News Nosh 2.2.20

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday February 2, 2020
Quote of the day:
*Of all people, we, who were persecuted all those years, need to understand and internalize the great damage and suffering that is caused to a person who is suffers from manifestations of racism”
—Moshe Hogeg, owner of Beitar Jerusalem soccer team, which was long known for its fans’ racism towards Arabs and Blacks, writes in Op-Ed about the changes he is making to the team's club, which also affect the face of Israeli society.*

You Must Be Kidding: 
A lieutenant colonel at the IDF's Unit 504, the Israeli military’s human intelligence agency, had a spy go to the West Bank to buy containers of tahini and bring them back for the unit’s commander.**

Front Page:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • “She’s only three weeks old. I’m lucky she won’t remember this when she grows up - Mother of baby was injured in head during siren (Hebrew) - Saturday of sirens - 6 (rocket) falls in Gaza periphery
  • The speech of lies - At the Arab League, Abu-Mazen claimed: “Immigrants from former Soviet Union and Ethiopia are not Jews”  (Hebrew)
  • Rejection virus // Ben-Dror Yemini (Hebrew)
  • Test of sovereignty // Ifat Ehrlich
  • Bomb on the table // Alex Fishman (Hebrew)
  • Back from China, without a (medical) check at Ben-Gurion Airport
  • No to racism // Owner of Beitar Jerusalem soccer team (infamous for racism againt Arabs and black people)
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • Blow to Trump: Arab states rejected the deal of the century
  • Red in the south - Weekend of rockets and (incendiary) balloons
  • The coronavirus panic - Dozens of Chinese expelled at Ben-Gurion Airport
  • (Pop singer) Noa Kirell is being drafted: IDF will establish an escort band for her
Israel Hayom

Trump Deal of the Century News:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s decisive speech at the Arab League, rockets from Gaza on the Gaza periphery and the fear that the coronavirus will enter Israel with people arriving from China were the top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Abbas’ speech at the emergency session of the Arab League, in response to US President Donald Trump’s ‘deal of the century,’ was reported on very differently by the major newspapers in Israel. As usual, Haaretz and Maariv were matter-of-fact: Haaretz focused on Abbas’ declaration that the Palestinian Authority had told Israel it was cutting all ties with Israel - including the all-important security ties. Maariv focused on the reaction of the other Arab countries present: They expressed their opposition to Donald Trump’s plan - despite some speaking in favor if it earlier in the week. Maariv called this a ‘blow to Trump.’ Yedioth and ‘Israel Hayom,’ however, focused on Abbas’ statement that most of the immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union and from Ethiopia were not Jewish. Both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Opposition leader and Kahol-Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz condemned the remarks. [NOTE: Ynet Hebrew and Maariv reported last month that Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics revealed that in the last nine years, 86% of the immigrants to Israel were not Jewish, and from Russia and Ukraine, specifically, the percentage on non-Jewish immigrants was between 61%-66%. Regarding Ethiopian immigrants, the numbers of non-Jews were not revealed, but are known to be significant. - OH] Yedioth Hebrew noted that Abbas said the Trump had phoned him, but that he refused to accept the call so he "could not say he consulted me." It also reported on Netanyahu’s ‘U-turn’: After Israel understood that the US opposes Israel immediately applying sovereignty to the Beqaa Jordan Valley, Netanyahu cancelled the weekly government meeting, so as not to convene the government without passing the annexation he had promised, Yedioth Hebrew’s diplomatic correspondent, Itamar Eichner, wrote. The papers also reported on the anger, disappointment and concern of Israeli-Arabs, thousands of whom demonstrated against the plan in the ‘Mishulash’ (the Arab triangle) and the Wadi Ara areas (Yedioth Hebrew) which, according to the Trump plan, could be transferred to the Palestinian state. A demonstration in Tel-Aviv led by Peace Now, brought some 300 Israelis out in the cold against the Trump plan under the slogan, “Yes to peace, no to annexation.” (Ynet Hebrew)

Trump Deal Quickees:
Report: The head of the CIA secretly visited Ramallah after announcement of the deal of the century
Gina Haspel arrived in the Palestinian Authority (PA) after Trump's dramatic announcement. She reportedly also met with senior Israeli officials. According to report Saturday by Channel 11 KAN, Haspel did not meet with Mahmoud Abbas himself, but with the head of Palestinian intelligence, who is in contact with her organization. During the meeting, the message was conveyed that the (PA) threatened to sever ties with Israel. (Also Maariv)
Hamas's Meshal says united Palestinians working to foil Trump plan
'The righteous are stronger than the unrighteous,' Meshal says, blasting Arab states that have chosen to side with the U.S.
Thursday: Gulf Arabs Back Trump’s Mideast Efforts, but Not Peace Plan
The Saudi response was most significant for what it didn’t say — the kingdom did not endorse the plan.
Friday: Emirati FM tweets New York Times column urging Palestinians not to reject Trump plan
UAE minister posts Bret Stephens' opinion article, in which the journalist wrote that 'the Arab world has more important challenges to deal with than Palestinian statehood.'
Friday: Turkey's Erdogan berates 'treasonous' Arab leaders who back Trump's Mideast plan
'Saudi Arabia, you are silent. When will you speak? Shame on You!' leader tells party members.
Saturday: Arab Envoys at Trump's Peace Plan Unveiling Were Misled, Diplomat Says
A vague outline of the plan sent by the White House ahead of the event left out key parts, diplomat argues, which is why three Arab states sent diplomats to it.
U.S. Envoy Warns Palestinians Against Voicing Opposition to Trump Peace Plan at UN
Ambassador Kelly Craft says bringing 'displeasure' over plan to United Nations would only 'repeat the failed pattern of the last seven decades.’
U.K. 'Concerned' by Possible Israeli Annexation of Parts of West Bank
British foreign secretary warns of damage to re-starting talks following Netanyahu's announcement that he would bring annexation to a cabinet vote
Ma'ariv poll: The release of the "deal of the century" does not help Likud in the polls
Although 67% of the public believe President Trump's plan is good for Israel, the Likud continues to lag with 33 seats compared to 36 for Kahol-Lavan - the blocs are tied with 56 seats each.

Gaza Summary:
A few times over the weekend, rockets were launched from Gaza towards the Gaza periphery communities, even near where Benny Gantz was visiting, and suspected booby-trapped balloons were reported seen in four different places in southern Israel to which Israel responded striking Hamas targets and tightening the blockade on the Strip.

Quick Hits:
  • **Israeli commander dismissed for ordering spy to procure Palestinian tahini - According to the probe, a senior handler was ordered by lieutenant colonel at Unit 504, the Israeli military’s human intelligence agency, to dispatch an agent to the West Bank to buy boxes of the traditional sesame paste for the IDF’s Chief Intelligence Officer, Yuval Shimoni,  who along with two other commanders, will be reprimanded.  (Haaretz+)
  • Pressured by Israeli Ranchers, Bennett Halts Agricultural Imports From West Bank - Move comes after Palestinian Authority places limitations on import of calves from Israel in an ongoing trade dispute. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • Officials: Ban on West Bank agricultural imports may harm Israeli security - Defense expert warns that embargo pushes Israel and Palestinians towards severing trade ties and Palestinians in Israel losing their jobs, which would in turn lead to an upswing in violence. (Ynet)
  • Israeli Forces Severely Wound Palestinian Teen in West Bank Clashes - By Thursday evening, a total of 42 Palestinians were wounded in protests against Trump's Mideast plan throughout the West Bank since its publication. (Haaretz+)
  • Probe Launched Into Complaint of Sexual Harassment by Shin Bet Investigator - Shin Bet vigoriously denies the allegations, says its a coordinated media campaign to 'delegimitize' its work. (Haaretz+)
  • Family of 18-year-old Killed by Off-duty Officer Decry Racial Bias in Israeli Police Probe - 'I don’t know of a single instance involving a black person in which the police have condemned' officers' conduct, says father of Solomon Teka, whose death sparked a wave of protest against police brutality. (Haaretz+)
  • FBI probes use of Israeli cyberattack firm NSO's spyware against Americans - Investigators aim to show how involved the company has been in specific hacks, some allegedly targeting U.S. or foreign government officials, sources say. (Agencies, Haaretz, Israel Hayom and Ynet)
  • Sweden hopes its first top-level visit to Israel in 21 years will thaw ties - Stockholm is stepping up its efforts against anti-Semitism and hate crimes, as the foreign minister tries to mend relations with Israel. (Haaretz+)
  • "As if we arrived at an enemy state": Ten Israelis were deported from Russia and returned to Israel - Ten Israeli tourists landed at Moscow Airport, were detained there and finally boarded a flight in the opposite direction. One of them told Maariv: "They were apparently instructed to return us.’ (Maariv)
  • For second time in two months, Israel tests a rocket propulsion system - In December, a similar test launch was carried out in broad daylight, aiming to convey a clear message to Iran amid increasing tension between Jerusalem and Tehran. (Haaretz+)
  • 'IDF has the best active defense on the planet' - Speaking at Annual International Conference sponsored by the Institute for National Security Studies, head of IDF’s Operations Directorate, Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, said: "The response that Israel can provide to threats such as a cruise missile strike is better than what occurred in Saudi Arabia. I advise our enemies not to test us." (Israel Hayom)
  • In attempt to curb spread of coronavirus, Chinese tourists turned back at Tel Aviv airport - Netanyahu calls for an urgent meeting on Sunday as countries restrict travel to deal with what the WHO has now termed a global emergency. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • TGI survey asserts Israel Hayom's lead as country's most popular daily - Kantar Media's Target Group Index survey, which reviewed media data for the second half of 2019, found that Israel Hayom enjoys an average readership of 30.6% of the general population, compared to Yedioth Ahronoth's 26.9%. (Israel Hayom)
  • Second Temple-era 'standard of volumes' ensured value for money - Stone measuring tool features deep cavities with drains at the bottom that could ensure standardized weights and measures for shoppers. (Israel Hayom)
  • 12-year-old Egyptian girl dies after genital mutilation procedure - Parents, physician arrested ■ Practice outlawed in 2008, but 2015 survey found 87 percent of Egyptian women between 15 and 49 have undergone it. (Haaretz)
  • Turkey says might 'have no choice' but another military offensive in Syria - 'We will have to resort to the same path again if the situation in Idlib is not returned to normal quickly,' says Erdogan. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Syrian rebels launch attack near Aleppo - The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war, described the offensive near al-Bab as a fierce attack 'carried out by factions loyal to Ankara.’ (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Syrians Launch Symbolic ‘One-pound’ Campaign to Lift Morale - Eight of 10 Syrians earn less than $100 a month, the UN says, and the vast majority are paid in Syrian pounds, which has lost most of its value. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iraqi president names new prime minister amid anti-government protests - Two months after former premier ousted by protests, Mohammed Allawi has a month to form a new government and lead until early elections can be held. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Algerian protests calming without a shot fired in anger - Thousands still march in Algeria, but protests are smaller than those that toppled the veteran president last year. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Scientists bring back voice of 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy - Mummy's vocal tract has been recreated, for the most part, using medical scanners, 3D printing and an electronic larynx, scientists say. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)

Secret Israeli Document Reveals Plan to Keep Arabs Off Their Lands - Last year, Haaretz+ reported on a study by Akevot Institute that noted that for close to 20 years, the staff at Malmab – Defense Ministry’s secretive security department – had been visiting public and private archives and forcing their directors to mothball documents relating to Israeli history. It’s not clear whether Malmab has reduced its activity in the archives since the article was published. However, during the past six months, files earlier ordered closed by Malmab have been reopened, adding to our knowledge of the history of the two peoples who share this land. One such document, a report drawn up by the government-appointed Ratner Committee in 1956, was unsealed after 60 years, revealing Israeli government’s secret intentions behind the imposition of a military government on the country’s Arab citizens in 1948: not to enhance security but to ensure Jewish control of the land.  (Adam Raz, Haaretz+)
There Is Only One Thing About Trump’s Peace Plan That Really Satisfies Jewish Settlers
Many are willing to embrace the offer, and count on Palestinian rejection to foil the founding of a Palestinian state. The consensus: There's a welcome change in U.S. policy. (Hagar Shezaf, Haaretz+)
Abu Dis - an unlikely capital for a future Palestinian state
After Trump plan identifies neighborhood as potential capital, residents pour scorn on notion, insist on Jerusalem as Palestinian capital. (Reuters, Ynet)
Once settlers in Gaza, these Israelis see 'no reason' to agree to Trump's proposed land swap
Religious Zionists in Negev area earmarked for a Palestinian state under latest U.S. Mideast proposal argue they 'don't have to give any land to anyone.' (Almog Ben Zikri, Haaretz+)
Gideon Levy: How Israel is abusing a Gaza couple that just lost three babies
The occupation has wrought havoc with a Gaza couple with quadruplets, only one of whom survived and now fights for her life in a Jerusalem hospital. Their father, repeatedly denied entry, never saw the other three. (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+)
Anxious South African Jews Are Planting One Foot, or Two, in Israel
Some choose to immigrate, others invest in real estate. Either way, the falling value of the rand is giving them less money to play with. (Adi Cohen, Haaretz+)
The gospel according to Putin
At the heart of the political drama that took place between Russia and Israel and seized the headlines is a murky real estate deal with unclear legal documents. Welcome to Alexander's Court, a magnificent property in Jerusalem’s Old City: A pilgrimage site for Russian pilgrims, and a site for political controversy since the Ottoman Empire. In a diplomatic gesture that drew little interest in the country, the building passed into Russian hands - but it’s not entirely clear what is the significance of this. Our reporter went on a tour of the ancient complex, where none of its visitors had ever heard of Naama Issachar (who was released from a Russian prison in exchange for the property. - OH). (Itai Ilnai, Yedioth Hebrew’s ’24 Hours’ supplement, cover)

Trump 'Deal of the Century' Commentary/Analysis:
Netanyahu supports the Trump plan because he knows it will fail (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Large parts of Jared Kushner’s ‘Peace to Prosperity’ document could have been written by Benjamin Netanyahu, reading like a collection of the prime minister’s ‘greatest hits.’ But that doesn’t mean he wants it to succeed
The intifada is on the way (Alex Fishman, Yedioth Hebrew) Abu Mazen's speech yesterday to the foreign ministers of the Arab League in Cairo is a "road map" for dismantling the Palestinian Authority and returning the responsibility of the West Bank to the PLO. In other words, the Palestinian territory returns to being, from his point of view, "occupied territory,” which legitimizes the resumption of armed conflict with Israel. No more political confrontation. Going back to the intifada. In Israel, they make light of Abu Mazen, and various Palestinian Authority (PA) institutions have already made decisions in a similar spirit several times in the past, the books were been implemented and the sponsor himself has rejected them. This time he has placed this bomb on the table in Cairo and he intends to "get out” from the environment for a long time, during which he will embark on a diplomatic campaign between the Arab states and Europe. Abu Mazen did not leave instructions for carrying out this "road map.” Nor will he be here to absorb the Israeli and American pressures. He basically says to the (people in the) field: Do what you understand. And to Israel, he said yesterday: "You violated the agreements on the basis of which the (Palestinian) Authority was established, so we have no more contact with you.  And you, as an occupying force, will be responsible for everything that happens on the ground, I have nothing more to do with managing the area. We, the Palestinians, will not bring you any more information, nor will we defend or respond to your security threats.” As of yesterday, the residents of the West Bank, the including PA institutions, and the security services and Israel are entering into a state of uncertainty. From now on, at every point of friction, they will have to take into account that the coordination with the local security forces either does not exist, or is very light. Meaning: High friction with the potential for explosion between two armed parties. For Israel, this is a strategic warning for chaos in the West Bank, at least until after the Israeli elections. Abu Mazen is apparently expecting such a deep rift in Israeli-Palestinian relations that it will create a sense of security emergency in Israel: The West Bank will begin to unravel, the crisis in the economic relationship between the two sides will deepen, and the Palestinian issue will take over the Israeli discourse. Just as Gaza is taking over the headlines again. As of last Friday, although there were no fatalities, dozens of friction points in the West Bank were counted, which broke all the statistics of recent months.
The Trump Plan’s Vision for the Palestinians: Israel’s Security Slave (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) Direct lines can be seen between the ‘deal of the century,’ the Oslo Accords and their fraudulent implementation, which led to the creation of separate Palestinian enclaves.
The West Bank's new Bantustans (Amichai Cohen, Yedioth/Ynet) The theory that the 'Jewish' parts of the West Bank can be annexed is a fantasy; the Palestinians will have to be given equal civil and political rights - there is simply no way to avoid it without Israel becoming an apartheid state.
Trump vilifies Palestinians for using the same violence that birthed Israel (Edo Konrad, +972mag) Trump's 'Deal of the Century' speech condemned Palestinians for terrorism and praised Israel for peace — all while ignoring Israel's own violent history.
Trump Made Clear His Position on Annexation, All Netanyahu Had to Do Was Listen (Noa Landau, Haaretz+) Why did the president call David Friedman ‘your ambassador’ and what is al-Aqua? Seven points on the contradictions and confusion regarding possible Israeli land grabs since Trump’s unveiling of ‘the deal of the century.’
Annexation Now vs. Peace Now (Shimon Shiffer, Yedioth Hebrew) 1. After President Trump declared that we can apply sovereignty over Judea and Samaria and annex also the Beqaa Jordan Valley, Netanyahu asked us all to fly on the wings of history so as not to miss the moment. There is something deceiving, or mocking, in the politicians’ obsession to crown a move that they were part of as ‘historic.’ The calls coming from the right-wing for “annexation now,” the opposite of the left-wing’s ‘Peace Now,’ are a deep expression of the desire to fulfill desires and not for a practical program. 3.) The intention behind the 181 pages of the plan of the century are desirable and good, but sometimes it seems as if is a collection of all the solutions offered ever for the conflict. Exchange of land for example. This is delusional, it has no feasibility, and most importantly,  neither the citizens of Israel who live in the southern Negev nor the Israeli Arabs in the Wadi Ara region deserve this. Forget the transfer idea. Let's at least agree to maintain what is already determined within the transitional boundaries. 4.) US officials involved in negotiations between Israel and Syrian President Hafez Assad said he was embarrassed and even angry at the fact that the secretary of state had a bunch of advisers of Jewish background: Dennis Ross, Dan Kurtzer, Martin Indyk and Aaron Miller. People working Yitzhak Shamir called the senior advisers of (US Secretary of State) James Baker, who were Jewish, by the nickname “Jew Boys.” Henry Kissinger said that princes in Saudi Arabia treated him suspiciously because of his Jewish origin. I was reminded of this when I read the ugly media portrayals of the Greenblatt, the Berkowitz, the Kushner and the Friedman - the Jews who cooked the deal of the century. In fact, young people of Jewish origin turn to Middle Eastern studies in America for one reason that I am familiar with from conversations with them - their love for Israel and their desire to help it. This is why many of them integrate into the governing systems and research institutes in America. And there are donors to Israel as well: Before the Adelsons, who stood out at the White House ceremony and it would not be exaggerated to say that they were the “landlords” there, there was a Haim Saban at the Clintons and Eddie Jacobson - Harry Truman's best friend who convinced him to recognize Israel. It is worth internalizing that the Jews of the United States, like us, hold basic shares in Company Ltd. called Israel…
Thanks to Trump and Netanyahu - the ‘color has returned’ to the Palestinian issue (Yasir Okbi, Maariv) The deal of the century announced by the US President and the Prime Minister has revived the Palestinian issue and, in the process, also the dormant Arab League - and they should be thanked for that…Even though other words were heard from the Saudis and the Egyptian before the Arab League summit in Cairo yesterday, they disappeared in no time. Mahmoud Abbas said, among other things: "I am not willing, in my lifetime, to accept the plan and let the entire Arab world call me a traitor." He directed his remarks to the leaders of Arab states, and succeeded. He got from them, again, the declaration that normalizing relations with the State of Israel, before accepting and implementing the 2002 Arab peace initiative - is a betrayal of the Palestinian issue. Thus, this issue became, once again, the central issue of the Arab states, having been pushed into a corner in recent times. Thanks to Trump and Netanyahu, the color has "returned" to the cheeks of the Palestinian issue. Along the way, also the cheeks of the Arab League, a boring old league.
Israel's security in Trump's redrawn Middle East (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) If the Palestinians continue to reject the proposal drafted by the U.S. administration, little will change for the IDF and Shin Bet, but if they do decide to accept it, the security forces will face a complex situation o the ground, with both pros and cons.
In the first phase the deal of the century will lead to war, in the second stage - apartheid (Ran Edelist, Maariv) The Trump plan will fade like the wall on the Mexico border. In the meantime, we need to determine what kind of country we want to see here.
For Bibi and Trump, peace means Palestinian submission (Nooran Alhamdan, +972mag) To say that Israel has 'yearned for peace' since its creation is to utterly deny the state's violent legacy.
'Trump Loves You Israelis So Much, He May Love You to Death' (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) This sentiment, voiced by an American who is familiar with the peace plan's issues, reflects the lengths Trump went to embrace Israel's position – and the double-edged sword waiting down the road.
It's the U.S. election that counts (Einav Schiff, Yedioth/Ynet) With a White House further to the right than Netanyahu and friends and Blue & White rushing to embrace this nail in the coffin of a democratic Jewish state, it will be swing state voters who can drag Israel back from the brink.
Trump's plan embraces the Jewish biblical narrative. History is only getting in the way (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The White House presented Palestinians impossible conditions, because its only intention was to provide ideological grounds for the Israeli occupation.
From Jerusalem to Jeddah (Smadar Perry, Yedioth/Ynet) Israeli delegations have been quietly visiting Saudi Arabia for the past two years, with the tacit consent of the regime; while Riyadh may publicly claim no ties with 'the Zionists,' everyone - including the Iranians - knows the truth and is waiting to see how this state of affairs unfolds.
Israel Shows How Facts on the Ground Are Forever (Rogel Alpher, Haaretz+) The moral message that the “deal of the century” sends to Israeli society, the one that will penetrate deep into the heart of its collective consciousness and be irreversibly absorbed, even long after the deal becomes a chapter in the school books of children yet to be born, is that “the stronger side wins.” You can ignore the law. When facts are created on the ground, those facts will remain forever. And those children will simply live in the reality that the facts create without it ever occurring to them that once things were different.
Netanyahu pushed strategy for politics and came back with less than he planned (Anna Barsky, Maariv) Lack of systemic action characterizes most of the moves that the Prime Minister has made in this election so far.
Arab Israelis Aren’t Pawns (Friday Haaretz Editorial) This is what U.S. President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” says about the fate of 10 Israeli cities and towns: “These communities, which largely self-identify as Palestinian, were originally designated to fall under Jordanian control during the negotiations of the Armistice Line of 1949, but ultimately were retained by Israel for military reasons that have since been mitigated. The plan contemplates the possibility, subject to agreement of the parties, that the borders of Israel will be redrawn such that the Triangle Communities become part of the State of Palestine.” Thank you very much, Mr. President. Israel must say no to annexation and reject out of hand this warped idea of the Washington peacemakers, who aren’t familiar with the fabric of life in Israel. The communities referred to are home to 280,000 Israelis, the overwhelming majority of whom see themselves as an inseparable part of Israel. They were born, raised and educated in Israel, where most of them want to keep living.
No goy (non-Jew) can "grant" us our right to the land - the "deal of the century" is just a formal recognition (Prof. Arieh Eldad, Maariv) The Trump plan is the best bid submitted to Israel by a US president. But are we allowed to enjoy the fruits of sovereignty in exchange for recognizing the right of Arabs to the state?
The Arab Spring’s Lesson for Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Then and now, the intelligence community can’t predict what shape a popular struggle would take. But the Israeli army fears a critical mass of Palestinian resentment.
The deal of the century is nothing more than an arrangement of understandings between the US and Israel (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv)  It is not pleasant to spoil the party, but the prospect that the American peace plan, which was made while ignoring the Palestinians, will produce practical results on the ground - is extremely slim.
Oslo vs. Trump's vision: How U.S. Mideast plan differs from its predecessors (David B. Green, Haaretz+) From the way it was created and the way it was unveiled to the actual content, these are the major differences between the new peace plan and previous ones.
Trump's 'peace plan' is very bad. But it's not completely terrible (Eric H. Yoffie, Haaretz+) Trump's one-sided 'vision' to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a serenade to Evangelicals and the Adelsons, and ratifies America's withdrawal from the Middle East. But in it, there remains a thin thread of hope.
The Holocaust as a Pretext for Annexation (Zeev Sternhell, Haaretz+) The joint operation by Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu to grant American legitimacy to the annexation of Palestinian territories was leaked just as the memorial ceremony of the World Holocaust Forum was taking place at Yad Vashem. It’s hard to conceive of a more cynical combination: In Jerusalem, anti-Semitism was used to silence the expected worldwide opposition to the annexation plan. And thus the anti-Semitism that brought catastrophe upon the Jewish people was turned into a cynical and shameless political tool by Israel. And thus the anti-Semitism that brought catastrophe upon the Jewish people was turned into a cynical and shameless political tool by Israel. Jerusalem turned anti-Semitism into the ultimate weapon against any call for the removal of even a few Jews from the West Bank and against the idea of dividing the land fairly. To the nationalists, any policy that doesn’t completely mesh with the Israeli interest as they see it is tantamount to anti-Semitism.
The Day Netanyahu's Doctrine Was Presented as a U.S. Peace Plan (Aluf Benn, Haaretz+) Trump is spoiling for a Palestinian surrender; the world is mum and Abbas is isolated; the scenario of a Democratic president; and how Bibi blazed in Washington. Four comments on the ‘deal of the century.’
Israel mustn't rush ahead, while looking ahead (Dan Schueftan, Israel Hayom) Hasty diplomatic initiatives and declarations, in the wake of the Trump plan, will ultimately be counterproductive to Israel's long-term goals.
Trump’s Mideast Plan, Despite Its Dangers, Could Be an Opportunity for Palestinians (Jack Khoury, Haaretz+) Internal unity, a more effective national struggle and renewed vigor in the international arena are all in the Palestinian leadership’s reach — if it rises up to the occasion.
The Oslo blood libel is over (Caroline B. Glick, Israel Hayom) When you read the Trump plan closely, you realize it is a mirror image of the Oslo Accords. Rather than Israel being required to prove its good will, the Palestinians are required to prove their commitment to peace.
How Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ became the joke of the century (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) After the Americans poured cold water on Netanyahu’s premature annexation party, the prime minister has a lot of explaining to do.
The Palestinians' bluff has been called (Melanie Phillips, Israel Hayom) US President Donald Trump is telling them to suck it up or lose because the Israelis are going to get what they need to survive.
Friedman Pushed Netanyahu to Annex, Then Kushner Stepped In (Noa Landau, Haaretz+) U.S. Ambassador also briefed Israeli journalists about the plan in a way that emphasized annexation while downplaying elements less satisfactory to Israel’s right, American and Israeli sources say.

Other Commentary/Analysis:
I Went for a Run and Saw Settlers Took Over a Spring Near a Palestinian Village (Umm Forat, Haaretz+) My love for morning runs led me to Ein Qinya, a small, beautiful village bordering Ramallah and hemmed in by the Israeli settlement of Dolev. I found out that the settlers have taken over one of the springs that Ein Qinya is known for, and is located on lands belonging to a Palestinian family ■ Post #5.
*Being a human being (Moshe Hogeg, Yedioth Hebrew) "Imagine a beautiful world," wrote Shlomo Artzi in his poem. Our world is beautiful, but sometimes really sad too. International Holocaust Day, which took place last week, is a symbolic time to look and examine ourselves, as a people that suffered so much, was persecuted and almost completely destroyed because of anti-Semitism and ignorance. Our country developed, despite it all, strengthened, it has many beautiful things, quite a few places and events where we are exposed to expressions of fraternity, willingness to help each other and mutual responsibility for each other that does not exist in other countries, and yet, not for nothing is there a lot of talk about rifts and division. So to what extent does racism still exist in Israel? Certainly it exists, and significantly. It’s 2020, and still not everyone is not yet afforded equal opportunities. People are still judged on the basis of ethnic origin, skin color, religion and more. And it is precisely we, who have been persecuted all these years, that need to be an inspiration to the world in the societal sphere, as well. First, one must understand and internalize the magnitude of the harm and suffering inflicted on a person suffering from racism. Such a person can suffer discrimination, humiliation, violence, disrespectful discourse, persecution, or barriers that will never allow him to fulfill his dreams. Dreams he might have fulfilled had he been measured solely by his personality and skills. We live this in the sports world. When I acquired the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team, I believed and hoped that change could be made in this area. I saw before me a group that has such a large and loyal fan base, scattered throughout the country, with a problematic image but also tremendous potential. Since then, alongside professional responsibility to lead to achievements, we work every day to lead social change, and we see it slowly happening in front of our eyes. It's not easy, but as long as there is faith, determination and perseverance, and as long as things are done from the right place, in the end we will reap the fruits. What is happening in sports and on the field is a reflection of the face of Israeli society, and this change must begin early in education, kindergartens and elementary school. If the children are equipped with a basket of tools, one of which is the understanding that we are all equal, we have already done half the job. The most important value in the Torah is "love your neighbor as you love yourself.” It is no coincidence that we chose this phrase to light the way of Beitar Jerusalem soccer team, because to me, it embodies everything in it. You don't have to be religious or secular to keep that commandment, you just have to be a human being.
IDF service should not be a political tool (Amnon Abramowitz, Yedioth/Ynet) Until the Six-Day-War, the role of the military was unquestionably to protect Israel's citizens and borders, but since the occupation, it has become a militaristic arm of a political situation and a source of division not harmony.
Stop Teaching Civics in Israeli Schools (Yossi Klein, Haaretz+) Civics classes should be abolished in Israel’s schools. The subject is superfluous and anachronistic, and teaching it leads to hypocritical behavior and callousness. It brings both students and teachers face to face with an unbridgeable chasm between theory and practice. In theory, we protect democracy and human rights, while in practice the fundamental principles of democracy are in collapse and human rights are violated. Civics teachers cannot explain to their students the kind of democracy that prevails in Israel. It doesn’t appear in the professional literature. It’s a democracy without human rights and without recognized borders. Students see the gaps. They understand that what they are being taught has no value. They learn that half-truths and the concealment of facts are legitimate tools in life.
Impeachment tribal war dooms Israel bipartisanship (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) In a political culture in which Democrats and Republicans demonize each other, building a national consensus in favor of the Jewish state becomes difficult.
Renewed Gaza Fire Raises Questions About Hamas' Intentions (Amos Harel, Israel Hayom) With the Palestinian Authority bashing Trump’s initiative, Hamas can’t let itself lag behind, and sooner or later Israel might feel obligated to respond more harshly.
Naama Issachar is not Gilad Shalit (Yuval Karni, Yedioth/Ynet) Although no one is disputing that Israeli jailed in Russia should have been brought home, Netanyahu's attempts to parade her around in the hopes of winning votes in the coming elections is nothing short of shameful.
Rightist Zealots Have an Unlikely Partner in the War on Secularism (Eva Illouz, Haaretz+) The multiculturalist left in Israel and elsewhere has become so extremist in its embrace of groups that reject democracy that it has turned into the useful idiot of rightist zealots that advocate the supremacy of certain religious and ethnic communities, and undermine the legitimacy of pluralism.
If You Care for Israel, Don’t Waste Time on Zionist Dinosaurs (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Voting in the elections for a useless, anachronistic organization such as the World Zionist Congress isn't worth your time.

Elections 2020/Netanyahu Indictment Commentary/Analysis:
Netanyahu Is Glad His Court Will Be in Jerusalem, ‘Where the Judges Go to Synagogue’ (Gidi Weitz, Haaretz+) The attorney general reportedly says there will be no plea bargain in the prime minister’s corruption cases. If not, experience shows that Netanyahu has no reason to be bullish about the venue.
The two faces of Benjamin Netanyahu (Aviv Bushinsky, Yedioth/Ynet) The prime minister has made many contradictory statements over the years, including on fighting terrorism and the creation of a Palestinian state, so what is to stop from doing the same thing when it comes to implementing the Trump peace plan?
Israel’s Avigdor Lieberman Is Dangerous in Many Ways (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) “In 2004, everybody raised an eyebrow when I presented my plan for land and population swaps. Last night, President Trump adopted my plan in its entirety, and the idea of land and population exchanges became an integral part of a comprehensive strategic plan of the president of the United States,” Yisrael Beiteinu chief Avigdor Lieberman wrote on Facebook. Lieberman really does have a good reason to claim credit for this “achievement” because Donald Trump’s plan really does mention the insulting possibility that the so-called triangle of Arab communities in the center of the country may become part of the envisioned Palestinian state.
Benny Gantz, His New Adviser and the Blood on Their Hands (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) A mere two days separated the visit of Benny Gantz and his advisor, former Air Force chief, Amir Eshel, to Washington and the hearing of a suit against them at a district court in The Hague. The meeting in Washington was a big story, the one in The Hague was a non-story. As expected, three judges there rejected the demand for compensation by Ismail Ziada, a Dutch citizen and the son of the late Muftia Ziada, from the two handsome and promising Israelis, Gantz and Eshel. Muftia was a 1948 refugee who was expelled or fled as a child to the Bureij refugee camp in Gaza, where she lived her life. On July 20, 2014, her life came to a cruel end. The apartment house where she lived was blown up from the air and 70-year-old Muftia was killed along with her three sons, her daughter-in-law and her grandchild. The family was almost wiped out. She was one of 142 families that lost more than three children during those terrible days of Operation Protective Edge, when the Israeli military bombed apartment buildings with the people inside as an intentional, despicable and cruel policy, not as an operational error. According to figures provided by rights group B’Tselem, around 70 apartment houses were blown up with their residents inside, killing more than 600 people. Gantz was the commander in chief and Eshel was the commander of the air force. To this day, Gantz is proud of this killing. Those responsible for this mass killing in Gaza are now the hope of the Israeli center-left, the moderate and the sane, lovers of peace and justice. They boast of moral values, they are against wars and crimes – and of course against Netanyahu. Just let Gantz be elected and Eshel be appointed his adviser, and everything will be so much better and so much more just.
In Israel, It's Much Easier for Sailors or Prisoners to Vote Than It Is for Bedouins (Thabet Abu Rass and Amnon Be’eri-Sulitzeanu, Haaretz+) According to figures released by the Interior Ministry, 260,000 Bedouin live in the Negev and some 82,000 of them not are registered in any of the nine Arab local authorities in that region. The unregistered residents can vote in seven towns or in villages situated within the Al-Kasum or Neve Midbar regional councils, by means of casting votes at separate polls, referred to as “tribal polling stations.” As an illustration of this, the residents of the village of Abda, located near Sde Boker, must travel 55 kilometers (34 miles) each way in order to vote at the polling station they’re registered at, in the Bedouin town of Segev Shalom, near Be’er Sheva. The absence of regular public transportation and the scarcity of private vehicles obviously aggravate the situation.


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