News Nosh - 11.14.19

APN's daily news review from Israel

Thursday November 14, 2019

Quote of the day:

"They parted together from the world, and when they ascended to heaven the guard at the door did not ask for IDs, because they are all equal before God. The sky is open to anyone. So should people’s hearts."
--Shlomo Vishinsky, father of an Israeli soldier who was killed alongside his Arab-Israeli comrade-in-arms in Gaza in 2004, calls on Israelis to consider Arab citizens and Arab MKs as equals members of Israeli society.*

You Must Be Kidding: 

"They sanctify the terrorists' war crimes!"
--Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in Knesset about Arab MKs who expressed opposition to Israeli military actions in Gaza that killed innocent civilians and which were meant, they said, to rescue Netanyahu from his legal woes.**

Breaking News:

Capping 48-hour surge in violence, Gaza cease-fire reached, started at 5:30 AM, sirens still heard in Gaza border communities
Israel 'achieved its objectives,' official claims. 32 Palestinians die in Israeli strikes. Rocket alert sirens ring out minutes after Islamic Jihad confirms cease-fire. Islamic Jihad said it made a list of conditions: "An end to targeted killings in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, an end to attacks on civilians during the (weekly Friday Gaza fence) March of Return protests and a commitment to abide by (existing) agreements pertaining to Gaza." (Haaretz, Ynet, Israel Hayom)

IDF concludes Operation 'Black Belt': 25 eliminations [killings], 450 rocket launches
IDF spokesman: "We took advantage of a window of opportunity in Gaza in relation to the Iranian arena." About 60% of the rocket launches from Gaza were launched into open space and about 90% were intercepted. (Maariv)


Front Page:

Haaretz

Yedioth Ahronoth

  • Despite the fire: effort for quiet (Hebrew)
  • Jihad was left alone // Alex Fishman (Hebrew)
  • Price of success // Yossi Yehoshua
  • We haven’t seen anything yet // Amnon Abramovich
  • Strange harmony // Shimrit Meir
  • Baby, boom - 21 babies born at hospital in Ashkelon since the escalation began - sharp rise compared to regular days (Hebrew)

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

Israel Hayom

  • Jihad in the crosshairs
  • Barrages on the south, attacks in Gaza Strip and contacts for a ceasefire; Dispute within the Hamas leadership on whether to join the fighting
  • Offering the Jihad a ladder to climb down // Yoav Limor
  • Opportunity for strategic change in the south // Udi Dekel
  • They cannot defeat us // Alon Davidi
  • Again, the faces of the Arab MKs were revealed // Akiva Bigman
  • Likely: Also today no school in the south
  • Lapid softens, Gantz closer to unity
  • Threats on the goal: Poland will come (to friendly match in Israel), Argentina still in doubt

Top News Summary:

The Hebrew papers went to print before the finalization of the ceasefire, which went into effect this morning, so today’s headlines focused on the continued rockets falling vs. the Israeli military’s ‘achievements,’ the negotiations held for a truce, the Israelis’ fear (causing early births, hours in bomb shelters) and their inconvenience and financial losses (wedding locations changed, businesses closed down), and the bitter shouting match between Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Arab MK Ahmed Tibi in the Knesset.

On the second day since the assassination of Palestinian Islamic Jihad northern brigade commander, Bahaa Abu al-Ata, only Haaretz dedicated an article to the suffering on the Palestinian side, but Maariv also published an article focusing on it along with Hamas’ reticence to join the warfare. On its front page, Haaretz reported that the Health Ministry in Gaza reported that 16 people were killed in IDF attacks, including a father and his two young sons, who were killed in an IDF missile attack when the father arrived at the entrance to his home on a motorcycle and the children, aged 24 and 7, came out to greet him. [NOTE: In a similar style attack on Tuesday, Israel shot a missile at two people on a motorcycle, whom the IDF said were Islamic Jihad operatives en route to carry out rocket strikes on Israel.  - OH] “For the Israelis, apparently any two people riding on a motorcycle have become a target,” a researcher at Al-Mezan Human Rights Center in Gaza said. People who knew the family said neither the father nor his older son were known as political activists or militants. The article further said that “…since the beginning of the fighting, more than 80 people were wounded, 31 of them children and youth and 14 of them women, and 18 of them are in serious condition.”

Maariv:

In a paragraph on page 2: “26 Palestinians were killed since the start of the round of escalation, and according to a Palestinian report, four of them are civilians not connected to the fighting. In light of the complex fighting conditions in built-up areas, this is considered high surgical ability of the Air Force and Intel.”
In an article on page 6 titled “Despite the pressure by Jihad: Hamas avoiding joining the fighting; Emergency situation in Gaza, only medical services are operating”: 73 people were wounded, among them 30 children and 13 women…In Gaza, they cried for the father, Rafaat, and his two sons, Islam and Amir, who were killed by a missile that hit a welding shop. The article showed photos of the father and his sons and it also quoted a source in Gaza who said Gazans were living in an emergency situation, with only the medical services operating.

But Yedioth and Israel Hayom largely whitewashed the Palestinian deaths. Yedioth’s only words on the subject:
“The IDF succeeded in operating in an impressive way against the rocket launching cells in Gaza: more than 20 Islamic Jihad terrorists were killed in surgical attacks that were made in a highly populated area, and that was almost without harming innocent civilians.”
Israel Hayom: Page 3, end of article:
“Within less than 48 hours after the elimination of Abu Al-Ata, some 20 terrorists in the Gaza Strip were killed by IDF attacks…Israel also made a great effort not to harm civilians who were not involved.”

**In the Knesset, Netanyahu and Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi went head to head when Netanyahu accused Arab MKs of supporting terror. Netanyahu took the podium to talk about the assassination of Baha Abu al-Ata, at which point Joint Arab List MK Ahmad Tibi accused the IDF and the government of committing "war crimes" in Gaza. Netanyahu then accused the Arab MKs of supporting terror. "They sanctify the terrorists' war crimes! This is a great injustice against IDF soldiers and commanders, who spare no effort to minimize civilian casualties. [Gaza] terrorists hide among civilians – that is a war crime. Nothing said in this hall will change that fact," Netanyahu said. Tibi then approached the podium and called at Netanyahu, "You're a liar! This campaign is meant to save you [from legal troubles].” Tibi was removed from the plenum after being called to order. Along with him, the members of the Joint List left while calling "Operation to rescue Netanyahu." Ynet noted that the shouting match came following the report of the killing of the “three civilian deaths…All three were from the same family and one of the fatalities was a child.” (Maariv has a VIDEO.)

The papers also noted that Hamas was under pressure to join Islamic Jihad in the fighting and it needed to show a significant improvement for civilians in order to demand that Islamic Jihad restrain its fire. Haaretz+ quoted the IDF, which said it was attempting not to hit Hamas positions or infrastructure in Gaza and was ‘walking a tightrope' to prevent an all out war. Yisrael Beiteinu chairman, Avigdor Lieberman, accused Netanyahu of strengthening Hamas rule. (Haaretz Hebrew and Maariv)

Haaretz+ also reported that Abu al-Ata's assassination was approved two years ago and repeatedly postponed due to arguments between the IDF and the Shin Bet over the timing. The IDF still thinks that priority should go to tensions in the north and until recently, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the security cabinet agreed.

US Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic presidential candidates Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former vice president Joe Biden reacted to the violence in support of Israel.

Also interesting were two phone interviews, one published in Yedioth and one in Maariv. The Yedioth report was actually in the gossip section. The “Leech” called gay stylist, reality and YouTube star, Leon Schneidrowski, and asked him about threats he’s receiving from Israelis. The threats came during the escalation with Gaza and after Channel 2 broadcast an interview last week with him and his sister, who married an Arab-Israeli in the town of Taybeh, where she continues to live. and where the interviews took place. The other was an interview by two right-wing journalists with late prime minister Ariel Sharon's bureau chief, Dov Weinglass, who defended the withdrawal, from Gaza despite the rockets. (See Interviews below.)

Elections 2019 News:

With only week left to form a government, the leaders of the Kahol-Lavan party are in dispute over whether to sit under a Netanyahu led government or not. MK Yair Lapid opposes it at all costs, while Kahol-Lavan chairman Benny Gantz proposes to consider the President’s outline for a unity government, with Netanyahu beginning first as prime minister in a rotation government. A party official told Yedioth Hebrew that Lapid will not join the government if Netanyahu continues to serve as prime minister even if Gantz decides to settle on this issue. "We didn't set up Kahol-Lavan to sit with Bibi," the official said emphatically.

However, the other Kahol-Lavan leaders, Moshe Ya'alon and Gabi Ashkenazi, expressed their opposition to forming a government supported by the Joint List in light of the statements made by its members against the IDF's activities in the Gaza Strip, Maariv reported. As a result, Kahol-Lavan appears to be dropping the possibility of a government supported by the mostly Arab Joint List. [NOTE: At the beginning of the week, this seemed like a real possibility and the Joint List had expressed its willingness. The predicted turnaround following the Gaza assassination and warfare supports the theory that the purpose of the assassination was to prevent Kahol-Lavan from going to a minority government with the support of the Joint List -OH.]  Moreover, Yisrael Beiteinu chairman, Avigdor Lieberman, does not intend to join a Netanyahu-led government, as was previously assumed, Maariv reported.

Even U.S. President Donald Trump had something to say about Israel’s political deadlock. Speaking to a crowd of ultra-Orthodox Jews, Trump said, “They keep having elections and nobody gets elected.” He expressed confidence that he would be, saying he has a “98 percent approval rating in Israel,” and that “if anything happens here [i.e. impeachment], I’m taking a trip to Israel — I’ll be prime minister there.”

Quick Hits:

  • Israel's Top Court Insists Cop Be Tried for Killing of Arab Man. State Prosecutor Wants to Let Him Off - The court ruled that the officer, Naor Yitzhak, a member of the riot police unit, should be tried for the fatal shooting of Kafr Kana resident Bakhir Hamdan during an arrest sweep in the town in November 2014. In the incident, which was recorded on a security camera, Hamdan is seen attacking a police vehicle with a knife while shouting “Allah akbar.” Hamdan is then shown moving away from the vehicle, at which point Yitzhak fired one bullet at Hamdan, killing him. State Prosecutor says a trial would put police off from using force. (Haaretz+)
  • The murderer of Hanit Kikus will not be released early - Parole committee rejected request of Suleiman al-Abid, who [was convicted of] murdering Kikus in 1993. Kikus' parents did not object to Al-Abid's request, claiming that he was not their daughter's killer. According to them, police caught a mentally retarded man and stitched a case against him. In 2015, the High Court rejected Al-Abid's request for a retrial. His lawyer: "After so many years that he claims his innocence, the least that can be done is release him under supervision and put him in a rehabilitation program." (Maariv and Ynet Hebrew)
  • EU Fails to Enforce Requirement to Label Settlement Products, Study Shows - Four years after decision, only 10 percent of products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank are labeled as such. (Haaretz+)
  • US opposes new EU label rule for Israeli settlement products - State Department says EU ruling encourages the BDS movement and that the US “unequivocally opposes” any efforts to “economically pressure, isolate, or otherwise delegitimize Israel.” EU says it opposes the BDS movement while adding that settlement goods cannot say “Made in Israel.” (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Residents of the Gaza envelope are suing a fund that assisted Islamic Jihad - Kites and fire balloons launched from the Gaza Strip ignited 35,000 hectares of forests, agricultural areas and nature reserves. Now, the JNF is suing a US fund for $90 million for funding this terror. According to the lawsuit, the defendant organization, called 'Education For a Just Peace in the Middle East,' served as a pipeline for BDS to donate to terrorist organizations, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front. The funds were raised in the United States by the BDS movement (US Campaign for Palestinian Rights). The BDS movement has for years served as the main sponsor for the promotion and financing of terrorist organizations, but for the first time, the JNF, through the evidence presented in this lawsuit, revealed the link between the BDS organization and direct financing of terrorist organizations, including Islamic Jihad and Hamas. This lawsuit is the first filed for the kite terror damage. The JNF is represented in the lawsuit by Heidemann, Nudelman & Click law firm in Washington. KKL-JNF chairman Daniel Atar, who initiated the lawsuit, said: "In this lawsuit, we were able to uncover the relationship between human rights fundraisers, BDS heads, and a number of terrorist organizations, including Islamic Jihad and Hamas." [NOTE: Earlier this year, the USCPR initiated a campaign to “Stop the JNF,” aimed at ending the role of the Jewish National Fund in “the on-going displacement of indigenous Palestinians from their land, the theft of their property, the funding of historic and present day colonies, and the destruction of the natural environment.” (translation of Yedioth Hebrew article. Also INN)
  • IDF hosts top foreign military officials for battle simulations - The Israel Defense Forces has come to use increasingly powerful simulations as a key tool for military planning, factoring in field data about combat arenas on land, at sea and in the air. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel hopes Expo 2020 in Dubai proves bridge to Arab world - Next year’s world fair in the United Arab Emirates offers the country a unique opportunity to present a fresh face to the Arab world. "There is curiosity, mixed with concern, about this thing called Israel and we want to alleviate that concern," says Expo 2020 commissioner Elazar Cohen. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Trump says he's a 'great fan' of Turkey's Erdogan after White House meeting - But despite 'wonderful and productive' encounter, no breakthrough on contentious Syria issue, Russian missile defense system. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Greece endorses universal definition of anti-Semitism - "To effectively combat anti-Semitism requires leaders who are willing to speak out and take action against the persistent hatred of Jews," said AJC CEO David Harris. (Israel Hayom)
  • Pope Blasts ‘Inhuman, un-Christian’ Rebirth of anti-Semitism - Speaking at his general audience Wednesday, Francis denounced anti-Semitism, saying it is raging after the world thought the 'brutalities' of the Holocaust were over. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Archaeologists in Egypt Unearth Large Mummy Thought to Be a Lion - Rare discovery of the large animal found near the famed Step Pyramid south of Cairo. (Agencies, Haaretz)

Commentary/Analysis:

End the Blockade, Aid Gaza's Economy (Haaretz Editorial) In the absence of a policy aimed at finding a practical and agreed-upon solution with the Palestinians, the government is offering its citizens false substitutes such as targeted assassinations, collective economic punishment, draconian restrictions on movement and empty bluster about military power. The political leadership, the IDF and the Shin Bet themselves probably have little faith in the usefulness of any of these measures. The IDF has long stated quite clearly that there is no military solution to the Gaza problem. The Shin Bet has supported and continues to support easing of the blockade, and even the prime minister recognizes the need for at least an economic solution that will reduce the potential threat from Gaza, and was persuaded to allow an influx of millions of dollars to Gaza to enable Hamas to guarantee workers’ salaries and aid to needy families. Hamas’s restraint, so far, from joining in the violent response from Islamic Jihad to the death of Abu al-Ata can be ascribed in large part to pragmatic considerations, chiefly its desire to preserve its standing as the group that can provide for the local population’s needs.
Islamic Jihad's war of attrition (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) The small terror group got over its shock at the death of Abu al-Ata and decided that its best option was to wear down Israel by disrupting the lives of its citizens, but the truncated round of violence also allowed Israel to reclaim some of its deterrence.
Netanyahu Exploits Gaza Flare-up to Blast Joint List and Isolate Israeli Arabs (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) The prime minister’s assault kills minority government option and undercuts Joint List efforts to ally with the Jewish center-left. It serves Netanyahu’s political and personal interests to drive a wedge between Jewish public opinion and the Arab-supported Joint List in order to block any possibility of their allying with Gantz to set up a minority government that would depose him. And as Netanyahu has proven time and time again over the past year, his personal interests, repackaged as national priorities, dictate his government’s policies.
*All are equal before God (Shlomo Vishinsky, Yedioth Hebrew) Last Monday, I was invited to speak at a ceremony commemorating the fallen of the Gaza Division. I referred my words to all bereaved families, commanders and warriors; Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze and Circassians. The number of fallen in Gaza is 109. Of those, 43 are non-Jews. About 40 percent. Not everyone seems to be aware of these numbers. When my son, Lior, was killed, Eman Gadir - a fighter from the Bedouin patrol battalion, fought alongside him. The Bedouin are not forced by law to enlist, but they enlist in the army and many of their sons continue in career service. Iman Gadir was killed along with his Jewish friends: Aviv Hakani, Elad Cohen and Zaur Smileyev. They fought together for one purpose - the security of the State of Israel. Every three months there is a change of divisions in the Gaza division that are deployed on the border: Golani, Givati, Nahal, Paratroopers and Kfir. The desert patrol unit, which consists entirely of non-Jewish soldiers - Arabs - does not get replaced. The Bedouin are fighting all year and are the first to strive for contact with the enemy. It is not just trackers, it is a battalion of fighters headed by the Bedouin patrol unit commander Lt. Colonel Nadal Yada - a Bedouin. When the APC, which included the five fighters, including my son, sustained a direct hit by an RPG missile, the earth absorbed the blood of the fighters mingling with each other. They breathed their last breath in the same space, the last words they said were spoken in Hebrew. They parted together from the world, and when they ascended to heaven the guard at the door did not ask for IDs, because they are all equal before God. The sky is open to anyone. So should people’s hearts. In these days, we are commemorating the 24 year anniversary of the murder of Rabin, an event that is the result of incitement and betrayal of democracy. From an early age, we memorize the phrase: “Love your neighbor like yourself." I am glad that the IDF is accepting the Other. Twenty percent of Israel's population are Arabs who contribute to Israeli society. The hospitals are full of (Arab) doctors and nurses, at the pharmacies are Arab pharmacists. Imagine the collapsing health system managing without the non-Jewish workforce. We meet Arabs all the time, receive service from them on a daily basis, so why don't we accept them as being equal among us? The ongoing election campaign is characterized by a heated discourse against Arabs, but Arabs are part of us, part of our society, part of our resilience, to the extent that it may sound foreign or strange to many. Even in these moments, fighting alongside our soldiers are soldiers from the Bedouin patrol battalion. Did you know that? At the ceremony, the division's military rabbi read a number of Psalms in memory of all the fallen. As a result of the ranting during these days of security conflict, and in light of the calls that are currently being made by the Israeli public against a minority government with the participation or support of Arab members of the Knesset - representatives of 20 percent of the public - I would like to add two verses from Leviticus, Chapter X: “When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not wrong him. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I, the Lord, am your God.
While at War With Islamic Jihad, Israel Is Almost in Talks With Hamas (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Hamas seems more interested in striking a longer-term deal with Israel than joining Islamic Jihad’s rocket attacks, but that could change if the number of Palestinian casualties rises.
Netanyahu and Hamas Chief in Gaza Have Emerged as Unlikely Allies (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) In first, Israel hasn’t responded to rocket launches from the Strip by attacking Hamas targets. On their respective sides, Bibi and Sinwar are fighting for political supremacy.
Abu al-Atta was violent and unrestrained, even for Islamic Jihad (Yoav Zitun and Elior Levy, Yedioth/Ynet) Responsible for rocket fire on a Sderot summer music festival and deadly attacks in the run-up to Eurovision in Tel Aviv, the Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza was marked for death by Israel long before Tuesday's killing.
Abu Al-Ata was a two-pronged thorn in Hamas’ throat no less than he was an Israeli one (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Not only did Abu Al-Ata thwart Netanyahu's vigorous initiative yesterday. Gantz's narrow government option with the support of the Arab parties from the outside has also suffered a fairly successful targeted assassination.
Islamic Jihad's war of attrition (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) The small terror group got over its shock at the death of Abu al-Ata and decided that its best option was to wear down Israel by disrupting the lives of its citizens, but the truncated round of violence also allowed Israel to reclaim some of its deterrence.
Killing Islamic Jihad Leader Got Israel Nothing. So Why Do It? (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Once again the sacrosanct unity has come. Once again we are one people, without opposition or public debate, a parade of yes men and cheerleaders in the media, bloodshed with no regrets, as always happens in these sickening, “quiet, we’re shooting,” situations. Israel fakes a split among the people, which always magically comes together with every killing. We argue about life but agree on death, as long as the dead are Arabs. If we automatically agree this way about every military action, then there isn’t really any polarization or debate, and that’s really too bad.
When there are no pressure levers (Amos Yadlin, Yedioth Hebrew) The targeted counter-terror killing of Baha Abu al-'Ata was a necessary and appropriate move, the result of an intelligence effort and combined operations of the security forces. In his role as commander of the Gaza northern brigade of Islamic Jihad's al-Quds Brigades, and in fact as a strong man of the Gaza Strip, he planned terror attacks and acted to undermine security in the south, with ongoing damage to the chances of reaching the long-term arrangement [between Israel and Hamas - OH] and improving the situation of Gazans. Terminology is important. This is not a "liquidation,” but a targeted counter-terror action against someone who constitutes a ticking bomb and makes an attack that ends up hurting Israel and killing civilians and soldiers. Preventing a terror attack by harming the one who makes it or directs it is a legitimate act, a moral imperative, and the IDF must maintain it as an effective tool for fighting terrorism in all sectors. Contrary to the messages released yesterday on "not returning to the assassination policy," it is important to understand that targeted counter-terror attacks is a tool. It is good that the chief of staff did not hesitate to state in his statement to the media that the targeted counterterrorism policy is a necessary and effective lever against Islamic Jihad. It is important that terrorist organizations know and internalize that targeted counterterrorism killings are not an option that has come off the table, but an integral part of Israel's military capabilities…The Islamic Jihad is less affected by Egyptian pressure, it is not interested in a long-term arrangement [with Israel] and it feels no sense of responsibility to the residents of Gaza. Hamas is the key to the restraint of the Islamic Jihad, and a variety of non-military leverages must be used.
Self-defense for everyone but Israel (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) Israel’s critics talk of a "cycle of violence" in which the Jewish state is blamed for military escalations. But the problem is Palestinian politics and Iran, not PM Netanyahu.
Israel's diplomatic weapon in Gaza fighting (Itamar Eichner, Yedioth/Ynet) Across the world, Israel's ambassadors waged their own war to preserve the country's reputation as Islamic Jihad rocket fire pounded their families, friends and neighbours back home.
Trump's Total Capitulation to Turkey's Erdogan (Louis Fishman, Haaretz+) The Trump-Erdogan love-in at the White House was deeply unedifying – and disturbing. The U.S. president has became the authoritarian Erdogan’s sock puppet, begging the question: Why?

Interviews:

Reality star Leon Schneidrowski: A girl who looks and is as talented as (my sister) is could have been living in Herzliya Pituah. Life turned out the way it did and she lives in Taibeh"
Leon Schneidrowski never hid the fact that his sister married a son of the (Arab-Israeli) Haj-Yihiyeh clan and made three children to the glory of the State of Israel. He loves her and is proud of her, but there are parts that still get stuck in his throat: Her conversion to Islam (to marry), her life alone (following divorce, but still living in Taibeh), and his niece who prays five times a day. A family trip to the heart of Taibeh.
(Progam broadcast on Channel 2 on 7th of November)

The Leech: Leon Schneiderowski under attack
Leon Schneiderovsky’s sister, converted to Islam at the age of 17, moved to Taibeh, married a son of the Hajj-Yahya clan, and had three children. In recent days, since things heated up with Gaza, Schneiderovsky has been cursed on the internet, including getting phone calls from unlisted numbers and threats of murder: "You legitimize your sister's conversion to Islam, you deserve to die." The frightened Leon rushed to file a complaint with the police immediately, the leech ran after him to calm him down. (In today's Yedioth Hebrew Gossip column by the 'Leech'
THE LEECH: I really hope you are in the bomb shelter
LEON: Stop, it's scary I get threats and I have an Ariana Grande performance abroad next week.
THE LEECH: A good reason to keep living...
LEON: Yes, I also have an appointment for (facial) injections with Naama Kasari, so even more so.

Late prime minister Ariel Sharon's bureau chief: "When Hamas took over the Gaza Strip, Israel found it appropriate not to intervene"
Attorney Dov Weisglass spoke with journalists Ben Caspit and Yinon Magal on 103FM about the escalation in the south and the effects of the withdrawal from Gaza:
"The decision to leave Gaza at the fundamental level was made in 1994 as part of the Oslo Accords." (MAARIV)
MAGAL: Sharon embarked on a defensive wall operation in Judea and Samaria and managed to create a reality that is a tolerable status quo to this day. We have security control and the citizens run their lives. In Gaza, he chose to withdraw.
WEISSGLASS: ”I will correct you and mention that until that operation, about 500 Israelis were killed and then, from 2002 to 2005, the same number of Israelis sadly fell. Most of the terror in Judea and Samaria did not cease because of Operation Defensive Shield, but because of the very effective cooperation system with the Palestinian Authority and because G-d took Arafat from us and brought us Abbas, who has accepted the need to stop terrorism. (Another) Operation Defensive Shield means massive entry of foot troops into Judea and Samaria and door-to-door operations. The current government can carry out a Operation Defensive Shield in Gaza every day. There are the same difficulties that existed back then. No one considers this a (reasonable) option.”
MAGAL: It is one of the options on the table.
WEISSGLASS: ”The day this happens you will win from me a particularly expensive lunch."
MAGAL: When Sharon conceived the disengagement, he was asked what would happen if rockets were fired upon us and replied that Israel would respond with artillery fire. Then it turned out to be legally impossible. This concept has come off the hook.
WEISSGLASS: ”After we evacuated from Gaza, the firing continued. We were still aware of Abbas' very sincere efforts to properly control Gaza. Unfortunately, it was revealed to us that his military forces there and the degree of compliance of the PA forces to the PA headquarters in Ramallah were quite poor. We didn't think that adding more artillery shells would help us in the long run. In July 2007, Hamas turned things around and got to where we are.”
MAGAL: Don't you take responsibility for creating a rocket army that threatens the entire country?
WEISSGLASS: ”The day you take responsibility for today’s security situation I will be ready to take responsibility for the situation that was then. What is this rubbish?
We influenced on what was happening in Gaza until 2006. A generation has passed since about about 13 years later, Netanyahu ruled. He is responsible for Israel's security."

Go, Avigail!
Everyone knows Avigail Sharabi from the eastern galley [hardcore racist Beitar team fans - OH] of Jerusalem’s Teddy soccer stadium: she is the legendary Beitar soccer team fan who curses the judges and Hapoel Tel Aviv and opposes any Arab player on the team. But only a few know the moving personal story of her life: her marriage to a crippled IDF veteran, who was badly wounded in the Lebanon war, and the dedication with which she takes care of him, which reveals a warm, loving and humane person. Now she appears in “Goalstars” reality show, talks about her new life as a reality star…and also explains why she really loves Ali Muhammad [the new Nigerian Beitar player who is Christian and has a Muslim name and whom many racist Beitar fans called to be ousted. - OH]. (Interviewed by Yoav Birnberg in Yedioth Hebrew)

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

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