News Nosh 12.30.13

APN's daily news review from Israel

Monday December 30, 2013


Quote of the day:

"Want to meet the victims of hostile acts? Go to the village of Burin, south of Nablus, because no article can convey the fear, methodicalness, hypocrisy and collaboration of each entity that seeks to make the villagers loathe their lives."
--Haaretz's Amira Hass reports from the Palestinian village of Burin.**

Front Page News:


Yedioth Ahronoth


Israel Hayom


News Summary:
Today's top three stories in the Hebrew papers were yesterday's vote to annex settlements in the Jordan Beqaa Valley, the release of Palestinian prisoners tonight and the recent rocket fire on the Israel-Lebanon border.

With the exception of Maariv, all the main Israeli newspapers realized that yesterday's passing of the vote to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank's Jordan Beqaa Valley was incredibly significant news.Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu opposed the bill that was proposed by Likud MK Miri Regev fearing it would further isolate Israel. Nevertheless, all the Likud members of the ministerial committee approved the bill. Yedioth's political commentator Shimon Shiffer called those Likudniks 'Obstacle makers' and wrote that in his third term as prime minister, "Netanyahu is like someone who fell hostage in his party - he does not lead anywhere, rather he is led by an absolute majority of ministers and
MKs. Three ministers voted against it: Tzipi Livni (Hatnua), Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) and Yaakov Peri (Yesh Atid).

Yedioth shared in detail Justice Minister and chief Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni's outrage when she wrote a statement after the stormy debate over the bill:
"It has already become routine, the Sunday (cabinet meeting) embarrassment - individual and irresponsible legislative bills of MKs who want to make headlines for themselves, hurt the authority of the government and the real interests of Israel...This time it was MK Miri Regev's bill to annex the Beqaa. No less. This is the bill that will isolate Israel from the world and hurt the negotiations. Maybe that's the reason why the Likud ministers allow themselves to support it...being in a government that is holding negotiations for a diplomatic agreement and preserving Israel's economy and security, while at the same time sucking up to the Likud Central Committee. "
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat condemned the bill and said the Palestinian response should be to seek statehood recognition by the United Nations and other international bodies.

Yedioth's top political commentator, Nahum Barnea, wrote a front page piece that continued on pages two and three, titled 'Netanyahu's headache,' in which he describe the conundrum Netanyahu faces. Excerpts:
"Netanyahu allowed the bill to annex the Beqaa to go forth. He feared he would appear too moderate, in a week that he is releasing murderers. At the government vote, he will make sure to torpedo the bill, but the damage has already been done."
"Release of the murderers was meant to strengthen Abu Mazen and the camp that supports an agreement in the West Bank. The declarations on (settlement) construction only strengethen Hamas. And most important, they present Israel as the one who is intentionally harming the chance to achieve peace."
"The negotiations that Kerry is holding are coming close to the bottom line. The agreement, if it is reached, is meant to lead the two sides to one solution: peace and a Palestinian state on the '67 borders."

Quick Hits:

  • Yabad man dies at Israeli checkpoint - Adel Muhammad Amarnah, 65, was being rushed to a Jenin hospital when his car was stopped at a checkpoint near the village of Yabad, near Jenin. An Israeli soldier told the driver of the car to "go back where he came from." (Maan)
  • Israeli forces besiege Yabad for 6th day - Israeli forces continued to besiege the northern West Bank town of Yabad near Jenin for the sixth day in a row, closing all the town's entrances with military checkpoints and preventing residents from moving in and out. (Maan)
  • Settlers stone Palestinian vehicles near Nablus - Israeli settlers pelted vehicles with stones and empty bottles smashing windshields of dozens of vehicles in the northern West Bank, near Yitzhar and Havat Gilad settlements. (Maan)
  • Palestinian villagers' complaints of settler violence are going unheard - Residents of the West Bank village are repeatedly attacked, but very few complaints to the Israeli police and army produce indictments. (Haaretz)
  • Official: Israeli commanders not welcome to visit Bethlehem - Bethlehem district governor rejected a request by Israeli military officials to visit Bethlehem while off duty, saying they were not welcome to visit the area because of the "occupation's ongoing atrocities" against the city. He cited the Thursday raid of central Bethlehem as an example, saying Israeli soldiers "savagely destroyed dozens of stores in the city." (Maan)
  • EU protests to Netanyahu over planned wave of settlement construction - Follows PM's announcement of 1,400 housing tenders to coincide with upcoming prisoner release. It is unclear if Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen's protest to the Prime Minister's Office and Foreign Ministry will be also be accompanied by EU action against Israel. (Haaretz)
  • Due to the attack: Arab MK Tibi given personal security guard - Knesset Security gave MK Ahmed Tibi a personal body guard after he was attacked and boiling tea was poured on his face. The MK went to a soccer game Saturday with the bodyguard. (NRG Hebrew)
  • Arab parties plan to fight right-wing bid to squeeze them out of Knesset - Niche organizations on both sides of the political divide defiant over plan to raise electoral threshold. (Haaretz)
  • Peres: I will devote rest of term to Pollard's release - In response to letter signed by 106 MKs, calling for Pollard's release, Peres promises to pass letter onto Obama, claims he will dedicate remaining months in office to secure Pollard's release. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Mayor of Omer: "I will close down the post office because Bedouins are dirtying the area" - Pini Badash, the mayor of the elite community argues that Bedouin who visit the Omer post office, "take up the parking spaces and throw garbage on the sidewalks. If I have to lock it with chains so be it." The chairman of the unrecognized Bedouin villages: "That is racism." (Maariv, p. 10/NRG Hebrew)
  • Israeli court restricts nuclear spy Mordechai Vanunu's movement for another year - He's still collecting classified information and planning to disseminate it, High Court rules. (Haaretz)
  • Watchdog cancels rebuke of Haaretz, Gideon Levy over article attacking Border Police - 'Freedom of expression allows for publication of irritating views,' rules Press Council court of appeal. (Haaretz)
  • Pregnant IAF pilots wing way to change in flying policy - Revision in rules lets expecting women stay in air during 15th to 25th week. Flights will be for transports only, less than four hours long. (Yedioth backpage/Ynet)
  • Without permit and despite lawsuits, Jerusalem interchange gets green light - City resurrected decades-old plan, allowing it to bypass residents' objections and lawsuits. [Highway connects West Bank settler bypass road to Jerusalem through Arab neighborhood - OH] (Haaretz)
  • "The crisis in Turkey will slow reconciliation with Israel ' - In Jerusalem, they believe that the reconciliation with Israel will not bring Erdogan points in public opinion, so he will stop the process. Others think that promoting reconciliation will actually help the Turkish Prime Minister facing the opposition. (Maariv, p. 1/NRG Hebrew)
  • Netanyahu named 25th most influential person in U.S. defense - Chinese president ranked the most influential, according to Defense News; Edward Snowden in 28th place. (Haaretz)
  • Gaza border area set for $47.5 million aid - 20% tax credit for area residents, a 30% reduction in residential municipal taxes and subsidized day care for area facing security concerns. (Haaretz)
  • Palestinian Ambassador to Russia: 3 agreements with Russia to be signed next year - Amb. Fayed Mustafa said Palestinian-Russian relations would show great improvement in 2014. The three agreements will entail training staff, participating in events, and mutual cooperation, Mustafa added, without providing further details. (Maan)
  • "Separation Barrier' in London - Church in central London built a protest display against Israel: An enormous coy of the separataion barrier in Bethlehem in order to "illustrate the suffering of the residents of Bethlehem who live in a jail, to show the suffering of the city's residents ahead of Christmas and to protest Israel's against the Palestinians. St. James Church in Piccadilly is behind the initiative. (Yedioth, p. 27)


High on a hilltop: Are the settlers modern day crusaders?
The Jewish settlement project in the West Bank poses a danger to the Zionist project. (Haaretz)
Good heart: The Israeli project rescuing Palestinian children
More than 3,000 children from 48 countries have been treated at Wolfson Hospital through the 'Save a Child's Heart' charity. Muad, 5, from Hebron, was operated on this week after two of his brothers died from heart problems. He is one of 1000 Palestinian children treated so far. Simon Fisher, director of the organization: "Politics is not into this program." (Maariv Sunday magazine/NRG Hebrew)
The Jewish philosopher who tried to convince Israel not to try Eichmann
Letters from Isaiah Berlin, preserved in Israel's State Archive, appear in a newly published book about his life and work. (Haaretz)


**Who will protect Israel's poor settler kiddies? (Amira Hass, Haaretz) While settlers covet a West Bank hill, the army is using stun grenades to keep Palestinian farmers off their land.
A dangerous diplomatic path (Prof. Ron Breiman, Israel Hayom) As long as Israel fails to offer an alternative to the two-state "solution," how can we possibly complain that foreigners do not understand the reality in our region?
Bibi's Pollard paradox: He'll wind up bringing Olmert back (Amir Oren, Haaretz) The PM's demand that the U.S. free the spy also serves Israeli Arabs convicted of terrorism.
A wake up call to build in Jerusalem (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) There's a struggle in Jerusalem that is going to determine the future of the city.
Dangerous new strategic reality taking shape around Israel (Amos Harel, Haaretz) Even though Israel's military believes Sunni jihadists could be behind Sunday's rocket attack, Netanyahu blames Hezbollah.
Obama's attempt to be on the right side of history was a failure in thinking (Shimon Shamir, Haaretz) Washington's policy was based on the assumption that it was reading the direction of history correctly, but the paradigm underlying the call was problematic.
Intifada for beginners (Hagai Segal, Yedioth/Ynet) Series of violent attacks since start of peace talks is simply a Palestinian operational routine.
Onward Christian soldiers (Oudeh Basharat, Haaretz) Palestinian Arabs, Muslims and Christians, have been living here together for generations in harmony and sharing the same destiny, and now Netanyahu comes to divide them.
Iran could seize on new sanctions bill to drive wedge between Israel lobby, U.S. public (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz) One big difference between looming clash and previous AIPAC-Administration showdowns: Americans couldn't care less about AWACs - but are dead set against war with Iran.
Palestinian refugees -- a reality check (part 2) (Yoram Ettinger, Israel Hayom) Misinformation has dominated the diplomatic discourse on the Palestinian issue.
For Kerry, Pollard is a bargaining chip with Netanyahu (Barak Ravid, Haaretz) Despite revelation of American spying on Israeli officials, Pollard is no closer to release. Only serious Israeli move in peace talks could drive Obama to reconsider.
Israel's message to Hezbollah, Lebanon and Syria (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) The rocket fire from Lebanon was likely the work of some small group aiming to divert Hezbollah forces to southern Lebanon, but Israel will not tolerate ongoing rocket fire on its civilian population.
From the Palestinians to his own coalition, Netanyahu faces a year of decisions (Yossi Verter, Haaretz) For the prime minister, 2013 was a year of putting out feelers. The next year will be one of action.


'Someone has to keep Israeli Arabs on the map'
Actress and singer Mira Awad has achieved a number of firsts for an Israeli Arab, but still isn't satisfied. (Interviewed by Shuki Sadeh in Haaretz)


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