News Nosh 01.29.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday January 29, 2014

Quote of the day:
"Yitzhak Rabin once purportedly spoke of needing a passport to enter Gush Etzion. That seems unimaginable today. But such diplomatic formalities, in an on-the-ground atmosphere of cooperation, could provide the pragmatic flexibility needed in a partition agreement. "
--Haaretz commentator David Landau on the need to give up land for peace.**

Front Page News:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Israel 2014 - The gap has not closed: Ashkenazi Jews earn more
  • Record number of religious females in IDF
  • (Natalie Portman's husband) converting to Judaism for her
  • Fight over female student ended in stabbing near school
  • Israeli in the elite - Gil Hirsch leading the most important Facebook's initiative
Israel Hayom
Peace Process Highlights:

Today's top story continues to be focused around the bitter quarrel between Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett in addition to Netanyahu's plan to hold a special discussion about the European boycott threat. US Secretary of State John Kerry is due in town again - this time with the framework agreement and Thomas Friedman said Kerry's plan envisions a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem. But Netanyahu said that Israel is not confined to the US positions in the framework agreement. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to a temporary Israeli military presence in the West Bank and a PLO official said that Israeli settlers who want to live in a Palestinian state are welcome to apply for citizenship. Meanwhile, Israel's Housing Minister has organized a mass protest against the peace process.

Netanyahu cancelled the meeting where he was meant to scold Bennett, but now his associates say if Bennett does not apologize for saying Netanyahu has lost his national values for suggesting Israeli settlers live under Palestinian sovereignty if they so choose, Bennett and his pro-settler party will be ousted from the coalition government.

But in a speech at the INSS yesterday, Bennett continued to bash Netanyahu, without naming him, saying that history will not forgive Israeli leaders who cede any land. He also claimed that all Israelis living under future Palestinian rule would be murdered. A PLO official said Israelis were welcome to apply for immigration to 'Palestine.'
Kerry will be arriving in town again next week with a US framework agreement in hand that calls for an extension of the deadline for negotiations, wrote Israel Hayom. In a speech at the INSS think tank in Tel-Aviv, Thomas Friedman said that Kerry's plan sees East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital, that Palestinian refugees will not be allowed to return to Israel and that there will be a phased Israeli military withdrawal. In an interview with the INSS, Abbas said he agreed to a three-year Israeli military presence after peace. In his speech at the INSS, Netanyahu said that Israel isn't confined to the US positions: "The Americans are establishing American positions – not Israeli. Israel does not have to accept these positions. The Palestinian state should be a demilitarized entity that recognizes the Jewish state." He also said, "The conflict isn't about territories, or about settlements, or even about a Palestinian state. ... The conflict is about the Jewish state." Ynet reports that a former US national security advisor said that Netanyahu is not under pressure by the US. 

Meanwhile, Housing Minister Uri Ariel of the Naftali Bennett's Habayit Hayehudi party defied the government by organizing a mass anti-peace rally.

Quick Hits:
  • Israel barrier threatens to split Bethlehem area villages - The Supreme Court rules Wednesday whether to approve the defense ministry's planned route of a 25-foot concrete wall that would cut through ancient irrigation systems relied upon by the West Bank village of Battir, separate residents of nearby Beit Jala from their olive groves and divide a local Christian community. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces violate Gaza border, level agricultural lands - Israeli bulldozers escorted by Israeli troops in military vehicles, who fired smoke bombs in order to obscure locals' vision of the operation, entered the Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning, violating the coastal enclave's borders and destroying agricultural land nearby. (Maan
  • Palestinian petitions to force Ya’alon to reveal outpost deal - Defense minister keeps secret an agreement reached on illegal West Bank constructions. (Haaretz+) 
  • Israeli forces stop Palestinian premier's convoy for third time - For the third time in two weeks, Israeli forces on Tuesday stopped the convoy of interim Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah as he was traveling in the occupied West Bank, detaining him for 45 minutes. (Maan)
  • Shin Bet report: Rise in attacks against Arabs - Shin Bet intelligence finds an increase in right-wing attacks against Arabs -- from 18 in 2012 to 25 in 2013. Report cites improved measures to counter attacks, including detaining dozens of rightist activists for questioning. (Israel Hayom
  • Israeli forces deploy near Teqoa settlement - Israeli army and border guard officers were heavily deployed in the vicinity of Teqoa settlement east of Bethlehem on Tuesday. Ambulances and firetrucks arrived at the scene and Israeli forces were searching the area. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces replace earth mounds with iron gate at entrance to Bethlehem village - On Tuesday, Israeli forces removed the earth mounds they made in 2001 at the entrance to Nahalin village to block it from the road connecting to Hebron and replaced them with an iron gate, which is expected to give villagers access to Route 60, a main highway running the length of the West Bank. (Maan) 
  • Under order of the High Court: Israel returns bodies of terrorists - Israel transferred so far 4 of 36 bodies of terrorists. The body of the killer of the Gavish family will be transferred to Nablus, and the Palestinian Authority promises: We will give him the honor of a martyr. (Maariv, p. 1/ NRG Hebrew)
  • In photos: Thousands bury man whose body was kept by Israel since 2002 - Shaker Hamamra was killed by Israeli forces in 2002 near Jerusalem's Malha neighborhood as he drove with a friend from Bethlehem. "Israeli occupation forces claimed that the two young men were going to carry out a suicide bombing in Jerusalem. However, television photos showed that they did not carry any explosives," according to a report. (Maan
  • Netanyahu cancels ministerial forum on BDS threat - Government was supposed to seriously discuss boycott for first time, after Dutch pension giant decides to divest from Israel’s banks. (Haaretz+) 
  • Israeli contractor plans Jewish-only residential project in Jaffa - U.S. immigrant and newly religious contractor Yaakov Hayman says vision of private 'Pearl of Jaffa' project is 'for Jaffa to be Jewish.' (Haaretz+) 
  • Rabbis' orders can't stop religious girls from serving in army - Number of female enlistees in 2013 almost double of 2010 numbers as IDF continues to order more and more military skirts. (Ynet)
  • Netanyahu aide: Slamming Bennett will turn him into a right-wing hero - Economy Minister Naftali Bennett has the backing of his party for saying that Jews in the Land of Israel must not live under Palestinian sovereignty. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu's ultimatum to Bennett: Apologize or pay the price - The prime minister and the Habayit Hayehudi leader have been at one other's throats since PMO said settlers should be allowed to stay in future Palestinian state. Now the rift has reached new heights, with PMO branding Bennett 'insolent', demanding apology. (Ynet
  • Anti-Zionist would-be spy for Iran gets 4.5 years in Israeli prison - Yitzhak Bergel, a member of the extremist Neturei Karta group, was driven by hatred for Israel. (Haaretz+) 
  • In Gaza, water - and time - are running out - Experts say Gaza water shortage likely to bring about illness. (Haaretz+)
  • Hamas operates in Jerusalem under Islamic Movement disguise - Shin Bet detains 16 East Jerusalemites suspected of operating, funding security offenses in city, Temple Mount. (Ynet)
  • Is Israel's defense establishment a giant interest group? The so-called security networks serve their own budgetary and other needs by keeping the public quaking in its boots with threats of war. (Haaretz+)
  • Ya'alon: 'US is no longer the world's policeman' - Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon says Russia has taken advantage of waning U.S. influence to "buy a better footing" in the Middle East. Polls show that 67% of Israelis and 70% of Palestinians do not believe a permanent peace accord can be reached. (Israel Hayom
  • Netanyahu slams Palestinians for comparing him to Hitler - Demonization of Israel and its leaders is 'poisoning the atmosphere of peace,' says Israel's premier. (Haaretz+) 
  • Abbas presides over mass Palestinian wedding in West Bank - Abbas' office funded the event with more than $1 million, including $4,000 in startup money for each couple. (Agencies, Haaretz
  • Egypt's Morsi back on trial – over 2011 jailbreak - Deposed Muslim Brotherhood president facing second of three trials, over breakout from Wadi Natrun jail which included Hezbollah and Hamas members. (Agencies, Ynet
  • Netanyahu: Interim deal set Iran's nuclear drive back by 6 weeks - Following the implementation of the interim nuclear deal, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells a security conference that it will hardly set back Iran's nuclear program, says the test remains for a permanent deal to truly prevent a nuclear Iran. (Israel Hayom)  
  • Iran says Israel using nuclear issue to hide 'crimes' - Iranian FM accuses Israel of hidden agenda in concern over Iran's nuclear program: 'Under pretext of Iran's peaceful nuclear energy (program), Zionists have always tried to distract governments, nations' public opinion from own crimes in Palestine.' (Agencies, Ynet)

And in other Holocaust-related news ...
A Palestinian university student has found that Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post give more space to stories about Jewish victims of the past than to Israeli aggression today. (Haaretz+)
Jailed terrorists secretly earn university degrees while serving time in Israeli prisons
Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails organize courses behind bars, receive backing from universities in West Bank, Gaza. 'When I found myself in jail for life, I had to either make meaning for my life or waste my mind behind bars,' says former prisoner. (Associated Press, Ynet)

Jaffa's pearl of discrimination (Haaretz Editorial) The project’s racist marketing is unacceptable not only morally but legally. The law prohibits discrimination based on a customer’s religion or nationality.
Benefits outweigh the damage (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Until a peace deal is signed, all options remain open and nothing is off the table.
 Scarlett Johansson’s pro-Israel master class (Marco Greenberg, Haaretz+) SodaStream’s Super Bowl ad spot is in no danger of being taken prisoner by a clique of Israel critics; most Americans couldn’t care less about the geopolitical implications of a carbonated beverage. 
Jewish presence in 'Palestine' impossible (Yoaz Hendel, Yedioth) An agreement which will see Jews live peacefully and quietly in a Palestinian state is detached from reality.  
Israeli settlers remaining in a Palestinian state? Sensible indeed (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) But in the short term this vision infringes on the Israeli dream of perpetual occupation, an integral part of the Zionist experience. 
Bennett, think before you act (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) The political row that erupted between Netanyahu and Bennett demonstrates yet again the tense nature of their relationship. 
Alterman? Not welcome in our schools anymore (Yuli Tamir, Haaretz+) Criticism of Israel and especially the IDF are treated as expressions of anti-Zionism, when in fact they are the ultimate expressions of responsibility and belonging.
Arabic: A weapon and bridge to peace (Dr. Yaron Friedman, Ynet) Cutting Arabic studies in Israel will harm both IDF intelligence, chances of dialogue with Arabs. 
Bennett’s ignorant and dangerous distortion of Jewish history (David Landau, Haaretz+) Does Prime Minister Netanyahu agree with his coalition partner’s destructive dogmatism? The answer will decide the fate of the peace process.
Canada's changing role in humanitarian intervention and policy (Lamya Hussein, Maan) Harper's visit begs attention towards how Canada will continue to construct itself as a 'liberal democracy' moving forward. Will it continue to lockout minority groups that it deems undesirable in its larger national and international policy agendas? After all, Harper's delegation systematically curbed active participation from Arab community members, organizations and institutions, Palestinians in particular, as he traveled across the region. 
Praying and shooting in Israel's security agency (Avi Shilon, Haaretz+) Three out of the four senior officials in the Shin Bet wear kippot: What does this imply about the part the organization play in the Palestinian conflict? 
Why not move to Israel? Because it isn't safe here (Avraham Tirosh, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) Tirosh refers to a recent government survey, which indicates that while, "66% of European Jews see anti-Semitism as a problem that affects their lives," and, "76% of them believe that it has worsened in recent years...Only 20% said that they are considering emigrating from countries. Emigrate, and not specifically to Israel...This takes the wind out of the sails of those who try to see the 'positive' side of the growing anti-Semitism and expect waves of immigration in its wake." 
For Bennett it’s back to business as usual, but Netanyahu doesn’t forget so easily (Barak Ravid, Haaretz+) Netanyahu waits for 'the right moment' to get back at Bennett, while proclaiming: 'My positions are the consensus.'  
Dangerous withdrawal - Israel's valley of security (Yiftah Ron-Tal, Yedioth) recalls that former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin told the Knesset in 1995 that, "The security border for defending the State of Israel will be situated in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest sense of the term." Ron-Tal, a former GOC Ground Forces, says that, "The idea that the Jordan Valley needs to remain Israel's security border in any agreement with the Palestinians is one that has been held by all Israeli governments over the last 20 years – from Rabin to Sharon to Netanyahu...It is possible to state unequivocally: Israeli security control of the Jordan Valley and the mountainous spine of Judea and Samaria is crucial to maintaining the security of the State of Israel...This is a security perspective, not necessarily an ideological one." Ron-Tal suggests that a contiguous border between the Palestinian Authority and Jordan, "the majority of whose population is Palestinian," will not only endanger Israel but, "is liable to undermine the stability of King Abdullah's regime, a moderate regime the continued existence of which is an Israeli interest of the highest order...There is no creative solution that could be a substitute for controlling the Jordan Valley."
The Left's dangerous impatience (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) PM Benjamin Netanyahu should reject Amos Yadlin's perilous and illogical proposals for a unilateral withdrawal. 
The 'leftist teacher’ and the Orwellian tactic of Israel’s rightists (Carlo Strenger, Haaretz) Instead of defending Adam Verete, the Kiryat Tivon high school where he teaches is trying to fire him for espousing critical thinking.

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