News Nosh 01.05.14

APN's daily news review from Israel

Sunday January 05, 2014


Quote of the day:

"I have no problem with the political demand that the valley should be part of the State of Israel. Such a position is permissible. What bothers me is that it's being depicted as some kind of security problem."

--Former Mossad chief refuted the claim that Israel needs to keep the Jordan Beqaa Valley for its security.**

Front Page News:


Yedioth Ahronoth


Israel Hayom


News Summary:
Today's top stories were the stabbing to death of a youth in a brawl over a girl and former prime minister Ariel Sharon's deteriorating condition as well as the general strike declared by African migrants and asylum seekers in Israel, while on the sidelines, was the latest on the peace process. Maariv scooped reporting that a former Mossad chief said Israel had no security need for the Jordan Beqaa Valley and Haaretz reported on a bill to block Israeli unilateral annexations of Palestinian territories.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who spent at least three hours in three meetings over the last three days with each of the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, said there was progress towards a 'framework deal.' However, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reiterated his belief that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was not committed to peace. To which chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that if Abbas were Mother Teresa it wouldn't be enough for Israel. He also said he fears for Abbas' life after reading letters from Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman addressed to various European countries demanding the removal of Abbas, who Lieberman deemed a danger to Israel. Ynet reported that while Kerry met with Abbas, about 150 Palestinians demonstrators marched through the streets of downtown Ramallah to protest Kerry's visit, chanting, "The people want the fall of the framework!...It's clear, Kerry, we don't want to see you! The Americans are the enemy of our people!" Yasser Abed Rabbo, Abbas's deputy in the Palestine Liberation Organization, said the framework plan restricts Palestinian sovereignty on Palestinian land and that "the Palestinian side will not even look at a worthless piece of paper, a framework agreement, which contains general principles for later negotiations, when the two sides have already been negotiating for months and years."Kerry flew today to Jordan and Saudi Arabia to meet with the kings of both Arab nations to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. He is expected to return tomorrow for more peace talks. Netanyahu met over the weekend with Republican senators. Senator John McCain said he shared Netanyahu's concerns about whether some aspects of Kerry's proposals would not jeopardize Israel's security.)
**Meanwhile, Maariv had a scoop revealing that former Mossad chief Meir Dagan said the Jordan Beqaa Valley has no strategic importance for Israel's security, a very important statement when the Valley has become a sticking point in negotiations. "I have no problem with the political demand that the valley should be part of the State of Israel," said Dagan said in a lecture at a Kfar Saba café last week, according to Maariv. "Such a position is permissible. What bothers me is that it's being depicted as some kind of security problem. There is no Iraqi army, there is no eastern front. There's peace with Jordan. I don't like the talk that the valley is essential to Israel's security."
Haaretz and Maan both share quotes in English from the article.
Israeli ministers vote today on a new bill to curtail West Bank settlement construction. Labor MK Merav Michaeli's bill seeks to block construction and unilateral land grabs beyond the Green Line by requiring an approval of a majority of 80 MKs to do so.

Quick Hits:

  • Israel killed most AMIA bombers, ex-envoy to Argentina says - Former Israeli ambassador to Argentina says Israel killed most people responsible for 1994 bombing. (Haaretz)
  • Israel denies it killed most of the AMIA bombers - Former ambassador to Argentina had said Israel killed most of those responsible for the attack on the 1994 Jewish cultural center in Argentina. (Haaretz)
  • 2 terror attacks foiled over weekend - Israeli soldiers arrest four Palestinians near Migdal Oz, find three knives and improvised weapon in their vehicle. Border policeman wounded when 16-year-old tries to stab security personnel near Jerusalem's Damascus Gate. (Israel Hayom)
  • Teen arrested in Jerusalem for allegedly attempting to stab an officer - Israeli forces on Friday arrested a 16-year-old girl from Jabal al-Mukkaber in E. Jerusalem near Damascus Gate for allegedly attempting to stab a border guard officer. (Maan)
  • Freed Palestinian prisoner to travel to Jordan for treatment - Newly released Palestinian prisoner Naim Shawamrah will be transferred to Jordan for treatment. The condition of Shawamrah, who was released last Tuesday, has become very serious -- he is unable to speak and can hardly breathe. (Maan)
  • Israel refuses to let Gaza woman visit sick mother whose medical report says 'Palestine' - Gaza woman refused permission to travel to West Bank, where her mother is sick with advanced colon cancer. (Haaretz)
  • Palestinian children write to UN pleading for return of soccer ball - A group of children in a Palestinian village south of Tulkarem have taken the unprecedented step of writing a letter directly to the United Nations in a bold attempt to win back their soccer ball from Israeli occupation authorities. (Maan)
  • IAF strikes Gaza targets; rocket launchers destroyed - Air Force strikes several Gaza Strip targets (Friday) in retaliation for rocket fire earlier Thursday at open area Sdot Negev Regional Council. (Ynet)
  • Palestinian Authority to send medicines to Gaza - The shipment will include all kinds of medicines and equipment available in the West Bank at a value of around six million shekels. Also, the Health Ministry will begin legal procedures against public hospital doctors who have not complied with a new decision banning them from working in private clinics. (Maan)
  • Defense Ministry opposes bill that would increase Knesset supervision - Bill, backed by both opposition and coalition MKs, will allow Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to subpoena any Defense Ministry employee, demand to view any document. (Haaretz)
  • Mega supermarket's website broken into, "A sad year for Jews" - The company's website was compromised by Arab hackers, and users were directed to a page with photos of armed Jihad fighters. The company: "The site has been removed, there is no security concern for shoppers." (NRG Hebrew)
  • IDF looking to cut jail time for army deserters in half- A new offense - desertion during operational combat - would be added, carrying maximum penalty of 10 years. (Haaretz)
  •  Protests in Gaza and West Bank in solidarity with besieged Yarmouk - A young protester at the rally, Saima Rana, told Ma'an, "We came in solidarity with the children of Yarmouk camp in Syria who are dying of hunger. We demand their release (from the siege) and that food be allowed to enter in order to allow them to survive." (Maan)
  • IMI enters cyber security arena - As privatization approaches, Israel Military Industries bets on a market with enormous growth potential. (Globes)
  • Al-Qaeda group takes responsibility for Beirut bombing - Al-Qaeda-linked Syrian rebel group takes responsibility for Beirut attack against Hezbollah while its operatives are slaughtered in Syria by opposing rebels. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • 'Hezbollah smuggles advanced guided-missile systems into Lebanon' - Wall Street Journal reports Shiite group transferred systems piece by piece to evade Israeli strikes. US officials believe group doesn't have all components to make systems operational, alleged IAF strikes in Syria bore limited results. (Ynet)
  • IDF concerned Hezbollah could bring Israeli ports to a halt - Sources with Israeli Navy say Hezbollah's possession of components of the Yakhont advanced guided-missile systems poses danger to Israel, as Yakhonts are hard to detect by radar. If used, source says, missiles could bring Israeli ports to a halt. (Ynet)
  • Successful Arrow 3 missile interceptor trial carried out - Second interceptor test was conducted Friday morning from Palmachim IAF base. System is designed to reinforce Israel's protective layer against long-ranged missile threats. (Ynet)


Netanyahu's outburst, Kerry's optimism: How fear yields progress at crunch time (Barak Ravid, Haaretz)  The Israelis and Palestinians are each waiting for the other side to blink first as John Kerry ratchets up the pressure on both.
Difficulties ahead (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Netanyahu's sharp criticism of Abbas in front of Kerry was an opening shot in the newest chapter of the negotiations.
Danny Seaman: The Israeli official whose career died from foot-in-mouth disease (Matthew Kalman, Haaretz) The former director of the Government Press Office never let Israeli policies get in the way of provocative propaganda. 
Israel needs an indefinite security presence in the Jordan Valley (Gadi Shamni, Haaretz) Without help in creating a solid security infrastructure, a future Palestinian state in the West Bank could become a giant terrorist hub for Hamas.
Kerry and the Sharon legacy (Ruthie Blum, Israel Hayom) It is now Kerry's turn to realize that a peace deal is not possible with Abbas unwilling to compromise on anything.
The reviver of the Hebrew language (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) Ariel Sharon realized the hope of every statesman: to leave a legacy. A truly exceptional combination of personal and political bravery, his vision will take years to undo.
Lower than a doormat (Emily Amrousi, Israel Hayom) Construction in Judea and Samaria will not upset the Americans if it does not upset us.
Israeli nuclear ambiguity as an illusion (Amir Oren, Haaretz) Recently revealed documents from the U.S. archive could be the trigger for Israel to change its policy on official recognition of a nuclear program.
Assessing Kerry's proposal (Yoram Ettinger, Israel Hayom) U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's proposed peace agreement is consistent with his track record.
Why the Israeli public loved Ariel Sharon (Rogel Alpher, Haaretz) Israelis didn't judge or treat Ariel Sharon the way they did other prime ministers. That's because he made them feel good about themselves.
Jerusalem united in eye of beholder (Yoaz Hendel, Yedioth/Ynet) Release of terrorists from east Jerusalem under claim that they are not 'Israeli' holds a glaring mirror to our face.
The EU's offer still stands, despite the Israeli government's resounding silence (Patrick Maisonnave, Haaretz) The European Union is Israel's leading partner in trade and science and the most popular tourist destination among its citizens.
The terrorists that Israel missed (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) Explosion last week thankfully prevented by citizens' awareness, but organization of group, PA's lack of monitoring are cause for concern.
Rejecting two states means endangering Israel - and the Diaspora (Mick Davis, Haaretz) Does Naftali Bennett really want to go down in history as the politician who devastated Israel, its future as a Jewish state and the identity and support of Diaspora Jewry?
Jordan part of the solution (Guy Bechor, Yedioth/Ynet) Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be solved when West Bank's Arab residents regain their Jordanian citizenship.
The bitter pill Israel must swallow if it wants peace (Yehezkel Dror, Haaretz) Israel cannot live as a state of denial any longer. It must relinquish dreams for a 'Greater Israel' and actively seek peace in the region, but will need a new framework for such revolutionary deeds.
Bibi meises (Netanyahu's tall tales) (Yossi Sarid, Haaretz) In a few days from now the president, justice minister and finance minister will meet in Davos, Switzerland. This is the opportunity to tell him: Bibi, it's over.
All-out war in Lebanon (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) Battles between armed gangs in Beirut could affect relative calm on Israel's northern border.
Syria conflict pushing Lebanon to the brink of a civil war (Amos Harel, Haaretz) Hezbollah's success in Syria has extracted a price in Lebanon. Criticism of the organization increased, as have efforts by Sunni extremist groups to settle accounts with the Shi'ites.

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