News Nosh 01.23.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday January 23, 2014
Quote of the day:
"It's an ostrich policy..."
--Justice Minister and chief Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni accuses right-wing politicians of ignoring the reality.** 

Front Page News:
Yedioth Ahronoth
Israel Hayom
The pesticide killed the little girls
Only in Switzerland: Very close (photo of the Israeli and Iranian delegations' planes side-by-side)
Binyanei Hauma conference center in the crosshairs of Al-Qaeda

Peace Talks and Security Highlights:
The death of two children from pesticide and the Shin Bet claim that it thwarted Al-Qaeda attacks in Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem were top stories. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Shimon Peres - and their airplane - made news from Davos, while European ambassadors warned Israel of the consequences of its settlement expansion policies, a subject that Israeli ministers are arguing over. And Yedioth writes that Israel has renewed its assassination policy in Gaza.
**Netanyahu, Peres and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni arrived in Davos already making headlines. The papers write that Netanyahu will be talking strictly business at the Davos conference to avoid the anticipated criticism of his policies, while Livni and Peres will be talking about peace and warning about the lack of it. Senior Foreign Ministry officials accused Livni of strengthening the support for a boycott of Israel through her statements exposing an extreme and marginal positions, in order to scare the public into supporting her political agenda, Maariv/NRG's Eli Bardenstein reported. Livni responded saying "It's an ostrich policy (head in the ground) and we need to tell the citizens of Israel the truth: Without a political agreement Israel will be in economic danger." Peres also received criticism from right-wing politicians for saying that Netanyahu's demand for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is "unnecessary." Minister Yuval Steinitz said that  without recognition, there will not be peace.
However, it is Peres, not Netanyahu, who will be honored with the "Golden Bell" at a prestigious ceremony - and Netanyahu was not invited, Maariv reports. Neither Netanyahu's or Peres' offices said they knew why. Netanyahu will meet with Kerry at that time. Maariv/NRG Hebrew's correspondent at Davos, Ariel Kahane, called the presence of both the Israeli leaders the 'double performance of Peres and Netanyahu.' "It's hard to believe, but the two Israeli leaders, Peres and Netanyahu, claimed they share the same vision," he wrote. The President and Prime Minister arrived at the economic summit in Switzerland to attract investments to Israel, but Peres will also be waving a flag for a peace agreement with the Palestinians. "They both believe that hi-tech, inventions and patents are the thing that Israel can sell the world, maybe even lead the world." But the two leaders part ways "of course" when it comes to the Palestinian issue, he continues. While Netanyahu thinks that his policies and the economy are fine, Peres believes the Palestinian issue threatens to harm Israel's economy and that if Netanyahu does not take drastic steps, the boycott of Israel and isolation will come. Peres' people say Peres will make a penetrating political speech.

Former Industry Minister Shalom Simchon agrees with Peres and made that clear in a sharp jibe at pro-settler Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, the latter who said this week that peace with the Palestinians will be an economic disaster for Israel. Speaking at an economic conference, Simchon said: "There is a senior minister who does not understand the meaning of the isolation the country. The State of Israel exports $80 billion annually and it has until the end of the decade to cross the line of $100 billion dollars. If that does not happen the country will be in deep trouble." (NRG Hebrew)

The straight-talking and blunt Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman met his match in the new EU envoy, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, who warned Israel - and the Palestinians - that the failure of the talks would endanger the future of relations with the EU, Israel's biggest economic partner, writes Maariv's Eli Bardenstein. The Foreign Ministry claimed that European criticism of Israel was harming the peace talks, because the Palestinians know that the Europeans will blame Israel for the failure of the talks and that Europe was singling Israel out and not condemning the Palestinians. The EU envoy said there was no truth to the claims that the EU was biased.
Meanwhile, Germany has conditioned high-tech and science grants on banning settlement funding, Haaretz+ reported, and Israel fears the German move will lead other European Union member states to follow suit. While the Horizon 2020 scientific cooperation agreement with the EU prohibited EU funding for academic research conducted in the settlements, Berlin has now extended the funding ban to private companies located over the Green Line, writes Barak Ravid.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid said Wednesday that he will not allow the transfer of funds for new settlement construction (Hebrew). [MK Stav Shafir has exposed that he has approved millions to settlers till now - OH]. But Knesset Finance Committee Chairman MK Nissan Slomiansky of the pro-settler Habayit Hayehudi party responded said his committee would continue to work to fund settlers: "The Finance Committee will continue cooperation with the Minister of Finance to take care of the needs of 400 thousand citizens of Israel who live beyond the Green Line." (NRG Hebrew)
Ynet ran a feature looking at the Israelis who say Israel does not need a military presence in the Jordan Valley - an Israeli demand that the Palestinians will not agree to.
Yedioth writes that Israel has decided to return to its assassination policy, something it had ceased as a part of the agreement with Hamas at the end of Israel's Pillar of Cloud attack on Gaza. The decision follows the recent rockets shot from Gaza. Until this week, Israel responded to rocket attacks by hitting Gazan military camps and infrastructure.  Yesterday the Israeli Air Force killed Ahmed Zaanin, 22, of the military wing of the Popular Front, who was involved in shooting the rockets into fields outside Gaza during Ariel Sharon's funeral. The Hamas-run government in Gaza denied reports that it had deployed additional forces at the Gaza Strip border to stop attacks on Israel.

Quick Hits:
  • Israeli soldiers shoot, injure 2 Palestinians near Nablus - Settlers from Itamar raided Beit Furik village and began damaging Palestinian homes and other property. Clashes broke out after locals confronted the attackers and Israeli forces intervened shooting at the Palestinians with live fire. (Maan)
  • Settlers uproot hundreds of trees near Ramallah - A group of settlers from Givat Ariel and Maale Levona uprooted over 600 newly planted olive and almond saplings in Sinjil village. The saplings were planted by the International Committee of the Red Cross to support 70 Palestinian families. (Maan)
  • Detention of Har Bracha settler who attacked soldier extended - Police arrested resident of Har Bracha in Samaria on suspicion of attacking a soldier last Tuesday, when IDF forces were protecting Palestinians working [on their own land assumably - OH] near the settlement. The settler reportedly began beating a soldier, injuring his eye. (Israel Hayom, p. 13)
  • 'We’re afraid to voice leftist views,’ ORT students tell Knesset - 'Students must be educated to the values of the flag,' says Knesset member to students of Adam Verete, who could be fired for expressing leftist views in class. (Haaretz+)
  • MKs fight for 'leftist' teacher: 'IDF is sometimes immoral' - In heated Knesset debate about teacher who expressed negative opinion of Israeli army, Education Committee chairman says current discussion is highly significant, teacher should be immediately brought back to class. (Ynet)
  • Netanyahu and Rohani make peace - on the Zurich tarmac - The Israeli and Iranian leaders arrived in Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum, where their jets were parked side by side. (Haaretz and Bloomberg)
  • Hamas lawmaker on hunger strike to protest detention without charges - Hamas-affiliated lawmaker Sheikh Yasser Mansour entered his sixth day on hunger strike Wednesday to protest being detained without trial by Israel since November 2012. He also refuses to take medicine. Israel is currently holding over 140 Palestinians in administrative detention, i.e. without trial or charge. (Maan)
  • Foundation: Israeli excavations in Silwan demolish Islamic antiquities - Israeli excavations at the entrance to Wadi Hilweh in the Silwan neighborhood are destroying deep-rooted Islamic antiquities from the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphate eras, says a Palestinian Jerusalem-based group. The excavations lay the grounds for the construction of an 8-floor Jewish center to be called the Biblical Temple. (Maan)
  • Mourners bury 2 Palestinians after remains held 12 years in Israel - Hundreds of Palestinian mourners on Wednesday gathered for the funerals of two Palestinians whose remains had been held in Israel for more than 12 years. (Maan)
  • Security forces uncover weapons cache in Hebron - Two Palestinian residents of Hebron arrested for storing variety of weapons in their home, including Uzi submachine gun, M-16 assault rifle, carbine rifle, hand guns and some 8,000 bullets. Weapons believed to be earmarked for terrorist attacks. (Israel Hayom)
  • Likud MK Feiglin: When I'm prime minister Tibi will sit in jail - MK Moshe Feiglin sharply criticized the behavior of (Arab) MK Ahmad Tibi during the Knesset speech of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. MK Tibi interrupted [while Harper spoke of what a great democracy Israel - OH] by saying that his fellow Arab MK, Taleb Abu-Arar, does not have electricity or running water in his village. Feiglin wrote on his Facebook page: I said what every sane Israeli feels about him. (NRG Hebrew+VIDEO)
  • UN kicks off international year of solidarity with Palestinians - Israel envoy to United Nations Ron Prosor slams event, calls international body a 'propaganda machine.' (Haaretz+)
  • Fatah official, Legislative Council members arrive in Gaza - A Fatah official and two Palestinian Legislative Council members have arrived in the Gaza Strip to hold meetings with Hamas. The Legislative Council members are in Gaza for the first time since 2007. (Maan
  • Hamas criticizes Abbas' appointment of new elections chief - “This decision contradicts the Cairo agreement which states that an elections committee should be formed in coordination” between factions, a Hamas statement said. (Maan)
  • Defense Minister Ya’alon: Home Front Defense Ministry is waste of money - Minister says agency should be shut down, its duties split between army and Defense Ministry. (Haaretz+) 
  • Netanyahu to meet with Google, Yahoo chiefs at Davos - Peres to discuss peace talks, Iranian nuclear program. (Haaretz)
  • Scarlett Johansson under fire for supporting Israeli SodaStream - Actress will appear in soda pop-making gadget's Super Bowl commercial, as BDS supporters cry for boycott is muted by product's unique success. (Ynet)
  • Streets in Arab towns to get names, under new bill - Most streets in Arab towns and villages still lack names and numbers, which causes some inconvenience. (Haaretz+) 
  • UNESCO Jewish exhibit delayed for 6 months - UN's cultural agency puts exhibition tying Jews to land of Israel on hold day before opening after content complaints from Arab members states. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Fox to make TV series about Syria's Bashar Assad - in Israel - Kfar Saba beat Herzliya Studios in bid to host filming, sparking 'breach of contract' accusation. (Haaretz+)
  • Sundance film spotlights Palestinian collaborator for Israel - Israeli director Nadav Schirman said he decided to focus his movie on the astonishing relationship between Mossab Hassan Youssef, the oldest son of Hamas official Sheikh Hassan Yousef, and his Shin Bet handler, Gonen Ben Yitzhak. (Maan)
  • Canada's prime minister rocks out, sings to Israeli crowd - WATCH: Guests at JNF gala in Jerusalem received special performance by Stephen Harper who took stage, sang numerous songs to keen crowd. Netanyahu: Didn't know he was a rock star. (Yedioth/Ynet+VIDEO)
  • Harper: I will not single out Israel for criticism - On third day of Israel trip, Canadian PM Stephen Harper meets with President Shimon Peres, visits Yad Vashem with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Peres tells Harper: Thank you for your outstanding friendship. (Israel Hayom)
  • IDF chief heads to Brussels for NATO defense chiefs' meeting - IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz will meet with his counterparts and present Israel's security challenges with an emphasis on the Middle East and global terrorism. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel may send second astronaut into space - Eleven years after the tragic death of Col. Ilan Ramon in the 2003 Columbia shuttle disaster, Israel Space Agency considers sending a second Israeli astronaut into space. Announcement comes ahead of Israel Space Week. (Israel Hayom)
  • One in 5 Israeli youths drink alcohol regularly, study finds - Some 21% of Israeli children ages 11 to 15 drink regularly, up from 6% in 1994. Parents send the wrong message, says chief scientist. And 24,000 teens dropped out of school in 2013, less than half of whom were later helped by authorities. (Israel Hayom)
  • European businesses abuzz with preparations to rush back into Iran - As sanctions ease, Western businesses flood back to Middle East economic powerhouse. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Guide: Who's fighting who in Syria? Can't tell the difference between Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant? Here's a short guide to help you out. (Agencies, Haaretz)
Strong democracies don’t need to brag. Israelis, take note (Haaretz Editorial) Right-wing politicians keep telling us how Israel’s political system is better than Syria’s. It’s getting ridiculous.
The boycott’s boogeymen exploit Netanyahu's weakness (Israel Harel, Haaretz+) Israeli boycotts failing all around, only Israel's government keeps the fear alive.
The boycotting starts here (Ya'acov Berg, Israel Hayom) When business leaders or cabinet ministers say that "unless we sign a deal Israel's economy would be imperiled," isn't that the biggest boost the boycotters could ask for?
Yesh Atid: Make peace not signs (Tal Schneider, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) Yair Lapid speaks to the middle class, and turns his back on the Arabs in Israel and the poor. The voter's annual grade: "Barely passing." 
Israel, save the Palestinians in Syria’s Yarmouk refugee camp (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Israel should declare that its gates are open for the 20,000 besieged residents to reunite with their families. 
American war weariness? Think again! (Jonathan Adelman and Asaf Romirowsky, Ynet) Americans should remember that while wars are not intrinsically desirable, they are needed to protect the values we cherish. 
Harper's overblown Israel lovefest (Matthew Hays, Haaretz+) Why are many Canadians uncomfortable about how handsomely their PM repaid his Israeli hosts for the effusive welcome he received in Jerusalem this week 
The Israel-lovers club of Canada and Australia: White, Conservative and Christian (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Hearing Stephen Harper in the Knesset this week, one can imagine PM Netanyahu imploring God to 'castle' the Canadian PM with the guy who sits in the White House. 
Preventing the next escalation (Zvika Fogel, Israel Hayom) Now is the time for us to take the initiative and vanquish those who seek to harm us.
The struggle for Israel’s soul: Human rights vs. rampant nationalism (Carlo Strenger, Haaretz+) The conflict between the center-left and the ultranationalist right isn’t about risk management.Peres might inflict harm on Israel (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) By agreeing to the phrase "Jewish state" -- mentioned in the U.N. Partition Plan -- the Arabs would essentially agree to make no further claims. So what's wrong with that phrase?
The only 'leader’ who speaks for American Jews on Iran is Barack Obama (Peter Beinart, Haaretz+) Most American Jews support Obama’s policies on Iran - so in whose name are their so-called 'leaders’ sabotaging his nuclear diplomacy?Test yourself on Israel and Kerry: What kind of Messianic Obsessive are you? (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) If you're reading this - that is, if you still give half a hoot about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - there's now a word to describe your condition. Fifth in a series.

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