News Nosh 12.23.19

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday December 23, 2019

  Quotes of the day:
"It was very exciting and it smashed stigmas. I fell in love with Saudi Arabia and with Saudis."
--An Israeli man who was interviewed after watching the screening of a Saudi film at the Jerusalem Cinemateque. The Israeli Foreign Ministry uploaded the Israelis' reactions to its Arabic social media profiles and got excited reactions from the Saudis.*

"I am shocked by the positive reactions of the Israelis. Maybe because of the younger generation. I want to believe that the reactions were not dictated (in order) to bring the peoples closer together."

--Juwaher, a Saudi female wrote on the Israeli Foreign Ministry's Arabic social media profile in response to the video clip of Israelis who reacted positively to a Saudi film they saw at the Jerusalem Cinemateque.*

Breaking News:
Syria says it intercepted missiles fired from Israel; 3 foreign nationals killed in IDF strike in Syria
Four cruise missiles were said to have been launched across the coast through Lebanese airspace toward Syria. Monitoring group says attack before midnight targeted Iranian and Syrian military positions near the capital. Three foreign nationals, believed to be Iranians, were killed. (Haaretz, Ynet and Israel Hayom)

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • “The devil from Gambia” and the Prosecutor from The Hague - In the service of the tyrant - the dark past of the prosecutor
  • High Court will discuss whether Netanyahu is permitted to form a government
  • Horror on the bus - In evening, bus crashed into bus stop killing 4, in morning mini-bus transporting laborers crashed into a truck, killing 2 (Hebrew)
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom
  • “The one who decides who will lead the people - is the people” - Judicial drama: High Court will discuss this week whether Netanyahu is allowed to form a government
  • The bus of death
  • Fight in The Hague with political tools // Caroline Glick
  • Storm of the acting State Prosecutor: Ohana and the Attorney General are in a “battle of authority” Attorney General gave green light to Erdan: He can appoint Police and Prison chiefs even during a transition government
  • Tonight: 2nd candle of Hanukkah

Top News Summary:
Israel's High Court will decide next week if an indicted prime minister is allowed to form a government, a bus crashed into a bus stop killing four people and a minibus transporting Palestinian laborers crashed into a truck killing two of the West Bank laborers in separate accidents yesterday, and there were more reactions to The Hague prosecutor’s announcement that there is a basis to investigate Israel for war crimes in the Palestinian Territories - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

For Israel Hayom newspaper, today's main story was the High Court debate over whether Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu can form a government, despite being indicted in three cases on flagrant offenses. And their answer was clear in the headline: a quote by Netanyahu saying, “The one who decides who will lead the people - is the people.” Interestingly, Netanyahu’s Likud rival, Gideon Sa'ar, agreed with Netanyahu. "It is wrong for the High Court to intervene on the issue, the law is clear. A prime minister is not replaced in the courtroom, but at the ballot box.” (Ynet Hebrew) Attorney General Avichai Mendelblitt, who had avoided addressing this issue last week, was now ordered by the High Court to submit a legal opinion on the matter 48 hours before the court debate on December 31st. Miki Zohar, the Knesset Likud whip, semi-threatened the court, saying that if it decided Netanyahu could not form a government then this would lead to legislation allowing the Knesset to override the courts.

Speaking in Jerusalem at the Wailing Wall of the first Hanukkah candle, Netanyahu slammed the ‘anti-Semitic decrees’ of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), falsely claiming that it tells Jews “in this city, in this land, that we have no right to live here, and that if we live here we commit war crimes.”  While the ICC wants to investigate the settlement of Jews in occupied land, i.e. the West Bank, as a war crime, it never said that living in Israel proper was a war crime. Interestingly, Netanyahu requested Sunday to put a gag on all debates about the ICC probe. The cabinet agreed and all further debates will be held within the Security Cabinet, Yedioth reported. Yedioth also reported that Israel intends to enlist the assistance of other countries who share some of the same concerns over the precedence of an inquiry into a western democracy with a viable legal system. And mayors of Israeli communities near the Gaza border slammed the ICC prosecutor,  saying, ”We are victims of war crimes.” Yedioth, which yesterday splashed across the front page that the probe was "hypocrisy," went looking for dirt on the ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda. It believes it found it: Bensouda served for four years as Justice Minister and State Prosecutor under the Gambian dictator, Yahya Jammeh, who went into exile in 2017. Jamme came to power in a military coup in 1994. Yedioth reported that in 1996 he appointed her State Prosecutor and later Justice Minister. Yedioth noted that Bensouda's detractors say she should not serve in the Hague after serving under Jammeh, while others says that she fought for women's and human rights and that was the reason he fired her after four years.

Haaretz+’s Noa Landau wrote a fact-check on Israel's response to the ICC prosecutor's call to probe, noting that “Israeli media and officials were quick to spread false conclusions.” And Maariv translated and printed the JPost’s Tova Lazaroff article about “Ten things to know about the ICC’s war crimes probe against Israel.”

Elections 2019 / Netanyahu Indictment Quickees:
  • Netanyahu to Likud Central Committee: Cancel party list primariesLikud Chief Legal Advisor, Attorney Avi Halevi, filed an appeal on Sunday to the party's court in the name of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling for the cancelation of the primary for the party list.  (Ynet)
  • Two hundred Netanyahu supporters at support rally in Jerusalem, Barkat asked to give speech, was refused - and boycotted the event - The PM was applauded at a meeting of supporters in the capital, saying he "sees the victory in his eyes." Organizers refused to allow former Jerusalem mayor MK Nir Barkat to give a speech and he decided not to attend the event. (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Zehava Galon: Labor and Meretz exhausted their historic role - Dwindling support means Israel's two Jewish left-wing liberal parties appear to have arrived at the end of the road. Now they have to scrape and plead each election season, says former Meretz chairwoman Zehava Galon. (Israel Hayom)


Quick Hits:
  • (Foreign) Minister Katz: “We will not evict Khan al-Ahmar - because of fear of the International Court of Justice at The Hague" - In the wake of the decision to launch an investigation against Israel on suspicion of committing war crimes, the foreign minister told KAN Bet Radio that the government feared that the removal of the compound in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) would be the "last straw" in terms of the international body. (Maariv)
  • UN to publish blacklist of companies operating in settlements next month - Israeli sources say the list, delayed on multiple occasions due to U.S. pressure, is set to be made public at the end of January by the UN Commission on Human Rights; the Americans warn the body would face consequences if any U.S. companies are harmed as a result. The UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Michelle Bachelet is believed to have been encouraged to publish the list by the ICC prosecutor’s decision to open a probe into alleged Israeli war crimes in the Palestinian territories. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Within Two Months, 20 Palestinian Were Shot by Israel While Trying to Cross From West Bank - Four of the workers, who seek to earn living in Israel, say they received no warning before being shot. The Israeli army insists soldiers complied with rules of engagement. (Haaretz+)
  • Reversing Ban, Israel to Allow Gazan Christians Into Jerusalem, West Bank Over Christmas - Army says it could walk back on its initial position and allow exit permits to applicants pending a thorough security screening. Earlier, in a letter of condemnation, church leaders in Israel and the West Bank noted that the decision not to allow Gaza's Christians to visit the West Bank infringes upon their freedom of religion, a basic human right. Gaza has only around 1,200 Christians. Over 900 of them applied to leave Gaza for Christmas. (Haaretz+, Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • A tree grows in Jerusalem - For the first time, the Armenian Quarter of the capital's Old City has a public Christmas tree, erected as part of efforts to bolster the group’s identity in the holy city. (Ynet)
  • Banksy unveils 'Scar of Bethlehem' nativity scene in West Bank hotel - The nativity scene on display at the street artist's hotel in Bethlehem shows Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus in front of the separation barrier. (Haaretz+, Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • Israel receives five American Sikorsky helicopters for spare parts - Five American Sikorsky helicopters arrived in Israel on Sunday to be used as spare parts for the IDF's Yasur helicopter wing. (Ynet)
  • Israeli Pupils to Be Taught Hebrew as Country's Only Official Language - Education Ministry directive falls short of mentioning that Arabic has a special status, as stated by the nation-state law, which deemed Hebrew the country's sole official language. (Haaretz+)
  • Leave for Israel, French Jewish educators tell students - 'We don't take our students out because they throw stones at them,' says Moshe Tuito, who has had to deal with stabbing of a student. (Yedioth/Ynet)
  • Israel's Justice Minister Condemns 'Aggressive Actions' by Attorney General Over Key Appointment - Ohana says Mendelblit's actions jeopardize the potential nomination of his candidate for state prosecutor, deepening row between the two as post remains unfilled. (Haaretz)
  • Attorney General to Erdan: okay to appoint police and prison chiefs despite interim government - Attorney General Avichai Mendelblitt okayed Public security minister Gilad Erdan’s request to name permanent choices for roles due to the unusual ongoing situation of a transitional government for past 12 months. (Times of Israel, JPost and Maariv)
  • Israel's State Watchdog Whitewashed Report on Budget Deficit, Staffers Say - Staffers in the office of Israel's State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman are refusing to put their names to a report on the treasury’s release of 2018 budget deficit data, which they say Englman amended to neuter criticism of finance minister’s delay of bad news on overspending.  (Haaretz+)
  • Finance Minister approves 10 million shekels for policing in Arab sector; Arab sector: “That isn’t enough for one city" - According to Kamel Ryan, founder and chairman of the Amman Center, Arab Center for Safe Living, “There is a need for affirmative action and hundreds of millions should be allocated, not just ten million, which will not solve the problem in one Arab city like Umm al-Fahm or Nazareth." (Maariv)
  • Government approves 30 million shekel budget for establishment of Druze Heritage Center in Israel - Government approved a budget to establish a Druze Heritage Center in Israel. Minister Regev: "Establishing the Center will symbolize the affinity and alliance shared between us and our Druze brothers.” (Maariv)
  • A consistent increase in the number of immigrants in the last decade - Nearly 67,000 Jews from Russia, 32,000 from the United States and 5,530 from Belarus. The Jewish Agency’s data on immigration figures in the past decade, which it now published, show an encouraging picture. The number of immigrants nearly doubled from 2010 to 2019. (Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Expose: 86% of immigrants to Israel are not Jews - From the beginning of 2012 to the present, some 180,000 immigrated to Israel under the Law of Return, but only 14% of them are recognized as Jews, an official document from the Population and Immigration Authority that Yedioth/Ynet received revealed. At the top of the list are Russian immigrants - only 4.3% of them are recognized as Jews (mother is Jewish) by Israel. Only 8% of the Ukraine immigrants, 27% of the French immigrants and 30% of the US immigrants are considered Jewish. Many of those who immigrated are grandchildren of Jews or partners of a Jewish person. This means that: hundreds of thousands who immigrated to Israel cannot marry or divorce here. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis are waiting for conversion. CEO of Hiddush, which demanded the publication of the data: "It is imperative to facilitate conversion and the establishment of civil marriage in Israel.” (Yedioth/Ynet Hebrew)
  • Cyprus, Greece and Israel to Sign Pipeline Deal in Early January - Three signatories united by opposition to Turkey's pressure for a share in maritime resources after deal with UN-recognized Libyan government. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Israeli Court Orders Compensation for Woman Fired While Doing Army Reserve Duty - At issue was a disagreement over a weekend vacation and a few posts on Facebook. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel plummets in gender equality ranking - Wage gap in Israel unchanged for over two decades as women make 65-68% of their male coworkers' pay, according to WEF report; Arab, ultra-Orthodox Jewish women face more discrimination. (Ynet)
  • Assad Forces Edge in on Rebel-held Enclave, Coming Close to Turkish Post - The offensive in the Idlib area has already forced tens of thousands of civilians to abandon their homes and flee. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • At least 25,000 people fled Syria's Idlib for Turkey over two days - Turkey currently hosts some 3.7 million Syrian refugees, the largest refugee population in the world, and fears another wave from the Idlib region, where up to 3 million Syrians live in the last significant insurgent-held swathe of territory. (Agencies, Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Pompeo says Russia, China have blood on their hands after Syria aid veto - Russia and China's veto Friday of a Security Council resolution that allows for humanitarian aid to reach millions of Syrians 'is shameful,' charges U.S. secretary of state. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Turkey's parliament ratifies security accord with Libya - Ankara has been backing the Libyan government led by Fayez al-Serraj as it fights off a months-long offensive by Khalifa Haftar's forces. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Ukraine reinstates anti-Semitic diplomat despite racist, inciteful comments - Former diplomat appeals dismissal for anti-Semitic posts uploaded online at Kyiv Court of Appeal; Israeli ambassador to Kyiv: 'dangerous man.’ (Yedioth/Ynet)

*Video clip by the Israeli Foreign Ministry excited the Saudis: "Come visit us"
This week the Saudi movie, "The Perfect Candidate,” was screened in Israel. The film, which deals with the social complexity experienced by Saudi women, opened the first women's film festival in Jerusalem. The Foreign Ministry interviewed people when they left the film screening in order to share it with the hundreds of thousands of Saudis who follow the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Arabic social media pages. The Israelis expressed great excitement over the movie. Many said they had learned new things about the kingdom, Islam, and the changes in the status of women in the country. "It was very exciting and it smashed stigmas. I fell in love with Saudi Arabia and with Saudis," said one Israeli interviewee. The Israelis praised Saudi director Haifa Al Mansour and the lead actress, and they expressed hope for a future visit to Saudi Arabia and peace between the countries, and even sent a message to the Saudi people: "We are much more similar than you think." Saudi followers of the Foreign Ministry's pages on social media networks, especially on Twitter, were very moved by the Israeli's comments in the video and some admitted that they were surprised to see such positive statements by Israelis towards the Saudis. "These are beautiful and positive things from our cousins and Inshallah there will be peace," said one Saudi. (Maariv+VIDEO)

Palestinian Women – and Men – Get Their #MeToo Moment
Arab women are not just going public about their experiences of sexual harassment, but they’re going against their friends, colleagues and political allies. (Noa Shpigel and Jack Khoury, Haaretz+)
Spice of Zionism
Three entrepreneurs, immigrants from France, decided to do what all failed before them and grow saffron in commercial quantities. Saffron is considered the most expensive of spices due to its complex production, but the three did not shy away. They connected with a farmer in Moshav Bar-Giora farm and now, at the end of the first year, produced a few hundred grams of spice from a six dunam field. "In the years to come," they promise, "we will also reach seven kilos.” (Ilana Curiel, Yedioth Hebrew)
Renowned Israeli Expert Slashed U.S. Crime Rates. Why Isn't Israel Police Following His Lead?
As Israeli Arabs protest the deadly results of lax law enforcement, Hebrew University Prof. David Weisburd, whose doctrine has been hailed abroad, says he has the cure, (Josh Breiner, Haaretz - October 2019)
Keeping Israel safe: The most significant developments in defense this decade
The Middle East has experienced a tumultuous 10 years, posing challenges and opportunities alike for the only democracy in its midst. Israel Hayom counts down its topmost significant events of the decade in the realm of defense and security.  (Israel Hayom)
Reading Arabic Literature in Hebrew: New Translation of Egyptian Bestseller Opens the Door for Burgeoning Industry
The new Hebrew version of Naguib Mahfouz's 'The Coffehouse' arrives in bookstores at a time when more and more Arab authors are willing to give Israelis access to their oeuvres. (Eness Elias, Haaretz+)

Elections 2019/Netanyahu Indictment Commentary/Analysis:
Gideon Sa'ar is trying to stop the Likud from its collision course, but it is doubtful he will succeed (against the Bibeast machine) (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Netanyahu is still a super brand, especially when it comes to the hard right. As his grip on the center of the political map and among the pragmatic right-wingers loosens, so does his nuclear base. Aside from the fact that he works at a murderous pace, as only he can: five to six meetings or appearances a day, a huge amount of phone calls to the field, 20 hours a day. At the same time, he is harnessing the Likud mechanism for his campaign cart. His men blatantly threaten major activists. The party, its finances, and its means were harnessed for the benefit of the leader in the extermination war he is waging against the aggressor. The most egregious example is the case of the scrapping of thousands of voters from the party’s book of voters, because " they did not pay dues." There never was and there is great doubt that there ever will be in Israel a more formidable political machine in Israel than the Bibi machine. In the current round, as this machine erases the red lines, burns the brakes and smashes the balances, it becomes more dangerous than ever. In this round, the purpose of this machine is not to defeat Gideon Sa'ar or to defeat Benny Gantz. The ultimate goal is to crush the state, its institutions, its state skeleton, the trust that its citizens have in law, order, law, rules of the game. This is the dance of the machine, after which comes only the flood. Gideon Saar's message to Likudniks is rational, realistic, based on cold logic and accurate calculations: Netanyahu is blocked. With three indictments and half of the political map that cannot sit under him in a government, he is deadlocked. Saar is focusing on the heads of the party’s registered voters, speaking to their logic, offering them a detour on their way to power. Netanyahu speaks to the belly of Likud registered voters, their hearts and their emotions. He offers them a highway to the dead end. He wrote the genetic code of Likud's registered voters. It has an activation code and password. He knows that they know that he knows he's finished his historic job, but he's sure they won't be able to show him the door. Netanyahu's battle plan is simple: first priority, obtaining immunity that will give him refuge him from fear of the law. The recent election results have made the likelihood of immunity very low, to zero. Second priority: conduct his trial from the PM's position while turning the event into a "show trial" and himself to the new Alfred Dreyfus. A victim of a vicious blood libel by Zionist haters and enemies of Judaism, i.e. (Attorney General) Avichai Mendelblitt and (Police Chief) Ronnie Alsheikh. This possibility is also slim, given that he has failed to form a government twice already and doubts whether he will succeed next time. The third option remains: to conduct the trial from any position of power. Netanyahu believes that the mistake of Ehud Olmert's life was his agreement to resign as prime minister and conduct his trial from a private citizen's position. Netanyahu knows that if he comes to the defendants' bench as a private citizen, he is liquidated. He hates being a private citizen. A private citizen also has to pay his own expenses from time to time. He prefers to appear as the opposition chairman or Likud chairman or some title of sitting in absence. He wants to intimidate the system through the realization that his conviction means convicting someone "incumbent." He must reach the defendant's bench when he is "strong." This word, strong, is the face of everything. It has starred in all of Netanyahu's campaigns ever. It adorns all the speeches he has ever made. He made it synonymous with the word "Netanyahu." Meanwhile, in his view, Netanyahu is being persecuted a little more. Either way, he's not going anywhere. Not voluntarily, anyway. If he loses in the next election, he does not plan another scene of "my wife and I decided to take a break from political life." For his part, everyone can take a break. He's here to stay. Not forming a government? Then he will join one as an equal among equals (and take a ‘leave of absence’ at the beginning of his trial). He won’t join a government. So he will lead the Likud from the opposition. Netanyahu is actually trying to tie to himself the entire Likud party. The goal is to make the ruling party (or opposition) his own resonant box. It is not only he who will stand trial. It's the whole Likud, along with it. The party will echo the defendant's messages, fund his protests and back up his moves. All those who are now deflated will find themselves on the bench afterwards. Nir Barkat, Yisrael Katz, Yuli Edelstein, Avi Dichter and Gilad Erdan will have to swallow their spit and repeat the violent (verbal) attacks against the rule of law. After the investigators, the police commissioner, the head of the Investigations Department, the prosecutors, the Attorney General, and the State Attorney, it will be the judges’ turn. Every court hearing will be accompanied by a Bibi-ist demonstration outside. Anyone attempting to perform a surgical procedure to separate the accused from the party will encounter the full power of the Bibeast machine. "I was elected for four years," Netanyahu will declare, and the army of thugs and bots will follow. What will Barkat and his friends do then? The opponents of Netanyahu, the Beginites, the Beitarists of latter day, the Jabotinsky Order and the old and stately right-wing they already lost to Saar in the current round of primaries. They will lose the Bibi-ists now if they refuse to be dragged to the bench with the leader. They will need to get in line and bend what is left of their backbones to survive. They will become slouches for his use. If they are mocked enough, they will be appointed as aides to Yaakov Berdugo’s aides. They’ll have fun. This event could wipe out the Likud and flatten it even more than the previous time (12 seats under Netanyahu in 2006). Gideon Sa'ar is already trying to stop this collision course. It is doubtful he will succeed.
The enemy of my enemy (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) Blue and White wants to run against a Likud party headed by Gideon Sa'ar. But how can they help Sa'ar win without the move doing them more harm than good?
Israel's Left Must Unite or Die (Raviv Drucker, Haaretz+) As of now, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the right have a chance to approach 61 seats only if one of the left-wing parties fails to pass the electoral threshold. According to a survey by the right-wing religious weekly Makor Rishon over the weekend, the Democratic Union won’t pass the electoral threshold. In such an event, the right gets 57 seats with a potential to grow. In the surveys predicting that the Democratic Union will pass the electoral threshold, the right gets 52 seats, in one survey only 50. Peretz’s decision could therefore determine who will win, the center-left bloc or the right-wing bloc. Peretz’s main argument is that his research – which amounts to one somewhat outdated survey and several focus groups – indicates that together, the two parties are worth seven seats and separately they are worth 11. Even if that’s true, it’s clear that the four seats lost by the Joint List will remain inside the camp.
The list of associates who became enemies is indicative of Netanyahu's tenure (Ephraim Ganor, Maariv) What stands out in Netanyahu is the sowing of hatred and the creation of schism among the people, and the addition of racism, incitement and damage to government institutions. The interesting part is the support he wins from the ultra-Orthodox.

Other Commentary/Analysis:
Israel’s Education Minister for Racism (Haaretz Editorial) A rotten stench of racism is wafting from the decision by the head of the Habayit Hayehudi party, Education Minister Rafi Peretz, to join forces for the coming election with the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, which spews hatred of Arabs in the spirit of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane. With this decision, Peretz has made himself unworthy of serving as education minister of all Israel’s children. We must not remain silent about granting such legitimacy to Jewish racism.
The ICC campaign of lies (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) The Hague decision to investigate Israel for alleged war crimes is result of inherent biases within the system; but perhaps Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda will, like Richard Goldstone before her, reject the probe she oversees.
The Right Has Eroded Israel's Protection Against an International Probe (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) A possible investigation at The Hague would look into aerial bombardment and civilian casualties, in a worrisome precedent for Israel as well as other Western armies. Netanyahu and his backers have shrugged off warnings of a diplomatic tsunami, but now it seems Trump’s support is not the be-all and end-all.
A Likely Hot Slogan of Israel's Upcoming Election: 'Death to The Hague' (Odeh Bisharat, Haaretz+) 80 years after its birth, in its old age, Yedioth Ahronoth is placing the Jewish state alongside the Iranians, the Syrians and the Turks! Yes, that’s exactly what it’s like, read Sunday’s reverberating headline of Yedioth regarding “the hypocrisy of The Hague,” as the newspaper described it…The situation of the (Yedioth’s) editor in chief is understandable. After all, his boss is busy with nighttime meetings spent bargaining with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to close the free daily Israel Hayom, thus to increase his profits. Maybe this motto, of profits above all, is what dictates the “gevalt” style on the front page of the newspaper, which, in the grip of this fervor, creates this type of foolish headline, which raises the pitch of the masses’ hollow patriotism. For the editors’ information, and not only those at Yedioth: Patriotism, like fat in the blood, becomes dangerous when it exceeds the permitted limits. Who knows, maybe the slogan “Death to The Hague” will yet turn out to be the hot slogan of the upcoming election campaign. If the party of the minister in charge of educating our children, both Arab and Jewish, embraces Kahanist politician Itamar Ben Gvir, anything is possible.
New ICC ruling reveals organization's true anti-Semitic intentions (Eldad Beck, Israel Hayom) If and when ICC judges rule it is within their jurisdiction to put Israelis on trial for "war crimes" allegedly committed in Judea and Samaria, east Jerusalem, and Gaza – the idea of an international court will have reached a point of historical, moral, and legal bankruptcy.
How Social Media Shapes Iraqis' Revolt (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) From the modest part it had in the 2011 uprising, social media now sets the rules.
Abbas' election bluff ( Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas hasn't run for office in 14 years. Now, under pressure from the EU, he is talking about holding an election, but this week, Hamas surprised him by agreeing to his conditions. Will the Palestinians have an opportunity to choose their leadership?
In Syria, Russia and Iran watch as new players step into the arena (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+)  While Saudi Arabia seeks a foothold in the oil-rich region, Assad says he has offered China investment opportunities in his country – where Russia, Iran and Turkey already operate.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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