News Nosh 08.13.15

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday August 13, 2015 
Quote of the day:
"We are not interested in war with any country, but if Israel attacks us - and that includes assassinating nuclear scientists - Iran will attack back.”
--Iranian MP Mohammad Hassan Asafari, a hardliner and a former officer in the Revolutionary Guards, answers the question of a visiting Jewish-American journalist about whether Iran wants to destroy Israel. 

Breaking News:
Report: Israel will lift Gaza blockade in exchange for 7-10 year truce with Gaza Strip
Al-Hayat newspaper reported that in negotiations being brokered by Tony Blair in his meeting with Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal in Turkey, Hamas would agree to the long-term ceasefire in return for naval passageway. (Times of Israel and Maariv)

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • Gas guideline on way to approval: agreement between companies and Steinitz
  • “The case against (former IDF chief of staff) will be closed”
  • The bill has yet to be given // Ben Caspit
  • On the verge of exploding – Destruction of Maariv Bridge in Tel-Aviv to be postponed due to police fears of masses showing up
  • Wall of tears – Ceremony for fallen of Operation Protective Edge turned into big embarrassment when some of the invited families could not enter due to crowdedness
  • Paris is tense – today the ‘Tel-Aviv Beach’ opens in Paris with tension between Jewish community and pro-Palestinian organizations
Israel Hayom
  • The gas guideline: Agreement made
  • Move forward – we’ve suffered enough // Hezi Sternlicht
  • Switzerland removes sanctions (against Iran)
  • Also giving medical treatment to senior Hamas official: Naif Rajoub, brother of Jibril, was operated on in Assuta
  • Report: Weinstein to close case against Ashkenazi in Harpaz document affair
  • 77,000 travelers: Today heavy traffic at Ben-Gurion Airport - Ben Gurion

News Summary:
A newish gas agreement is formulated, a controversial case in the military to be closed, the Iranian Foreign Minister visits Beirut and Damascus and upsets Israel and Switzerland is first to lift sanctions on Iran - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also, Yedioth runs a special report from Iran by a reporter of a Jewish US newspaper.

Yedioth called it the ‘summit of the axis of evil,’ Maariv noted that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Zarif came to share the Iranian peace plan for the Syrian crisis. Both papers noted that in his meetings with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Zarif mentioned Israel, saying that the nuclear agreement was “a historic opportunity to deal with Israel’s threats” and that it has caused “the Zionists to feel hopeless and panicked.” Political sources in Jerusalem told Maariv that the remarks prove that Iran has not changed and that it will use the lifting of sanctions “to fund its world terror and continue its regional aggression.” Ahead of Zarif’s arrival in Damascus to discuss a peace plan, the city was shelled.
Yedioth ran a special article called, ‘A nucleus of hope’, written by a Jewish-American journalist of a Jewish newspaper who visited the country. (Yedioth’s Washington correspondent, Orly Azoulay, recently reported from Iran for the second time.) Larry Kohler-Esses interviews many Iranians who tell him that “We have no enmity towards Israel.” But a member of the Revolutionary Guards (RG) told him, “I have great respect for the Jews in the world, their faith is similar to ours...The problem is that the Zionist government is an occupier, which controls and unroots people from their homes," said MP Mohammed Hassan Asafari, a former RG member. When the reporter asked if he is interested in destroying Israel he said, "We are not interested in war with any country, but if Israel attacks us - and that includes assassinating nuclear scientists [which Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon alluded to this week - OH] - Iran will attack back.” Iranians also told him about the hope they have for after the agreement that the economic situation will improve.
Quick Hits:
  • West Bank Bedouin tent set ablaze; settler attack repelled - The tent near Ramallah was unoccupied, 'revenge' and ‘administrative’– in Hebrew – were spray-painted nearby. IDF suspects Jewish assailants. Also overnight, according to Palestinian sources, locals repelled an attack by settlers in Awarta, near Nablus. (Haaretz, Maan and Maariv)
  • Settlers firebomb public park in Nablus village - Israeli settlers hurled Molotov cocktails at a public park in the northern West Bank village of Qaryut early Tuesday in a failed attempt to set fire to the park. (Maan
  • Israel, FBI probe ‘Nazi’ videos of PM, President, High Court Chief Justice - As creator of videos is apparently American, his actions may fall under freedom of speech laws. (Times of Israel and Maariv, p. 10)
  • Ambassador in the crosshairs - In recent days the US Embassy in Israel received letters threatening Amb. Dan Shapiro. The reason: the nuclear agreement with Iran. (Yedioth, p. 3)
  • Senior officer in IDF Gaza Division: "We did not think for a moment that Hamas would stop digging tunnels" - Despite what the Shin Bet exposed (yesterday through interrogation of Hamas militant), no one in the IDF was surprised, said the commander. He calms residents of the south: "They can sleep in peace, we are ready for any action from the other side." Coming soon: a drill in dealing with infiltration. (Maariv)
  • Settler group planning 3-story building in heart of Palestinian East Jerusalem neighborhood - Ateret Cohanim hands eviction orders to Palestinian families and files for permits to build housing and expand a road leading to a Jewish enclave in Silwan. (Haaretz+) 
  • Israel to the EU: Stop financing illegal Palestinian construction - Foreign Ministry Deputy Director: We told the Europeans that we will destroy the houses. Coordinator of Activities in the Territories: "There is a war over Area C.” EU: “This is humanitarian aid." (Maariv and JPost)
  • A new legislative bill: Nakba Day - a national memorial day with a siren - MKs Ahmed Tibi and Osama Saadi (Joint List) propose marking the Palestinian tragedy on May 15, during which rallies and memorials will be held in the “villages whose residents were displaced in '48.” (Maariv)
  • Sara Netanyahu tells female peace activists: Demonstrate at Abbas' residence - Women Wage Peace activists are currently holding hunger strike outside of Prime Minister's Residence calling for peace process renewal. (Haaretz+)
  • A Decade Behind the Wall: Jerusalem’s 100,000 Outcasts - Israeli civil rights NGO Association for Civil Rights in Israel sends letter to Netanyahu saying state has violated basic rights of an entire population, and that government's policy 'constitutes criminal negligence' and 'abandonment' of residents beyond separation wall. (Haaretz+) 
  • A controversial memorial: Will a town square be named after Nasser? - The Kfar Manda city council decided to name a square after the former president of Egypt who fought Israel in the Six-Day War, leading to controversy among townspeople and Islamist movement members. (Ynet+VIDEO)
  • Arab, Jewish protesters clash over force-feeding of Palestinian administrative detainee - Five arrested as Israel Police breaks up violent clash outside Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, where Mohammad Allaan was admitted. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • IDF set to cut half of mostly Bedouin tracker unit - Mostly volunteer unit to see major force reduction; some warn that move will damage Bedouin social integration and strengthen Islamic Movement. (Ynet
  • Bereaved families left out of Western Wall ceremony - Several families of Protective Edge fallen soldiers were forced to return home due to overcrowding at inauguration of 75 Torah scrolls in troops' memory. (Ynet)
  • Galloway: I'd refuse to host Israeli counterparts as mayor of London - The former lawmaker known for his anti-Israel views is running to replace incumbent Boris Johnson in 2016. (Haaretz
  • Italian Jews fear dual loyalty accusations after ex-MP is tapped as Israel's envoy to Rome - Fiamma Nirenstein, once an outspoken member of Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom Party, made Aliyah in 2013 but recently vied for the leadership of Rome's Jewish community. Jweish Italians furious: "Now people will think we have dual loyalty." (Haaretz+ and Yedioth, p. 12)
  • Hamas claims it has taken control of an Israeli drone - WATCH: Military wing Iz Al-Din al-Qassam says it has managed to operate an IDF Skylark 1. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Plane has near-miss with drone at Ben-Gurion Airport - Pilots on the Brussels Airlines airbus 320 saw a dark-colored drone flying just 100 meters in front of them as they came in to land. (Haaretz)
  • Foreign Ministry chief Dore Gold concealed penalty for tax evasion - Israel’s former ambassador to the United Nations paid a $52,500 penalty in 2009, a fact he denied during vetting for his current post. (Haaretz+) 
  • Leaked documents trigger outrage over Palestinian corruption - The documents, detailing two attempts to misuse public funds, offer rare glimpse into the wheeling and dealing of the Palestinian government, long bogged down by rivalries. (Agencies, Haaretz
  • Norwegian festival rejects Israeli film for 'not dealing with the occupation' - Director Roy Zafrani shocked to learn that his emotional documentary about disabled children won't be screened in Norway because it is not critical of Israel. 'It's being boycotted because it shows a different and beautiful side of Israel,' he says. (Ynet)
  • UNRWA in financial crisis from warfare in Gaza, Syria - UN Palestinian refugee relief agency says its funds are depleted, threatening the reopening of 700 schools. (Haaretz+)
  • Polls show Israelis strongly oppose Iran nuclear deal - A look at several Israeli public opinion polls shows a broad consensus against the deal that seems to transcend conventional political divides. (Haaretz+) 
  • Bloomberg tells Obama: Don't oversimplify case for Iran deal - Former N.Y.C. mayor says 'overstating the case for the agreement belies the gravity of the issue and does more to breed distrust than win support.' (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Ex-U.S. President Jimmy Carter reveals he has cancer - A recent surgery showed the cancer is widely spread, former president says in a statement. (Agencies, Haaretz

Their version: The disengagement supporters react to the ‘We told you so” attacks
Despite repeated claims by those who opposed the withdrawal from Gaza that “the disengagement was a mistake,” the withdrawal from Gush Katif a decade ago still has those who defend it saying that this was a necessary inevitable and step. (Eyal Levy, Maariv Magazine supplement) 
WATCH: The disengagement, 10 years on
Israel Hayom Insider looks back at the 2005 withdrawal from 25 settlements. Why was the disengagement necessary? In retrospect, has it proved to be a failure? What lessons can be learned, and will these be applied to future withdrawals? (Steve Ganot, Israel Hayom)

The doctor who dared to come out against a torturous law (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Doctors who would forcibly insert a tube into someone’s stomach should be boycotted and ostracized, in Israel and abroad.
Israel only stands to lose from 'defeating' Obama (Israel Ziv, Yedioth/Ynet) Thwarting the nuclear agreement and humiliating the White House will not help stop the nuclear program in any way, and will only weaken the American foreign policy vis-à-vis Iran's support for terror and its deep involvement in all centers of stability in the Middle East.
Israel’s orphaned left (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) When leftists replace their Facebook profile photos with that of President Reuven Rivlin, they are in effect admitting that ending the occupation is not the camp’s lofty ideal.
It has always been: Jewish terrorism is part of the settlement campaign in the West Bank and the  are just covering up (Ran Adelist, Maariv) This is seemingly about punks who live in the hills and live off of the biblical air. In fact, there is a well-oiled machine of mother-bases (settlements) and the system establishment around them, allowing them to run as wild as they please. 
Lessons for Israel's next disengagement (Ari Shavit, Haaretz+) For all his mistakes, Ariel Sharon was right: Ultimately, there is no other way but to take our fate into our own hands, shape our borders and divide the land. 
Delusional warfare (Judith Bergman, Israel Hayom) The West expects the Israeli military to live up to impossible moral standards that it does not set for anyone ‎else, not even for itself.
Israel dealing with two Hamas entities (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) The arrest of Hamas fighter Ibrahim Shaer reveals the complex reality in Gaza, where two separate bodies with different goals and interests – the political wing and the military wing – are competing over the Strip's management and foreign relations.  
American Jewry doesn't need Israel to save it (Yehuda Kurtzer, Haaretz+) It's hardly surprising that the Jewish Agency withdrew from Israel's Diaspora initiative; the campaign was deeply misguided.
Israeli-Palestinian Peace Is Dead and Both Sides Killed It (Carlo Strenger, Haaretz+) Irish conflict researcher Padraig O’Malley says that neither side has the will to reach the two-state solution, and I am inclined to agree. 
For asylum seekers in Israel, incitement instead of justice (Haaretz Editorial) It’s hard to expect a change of course from a government whose justice minister diminishes the rule of law to an all-time low while the rest of its ministers are busy inciting one group against another. 
Anyone Hear About New Immigrants Coming to Israel From Morocco This Year? (Meirav Arlosoroff, Haaretz+) There’s funding for that and billions in other waste.

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