News Nosh 12.09.13

APN's daily news review from Israel

Monday December 09, 2013


Quote of the day:

"The contemporary Israeli leader is one of the jailers, not one of the jailed."
--Yaron London writes that Israeli leaders need to look at Frederik Willem de Klerk for inspiration, not Nelson Mandela.**

Front Page News:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • The pipe of the seas - is on the way - First publication: Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians to sign agreement today to establish pipe between Red and Dead Seas. Goal: Water desalination and preventing Dead Sea from drying up
  • Negotiations with the Palestinians getting closer to decisive point
  • Excuses are over // Nahum Barnea - Washington
  • The disengagement plan // Sima Kadmon
  • Storm preparation for Wednesday
  • "No" to Dankner -Nochi Dankner is about to lose IDB Holdings


  • Sources in the Palestinian Authority: Kerry rejected upcoming release of (Palestinian) prisoners in order to pressure Abu Mazen (Hebrew)
  • Lapid: Advance the peace process even at the price of changes in the coalition; Bennett associates: Old and ugly politics; Will the alliance of 'brothers' turn into a real rupture?
  • "The million man protest" in Kiev: Masses tore down Lenin's monument
  • The investors ruled: Nochi Dankner will lose IDB
  • Maariv's Conference of the Involved: Star of 'Arab Labor,' Norman Issa, on the inspiration of the creator and writer Sayed Kashua
  • I am Israeli - After a process of years, Brazilian Maccabi Haifa player, Gustavo Boccoli, received Israeli citizenship yesterday

Israel Hayom


News Peace Talk Highlights:
Yesh Atid party leader and Finance Minister Yair Lapid said that the peace process is highly important and that its failure imperils the Israeli government and suggested changes to the coalition - i.e. the booting of his party's far-right-wing political ally, Habayit Hayehudi. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu dismissed Lapid's warnings, declared Israel is ready to make historic compromises, but said if Iran gets a nuclear bomb the peace process will fail. Yet, Israeli President Shimon Peres said Iran was not an enemy and he would be willing to meet his Iranian counterpart. Meanwhile, Maariv reported that the US has given an okay for Israel not to release the next round of Palestinian prisoners in order to pressure the Palestinian President and an Israeli general tells settlers that Israel must keep military control in the Jordan Beqaa Valley.

Lapid's speech yesterday may have changed the political landscape in Israel. Declaring that achieving a peace agreement with the Palestinians was urgent and he would do everything to prevent its failure, he suggested getting rid of his political ally, Habayit Hayehudi. Some Israeli commentators suggested that Lapid realized that his alliance with the far-right-wing settler party damaged his own party, due to the Habayit Hayehudi's anti-peace and anti-equal rights for same-sex couples stance - hence Lapid decided that the peace process is more important and that he can replace Naftali Bennett's party with the Labor party. Speaking at the Globes Conference, Lapid refused to name Habayit Hayehudi, but it was clear to all. Isaac Herzog, the new leader of Labor, said "We will support any (peace) agreement Netanyahu brings, as coalition partners or from outside the coalition and I believe that other opposition parties will do the same." Justice Minister and chief Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni said, "I am happy that Lapid understood that the decisions just ahead are great and critical to Israel and especially that this political reality is more important than political alliances that did not need to be formed in the first place."

Habayit Hayehudi responded, calling it 'old dirty politics,' and Bennett said peace talks were pointless. "We need to take down prices, not settlements," he said. Maan reported that Bennett also proposed Sunday that Israel annex parts of the West Bank under its full military control where most Jewish settlers live. "I favor implementation of Israeli sovereignty over the zone where 400,000 (settlers) live and only 70,000 Arabs." Haaretz reported that Netanyahu dismissed Lapid's warning of coalition trouble if peace talks failed when he said, "We are trying to advance a peace process and everyone in the government knows it...Everyone must make their decisions...We are advancing a policy of peace and security and doing the right and responsible thing for the citizens of Israel and are not acting under some pressure or other.."
Interestingly, Netanyahu said that there won't be peace with the Palestinians if Iran gets a nuclear bomb. Speaking by satellite to the Saban Forum in Washington on Sunday, Netanyahu said "achieving a genuine and enduring peace is a strategic goal of the State of Israel and of my government"... "these efforts will come to naught if Iran achieves a nuclear bomb," because it would strengthen radical elements that oppose peace and would "even undermine the peace deals we have with two of our neighbors" - Egypt and Jordan.

Meanwhile, despite all Netanyahu's declarations regarding the Iranian enemy, President Shimon Peres has declared that Iran is not Israel's enemy and that he would be happy to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rohani.
Maariv/NRG Hebrew's Asaf Gabor reported the US has given an okay to postpone the release of Palestinian prisoners in order to pressure Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. US Secretary of State John Kerry was determined to get to the point where he can make an announcement on significant progress in the negotiations, but the Palestinians rejected his security arrangements plan for the Jordan Beqaa Valley. So, Kerry made clear to the Palestinian President: if you aren't flexible, we'll postpone the third phase of the release of prisoners. Israel Hayom quoted IDF Central Command chief Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon, who was recorded in a meeting with Yesha settler Council heads as saying that a plan for changes on the ground in the Jordan Valley is "an unhatched egg." He called the Jordan Valley "a strategic buffer for Israel."

Quick Hits:

  • Accounts of Palestinian teen's death differ - Wajih Wajdi al-Ramahi, 15, was buried in Jalazun refugee camp after being shot in the back on Saturday. (Haaretz)
  • Thousands mourn child shot dead by Israeli sniper in al-Jalazun - Wajih Wajdi al-Ramahi, a 14-year-old Palestinian boy, was shot dead near al-Jalazun refugee camp by Israeli forces in a watchtower in Beit El settlement while he was walking home from school on Saturday. (MaanPhoto)
  • Report: Israeli police volunteer 'changes story' about border killing - The Israeli border police volunteer who shot and killed a Palestinian worker on Nov. 30 has retracted his original claim that the Palestinian tried to stab him with a sharp object. (Maan)
  • IDF seized West Bank house despite court ruling for Palestinian owners - The house, which was separated from its village by a bypass road built near the settlement of Ofra, is currently used as a yeshiva by settlers. (Haaretz)
  • Palestinian mosque in Israel vandalized with anti-Islamic graffiti - The mosque in the Israeli Arab village of Baqa al-Gharbiya was covered with graffiti in Hebrew reading, "Muhammad is a pig," as well as "mutual responsibility," and "terror stones," slogans which suggest the attack was carried out by Jewish right-wing extremists as part of a "price tag" attack. (Maan, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Israel tells Holland: Security trumps prosperity when it comes to Gaza scanner - Israel refuses to allow exports from Gaza to the West Bank, despite the Dutch donation of a security scanner. Angered, visiting Dutch PM calls off dedication ceremony. (Haaretz and Maan)
  • Dutch PM: No idea why Israel won't let scanner be used for exports to West Bank - Mark Rutte had been scheduled to attend a festive dedication of the X-ray machine at the Kerem Shalom crossing during his visit, plans to bring up matter with Netanyahu. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli authorities refuse Dutch FM access to Hebron Old City - Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmerman cancelled his visit to Hebron on Sunday after Israeli authorities refused to allow him to visit the Old City without an Israeli Shin Bet escort. (Yedioth, p. 19/Maan)
  • Companies that operate in settlements were not invited to a forum for cooperation between Holland and Israel - Just before the visit of Dutch Prime Minister and other foreign ministers in Israel, public pressure forces the Hague to refine its positions against business relationships with settlements. (Haaretz Hebrew)
  • 'I was strip-searched, refused entry to event with Netanyahu' - Despite holding an Israeli government press card, Muammar Awad says he was 'humiliated,' turned away from covering International Bible Contest for Adults in Jerusalem. (Haaretz)
  • Bethlehem man shot by Israel 9 years ago in critical condition - Muin al-Atrash, from Duheisha refugee camp in Bethlehem, was shot in 2004 during a demonstration protesting against the assassination of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmad Yasin and is now suffering complications from the injury. (Maan)
  • Teenager seriously injured by old ordnance near Hebron - Medical sources in Hebron said that 16-year-old Mahir Adel Najajra was evacuated to a hospital after an old ordnance left by Israeli forces exploded east of Yatta. (Maan)
  • Ramallah celebrates 26 years since the First Intifada - Hundreds demonstrated in Ramallah to mark the 26 year anniversary and they carried the photo of the 15-year-old boy who was shot dead by the IDF on Saturday. Hamas issued a statement marking the anniversary and warned "the Israeli occupation against continued aggression against the Palestinian people." (NRG Hebrew)
  • Hamas requests permission to hold anniversary celebration in Nablus - Hamas movement had officially asked to obtain permits from the Palestinian Authority in order to organize a major commemoration of the 26th anniversary of Hamas' founding in Nablus on December 14. (Maan)
  • Israel may scale back chemical warfare defenses - Army sets up committee to examine aspects of defense from WMD; Syrian disarmament is progressing but there is concern of chemical terrorism. (Haaretz)
  • Home Front continues distributing gas masks to public - Though defense minister recommended stopping distribution of ABC kits, Home Front will reassess situation only in mid-2014; new committee reevaluates chemical threat. (Ynet)
  • China offers to start projects in the West Bank - China has offered to work with the Palestinian Authority on joint economic projects and is studying a variety of potential projects. (Maan)
  • South African-born Israelis say Mandela's legacy betrayed by Pretoria's anti-Israel stance - Immigrants from South Africa mourn Mandela's death and criticize the government's antagonism toward Israel. (Haaretz)
  • Netanyahu cancels South Africa trip over high travel costs - Prime Minister was meant to join 150,000 people at memorial event for the late South African President Nelson Mandela. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Majdal Shams post office opens after a long shutdown - Israeli government closed the post office in the Druze town of Majdal Shams [in the occupied Golan Heights - OH] 31 years ago following a Druze strike in 1982 [when Israel tried to force Israeli citizenship on the Syrians - OH], and now 'Israel Post' has offered a tender to open a new branch in the town. (NRG Hebrew)
  • Israeli forces open fire at farmers near Khan Yunis - Israeli forces on Sunday opened fire toward Palestinian farmers in the southern Gaza Strip From a watchtower at the border between Israel and Gaza. No injuries were reported. (Maan)
  • Gaza struggles as Egypt tunnel blockade takes toll on business - Intended to block smuggling of weapons, the tunnel clampdown's effects are being felt by all: many Gazans say they have never had it so tough. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Gaza power crisis worsens as winter approaches - The Gaza Strip Power Authority is worried that electricity will be available for less than six hours a day in Gaza as winter approaches. (Maan)
  •  WHO concerned over humanitarian health crisis in Gaza - Over 30 percent of medicines and 50 percent of medical disposables are out of stock in Gaza, and large generators used to power hospitals during 14-hour power cuts have frequent breakdowns. WHO said. (Maan)
  • Report: Saudi intelligence chief meets with Israelis - The Iranian news agency "Fars" released quotes of somone close to the Secret Service, according to which, the Saudi prince met with senior Israeli officials in Geneva. (NRG Hebrew and Ynet)
  • In wake of Geneva deal UN nuclear inspectors begin rare visit to Iran nuclear facility - Iran agreed to allow expanded UN monitoring at the country's nuclear sites, including the Arak site, where plans for commissioning a plutonium reactor have been suspended. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Peres says willing to meet Iranian counterpart Rohani - President says Israel does not view Iran as an 'enemy', adds that 'objective is to turn enemies into friends.' (Haaretz and Ynet)


The film that unintentionally explains the Israeli-Palestinian dynamic
A problematic film at best, 'The Prime Ministers: The Pioneers' provides valuable insight into the Israeli-Palestinian dynamics by virtue of what it fails to address. (Haaretz)


Netanyahu at a political turning point as coalition tensions intensify (Barak Ravid, Haaretz) Lapid understands that his alliance with right-wing Habayit Hayehudi harmed him politically and is now urging to advance peace process; U.S. would be happy to see Labor chairman replace Bennett in Israeli coalition.
**The forgotten partner  - De Klerk and Mandela (Yaron London, Yedioth) "...De Klerk envisioned the future picture of a lack of a solution: The Black's rebellion will increase, the international boycott will become harsher and the day was not far when exports would stop and investors would run...Nelson Mandela is a character who inspires every human, but he cannot serve as a political guide for a contemporary Israeli leader. A contemporary Israeli leader is one of the jailers, not one of the imprisoned. And so, (Frederik Willem) de Klerk, whose design and the challenges he faced are more than a bit similar to those that the Prime Minister in Israel struggles with. During Mandela's days of mourning, when his achievements are praised, it's worthwhile to look also at the actions of his partner.
Mandela's blind spot (Shlomo Avineri, Haaretz) Mandela's knowledge of Zionism was filtered through the lens of the movement's harshest critics - Jewish communists.
The honor and the disgrace (Eitan Haber, Yedioth) Haber suggest that the real reason Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is not attending Nelson Mandela's funeral is because of how badly he will be received by South Africans. "Israel of the '70's and '80's was a full and excited partner   with the Apartheid regime. Millions of S. Africans did not forget or forgive Israel for it's help, even today. To a great extent, one could say that (Shimon) Peres is risking his life when he decided to represent the State of Israel at the burial of the father of the new S. Africa, Nelson Mandela...The decision last night to cancel Netanyahu's flight to the ceremoney should not have been a surprise to anyone. The leader who is willing to consciously put himself into a cauldron of hatred and contempt has not yet been born. Netanyahu, if he had attended the funeral, would have gotten headlines in the international press - but in the negative sense. It is a great honor to stand at a funeral next to the US President, kings, presidents, prime ministers, princes, and all the who's who of the world. But it's a very small honor to go out from that place where hundreds of TV cameras are facing you when you are rejected, buffed and despised. That is the danger  awaiting Shimon Peres as the State of Israel's representative at the funeral of Mandela in S. Africa. And for that he deserves a Presidential medal.
Netanyahu's Mandela manipulation (Roy Isacowitz, Haaretz) Can the Israeli prime minister emulate F.W. de Klerk and shed the role of ethnic warlord?
The talks are not dead (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) The fact that Obama has been pressuring Netanyahu and Abbas to make painful decisions suggests that the Americans have some kind of plan -- perhaps an interim or framework agreement.
Dear Mayor Bloomberg: Thank you, but no thank you (Sam Bahour, Maan) New York City Mayor and billionaire, Michael Bloomberg, was awarded the first-ever Genesis Prize, $1 million "which is meant to honor an exceptional Jew." In his acceptance speech, Mayor Bloomberg remained true to U.S. Jewish American politics and thus, before making his speech, cleared his intention to donate the money to "promote commerce between the people in Palestine and the people in Israel" with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Negev to the Bedouin; the Galilee to the Arabs (Israel Harel, Haaretz) Large parts of the Galilee and Negev will become Arab-Bedouin autonomous entities. Even today, the Palestinian flag flies proudly in Arab areas, while the Israeli flag is nowhere to be found.
Don't turn the other cheek (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) There is a growing movement of Christian Arabs who want to enlist in the IDF and have received death threats for doing so. We must support them.
Israel, a country that changes enemies like you change your clothes (Oudeh Basharat, Haaretz) Why do we need to go as far as Tehran? We don't even have to trouble ourselves as far as Beirut if when our attic lies a genuine enemy, who even swears in Oxfordian Hebrew.


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