News Nosh 02.16.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday February 16, 2014

Quote of the day:
"...instead of calling a spade a spade and declaring ‘price tags’ as a terror organization, allows the thugs from the hilltop youth to evade criminal prosecution through the use of administrative orders." 
--Meretz MK Zahava Gal-On blasts Attorney General for copping out.** 

Front Page News:
Yedioth Ahronoth
Israel Hayom

Peace Talk Highlights:
The top stories were the criminal assassination in Tel-Aviv and more on the collapse of Hadassah hospitals in Jerusalem. Meanwhile, Israel Hayom reported that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama will agree to extend peace talks during Netanyahu's visit to Washington as Israel wanted and Hamas said it would consider any international presence in the West Bank an 'occupation' force and called on US Secretary of State John Kerry to reconsider his position. Spokesman Sami Abu Zohari spoke at a rally against the negotiations, saying to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas: "Noone has authorized you to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people, or on behalf of Hamas or any other faction." [Note, this is very interesting because it reveals that Hamas is interested in the participating in the negotiation process. - OH] Also, Abbas is hosting 170 young Israeli students at his offices in Ramallah today as part of his outreach efforts toward Israeli society. And Housing Minister Uri Ariel said Friday that the mass right-wing protest march, at which right-wing politicians said the Jewish state would be from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, was actually a march to show support for Netanyahu in peace talks. 

Quick Hits:
  • **Meretz head Gal-On blasts AG over cabinet’s lesser categorization of 'price tag’ attacks - Cabinet were allowed to define attacks by extremists on Arabs and Palestinians as being part of 'forbidden organizations,’ not terror groups. (Haaretz+) 
  • Exposed: List of "wanted" Jews involved in 'price tag' (attacks) - They either have had restraining orders against them banning them from Judea and Samaria or they still do and the police and Shin Bet connect them to involvement in violence and "price tag" attacks against Palestinians. They are all listed on a document the police and Border Guard officers serving in the West Bank carry with them.  They come from West Bank settlements, as well as Ashkelon, Beit Shemesh, and Jerusalem. The eldest is 40, the youngest is 16 and he was 15 when he got the restraining order, making him the youngest Israeli ever to get one. (Maariv, p. 1/NRG Hebrew
  • Palestinians: Settlers fraudulently bought land from dead man - Human rights lawyers want the police to launch a criminal probe on suspicion that various purchases have been forged. (Haaretz+) 
  • Israeli soldiers, Palestinians clash on Gaza border Friday, dozens injured - Soldiers fire live ammunition, tear gas canisters, Palestinian official says; IDF says protesters tried to sabotage border fence. (Haaretz and Maan)
  • 8 injured in clashes across West Bank Friday - Six young Palestinians were shot with live bullets at the entrance of al-Jalazun refugee camp, others suffered from excessive tear-gas inhalation in clashes that broke out with Israeli forces throughout the West Bank. (Maan)
  • Locals: Israeli tank fires shell at open area in Gaza City Saturday - Israeli tanks were stationed along the border facing the city's Shujaiyya neighborhood, and that one fired a shell into a Palestinian field. No injuries were reported. (Maan)
  • Israeli troops shoot, injure Palestinian girl at flying checkpoint Saturday - Israeli troops operating a flying checkpoint near the illegal settlement of Yitzhar fired at a Palestinian car that allegedly refused to stop at the soldiers' request. A bullet hit Nahad Kamal Aqil in the thigh, and she was taken to a nearby hospital. Israeli troops detained the driver of the car. (Maan
  • 2 Palestinian footballers shot by Israeli forces learn they'll never play again - Some two weeks ago, Jawhar Nasser Jawhar, 19, was shot with 11 bullets, and Adam Abd al-Raouf Halabiya, 17, was shot in each foot by Israeli soldiers as they walked home from soccer practice in al-Ram, (on the outskirts of Jerusalem near Neveh Yaakov). Police dogs were then unleashed on them after which soldiers dragged them and beat them. (Maan)
  • Assaf 'banned' from singing at World Cup ceremony - "I was supposed to sing for the World Cup 2014, in the opening ceremony, but, I do not want to accuse anyone but some people, or states or parties, God knows who, intervened and FIFA canceled my song with Platinum Records," said Palestinian Arab Idol winner Mohammad Assaf. (Maan)
  • Palestinian journalist assaulted by Israeli soldiers near Bethlehem - Yousef Shakarnah was filming a documentary about the plight of locals who work inside Israel when soldiers assaulted him, for which he needed to be hospitalized. The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate condemned the attack on Shakarna and accused Israeli occupation forces of "targeting journalists to try to conceal the truth." (Maan)
  • Israeli forces unearth grave in Beit Ummar, locals say - Mohammad Awad told Ma'an that an Israeli bulldozer dug up a grave located on the side of a main road, leaving the bones visible to passersby. (Maan
  • Rockets hit Hof Ashkelon, Eshkol regional councils; none injured - Rocket hit detected near greenhouse in Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, followed by hit in Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries reported. (Ynet)
  • Sapir Sabah complained: School principal attacked me - Kiryat Tivon school teachers held a breakfast meeting of solidarity with (left-wing) teacher Adam Verete. The student who complained against him, Sapir Sabah, tried to film the meeting and was removed by the principal. (NRG Hebrew)
  • Adar Cohen will serve as a member of the political discourse committee - The (left-wing) civics supervisor of the Ministry of Education, who was fired a year and a half ago due to "poor professional conduct" is expected to sit alongside Aryeh Carmon, President of the Israel Democracy Institute,(Arab) Professor Alian Elkarinawi, President of Achva College, and the (right-wing) journalist Yoaz Hendel. (Maariv, p. 1/NRG Hebrew)
  • Ministers mull bill barring welfare payments to freed security prisoners - According to bill, there is no justification for security prisoners with Israeli citizenship, who are released in prisoner exchanges or as part of peace negotiations, to receive payments when 'if it were up to the state authorities alone, they would continue serving their term.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Stabbing spree leaves 3 asylum seekers wounded in Tel Aviv - Three asylum seekers stabbed in Tel Aviv's southern Central Bus Station; three Israelis arrested. All three asylum seekers taken to hospital in light condition. (Ynet
  • Palestinians motion UNESCO to grant World Heritage status for West Bank village - Sources say if plans to build security fence across village of Batir are carried out, it may cause irreparable damage to local ancient terraces. Palestinians' petition to UN hopes to preserve site, but also violates peace talks' preconditions, suggesting negotiations may fail. (Ynet
  • Israel's Rafael unveils 'Star Wars-style' laser missile shield - Iron Beam is designed to intercept close-range drones, rockets and mortars. (Agencies, Haaretz
  • Negev towns gearing up for influx from Israel's center - Sprawling new army bases and a high-tech park in Be’er Sheva will draw new residents - but is the south ready to absorb them? (Haaretz+)
  • Pressure ramps up for choice of foreign affairs committee head - Prestigious Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee has been without a permanent chairman for months due to Likud and Yesh Atid squabbling. PM prefers Likud MK Tzachi Hanegbi; Finance Minister Yair Lapid wants fellow Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah. (Israel Hayom)
  • PA minister visits families of hunger striking prisoners - Issa Qaraqe on Friday visited the family of Wahid Abu Maria and Abed al-Majid Khdeirat, two Palestinian prisoners hunger striking in Israeli jails. Abu Maria has been protesting being held in detention without trial, while Khdeirat has been protesting his renewed detention, which he says is an Israeli attempt to reactivate a previous sentence after he was released early from Israeli jails. (Maan)
  • West Bank stations deny fuel to Palestinian Authority security vehicles over unpaid bills - PA's security forces have failed to pay their gas bills for last six months, accumulating debt of 55 million shekels. (Maan
  • Hamas in financial distress: laser-training instead of live fire - Lack of money and millions invested in long term projects, such as tunnels and missile development, forced the organization to a "belt-tightening" policy. (Maariv, p. 2/NRG Hebrew)
  • Portugal to grant nationality to Sephardic Jews - Like neighboring Spain, Portuguese authorities are preparing a law granting automatic nationality to descendants of Jews expelled, killed or forced to convert to Christianity in the 16th century. (Yedioth/Ynet
  • Iranian businessman claims Canada gave Mossad agent new passport - Mysterious Canadian-Iranian businessman suspected of spying for Iran claims Canada gave a Mossad agent allegedly involved in the 2010 Dubai hit on Hamas official al-Mabhouh a new passport and identity. (Ynet
  • Assad regime accuses Israel, US of Syrian talks stalemate - Second round of negotiations in Geneva reach dead end. Syria's envoy to the UN says Washington pushes rebels to 'escalate militarily.' (Agencies, Ynet)

IDF facing high-tech brain drain
New data reveals that the number of technology officers to leave the IDF has doubled over the last two years. (Yedioth/Ynet
In photos: 'One Billion Rising' march for women's rights in Ramallah -
Dozens of Palestinians took to the streets of Ramallah on Saturday to take part in a rally for women's rights and in protest against violence against women as part of a global day of action. (Maan)
To eat co-existence: The trend which is healthy for relations between the two peoples
Hummus has long become a national icon. The original recipe came from the Arab sector, but today no fridge in Israel is complete without one of the version that has been developed. But some Israeli chefs still argue that hummous is Israeli. One university professor does research on what foods Israelis call their that are actually Arab. (This is another article in a series on Israeli Arabs in 2014.) (Maariv, p. 12-13/NRG Hebrew
Flight attendants at Israel's service (Yaniv Halily, Yedioth/Ynet) El Al stewards, including a Druze and an Arab, take an active role in Israeli PR as part of voluntary project aimed at improving country's image around the world.

Boycott law boycotts freedom of speech (Haaretz Editorial) A prohibition against a call for a boycott bans a legitimate means of protest, so it is unacceptable. 
Dangerous shutting of mouths (Boaz Okun, Yedioth) It's permissible for Israelis to think they don't want to buy products from the West Bank, it's admissible for them to think that a boycott is a legitimate method of influence. It is admissible for other people to oppose that and even call as individuals to boycott the boycotters. But the state itself cannot intervene. It can prohibit boycotts on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, for example against Arabs or against Jews for being Arabs or Jews. But it cannot take steps against a boycott or anti-boycott when it is over a political dispute...
Kerry Plan shakes up Jordanian-Palestinian relations (Daoud Kuttab, Maan) The seriousness of US-initiated framework for a possible solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem appears to have shaken dormant relations in the region, including in Jordan. The Palestinian-Jordanian relationship, which is experiencing its highest degree of cooperation and mutual trust, is being put to the test.
My brother, John Kerry, is a passionate and consistent supporter of Israel (Cameron Kerry, Friday Yedioth/Ynet) Exclusive to Yedioth Ahronoth: Secretary of state's brother explains in a special op-ed that John Kerry's determined work on Middle East peace is informed by an abiding sense of the need to secure Israel as a home for the Jewish people.
Immoral laws turn Israel into Sodom (Aner Shalev, Haaretz+) The latest example: the bill that defers ultra-Orthodox Jews from army service. Secular politicians like Yair Lapid had better fight against it. 
Indoctrination in the Israeli school system (Israeli school teacher, Tal G., Maan) We Israelis are told on a daily basis about the everyday propaganda spewed forth by the Palestinian Authority. Yet every year, thousands of Israeli students are taken on a journey to visit Jewish settlements in the West Bank and no questions are reaised about their legitimacy, they are simply depicted as a part of Israel. This is a disgraceful use of the education system in Israel to indoctrinate students to think that the settlements in the West Bank are legitimate, thus encouraging ignorance about the reality of the region. (Teacher's full name withheld.)
The cost of the 'peace process' (Elliot Abrams, Israel Hayom) Does the U.S. care about what goes on within the borders of the Palestinian state it is trying to establish?
Eradicate the Jewish state (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Nearly every right-wing leader in Israel cynically exploits the fear of the country's 'eradication' for his or her own political needs. 
Martin Schulz's harmful ignorance (Yoaz Hendel, Yedioth/Ynet) Israel has been supplying the Palestinians with almost double the amount of water it committed to in 1995. The European Parliament president's unfamiliarity with the facts raises questions.  
Say a big 'thank you' to Martin Schulz (Avraham Burg, Haaretz+) Why are we debating the exact disparity in access to water between Israelis and Palestinians, if Netanyahu admitted his belief that Jews deserve more of it? 
The obstinancy of Abbas (Shlomo Cesana, Israel Hayom) To most people, it is clear that Abbas will never sign a final-status peace deal with Israel. Since returning to office in 2009, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has worked to undo the damage caused by his predecessors.
The visit of the EU President: a boycott only on paper (Ariel Kahane, Maariv/NRG Hebrew) Martin Schulz joins senior officials from around the world, who come to visit the country. They, like thousands of businesspeople and millions of tourists, prove that there is no boycott against Israel. 
Triumph of the shrill: On the roots of Israel's 'national dignity' problem 
(Uri Misgav, Haaretz+) Despite Bennett's clowning, if there is such a thing as national dignity, Israel waived it a few years after the Holocaust. 
Bennett's great settlement bluff will be exposed (Shaul Arieli, Yedioth/Ynet) The Israeli settlement enterprise is overwhelmingly based on economic considerations. The Habayit Hayehudi party represents a loud handful of people with messianic beliefs who are harming the State of Israel's vital interests. 
A rally of unsound governance (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) It is unacceptable that ministers and their deputies participate in a rally that leaves the prime minister in a bind and raises question marks about Israel's credibility.
An act of constitutional sabotage (Haaretz Editorial) New referendum bill (that would require a national referendum to approve a peace agreement) undermines the Knesset’s sovereignty and subverts the foundations of Israeli democracy.
The best show in town (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) The Right and the Left are now spoiled for choice between presidential candidates, and Israel's political system promises a close and riveting race.
Naftali Bennett's West Bank reality check (Noa Osterreicher, Haaretz+) Palestinian water shortage? Gaza blockade? Anti-Semitic preaching, says minister. 
Israel plays incitement card (Yossi Sarid, Haaretz+) In rejecting U.S.- Palestinian anti-incitement proposal, Steinitz defends Israel's strategic asset. 
Did someone say boycott? (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) Israel should be given the freedom to make security decisions free of false threats and without having to mollify feverish forecasters.
We’ve gotta get out of this place: Spain offers citizenship and Israelis freak out (Asher Schechter, Haaretz+) What do you know: Under the right circumstances, even Israelis support the right of return.
The mixed legacy of IDF chief Benny Gantz (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) As he enters his final year, Gantz can take pride in the moderation and realism he brought to the post. But major social trends are exposing the army to unprecedented pressures. 
On wisdom and caution (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) Three years into his term as Israel Defense Forces chief of staff and one year before he retires, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz discusses how his army has operated in a combustible Middle East.

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