News Nosh 12.29.13

APN's daily news review from Israel

Sunday December 29, 2013


Quote of the day:

"I am angry at ministers in the Israeli government who give the public the feeling that 'Okay, let them keep talking, nothing will come of it anyway.'"
--Science Minister Yaakov Peri responds to comments by Economy Minister Naftali Bennett and has a few other things to say about what the government is doing.**

Front Page News:


  • Ministers approved: 26 Palestinian prisoners to be released this week
  • Future of the small parties
  • (State Prosecutor) Shai Nitzan: Investigations must be begun even without complaints filed
  • Panel meets today to choose between 113 medicines for (state-subsidized) 'health basket'
  • Reform at the ports: Government agreed to allow the high salaries of the employees
  • 1/4 page ad: Government ministers: Shame on you. Only in Israel do they release murderers. Who will be the next victim?

Yedioth Ahronoth

  • "If the negotiations break up we will blame Israel" - EU furious over Netanyahu's intention to approve settlement construction close to date of prisoner release
  • Ministers approved release of 26 prisoners
  • US Secretary of State John Kerry will return to push peace talks
  • White House denies: No offer to release Pollard in exchange for Arab Israeli (prisoners)
  • Soldiers to earn a little more from 1 January:
  • To the glory of the women of Israel - Most of those lighting the torches on Israel's 66th Independence Day are women
  • Roee was run over on the sidewalk
  • French soccer player Nicolas Anelka celebrated making a goal with an anti-Semitic hand move, and sparked a storm


Israel Hayom


News Summary:
Israel approved the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners the day after it announced the announcement of new settlement housing and days before US Secretary of State John Kerry returns once again to the Mideast to push peace talks, this time to discuss the US framework agreement, which Israeli ministers believe the Palestinians will reject. Israeli Science Minister Yaakov Peri slammed the building of settlements as a response to the prisoner release and slammed Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon for saying there was no Palestinian partner for peace. A Fatah official called for only non-violent resistance to Israel. Meanwhile, right-wing MKs move to make the Jordan Beqaa Valley part of Israel.
No, it's not a typo. Israel announced on Friday that it would announce the construction of 1400 new settler homes. Unlike the two previous prisoner releases, when Israel announced settlement construction just before the release, this time Israel has only announced that it will announce. [Possibly a trial balloon? - OH] Nevertheless, the Europeans are furious  writes Yedioth. And the US, reportedly fear that if and when the official announcement takes place it will cause the end of the talks. In which case, the Europeans will blame Israel. 

Then late Saturday night a special ministerial committee approved the release of 26 Palestinians, which is expected to take place late Monday night (after midnight).  The Palestinians urged the US to intervene and halt the construction to 'save the peace process.' Channel 10 reported that Kerry offered to free US-Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard in exchange for the fourth prisoner release to take place in March. But the White House denied it.
Kerry will fly to Israel on New Year's Day for another effort at shuttle diplomacy. According to Haaretz he will arrive on Thursday and spend a few days in Jerusalem. Maariv/NRG Hebrew writes that will discuss the draft of the US framework agreement proposal with both Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and ask for their agreement to certain written parts and that they agree to extending the talks for a few months. The document has no legal validity. Maariv reported that Israeli cabinet ministers believe that Abbas will reject the agreement because it fulfills Israel's [recent - OH] condition that the Palestinians declare recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Those ministers include Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni.

Indeed, senior Palestinian Fatah official Nabil Shaath said no peace deal would emerge after the nine-month limit "because of what Israel and the United States are proposing." In an interview with Maan, Shaath said the Palestinians should choose 'smart' resistance in 2014. "We have to use smart and fruitful means of struggle rather than violent struggle in order to maintain international support, as negotiations have failed to make a single step forward."

**Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri responded to Defense Minister Yaalon's 'no partner' comment, saying, "You can't deem talks a failure while in government."  He also criticized tying settlement construction to the release of Palestinian prisoners, Haaretz reported. Peri also said that "Israel understands that it is moving toward consolidating into [settlement] blocs. We will need to evacuate a certain percentage of the settlements, something in the range of 15 to 25 percent, but this is certainly a reasonable compromise. Our construction must be concentrated in the blocs, where most of the settlers will be consolidated in a future agreement."
Meanwhile, right-wing MKs proposed bills to apply Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank part of the Jordan Valley or to just annex it. The ministerial committee discussed a bill proposed by Likud MK Miri Regev to apply Israeli sovereignty over Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley, Maariv/NRG Hebrew reported. Regev said it would keep the settlements there under Israeli law even if the international community recognized a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria. Meanwhile, Habayit Hayehudi MK Moti Yogev has submitted a bill to annex the Jordan Bekaa Valley "forever." Eighteen right-wing MKs signed on the bill.

Quick Hits:

  • Shooting incident: 'Protester hit with rubber bullet' - Video taken by protester in Nabi Saleh shows two women approaching Border Guard officers. One officer shoots in their direction, hitting one woman with rubber bullet in knee. Border Guard Spokesperson says 'suspect approached force holding a stone in her hand.' (Maan VIDEO and Ynet)
  • Israeli forces shoot photographer in Bilin demonstrations - Mohammad Yassin, 20, was hit with a rubber coated steel bullet during the protests at the weekl demonstrations in Bilin village near Ramallah. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces convert private home in Yabad into military base - Israeli forces stormed the property of Sobhi Bakr Friday morning and set up a military observation station in it before ascending to the roof to plant an Israeli flag atop it. Recently Yabad has seen series of home invasions to convert them into Israeli military watch points. (Maan)
  • 7 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli forces on Gaza border - Israeli forces fired tear gas heavily at Palestinian youths in Jabaliya refugee camp, and the fumes reached residences east of the camp, harming seven people. (Maan)
  • Sick prisoners in Israeli jails threaten to start hunger strike - In a letter smuggled out of Israel's Eshel prison, sick Palestinian prisoners threatened to start a hunger strike protesting their dire health conditions in custody and appealed to the Palestinian leaders and people for help. (Maan)
  • Israel extends house arrest of mentally challenged teen - Ahmad Dawuod Obeid, 19, has been under house arrest since August when he was beaten and arrested by undercover Israeli forces in al-Issawiya near Jerusalem. (Maan)
  • Palestinian Authority report: Chances of 3rd intifada 'very high' - Palestinian Authority security officials recommend that PA formulate contingencies to combat possible violent uprising. "There's a lot of rage on the ground," PA official says. Deputy Minister Akunis: PA's threats prove it is not interested in peace. (Israel Hayom)
  • IDF fighting new brand of Palestinian terror - Four Givati Brigade commanders highlight 'lone wolf' attacks, say Palestinians have stake in maintaining relative calm. (Ynet)
  • Secret Israeli report on Temple Mount, buried by government, published in U.S. - Report on Israeli authorities' negligence regarding Muslim digs at Temple Mount has been buried by the Israeli government. (Haaretz)
  • UNRWA hunger striker taken to the hospital - An UNRWA worker from Deheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem was taken to the hospital after he fainted three days after launching a hunger strike in protest against the organization's policies towards its employees. (Maan)
  • From kibbutz volunteers to Israel's ambassadors abroad - Foreign Ministry and Kibbutz Movement plan to substantially expand the professional seminars for volunteers to teach them about Israeli history and society, in the hope they will positively influence public opinion on Israel in their home countries. (Israel Hayom)
  • Report: 1-in-5 children in Israel suffers sexual abuse, 1-in-3 is poor - Report by children rights group highlights plight of Israeli children, paints rough picture of tough reality in which third of children live in poverty. (Ynet)
  • Gaza power plants shuts down because of lack of fuel - Lacking fuel, Gaza's sole power plant has shut down. While Palestinian claim the cause is Israel's closing of the Gaza border crossings, an Israeli source claimed the reason was Hamas, Fatah infighting. (Ynet)
  • PLO urges Hamas to sever ties with Muslim Brotherhood - A Fatah representative in the PLO executive committee said Hamas should detach itself from the Brotherhood, warning of political, economic, and security consequences if Hamas remained "subordinate" to "this banned terrorist group." (Maan)
  • Three of Jews accused in France of attacking neo-Nazis escaped to Israel - Three youth, who are threatened on social networks and fear for their lives, left their country with the permission of the investigating judge. Interior Minister encouraged French mayors and heads of institutions not to allow performances by anti-Semitic comedian Daidona (Maariv, p. 14/NRG Hebrew)
  • Lebanese PM: Lebanon had enough of country's instability - Presidential Palace holds emergency discussion following deadly Beirut blast, claiming life of former Lebanese minister. Top Lebanese politicians point finger at Hezbollah, Syrian opposition says 'bloody alliance behind attack.' (Ynet)
  • 2013's key events in Arab world - Ynet correspondent Roi Kais speaks with citizens of Arab countries who share their views on key events in 2013's Arab world. On top of list - Morsi's ouster, Syria crisis. (Ynet)
  • Iran says it is developing new centrifuges - Despite interim deal with the west, Tehran's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi says Islamic republic is eying new generation of centrifuges for uranium enrichment. PM Benjamin Netanyahu: Preventing a nuclear Iran remains our primary national security goal. (Israel Hayom)
  • Report: 'Iran gets threat letter with dried bugs from Israel' - Iranian media reports country's UN office received threat letter from Israel containing dried insects, professionals remove envelope to examine content. (Ynet)


No partner for peace in Israel (Haaretz Editorial) Rejection of the Palestinian partner is a deception aimed to delude the public into thinking the Israeli government's hands are clean.
We're fooling ourselves (Yoaz Hendel, Yedioth/Ynet) Israel should build in settlement blocs because that's its policy - not as compensation for release of terrorists.
Israel is digging its own watery grave (Peretz Darr, Haaretz) Why has Israel not learned from history and is instead risking its national security on desalinated water?
Housing illusions (Ruthie Blum, Israel Hayom) The Arab war on Israel has never been about real estate.
US pressure violates negotiating strategy (Amnon Lord, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) More than Egypt, Syria or Iran, we need to fear the U.S.' unwanted involvement in negotiations with the Palestinians.
The gears of racism are oiled by ordinary bureaucrats (Gideon Levy, Haaretz) Someone must 'do the work' or 'enforce the law' and most of them are good people who do bad things.
Israel's empty gesture (Eitan Haber, Yedioth/Ynet) Murderers released next week will likely be the only ones to enjoy Israel's concession.
Birds on a wiretap (Amir Oren, Haaretz) Documents leaked by Edward Snowden show that it's easier for the American president to order a hit on a U.S. terror target than a surveillance operation.
A moral message to the nation (Chana Rosenfelder, Israel Hayom) The law is the law, and integrity and honesty are more important than any other Jewish values that a group may claim to represent.
Violence against Arab MKs harms freedom of speech (Dr. Mohammed S. Watad, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) Incidents of pouring water on Arab MK Tibi and Arab MKMajadleh are more examples of how Israeli political discourse has become intolerant and violent.
What was occupying Netanyahu's mind when he made his Christmas gaffe? (Rogel Alpher, Haaretz) When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began to tell Arab Christians that Israel is the Jewish state, he may have made an important discovery.
Living by the knife (Yoel Marcus, Haaretz) Netanyahu promised to keep the calm with a strong hand. Still, one fears a new reality of Palestinian terror attacks during the day and IDF operations at night.
Should we tie our hands? (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Any legislation that precludes the release of prisoners is essentially a no-confidence motion against the government, any government.
Christian recruits put their fate in ours (Im Tirtzu spokesman Amit Barak, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) Israel must stop the violence against Arabic-speaking Christian army recruits. Recruitment is the best thing to ensure co-existence.
Israeli right-wing assault on leftist NGOs is 'stab in the back' gambit (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz) Just like the German generals of World War I, the politicians most responsible for Israel's isolation are trying to scapegoat saboteurs at home.
Exclusive Davos confab offers Netanyahu a fresh chance for farce (Barak Ravid, Haaretz) He missed Mandela's funeral, citing cost. Now Israel is sending the PM and entourage to one of the most expensive destinations in the world.


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