News Nosh 02.09.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday February 09, 2014

Quote of the day:
"The unity of the people is more important than the unity of the land."
--Hawkish Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman grabs todays headlines with his support for a peace agreement - but not all the papers reveal the controversial plan he has for Israeli Arabs.**

Front Page News:
Yedioth Ahronoth
Israel Hayom

Peace Talk Highlights:
Today's two top stories were the 'surprising' statements of support for US Secretary of State John Kerry and against 'Greater Israel' coming from hawkish settler Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the declaration by former prime minister Ehud Olmert that he planned to evict 80,000 West Bank settlers, but not leave any presence in the Jordan Valley. Meanwhile, Kerry shared his belief about how to reach a peace agreement.

**Lieberman almost sounded as if he had joined the left-wing camp, when he said during a speech to the Commercial and Industrial Business Club at the Tel Aviv Hilton that “the unity of the people is more important than the unity of the land.” He called Kerry, who has been under attack by right-wing ministers, 'a true friend of Israel' (for which the US lauded him) and accused anti-Kerry pro-settler Economy Minister Naftali Bennett of seeking headlines . The papers remarked on how moderate Lieberman sounded. Yedioth called him the 'New Lieberman' and wrote that he is strengthening his image as the 'responsible adult.' But it was Haaretz and Maariv that revealed why he supported the Kerry Framework deal"The idea of population exchange is the part of the future agreement," he said then attacked Arab MKs Ahmed Tibi and Jamal Zahalka, wrote Maariv. Yedioth did not mention the population exchange plan and only wrote that Lieberman was 'less moderate in regards to the Arab MKs,' saying that Tibi and Zahalka "identify themselves with Hamas, with Hezbollah and with the Palestinian Authority and act systematically to destroy Israel. There is no reason they should be a part of this society." Afterward he said, "If we will it, it is not a dream and we can make land and population exchanges. Even in the Geneva Initiative they spoke of canceling the residency of Arabs in E. Jerusalem." [Note: Tibi and Zahalka do not identify themselves with Hamas or Hezbollah, but do support the right for the Palestinians and Lebanese to fight Israeli invasions. Tibi has condemned Palestinian attacks targeting Israeli civilians. Regarding the Geneva Initiative, the comparison is not valid because Palestinian E. Jerusalemites are not Israeli citizens. They were conquered in 1967. - OH] Speaking to Army Radio on Sunday, Lieberman said he would be willing to leave his home in the West Bank setlement of Nokdim as part of a true peace agreement with the Palestinian and added: "There is no new Lieberman, I'm not conciliatory or moderate."
In an interview with Israeli Channel 2 News, former prime minister Ehud Olmert said that his proposed peace deal in 2008 included evacuating "about 80,000 settlers" from the West Bank and he had no doubt it could be done today. He reiterated his belief that Israel can safely withdraw from the West Bank and noted that his deal did not include any presence in the Jordan Valley and it was agreed upon by then Defense Minster and former chief of staff Eud Barak. Olmert said that it was others in Israel who told Abbas not to sign a deal with him and that he believed that Abbas was willing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Kerry now had his turn: After both Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gave interviews to the US press, Kerry spoke with the Washington Post. He revealed little however. What he did say was that his way to get to a framework deal was letting both sides express their dissent. "For them as leaders to be able to embrace an endgame, they need to have the right to be able to have some objection," he said. He also said that the two sides are working on an option for having a third party secure the West Bank. Abbas wants NATO and Netanyahu refuses.

Quick Hits:
  • Videos show settlers attacking (Israeli) activists as Israeli soldiers stand by - No arrests made as veiled attackers throw stones at and beat activists who aid Palestinian shepherds in South Hebron Hills. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Israeli forces conduct searches near Burin after settler car targeted - Large numbers of Israeli soldiers massed on the road leading to Yizhar settlement Saturday, after a Molotov cocktail was thrown at an Israeli settler's vehicle on the road earlier in the day. (Maan)
  • 18 injured as Israeli forces raid Al-Aqsa after Friday prayers - Dozens of Israeli soldiers raided the compound and fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at worshipers. An Israeli police spokesman said that clashes broke out after "tens of Israeli-Arabs" [probably E. Jerusalem residents - OH] threw stones at Israeli police officers located at the Moroccan Gate. (Maan and Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli forces open fire on protests across West Bank, injuring dozens - Demonstrations against the Israeli occupation took place in Kafr Qaddum, Beit Ummar, al-Jalazun, and Silwad on Friday afternoon. (Maan)
  • Four Israeli soldiers injured in tear gas accident in Bilin - Tear gas canisters exploded inside a military vehicle, while it was chasing village youths. "The soldiers then got out of the jeep and threw their weapons on the ground, before another military patrol came to their aid and treated them on the spot." (Maan+PHOTOS
  • Medics: 5 injured by Israeli fire in Gaza on Friday - Palestinian witnesses said the soldiers opened fire after they were attacked by stones hurled over the border fence. One Palestinian man was in serious condition from a shot to the chest. (Maan
  • Rocket fired from Gaza hits northern Negev; no injuries - In fourth incident this week, Gaza terrorist launch rocket on northern Negev; no injuries or damage reported, IDF claim. (Ynet
  • Group: Israel forces TV station to stop broadcasting - Sheraa TV general director Mohamed Zeidan said the TV station received numerous threats from the Israeli army throughout the week that it must stop broadcasting immediately, changing its reasons as to why. (Maan)
  • Israel evicts Palestinian protest camp in Jordan Valley - Palestinians report activists were wounded in the eviction, Israeli security forces says the eviction went without incident. (Haaretz+)
  • New protest village erected after Ein Hajla destroyed overnight - The new protest village was set up in al-Joula in the Jiftlik area of the northern Jordan valley on Friday to reiterate that the region is Palestinian and should not be annexed to Israel. (Maan
  • 'The Galilee is ours and the land is ours,' says Arab MK - MK Jamal Zahalka attacks government initiative to make Galilee more Jewish in meeting of Knesset's Interior Committee. MK Hanna Swaid says Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel is "obsessed with building new settlements." (Israel Hayom
  • Sephardic Jews line up for Spanish citizenship - New legislation promises to ease requirements for descendants of Jews exiled in 1492 to reclaim their Spanish citizenship, but hurdles remain. (Yedioth/Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Only 2% of Israeli Jews speak Yiddish as mother tongue - Central Bureau of Statistics report says only 120,000 people -- 2% of Israeli Jews -- speak Yiddish, compared to 160,000 people in 2008. Hebrew is the mother tongue for 79% of Israeli Jews, while Russian is the first language for 15%. (Israel Hayom)
  • Former CIA chief: Anti-Semitism likely in Pollard case - Former CIA director James Woolsey to Channel 10 on Jonathan Pollard's continued imprisonment: I think there is anti-Semitism at work here. Woolsey says spies for other countries, including South Korea and Greece, were freed after short sentences. (Israel Hayom
  • Criminal sanctions dropped from haredi draft bill - Shaked committee readies to vote on bill regulating ultra-Orthodox men's IDF service. Current bill conspicuously missing articles on criminal sanctions against haredi draft dodgers. Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid: We'll exit government over this issue. (Israel Hayom)
  • New Meretz MKs propose a third of new laws - UTJ’s Uri Maklev attended twice as many committee meetings as average MK. (Haaretz+) 
  • Smithsonian publishes first ever photographs of Jerusalem - Series of photographs of Mediterranean region from 1841 to 1844 most likely to be first documentation in history of holy city. (Ynet
  • Israeli army sees increase in Christian Arab recruits - Although there are only some 300 Christian Arabs serving in the Israel Defense Forces, 84 reportedly signed up in the last half of 2013 - three times the average rate. (Haaretz+) 
  • Winter Olympics 2014: Meet Team Israel - Israel has sent five athletes to this year's Games, to compete in skating and skiing. But delegation head Vladimir Shklar warns: We're not talking about medals. (Ynet
  • 'Egypt's Jon Stewart' is back on the airwaves - Top TV satirist Bassem Youssef jibes at public for lionizing al-Sissi, slams army-backed political order. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Report: Iran sending warships close to U.S. borders - Iran's Northern Navy Fleet commander says vessels already on way to Atlantic Ocean via waters near South Africa, and that this move 'has a message.' (Agencies, Haaretz)

Israel's impoverished army
Serving soldiers who can't afford food, troops turning to crime, parents buying thermal underwear - the monthly living allowance from the IDF simply isn't enough. (Ynet
Snapshot: Palestinians in Israeli art - the good, the bad and the bizarre
A Palestinian youth cries out after being hurt in a protest. This is how Defense Minister Ya’alon wants us to 'manage’ in the absence of peace. (Haaretz+) 
World of American donations to the Jewish State revolutionized
New generation of US philanthropists continues to donate some $2 billion a year to Israel, but they are no longer willing to sign a check and leave it at that. How does raising big funds work? Where does the money go? And how does the issue of the settlements affect donations? (Ynet
A tent amongst the rubble in East Jerusalem
Similar to other pregnant women who eagerly await their transitions into motherhood, on that gloomy morning May Aldebai was speaking to her unborn baby, telling him about the cozy room she had prepared for him. She did not imagine that before the clock had struck 10 a.m., everything would be buried beneath the rubble of her family home. (Maan)

47 years a slave: A new perspective on the occupation (Eva Illouz, Haaretz+) Very few struggles in history have centered on how a nation should treat a third group of people, but there are strong parallels between black slavery and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. 
Isratine? No, we must part (Yaron London, Yedioth/Ynet) How can one imagine a bi-national state in a world where even Czechs and Slovaks cannot bind themselves to one authority? 
A Jewish and undemocratic bill (Friday Haaretz Editorial) A new bill wants to direct schools to strengthen the concept of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.
A poorer army (Amir Oren, Haaretz+) The IDF will not be a barrier to peace but the political leadership in Israel maintains a state of war. 
Livni's boycott bogeyman (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) The menace of BDS is being deliberately overstated. It is largely an artificial threat manufactured by the Israeli Left and echoed by Kerry. 
AIPAC’s self-inflicted wounds in Iran sanctions campaign puncture its power of deterrence (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Rage from Jerusalem fueled the Jewish establishment’s hasty and unequivocal support for a Senate bill that was as dangerous as it was disingenuous. 
Shall your brethren go to war while you sit here? (Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz+) The battle for 'sharing the burden equally' is waged between those embodying the silver platter on which the Jewish state is handed and the shirkers who take it for granted. 
Let the IDF choose its recruits (Yossi Yehoshua, Yedioth/Ynet) IDF has surplus of soldiers, shortage of quality manpower, new draft bill will only make matters worse. 
Ariel Zilber is no Adam Verete (Yossi Sarid, Haaretz+) Maybe it is a good thing that the knights of freedom of speech are actually now those who are sheltering someone in their image. 
Moderation's wisdom (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) The Palestinians are essentially banking on the boycott against Israel, but the settlers should nonetheless try moderation, as a temporary measure.
Understanding antifragility, Israel can transform its crises into breakthroughs (Yehezkel Dror, Haaretz+) Nassim Nicholas Taleb's book "Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder," is about to be released in Hebrew. Israeli leaders should use the theory in peace-making efforts and to realize reforms.
The fabricated Palestinian history (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who this past week claimed Palestinian lineage to the Canaanites, is not the first Palestinian to reinvent history. A study of history shows that the roots of present-day Palestinians lie far from here.
Israelis hibernate while politicians squabble (Yoel Marcus, Haaretz+) This government has no concrete plan requiring the people's decision, so apathy reigns while confused citizens pack the bars and restaurants.
Appeasement and economic sanctions (Yoram Ettinger, Israel Hayom) The U.S. is pressuring Israel while placating Iran and the Palestinian Authority. 
One man's prayer, another man's incitement (David Landau, Haaretz+) Once religious Judaism and fundamentalist nationalism are deliberately yoked together, differentiating between ritual and incitement is becoming far more complex. 
Kerry's words: A warning or a threat? (Shlomo Cesana, Israel Hayom) Israeli government officials believe U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is setting up Israel as the side to blame if the peace talks with the Palestinians fail and is using the Europeans to apply pressure on Israel.
Obama's pragmatism is killing Syria (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Russia warns the West against meddling in Syria's civil war, but it needn't worry. 
Sayed Kashua's children hear only one Zionist story (Sayed Kashua, Haaretz+) How will Zionist history make the state’s actions fit its peculiar narrative, the writer wonders.  
No matter what happens with Kerry, Netanyahu determined to be the last man standing (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) The prevailing assumption in the political realm is that the PM is not about to make a dramatic move that will threaten his hold on the premiership and will lead to a new election. 
Building a wall against us (Saar Gamzo, Israel Hayom) The effectiveness of the BDS campaign calling for a cultural boycott of Israel appears negligible, given the number of first-rate international stars who have come to Israel to perform in recent years.
On sanctions, Israel hasn't seen anything yet (Daniel Levy, Haaretz+) Clumsy Israeli propaganda campaigns won’t obscure the realization in Europe and among Palestinians that the occupation must cease to be cost-free for Israel.
In Israel's north, a formidable enemy is now a shadow of itself (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Far from being hurt by the attempt to depose the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Israel has, overall, benefited from recent developments in the civil war.
No peace conference will rid Syria of gang control (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Neither the Free Syrian Army nor the regime can promise that Syria won’t just remain a state of militias. 
The pitiless conflict zone that I miss desperately (Lipika Pelham, Haaretz+) Back in London, l long for the daily identity struggles, ebullience, destruction and adrenaline that perpetually intrigued and bound me to Jerusalem, my home for eight years.

Anat Kamm says she's no Snowden, but no traitor either
Former Israeli soldier who leaked classified documents gives first interview after spending two years in prison. (Interviewed by Anat Fishbein in Yedioth and summarized by Haaretz+ - Full Hebrew interview here.)

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