News Nosh 01.03.14

APN's daily news review from Israel

Friday January 03, 2014


Numbers of the day:

82.5 and 65.5
Percentage of Jewish Israeli respondents of poll that believes in teaching openness and critical thinking in schools and percentage that believes that the schools must "teach Jewish and Zionist values without taking a critical stance," respectively. **

Front Page News:


Yedioth Ahronoth


Israel Hayom


News Summary:
US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders yesterday and today's Hebrew papers discussed whether Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would accept the principles of Kerry's framework proposal, despite great pressure from his own party members. Netanyahu accused the Palestinians of not being committed to peace, just as a gag order was lifted about the arrest of suspects over the recent failed Bat Yam bus bomb. And a recent poll about peace with fascinating results.

Netanyahu and Kerry held a five-hour-long meeting. During a joint press conference, Kerry insisted the peace process was still on track and said "the time is soon arriving when leaders are going to have to make difficult decisions."But, Netanyahu questioned whether Palestinians were really interested in peace.

As if timed to coincide with the Kerry visit, the gag order over the arrest of suspects in the Bat Yam bus blast was released yesterday. The newspapers did not report when the suspects were actually released. But two items by Maan, noted in News Nosh, reported that a number of the suspects named in the Haaretz and Ynet reports, including Samy al-Harimi, 21, and Shehadah Muhammad Shehadah al-Taamari, 23, were both arrested a week earlier in the al-Saff neighborhood of Bethlehem, four days after the attack took place.

Netanyahu has been under intense pressure from his own party members and coalition partner Habayit Hayehudi not to accept Kerry's framework proposal, Maariv/NRG Hebrew's Zeev Kaam reported. Economy Minister and leader of Habayti Hayehudi party Naftali Bennett met with Netanyahu this week and made clear to him that his party won't stay in government at any price and it has its red lines. On Wednesday MKs from Habayit Hayehudi met with Likud MKs and prepared a document saying that they oppose Netanyahu accepting the principles of Kerry's framework proposal in any way, wrote Kam. Other senior Likud ministers and Likud MKs gave Netanyahu the same message during a tour of the Jordan Beqaa Valley on Thursday, including Deputy Foreign Minister Ze'ev Elkin, Interior Minister Gideon Saar and coalition chairman Yariv Levin as well as Likud MKs Reuven Rivlin, Miri Regev and Tzipi Hotovely.

They wanted to show their opposition to Kerry's peace plan to remove settlements located in the Valley.  "Where there is no settlement, there will be no IDF. Where there is no IDF, there will be terrorism. Our stance is clear: The Jordan Valley is Israeli and will remain Israeli," said Saar. Elkin insisted Likud must reject any proposal to withdraw from the West Bank and said, "The 1967 borders are Auschwitz borders." He also attended a dedication ceremony for a new neighborhood in a settlement in the Valley.
Right-wing Maariv commentator, Ben-Dror Yemini, slammed the Likud ministers and MKs, writing that "Kerry comes determined with an outline that will require a responsible decision. Meanwhile in the Likud members are...supporting the anti-Zionist bill to annex the Jordan Valley settlements because of their fear of losing the support of the party's extreme right-wing voters." (Maariv/NRG Hebrew) Haaretz's Barak Ravid writes that Netanyahu is reaching the point of no return, while Haaretz's Chemi Shalev writes that Sharon's spirit hovers over Netanyahu's hardest decision: accepting the 1967 'Auschwitz borders.'
**A recent poll shows what appears to be contrasting views among a majority of Jewish Israelis. On the one hand, they believe Israel and the Palestinians must teach peace and the survey suggests the Jewish public is more open to the Palestinian narrative than is commonly thought. At the same time, 81.1% oppose the idea of "teaching the younger generation that Judea and Samaria (W. Bank) are not a part of the State of Israel." While 82.5% of the public agrees that teaching openness and critical thinking must be a major goal of the school system, 65.5% of the respondents believe that the school system must "teach Jewish and Zionist values without taking a critical stance." Go figure. (Haaretz)

Quick Hits:

  • Palestinians: Man, 85, dies from Israeli tear gas - Israeli military official: No evidence yet to prove man's death is linked to tear gas. (Haaretz)
  • In the morning at school - at night in the interrogation room - Human rights organizations including Btselem told Knesset committee this week that the police are arresting Palestinian minors in the W. Bank at night or taking them from school, handcuffing them, and interrogating them without their parents' presence - all in contravention of the law. Police: "The arrests are meant to prevent harm to the police...Most arrests are for stone and Molotov cocktail throwing." Since last September some 200 Palestinian minors were arrested, 47 of them at night. (Yedioth Jerusalem, p. 44)
  • Israeli bulldozers demolish 3 Bedouin houses in Negev - Large numbers of police officers escorted Israeli inspectors who brought a bulldozer and demolished three houses in the "unrecognized" Negev village of Wadi al-Niam (Maan)
  • Israeli forces raid Bethlehem in broad daylight, detain 2 - Several Israeli military vehicles besieged home of Ahmad Ibrahim Ubeidallah. 39.
  • Ubeidallah's wife and five children were watching as Israeli troops cuffed him and took him after they damaged the interior of the family house. (Maan)
  • Fatah, Netanyahu spokesman exchange accusations on Twitter - "If you accept the two-state solution, then take your settlers and troops out of our land so we can live in peace," said a Fatah statement in response to Israel's prime minister's spokesman, Ofir Gendelman's Twitter criticism of a photo the Fatah movement posted on its FB page. (Maan)
  • Freed Palestinian prisoner hospitalized in bad condition - Naim Shawamrah was released Tuesday along with 25 other Palestinian prisoners who were detained before the Oslo Accords. He was hospitalized late Wednesday due to serious deterioration in his health condition. In 2013 was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. (Maan)
  • Palestinian shot, injured by Israeli forces in north Gaza - A Palestinian man was shot and injured on Thursday by Israeli forces in the northern Gaza Strip, near a cemetery east of Jabaliya. (Maan
  • Haniyeh: Hamas not seeking new war with Israel - Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Thursday that Hamas did not seek a new war with Israel, a week after an upheaval of violence in the Strip left an Israeli Civil Defense employee and a Palestinian toddler dead. (Maan)
  • Protesters call for Pollard's release outside peace talks scene - 300 demonstrators gather outside Metzudat David Hotel in Jerusalem, the spot of Kerry-Netanyahu meeting, calling American refusal to release convicted spy hypocrisy. (Ynet)
  • IDF purchases field-ready smartphones - The smartphone, designed by Motorola, will be water- and dust-resistant and will feature a powerful battery to support 400 airtime minutes. Soldiers will be able to relay encrypted information from the field using the phone. (Israel Hayom)
  • UN agency strike leaves trash piled up in refugee camp near Jerusalem - Health clinics closed and over 50,000 West Bank children out of school due to UNRWA labor dispute. (Haaretz)
  • 3 UNRWA employees hospitalized while on hunger strike - The strikes were in protest of UNRWA's "shameful" layoffs of 55 employees in late 2013. (Maan)
  • Weapons found at Palestinian mission in Prague, day after deadly blast - The Palestinian ambassador was killed opening an old safe that had been left untouched for more than 20 years. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Palestinian ambassador's daughter claims he was 'assassinated' - Rana al-Jamal said the information about a safety device detonating in his safe was untrue."The safe has been used daily for 30 years in the headquarters of the Palestinian embassy. It is old, not modern, and has no (hi-tech) devices," she said. (More details from Maan)
  •  Queen Elizabeth honors Israeli ultra-Orthodox - Isaac Schapira to receive appointment of Officer of Order of British Empire in recognition for strengthening ties between UK and ultra-Orthodox community. (Ynet)


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