News Nosh 06.15.15

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday June 15, 2015 
 
Quote of the day:
“An army that jails [a soldier] for eating a non-kosher sandwich but finds it sufficient to reprimand and confine [soldiers to their base] for brutally beating a Palestinian, is an army whose moral compass is seriously dubious."  
-- Meretz MK Esawi Freige responds to ‘punishment’ of soldiers filmed beating Palestinian man.**


Front Page:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • “Kotler’s words – cultural darkness”
  • Lower the flames // Aharon Lapidot
  • They are arrogant and ridiculous // Dror Eydar
  • Victory for Netanyahu in Likud Party
  • Israel: “IDF acted appropriately, Hamas committed war crimes”
  • Case against Policeman who beat (Ethiopian-Israeli soldier) was closed; Ethiopian-Israelis: “We will go again to the streets”
  • Druze demonstrated: “Our brothers in Syria are in danger, Israel must intervene”
  • Today in the cabinet: Special session on the new draft of the gas sector

 
News Summary:
An Israeli actor fuels the left-wing right-wing Mizrachi-Ashkenazi flames in a speech against political censorship of Israeli art, Israel presents its report on Operation Protective Edge and finds itself innocent, and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu grabs a victory in Likud, making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Meanwhile, Israeli police and soldiers who brutally beat unarmed men get off easy, the disputed killing of a Palestinian father barely gets mentioned and Israel decides to make life easier for many Palestinians with extensive relief measures.
 
At an emergency meeting of Israeli artists discussing the recent “anti-democratic measures” of Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Culture Minister Miri Regev, Israeli actor and director Oded Kotler called Likud voters ‘cud-munching cattle,’ drawing the discussion away from the issue of censorship of art and back to the post-election crisis of the deep division in Israeli society. The papers noted that Regev faces a challenge to her censorship policy of not funding art that expresses views the state does not agree with as a documentary about former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassin is scheduled to be shown at the Jerusalem Film Festival. Minister Bennett was not alone in his censorship of the play, ‘A Parallel Time,” about life in jail of a Palestinian who killed an Israeli soldier. Yesh Atid leader MK Yair Lapid said he supported taking it off the stage, too, Maariv reported.
 
Israel made a “pre-emptive strike” (Israel Hayom) ahead of the UN Human Rights Council report due this week. The Israeli team appointed by the Foreign Ministry to probe Operation Protective Edge found Israel innocent and Hamas guilty of war crimes.  "A waste of time" is what Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called the UNHCR report. The Foreign Ministry held a briefing with journalists Sunday and shared its findings. Yedioth’s Itamar Eichner wrote a supportive piece on how the “IDF judicial department played a key role in determining targets during last summer's conflict, including having power to veto a mission if civilian lives were at stake.” The briefing included the release of a "top secret" document that for the first time reveals the IDF's process identifying a target during the operation, Eichner wrote. According to the report, 44% of the Palestinians killed in Operation Protective Edge were ‘terrorists.’ Eichner notes that the UNHRC inquiry into Israel’s 2008-09 Gaza offensive, which Israel also boycotted, was harshly critical of both Israel and Hamas. “But this time around, the stakes are higher” because the new UNHCR report “could play a key role in the case against Israel" at the International Criminal Court, where the Palestinians are pursuing war crimes charges against Israel. 
 
**Israel not only exonerated itself from crimes in last summer’s Gaza war. The Israeli Police closed the case against the Border Policeman who was caught on video beating an Ethiopian-Israeli soldier and the IDF decided against opening an investigation into five soldiers from the ultra-Orthodox Netzah Yehuda battalion who were caught on film beating an unarmed Palestinian man. Two of the soldiers got  ‘only’ (Yedioth) a suspended sentence. The IDF accused Shadi Al-Ghobashi of stone-throwing and of trying to take a soldier’s weapon, but Yedioth noted that the Palestinians said that Al-Ghobashi (Al-Habashi) came out of his house to ask the soldiers to stop shooting tear gas because it was harming his children. (Haaretz+, Ynet, Maariv, Maan and YOUTUBEA new controversial video of a sniper from the same battalion ‘taking down’ an unarmed Palestinian man, followed by exclamations of joy from the other soldiers, has gone viral. Interestingly, it was not mentioned in any of the newspapers except in a small item in Israel Hayom. News websites reported that the soldiers’ 7-second video may embarrass the IDF.
 
Thousands attended the funeral of Abdullah Iyad Ghuneimat whose controversial killing yesterday didn’t get but a few or no lines in Hebrew papers today. The IDF said he threw a firebomb at an IDF jeep, which then (somehow) accidentally hit and killed him during a stone-throwing confrontation in Kufr Malik Sunday. But Maan interviewed Nabil Abd al-Karim, who said Ghuneimat was walking to work when Israeli forces shot him in the back and chased him down as he tried to return home. The jeep then hit Ghuneimat pushing him into a wall that collapsed on him and caused the jeep to overturn on him as well. Soldiers then left the jeep and left Ghuneimat under it with his back crushed and his leg completely severed. For three hours Israeli forces prevented Palestinians from reaching him and that was what caused the violent protest until the locals pushed their way to him. Only Maariv reported the Palestinian side.
 
In an important development, Israel is increasing relief measures to Palestinians in the West Bank including letting Palestinian men over age 55 and women over 50 enter Israel freely, thereby freeing up 2,000 work permits for Palestinians in Israel, Ynet’s Elior Levy reported. Many more measures can be read about, including 100 Palestinian doctors working in Jerusalem can now enter Israel with their cars.
 
Quick Hits: 
  • Israeli government approves bill to force feed prisoners on hunger strike, Israeli doctors balk - Israeli Medical Association says bill violates ethical standards and requires doctors to employ 'means bordering on torture’ and plans on calling on doctors to ignore law if it passes. (Haaretz, MaarivYnet and Times of Israel)
  • As Palestinian’s hunger strike passes 41st day, cabinet advances force-feeding bill - Other prisoners vowing to join Khader Adnan in protest against conditions. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli officers assault Palestinian prisoner on way to hospital - Israeli officers violently assaulted Muhammad Abed Rabbo, 29, while he was being transported to a hospital for medical tests on Sunday, the Palestinian prisoner’s society said. Afterward, he was not taken to hospital. (Maan)
  • Galilee Druze rally in support of endangered brethren in Syria - Some 1,000 people participated in rallies in towns of Yarka and Daliat al-Carmel on Sunday, calling for protection of Syrian Druze from Islamist forces. (Haaretz+, Ynet and Maariv)
  • Israeli forces level Palestinian land near Nablus - Israeli forces on Sunday leveled private Palestinian farmland in Khirbet Tana, a small community in the northern West Bank village of Beit Furik east of Nablus. No explanation was given. (Maan
  • Israeli forces close farmers market near Nablus - Large number of Israeli soldiers arrived at the farmers market and sealed the main entrance, preventing local residents and traders from going in or out, claiming that Palestinian gunmen had fired shots at Israeli vehicles overnight Saturday (and this was the retaliation). (Maan
  • Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian in southern Gaza - Israeli forces deployed near the Sufa crossing in the southern Gaza Strip opened fire at and injured a Palestinian Saturday, whom they said “approached the security fence.” (Maan)
  • Civil rights body slams Shin Bet for asking data on university grads - Association for Civil Rights in Israel also rebukes universities for handing information over to security service. (Haaretz+)
  • Half of Israelis willing to let state monitor emails to combat cyber attacks - University of Haifa study finds that nearly 90% of Israelis would expect the government to respond to a cyber attack with its own counterattack. (Haaretz+)
  • 1,500 Jordanian laborers to work in Israeli resort city of Eilat - Israeli Deputy Minister of Regional Cooperation Ayyub Kara signed agreement with Jordanian officials last week, said it was part of Israeli plan to replace foreign workers with Jordanian and Palestinian workers, and number of Palestinian work permits to see noticeable increase by the end of 2015. (Maan)
  • Netanyahu: World powers accelerating concessions to Iran as nuclear deadline approaches - Jerusalem is anxiously following the progress in nuclear talks between Iran and the world powers, and are preparing for final deal, even if talks are extended by a few days. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • University of Illinois censured for rescinding job offer over professor's anti-Israel tweets - American Association of University Professors says not hiring Steven Salaita 'cast pall of uncertainty over degree to which academic freedom is understood, respected' at the school. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Jewish-Arab Hadash Party: Israel in ‘blood covenant’ with ISIS and US to divide Syria - The party claims that the way to oppose the civil war in Syria is “to stand with the Syrian people against imperialism, Zionism, and the Arab [response].” (JPost and Maariv)
  • Middle East Updates / Kurds fighting ISIS for town near Turkey-Syria border - More than 10 killed in Baghdad car bomb attack; Yemen's Houthi forces said to seize provincial capital near Saudi border; Turkey's Erdogan says nap vote 'inevitable' if no gov't within deadline; body of American killed fighting ISIS returns to U.S. (Haaretz)
  • One year on, ISIS is only digging deeper into Mosul, Iraq - Analysts and internal refugees alike agree that even if Islamic State could be driven out of the city, its influence will linger on. (Haaretz)


Features:
Welcome to nowhere: Homesh and Sa-Nur, 10 years after Israeli pullout
Homesh's famous water tower is still standing, but a decade after the disengagement, the two West Bank settlement are empty and deserted. (Elior Levy, Ynet
Project seeks common narrative in Israel's conflicted history
Cross-cultural '50s retrospective of Arab, Jewish life is unveiled – in Kfar Sava shopping mall. (Judy Maltz, Haaretz+)

Commentary/Analysis:
Israeli report on Gaza war: Ineffective PR (Barak Ravid, Haaretz+) An Israeli diplomatic initiative to rehabilitate the Gaza Strip in cooperation with the international community would have worked better than any report.
Resist Israel's Minister of Compliant Culture (Haaretz Editorial) Imposing compliant culture was always characteristic of despotic regimes that sought to bend artistic freedom to convey nationalist and, at times, racist messages. Minister Miri Regev's approach must be resisted, even if it means forfeiting state support. 
A festival in the service of murderers (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) Film about prime minister's assassin and play about IDF soldier's murderer are a cynical use of freedom of expression and artistic freedom in order to advance murderous ideologies.
Smiles and F-35s do not change U.S. policy on settlements (Amir Oren, Haaretz+) Visit by Joint Chiefs of Staff Dempsey shows that the U.S. is fully committed to defending Israel, but not to preserving its occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. 
When Ariel Sharon became settlers' archrival (Eitan Haber, Yedioth/Ynet) A decade after Gaza disengagement, settler leaders have only themselves to blame; they, who applauded each and every one of Sharon's anti-democratic tricks, knew what would happen to them.
Israel washed itself clean of Gaza's dead beach children (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) The IDF should have been the first to press for a true investigation of the death of three boys shelled on Gaza's coast - instead it blamed Hamas, as if it had sent the boys to play on the beach. 
What goes around, comes around (Dr. Reuven Berko, Israel Hayom) The Islamic State in Gaza is using the same tactics of subversion against Hamas that Hamas once used to undermine the Palestinian Authority.
Syrian army draws line in the sand near Damascus (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Israel believes establishment of 100-kilometer-long military front won’t be enough to stop ISIS and that Assad may end up having to abandon the capital. 
On the issue of the Druze in Syria, Israel and Hezbollah have a common interest (Yossi Melman, Maariv) The situation in Syria becomes more complicated and another disaster is lurking around the corner - an existential threat to the Druze there, that could drag Israel into unwanted involvement. 
The occupation - coming to a theatre near you (Oudeh Basharat, Haaretz+) Culture Minister Regev decided you can’t go along with the occupation and feel moral, without lifting a finger. For that she deserves our thanks. 
Bad cop, bad cop (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) On nuclear issue, there is no difference between Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani.
When is a simple majority not enough (Moshe Arens, Haaretz+) In the Knesset, a majority of one has been deemed sufficient for all decisions. This needs to change. 
ISIS magazine preparing young Muslims for an apocalypse (Smadar Perry, Yedioth/Ynet) The young people trying to cross over to Syria and Iraq from Turkey don't need Amazon in order to read Dabiq. Its latest issue offers them free health services at an international level, higher education programs, a great salary and an 'excellent' life at the prophet's expense.
It’s time for Israel to stop neglecting Cyprus (Gal Luft, Haaretz+) With Cyprus Preisdent Nicos Anastasiades visiting Jerusalem this week, Israel would do well to remember it has an ally a 40-minute flight away.
 
 
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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