honda. Rosenberg. She's Japanese and Jewish, a gifted violinist and the daughter of a Holocaust survivor
  • Real estate prices rising? Price of gasoline rising much more


Israel Hayom


News Summary:
Israel remains on high military defense alert, despite the postponement and possible cancelling of the US attack on Syria, following US President Barack Obama's decision to seek congressional approval first. Last week, Israel's previous Military Intel chief Amos Yadlin said the US must choose between the 'best worst' option in Syria. But Obama surprised everyone and chose another route. With the exception of Haaretz, most Israeli commentators and analysts believe his decision showed weakness. (See commentary/analysis below.) They were not alone. The Mufti of Syria said that Obama has pulled back and Syria has won. The security political establishment would have preferred that he had taken the decision to attack to show other states and actors in the Middle East, particularly Iran, that they face consequences. Before the speech, while tension was high, President Bashar al-Assad's son wrote on Facebook: "I want them to attack sooo much." Over the weekend, Israeli tourists visited Iron Dome soldiers, bringing them food and sharing their appreciation for the soldiers' work.
Maariv's Asaf Gabor writes that Al-Hayat newspaper reported that Hezbollah sent messages to the Lebanese government over the weekend that it has no intention of shooting at Israel. Moreover, Hezbollah's Al-Manar news network reported that an Iranian delegation arrived over the weekend in Syria and is expected to stay five days. According to the report, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad already met with the delegation, which includes Iranian MPs. Meanwhile, Palestinian refugees fleeing the violence in Syria have been refused entry into Lebanon for three weeks now.

Quick Hits:

  • Palestinian teen shot in clash with Israeli soldiers dies - Kareem Abu Sbaih, 19, succumbs to wounds suffered in Jenin arrest; IDF said soldiers shot back after being attacked with live fire, homemade bombs and rocks. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Medics: Israeli forces shoot farmer in Gaza -  Israeli forces opened fire at Yousef Saad, a 20-year-old farmer, injuring him in the thigh Friday East of Jabalia north of the Gaza Strip, medics said. (Maan)
  • Passing bill on women's rights in W. Bank could be seen as annexation - Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein: The extension of Israel legislation to the West Bank 'could have ramifications at the level of international law.' (Haaretz)
  • Jerusalem prisoner ends hunger strike, family says - Matar's wife told Ma'an that Israel's prison authority had responded to some of the Jerusalem prisoner's demands, including reviewing his sentence and allowing private visits. (Maan)
  • Detainees on hunger strike to end confinement of Abu Sisi - Eight Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody have launched hunger strike action to end the solitary confinement of jailed Gaza engineeer Dirar Abu Sisi. (Maan)
  • Defense cuts may not happen due to regional tensions, sources say - The cost of military preparations due to tensions in Syria is not clear yet, but funding will be found for additional gas-mask kits. (Haaretz)
  • 40% rise in religious nationalist young women joining the IDF - Rellgious Zionism worried: "The religious girls are greatly conflicted," said one source from the community, who claimed that their joining the army hurts the institution of National Civil Service. IDF investing great resources to increase the number of religious girls joining [they are not required to by law - OH]. (Maariv/NRG Hebrew)
  • Lebanese army arrests 2 in connection with rocket attack on Israel - The Lebanese army announced that it had arrested two citizens in connection with the August 22 rocket attack on northern Israel.  (Ynet)
  • Egypt shoots, wounds Palestinian fishermen off Gaza, medics say - The group of seven fishermen were sailing west of the town Rafah toward Egyptian waters when the forces fired, wounding two. Egyptian authorities had no comment. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Egypt denies intelligence agents working in Gaza - An Egyptian security official on Thursday denied claims by Hamas that Egyptian intelligence agents were working in the Gaza Strip. (Maan)
  • Egypt bars Israeli ship from docking for repairs - Brig. Gen. Mohsin Hamad says the ship lacked certification from the International Maritime Organization that is required for entry to Egyptian ports and the canal. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • **Healthier food to be introduced in IDF - IDF Technology and Logistics Branch to change soldiers' diet; from processed meats to grains, less fat, no preservatives. (Ynet)
  • Megiddo head denies backtracking on UNESCO pledges - Hanan Erez says he is promoting a municipal by-law for conservation in the Ramot Menashe region, not going against UNESCO. (Haaretz)
  • Israel about to launch its fifth communication satellite into space - 'Amos 4,' which will provide broadband broadcast to Southeast Asia, Russia, India and the Middle East, arrived at its launch site in Kazakhstan several weeks ago. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood suffers heart attack in jail - State-run news agency denies report that Mohammed Badie had died. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Palestinian town left reeking due to bureaucratic gap 
In an unusual display of environmental sensitivity, Israel's Civil Administration shuts down El Bireh's landfill; the city responds by emptying its garbage trucks around town. (Haaretz)
My father, Edward Said: First the show, then the book - and now the interview
Najla Said talks about her relationship with her father, her privileged upbringing and the guilt she feels towards the Palestinian people. (By Nirit Ben-Ari, Haaretz)
Will we ever find out what the censor left out?
In Tom Segev's final column, he continues to shine a light on missing chapters of Israeli history. (By Tom Segev, Haaretz)

A military action aimed at proving that Obama is a man of his word (Haaretz Editorial) Where was the United States when more than 100,000 people, for more than two and a half years, were killed in attacks using conventional weapons? Do they care which weapons were used to kill them?
Obama wants an excuse for inaction (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) The occupant of the White House is supposed to be the world's strongest political figure, but Obama is not.
Obama balks, Assad walks (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) The U.S. president needs to be careful that his clumsy hesitation does not actually strengthen the Syrian despot.
Don't be fooled, Netanyahu is selling Israel down the river (Aryeh Eldad, Haaretz) The establishment of the 'first legal community' in Samaria in 20 years is a clever ploy to sedate his right-wing coalition partners while he makes concessions for nothing in return.
Gas-mask distribution centers double as polling stations (Amir Oren, Haaretz) The panic that gripped the Israelis, who are absolutely convinced that once the U.S. attacks Syria it will retaliate with WMD fire on Israel, defies Israel's deterrence policy that has proved rather effective to date. 
Leading from behind the polls (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) Eighty percent of the American public wants Obama to receive authorization from Congress before striking in Syria.
Attack already, Obama, we want to like you for a change (Niva Lanir, Haaretz) Mr. Israeli has gone from being a fierce critic of Barack Obama to a conditional fan - the condition being an attack on Syria.
'Moral superpower'? Give me a break (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) It's impossible to claim that the United States, a country responsible for the most bloodshed since World War II in Asia, South America and the Middle East, is driven by moral considerations.
Great expectations, greater disappointment (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) If Obama needs to beg for approval from Congress for a minor attack, what will happen if he wants to attack, let's say, Iran's nuclear facilities?
Israel and lobby likely to get embroiled in Congress debate on Syria (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz) Obama's decision to seek authorization for military attack could humiliate him or strengthen his hand, but the Administration may urge Israel-supporters to get off the fence.
Taking Syria strike to Congress buys Obama time to find non-military solution (Aluf Benn, Haaretz) Obama needs domestic and international support for a controversial operation with unclear strategic aims. Now he has time to obtain that support and define the goals.
Half measures in Syria? (Elliott Abrams, Israel Hayom) It is in the interest of the U.S. to win this fight, and we should want Iran, Hezbollah and Russia to lose.
Obama seeking Western legitimacy, but Arabs see him as weak (Amos Harel, Haaretz) Obama's handling of the Syria issue does not inspire confidence regarding U.S. support of Israel in the event of a showdown with Iran.
Going it alone (Yoaz Hendel, Yedioth) "The Obama administration has done its utmost not to intervene in the civil war in Syria. Its conscience was quiet during the long two years in which 100,000 people have been slaughtered. Large countries do not like small wars; they want influence without cost. Obama became entangled when he opened his mouth. He drew a red line and Assad crossed it...Until the American Congress approves the attack (if it approves it), the chemical weapons depots will be moved. The headquarters will be replaced. The targets that have been chosen will become empty buildings. The achievements of the possible attack will shrink, the bloodbath will remain...From Israel's point-of-view, it is hard to ignore the lessons. The international helplessness is also significant for those who are looking for commitments vis-à-vis the Iranian issue. Netanyahu was right when he sought to act independently. No one else will do the work. Israel needs to ask itself what it wants, not what America will do. Red lines are a matter of national pride; the international community has only flexible lines."
Lapid and Bennett: The brotherhood of the fat cats (Uri Misgav, Haaretz) The corrupt alliance has begotten a government riddled with contradictions: Seeking peace while building settlements, idealizing the middle class but burdening it with more taxes, subsidizing settlers while demanding everyone carry their own weight.
What took you so long? (Caspian Makan, Ynet) World remained silent when 120,000 Syrians were killed by conventional weapons.
The strange laws of war (Yoel Marcus, Haaretz) More than 100,000 people have already died during the Syrian civil war, so why has the apparent use of chemical weapons proved a game changer? In a word, Iran.
Obama blinked first (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) Decision to delay strike against Syria sends dangerous message to cruel regimes, terrorists everywhere.
Kerry convicted Syria's Assad with the passion that Obama sorely lacks (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz) Kerry convincingly chided Britain, admonished Jews and rallied Americans to support a U.S. strike against Syria's chemical capabilities. Perhaps Obama should listen to him as well.
Short-sighted eye doctor (Guy Bechor, Ynet) Syrian president misinterpreted American inaction after first two chemical attacks by his army.
Despite words of warning, Israel wants to stay out of Syria conflict (Amos Harel, Haaretz) Experts say Assad has been using chemical weapons for some time, but the scale of last week's attack may have been a mistake.
Is Assad's downfall what Netanyahu needs to win the next Israeli election? (Yossi Verter, Haaretz) Since the last election, the common assumption has been that Netanyahu needs 'something big' this term, be it political or military, in order to get reelected again in 2017.
U.S. intervention in Syria - humanitarian action or a new imperialism? (Aeyal Gross, Haaretz) The debate over the legality of American action against Assad raises key questions beyond international law.



"We will not tolerate even a single settlement"
Abu Alaa, who knew first hand the political negotiations in the past, is stuck to the Oslo vision and wonders: "Why won't Israel evacuate settlements in the West Bank if it wants peace?" (Interviewed by Asaf Gabor in Maariv's 'Week's End' magazine. Also on NRG Hebrew)
"I am very sad that after 20 years since the signing of the Oslo Accords , the agreement that was to be carried out within five years - is gone," says Abu Alaa. "Signatures backed by the international community , European countries and the White House are beginning to fade, while in the field the solution is getting farther away."

And whose fault is that?
"I think the reason is that Israeli society disagrees among itself on providing a solution for an independent Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem. Meanwhile it takes more and more Palestinian land and violates other rights of the Palestinians, until nothing will be left to give the Palestinians as a state. This is a big mistake.

"The Palestinians will not give up their full rights - not now and not in another generation. Although Israel expands settlements, time is not working in Israel's favor. I call on Israel to move quickly towards peace. If Israel solves its problem with the Palestinians , Lebanese and Syrians there will be no reason for it to continue to be an enemy of the region. More than 52 Islamic countries announced that they would recognize Israel if it would solve the Palestinian problem. "

Claims that Benjamin Netanyahu is not interested in a peace agreement, and does not intend to solve the Israeli - Palestinian  conflict do not affect Abu Alaa, writes Asaf Gabor.
"We as Palestinians do not negotiate with Netanyahu, Olmert, Sharon, Rabin, or Peres as people. We talk to them as the representatives of the Israeli position and as decision-makers," he says as having served as chief Palestinian negotiator during Olmert and Barak's terms.

"We do not differentiate between Olmert, Netanyahu or Barak. How is it that Israel was organized and united on such an important , affects the attitude of Israel towards the world?
"So I ask the Israeli society and the government in Jerusalem if Israel destroyed the settlements in Sinai and Gaza, and was willing to destroy the settlements in the Golan Heights, why not evacuate the settlements in the West Bank if it wants peace?"
(For the full interview see NRG Hebrew)
Yair Lapid: I lost my role as the nation's sweetheart
Lapid attempts to describe his actions since he assumed the role of finance minister, and claimed that he was unaware of the true nature of the nation's budget deficit before he got the job. (Interviewed in Yedioth '7 Days' magazine and partially translated in Haaretz)


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