APN's daily news review from Israel
Friday and Sunday December 13 and 15, 2013
Note: News Nosh has been snowed in! Electricity and Internet have been sporadic and newspapers were not delivered since Thursday. As a result, Sunday's News Nosh was prepared by accessing the Hebrew newspapers via the Internet, with the exception of Yedioth, which is not online. It includes main news stories from Friday, but it could not be sent until now after the Internet went down again and stayed down past midnight. Wishing all the people in the Middle East stay warm and safe. - OH
Quote of the day:
"There is a partner on the Palestinian side. The question is whether Netanyahu is a partner to reach an
agreement with the Palestinians."
--Meretz party Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On Friday at the annual conference of Israel's left-wing.**
Front Page News:
- Electricity down, tens of thousands stuck in cold
- 70% of public support equal rights for same-sex couples; MKs oppose
- Weinstein won't fight in High Court for law that will harm funding of left-wing NGOs
- Future of IDB on verge of ruling - Court discusses today investors' decision to take company from Dankner
- New Austrian Foreign Minister: 27-year-old who hasn't completed his studies
- China joined the space club: Landed unmanned-vehicle on moon
- Snow blow - Stuck in dark homes, without electricity, without food, freezing from cold: this is how tens of thousands of family passed the worst storm in the history of the state
- Price of the storm: 4 killed, billions of shekels of damage
- State Comptroller to examine failures of government, Jerusalem Municipality, the Police and the Electricity Company
- There are also heroes: Soldiers that opened the roads with APCs, Electricity Co. technicians who endangered their lives, the fireman, policeman and civilians who helped those whose cars were buried in the snow
- Today: Hwy 1 between Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem and Hwy 443 expected to open, no school in Jerusalem and Safed/Tsfat
- After midnight: Tens of thousands of Israelis still have no electricity - Jerusalem under siege like in 1948, 1/4 million Israelis without electricity and IDf intervened too late; As time hours passed, picture became clear: Israel unprepared to deal with storm; Netanyahu: "We were prepared like a country needs to be prepared for an event that happens once in 100 years"; Police Commissioner Danino: "Stop complaining" (Hebrew)
- Discrimination in the judicial system? Studies: Chance that an Arab defendant will be sent to jail higher and the sentence will be harsher
- Open jail facility for African migrants opened: 65 already escaped in first days (Hebrew)
- Maariv Conference for Involved: (Channel 2 Military Affairs reporter) Roni Daniel writes about the recovery of commander of the Samaria battalion, General Yoav Yarom
- Dankner's fateful moment - Judge Orenstein to rule today whether to take control of IDB from Dankner and transfer to Eduardo Elstein and Moti Ben-Moshe
- The storm passed, the debate remains - Police Commissioner Danino: "We saved thousands of people, it was no easy, stop complaining"
- Tens of thousands disconnected from electricity in freezing cold; Residents furious: The authorities did not prepare properly; IDF drafted to help; PM: "Coordination between forces was outstanding"...
- Anger at Haifa Univ: Won't give honorary degree to Prof. Baumann because of his political views
- Fateful morning for Nochi Dankner: Court to rule over future of IDB
- Today: Nelson Mandela's burial
**Snow takes Israel by storm (and freezes News Nosh), but US Secretary of State John Kerry was undeterred and traveled between Jerusalem and Ramallah Thursday and Friday to stave off a break in the peace talks. Kerry suggested delaying the upcoming prisoner release 'out of fear' the Israeli government would make new settlement housing tenders. The Palestinians refused saying it breaks a previous agreement and if that were done the Palestinians would turn to joining international organizations. Kerry insisted that the goal of the peace talks is still a final status agreement - not an interim one - and within the nine-month time period. At a conference for left-wing Israelis held in Tel-Aviv Friday, opposition Leader MK Isaac Herzog (Labor) said, "I can say with certainty that we have a partner and a rare opportunity for peace." But Meretz leader MK Zehava Gal-On said, "There is a partner on the Palestinian side. The question is whether Netanyahu is a partner to reach an agreement with the Palestinians."
Meanwhile, the European Union is using both the carrot and the stick to encourage Israel to make peace with the Palestinians and to cease settlement construction.
Maariv/NRG Hebrew's Eli Bardenstein wrote Friday and Haaretz's Barak Ravid reported Sunday on a massive aid package the EU is offering Israel if it makes peace. The offer would also improve Israel's international standing. Ravid also got a copy of the deal and sums it up here. Both Bardenstein and Ravid write that a swell of boycotts is driving Israel into international isolation.
The latest stick is a paper the EU foreign ministers are preparing that would harshly condemn Israel, wrote Bardenstein in Friday's paper. The paper accuses Israel of putting up obstacles to peace. Israeli political sources told Bardenstein: "Europe has no intention of letting us off the hook." But after its entry into the Horizon 2020 program was assured a few weeks ago, Israel has a new tactic on how to deal with EU condemnations: ignore them. (NRG Hebrew)
Israeli newspapers also reported on the suffering of Israel's neighbors, both Syrian refugees and Palestinians in Gazans who are flooded, with thousands of people evacuated. But the coverage was minor - and there was little mention of what Israel could do to alleviate the suffering of the Gazans, where some 4000 families had to be rescued from flooded buildings: lift the blockade. Last night, however, Israel did agree to 'slightly' lift the blockade by opening the border crossing to Gaza for emergency aid and sending Gaza water pumps and diesel for heating. Maan reported that the diesel would allow the Strip's sole power plant to begin working again after 40 days that it wasn't. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said, "The Knesset's restriction on bringing building materials prevents us from fixing infrastructure and that is why we have floods." UNRWA called Gaza a 'disaster area,' and pleaded for Israel to end its blockade. "Large swathes of northern Gaza are a disaster area with water as far as the eye can see. Areas around Jabalia have become a massive lake with two meter high waters engulfing homes and stranding thousands," a statement read. Meanwhile, 60% of the Palestinian West Bank was without power Friday and one Palestinian died in the West Bank due to the storm.
At Israel's Ofer military jail, Israel refused to distribute extra blankets to Palestinian prisoners that were provided by the Palestinian Authority.
- Attorney General: Bill against pro-boycott Israel groups is unconstitutional - Ministerial committee to discuss bill penalizing non-profits Sunday. (Haaretz)
- Israeli government halts controversial plan to resettle 30,000 Bedouin - Architect of the proposal told a Knesset committee earlier this week that he had never received community support for the proposal, despite claims to the contrary. (Haaretz)
- Israeli troops shoot Palestinian teenager in Gaza - IDF says man was shot after entering buffer zone; nature of his injuries is still unclear. Maan writes that the injured is a 16-year-old boy. (Haaretz and Maan)
- Report: University of Haifa denies professor honorary doctorate over politics - Rejecting Professer Robert Aumann because of his political beliefs is an "unacceptable phenomenon," says the Institute for Zionist Strategies after Haaretz reports that the University of Haifa denied Aumann over politics. University said, "The process is not over yet." (Israel Hayom)
- CERN atomic research center accepts Israel as its 21st member - Full membership in the world's leading nuclear research center will bring significant scientific, commercial and political benefits. (Haaretz and Ynet)
- Iran pulls out of expert-level talks with world powers over U.S. sanctions - Iranian officials say U.S. move to target people and companies for evading Iran sanctions violates spirit of agreement reached in Geneva. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Jordanian king gives snowed-in citizens a helping hand - In attempt to show solidarity with people, Jordan's king took to streets to help citizens stranded in snow. See his highness roll up his sleeves in snow covered Jordanian capital. (Ynet)
- Is Ghazi Albuliwi the Palestinian Woody Allen? He wants to be - Albuliwi's new film - about a Palestinian guy who marries an Israeli woman - opened the Jerusalem Cinematheque's Jewish Film Festival last week. (Haaretz)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.