News Nosh 12.19.18

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday December 19, 2018

Quote of the day:
"The 'Zionist response' as a reaction to terror means that approving the (settlement) outposts is an act of revenge. It has nothing to do with security. There’s no war on terror here but a translation of murder into institutionalized terror against the law."
--Haaretz journalist Zvi Bar'el writes that the government turns Palestinian attacks in the West Bank into a real estate perk for lawbreaking extortionists, the settlers, who build on privately-owned Palestinian land.*

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • MKs salaries rise more than 1000 shekels
  • “She was an amazing woman” - The Jewish astronaut parts from Rona Ramon
  • Yedioth probe - The plague of absences of members of the committee that approves subsidizing medicines
  • Criticism against combat soldiers of the Netzach Yehuda battalion in the latest attacks
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • Exclusive - Israel will present to UN: This is how the Lebanon Army aids Hezbollah
  • Wet exercise - Unusual vehicle NISUI: IDF to practice crossing water obstacle with armored vehicles
  • In the Senate, they are advancing recognition in the Golan Heights
  • “She was a source of light”: Parting from Rona Ramon
  • Above everyone: First Ethiopian-Israeli to complete Air Force pilot’s course
  • Netanyahu visited site of attack at Givat Asaf: “We will catch the murderer”
  • Megiddo Junction: 5 injured in shooting attack, apparently criminal
  • Report: “Murder of Khashouggi harmed the warming Israel-Saudi relations”

News Summary:
Israel’s presentation at the UN today about Hezbollah tunnels, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s declaration that attacks on Israelis in the West Bank will only “strengthen the settlement enterprise” and Rona Ramon’s final journey to the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation where she will lie in repose before cremation (to spare her children another funeral) - were the stop stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Also making news, US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley said Trump’s Mideast peace plan "will be different from all previous peace plans," but noted it was unclear “whether the response to it will be any different.” ‘Israel Hayom’ said it learned that the plan gives Israel unlimited security control over the Beqaa Jordan Valley and that it gives the Palestinians parts of Jerusalem. Haley also accused Arab countries of not making the Palestinian people a priority: “Because if they were, you would all be in a room helping bring both sides to the table.”

And, the Hebrew papers quoted from a Wall Street Journal article that reported that the Saudi-Israel back channel took a hit after the two Saudi officials in contact with the Israelis were dismissed over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Also of interest, Maariv reported that Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel stopped the Israeli import of Palestinian fruits and vegetables, which the security establishment said will not only harm Palestinian farmers, but also Israeli security. Ariel’s move was allegedly in response to the suspension of the importation of goats from Israel to the Palestinian Authority and the decision was made without consulting the security establishment or the Prime Minister. “This is a very difficult blow for the Palestinian farmers, since it is estimated that the loss of one million shekels a day, and between 280-300 tons of fruit and vegetables will be lost,” wrote Maariv. The security establishment vehemently opposes the decision, saying: “This is an irresponsible and populist decision that stems solely from political considerations at the expense of the security of the entire public, including the settlers." Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank said the Palestinian Authority was ready to come to the table and talk [about the issue of the goats - OH] and there was no need (for Minister Ariel) to escalate the situation.

The UN Security Council will discuss today the Hezbollah's cross-border tunnels and Israel is on the diplomatic offense. The IDF has released video from the tunnels, and says that Hezbollah operatives have tried to block some of the tunnels that were exposed. A Lebanese paper reported that Israel asked the US to pressure Lebanon to uncover additional tunnels, according to Western diplomatic sources. (Maariv) However, former Lebanese minister Tarek Mitri said, “The tunnels, which have been present for a long time, don’t constitute any evidence of violation of Resolution 1701.” According to the IDF, none of the tunnels that have been found, as well as others the military is trying to locate, poses a threat to the citizens of Israel, Ynet wrote.  The IDF has yet to release the location of the concrete-reinforced tunnel.
Quick Hits:
  • Israel Police Demanding Tougher Sentence for Ex-cop Who Beat a Palestinian - Police Investigations Department calls for jail sentence for Moshe Cohen, Yasam riot Policeman and former officer in the Duvdevan undercover counter-terror unit, who was caught on video beating two Palestinians in East Jerusalem last year. Despite the video, Jerusalem Magistrates Court judge Ilan Sela sentenced him in October to 380 hours of community service and a suspended sentence, after being impressed by his past in the IDF and in the police. Police Investigations Department criticized the judge: “The court erred in failing to take into account the fact that cases of violence by police officers involve normative people without criminal records...Ignoring that in favor of considerations of rehabilitation misses the concept of enforcing the law against police officers who went bad.” Cohen was dismissed from the police after the incident.  (Haaretz+ and Haaretz Hebrew)
  • 9-month-old Israeli baby lightly wounded after stones hurled at his family's car in West Bank - The infant has been evacuated to a hospital to receive medical care; incident comes amid rising tensions following uptick in terror attacks. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinian youth run over by Israeli settler in Bethlehem area - Muhammed Mahmoud Odeh Ghazal, 19, from Kisan village, was run over by an Israeli settler while walking on the main road near the al-Minya village crossroads. (Maan)
  • Trump's Mideast envoy criticizes Israeli settler revenge attacks on Palestinians and posters against Abbas -  Jason Greenblatt referred to incidents of attacks on Palestinians in response to the deadly recent wave of terror attacks. Greenblatt also tweeted condemnation of (Hebrew) posters hung throughout the West Bank (by Israelis) calling for the assassination of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (Ynet)
  • Racist Graffiti Sprayed, Cars Vandalized in West Bank Palestinian Village - Among the spray-painted statements on 24 cars and homes in Kufr Yasuf was 'I cannot sleep while blood is shed here' and 'Jews, wake up.’ (Haaretz and Maariv)
  • Israeli forces uproot 200 cactus seedlings in Jordan Valley - Israeli forces uprooted 200 cactus seedlings belonging to a Palestinian resident in the Bardala village in the northern occupied West Bank, on Tuesday afternoon. (Maan)
  • 'Israel must help Palestinians arrested for selling land to Jews' - Palestinian authorities imprison and execute Palestinians for selling land to Jews • Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Jerusalem Aryeh Stern: Selling land to Jews plays a role in settling land of Israel and Israel is obligated to protect Palestinian sellers. (Israel Hayom)
  • For the first time since the last round of escalation, an explosive balloon was found on the Gaza border - IDF forces located the bomb that flew from the Gaza Strip and they neutralized the threat on the border. That is the first since 460 rockets were fired into southern Israel. (Maariv and Times of Israel)
  • Israeli forces confiscate of surveillance-camera recorders in Ramallah - Sources added that Israeli forces also raided and searched several homes in the al-Rihan neighborhood. (Maan)
  • Thousands of (Israeli) Bedouin Preschoolers Have to Stay Home Due to Budget Shortages - The Education Ministry says funding has been made available for only around 20 percent of necessary classrooms, though the situation is improving. (Haaretz+)
  • Airbnb exec. visits West Bank settlements even as company boycotts them - Despite the recent boycott by Airbnb, its Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs Chris Lehane visited the Barkan Industrial Zone in the West Bank on Tuesday where a terrorist killed two Israelis two-and-a-half months ago. Lehane is part of a group of Airbnb officials who are in Israel this week as company reexamines its decision not to list  vacation rentals in West Bank settlements. According to Shomron Regional Council, Lehane was very impressed with portrayal of coexistence between Jews and Palestinians at the industrial zone. Gal Hirsch, a reserve brigadier general who serves as the Chairman of the Israeli Leadership Institute, posted a photo on Twitter showing him and Lehane flying over the West Bank, in what Hirsch called an advocacy flight, aimed at Hasbara [Israeli advocacy - OH], organized by the Israel Project. (Haaretz+ and JPost)
  • Armed Israeli settlers raid Saint Saba Monastery near Bethlehem - Hundreds of armed Israeli settlers raided the Greek Orthodox monastery area and performed religious rituals, under armed security by Israeli soldiers. The raid came when many Palestinian Christians had headed to the monastery, late Monday and overnight, to perform prayers at the church inside the monastery to celebrate Saint Saba's Feast. (Maan+PHOTOS)
  • Despite Mandelblit's criticism: the law for the expulsion of families of terrorist’s goes to preliminary reading, with Likud ministers’ backing - Habayit Hayehudi continues to advance the legislation despite the opposition of the Shin Bet head, IDF chief of staff and the attorney general, who said that he will not be able to defend the law in the High Court of Justice and that it can harm Israel on the international legal level. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Ayelet Shaked in 2016: "You can not expel families of terrorists and the entire cabinet knows this" - The Minister of Justice (Habayit Hayehudi party), who pushed for the bill to expel the families of terrorists, said two years ago that such a law is not feasible. In an interview on Channel 11 in 2016, the justice minister was asked exactly about this issue, but then she had a completely different answer. “…both the former and current Attorney Generals, and all the previous attorney generals, explained that this is contrary to international law and that this is not legally possible. By the way, if we go back to the mid-1990s, when the prime minister was Rabin and he expelled terrorists, whom we can certainly deport, even that expulsion failed and they finally returned. Then it is certainly impossible to expel families that are not legally involved, and the entire cabinet knows this.” (Maariv)
  • Zionist Union Will Vote to Scrap Contentious Nation-state Law - The move comes hours after the party said it would back an amended version of law. (Haaretz+)
    Former chief justice: Nation-state law important, but lacking - Former Chief Justice‏ ‏Aharon Barak, who is credited with ushering in constitutional revolution, says he has "no inherent objection" to nation-state law. But he says it there are "aspects of equality that the law does not address properly. Human dignity, for example, is compromised by it," he said. (Israel Hayom)
  • Pink Floyd cover band backtracks on decision to nix Israel concert - UK Pink Floyd Experience canceled after Roger Waters called on the group not to hold the concert, but now the band says it 'deeply regrets upset caused by all this.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Poll shows Hamas leader would win Palestinian elections - Terror group's leader Ismail Haniyeh would triumph over Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in both, Gaza and the West Bank, if elections were held today, according to a recent public poll. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • The embarrassing Twitter posts of the adviser to the Prime Minister: "If I had a dog I would call him Eizenkot" - Jonathan Urich posted this against IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot and many other crass posts a few years ago. He is now Netanyahu's political spokesman. Ulrich said yesterday: "I highly appreciate the chief of staff." (Yedioth, p. 4)
  • Conservative (Judaism) movement leaders enraged by Netanyahu's silence over death threats to Israeli representative - Leaders urge PM to 'condemn unequivocally' threats made by ultra-Orthodox man, saying lack of clear response 'is tantamount to your tacit approval.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Bedouin Woman Who Killed Husband Who Raped Her Ordered for Release - The woman has already served more six years of her sentence which President Rivlin shortened from 11 to nine years. The woman’s family twice forced her to marry, at age 16 and age 17. Her second husband raped her on her wedding night and she stabbed him to death the next day, The release program the prosecution envisioned for her began with a minimum of four two-day furloughs from prison, but the woman could not meet this demand because she did not want to take her furloughs in her home community. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli 'Yellow Vests' swarm Knesset: Cost of living out of control - "If the price of electricity goes up one shekel, we will plan protests the likes of which haven’t been seen in the State of Israel." (JPost)
  • MKs' salaries to increase by more than 1000 shekels - Prices are rising, but the PM, ministers and MKs won't feel it as their salaries are expected to increase at the start of the year. They can reject the increase, as members of the Kulanu party already did. (Yedioth, p. 1)
  • Exclusive: Thousands of more elderly people languish alone in their homes because of the reform in the long-term care allowance - Some 6,000 seniors have given up their daycare centers in the first month of the reform: "The government is saving on the backs of the exhausted elderly.” (Maariv)
  • Already sky-high, Israel's cost of living set to shoot up in 2019 - Electricity, food, water and rates are all set to increase, and companies no longer seem to fear the wrath of the public as they have for the past seven years. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israeli moon-bound craft ready for 2019 moon launch, will carry Holocaust survivor story, and best of humanity - ‘We are putting… dreams in the spaceship, like you would put a note in the Western Wall, wishing for a bright future,’ SpaceIL founder says as time capsule is placed in vehicle. (Times of Israel, Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • Israel to end use of coal for electricity production by 2030 - Israel is set to join 28 countries in Powering Past Coal Alliance, which supports clean energy in government and corporate policies. Alliance aims to phase out coal use for electricity production in OECD countries by 2030 and in the world by 2050. (Israel Hayom)
  • Media NGO: Violence against journalists hits unprecedented levels in 2018 - At least 63 professional journalists around the world were killed doing their jobs in 2018 – a 15% increase over last year, says Reporters Without Borders report. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • US targets Hamas, Hezbollah with anti-human shield legislation - Congress approves bill that singles out Israel's enemies as ‘repeat’ offenders of a tactic that violates international law. The tactic is often employed by Palestinian terrorist group Hamas and the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah organization, who Israel says conceal their arsenals in civilian structures such as schools, homes and hospitals. Bill set to pass Senate, be signed into law by Trump. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Seeking to stop anti-BDS law, Texas speech pathologist claims free speech infringed - Bahia Amawi’s lawyer tells Haaretz anti-boycott ban in Lone Star State could affect ‘anyone, a fireman, a policeman, a teacher. The law is prohibiting political speech – and that’s a problem.’ (Haaretz+)
  • ACLU Files Legal Challenge to Texas anti-Boycott Law - The ACLU claims the law, which made recent headlines after a speech therapist was fired for refusing to sign a pledge not to boycott Israel, violates the First Amendment right to free speech. (Haaretz+)
  • Anti-Semitism Controversy Divides Women's March: 'We Can't Betray Our Jewish Community' - Washington state chapter disbands, Michigan co-founder urges supporters to join events unaffiliated with official Women's March as anger at leaders over Farrakhan and 'anti-LGBTQism' grows. (Haaretz)
  • Explained In 2019, Mideast economic troubles loom as wars leave behind utter ruin - The potential for further unrest remains high, including in countries that escaped civil war after the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings, such as Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt. (AP, Haaretz)
  • Greek Holocaust memorial vandalized for 4th time this year - Vandals spray-paint swastika on Thessaloniki's Holocaust memorial • World Jewish Congress head: Disgraceful that monument honoring memory of Jews who perished in the Holocaust should become a routine target for those espousing hatred. (Israel Hayom)

As smoke clears, capturing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Reuters photographer Mohammed Salem snapped the most dramatic moments that occurred along the Israeli-Gaza border over the past year, documenting the March of Return protests, Hamas's rocket salvoes, Israeli fields scorched by incendiary kites and balloons and buildings destroyed by IDF strikes. (Reuters, Ynet)
'Daughters of Jerusalem' sing out
A new album was released by "Banat Al Quds" (Daughters of Jerusalem), 25 young Palestinian women from families with deep roots in Jerusalem. They all study at the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music and live in East Jerusalem. Now they are releasing a CD where they also perform duets with the American Princeton Girls Choir and the Oslo based Norwegian Girls Choir. (Maan)

*In the West Bank Terror Is Good for the Jews (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Only in the territories does Israel let a terror attack get the bulldozers moving. Authorizing illegal outposts is an act of revenge.
Politicians in reserve duty: We should learn the lesson of the ugly withdrawal from southern Lebanon and Gaza (Yossi Achimeir, Maariv) In the midst of a severe wave of terror in Judea and Samaria, when we are burying our dead, the victims of Palestinian terror coming out of Ramallah and directed from Gaza, we got a full-page ad signed by "Commanders for Israel's Security." You go over the names: generals and brigadier generals, heads and deputy heads of divisions. Many of them are known, others less, and all contributed to the security of Israel over the years and in the wars. They led fighters on the battlefields, repulsed the enemies, risked their lives, saw death before their eyes, their comrades fell and they did more than any other citizen in the country. To them we owe our existence here. When they reached the status of reserve duty, they united into one ad in the leftist newspaper Haaretz and the right-wing newspaper Israel Hayom to call on the Knesset and the government to "initiate separation from the Palestinians, to block annexation that would lead to a national disaster and ensure that Israel remains Jewish and democratic. To divorce the Palestinians." Faced with such commanders, who am I the little one, just a lieutenant colonel in reserve, who will stand before them?…Their experience and rank put them - at least in their opinion - higher in military-political understanding than the average citizen. Here stands a political position which can be found between left and extreme left. This is a political ad under the cover of the so-called "commanders" who supposedly know things. How is this "security" ad different from a declaration signed by several dozen taxi drivers? "Divorce from the Palestinians"? Don’t we have experience in escaping from southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip without agreements? And what did we get? A growing threat in the north, terror and incitement in the south. "We divorced" from the Gaza Strip, did the Strip "divorce" us? Did the threat not increase since the divorce we gave them? The ad adopts, in indirect and clean language, from an Israeli interest, precisely the Palestinian narrative. Is the exact opposite of the idea of the iron wall that is so realistic in the reality of the Middle East power. The "commanders" demand of the government and the Knesset plays into the hands of the Palestinians. When the first stage of the PLO and Hamas demands materializes, they will not be satisfied; They will step up their multi-stage struggle: they will also demand Tzahala, Yavneh, Jaffa, Haifa and Ramle. It is a shame that in these blood days, this ad is published, certainly by our best commanders, from the near and far past. This is a political announcement, not a security one, and it is also unrealistic. The ad undermines our right to settle in all the regions of our homeland. It serves purposes that are opposite to those to which the signatories, with their naiveté, aimed.
It's time for Benny Gantz to show his hand (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) No one has any idea about the former IDF chief's political positions, but it's clear those who would give him 16 Knesset seats are eager to hear what he has to say, and sitting on the fence can work only up to a certain point.
Between Putin and Trump: Israel is increasingly entangled with Russia because of its vote at the UN (Yossi Melman, Maariv) Jerusalem responded to Washington's request and voted in favor of a motion in the General Assembly condemning the occupation of Crimea. The move is another step in the worsening relations that began with the downing of the Russian plane in Syria.
Zionism as a form of toxic masculinity (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) Toxic masculinity, as in: I, as a self-decreed Alpha, can do whatever the Capital Eff I please, to whomever I please, for whatever personal benefit I can extract, with absolutely no fear of negative consequence.
If the mufti failed to liquidate the Jewish settlement in Hebron, Meretz will also fail (Prof. Aryeh Eldad, Maariv) Those who thought that the leftists and the Arabs had given up hope of carrying out a transfer to the Jews of Hebron do not know the Arabs and the Israeli left. "Evacuation of the settlement in Hebron is a vital step towards a political solution and an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," said the racists who want to expel Jews from Hebron and make it Judenrein on the Facebook page they set up for the event. In order to avoid the need to obtain approval from the Knesset Speaker, the conference was defined as a “meeting.” (But) The City of the Patriarchs should be the first to be annexed to Israel. Thus, once and for all we will close the mouths of our haters, and their anti-Semitic proposal to carry out ethnic cleansing.
A wakeup call for Israel's leaders (Merav Batito, Yedioth/Ynet) Just like we didn’t know we'd need a supertanker until Mount Carmel burned down and we didn't know we'd need a special parliamentary committee until 25 women were murdered in the space of a year, we forgot about the Arab community until their neighborhoods were drenched in blood. The only person to rise to the challenge and establish one of the most advanced and generous programs to help fight crime in Israel's Arab communities was outgoing police commissioner Roni Alsheikh. Now, on his way out, he faces a barrage of unjustified criticism. In his final address as he left office, he made the parlous [dangerous] social neglect of the Arab minority the focal point. But are the politicians capable of picking up the baton and fixing the problem?
A threat to our existence (Amit Halevy, Israel Hayom) Allow me to repeat what should be obvious: An Israel that is not the Jewish state is not Israel. Canceling Israel's Jewish identity would mean canceling its very existence.
If Israel doesn’t deal with the pollution coming from Gaza, it will be the main victim (Dr. Maor Cohen, Maariv) The dirty water and air comes straight from the Strip to our water and air. Therefore, in the end, we will have to deal with them, or we will pay an expensive environmental price.
Hezbollah's tunnels are the least of Lebanon's problems (Smadar Perry, Yedioth/Ynet) Beirut knows as well as Jerusalem that the tunnels are a minor problem; the Hariri government sees Israeli political capital born of restraint and knows the story will be very different once Iran is involved.
Palestinians are trying to have it both ways (Dr. Reuven Berko, Israel Hayom) The Palestinian national movement has been a troublemaker everywhere it has operated. And now, even as the Palestinian Authority collaborates with Israel, it tries to outdo Hamas by inciting against Israel.
Rona Ramon: The woman who soared (Miriam Peretz, Yedioth/Ynet) The story of the Ramon family is the story of the people of Israel. Of people who never give up, of people who reach for the stars.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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