News Nosh 01.12.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday January 12, 2014
Quote of the day:
"The Right needs to come to terms with the fact that there is a peace process underway and that there will be two states."
--Finance Minister Yair Lapid slams the decision to build more settlements and says the right-wing need a reality check.**


Front Page News:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Arik returns to the farm, forever - Ariel Sharon 1928-2014
Maariv
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
The death of former prime minister and general Ariel Sharon was the top story of the day with pages filled with tributes and commentary recognizing both the good and the bad in the man who fell into a coma eight years ago. On the sidelines was Israel's announcement of tenders for more than 1,800 new settler homes, which caused a 'mini political storm' among some government ministers, who said it would hurt the peace talks. Maariv reported that settlement construction was a reason that Germany wants to 'normalize' its relations with Israel, meaning Israel would no longer have Germany as its biggest European supporter. On the subject of peace talks, Yedioth reported that on a bills to be voted on today that is potentially harmful to peace talks. Few papers reported that in a speech he gave Saturday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he would not make peace with Israel without E. Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. Senior PLO member Hanan Ashrawi said accepting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state would legalize 'racism,' and Maan reported that Israel has said that it will not halt detention raids even after a peace agreement is signed. But, because many children are detained by Israel, the Palestinian Authority is now expanding its role in trying to free them. And an Israel Hayom poll showed that more than half of the Jewish Israelis felt US Secretary of State John Kerry was partial to the Palestinian side.

Ariel Sharon's coffin laid in state today at the Knesset for the public to pay its respect and tomorrow the funeral will be held at his farm. The papers were full of commentaries (See Commentary/Analysis below). Yedioth ran tributes by Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni, leaders who followed him from Likud to the Kadima party, which he formed in order to withdraw Israeli troops and civilians from Palestinian territories. They also ran portraits of him as a family man and as a military wonder. Maariv and Israel Hayom reported on the not unhappy reactions of settlers, who were evicted from the Gaza Strip because of his decision, and Palestinians in Ramallah and Gaza, who celebrated by passing out sweets: "His hands were covered with the blood of the Palestinian people," said one.

**On Friday, just days after US Secretary of State John Kerry left the country, Israel's Housing Ministry announced plans to build more than 1,800 new settler homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Peace Now said. The announcement comes despite previous warnings from the European Union that if it builds in the West Bank, "Israel risks having a finger pointed at it" if peace talks fail. Finance Minister Yair Lapid slammed the decision to build more settler homes, calling it a 'bad idea' for peace talks, and saying it would hurt Israel's economy. He promised that his party made sure the plans did not materialize. In an interview with Ynet, Lapid said the announcement of settlement construction tenders was Netanyahu's way to calm the right-wing, but that it was the wrong way: "The Right needs to come to terms with the fact that there is a peace process underway and that there will be two states. We can't act as if that isn’t happening." Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Gal-On said the plan was "a land mine planted in the peace negotiations." Environment Minister Amir Peretz (Hatunua party) also attacked the decision to build across the Green Line, saying it would endanger peace talks and Israel's relations with the US and the international community, Yedioth reported.

It is such announcements that are one of the reasons Germany wants to change its historic relations with the Jewish state as its best European friend. The new German foreign minister arrives this evening in Israel, in the shadow of erosion in relations between the two states, writes Maariv/NRG's Eli Bardenstein. The reason is partially because of Germany's fierce opposition to construction in settlements. According to Bardenstein, the Merkel government wants to be rid of the historic debt and responsibility and bring about the 'normalization' of the relations between the countries - on the basis of interests.

She did it again. Likud MK Miri Regev has another bill to prevent progress in negotiations. Today the government cabinet votes on a bill she proposed that prohibits holding negotiations over Jerusalem or the issue of Palestinian refugees without the approval of the Knesset Speaker, Yedioth reported. And while the Likud MKs ideologically support the bill, they must vote against it or abstain in order not to harm Netanyahu and tie-up negotiations with the Palestinians.
 
In a fiery Ramallah speech, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told a delegation of Jerusalemite Palestinians that "The Palestinian people won't kneel" and that "Without east Jerusalem as a capital of the state of Palestine, there will be no peace between us and Israel." 

PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi said defining Israel as a Jewish state would signify that any Jewish person would have the right to return to Palestine, while Palestinians would lose that right. She told Maan that Israel wants to "create a narrative that denies the Palestinian presence, rights, and continuity on the historic Palestinian lands."
 
Maan writes that another major obstacle to the ongoing peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is the continuation of Israeli forces' detentions raids across the West Bank, often detaining children. Israel has said that it will not halt detention raids even if a peace agreement is signed, a stipulation that is unacceptable to the Palestinian Authority. 
 
A poll in Israel Hayom reveals that 53.5% of the Jewish Israeli public mistrusts Kerry as an impartial peace talks' mediator. And, almost 70% believes Israel should not forfeit the Jordan Valley security presence in a peace deal.

Quick Hits:
  • Settler 'terror': Price tag in Kfar Qassem, foiled plot against demolisher - 30 fruit trees cut down in Arab-Israeli city. Separately, three men arrested in Kibbutz Tirat Tzvi next to house of senior appointee for issuing destruction orders. (Ynet)
  • West Bank soldiers: We guard settlers; they spit us in the face - Soldiers serving in West Bank face animosity from settlers they are assigned to protect. Following vandalism to IDF officer's car while he was meeting with settlement representatives, soldiers express sense of betrayal, asking 'How can you harm those who guard you and put their lives at risk for you? (Ynet)
  • Tires of commanding officer in Samaria Brigade slashed - After meeting with Yitzhar settlement representatives on recent friction between settlers, Palestinians, IDF General Yoav Yarom found his car was vandalized. (Ynet)
  • Serious and sharp report by Council for Peace and Security: Dealing of price-tag phenomenon by authorities is faulty, cowardly and negligent - Report by senior members of defense establishment: Price tag is not by 'crazy individuals,' but organized and acts in a military manner. "The police is incapable, the IDF commanders are fearful and the government does not care," read the report. (Yedioth p. 26)
  • State prosecutor: "Punishment for violence is not harsh enough" - Shai Nitzan made sharp criticism of courts that don't give harsh and deterring punishments to criminals of violent acts. (Yedioth, p. 26)
  • Israeli man stabbed in East Jerusalem - Israeli sources said that a suspect who "seemed to be" a Palestinian stabbed a 30-year-old Israeli in the neck before fleeing in the direction of Highway 1. (Maan)
  • Jordan Valley settlements hurt by boycott campaign - Farmers in contested fertile valley suffering steep losses from Western European boycott and divestment movement. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Israel summons Dutch ambassador over divestment - After Dutch pension manager divests from Israeli banks in protest of their involvement in West Bank settlement construction, Israel summons Dutch ambassador, asking for 'clarification.' (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Ex-Shin Bet chief flees Denmark following leftist group's complaint to police - Pro-Palestinian group accuses Carmi Gillon of torture. Danish prosecutor’s office rejects complaint for lack of evidence. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli forces disperse protest against reckless driving with tear gas - Local residents blocked a road in the town of Huwwara in the northern W Bank as part of a demonstration against speeding drivers on the road, a major north-south thoroughfare used by Israeli settlers and local Palestinian residents. Israeli soldiers launched tear gas canisters at the crowd. (Maan)
  • Dozens injured by tear gas as Israel disperses Kafr Qaddum protest - Israeli soldiers raided several neighborhoods in the village and fired hundreds of tear gas canisters in residential areas, causing dozens of people to suffer from excessive tear gas inhalation. (Maan)
  • 'There is no third intifada' - Brig. Gen. Tamir Yadai, commander of IDF Judea and Samaria division, tells Israel Hayom, "There are no signs indicating that [an uprising] is about to erupt." Yadai: "Whoever promises 100 percent results in foiling attacks is misleading you." (Israel Hayom)
  • Protesters urge release of Israeli Arab security prisoners - Village of Ara holds rally in support of Israeli Arab prisoners, whose release was set as part of US brokered resumption of peace talks between Israel, Palestinian Authority. (Ynet)
  • The rescuer comes for a visit - Mari'i Al-Krenawi, 33, from Bedouin town of Rahat, found himself at the sight of a terrible car accident and treated Dikla Cohen and her two children, who were seriously injured. Yesterday they met at the the hospital. "I have no words to thank him and his two friends who helped us." (Yedioth, p. 28)
  • IDF delays additional Iron Dome deployment due to budget cuts - Two rocket-intercepting batteries, Magic Wand long-range defense system intended for country's north remain on sidelines. Military representatives claim there will be significant consequences. (Ynet)
  • Palestinian prisoner's wife has baby from smuggled sperm - Gazan gives birth after impregnated by sperm smuggled out of Israeli prison where her husband is jailed. (Ynet)
  • Iran's Khamenei says nuclear talks show US enmity - Iranian supreme leader accuses U.S. of human rights violations, citing drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the Guantanamo Bay prison facility. West intends to focus on Iran's recent development of new centrifuges in current round of talks. (Israel Hayom)
  • Iran commander: Hezbollah's missile power improved - Head of Revolutionary Guard's aerospace division praises assassinated senior Hezbollah operative, says Israel will see his handiwork if war breaks out as new arsenal can hit and destroy any Israeli target. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Iran: Talks resolved all nuclear disagreements - Islamic republic's deputy chief negotiator Abbas Araqchi says Tehran, EU found solutions to all disagreements regarding implementation of nuclear deal. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Jewish-American public leader raps AIPAC on lobbying for more Iran sanctions - A majority of U.S. senators support bill to expand sanctions on Iran, but still lacking the vote to break Obama's promised veto. (JTA, Haaretz)


Commentary/Analysis:
Ben-Gurion didn't recognize Israel as the nation state of the entire Jewish people (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) And why Lieberman’s proposals on ceding 300,000 Israeli Arabs only strengthen Palestinian suspicions of the demand to recognize Israel as a 'Jewish State.'
Recent clash between settlers, Palestinians shows the failure of IDF, Shin Bet (Amos Harel, Haaretz) The Israeli army fails to make clear to its soldiers that they must prevent rampages by settlers, while Israel's security services are losing the struggle with Jewish terror.
What is hiding in Kerry's briefcase? (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) Recent statements imply framework deal includes all core issues, negotiations will be based on 1967 borders with equivalent land swaps, communities outside settlement blocs will be evacuated, Palestinian capital will not necessarily be within Jerusalem's municipal borders.
Hebron dig: Annexation in the guise of archaeology (Haaretz Editorial) The right’s political exploitation of archaeology threatens to turn the discipline into a mouthpiece for propaganda.
Considering the Ben-Gurion model (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Is a European economic boycott really preferable to having missiles fired at the airport?
Why Palestinians are puzzled by the 'Jewish state' demand (Ziad J. Asali, Haaretz+) Netanyahu's demand for recognition of Israel as a Jewish state bizarrely inserts Palestinians into the 'Who is a Jew' debate.
Beware, boycott ahead (Assaf Sharon, Ynet) Israeli policy beyond Green Line is exacting a real, heavy price from us as consumer, academic boycotts gain momentum.
Why Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman took a sharp turn to the left (Israel Harel, Haaretz+) In addition to forgiveness from the legal establishment, 'Sharonization' also grants political amnesty, both domestic and international.
And what about the day after (Shlomo Cesana, Israel Hayom) John Kerry is sure he can push a framework deal and extend talks for another year .Lieberman says there won't be a deal without land swaps. And what will the political cost for Netanyahu be if he moves forward toward an agreement?
Canada's sterling record of support (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) Canada's backing of Israel is comprehensive, concrete and weighty, setting a principled, pro-Israel precedent and example.
Go Canada! (Ruthie Blum, Israel Hayom) Vivian Bercovici's appointment as ambassador to Israel is not jibing with liberal dogma. Telling the truth will do that.
Not even God will save us (Yoel Marcus, Haaretz+) If Kerry fails to clinch a framework peace agreement, the U.S. will punish Israel by washing its hands of it.
Lies I've been told about 'occupation' (Yoel Ben-Nun, Ynet) Ahead of historic decision on peace deal based on half-truths, let’s not lie to ourselves.
There's only one way to counter the boycott movement (Michael Felsen, Haaretz+) Recruiting professional anti-BDS advocates isn't going to stem the campaign's growing momentum.
Palestinian state -- a US interest? (Yoram Ettinger, Israel Hayom) Thorough congressional supervision could spare the U.S. a blow to its economic and national security interests.
Sayed Kashua presents: A revolutionary peace plan (Sayed Kashua, Haaretz+) The columnist's response to Avigdor Lieberman’s territory-swapping plan is his own ambitious initiative.
 
ON ARIEL SHARON:
For all his flaws, Israel is poorer without leaders like Ariel Sharon
 (Haaretz Editorial) Since Sharon’s departure, Israel has lacked leadership that acknowledges the limits of power, maintains its alliance with the U.S., displays political courage in the territories and won’t be deterred by the settlers.
Sharon's political legacy: Livni and Lapid are in his debt (Omer Benjakob, Ynet) In taking Israel out of Gaza, Sharon created a new constituency of Israeli voters looking for peace but without compromising on security. Its impact is felt even today.
Sharon realized the limits of military power (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) This brave leader killed, destroyed and annihilated. Only later came the sobering realization that a defensive wall won’t protect Israel forever.
'Sharon was no warmonger, he just put Israel first' (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) Ynet's senior military analyst Ron Ben Yishai speaks of Ariel Sharon, a military and political commander he knew, and says Sharon was not a warmonger, but rather Ben Gurion's true disciple, only interested in Israel's survival.
Ariel Sharon: Champion of controversy (Amir Oren, Haaretz+) What will be taught about former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in the civics classes of tomorrow?
Ariel Sharon: The leader who was almost de Gaulle (Shlomo Avineri, Haaretz+) Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was able to do what the left wanted but never had the mandate for, but his final act remained a work in progress.
Ariel Sharon, the architect of Israel (Eitan Haber, Yedioth/Ynet) Former prime minister largely determined Israel's borders and Israeli way of life, as they are today.
Arik Sharon told me: 'I am Israel's most defamed political leader' (Abraham Foxman, Haaretz+) Before becoming prime minster, Sharon asked Abe Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League, to help him overcome being 'the most defamed Israeli politician.'
Sharon never let the past rule the future (Alan M. Dershowitz, Haaretz+) He asked me to withhold final judgment on his role in Sabra and Shatila - he said once more material was declassified and the full truth known, his role would be seen in a different light.
My travels with Ariel Sharon (Yossi Sarid, Haaretz+) Reflections on crossed paths with former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a unique but incorrigible soldier and politician.
Ariel Sharon, a complicated man (Daniel Kurtzer, Haaretz+) The 'bulldozer' was only one part of his complex personality: He was a very different man as prime minister from all earlier Sharons– and the most adept politician I encountered in Israel.

Interviews: 
Occupation 101: The high school principal with a different agenda
Empathy is a quality that needs to be developed in children, says Ram Cohen, director of Ticho Net high school in Tel Aviv, who believes a teacher has to be political. (Interviewed by Ayelett Shai in Haaretz+)

Richard Falk: 'Palestinians do not even have the right to have rights'
Richard Falk is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights and an American professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University. (Interviewed by Frank Barat in Maan)
 
Departures / Arrivals: Eran needed to study in London to see the Palestinian point of view (Haaretz)


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