News Nosh 06.03.15

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday June 3, 2015 

Quote of the day:
“There is no occupation here and this subject is not urgent. In the Six Day War we got what was ours. We returned home. This issue has no importance on the public agenda. I suggest promoting discussions on peace and co-existence. Forget two states, there will only be one state – the State of Israel.”
--In a stormy Knesset debate, Likud MK Miki Zohar says the Knesset does not need to hold a discussion about the Six Day War on its 48th anniversary this week.**


Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Gadi (Yarkoni) ran and won – Local hero: The will power of a man injured in Operation Protective Edge who was elected head of Eshkol Regional Council 
  • Today: Emergency session in Knesset about battle against international boycotts
  • In wake of corruption: FIFA President (Sepp Blatter) resigned
  • Maayan Keren, 17, crowned Miss Israel
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • “The agreement with Iran will put us closer to many nuclear bombs” – said Prime Minister; Obama: “Attacking won’t prevent the nukes”; Netanyahu: “We only trust ourselves”
  • Obama’s question marks // Dan Margalit  
  • He can continue to be angry, we are right // Haim Shine
  • Earthquake at FIFA: Blatter goes homoe
  • Weekend: Conference of Jewish philanthropists against the boycott
  • Horrifying: They murdered their friend during an evening of alcohol and drugs – for 130 shekels
  • From the ‘Pirates of the Carribean” to battling ISIS: British actor Michael Enright joins Kurds in Syria
  • The sandwich storm: IDF conceded – “We made a mistake”; Soldier’s punishment was cancelled

News Summary:
US President Barack Obama has strong words for Israel on settlements, peace negotiations and credibility and Israel has a new boycotter and some low-key ones as the Knesset holds an emergency session on the issue making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Meanwhile, the Knesset rejected holding an emergency session on the occupation, Israel is trying to get Switzerland to stop funding an Israeli NGO exhibit that reveals soldier’s crimes and Hamas killed an ISIS supporter despite the 48-hour ultimatum given by ISIS supporters in Gaza.
 
In an interview with Channel 2’s Uvda program, Obama said the stalled peace process makes it harder for the U.S. to defend Israel at the UN. “Until now we stopped the efforts against you, but if there won’t be a peace process – we won’t be able to argue with those who are concerned about settlement construction.” Obama hinted at the possibility that U.S. won't veto the French UN Security Council resolution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by a deadline. He said Israel could lose its 'credibility' as peacemaker if it continues its intransigence on Palestinian issue. Obama maintained that the best way to stop Iran from producing nuclear weapons is a tough agreement, because a military solution will not stop it and sanctions can’t be maintained forever.

However, Maariv and Israel Hayom reported that Iranian nuclear fuel stockpiles have increased 20% over the last 18 months, according to an IAEA report released yesterday, complicating negotiations because the US has said it was frozen. However, the report says there was no evidence that Iran was advancing a plan for developing nuclear weapons.
 
Boycott fever. Yesterday the British national student union joined the BDS movement, to which an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that it had no practical effect on Israel. But it made top news in Hebrew newspapers.
 
Moreover, at Israel’s annual international security exhibition that opened yesterday, European states denied their military-industry companies from presenting their equipment. Security firms from France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Austria withdrew from the exhibition after failing to get approval from their countries’ defense ministries to export equipment used for offense operations to Israel, “so not to be seen as providing offense equipment to the IDF,” wrote Maariv’s Noam Amir. "The phenomenon is known and familiar," an Israeli security official told Maariv. "We are familiar with the zigzagging especially by countries that try to paint a distorted picture of warm relations with Israel and at the same time they won’t issue licenses for companies to come here," said the source. He said that the fact that many companies did not come to exhibit their products has significantly undermined the ability of the army and police to extensively review the existing products on the market today. "The excuse is completely political," said the source. "There is no other excuse."
 
The Marker’s Ora Coren revealed: “After the IDF encountered difficulties obtaining additional stocks of ammunition from some Western suppliers, including from the US, during last summer’s war in Gaza, Israel…decided to rely on Israeli-produced technology, the source said, adding that smaller Israeli producers were given special product development projects to avoid reliance on imported military equipment.” Sharpshooting weaponry, drone aircraft, telescopes for guns, ammunition including purportedly non-lethal ammunition such as sponge-coated bullets, and other special ammunition for guns and rifles were among products that did not get export approval from certain Western countries. Despite boycotts, 250 exhibitors from over 20 countries participated. 4000 visitors attended the first day of the ISDEF exhibition, including the German army chief of staff.
 
Haaretz+ reported today on what Yedioth reported yesterday: Israeli academics are reporting signs of undeclared boycotts targeting them. And Israeli industrialists and farmers are also dealing with increasing difficulties in marketing their local produce, Yedioth’s Navit Zomer reported in a Tuesday feature. “They tell me in Europe, ‘Your produce is good, but we don’t want problems,’” said one Israeli exporter.
 
Politicians are worried and called for holding an emergency Knesset session on international boycotts of Israel. While most talk of the need to make a counter-offensive campaign, one of the initiators of the emergency session planned to point an accusing finger inward, Yedioth reported. “The boycott initiatives are also the result of our problematic actions,” Meretz MK Michal Rozin said yesterday. “Israel is the occupier of another people for 48 years and is transferring (Jewish) citizens to the occupied land and acting in a problematic way in the international arena. It’s not enough to reject everyone who criticizes us by calling him an anti-Semite. We need to act to end the occupation and (start) a diplomatic process, particularly to deal with the root of the problem and not just its results.”
 
**At the Knesset yesterday, it became clear that few representatives of the Israeli public agree that the occupation is the source of these boycotts. Yesterday, the Knesset Presidency and the Knesset committees rejected a proposal to hold an emergency discussion on the Six Day War - without giving any reason. Two Arab MKs, Issawi Freij from Meretz and Aida Tuma-Suliman of the Joint List, asked to hold the discussion on the 48th anniversary of the war. After the Presidency rejected the request the MKs appealed and it went to the committee, where a storm broke out. MK Freij said, “The Knesset is ignoring a reality of 48 years of occupation” to which Likud MK Miki Zohar responded: “There is no occupation here and this subject is not urgent. In the Six Day War we got what was ours. We returned home.” According to Zohar, “This issue has no importance on the public agenda. I suggest promoting discussions on peace and co-existence. Forget two states, there will only be one state – the State of Israel.” To which Freij said: “You are burying your heads in the sand. Since the Six Day War, the occupation affects our lives. We speak all the time about boycotts and about FIFA and we ignore the reasons for it: The occupation of ’67. You are acting like ostriches. All the parliaments in the world are discussing the occupation and only the Knesset ignores, but it will continue to run after us. Is there a more important issue than this?” MK Tuma-Suliman added: “You want to create a fake reality, as if everything here is fine. The Jewish and Palestinian publics won’t like it that the Knesset is ignoring the continued reality of occupation and blood spilling.” Young new Likud MK Oren Hazan responded to her saying, “You’re talking nonsense,” to which Likud MK David Biton admonished him: “You don’t talk that way to new MKs.” Deputy Knesset Speaker MK Yitzhak Vaknin tried to defend the decision with technical reasons. But then he added: “You talk about occupation, occupation, occupation. This subject has no hold on reality.” In a vote, only 3 MKs supported the proposal, among them Zionist Camp MKs Yossi Yonah and Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin.
 
As Israel denies the occupation instead of ending it, it focuses on silencing those who reveal Israeli crimes in the occupied lands. Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely instructed the Israeli embassy in Switzerland to stop Zurich exhibit of 'Breaking the Silence,' an Israeli human rights NGO, which collects and shares testimonies from soldiers who have witnessed or themselves committed crimes against Palestinians and their property. 
 
Calling Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “a bystander,” Opposition leader and Zionist Camp leader MK Isaac Herzog demanded that Netanyahu urgently appoint a full-time foreign minister, Maariv reported. "Instead of acting proactively and powerfully against boycott initiatives together with our friends in the world, he stands in the bleachers shouting and cursing at the referee and the players, blaming the grass and the lighting and does not understand why his team is not winning," he wrote on his Facebook page.

Quick Hits:
  • MK Sharon Gal to Knesset Channel interviewer: "You are a hypocrite and an Israel hater" - TV presenter Ms. Orit Lavie-Nasial casted doubt on accusations by Yisrael Beiteinu MK, who said that all Arab MKs are terror collaborators. Gal got angry at her doubts and shouted at her - until finally abandoning the studio. (Maariv+VIDEO
  • Holland warns its citizens: Settlers throw stones at foreigners and Palestinians - Dutch government issues new travel advice for travelers to West Bank; Israel hits back at 'unacceptable slander'. (Ynet)
  • Israeli army admits mistake in punishment for pork-eating soldier - IDF scraps detention of U.S.-born soldier; says it will continue maintaining kosher bases, but will stop prying into the ingredients of soldiers' sandwiches. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • 3 Gaza fishermen shot, injured by Israeli navy Tuesday - The three fishermen from al-Shati refugee camp in the northwestern Gaza Strip had been moved to a hospital. The IDF said they "deviated from the designated fishing zone." (Maan
  • Winner in elections in Arad SMS text-messaged: "Gur Hasidim (ultra-Orthodox Jews) are at the polling stations in masses" - Local residents received the SMS message of the Yesh Atid party candidate,  Nissan Benhamou, which was reminiscent of the statement the Prime Minister made on election day (against Arabs). Benhamou’s opponent had the support of the ultra-Orthodox. Benhamou campaign headquarters said: We don’t know if the message was released from our headquarters, the matter needs to be probed.” (Maariv
  • Israeli forces demolish 3 homes in East Jerusalem - Israeli forces demolished two Palestinian homes in the Silwan neighborhood and the upper story of a house on E. Jerusalem's main thoroughfare] Salah al-Din street early Tuesday morning. Nidal Abu Rmeila said he had not been able to obtain a permit his apartments in Silwan were located close to the Al-Aqsa compound, which he claimed the Israeli antiquities authority were "greedily" interested in. (Maan)
  • Education Minister Bennett visits Israeli Arab town under heavy security - Right-wing Habayit Hayehudi leader received very warmly by education officials in Tamra, promises to provide 'equal education to all Israeli students.’ Most of the city’s residents ignored the visit, but a protest was held by a few dozen locals. Police expected a larger political protest. (Haaretz
  • Palestinian NGO denies Hamas ties, threatens Israel with lawsuit - Palestinian Return Center says Israeli allegations that it had ties with Hamas had no credence, saying the accusations were 'dangerous, baseless and will have negative ramifications on our work and members'. (Ynet)
  • Israel probes purchase of West Bank church by American and settler ally - The buyers in the transaction three years ago may have falsely represented themselves. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinian Authority launches TV station for Israeli Arabs - Called ‘F48’ (Falastin 1948), debut is set for June 18, first day of Ramadan. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli military court goes back on Jarrar release - An Israeli military judge reversed a ruling to release Khalida Jarrar on bail, deeming the Palestinian parliamentarian as a "security risk" based on secret evidence. (Maan)
  • Scrapping foreign workers’ panel splits Zionist Union - Present and past Labor Party MKs protest intention to close Knesset Committee on Foreign Workers. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu to appoint long-time associate as Foreign Ministry chief of staff - Brig. Gen. (res.) Shimon Shapira is a researcher at think-tank headed by new ministry director general Dore Gold. (Haaretz+) 
  • Bank of Israel chief: Demographics threaten economic growth - Karnit Flug says low employment rate among ultra-Orthodox men and Arab women in particular is hindering growth, without drastic change Israel will suffer compared to other developed nations. (Ynet)
  • Israel ignores court order on jailed Darfur refugee leader - Mutasim Ali's refugee status application has gone unaddressed for over 2.5 years - despite being backed by the UN's Refugee Agency. (Haaretz)
  • President of Bundenstag will give speech at Knesset, in German - For the fourth time in history the German language will be heard from the Knesset podium. Norbert Lammert will speak in his language on June 24th, after the Knesset committee approved it following the request of Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein. (Maariv, p. 8)
  • Reports: IAF jets strike targets in Syrian border area - Lebanese media says attacks took place in area where Hezbollah is fighting rebels aiming to oust Assad; Hezbollah denies attacks. Israeli source: “Not everything that happens in the Middle East is our work.” (Ynet and Maariv)
  • British actor joins Kurds in fight against ISIS - Michael Enright, who played in 'Pirates of the Caribbean,' appears in an online video showing him in a trench with other fighters firing an assault rifle. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • U.S. accuses Syria of helping ISIS advance on Aleppo - In series of tweets, U.S. embassy in Syria says Assad has lost legitimacy and 'will never be an effective counterterrorism partner;' Iraq PM: U.S.-led coalition not doing enough against ISIS. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Middle East updates / Rouhani vows Iran will support Assad 'until the end of the road' - Mideast updates: Egypt arrests Muslim Brotherhood leaders, postpones Morsi death sentence ruling; U.S. delivers 2,000 rockets for Iraq but holds half for now. (Haaretz)
  • Russia moves forward with missile sale to Iran - Arms firm Almaz-Antey says political hurdles to deal have been removed, just final agreement and contract remains; date of possible delivery unknown. (Agencies, Ynet)


Features:
Amid repression, Palestine student politics revive democratic hopes
While some criticize the politicization of university student elections by outside bodies and the consequent increasing levels of corruption that many see tainting the competitions, for Palestinians, the elections remain a key way to make their voice heard in a land where Israeli occupation and political stagnation have too often tried to silence. (Alex Shams, Maan)

Commentary/Analysis:
Racists beware: FIFA has come to Israeli Arabs’ aid (Zvi Bar’el, Haaretz+) Cries of ‘death to the Arabs’ in Israel’s stadiums may yet see it expelled from the international soccer federation, by a committee set up on Palestinian demand. Quite a precedent.
Opening a Gaza seaport could be good for Israel (Alon Ben-David, Maariv) For years Israel has been unable to break the cycle of violence with Gaza and unable to make strategic decisions, as well as see when an opportunity is right before its eyes. When Hamas is at a low point and the Gaza Strip is under siege, such an opportunity arose right now.
Israel's problem isn't BDS – it's the occupation (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) One can object to boycotts. But sanctimonious wailing and the automatic posing as victims coated with the memory of the Holocaust won't hide the fact that Israel is ruling over an entire other nation. 
Is Israel finally taking the world's shifting attitude to heart? (Tami Arad, Yedioth/Ynet) The way Netanyahu managed the FIFA affair shows he realized how close we had come to playing soccer against ourselves, and that is just the beginning. 
How isolated is Israel? (Elliott Abrams, Israel Hayom) Considering Israel's flourishing ties with India and China, one may wonder who is growing more isolated: Israel, or its critics?
Netanyahu’s declaration of war on BDS is its first major victory (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) The fact that its BDS leaders object to Israel’s very existence doesn’t negate the direct contribution of Israeli actions to the movement’s recent surge.
The silence of the deceived (Elyakim Haetzni, Yedioth/Ynet) The secret of Netanyahu's charm is that while he systematically lies to all sides, his lies neutralize each other: Arabs don’t believe him even when he talks in favor of a Palestinian state, and the right doesn’t believe him even when he denies 'two states.'
If BDS isn’t a real threat, why does Netanyahu make it out to be such a big deal? (Asher Schechter, Haaretz+) Netanyahu has his own reasons for legitimizing the movement, and it has nothing to do with the success or failure of BDS. 
It's time for an Israeli counterattack against BDS lies (Noah Klieger, Yedioth/Ynet) Israel must finally wake up and stop letting its enemies win on the propaganda front.
Adelson's anti-BDS summit will fail because he offers no alternative to occupation (Benjy Cannon, Haaretz+) To fight BDS, Jewish Americans must articulate an alternative vision for Israel's future that progressive students can get behind.
It's Islamic State or Nasrallah (Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) The barbarians are at the gates, and even if they are busy fighting each other, sooner or later, they will point their weapons at Israel. 
Is Turkey on the path toward Putinization? (Louis Fishman, Haaretz+) Even if Kurdish party makes headway in Sunday's election, it's hard to imagine Erdogan forfeiting plans for a super-presidency. 
How Netanyahu gained control of Israel’s communications sector (Amir Teig, Haaretz) With one phone call and a stroke of the pen, the prime minister and new communications minister tightened his grip on the country’s television operators in general and its news divisions in particular.
Obama's Jewish advisers are the problem (Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) The U.S. presidency has been plagued by court Jews who say the Israeli Right is dangerous and the Left must be supported.

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