News Nosh 11.12.18

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday, November 12, 2018
You Must Be Kidding: 
“I don’t regret torching the school. I regret that I sat in prison, but I paid the price.”
--Racist arsonist Yitzhak Gabai, who sat in jail for three years for setting part of the Jewish-Arab Yad Be-Yad school on fire, declared cheerfully in an interview on the right-wing Channel 20 station. His interviewer, Boaz Golan, chuckled.*

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links)
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
The big story of the day was the Israeli military operation that was exposed in the Gaza Strip causing clashes, deaths and an escalation. The statements made by Israeli Prime Minister Binaymin Netanyahu at a press conference in Paris yesterday and his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which Netanyahu called ‘very important,’ were also high in the news. And Maariv reported a couple of other interesting things Netanyahu said.

At a press conference in Paris Sunday afternoon, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu defended his the transfer of money to Hamas as part of a long-term agreement, saying that he was "doing everything I can to prevent an unnecessary war." At the same time, he said that "No political solution exists for Gaza, just as there isn't one with ISIS and Iran,” but that “we want to prevent a humanitarian collapse in Gaza, and that's what we're doing.” In the evening, Channel 11 News reported that the Israeli security cabinet approved the next stage in the arrangement - rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip in exchange for negotiations on the release of Israelis held by Hamas in return for a lull in the fighting (Maariv).

About one hour later, reports came out that Israeli commandos on a secret military operation deep in the Gaza Strip were exposed and that a heavy barrage of fire was being exchanged with the result of six (later seven) Palestinians killed, including a high-ranking Hamas military commander. “After the IDF force was revealed, the IAF aircraft began firing to allow the soldiers to withdraw, which led to fatalities on the our side," Hamas's statement read afterward. Today’s Yedioth called it the “destruction of the long-term arrangement.” Schools near the Gaza Strip would be closed today, they reported, and Netanyahu was returning early from his Paris Peace Conference trip. The Israeli military insisted that the operation was not an assassination or kidnapping attempt, but an intelligence-gathering mission that went awry. Only today, did the news websites report that a senior Israeli officer was also killed during the operation and another Israeli soldier was wounded and 17 projectiles were fired at Israel, three of them intercepted by Iron Dome.

Following the fatal clash in the Gaza Strip, Chairman of the Zionist Camp, Avi Gabbay, criticized Netanyahu’s actions. “(Netanyahu) said that there is no solution for Hamas and compared them to ISIS - it does not make sense. He has all the tools to succeed politically and security-wise. If he does not succeed, he must put down the keys…We support the long-term agreement (with Hamas) and not war, but the situation at the moment shows that there is no strategy because these crises were not dealt with in time. Everything that is done in the cabinet - is politics and irresponsible work." Earlier Sunday, during a speech at a ceremony commemorating the 14th anniversary of the death of late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas criticized the Hamas movement for making the deal with Israel. Abbas said it undermines his goal of establishing an independent Palestinian state that includes all of the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip.

According to Channel 10 News, Netanyahu told a former senior justice official, a few months ago, “I am willing to leave my job, but there is no one to take the keys.” The Likud responded: "This was not said.” Moreover, a senior government minister said that Netanyahu decided that if he falls, the Likud party will fall with him. (Maariv) The minister said that Netanyahu “is a megalomaniac who desires to be the leader who served for the longest time in Israel and it is causing him to leave behind scorched earth.” Despite the feeling in recent weeks that the issue of early elections was abandoned in favor of the security issues, in the political system most of the players are already preparing for the possibility that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may order the dissolution of the government and call for early elections, Maariv reported. MKs and ministers in the Likud are energetically preparing for this scenario with the understanding that the primaries held before the general elections could be very difficult for many of them, even those who currently hold senior positions around the government table.
Quick Hits:
  • High Court judge: Science minister may use political considerations in appointments - A hearing was held over Science Minister Akunis’ nixing of left-wing professor’s appointment to panel. Attorney General Mandelblit refused to represent him. (Haaretz)
  • **Channel 20 slammed for amicable interview with torcher of Arab-Jewish school - Right-wing station issues apology after arsonist Yitzhak Gabai cheerfully declares live on air that he doesn’t regret setting fire to bilingual institute in Jerusalem.[NOTE: The interviewer, Boaz Golan, did not ask sharp questions or express any criticism of Gabai's acts and chuckled when Gabai declared he had no regrets for burning the Yad Be-Yad School. - OH] (Times of Israel)
  • Israel interior minister attacks (secular) mayoral candidate: ‘The devil wants to make Jerusalem secular’ - Ahead of Tuesday’s mayoral election, Shas leader Arye Dery says ‘entire left’ is supporting Berkovitch. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli army detains dozens of American activists planting flowers in the West Bank - Some 45 American along with 20 Israelis and Palestinians were detained and had their passports photographed after helping repair a playground near Bethlehem. Army claims group engaged in illegal construction. (Haaretz+)
  • Would-be Arab Israeli jihadist’s Syria trip foiled by his mother taking passport - Ahmad Sarsour allegedly aimed to join anti-regime fighters, tried to arrange killing of Dutch activist who organized Prophet Mohammed art contest, and wanted to stab Jews. (Times of Israel)
  • Official: Hebron observer force fails to meet its own code of ethics - Former chief financial officer for the Temporary International Presence in Hebron says the organization is tainted with corruption, anti-Israel bias • Fifteen MKs urge PM Netanyahu to end TIPH's mandate, say observers undermine Israel's interests. (Israel Hayom)
  • Ya'alon to Mendelblit: "Your conduct in Case 3000 (the submarine affair) raises questions that do not give me peace" - The former defense minister Moshe Yaalon wrote to Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit in which he raised serious questions: "Why did you hasten to say that 'there is no suspicion of criminal activity?' (Maariv)
  • Zionist Union activists place installation of submarine at Habima Square - The party's field activists claim the act was in protest over Netanyahu's involvement in Case 3000, investigation into acquisition of submarines from Germany; "The country is sinking along with Bibi," read one of the banners attached to the installation. (Ynet)
  • At alternative Israeli film festival in N.Y., film about settlers proves unsettling experience for viewers - Iris Zaki’s award-winning ‘Unsettling’ strikes chord with young audience members, who express surprise at settlers’ lives in the West Bank and find comparisons to Trump’s America. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli spyware firm NSO in talks to acquire startup led by former military chief - NSO has received harsh criticism after accusations that its software has been used by governments to spy on journalists, human rights activists and other dissidents. (Haaretz+)
  • Funeral of slain Palestinian sets off near Ramallah - Muhammad Ibrahim Shreitah, 26, succumbed to his wounds after he was shot and wounded by Israeli live ammunition during clashes that erupted in the al-Mazraa al-Gharbiyeh village about two weeks ago. (Maan)
  • In video - Dozens of Palestinian students shot, injured near Bethlehem - Israeli forces Tuqu high school near Bethlehem and fired tear-gas bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets towards Palestinian students, injuring several Palestinian students, while dozens of others suffered from tear-gas inhalation, on Sunday. (Maan+VIDEO)
  • Israeli forces attack, injure dozens of Palestinian students in Hebron - Dozens of Palestinians students and teachers suffered from tear-gas inhalation Sunday, after Israeli forces attacked them while participating in a peaceful rally commemorating the 14th anniversary of the death of late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, in Hebron. (Maan)
  • Israel bans renovations of Palestinian kindergarten in Hebron - The Hebron Rehabilitation Committee said that as their employees were carrying out renovation work in the kindergarten, which belongs to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS), Israeli authorities ordered for its halt and did not provide a reason for the ban. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces seal entrance to Ramallah-area village - The mayor of Deir Abu Mashal village, Fawwaz al-Barghouthi, said that an Israeli army patrol along with military vehicles sealed off the entrance of the village and prevented the passage of Palestinian residents and vehicles in both directions. (Maan)
  • Israeli settlers prevent entry of truckloads into Gaza - Israeli settlers prevented the entry of dozens of truckloads of merchandise, food, fuel, gas, and construction materials on Sunday, into the besieged Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom crossing. (Maan)
  • Birzeit University wins prestigious Yasser Arafat Achievement Award - The Yasser Arafat Achievement Award honors institutions and personalities who are distinguished by their exceptional work, and recognizes real achievements in national, cultural, social, economic, scientific, or academic areas of work. (Maan)
  • Netanyahu denies rift between Israel and U.S. Democratic Party: Support for Israel is critically important - On Trump's reaction to anti-Semitism, Netanyahu says the U.S. president's statement that 'whoever comes to destroy the Jews, we will destroy him' is one he 'hadn’t heard from leaders before.’ (Haaretz)
  • Austrian president confirms: We asked Israel to reconsider boycott on foreign minister - Haaretz revealed that Austria's president had requested his Israeli counterpart consider removing the boycott from the far-right Freedom Party. Karin Kneissl, the foreign minister, represents the party but is not herself a member. (Haaretz+)
  • Economy Minister Cohen invited to conference in Bahrain - Almost 13 years after the Gulf state announced it will no longer participate in the Arab boycott of Israel, Bahrain invites Minister Eli Cohen to participate in Startup Nations Ministerial event. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Iran lets women attend soccer match, ending decades-old ban - Most of the women let into the stadium were relatives of players or members of Iran’s female football, as well as football federation employees, social media reports. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iranian Foreign Ministry official jailed for spying accusations - The arrest comes amid a crackdown on workers in the state body accused of spying. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Top Saudi officials discussed with an Israeli citizen the assassination of Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani - A year before the murder of Khashoggi, associates of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inquired about using private firms to assassinate prominent Iranian officials, including the commander of the Revolutionary Guards' Qods Force. They also spoke with Israeli businessman Yoel Zemel, the founder of the Psy-Group, who was questioned by the US special prosecution team for meeting with one of Trump’s sons before the elections, the New York Times reports. (Haaretz, Israel Hayom and Maariv)
  • Trump and Erdogan Discuss Additional Measures Against Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi Killing - Erdogan revealed that audio recordings of the killing had been given to the U.S., French, German and British governments, adding that the operation had been ordered at the 'highest levels' of the Saudi government. (Agencies, Haaretz)

13 countries and 6,000 kilometers: What made the Dutchman march to Jerusalem?
Hank van der Kluck left his wallet in his house and started walking toward Jerusalem. Now, he tells about the extraordinary journey: "As a child, I heard stories about the Holy City, and I wanted to experience it myself.” (Galit Edot, Maariv)
A reminder of the need for a Gaza deal (Haaretz Editorial) Any additional eruption in the south is liable to drag Israel into a war, or at least a violent confrontation, which will imprison Israelis in bomb shelters and rocket-proof rooms.
For Netanyahu, Any Concession to Hamas That Keeps Palestinians Divided Is Worth It (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) As long as Hamas controls Gaza, it can perpetuate the Strip’s separation from the PA, thwarting efforts to establish a unified Palestinian representative that could negotiate with Jerusalem and Washington.
Cash for quiet in Gaza (Yossi Yehoshua, Yedioth/Ynet) It appears improving the grave economic situation in the strip is the only way to restore calm to the border, so Israel allowed 3 suitcases of Qatari money into Gaza. This particularly angers Defense Minister Lieberman, whose strong objections are being ignored by Netanyahu as the prime minister promotes an arrangement with Hamas.
The Dead in 2014 Gaza War Died for Nothing (Rogel Alpher, Haaretz+) One of the most fervent arguments against a war now is that after it was over, we would find ourselves back where we started, just as we did after Protective Edge.
The thousands of undocumented Gazans living in limbo (Amjad Yaghi, +972mag) Thousands of Palestinians in Gaza can't work, travel, or get health care. Between the Israeli-controlled population registry and the Fatah-Hamas rivalry, they see little hope for any kind of stable future.
Gaza Incident Was a Botched Israeli Military Op, but Not an Assassination Attempt (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) The immediate question that arises is, why was the operation carried out now, hours after Netanyahu said he wanted to avoid war ■ Despite the casualties on both sides, the night's events are unlikely to lead to a large-scale operation in Gaza.
With the lights on longer in Gaza, Palestinians dare to hope (Muhammad Shehada, +972mag, 7 November) A few more hours of electricity a day may not sound like much, but in Gaza, it expels the sense of ever-looming doom and gives people something to hope for.
As a journalist, I learned not to believe anything the Israeli army says (Meron Rapoport, +972mag) In March 1987, Oren Cohen, then a reporter in the occupied territories, received a tip about a female Palestinian detainee who had been tortured and had a miscarriage in prison. Authorities denied she even existed, until Cohen exposed their lies. Today, he says, no one would even care.
Mock Trump’s Decision to Honor Miriam Adelson All You Want, but Don’t Underestimate Her Power (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+) The news that Trump is awarding Miriam Adelson with the Presidential Medal of Freedom was greeted with mockery. But she is not a mere stand-in for her husband.
Is Brazil’s new government good for Israel? (Moshe Arens, Haaretz+) The outgoing administration refused to approve the appointment of Danny Dayan, a resident of a settlement, as Israel’s ambassador. It is unlikely that would happen under the leadership of Jair Bolsonaro.
The real concern behind Case 3000 (Giora Eiland, Yedioth/Ynet) One of the most important issues raised in the submarine affair is the method in which decisions of far-reaching security consequences were made; examination of the case raises many questions that don't seem to be of concern to many.
Netanyahu's code words for cigars, a friend's luxury yacht and one frantic call: Noose tightens around PM (Gidi Weitz, Haaretz+) Netanyahu probably understands an indictment is nearing, and is beginning to roll out his defense. The only problem: It contradicts some of the testimonies against him.
We need to begin to slowly wean off of Bibi, and mainly from the hatred toward him (Meir Uziel, Maariv) One thing is certain: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will be replaced one day, and that is why we must prepare, and there are quite a few things that Israelis should begin to be weaned from ahead of the day after. Like the good economic situation today of the country. Wean from the high shekel exchange rate. From the present quiet security situation. I know it’s not currently quiet but we need to be ready for a war on two fronts, missiles on the center of the country and more terror attacks. Some of the nation needs to rehab from the hatred of Bibi.
A Swedish Lesson for Israel on Political Violence and Remembering Rabin(David Stavrou, Haaretz+) The link between Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme’s murder and that of Yitzhak Rabin, teaches Israelis that they should dedicate prime minister's memorial to addressing the existential dangers of political violence.
The time has come to cancel the Rabin Festival and the compulsory studies that have become brainwashing (Nadav Haetzni, Maariv) Through false accusations of harming democracy, they create a false legacy of the former prime minister and sell a false display of insane and murderous extremism on the right. This incitement must end.
The right move at the right time (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom - Sunday) Many in Israel didn't like seeing Qatari money enter Gaza, and slammed the government for allowing it. This criticism is cynical, and not just because it wasn't even Israel's money; the alternative to letting cash and fuel enter Gaza is war.
Without clear rules of conduct, the atmosphere in the Knesset will remain worse than in the street markets (Lilach Sigan, Maariv) For years now the plenum has been like a kindergarten without a kindergarten teacher, an impulsive group dressed in sloppy dress, and the most vociferous complainers of “they ate mine, they drank mine” are the ones who regularly do the same to others.
The Midterms That Keep Getting Better for the Democrats (Amir Tibon, Haaretz+) Despite winning back the House, many Democrats felt a sense of disappointment over the results. In the five days since Election Day, however, the party's standing has improved - including in the Senate.
(Deputy Attorney General Dina) Zilber is just the symptom: the wild crops in the flower beds of the regime must be removed by root canal treatment (Dr. Chaim Misgav, Maariv) The conduct of the Deputy Attorney General is one of the consequences of the constitutional revolution that former chief justice Aharon Barak created based on the law that was passed, without people noticing, about Human Dignity and Freedom. Zilber is not the problem, and her removal from the system will not lead to the disappearance of the disease that has existed for many years in the government systems…Aharon Barak began to (change) the Israeli legal system: First, he determined that the restraints that prevents any one from coming to court is null and void. The “Right to trial“ is reserved for everyone, Barak ruled; Especially if there are elements in the person’s petition that undermine the authority of the elected government. He then clarified phrases that were unique to him only, such as "probability and proportionality," and stated that this would be the prism by which the actions of all other branches of government would be examined. And without stopping for a moment to listen to the criticism that grew in academia as well, in the face of the judicial activism that is derived from the character of the person who ran it, Barak lurched forward in shaping the composition of the High Court in a way that would find no opponents. At the same time, the constitutional revolution also entered into other branches of the judicial system. Some of the legal advisors, both in the main office and in the various government ministries, as well as senior officials in the State Prosecutor's Office, began to feel that they were, in fact, the agents of the High Court, and that their loyalty was first and foremost to those sitting in the high chair and not to the appointed ranks. Hence their chutzpah continued to grow and breach boundaries. Some of them have turned into the Lords of all the earth. And they have no fear of Election Day, their rudeness breached boundaries. And these wild crops are already difficult to remove from the government beds without root canal treatment.
The Scary New Jerusalem (Uzi Baram, Haaretz+) The religious mayoral candidate, who could never be elected on his own, is liable to succeed anyhow, because the capital may not be cut out for the 'awakening' it so badly needs.
Trump's dressing down of the media (Yaakov Ahimeir, Israel Hayom) Large portions of the population, in the U.S. and even here in Israel, have lost faith in the stories the media tells us. There are many in agreement with Trump, even tacitly, that yes, the media is prone to feeding its consumers "fake news."
Why Did Macron Say France Should 'Offer Homage' to Nazi Collaborator Petain? (Tal Harris, Haaretz+) The French president himself has advanced the recognition of France’s complicity in the Holocaust – but his desire to honor Petain demonstrates the fragility of that process. France's WWII and colonial era crimes remain a taboo and a threat to a still infantile national identity.
As a Muslim Woman, Ilhan Omar’s 'As-salaam Aleikum' Made Me Uncomfortable (Samira Sadeque, Haaretz+) For Muslim women like me, who escaped countries where Islam defined, demeaned and suffocated our lives, to live in America, it was jolting hearing the greeting in a place we associate with freedom.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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