News Nosh 01.14.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday January 14, 2014
Quote of the day:
"The American security plan presented to us is not worth the paper it's written on."
--Senior Likud and cabinet member, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, does not like the Kerry framework proposal.**

Front Page News:
Yedioth Ahronoth
Israel Hayom

Peace Talk Highlights:
Ariel Sharon was buried yesterday near his farm in the Negev, grabbing the top story in Hebrew papers today. On the peace process front, US Vice President Biden told Israeli leaders that now is the time to make peace, but a senior Israeli minister said the US framework deal was a no-go for Israel.

US Secretary of State John Kerry delayed his visit here for unknown reasons, but Sharon's funeral brought US Vice President Biden, who met with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Shimon Peres. Biden and Peres agreed that now is the time for Israel to make peace with the Palestinians. Haaretz+ reported that Biden passed a message to Netanyahu from US President Barack Obama that Obama stands behind Kerry's peace efforts. Biden also said that Israel and Palestine can be an 'island of stability' in the Mideast. Kerry is expected back in the region in the coming weeks to deliver the 'framework' for a future peace deal.

**The popularity of Kerry's peace plan is not high among Likud ministers. Yedioth revealed unprecedented harsh criticism by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon of Kerry's framework plan and of Kerry himself. Yaalon reportedly told his associates that "the American security plan presented to us is not worth the paper it's written on." He noted "there have been no negotiations between us and the Palestinians for all these months – but rather between us and the Americans." Yaalon called Kerry "messianic" and "obsessive." Last week, Israel Hayom quoted Yaalon saying Kerry's plan for the Jordan Valley was 'ridiculous,' but Yaalon denied saying them. Now it appears that they were true. Earlier this week, Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin said Israel should reject Kerry's proposal. And most of the Likud cabinet members voted in favor of annexing parts of the Jordan Beqaa Valley, which is meant to be part of a Palestinian state.

Quick Hits:
  • Palestinian child hurt in Israeli strike on Gaza following rocket fire during Sharon funeral - Rockets landed near Sycamore Ranch in Israel's south, where the former prime minister was being buried; IDF retaliated with attacks on targets in central and southern Gaza. (Haaretz)
  • Despite Israeli warning to Hamas, 2 rockets fired from Gaza - Rockets reportedly land at sea. Israeli security source says Israel made it clear to Hamas that Monday "would be a very bad day for anyone there to test Israel's patience." No immediate response from Hamas or from Egyptian authorities. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli ambassadors warned: "The EU creates an atmosphere that encourages boycotting of Israel" - During a conference of ambassadors of the Foreign Ministry, warned participants that the European sanctions on settlements may spill into green line within a year. Former Israeli Ambassador to EU: "Europe legitimizes governmental organizations to boycott cooperation with Israel. " (Maariv, p.1/NRG Hebrew)
  • Palestinian protesters block entrance to Gush Etzion settlement - Protesters blocked the main entrance and planted trees to Elazar settlement near Bethlehem as a message to settlers that their homes were built on illegally confiscated Palestinian land. The protest caused a major traffic jam until Israeli forces dispersed demonstrators, detaining three Palestinian activists in the process. (Maan and NRG Hebrew)
  • Palestinians barred from appealing property confiscation in Israeli military court - They can still appeal through the Supreme Court, but the process is cumbersome and costly. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli forces 'assault' mentally challenged man near Hebron - Israeli forces beat a mentally disabled Palestinian man while he was waiting for his mother on Monday at the entrance to al-Arrub refugee camp north of Hebron. (Maan)
  • Obama's defense secretary wanted Netanyahu banned from White House - Robert Gates writes in memoir that he 'was offended by his glibness and his criticism of US policy - not to mention his arrogance and outlandish ambition.' (Ynet)
  • Israeli rabbis and police officers are getting too chummy, some say - Years-old bribery investigation could come back to haunt the top ranks of the Israel Police. (Haaretz+)
  • Appointment of new pro-Israel Canadian envoy sparks debate - The appointment of a pro-Israel lawyer and former columnist as Ottawa’s new ambassador has stirred controversy among media, politicians. (Haaretz+)
  • Sharon to be memorialized by IDF, honored by schools - IDF chief names new instruction facility the Ariel Sharon Training Complex. Educators told to discuss Sharon's work as military leader and politician throughout the week. Topics to include disengagement and landmark U.N. address. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli (settlement) firm SodaStream hires Scarlett Johansson as its new face - The Jewish-American actress is a loyal user of the Israeli home-carbonation system; their partnership will kick off in a TV advertisement on Superbowl Sunday. (Haaretz)
  • Lebanon: Iranian FM meets with Nasrallah - Iran's FM Zarif met with Hezbollah leader Nasrallah. The two spoke about regional developments, namely Syira, and promised to 'work together to deal with terror, infidelity and radicalism – the regions largest threats.' (Ynet)
  • Twitter suspends account of Hamas' military wing - Iz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades blames U.S., Israel of pressuring social media platform into move. (Haaretz)
  • Egypt destroys 10 Gaza smuggling tunnels - Egyptian security forces demolished 10 smuggling tunnels under the shared border with Gaza on Sunday. The tunnels have been a lifeline for the flow of food, clothing, building materials and fuel into the impoverished territory. (Maan)


To the self-righteous among us: The bleak statistics on West Bank attacks (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) The blood and gore of the latest attack in Qusra turned heads, but it wasn't unique.
Diplomatic architect or contractor? (Prof. Abraham Ben-Zvi, Israel Hayom) Pundits and political analysts are convinced that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's peace efforts are a one-man act. Accordingly, an indefatigable Kerry has succumbed to an irresistible urge to pursue his own peace agenda. The White House's priorities are of no concern to him.
The cursing of Ariel Sharon (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz)  The former prime minister had been the target of many a warning and kabbalistic curse
Sharon in Arab world: Admired enemy (Smadar Perry, Yedioth/Ynet) Despite being overly suspicious of him, Arab leaders learned to respect Israeli leader.
Arik the recalcitrant and brutal (Emily L. Hauser, Haaretz+) Sharon and his worldview of endless war represent all that is most painful about Israel’s history, for me.
And now, a history lesson (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Researchers will have ample fodder with which to examine Ariel Sharon's multifarious impact on the history of Israel.
Why Ariel Sharon, who said 'no' to the settlers, was my hero (Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, Haaretz+) Sharon was the one Israeli politician who didn't show sniveling cowardice in the face of extremists.
The Right must forgive Sharon (Rami Simani, Ynet) God chose Ariel Sharon to save an entire nation not just once, but four times.
Another effort to silence dissent (Haaretz Editorial) Banning the term 'Nazi' from public discourse is an infringement on freedom of expression and has no place in a democracy.
Not my grandmother's Nazi (Roni Bar, Haaretz+) Israelis haven’t cheapened the term; we’ve defeated it.

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