News Nosh 01.15.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday January 15, 2014
Quote of the day:
"...if addressing both sides’ abstract psychological needs is what it takes to finalize a deal, let it be done so the conflict can end."
--Brent Sasley suggests in a Haaretz Op-Ed that in exchange for some implicit Palestinian acknowledgment of Israel’s Jewish character, Israel accepts partial responsibility for the Naqba.**

Front Page News:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • US to Netanyahu: Renounce Yaalon
  • The painful truth // Shimon Shiffer
  • In a parallel universe // Alon Pinkas
  • They taught the teachers a lesson - Following student protest, the annual hiking trips will return
  • Between holy and roll - Want to order sushi? Call Eish Kodesh settler outpost in Samaria
  • From beginning of month 400 career soldiers dismissed
  • Red light - Founder of 'Green Light' organization: State responsible for rise in road deaths
  • Don't throw us out - Almost half a million Israelis are at retirement age don't have a pension
Israel Hayom

Peace Talk Highlights:
The top story in today's Hebrew papers was how the US is furious at Israel and expects Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to make a public renouncement of the remarks by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Maariv that the gaps between the US and Israel are 'bridgeable.' Also in the Hebrew papers was the news that Israeli forces pulled over  the Palestinian Prime Minister's car . However, they did not tell the whole story, Maan reveals.

Last night at about midnight, Yaalon's ministry published an apology of sorts for calling US Secretary of State John Kerry 'obsessive and messianic.' The remarks has caused another rift between the two allies. But the US State Department still demands Netanyahu make clear publicly that Kerry is concerned about Israel's security interests. Netanyahu said that Yaalon's remarks don't change Israel's cooperation with the US, but he stopped there. Netanyahu and Yaalon have good relations and, as Alon Pinkas writes in Yedioth, Netanyahu did not call Yaalon in to his office and chastise him, nor did he make a public apology. However, Israeli ministers on the center and left side of the political spectrum have slammed Yaalon for his remarks, accusing him of harming ties with the US.
Maariv/NRG Hebrew reports on an expression of support from a far right-wing cabinet member. In a phone call from Geneva, Foreign Minister Avidgdor Lieberman said, "Israel is willing to go far, but the key is security arrangements." When asked whether the gap between the US proposal and the Israeli demands is bridgeable, Lieberman said: "It appears - that is it possible to bridge between the American positions and our positions."

Meanwhile, Israeli security forces stopped Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdullah's car, causing a row. The Israeli police said he was stopped for reckless driving. Some Hebrew reports said that he was released immediately. However, a video uploaded by an Israeli human rights activist shows that he was there over 20 minutes. The Israeli police said it was because he demanded an apology from the Israeli security forces for stopping him. Hamdullah said in a video that the soldiers tried to push his car over and kill him. But Maan revealed he was stopped not once, but twice in the same day. The first time was the one reported on in the media and filmed - near Turmus Aya village, north of Ramallah. Maan reported that it was not police that stopped him, but 'a group of settlers escorted by Israeli soldiers.' The video shows that mostly military. The second time was near Zaatar checkpoint in Nablus area. Israeli forces blocked his car's path and asked for the IDs of those with him.  They refused and continued on their way, Maan reported. A Palestinian government spokesman said that Israeli forces intentionally impeded the movement of the prime minister as part of the series on violations against Palestinians.

Quick Hits:
  • Settlers attack Palestinian Authority health ministry vehicle with rocks - The vehicle's windows were smashed and several passengers suffered light injuries from broken glass. The incident occurred near al-Sawiya village, near Nablus, as a group of seven ministry staff members were returning to Ramallah. (Maan)
  • Target number one in the West Bank: a 19 year old from Beit-El settlement - David Hay Hasdai, 19, a hilltop youth who is making the security forces in the West Bank crazy. In a letter to the Commander of Central Command, he wrote: "1000 restraining orders will not erase my smile." (Maariv, p. 1/NRG Hebrew)
  • Bill: "price tag" acts will be defined as acts of terrorism - "We can not put up with terrorists who, in the name of Judaism, perform actions that may result in an escalation area. We must remove them from among us," said Labor MK Eitan Cabel, who proposed the bill that would give a 20 year prison sentence to perpetrators. (NRG Hebrew)
  • Rightist Israelis tour Aqsa, 4 Palestinian women denied entry - A group of some 25 right-wing Israelis led by extremist Yehuda Glick toured the al-Aqsa compound. Meanwhile, Palestinian tour guide Ehab al-Jallad was detained by Israeli police while touring the compound with a group of students. Four Palestinian women were also denied entry to the mosque compound by Israeli forces, with no reason given. (Maan)
  • Draft evaders responsible for 'price tag' attack on base, Israeli army says - Two young men arrested on suspicion of spraying graffiti at Tel Hashomer army base. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinian prisoner 'beaten' by Israeli jail doctor - Alaa al-Hams, who is at Eshel prison, said that on Dec. 2 he suffered from severe pain in the stomach, was unable to move his limbs, and started foaming from his mouth. The doctor at the prison infirmary repeatedly beat and threw him on the ground, he said. He later started a hunger strike. (Maan)
  • Israeli military vehicles cross Gaza border, navy fires at fishermen - Israeli military vehicles crossed into the northern Gaza Strip for surveillance activities on Monday. Separately, Israeli warships opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the coast near al-Sudaniyya west of Beit Lahiya. (Maan)
  • Official Israeli curriculum likens Ariel Sharon to Moses - Study material following Sharon's death overlooks Lebanon War and other controversial chapters in life of late leader. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli flag to fly at CERN in mark of full membership - Blue Star of David joining flags of 20 other members of international physics laboratory. (Haaretz)
  • Owners of 'ghost apartments' to pay extra municipal tax - As of last weekend, people who live abroad but own apartments in Israel, will have to pay higher taxes if their property is not occupied for a total of nine months. The idea is to encourage overseas owners to sell, lowering local real estate costs. (Israel Hayom)
  • NGO condemns detention of photographers by Palestinian security forces - The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms condemned Palestinian security forces for allegedly detaining photographers and deleting video footage off their cameras during recent protests in Ramallah. (Maan)
  • Palestinian Authority fuel delivery policy to Gaza could 'shut power plant' - The power and natural resources authority of the Gaza Strip government on slammed the Palestinian Authority's petroleum authority for delivering fuel on a day- to-day basis, leaving the supply open to disruptions. The fuel being sent from the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority to the Hamas-run government in the Gaza Strip was bought with a $10 million donation from Qatar intended to ease the fuel crisis in the besieged coastal enclave. (Maan)
  • Israel sees safe passage for chemical arms out of Syria - International forces begin to oversee Syria begins to dismantle 1,300 tons of its chemical weapons, under a deal brokered by the U.S. and Russia. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Ambassador: Qatar to grant work visas to 20,000 Palestinians - Palestinian Authority prime minister Rami Hamdallah, met with Sheikh Tamim two weeks ago, requesting that Qatar allow Palestinian specialists to work in Qatar in order to help reduce unemployment rates in Palestine. The move comes after 20 years in which Qatar refused giving Palestinians work visas. (Maan)
  • Palestinians apologize for illegal arms at Prague embassy - Weapons discovered after explosion of embassy safe killed Palestinian ambassador. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Palestinians in Syria 'not human shields' - PLO executive committee member Ahmad al-Majdalani said that the people of Yarmouk refugee camp would not be used as "human shields" in Syrian fighting. "The kidnapping of Yarmouk camp by terrorist militias is a war crime; it is a brutal and inhumane crime against humanity." (Maan)
  • Senior Iranian MP: Israel is the only loser in this nuclear deal - Parliamentarian hails agreement as harbinger of the end of sanctions, for which Israel has labored to increase; U.S. senators back continued sanctions. (Haaretz+)

How Israel's defense minister shot himself in the foot
 (Barak Ravid, Haaretz) Moshe Ya'alon's attack on Kerry is an attack on Obama too.
Ya'alon's frustration got out of control (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) After being blasted by Kerry and his team as main obstacle to framework agreement with Palestinians, frustrated defense minister had enough, but frustration is no substitute for sophisticated public diplomacy.
An apartheid legal system just got worse (Haaretz Editorial) Prohibition on Palestinian appeals to military court decisions confiscating their property embodies the essence of occupation.
The painful truth (Shimon Shiffer, Yedioth) Shiffer reminds his readers that Defense Minister Yaalon is said to have described US Secretary of State John Kerry as, "obsessive and Messianic," and suggests, "There is something refreshing and much more important than niceties in these remarks – straight talk directly with Israel's citizens...It seems that US Secretary of State John Kerry has almost completely adopted the Palestinian position...This is the background to Yaalon's sharp remarks in closed talks with American sources. The draft agreement which they are offering is liable to end as a security disaster for Israel, but if we insist on our vital interests they will blame us for the failure of the talks. And if this is the case, it is no wonder that the Defense Minister is outraged...The Defense Minister claims that, in effect, there are no negotiations right now because Abu Mazen is refusing to recognize Israel as the national state of the Jewish people, is refusing to give up on the right of return and is refusing to sign an agreement that would lead to the end of all claims. Maybe this truth hurts, but somebody has to say it – and this is what Yaalon did."
**Israel needs borders, not therapy (Brent Sasley, Haaretz+) If Netanyahu must demand recognition of Israel as a 'Jewish state,' it could be an expensive trade-off: Israel recognizing its part in the Palestinian Nakba.
Our excessive howls of anti-Semitism (Esti Shoshan, Ynet) Uproar over coverage of NY Hasid's murder shows trauma of anti-Semitism has taken over our minds in an irreversible manner.
Israel, a far cry from traitorous Iran (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The Islamic Republic has removed God from the nuclear equation and decided to choose life; Israel meanwhile is firm that not only are the Palestinians not a partner - neither is the United States,
Yaalon: The quiet destroyer (Shalom Yerushalmi, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) claims that, "The Defense Minister has become the quiet eliminator of the diplomatic process...He stopped believing in it after the Oslo accords." Yerushalmi asserts that the remarks in question, "caused Israel serious diplomatic damage at a time when the government is feeling the momentum in light of the Palestinians' hardline positions and the latest terrorist actions." Yerushalmi speculates that Yaalon is a potential leader of right-wing opposition within the Likud, and beyond it, should Prime Minister Netanyahu, "decide to take a historic step and announce that he accepts the principle of dividing the land," and is calculating his steps accordingly.
Where the Democrats divide on Iran (and Israel) (Ali Gharib, Haaretz+) If the U.S. Senate sanctions bill ends up triggering hostilities between the U.S. and Iran, there will be bad times ahead for the pro-Israel groups pushing sanctions– and their Democrat supporters.
Israel must heed the warning signs (Prof. Ron Breiman, Israel Hayom) Focusing on security arrangements in the Jordan Valley is nothing but a smokescreen meant to divert attention from the true course of a peace process taking place behind the scenes.
Why I can't mourn for Ariel Sharon (Amit Schejter, Haaretz+) His death reawoke memories that I ordinarily try to suppress from when I was just one of Ariel Sharon's pawns.
The delicate business of eulogizing Sharon (Yossi Mekelberg, Haaretz+) The eight years Sharon spent in a coma clearly mellowed the assessments - in public at least - of world leaders and the Western media of his often aggressive and flawed policies.
Israel should apologize to U.S. Jews for Pollard (David Fachler, Haaretz+) The spy saga's critical lesson has still not been learnt: Israel can't take Diaspora Jews for granted while trampling on their rights when convenient.
The mistakes behind the myth (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) It is a shame the sad farewell from Sharon is clouded by an attempt to bury the truth.
Non-academic activity doesn't belong in Israel's ivory towers (Ariel Rubinstein, Haaretz+) When professors invite to a conference a speaker who praises the academic boycott of Israel – it is a disgrace.
A complex, but admirable man (MK Isaac Herzog, Israel Hayom) Sharon understood there was no choice but to make a supreme effort to separate from the Palestinians.
I'd move to Palestine, if it were real (Oudeh Basharat, Haaretz+) The creature known as the Arab citizen was the product of a traumatic rape. Yet even he has the right to think about his future.
Terror in the West Bank, rockets in Gaza (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Israeli security forces say it is clear that the Palestinian Authority is afraid to deal with the growing pockets of anarchy in the refugee camps.

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