News Nosh 02.20.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday February 20, 2014

Quote of the day:
“I told them that I have small children and that I wanted to dress them first, but they said no, dress them outside."
--Israeli Jewish woman tells Israeli policemen who came to her door and told her to leave her house, which she shares with her Arab husband and five children, because they intended to demolish it.**

Front Page News:
Yedioth Ahronoth
Israel Hayom

Peace Talk Highlights:
The top stories were the collapse of a murder case and the historic agreement to draft ultra-Orthodox. On the peace process front, Israel Army Radio reported that the US will extend the peace talks and demand a partial Israeli settlement freeze, US Secretary of State John Kerry implied that evacuating Jewish settlements may not be a necessary part of a peace deal and Maariv reported that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is considering recognizing Israel as a Jewish state as part of the framework agreement, but senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi said Palestinians oppose a framework agreement because it was meaningless. Meanwhile, News Nosh puts together various reports to get a clearer picture about Israeli intentions towards the Temple Mount. And Yedioth and Maariv have been busy reporting on how the Shin Bet has caught price-tag activists (see Features).
Despite the Palestinians repeated declaration that they don't have an intention to extend the peace talks, Army Radio says that after Kerry presents the framework for extending peace talks, Washington will reportedly ask for construction freeze in isolated West Bank settlements. [Could the freeze be in exchange for the extension? - OH],7340,L-4490210,00.html
Yet, Kerry implied in a preview of the interview with the Israeli investigative TV program 'Uvda' that will be aired tonight that evacuating Jewish settlements may not be a necessary part of a peace deal. "I'm not at all sure [the settler] will have to leave his home," he said when asked about the price settlers may have to pay if an agreement is struck.
Asaf Gabor wrote in Maariv/NRG Hebrew that a high-ranking PLO official said that Abbas was considering recognizing Israel as a Jewish state. In an interview on Palestinian TV, Nabil Amr, a member of the PLO Central Committee, said that Abbas seeks to reach understandings "without complying completely with the recognition condition that Israel demands." According to Amr, Abbas is waiting for a creative solution from the U.S. or Europe.
Kerry met with Abbas over dinner Wednesday night in Paris to discuss the framework agreement. The papers had no details yet of what was said, but Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Executive Committee of the PLO, told reporters that the Palestinians opposed to the idea of a framework that allowed both sides to express their reservations: "This framework agreement is not really an agreement. Each side can express their reservations ... If both sides disagree on the issues presented, that means it is not an agreement.",7340,L-4490369,00.html
Jordan claims it thwarted the Knesset debate over Israeli sovereignty at Temple Mount this week. Maariv/NRG Hebrew's Asaf Gabor reported that Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said that Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein rejected the bill to debate Israeli custody over the Temple Mount [which the Arabs refer to as Harram Al-Sharif or the Al-Aqsa compound - OH] due to Jordanian pressure: "Not one and not a thousand MKs will change the Jordanian guardianship over the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the places holy to Islam and Christianity." Judeh added: "The Hashemite guardianship over the mosques on the Temple Mount is historical and it is in the hands of the king. Peace treaty between Jordan and Israel recognizes the historic role of the king and no one can take it away." (Far right-wing Likud) MK Moshe Feiglin proposed the bill to put Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount and according to Israel Hayom "sent all MKS a letter calling on them to support a bill for a government resolution recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount." The bill was supposed to be brought to the plenum for debate on Monday, but was, indeed, postponed by a week. Gabor reported that the bill raised tensions between Jordan and Israel and that Jordanian MPs called to cancel the peace agreement with Israel if the bill is accepted in the Knesset. Israel Hayom reported Tuesday that Edelstein and Feiglin agreed to postpone the debate "because no agreement was reached with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the wording of the document to be presented to the Knesset." Also on Monday, pro-settler Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett suggested Israel may try to assume a greater degree of control over the Temple Mount, Haaretz+ reported. Bennett, who serves as Economy Minister, also has the key post of Minister of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs.

Then early Wednesday morning, Feiglin was back at the Temple Mount touring the compound, apparently shooting a film, because he was followed by a cameraman and heavy police security, Maan and NRG Hebrew reported. It was his first visit in over a year, since being banned by Netanyahu after being elected to the Knesset because it was feared his visits would spark a flare-up and create disturbances. However, his visit passed quietly. Locals heard him saying that the Al-Aqsa Mosque belongs to the Jews. When he left he said: " I see my visit this morning as the beginning of the return of full Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount. The Israeli police proved that when it receives the right commands it is able to perform them well."

Quick Hits:
  • Settlers hurl stones at Palestinian schoolchildren near Nablus - Settlers stormed the village of Burin and threw stones at pupils at a local school. Another group of settlers assaulted a 50-year-old man near Yizhar settlement south of the village. Israeli forces arrived and shot at the villagers. (Maan)
  • E. Jerusalem village targeted in latest 'price tag' attack - Police investigating after dozens of vehicles have tires slashed, anti-Arab slogans daubed on walls in Sharafat (near Gilo) Three masked assailants carrying backpacks entered the village at around 3am, village security camera footage shows. (Ynet+PHOTOS+VIDEO and Maan)
  • Report: Israeli held over racist Facebook post -  Israeli police have detained an Israeli man on incitement to racism charges over a Facebook post about killing "Arab babies." Zohar Zuaretz, 30, of Petach Tikva, wrote of a dream about killing Arab babies calling it the "rosiest dream I have ever had." [In 2012, he went to court for spraying hate graffiti on a supermarket for employing Arabs - OH] (Maan)
  • **Jewish-Arab couple protest demolition of (E.) Jerusalem home - City razed the house in Silwan, though couple said they'd been given grace period to sort out paperwork. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli warships open fire at Gaza fishermen - A fisherman told Ma'an Israeli ships fired gunshots at Palestinian fishing boats, and that a shell hit the water near the boats. No injuries were reported. Israeli naval forces frequently harass Palestinian fishermen who near the Israeli-declared three-mile limit, as well as those inside the zone. (Maan)
  • Israeli military vehicles enter Gaza - Locals told Ma'an that the Israeli vehicles crossed over to the Palestinian side of the border near the town of al-Qarara in the Khan Younis district. (Maan
  • Israeli 'special forces' storm prison cells in Rimon - Israeli special forces stormed cells of Palestinian prisoners in Rimon prison and destroyed prisoners' belongings. Palestinian prisoners in Block 6 were moved to Block 1 and all prisoners were deprived of their daily break. (Maan)
  • Obama to Erdogan: Conclude normalization agreement with Israel - Conversation comes nearly three weeks after Israeli and Turkish negotiators reach draft agreement for an end to hostilities- which Netanyahu is now refusing to approve. Erdogan is demanding Israel first siege from Gaza Strip. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Bennett meets EU's Martin Schulz for 'reconciliation meeting' in Brussels - During a tense meeting in Brussels, Bennett attempts to explain the Knesset walk-out - but stops short of an apology. (Haaretz+)
  • Peres to bestow highest honor on German Chancellor Merkel - Honor to be bestowed on her "for her uncompromising commitment to the security of Israel, her promotion of anti-Semitism education, and her exceptional moral leadership." (Ynet
  • Report: Netanyahu mulling Peres presidential extension, change to election system - PM reportedly wants to have president chosen by the people, not the Knesset, seeking year-long extension for Peres to facilitate change. (Ynet)
  • Peres rules out staying on as president - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly unhappy with all candidates for the presidency. Abolishment of institution could be an option. Likud candidates Silvan Shalom, Reuven Rivlin unlikely to get PM's endorsement. (Israel Hayom)
  • Civil rights NGO to IDF: Let soldiers join protests - Standing order bars uniformed soldiers from publicly stating political opinions, or even taking part in Rabin vigil, in or out of uniform. (Haaretz+)
  • Former Palestinian minister attacked in Jenin -  A group of masked men attacked the former minister of prisoners' affairs Wasfi Kabha in Jenin district on Wednesday, according to a Hamas statement. (Maan)
  • Jordanian-Israeli named after Yitzhak Rabin (permitted) to join IDF - 18 years after he was named in honor of slain Israeli premier, Yitzhak Rabin Namsy received Israeli citizenship from interior minister. (Haaretz)
  • Israel's Tamar gas field sign $500 million gas supply deal with Jordan - Tamar partners sign 15-year deal with Jordanian companies; under agreement, Tamar to supply 66 billion cubic feet of natural gas. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Scandal at one of Israeli embassies in Europe - Female staff at an embassy in a European capital claim the ambassador exposed himself to them. Civil Service Commission opened investigation and he was immediately returned to Israel and suspended. Ambassador: "Never happened." (Yedioth, p. 8)
  • Israel's Supreme Court slams biometric database ad campaign - Justices tell gov't authority it must make clear that the program is voluntary, and no rights will be in jeopardy for not complying. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli army's unpaid parking tickets: $3 million - Not eager to pay full amount, army tends to make deals with big cities, but ignores smaller municipalities. (Haaretz+)
  • Turkey offers residency to Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria - The decision is the result of Palestinian officials' persistent efforts to reach this end since Palestinian refugees in war-torn Syria began fleeing to Turkey. (Maan)
  •  Report: Egypt reinforcing Gaza area units in bid to root out terrorists - Egyptian security sources told Kuwaiti daily Al Rai that military forces are in the process of reasserting control over areas in the Gaza Strip that border Israel, in order to track terror suspects in the mountainous region. (Ynet
  • 'Green and clean' tech Finland looks to Israel for inspiration - Prime minister Katainen wants to overhaul Finnish economy using Israel high-tech model. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Poll: 72 percent of Americans have favorable view of Israel - Annual Gallup survey finds perception of Israel up from 66% in 2013; Iran ranks lowest at 9%. (Ynet)
  • Saving dying lake is priority for Iranian leader - Iran's severe water crisis takes toll on Lake Orumieh, sixth largest saltwater lake on earth; Iran president Rouhani appoints rescue team to tackle problem. Experts fear lake may soon disappear if nothing is done. (Agencies, Ynet
  • Iran blames Israel for deadly Beirut bombing in Hezbollah stronghold - Four killed in twin blasts near Iranian cultural center; Lebanese security sources say explosions carried out by two suicide bombers. (Agencies, Ynet)

Agents for the Jewish division of the Shin Bet reveal: This is how we lived a double identity
The monthly payment, the psychological pressure and the isolation: (Jewish right-wing) agents recruited by the Shin Bet's Jewish division talk about the screening process and the sense of betrayal of their hilltop youth friends. "I wanted to leave, but it's impossible to be released from them," said Yehuda (not his real name), whom Maariv interviewed for this article. (Maariv, p. 1/NRGHebrew)
This is how the Shin Bet broke a 'price-tag' suspect
Yehuda Landsberg, 25, a resident of Havat Gilad (outpost) in Samaria, was detained at Yitzhar settlement checkpoint on the 19th of January in front of his wife and children. Only in the interrogation room did he learn that he was suspected of involvement in a 'price-tag' attack two months earlier: burning two cars belonging to Bahajat Suleiman, a resident of Farata village. He began his interrogation tough, silent, but in the end he admitted, expressed regret and incriminated his friends. The sophisticated exercises of the Shin Bet interrogators broke him - and he opened his month and told everything. (Yedioth, p. 23) 
Criminal, Toy: How minors have become the spirit of "price tag" acts 
The more that "price tag" acts increase, the more that the age curve of suspects drops. Interrogators employ intelligence surveillance measures and deal with children, sometimes who under Bar Mitzvah age, who are silent in the interrogation rooms. "You're sitting in front of a child and you don't know whether to interrogate him or send him to a kids festival," says one of the investigators. (Maariv Wednesday Magazine cover/NRGHebrew)

Awards for settler law-breakers must end (Haaretz Editorial) It is hard to ignore the distorted message the Israeli government is conveying by awarding generous gifts to Beit El residents who openly trampled the law. 
Bibi has turned me into an 'anti-Semite' (Roy Isacowitz, Haaretz+) Now that Israel's prime minister has defined boycott supporters as 'classical anti-Semites in modern garb,' I'm trying to get used to my new identity. 
Same truth, different speaker (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) The comments by Obama's former adviser on weapons of mass destruction did not teach us anything new here in Israel, but the fact that he made them certainly adds significance and makes matters extremely troubling.
What Liberal Zionists should say when we’re called naive (Peter Beinart, Haaretz+) Of course most Palestinians wish Israel didn’t exist, but that doesn’t mean they can’t accept it as a tragic reality, in exchange for a state of their own. 
EU aid to Palestinians -- help or hindrance? (IRIN - UN News, Maan) Much of the aid to the Palestinian people is focused on a single long-term objective: the building up of the institutions of a future democratic, independent and viable Palestinian state. But with limited progress so far in the current US-brokered peace talks and the wider aim of the realization of a Palestinian state, some in the more austerity-minded EU are starting to wonder if the aid is being well spent, when humanitarian crises in Syria and Mali are in need of greater funds. 
Boycott stories: Last year's leftovers (Hezi Sternlicht, Israel Hayom) Perhaps this whole boycott ordeal is merely a smoke grenade, meant to deflect our attention away from where the big money lies. 
1967: Four digits make all the difference (Eitan Haber, Yedioth/Ynet) For the Israelis, a withdrawal to the 1967 lines means uprooting tens of thousands of settlers. For the Palestinians, it's a complete obliteration of the Israeli accomplishments in the Six-Day War. 
The large Jewish debt to Turkey (Dmitry Shumsky, Haaretz+) Israelis do not remember that in the year of the expulsion, 1492, the country that opened its gates to the exiles from Spain - without constructing prison facilities for them - was Ottoman Turkey. 
Habayit Hayehudi's split personality disorder
 (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) "And the children struggled within her" (Genesis 25:22) is applicable to Habayit Hayehudi.
Anti-boycott dispute is purely political (Daniel Friedmann, Yedioth/Ynet) The State of Israel has the right to combat boycotts, but are the settlements included in this framework?
The Arafat precedent (Ari Shavit, Haaretz+) On the basis of what the PLO chairman told Haaretz, the paper declared unambiguously that Yasser Arafat 'definitely' understands that Israel must preserve its character as a Jewish state. 
A concerning civics lesson (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) The Education Ministry's new civics supervisor is seeking to delegitimize Israel as a Jewish state in the name of teaching "democracy."
The Israeli TV guide to cheap Arab lives (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) There was a disaster in Acre; a gas canister exploded, so why did the Channel 2 News start with arms dealers, Olmert and a maintenance man?

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