News Nosh 02.07.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Friday February 07, 2014

Quote of the day:
“There’s only one way to deal with leftists – with force, just like with the Arabs.”
--One of a number of Facebook comments calling for violence against 'leftist' teacher Adam Verete, who told students the IDF was immoral.**

Front Page News:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The ultra-Orthodox: We won't be drafted
  • The soldiers that the IDF does not need // Yossi Yehoshua
  • The cup to Maccabi Tel-Aviv
  • Hospitals to strike Sunday between 10-12 in solidarity with Hadassah Hospital employees who have not received pay checks
Israel Hayom
  • The battle over the draft - The protest over the High Court ruling put the streets on fire: "This is only the opening shot" - Thousands of ultra-Orthodox demonstrated across the country
  • The crisis in Hadassah Hospital worsens: Preparing for transferring patients
  • Milk, eggs - and books - Rami Levi supermarkets plans to compete with Steimatzky and Tzomet Sfarim bookstores
  • One more for the collection - Maccabi Tel-Aviv wins the cup
  • Two Grad missiles shot towards Ashkelon
  • Dangerous game: Students played with laser - youth became blind

News Summary:
Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men demonstrated across the country against being drafted to the military making the top story in Hebrew papers today. On the peace front, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat met with US peace envoy Martin Indyk over Israel's recent announcement of settlement construction in E. Jerusalem, Haaretz+ reported. Maariv/NRG Hebrew reported that Netanyahu's people are less than happy with Indyk, who openly supported Shimon Peres for Prime Minister in the '90's when Peres ran against Netanyahu. They accuse him of trying to create an opposition to Netanyahu and operating behind the back of the government. "Maybe for that reason, Indyk is practically 'not allowed' to enter the room where the talks are being held," wrote Eli Bardenstein. Haaretz+ reported the Palestinians were buoyed by the international condemnations of Israel's announcement, among them EU's Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton, who asked Israel to reverse the decision. Erekat also told Al Jazeera television that the Palestinian response would be to join the Geneva Convention, in preparation for declaring the settlements a war crime and bringing Israel to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
While right-wing Israeli ministers and MKs bash US Secretary of State John Kerry for his efforts for peace, US President Barack Obama expressed support for Kerry's 'principled' Mideast diplomacy. Speaking at the annual National Prayer breakfast in DC, where lawmakers from across the world are invited, Obama praised Kerry's efforts. Maariv/NRG Hebrew and The Jerusalem Post reported that Kerry said Finance Minister Yair Lapid speaks courageously about peace and that his voice should be heard in Israel. Kerry was speaking with Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelach on the sidelines of the breakfast. Shelach said he hinted that his party would support the government only as long as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu continues the peace negotiations. [FYI, MK Ahmed Tibi, who was slammed this week by the Knesset ethics committee for remarks he made during a discussion about Jewish visits to the Temple Mount, was also invited to the breakfast. - OH] Washington said Kerry had 'tough skin' and was unmoved by the personal attacks by Israeli politicians. 

Lapid, along with President Shimon Peres, oppose making Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state a condition for peace. But, the leader of the opposition Labor party, has taken Netanyahu's side: "I'm certain that Kerry can find a formula that will bring the Palestinians to recognize a Jewish state," Maariv/NRG Hebrew quoted Isaac Herzog.
Meanwhile, former Fatah strongman Mohammed Dahlan denied the Maariv report that he met with an Israeli official in Dubai. Dahlan called the Maariv report pure "fiction" and said that people like him would never accept what the Israelis are proposing in peace talks, Maan reported. Yesterday, Maariv/NRG Hebrew reported that Netanyahu 'was checking on a replacement for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' and had sent his political advisor and special envoy to the peace negotiations, Yitzhak Molcho, to Dubai to meet with the former Fatah official, who was expelled from his party. "The assessment is that Israel wants to maintain the relationship with Dahlan in preparation for the moment that Abbas will step down as president of the Palestinian Authority," Maariv's Eli Bardenstein wrote. "Talks with Dahlan were held in part due to the Israeli leadership assessment that Abbas will not be able to sign a final settlement agreement, and possibly would impede the emerging American framework agreement." Some in Jerusalem think that "Dahlan could be a partner for peace, unlike Abbas, and could bridge between the West Bank and Gaza Strip." Netanyahu's office refused to comment. [Note: It's hard to believe that the Palestinians would support Dahlan instead of Abbas. Vanity Fair revealed that after the 2006 elections Dahlan had been central in a Bush Administration coup plot to remove the democratically elected Hamas-led government from power. The Americans provided money and arms to Dahlan, trained his men and ordered him to carry out a military coup against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Israel allowed the arms shipments through. However, the elected Hamas government forestalled the move and itself carried out an armed counter-coup in July 2007. - OH]

Quick Hits:
  • Nablus man injured by settler in hit-and-run accident - Tayseer Umran, 42, sustained multiple fractures late Wednesday after being knocked down by an Israeli driver near Yitzhar settlement, who then fled the scene. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces uproot 300 olive trees in Bethlehem area village - Clashes broke out between Israel forces and Wadi Fuqin locals as they tried (in vain) to defend their lands, while bulldozers leveled their fields. Israeli troops accompanied bulldozers that destroyed 300 newly planted olive trees, leveled 50,000 square meters of land and demolished ancient dry stone walls. (Maan)
  • Clashes break out as settlers attack farmers near Nablus - A group of Eish Kodesh outpost settlers tried to stop Qusra villagers from harvesting their land. Other Qusra villagers rushed to the scene being alerted using the mosque loudspeaker. Settlers fled, Israeli military forces arrived and used "riot dispersal means" against the villagers. (Maan)
  • UN reports rise in Israel demolitions in West Bank - According to UN report, Israel demolished 390 shacks, other structures in Jordan Valley in 2013, displacing nearly 600 Palestinians, twice as many as the year before. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Israel's AG pushing to try violators for illegal construction in West Bank - Despite strong evidence of violating a High Court injunction, the police closed case against leader of illegal construction in the territories. (Haaretz+)
  • Rockets hit Israel's south - Eshkol Regional Council, Ashkelon sustain rocket hits on Thursday. No injuries or damage reported in either incident. (Ynet)
  • Lapid freezes financial aid to yeshiva students - Finance minister halts state funding to yeshiva students following High Court order. Ultra-Orthodox community responds, as country debates future of military enrollment. (Israel Hayom)
  • Danish parliament leader to visit Gaza, bypass Israel - Danish Parliament Speaker Mogens Lykketoft is set to visit the West Bank and Gaza next week, according to Israeli Channel 10, which reported that Lykketoft will not meet any Israeli officials during the visit, which caused outrage in Israel. (Maan)
  • Arab rights commission calls for medical committee to visit prisoners - The Permanent Arab Commission on Human Rights recommended the formation of a committee of doctors to visit Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails to check up on their conditions. It also called on Israel to stop settlement activities. (Maan)
  • **'Leftist' teacher Adam Verete target of calls for violence on Facebook - Commenters discuss ambushing ORT's Adam Verete at school and 'beating the crap out of him.' (Haaretz+)
  • Gaza man sentenced to death for collaboration with Israel - Under Palestinian law, collaboration with Israel, murder and drug trafficking are all punishable by death. But all execution orders must be approved by the president before they can be carried out. Hamas no longer recognizes the legitimacy of incumbent Mahmoud Abbas, whose term ended in 2009. (Maan)
  • Report: Qatar and Saudi Arabia are trying to overthrow the King of Jordan - The Palestinian news website 'Al-Manar' also claimed that Israel is a partner in the Gulf states' efforts to provoke unrest in the region in order to escape from difficult decisions in negotiations with the Palestinians. (Maariv, p. 9/NRG Hebrew)

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