News Nosh 8.19.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday August 19, 2019

Quote of the day:
"Save us from the stale argument that the solution only passes through the gun barrel."
--Yedioth commentator Ariella Ringel-Hoffman derides the politicians calling for a third Gaza War instead of improving the lives of Gazans.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
"There is a common denominator between those who want to separate from the Palestinians and perpetrators of terrorist attacks."
--Former IDF commander Gen. (res.) Gershon HaCohen likened the Israeli left to militant Palestinian organizations, saying that they both wanted to prevent coexistence of Jews and Arabs in the West Bank.**

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • The mole in Kahol-Lavan party - Gantz ordered: Probe who is collecting private information
  • The fear: Israel is on the way to a recession - In one quarter, productivity growth dropped from 5% to 1% (Hebrew)
  • “People are scared to leave home” - Residents of the south trying to get over the tense weekend they had
  • Who will protect Hamas? // Yossi Yehoshua (Hebrew)
Maariv This Week
  • The leaks in Kahol-Lavan: Gantz hired a private investigation company; Lapid, Ashkenazi and Yaalon didn’t know
  • Tragedy in the Ethiopian desert - Body of outstanding Technion student, Aya Naamana, found
  • Frustration in the Gaza periphery - After weekend rockets, another (Palestinian) cell was eliminated on the border

Israel Hayom

  • A grey Kahol-Lavan - Anger among the top of the party: “Gantz excluded us from the hiring of a private investigation company”
  • Tense South: The nighttime thwarting, the eliminations and the possibility of escalation
  • Don’t call us ‘Gaza periphery’ - but rather ‘shield of Israel’ // Tamir Eidan
  • Exclusive - Global delay: flu shots only in November
  • “She always looked how to help” Aya Naaman fell from a height in Ethiopia and was killed
  • Vote for a small or a big party? In the elections, there is no two for the price of one // Sofi Ron-Moria

Top News Summary:
Kahol-Lavan leader Benny Gantz kept his party co-leaders in the dark about probe of leak, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu flew to Ukraine (some say to get Russian-Israeli votes) as the situation with Gaza escalates and warnings come from Gaza and the West Bank that the situation in both parts of the Palestinian Territories is near boiling point, making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

After an IDF helicopter and tank fired at and killed three Palestinians on the Gaza border late Saturday night, the Palestinian factions in Gaza issued a joint statement warning Israel that Gaza is a ‘volcano about to erupt.’ And earlier, Hamas sources said that recent attempts by Palestinians to breach the border with Israel reflected the "urges" among its members in the Gaza Strip and were not carried out at the terrorist group's orders or authorized by the Hamas leadership, but were acts due to the humanitarian crisis plaguing the Strip, alongside "Israeli aggression" in the West Bank and Jerusalem, and the "repeated infiltration" of Al-Aqsa Mosque,” which is what led to the firing of rockets at Israel on Friday. Netanyahu said that Israel was prepared to launch another military campaign on Gaza - even during elections, while opposition politicians blasted Netanyahu as ‘weak.’ But Israeli analysts thought the IDF and Netanyahu’s policy of not reacting was wise. (See Commentary/Analysis below.)

Meanwhile, Yedioth/Ynet’s Palestinian affairs reporter, Elior Levy, got exclusive access to a classified intelligence report recently written for the heads of the Palestinian security forces. The report warns of increasing Palestinian attacks in the West Bank and a mass outbreak of violence due to the political stalemate, the feeling of international isolation, the poor economic situation and the deepening sense of rage among young Palestinians, who see no hope for change in the near future. (Also Yedioth Hebrew)

Top Elections 2019 News and Quickees:

The bruhaha over the secret hiring by Kahol-Lavan co-leader, Benny Gantz, of private investigators to find the ‘mole’ who keeps leaking information from the party has made the other leaders in the party not too happy. But Gantz insisted that "There weren’t and there won’t be splits in Kahol-Lavan party.” (Maariv) Meanwhile, Netanyahu flew to the Ukraine for a two-day visit making it the first time an Israeli prime minister has visited the country in 20 years. While the official purpose is political, most commentators think was meant to try to take votes from Avigdor Lieberman’s party. (Also Yedioth Hebrew)

  • "What they don't say is strictly forbidden - is permissible“: This is how the Likud guides its activists - In the recordings released on Channel 12 News, the guide was heard directing activists to prevent fake votes and even to reduce voting in the Arab sector. "We would prevent them from entering the Knesset.” (Maariv)
  • Gantz and Lieberman's parties may sign surplus vote sharing deal ahead of Israeli election - Move on surplus votes hints at attempt by Kahol Lavan to appeal to the moderate right. (Haaretz)
  • Lieberman: "Netanyahu is on the left, he is a man who can't make decisions" - Chairman of Yisrael Beiteinu continues to attack Prime Minister's conduct: "Instead of holding a cabinet meeting and going to Sderot, he is going on an election campaign in Ukraine, to sell nonsense to the general public.” (Maariv)
  • Netanyahu's partisan streak has paid off, but for how long? - Observers warn Netanyahu is loosing Democrats support by aligning himself so closely with Trump and if the president is not re-elected in 2020 Israel may be faced with a president critical of Netanyahu's decisions to ban Omar and Tlaib. (AP, Ynet)

Quick Hits:
  • New police regulations limit right to protest in Israel - Rules exploit what police see as loophole in High Court ruling; gatherings of more than 50 people will require a permit and be subject to strict restrictions. (Haaretz+)
  • High Court suspends Israeli justice minister's bid to appoint 'unqualified' director general - Ophir Cohen was tapped by Amir Ohana to replace Emi Palmor, the director general for the past five years, who was dismissed a few weeks after Ohana took office in June. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • **Gen. (res.) Gershon HaCohen: "There is a common denominator between those who want to separate from the Palestinians and perpetrators of terrorist attacks" - In a controversial statement on KAN Bet Radio, Maj. Gen. Hacohen, who commanded the withdrawal from Gaza Strip, compared between the Israeli left and terrorist organizations, saying that they, too, want to prevent coexistence in Palestine. (Maariv)
  • Jordan Reprimands Israeli Envoy Over Temple Mount 'Violations' - Ambassador handed letter to the Israeli government warning against any changes to status quo on Jerusalem's holy site, week after clashes during Muslim, Jewish holidays. (Haaretz+, Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Concern in the Palestinian Authority: Will UNRWA’s mandate be revoked - The Palestinian leadership has expressed concern that the UN corruption investigation against the relief agency will lead to cancelling the extension of the mandate of the organization, which is also in financial difficulties. (Maariv/JPost)
  • Palestinian Authority bans LGBT activities in West Bank, citing 'insult to tradition' - Palestinian Authority Police Spokesman Louay Arzeikat says events organized by al Qaws ("Rainbow") "go against and infringe upon the higher principles and values of Palestinian society.” (Israel Hayom)
  • Prosecutor's Office asked for opinion from Prof. Yehuda Hiss, even though he was dismissed from National Forensic Institute of Forensic - Police have approved paying up to 50,000 shekels to the former head of the Institute of Forensic Medicine to compile an opinion in a lawsuit filed against it, in addition to previous engagements with it. Hiss was ousted from his post after retaining tissue of dead people without the consent of the relatives. (Haaretz Hebrew)
  • Arab Israeli Woman Stabbed to Death in Front of Kids; Husband Arrested - Amina Yassin-Farhat, 35, found dead at her family's home. Municipal authorities say family was known to welfare department due to suspect's drug use. (Haaretz+)
  • (Arab-) Israeli student falls to her death in the Ethiopian Salt Desert - Aya Na'amana finished a four-week long academic course of the Technion in Ethiopia and continued to a backpacking trip; she became separated from her group. "Searches continued until Sunday using drones and a helicopter, until the body of the young woman, who likely fell to her death, was found." (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Deflation Raises Prospect That Bank of Israel Will Try to Tamp Down the Mighty Shekel - July consumer price index fell 0.3%, but home prices rose 0.5% amid signs that the market is heating up again. (Haaretz+)
  • Central Bank Calls for Spending Surge to Boost Flagging Israeli Productivity Growth - Report urges gov’t to undertake wide-ranging program to make up for years of under-investment, calls for end to industrial subsidies. Says ultra-Orthodox hinder economic growth. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Netanyahu defends decision to bar Omar, Tlaib from entering Israel - "We respect all parties in the United States, but we also respect ourselves. Anyone who comes to boycott us and comes to undermine the legitimacy of State of Israel, we don't allow them to enter," PM Netanyahu says of decision to bar congresswomen from entering Israel. (Israel Hayom)
  • Gloria Steinem says she’ll avoid Netanyahu’s Israel in protest over barring of Omar, Tlaib - 'If you and Trump continue to imitate each other, you will be alone together at the table. I could wish both of you no greater punishment than that,' feminist icon writes after Omar-Tlaib ban. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel's Demands Unacceptable: Top Democrat Defends Tlaib's Rejection of West Bank Visit - 'Not only was this request disrespectful of Rep. Tlaib but of the United States Congress as well,' Steny Hoyer said in a statement. (Haaretz)
  • On Israel, Omar and Tlaib Do Not Speak for Party, Says Jewish Democrat Max Rose - Freshman New York congressman argues Israel missed a chance to ‘advance its interests’ by quashing visit by pro-BDS lawmakers Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. In any case, he says, there are more pressing issues on the U.S. agenda. (Haaretz+)
  • Grace 1 tanker raises Iranian flag, changes name to 'Adrian Darya-1' - British Royal Marines seized the vessel in Gibraltar in July on suspicion that it was carrying oil to Syria. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran's Guards navy chief: U.S. and U.K. presence in Gulf brings insecurity - Amid tensions, Alireza Tangsiri says Tehran can provide security in the Gulf by forming a coalition with other countries in the region. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Shared Afghanistan interests create opening for U.S.-Iran back channel, sources say - Iran denies that intermediaries have been running messages between Tehran and Washington for months, while White House declines to comment. (Agencies, Haaretz)

What occupation looks like for Rashida Tlaib’s village in the West Bank
Forty years of land grabs, settlement expansion, and the building of a highway that is off limits to Palestinians. This is what is happening to Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s village. (Dror Etkes, +972mag)

A Brutal Denial of the Right to Protest in Israel (Haaretz Editorial) On Friday, 15 activists were arrested and three others detained, including six in the neighborhood where Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit lives. Five activists, including one of the protest’s leaders, were arrested in front of the police station where the other detainees had been brought. The arrests were documented and disseminated on social media. The violent removal of Israelis of Ethiopian descent from a public square led to two demonstrators ending up in the hospital, with a representative of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel suffering a broken arm. Former prime minister Ehud Barak, who went to the demonstration following these arrests, told Channel 13 TV that “all those fables they tell you about public disturbances are misleading. When a lawyer is dragged and handcuffed, when a lawyer coming to defend the arrested people can’t get their names, ending up under arrest himself despite his holding an attorney’s license and his previous service in the Shin Bet – that’s a disgrace.”
Israel cannot normalize Rabin's murderer (Nadav Eyal, Yedioth/Ynet) The state's gentle touch when it comes to Yigal Amir has let him have kids, make contact with other far-right extremists and even plot his involvement in politics; Israel must isolate him and put an end to this situation, which is one of the greatest threats to the country's wellbeing.
Foreigner haters (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Yedioth Hebrew) “Go back to where you came from," Donald Trump called on Congress members, women who are minorities and who attacked his immigration policy. The place to go back to is Africa, Asia or Latin America - just not classic white Europe. Quite a few Jews have heard something familiar in this call: such cries have been shouted at their fathers and their fathers’ fathers, and are shouted against them also today. In Europe they wanted to deport them to the Middle East; in America they wanted to deport them to Europe; in the Middle East they wanted to deport them to Europe. There is no people that experienced more xenophobia than Jews. Nevertheless, not every Jew remembers. The most hated man by liberal America these days is a young Jew from Santa Monica, California, talented, connected and ambitious. Stephen Miller, 33, is the thinker, draftsman and executive of the White House War against immigrants. Unlike his boss, President Trump, who zigzagged in his attitudes toward immigrants, sometimes they are models he likes to conquer, sometimes they are a workforce which it is a good deed to take advantage of, sometimes they are a disease-borne virus and a crime-prone, our Stephen never zigzags: he hated strangers from childhood.
Meet Donald Trump’s Most Desperate Sycophant: Benjamin Netanyahu (Eric H. Yoffie, Haaretz+) Israel’s prime minister has now become the U.S. president’s pet poodle. The Tlaib-Omar debacle is another terrible blow for relations between Israel and the Democratic Party – and between Israel and U.S. Jews.
Netanyahu is playing with fire (Orly Azoulay, Yedioth/Ynet) Netanyahu got Israel into a hot mess when he followed Trump's lead and banned Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from entering the country; he brags about how he has endless American support, but he is the one that made Israel lose its bipartisan status with the Congress.
"The damage Netanyahu has done to relations with US Jews seems irreversible" (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) Instead of going to Ukraine this evening, the Prime Minister should have reached an emergency meeting in New York, where senior members of the Jewish community distribute emails acutely criticizing his conduct.
Israel's 'humanitarian' offer to Tlaib made me cringe. Here's why (Tania Hary, +972mag) As the director of an organization that promotes the right to freedom of movement in Gaza, when I heard that Israel is offering you the chance to make a ‘humanitarian’ visit to your family, I felt a familiar cringe. An open letter to Reps. Tlaib and Omar.
How will Israel’s denial of entry to Congress members Omar and Tlaib affect Israeli-US relations? (Shmuel Rosner, Maariv) This was a dilemma between pre-known damage - harsh criticism in the Democratic party over preventing the Congresswomen’s entry and unknown damage - the outcome of the visit, if conducted. Where did we make a mistake? In the zigzagging (first agreeing, then denying, then offering humanitarian gesture to Tlaib).
Untamed Israeli Soldier Tells Truth. His Commanders Rush to Deny It (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) In October 2018, a soldier at the Coordination and Liaison Office in Jericho answered an Israeli activist, who asked: Where are the shepherds from the Samra hamlet who were detained by soldiers – and why were they even detained. The shepherds were already released, about an hour after being detained, the soldier informed the caller, explaining that this was a form of punishment “with greater deterrence, so they won’t repeat the things they did.” What are the shepherds doing? Grazing their sheep. And the soldiers? Obeying. And what order are they obeying? If the shepherds in question are Palestinians – to chase them away, along with their sheep and goats. Or, in the words of the truth-speaking soldier: “They were walking with their sheep and blocking a road, and when they were asked to leave they refused. That’s the report I received.” Because Palestinian sheep have not yet learned to digest asphalt, or even gravel, we can assume that they weren’t actually blocking a road, but rather crossing it on the way to the pasture. The activist replied that blocking a road really is not all right, but wondered aloud whether it was the job of armed soldiers to keep sheep away from it.
(Hamas chief) Sinwar cannot openly oppose the border incidents, but understands their potential (Alon Ben-David, Maariv) The Hamas leader, Yahya Sinwar, made every effort to keep Hamas out of recent events, but both sides understand that an attack that could infiltrate or a rocket that causes harm can completely change the picture.
Who is protecting Hamas? (Yossi Yehoshua, Yedioth/Yedioth Hebrew) Election considerations, not security, explain why Israel refuses to accuse Hamas of escalating the situation.
Escalating incidents on Gaza-Israel border indicate Hamas is losing its grip (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Hamas has a lot to lose from a major round of violence, but with election looming, Netanyahu's restraint may not last long.
*The magic Gaza pill (Ariella Ringel-Hoffman, Yedioth Hebrew) There are nothing like four rockets in the Gaza periphery to shake dusty clichés, disperse false promises, and warm the barrel of the gun in preparation for the upcoming elections. And what a shame, oh a shame, that it is impossible to do away with, collapse, annihilate, annihilate and end Hamas once and for all - with an attack of words - or more accurately - of those running for the top. For example, Avigdor Lieberman, who issued a psychological diagnosis and stated that Binyamin Netanyahu is "a weak leader, incapable of making decisions.” Or Benny Gantz, who said…that "deterrence was not eroded, it was erased”, and also hurried to promise: "We will make a campaign that will be the last military militarized campaign and it will strengthen deterrence.” And so, Netanyahu is better than a strong Lieberman, given that 13 years after the Second Lebanon War, and five years after a Operation Protective Edge, we already know that it is not the raging politicians who are armed to the neck who will cross the fence on the way to unnecessary war in Gaza, saturated with casualties. A war whose consequences can be asssessed today, including - contrary to some commentators' estimates - the rise of even more radical fundamentalists than Hamas. So what should we do? Restrain ourselves. Save us from the stale argument that the solution only goes through the gun barrel, as advanced as it may be, with the recent history showing just the opposite. Continue to bring in suitcases of dollars to allow a minimum of normal life there and look for creative ways to lower the height of flames until the opportunity comes, even if it takes time, and even a lot of time, to promote real change.
It's scary to think that many of the disengagement leaders 14 years ago are still in the justice system (Dr. Haim Misgav, Maariv) Aharon Barak no longer serves in the system, but many of those who advanced the heinous acts done to a huge population were not ejected from the system, but remain in it, and more senior.

Elections 2019 Commentary/Analysis:
Where Are You Going, Gantz? (Raviv Drucker, Haaretz+)
Benny Gantz has been making a great effort these past few weeks to sprout leadership wings, to rise above the neutering four-member “cockpit.” He publicly chastised Yair Lapid for his campaign video that offended the ultra-Orthodox, announced during a tour of the Jordan Valley that the area will remain under Israeli control forever, and declared to Ynet that if Netanyahu were ready to give him first turn as prime minister in a rotation agreement, there might be something to talk about. Even his move to seek out those leaking information within Kahol Lavan, without telling his co-leaders, was meant to demonstrate leadership.
We must not put all the left-center bloc mandates into one big fashion party (Hilik Bar, Maariv) My friends in the center-left camp, do not repeat the mistake we made in the previous election and give your hand and voice to another political party in the center that is in fashion, and whose expiry date already exists.
Israel's Arab Parties Join Forces, but Their Union Lacks a Message (Odeh Bisharat, Haaretz+) Without vision, the battle is lost. The apple, according to Amos Oz in his last book, is made of water, earth, sunlight, an apple tree and a bit of manure. However, while it is made out of these ingredients, it doesn’t resemble them. That appears to sum up the story of the Joint List in one bite. The partnership includes all the ingredients, but its spirit is floating elsewhere.
Without Trump and Putin, Netanyahu Makes Do With Ukraine Campaign Stop (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Ukraine and India aren’t the United States and Russia – and in visiting Kiev, Netanyahu is walking a diplomatic mine field.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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