APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday December 05, 2013
Quote of the day:
"I want a homeland that does not require the occupation of another people in order to maintain itself."
--Former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin slams the prime minister for putting Iranian nukes ahead of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.**
Front Page News:
- Assassination of senior Hezbollah official in Beirut; organization accuses Israel
- (Former Shin Bet chief Yuval) Diskin: The Palestinian conflict is more important than Iran; Netanyahu associates: He is disconnected and frustrated
- Most Americans oppose US involvement in the world
- Habayit Hayehudi reversed its decision and the vote for benefits for same-sex couples was postponed
- State appropriating the Rashbi's grave in Miron due to serious safety hazards
- HMOs refuse to take part in medicinal cannabis treatment
- Friends parted from Sefi Rivlin: "Here too you would have wanted smiles"
- "The prisoner deal is cynical and revolting" - Former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin in sharp attack on Netanyahu
- Family, friends and fans parted from Sefi Rivlin
- Assassination in Hezbollah's elite; Israel: We have no connection to murder of head of weapons
- The perfect suite according to Sara Netanyahu - What does the PM's wife demand on trips abroad?
- Superwoman in Hollywood: Gal Gadot to play role of Wonderwoman
- Jordan to US: The security control of the Bekaa (Jordan) Valley (in the West Bank) needs to remain in the hands of Israel - Kerry expected to present security arrangements plan for eastern border
- Diskin on release of terrorists: "A cynical and revolting political deal meant to prevent freezing settlements"; Netanyahu's associates: "Disconnected from reality and lacks strategic vision" (Hebrew)
- Harshest blow to Hezbollah since the assassination of Mughniyeh: Hassan Al-Lakis, father of the organization's drones project, murdered, two Sunni organizations took responsibility (Hebrew)
- The smile is gone - Parting from the actor and comedian Sefi Rivlin
- Israeli actress Gal Gadot chosen to play role of WonderWoman in Hollywood superhero movie, "Batman vs. Superman" (Hebrew)
- Mysterious assassination - Harshest blow to Hezbollah since assassination of Mughniyeh: Hassan Al-Lakis, responsible for technology and drones, shot to death outside his home in Beirut
- Parting from Sefi (Rivlin)
- Like in the movies: The Yamam unit rescued a 4-year-old
- Educational channel: Chairman of labor union used union money to pay for private legal expenses
- "X-Factor's" draconian contract for participants
- Netanyahu's associates furious with (former Shin Bet chief) Diskin: "Whoever thinks the Palestinian threat is greater than the Iranian nuclear bomb is disconnected from reality"
- Some 200 senior reserves officers made call: "Correct the historic injustice that was caused to Dado" (IDF chief of staff during Yom Kippur War David Elazar
Peace Talk Highlights:
US Secretary of State John Kerry meets today with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to push forward peace talks just hours after an ex-Shin Bet chief said that the conflict with the Palestinians and not the Iranian nuclear issue was the biggest danger to Israel, making the top story in most Israeli newspapers. Expectations for progress in peace talks are low, but a senior Hamas official warned against negotiating at all with Israel because of the lack of balance of power between the sides.
**In a sharply worded address, former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin slammed Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's policy on Iran, saying, "No Israeli-Palestinian peace deal poses a bigger existential threat than nuclear Iran." He called for an end to the occupation of the Palestinians, before it is impossible. Speaking Tuesday at the 10th anniversary of the Geneva Initiative, an unofficial proposal for peace by a private group of Israelis and Palestinians, Diskin said he "would like to know that our home here has clear borders, and that we're putting the sanctity of people before the sanctity of land. I want a homeland that does not require the occupation of another people in order to maintain itself... The most dangerous thing for the Palestinian society is that it has no future, it only has a past. The common future with us no longer exists." Barak Ravid also reported: Diskin also referred to remarks made by pro-settler Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, saying that "we mustn't relate to the Palestinian issue as shrapnel in our behind, because soon enough, in a single state for two peoples, they will start to ask - who is the shrapnel, and who is the behind? In such a state, the vision of a Jewish and democratic state will be lost and gone."
Netanyahu's aides spoke on his behalf telling reporters that Diskin is "frustrated" that Netanyahu didn't appoint him head of the Mossad, "sanctimonious" and "detached from reality." Interestingly, the pro-Netanyahu freebie, Israel Hayom newspaper, made the story only a small item on the front page.
Expectations that Kerry will have any success instilling new life into the peace talks are low. Kerry arrives with General John Allen and a 'security concept' for a final status agreement that the Americans hope will address Israel's security concerns. But, Ynet's Atilla Somfalvi writes that Israel is preparing for the option that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will try to cause a break down in the negotiations after the release of the Palestinian prisoners. "One gets a sense that's all he cares about," an Israeli official said. "But Israel is not changing course. As long as there are talks we will meet our commitments to the Americans."
The Palestinians say this is the last chance to save the peace talks and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who recently resigned, urged Kerry to "work to save the talks, to work to stop the deterioration of the talks caused by Israel's continuing settlement activity and crimes committed in cold blood." Sixteen Palestinians and four Israelis have been killed since negotiations began in July and Israel has announced thousands of tenders for new settlement homes.
Meanwhile, senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar said that Fatah was responsible for any repercussions following renewed negotiations with Israel and warned against the continuation of negotiations because "the results are predetermined in favor of Israel in light of the balance of power." He added that "armed resistance" was the best way to achieve the Palestinian national goals," and he called on factions to unite and achieve reconciliation.
- Senior cop reprimanded for smacking Israeli Arab protester - Film of Nakba Day rally in 2011 debunks former deputy Galilee commander Cmdr. Kobi Bachar's claim of self-defense. (Haaretz)
- Plot to ambush Jerusalem cars born of Jew hatred, police say - Police lift gag order over last Thursday's stone-throwing attack on Jerusalem car that resulted in serious injuries to an infant girl, announcing five arrests. After seeing injuries to infant girl, suspects devise alibi. (Israel Hayom)
- Israeli army hopes to reduce arrest of Ethiopian soldiers by 15 percent - Soldiers of Ethiopian origin comprise just 3 percent of army personnel, but they constitute 13 percent of the population in military prisons; goal is part of greater plan to support community. (Haaretz)
- Soldier, you entered the (Palestinian) territories off-duty? You're getting a criminal file - IDF decided to worsen punishments following numerous incidents of soldiers who entered the Territories: 40 were caught in the last three years. IDF fears they will be kidnapped to be used as bargaining chips. (Yedioth, p. 16/Ynet)
- IDF to pull plug on weapons quality testing - Reorganization planned for the military's Quality Assurance Unit will see half its personnel dismissed. IDF plans to leave quality assurance testing performed on tanks, armored personnel carriers and munitions up to manufacturers and suppliers. (Israel Hayom)
- Israel to simulate chemical attack by suicide bomber - Defense Ministry says next week's drill was planned long ago, and is not linked to any specific event. (Haaretz)
- The most popular course among terrorists: Genocide - Studies for terrorists in prison were discontinued in 2011. Now, a security prisoner petitioned the High Court to allow him to learn. The state in its response will present the popular course, based on a Knesset report prepared at the request of Likud MK Miri Regev. According to the Open University, one of the purposes of the course is to "Stimulate the students' sensitivity to this aspect of humanity and encourage personal introspection on the subject." The other most popular courses: Democracy and dictatorship, History of the Middle East in modern times, Intro to Islam, and Intro to political thought. (Maariv/NRG Hebrew)
- Historical precedent: The victims defeated Iran in the courtroom - Good news for families of victims of Hamas suicide attack on Ben-Yehuda St. in Jersalem in 1997: After 10 years in a US Federal court, the families, represented by Shurat Hadin legal council, defeated the Iranian Ministry of Defense - and won more than $9 million of frozen Iranian assets. (Yedioth, p. 3)
- Study: Most Israelis in US don't send kids to Jewish day schools - Under a third of Israelis in U.S. send children to Jewish day schools, Israeli-American Council finds. Survey also finds 17% intermarriage for children of Israelis living in the U.S. for over a decade, double the rate of their parents' generation. (Israel Hayom)
- Strapped for cash, Hadassah hospital is on its deathbed - Having fallen victim to the Madoff scheme and internal disputes, Hadassah Medical Center can't climb out of its monthly growing debt. (Haaretz)
- State: Bequests to Israel reached NIS 95m in 2012 - Vast majority of contributions and bequests to the state were from individuals abroad, with the largest sum by country coming from French nationals. (Haaretz)
- Israeli ministers visit Turkey, Indonesia - Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz becomes first Israeli cabinet minister to visit Turkey since May 2010 Gaza flotilla incident. Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett travels to Indonesia to take part in WTO conference. (Israel Hayom)
- Begin Prize awarded to NGO Monitor - Anti-Defamation League director Abraham Foxman and iconic Israeli actor Chaim Topol also awarded prizes. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "You are true fighters against the anti-Israel delegitimization campaign." (Israel Hayom)
- American Studies Association endorses academic boycott of Israel - top body of the largest scholarly association dedicated to American Studies voted unanimously in a landmark decision on Wednesday to endorse a resolution supporting the boycott of Israeli institutions of higher education. (Maan)
- 36 aid groups demand end to house demolitions by Israel - The groups -- among them Amnesty International, Oxfam and Save the Children -- co-signed a statement denouncing Israeli house demolitions in the occupied Palestinian territories. (Maan)
- Norwegian Christian Zionists in Israel to 'apologize' for Oslo - Delegation will meet with Knesset's Christian lobby and MKs to declare their support for Israel and dissent from the Oslo Accords signed in their country's capital, which they say "tears apart the land of Israel." (Israel Hayom)
- Israeli city to be 'shock-proofed' in Rockefeller initiative - Ashkelon wins spot in program devoted to making cities more crisis-resilient. (Haaretz)
- Haaretz" to lay off 5% of workforce - 25 employees will be fired and cutbacks include reducing the size of the English language edition of the newspaper. (Globes)
- 20 years to the 'Holiday of the Holidays' - When a priest, a rabbi and an imam meet...The Haifa Festival established 20 years ago with goal of marking the holidays of Hannukah, Christmas and Ramaddan as a multi-cultural holiday and to express Haifa's mixed character, where people of all three live together. (Yedioth, p. 16)
- Is Morocco the new go-to-place for Israeli fugitives? Attention drawn to Israelis with mafia ties flocking to the North African nation is prompting fears for the well-being of Morocco's 4,000 Jews. (Haaretz)
- Poll: Most Americans think US tries too hard to solve world's problems - While many in Israel and the Middle East increasingly lament the U.S.'s declining clout in the region, most Americans are content with the new direction and believe "the U.S. should mind its own business," a new Pew poll of Americans' attitudes shows. (Israel Hayom)
- Hezbollah: Israel assassinated organization's arms chief near Beirut - Killing of Hassan al-Laqis marks biggest blow to Hezbollah since the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh; official Hezbollah statement: 'Israel automatically held responsible for the crime.' (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Israeli exports to Turkey register significant rise - Israel Export Institute report on industries' performance for January to September 2013 sets U.S. as Israel's top export market with $7.7 billion. Chemical exports to Turkey add 66%, making it Israel's third-largest market. (Israel Hayom)
Shot down like a dog: The heinous killing of an illegal Palestinian worker (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) The life and death of Antar Shibli al-Aqraa, the Palestinian youngster from the
village Qablan, killed trying to find work in Israel.
Agree to disagree (Zalman Shoval, Israel Hayom) From our perspective, there is no replacement for the U.S., and surely no one is "declaring war on it," but it appears Israel may need to prepare for a worrying new geopolitical reality.
You're gonna miss us, America (Tal Niv, Haaretz) The sentiment that emerged from the monthly peace index is not related only to money; it is related to the abandonment of the ideal of freedom embodied in the American idea. Because in Israel another idea has been in operation for a long time already.
Lavishness and insolence (Yigal Sarna, Yedioth/Ynet) Something strange and dark is taking place in all of the Netanyahu's residences. While regular Israelis groan under burden of mortgage or rent, Netanyahus are puffing up.
Israel's new airport is angering Jordan, a rare friend in the region (Reuven Pedatzur, Haaretz) The two countries had planned to create a joint airport. Instead, Israel could be creating serious safety problems.
Smiles and suspicions: When Israel's new ambassador to the U.S. met Obama (Barak Ravid, Haaretz) Ron Dermer, the new envoy, is seen by the White House as the 'brains' behind Netanyahu's support for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Alone, in the dark (Ephraim Sneh, Yedioth/Ynet) Strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia, Gulf states cannot be established without permanent agreement with Palestinians.
Promoting democracy: The case of Egypt (Elliott Abrams, Israel Hayom) It's a strange form of "realism" that ignores those who share our principles and cozies up to an army that appears to see military dictatorship as Egypt's proper future.
Hezbollah assassination marks biggest blow to group since Mughniyeh killing (Amos Harel, Haaretz) Hassan Laqis, who was killed in a clean and especially professional assassination, was a veteran Hezbollah military leader and described by Western intelligence as a 'brilliant mind.'
Prepare for the Iranian tide to turn (Ron Tira, Israel Hayom) While diplomacy is continuing, Israel has few options. But if and when things change and the military option resurfaces, Israel should be prepared.
With nuclear deal signed, Iran eyes Saudi Arabia as next foreign policy goal (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz) Gulf states do not have a common foreign policy, but recent visit of Iranian foreign minister seems to have opened several doors.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.