News Nosh 2.9.20

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday February 9, 2020
 
Quote of the day:
“It’s good that the municipality came to its senses, but it’s a shame that a petition was necessary to make it understand how condescending, unreasonable and strife-inducing the decision was from the beginning."
--The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, which had filed a court petition challenging the Jerusalem Municipality's initial decision to name streets in the E. Jerusalem Silwan neighborhood after rabbis. On Thursday, the Jerusalem municipality rescinded its decision.

Front Page:
Haaretz
  • Number of fatalities from coronavirus in China climbing; Dozens infected in Thailand
  • Anger against Chinese government after death of first doctor to warn about the virus
  • Trump fired two people in administration who testified against him in impeachment trial
  • Thai soldier killed 20 people in shooting spree documented on Facebook
  • In attempt to break the tie, Kahol-Lavan and Likud fighting over small interest groups
  • On easing conditions and looking the other way: In jails they identify warming relations between Israel Prison Service and Hamas people
  • 19-year-old Palestinian killed by IDF fire near Tulkarem
  • One city for two states: Even in the Geneva Initiative they aren’t sure it is still possible to divide Jerusalem
  • Wind of time // Gideon Levy on two Palestinian children shot in the head by IDF soldiers
  • Fear and hatred // Iris Leal on lack of condemnation by Kahol-Lavan against incitement against Arabs
  • A type of racism // Ram Fruman on forcing soldiers to keep kosher outside military kitchens
  • Likud launched application to recruit voters - and information about millions of Israelis leaked to the Internet
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • “Storm following Yedioth expose - “Gilad had a good chance to survive this cancer. Whoever is responsible at Rambam Hospital must pay the price” (Hebrew)
  • Netanyahu admits: There won’t be annexation before elections (Hebrew)
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
  • Suspicion: The shooters at Dolev (settlement) will try to perpetrate more attacks - Hunt after the terrorist cells in Binyamin and Shomron regions (in West Bank)
  • Coronavirus panic: Number of fatalities jumped by 86 in one day
  • Staying home // Tal Lev-Ram on the security situation in Judea and Samaria (West Bank)
  • Shot in the fog // Gideon Kotz on the EU’s battle against Trump (and his ‘Deal of the Century’
  • Battle over governance // Matan Wasserman on the battle in the Justice Ministry

Israel Hayom

  • The symbol of the (corona) plague: Death of doctor sparked protest
  • Netanyahu against Gantz: Condemn Olmert; Only with (Arab MK Ahmed) Tibi can you form a government
  • Immoral: HMO Clalit wants to end expensive treatment for four children
  • (Kahol-Lavan MK Tzvi) “Hendel is the “Garboz of the year 2020” - Condemnation of the ‘darbuka interview’. Hendel: “I oppose division (in Israeli society)
  • The surprise resurrection of the Kulanu party: Election conventions to draw voters to Likud

Top News Summary:
The coronavirus, violence in the West Bank and on the Gaza border and the latest on the Trump plan were the top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also making news was the diplomatic battle that erupted between Israel and Belgium.

For most of the papers, with the exception of Haaretz, the coverage of the spate of violence last week in the West Bank focused on Palestinian aggression: the hunt after Palestinian perpetrators not caught, the remand for a Palestinian car-rammer who was detained - and the claim by his brother that it was an accident - and the Israeli preparations for more Palestinian violence. Only Haaretz made headlines of the fact that Israeli soldiers shot dead one Palestinian teen Friday in Qaffin village, one of the seven main flash points of clashes across the West Bank. That said, the weekend was considered relatively quiet, except for one Gaza rocket that fell in an open area, without causing damage. Israel retaliated with tank shells at a Hamas ‘position.’ Maariv's Tal Lev-Ram said the quiet, relative to the numerous incidents on Thursday was partly because of the cold weather.

The Hebrew newspapers, an Israeli MK and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas connected the spike of violence to US President Donald Trump’s peace plan. "What created the atmosphere of escalation and tension is the attempt to assert fake facts on the ground.” US envoy Jared Kushner blamed Abbas for the violence that has erupted since the Mideast plan release. Despite the fact that the Hebrew newspapers also related the violence to the Trump plan, right-wing politicians slammed MK Yair Golan for saying the Israeli politicians’ talk of annexation made things worse: "I'm sorry to say so. More than Trump's peace plan has led to the wave of terrorist attacks, statements of annexation and the annexation hysteria is what heated up the area,” Golan said, continuing: "We have a plan that is more than an election spin, because whoever really wants a peace plan brings both sides to the table and does not launch a unilateral plan.” Likud and Yamina party called this “shameful,” Maariv reported. Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert also declared his opposition to the plan. Olmert will be meeting with Abbas on the sidelines of the UN Security Council session, which Abbas will address this week. A Channel 12 poll found that 35% of Israelis believe that Israel should accept the Trump plan and 31% rejected it. The poll also showed that 32% of the respondents supported applying Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley along with the rest of the settlements in the West Bank before the upcoming Israeli elections and 23% supported annexation after the elections. Meanwhile, the US is promoting a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Saudi crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman at a summit in Cairo, Israel Hayom reported.

Israel and Belgium are in the midst of an intense diplomatic row. Israel attacked Belgium for inviting Brad Parker, head of the Palestine branch of “Defense for Children” organization to brief the UN Security Council. 'Defense for Children - Palestine' has accused Israel of war crimes. On Thursday, Israel summoned Belgium’s deputy ambassador to the Foreign Ministry Friday for a ‘very harsh’ rebuke, accusing Belgium of inviting a ‘radical’ pro-Palestinian activist. Also on Thursday, Israel’s Ambassador to Belgium Emmanuel Nahshon accused Brussels of inviting “terror supporters” to the Security Council, for which Belgium then summoned the Israeli ambassador to Belgium for a reprimand. (The ‘terror supporter’ claim apparently comes from the right-wing NGO called NGO-Monitor. - OH.)


Elections 2020 / Netanyahu Indictment Quickees:
59:53 - Center-left Bloc Extends Lead Over Right Wing Ahead of Israel's March 2 Election, Poll Shows
Channel 13 poll projects that center-left bloc led by Kahol Lavan would gain 59 Knesset seats as opposed to the right's 53, but either would need Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu to form a government. Channel 12 poll shows blocs tied at 57 seats with the tiebreaker, Avigdor Lieberman's party, receiving 6 seats.  (Haaretz and i24News)
As Israeli election approaches, Likud and Kahol Lavan turn to small-scale campaigning
As Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz's parties gear up for the March 2 vote, they're turning to minorities and niches to boost their numbers. (Haaretz+)
Revival of Kulanu party: "Get activists to vote Likud"
Kahlon is on the way out of the political system, but it turns out that “Kulanu” still exists. Acting chairman, Yifat Sasa-Biton, announces: "We will work in the field for the benefit of Likud.” (Israel Hayom Hebrew)
The Darbuka storm
"There are people here who have a mentality of concerts in Vienna and those who have a mentality if darbuka (Middle Eastern drum),” said MK Yoaz Hendel from Kahol-Lavan, sparking a wave of harsh criticism and allegations of racism. Likud attacked: "It's the Garboz of the 2020 elections, he was talking about Likud voters.” Even in his party they disagreed with his remarks: "Unfortunate and unworthy statement.”
Strong criticism from home party and outside about MK Yoaz Hendel's comments on culture and "concerts and darbukas mentality". In an interview with Haaretz, Hendel was asked about cultural gaps in Israeli society and said: "People from all kinds of countries came here, some came with a mentality of concerts in Vienna and some came with a darbuka mentality. In the end, part of being in a progressive Jewish democratic state, is that it also creates a certain culture. It is not just a culture of music, it is an organizational, managerial, governing culture, and one must adhere to this culture. I don't accept a culture of chaos. I do not accept that there are 4,000 illegal buildings a year in the Negev or in the Galilee. I don’t want a bigamy in Arab society, and I won’t accept murder in the name of family honor, and I will not accept a violation of LGBT rights or a violation of women's rights." MK Yaakov Margi (Shas) attacked MK Handel, saying: "The patronizing attitude of Kahol-Lavan gets uglier each time. Mr. Hendel, you should enrich your culture and knowledge. We, the immigrants from the eastern countries - are not just darbukas. We are the culture of Maimonides, of science and medicine…of the geniuses of the world through which Jewish tradition has been preserved. Enough if the racism.” MK Orna Barbivai (Kahol-Lavan) chose to respond more forcefully to Hendel's remarks. She uploaded a video of (Mizrachi singer) Sarit Haddad performing with a darbuka, and wrote: "Yoaz, my friend, I dedicate some really happy music for Sabbath to you. Have fun." (Yedioth Hebrew)
Eden Elena and ‘The Shadow’ present: Fake dispute
"The Shadow" (far-right-wing rapper Yoav Eliasi) attacked the winner of ‘The Next Star’ for Eurovision, Eden Elena, for saying in one of her first interviews that she was in love with Benny Gantz, the Kahol-Lavan candidate for prime minister. “Media brainwashing works,” he wrote. Elena, it appeared, "responded" with a post of her own: "You are fifty-years-old, unemployed, dark-thinking and ignorant. And despite that, I respect your opinions, I recommend you start respecting mine. And now, move on, sweetie!” But then the real drama became clear: it was an imposter who wrote a response to The Shadow on her behalf, as if from her page. Elena was forced to deny: "I don't know who thinks it's funny to impersonate me and upload something like that. I never wrote anything like that and will not write or say anything like that in my life! So sad that people do things like that,” she wrote. But in the meantime, a world war broke out on The Shadow's Facebook page. This time, it was not left-wing activists but the Ethiopian(-Israelis). “Four thousand threats of murder, stabbing and defamation on the part of the (Ethiopian-Israeli) community," The Shadow described at the end of the stormy weekend, "against me, against the mother of my children and my children. This was the lowest and ugliest thing I ever went through in my life. Ethiopian? I am active on behalf of the community non-stop. So, what? You can’t talk about her because she is Ethiopian? The community is overly sensitive and it’s too much. Regarding the allegations (he made) against Elena, he wrote: "They say that soldiers should not express political opinions, apparently that is until you are a celeb. Or probably as long as you support Gantz." At the same time, The Shadow did a bit of soul-searching. "Maybe I exploded too much on her. And I want to say to anyone who wrote in her name, that I'm not fifty, I'm forty and I’m not unemployed at all. I apologize to her if my words were misunderstood. I didn’t insult her, but rather Gantz admiration. Eden is a great singer and if she's even hurt a little, I apologize.” (Yedioth Hebrew)
 
Quick Hits:
  • Palestinian teen shot in head by Israeli forces was delayed by Israeli police en route to hospital - Last Thursday, Israeli soldiers shot Muhammad Shtewi, 15, in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet while he was spending time with friends at a public spring near Kufr Qaddum. Witnesses to the shooting, said not only did soldiers shoot Muhammad in the head while he was not engaged in any violent activity, but for 25 minutes, an Israeli police officer held up the car that was taking Shtewi to be treated. The teenager continued to bleed from the head, his arrival at the hospital delayed. (+972mag)
  • Israel to Bar Palestinians From Exporting Produce via Jordan, as Trade Dispute Escalates - Move follows Defense Minister Bennett's instruction to stop agricultural imports from the Palestinian Authority to Israel after the PA had placed limitations on the import of calves from Israel. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli, Palestinian farmers pay price as politicians bicker - Tit-for-tat embargoes imposed by decision-makers in Jerusalem and Ramallah have left local agriculturalists out of pocket as trade links that have generally held strong since the two sides signed interim peace accords in the 1990s begin to fray. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Netanyahu, UK's Johnson hold phone call over trade, Trump peace plan - UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, according to the Prime Minister's Office insists that the United Kingdom will only back an internationally recognized two-state solution. (Israel Hayom)
  • Even This Far-reaching Peace Initiative Is No Longer Sure That Jerusalem Can Be Divided - Authors of the 2003 Geneva Initiative questions whether a division of the city is still relevant and proposed a plan expanding the ‘open city’ context to all of Jerusalem. Both Israel and the new Palestinian state would have sovereignty in the city. The Palestinian capital would be in East Jerusalem, with no border between the two cities. Jerusalem would continue the function as a single city, with close cooperation between the two sides. This would require a new legal system. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel Extends Remand of Palestinian Suspect in Jerusalem Car Ramming Attack - 24-year-old E. Jerusalem resident Sanad Al Tarman fled the scene after running over 12 young Israeli recruits and was later apprehended in the West Bank. His brother: "It was an accident. He fell asleep at the wheel. “He caused an accident, got scared and fled. I am sure this is not a terrorist attack. I handed my brother over to the security forces, he was not apprehended.” (Haaretz+ and Maariv and Times of Israel)
  • 23 Said Killed in Israeli Strike Thursday in Syria - Syrian state media says aerial defenses shot down most Israeli missiles but reports only eight wounded; monitoring group: Strikes targeted army positions, Iran-backed fighters. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Russia: Israeli Strike Near Damascus Endangered Passenger Plane - An Airbus A320 with 172 passengers on board was forced to make an emergency landing in Russia-controlled Khmeimim air base, defense ministry says. (Agencies, Haaretz and JPost)
  • Report: U.K. government to host controversial Israeli spyware firm NSO at trade fair - Company faces a number of lawsuits and increasing scrutiny for its role in the abusive surveillance of human rights activists and journalists worldwide. (Haaretz+ and Jewish News)
  • Rivlin Asks Peru to Free Israeli Jailed on Drug Charges - Israeli president asks his Peruvian counterpart to free Hodaya Monsonego, who has physical and mental health issues and has been jailed for six months. (Haaretz+ and Maariv and Times of Israel)
  • *Jerusalem Rescinds Decision to Rename E. Jerusalem Streets After Rabbis - Municipality’s name and commemoration committee passed a resolution to find either neutral or Arab names for the neighborhood’s streets. (Haaretz+)
  • AIPAC Apologizes for Ad Accusing ‘Radicals in the Democratic Party’ of anti-Semitism - ‘We offer our unequivocal apology to the overwhelming majority of Democrats who are rightfully offended by the inaccurate assertion that the poorly worded, inflammatory advertisement implied,’ AIPAC said. (Haaretz+ and Times of Israel)
  • Syrian advance sends hundreds of thousands fleeing in Idlib - As Syrian and Russian warplanes indiscriminately pounded hospitals, clinics and schools in the enclave, civilians packed their belongings in cars, taxis and pickup trucks. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Syrian Troops Gain Territory in Push to Control Key Highway - The weeks-long government offensive has created a humanitarian crisis with about 600,000 people fleeing their homes in Syria's last rebel stronghold since December. Rebels control much of Idlib province and parts of the neighboring Aleppo region that is home to some 3 million people — many of them displaced from other parts of Syria. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran Reaches Out to Mediate Between Turkey and Assad Forces in Syria, UN Envoy Says - Russian-backed Syrian forces have tried to capture Idlib province, the last rebel stronghold in the country, displacing more than half a million people since early December. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Top Iraqi cleric denounces violence against anti-gov't protesters - Following the deadly clashes that killed at least nine demonstrators in Najaf, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani urges Iraqi security forces to protect protesters from any further attacks. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iraq considers deepening military ties with Russia after U.S. killing of Soleimani - Defense officials discussed prospects for 'cooperation and coordination,' emphasized the importance of exchanging information to prevent the resurgence of ISIS. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Features:
Israel Is Reforming How Math Is Taught, and Arab Children Are Left Behind
Encouraging the study of mathematics is important in Israel, but the initiative being undertaken is heightening disparities between periphery and center, and between Arabs and Jews. (Ehoud Pazy, Haaretz+)
Bombs under IDF jeeps and heavy gunfire: The battle (last week) in Jenin
The incident in the West Bank overnight Wednesday that saw a Palestinian security officer killed by Israeli forces is an alarming event, which haven't been seen in the area in a long time; how troops arriving to demolish terrorist's house found themselves ambushed on all fronts? (Yoav Zitun, Ynet)
The Warming Ties Between Hamas Prisoners and the Israeli Prison Service
Prison service may be dialing down antagonism with Hamas prisoners to promote quiet in Gaza, but stabbing of warden after a search shows Hamas has other plans. (Josh Breiner, Haaretz+)
Secret snaps of Israeli spy finally 'emerge from the shadows'
Slovakian-born Sara Eyal fled to pre-state Palestine in 1940, saving her from the Holocaust where her entire family perished; alone, with a young child, she took up photography and became Mossad's most prolific photographer, a job she held until she was 72. Eyal died in 2004 at the age of 89. Exhibition is at Beit Avichai in Jerusalem. (Yulia Karra, Ynet/Yedioth)
The IDF Troops Weren't at Risk, but They Shot a Palestinian Boy in the Head Anyway
Four teens were on the way back from the village playground last week, when they spotted the soldiers laying in ambush, and took cover. When Mohammed Shatawi stood up for a moment, he was shot. Now he’s in a vegetative state. (Gideon Levy and Alex Levac, Haaretz+)
Debate in a settler protest tent: Chairman of the Yesha Settlers’ Council: "The Oslo Accords were better than the Deal of the Century”; Mayor of Ariel (settlement city): "It's an excellent deal. Sovereignty has a price"
The settler leaders, who set up a tent in front of the Prime Minister's Office, overcame the fierce Jerusalem cold (at least during the day), but not the disputes with their counterpart, who decided to retire from the Yesha Council. A guest, who joined the debate and raised the temperature in the tent, found who to blame for establishing the foundations for a Palestinian state. Another woman refused to enter as long as peace was not achieved, and the hawks were able to unite only over one issue: Applying sovereignty even before elections. (Yifat Ehrlich and Elisha Ben-Kimon in Yedioth Hebrew)
An Israeli Politician Backed the State Comptroller’s Candidacy. It Saved Him Millions
Environmental Protection Minister Zeev Elkin, a candidate for Jerusalem mayor in 2018, received a tiny fine despite $2 million in illegal campaign contributions for the race. (Gidi Weitz, Haaretz+)
He fed stray cats and never talked politics: Flower salesman turned terrorist
Friends and relatives of Shabi Bana, who on Thursday opened fire at Border Police in Jerusalem's Old City and was subsequently shot dead, tell the 44-year-old was a gentle person; it's believed the Arab-Israeli converted to Islam prior to attack. (Lior El-Hai, Ynet)

Elections 2020 Commentary/Analysis:
Gantz’s Pathetic Party Condones anti-Arab Racism (Iris Leal, Haaretz+) Racism isn’t a new phenomenon, certainly not racism against Arab citizens, but it was never used as cynically and consistently as Netanyahu has done in the three campaigns over the past year. The helplessness shown by the leaders of Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan party in this respect has been pitiful. In Kahol Lavan you have three army chiefs plus an experienced politician who haven’t said to the cameras that the inflammatory rhetoric in the Knesset against Arab citizens is intolerable. Despite their strength, these four are afraid to set an agenda clearly rejecting incitement against an ethnic minority as unacceptable behavior.
Fake reality (Ra'anan Shaked, Yedioth Hebrew) Remember Naama Issachar? The one we really wanted to get returned (to Israel)? When she got back on the Prime Minister's plane we said to ourselves: Okay, enough. You went too far. Remember the Deal of the Century? The deal where we signed a brave peace with the Americans and vowed to finally do between us and the Palestinians what we haven't done for 50 years - annexation? Yes, remember? Of course, you remember. Only it doesn't concern you anymore, because it was never really relevant to your life. It was really relevant to the prime minister's life. To his political life, his public life, his life as a free man. This was relevant to his chances of bringing in another mandate or two in the next poll. Maybe. But we were busy dealing with those theatrical dramas as if our lives really depended on it. As if when Naama came back, everything in the world would work out. As if Trump declaring a peace deal minus Palestinians, a total peace would break out here. As if. The 'as if' news. These are the news that are not really directly related to the reality of our lives - the reality where, one night that week, residents of the Gaza Strip ran to sheltered spaces five times, and one time that got a little girl badly injured. The reality is that four doctors committed suicide in Soroka Hospital a year and a half, and every arrival at the hospital is a waiting till death sentence in the corridor. The real life of our lives is cramped and chaotic transportation with no apparent solution; It's the high cost of living that makes your face turn blue every time the cashier declares the purchase amount; It's the apartment you can't buy; It's that your turn to get an MRI is in six months. There is more, but nobody is taking care of any of it, because who will? The government that doesn't exist? The temporary minister who is busy with his chances of getting an extension? The Prime Minister who deals with empty shows of 'look at me' and accuses the media of Fake News? So let's say it once and for all: the problem is not Fake News; The problem is reality. Naama Issachar, the Deal of the Century, the Prime Minister's order to set up a corona virus vaccine factory is Fake Reality. How do you recognize Fake Reality? Oh, it's easy. The first symptom is that the prime minister - and probably also his wife - take pictures of it with pleasure, because Fake Reality exists mainly to serve their endless campaign. The second symptom is that you do not see - even with an effort - how Fake Reality is going to affect your daily life. And third, the Fake Reality disappears within days of its appearance to give way to the next Fake Reality that will prevent you from seeing reality itself. It's a life of continuous Israeli-made matrix. Matrixiyahu. And here and there we - my wife and I, at least - are beginning to feel like rebel underground of Neo, Morpheus and Trinity's [from Matrix film - OH] , who see the real reality beneath the glittering fake reality created by Netanyahu's campaign machines. "How come no one is doing anything?" my beloved said to me this week. "Nothing here is functioning, there is no government, no budgets, things are collapsing, and we all deal with what? With Trump? Some civil protest must begin. Stop sending the kids to school or something." "They're going to school!" I made it clear. That's just what I'm lacking now, kids at home. I mean, I know she's right, I'm just not ready to be the first Daphne Leef [2011 social justice protest leader - OH] to move and live in a tent - or homeschool the kids - in order to ignite the next civil protest. The fact that we're all ready to collaborate with fake reality - we've actually moved into it - helps it continue. Netanyahu was in Uganda again this week. Still, there is nothing to do with this highly media covered trip and Israel's pressing affairs, namely the actual reality that is not the fake reality in which superhero Netanyahu again saves the day. Because the real Israeli reality needs government, processes, budgets, solutions, and most importantly, finally, attention. Fake reality, for its part, only needs a pile of photographers and disproportionate media coverage. Netanyahu lives in fake reality. He is also its main manufacturer. The accomplishments that Netanyahu achieves are in fake reality, while most of us live, without choice, in actual reality. And some day it will fall on our heads.
This is how the right-wing camp can turn Netanyahu from a blackmailer into being blackmailed (Prof. Arieh Eldad, Maariv) The prime minister is actually telling the right-wing voters: If you don't choose me, you won't get sovereignty. But the national camp has a way of changing the rules of this game.
Coming Back From the White House, Netanyahu Is Left With a Bitter Aftertaste (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) Since Trump's Mideast plan was unveiled, Netanyahu has been trying to extract some kind of mini-annexation to appease his disappointed base.

Top Commentary/Analysis:
Israeli sovereignty and the future of President Trump's peace plan (Caroline B. Glick, Israel Hayom) If PM Netanyahu fails to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria before the election, not only will he almost certainly lose those elections, his defeat will bury Trump's peace plan and harm Trump's re-election chances.
We’ll Get Used to Annexation, Too (Yossi Klein, Haaretz+) We can live with annexation like we’ve lived with the occupation. In other words, it’s not that bad. We can live with occupation, not with corruption. We can deal with oppression, just not bribery. We won’t let government corruption stain the pure white cape of our occupation. Corruption is our permanent state, occupation is apparently temporary, annexation is eternal.
The "deal of the century " is currently taking its last breaths (Ran Edelist, Maariv) Netanyahu clearly knew that the peace plan had no feasibility. But he also knew that the "historic" status would remain in the subconscious of his political base at least until Election Day.
Don’t eulogize the two-state solution just yet (Said Zeedani, +972mag) Trump’s peace deal may have declared the death of the 'classic' two-state formula, but that doesn't mean we should abandon the idea altogetherץ
Moving beyond the 'EKP' (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) What "everybody" used to "know" about the parameters for Israeli-Palestinian peace has been jolted by the Trump plan.
Vote for Joint List = Vote Against Trump (Dmitry Shumsky, Haaretz+) despite the cries of joy of the pro-Netanyahu and the pro-Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid right, if the Trump-Netanyahu vision is fulfilled and the Palestinian national experience is crushed for good, not only the “State of Palestine” but also Israel is liable to become, in the long term, an unsustainable state. Once the rope of Israeli sovereignty is tied around the neck of the Palestinian nation as a result of the annexation of its lands, the continuation of Israeli sovereignty from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River will necessarily depend on the continued suffering and humiliation of the Palestinians. A state whose sovereignty depends on tightening the bonds of slavery of another nation has no future. Despite Israel’s desperate efforts of [sic] demonize the struggle against the occupation and the settlements and to frame it as anti-Semitic… – nothing will prevent making the question of Palestine the symbol of the global struggle between the supporters of equality and liberty and the International of Racists of All Countries, who will stand alongside the Israeli occupier. In the meantime, there is something that Israeli opponents of the Netanyahu-Trump plan can do…vote in the March 2 election for the Joint List – the only Israeli electoral slate that has openly and decisively come out in favor of civil and national equality between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and against racism, the occupation and apartheid.
Israel's Left Is Also Waiting for the Messiah (Aluf Benn, Haaretz+) In Haaretz last week, Akiva Eldar promised that “one day the occupation will end. Even if Eldar is right and the Israeli occupation finally ends in 2120, how exactly will this help the people alive now, or even their children? His only proposal to the Palestinian leaders, the present and future ones, is to stick to their national dignity and reject Netanyahu, Trump and their heirs’ humiliating proposals for surrender in the hope that the wheel turns and Israel weakens. Similar to Eldar last week, my Haaretz colleague Dmitry Shumsky is sure that Israel will lose and suggests as a first step to vote for the Joint List, which in his view represents “civil and national equality between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River,” implying a switch from the idea of two states to a single state. But this country of equality between the Mediterranean and the Jordan, which will end the ethnocratic occupation and melt Zionism into “Israstine,” will also end the Palestinian national movement. After all, the moment Hamas runs for the Knesset and Yahya Sinwar, the group’s leader in Gaza, swears allegiance under a picture of Theodor Herzl as “Hatikva” plays in the background, he’ll find it hard to wave the Palestinian flag with the same uncompromising resolve that Eldar promises. So maybe it’s simpler to wait for the Messiah to come and divide the land?
Trump has already divided Jerusalem, but then something surprising happened (Jackie Khougy, Maariv) Abu Mazen's testimony about the string of events that led to a rift with the White House is fascinating, and raises a question: Why did the Americans do everything so the that the Palestinian Authority says no to the deal?
Why the Left won't tolerate liberal Zionists (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) The "Columbia Journalism Review" attack on "The Forward" marks a new low in the way intellectual elites are legitimizing anti-Semitism.
Knesset Corruption Panel (Haaretz Editorial) At a time when corruption seems to have spread everywhere, perhaps there’s no reason to be surprised that the Knesset House Committee voted this week to grant immunity from prosecution to Likud MK Haim Katz. Perhaps there’s no reason to be outraged that of the committee’s 30 members, all 16 MKs from rightist and ultra-Orthodox parties took their colleague’s side and gave him immunity from standing trial for what Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit termed “fraud and breach of trust at the highest level,” involving a conflict of interests “that wasn’t far removed from bribery.”
Israel, a state of all its Jewish citizens (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) It’s not surprising that it was Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposal that the “deal of the century” include Israel ceding Arab towns near the West Bank border to the Palestinians, turning Israeli Arab citizens into citizens of a Palestinian state, as reported by Haaretz's Amir Tibon and Noa Landau. Netanyahu made the proposal as if to compensate the Palestinians for the annexation of settlements. But this is nonsense: Compensation is done with land, not people. The logic behind the proposal is one of promoting national purity, not compensation.
Trump's plan for a failed Palestinian state (Sever Plocker, Yedioth/Ynet) The plan poses as much of a danger to Israeli interests as it does to those of the Palestinians who will be left in a tiny enclave cut off from the world and expected to achieve peace and prosperity.
The IDF Spokesman Announces: Continue to Shoot Palestinian Children (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Israeli soldiers shoot children. Sometimes they wound them and sometimes they kill them. Sometimes the children wind up brain dead, sometimes disabled. Sometimes the children have thrown rocks at the soldiers, sometimes Molotov cocktails. Sometimes by chance they wind up in the middle of a confrontation. They almost never put the soldiers’ lives in danger. Israeli soldiers are allowed to shoot children. Nobody punishes them for shooting children. When a Palestinian child is shot it’s not a story. There’s no difference between the blood of a small Palestinian child and the blood of a Palestinian adult. They’re both cheap. When a Jewish child is hurt, all of Israel shakes, when a Palestinian child is hurt, Israel yawns.
Abbas is leading the Palestinians down another dead-end street (Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom) The only card Abbas essentially has left, aside from returning to the negotiation table, which he apparently doesn't consider an option, is threatening to dismantle the Palestinian Authority. Such a move, however, will drag the Palestinians light years backward.
We must be calm in the face of Palestinian violence that comes out of the bottle (Alon Ben-David, Maariv) The Trump plan has awakened violence in the region, and it is unclear whether Israel has the ability to curb it. In the south, some balloons are again able to terrorize an entire country.
Flare-up: What's Keeping Israel From a Military Op (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) With less than a month to election, the Israeli government knows a military op with Hamas in Gaza could bring more harm than good. But the Israeli public is kept in the dark.
Even talk of West Bank annexation can kill (Elior Levy, Ynet) Despite warnings from Israeli security and Palestinian leadership, there are those who refuse to internalize their message; Israel is embracing those who launch rockets over those who prevent terrorism.
Normalization With Sudan, a Fragile Gift to Be Handled With Care (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) A political powderkeg in dire need of foreign cash and domestic reform, Sudan should not simply be waived around by an Israeli PM in need of electoral capital.
What Sudan Really Wants From Israel After Normalization (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Technological and intelligence assistance notwithstanding, the real boon is access to the White House.
Once again, Netanyahu embraces Africa’s war criminals, and not its democrats (Mutasim Ali, Haaretz+) I support Sudan’s normalization of relations with Israel. But I’m devastated that Netanyahu chose to negotiate with an orchestrator of the Darfur genocide, not with Sudan’s civilian-led government.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.
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