News Nosh 02.21.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Friday February 21, 2014

Quote of the day:
"He told me, ‘You live in this city, why did you write occupation?'”
--Palestinian photographer Ameer Abd Rabbo, who lives in E. Jerusalem, tells Haaretz+ how he was questioned by Israeli police for calling Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat 'the mayor of the municipality of occupation' on Facebook.

Front Page News:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • "Netanyahu betrayed us"- Ultra-Orthodox MK Meir Porush in unprecedented attack: "Two weeks ago the PM promised me there would be no criminal sanctions. He's a nothing. A dishonest man."
  • Capitulating is his craft // Nahum Barnea on Netanyahu's decision
  • The draft trick // Sima Kadmon
  • Servants and lords // Yossi Yehoshua
  • 100 killed in one day in Kiev
  • The giant deal (on Facebook purchase of WhatsApp)
Israel Hayom
  • Blood bath in Kiev; Europe imposes sanctions
  • Suspects in (arms) trade with Iran: (ultra-Orthodox) Bnei Brak residents
  • Lapid: Zionism returned; Ultra-Orthodox: Are situation will improve
  • The murder at the (gay) youth bar: State witness dismissed from program for protection of state witnesses
  • WhatsApp founder: Jew who lives on food stamps
  • Fever? Sore throat? Health Ministry gave guidelines to doctors: When it's okay to send child to school
  • (German) Chancellor Merkel on way to Israel: Will receive prize from President

Peace Talk Highlights:
Most of today's top stories in the Hebrew papers focused on the reactions to the decision to criminalize ultra-Orthodox draft-dodgers and the bloody clashes in Kiev. Maariv focused on the discussions over US Secretary of State John Kerry's framework agreement. Kerry met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for a second time Thursday while three Palestinian officials made the case for the Palestinian side: one through the Palestinian news agency, one to a pro-Israel lobby delegation visiting Ramallah and another one in secret talks with Europeans. Meanwhile, Kerry tried to calm fears of Jewish Israelis in an interview on Channel 2 last night and right-wing MKs sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu saying they oppose a freeze of settlement construction.
Kerry and Abbas meet for a second day Thursday in attempt to narrow framework gaps. Again, no details came out, but in a statement published by the official Palestinian news agency WAFA, Nabil Abu Rudeineh reiterated Palestinian demands that E. Jerusalem must be the capital of a future Palestinian state whose borders are based on the 1967 lines, that Israeli settlements are illegal, that Palestinian prisoners must be released and that there must be a "just solution" to the issue of Palestinian refugees. Kerry also met with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh in Paris, acknowledging Amman's special role in the region. Judeh said, "Jordan is a stakeholder, not just a mediator or observer."
Also on Thursday, a delegation of the pro-Israel pro-peace Israel lobby, J Street, met with Palestinian political leader Hanan Ashrawi in Ramallah, Ynet and Maan reported. She told the delegation that "Israel is willfully sabotaging US Secretary of State, John Kerry's efforts and using the negotiations as a cover to continue with its illegal settlement activities, particularly in and around Jerusalem" and she urged the delegation to help influence both the US administration and the Israeli government. "For there to be peace and stability, we must move rapidly." According to Ma'an, Ashrawi also detailed the same Palestinian demands for peace as Nabil Abu Rudeineh.
Another senior Palestinian official, Nabil Shaath, revealed he met secretly with the representatives of Italy, Norway, Austria, the UK and a parliamentary British delegation to detail the Palestinian position regarding final status solutions. He told them that any agreement that does not serve higher Palestinian needs will be declined. 

Meanwhile, in Israel Kerry tried to allay Jewish Israeli fears in an interview on the 'Uvda' investigative affairs program. He talked about his Jewish background, his optimism and his determination. He also responded to claims that the 2005 disengagement from Gaza serves as proof that withdrawal from land is not the answer. He said that now is different because "what we are doing to put the end game on the table."
After Army Radio reported Wednesday that Kerry intends to ask Jerusalem to freeze settlement construction in outlying settlements, 21 right-wing MKs from the Lobby for Greater Israel wrote a letter to Netanyahu, objecting to any construction halt in the West Bank, calling it a "deal breaker."

Quick Hits:
  • Settler 'deliberately' hits Palestinian car with pickup truck - Musab Hasan Balsma, 21, told Ma'an that he was waiting inside his car parked on the side of the street for a friend to bring him fuel when a settler driving a pickup truck rammed the car from behind and then from the front, before fleeing the scene. Balsma was hospitalized. (Maan
  • Additional 'price tag' attack in Kfar Qassem - Israeli-Arabs targeted Thursday in another 'price tag' attack. The words 'buy only from Jews' and 'price tag' were spray-painted on a planet nursery just a month and a half after the adjacent nursery was targeted. (Ynet
  • **Palestinian quizzed for calling Barkat 'mayor of the occupation' on Facebook - In another incident, police cancelled a book launch, saying it was organized illegally by the Palestinian Authority. (Haaretz+)
  • Bill banning NGOs denying Israel's Jewish character to face committee - Legislation sponsored by Likud MK Miri Regev joins another bill targeting NGOs. (Haaretz+)
  • Group petitions FM Lapid to compensate Arab 'price tag’ victims - Coalition against Racism claims citizens of Israel of Palestinian backgrounds that are targeted by 'price tags' receive only ex gratia payments, while Jewish Israelis who fall victim to violence receive extravagant compensation from the tax authority. (Haaretz+)
  • Not afraid: Israelis returned to the Palestinian shuk - In the wake of the relatively calm security situation, Israeli families have returned to visit thePalestinian cities on the weekends to go shopping. (Maariv, p. 8/NRG Hebrew)
  • Palestinian teen amputees complete historic Kilimanjaro climb - Mutussam Abu Karsh, 16, from Gaza and Yasmeen Najjar, 17, from the Nablus village of Burin completed a demanding eight-day journey to the peak of Africa's highest mountain. Yasmeen had her leg amputated after being struck by an Israeli army vehicle while playing outside her home. "I am proud we were the first to carry the Palestinian flag to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro to help other children, and I want to show that we can do anything despite our injuries," said Mutassam. (Maan
  • Hunger striking prisoner reaches agreement - Abd al-Majeed Khudeirat had previously been on a hunger strike from July 1 to Oct. 15 of last year, at the end of which he reached a deal with authorities to serve a 30-month sentence. The deal, however, was not carried out, and as a result he restarted his strike. (Maan)
  • Organization: Over 200 Palestinians in administrative detention (i.e imprisoned without charges) - The number of Palestinian administrative detainees in Israeli jails recently passed 200, a human rights organization said Tuesday. (Maan
  • Turkey to send $5 million to the Palestinian Authority - The money will be used to buy private lands from the current Palestinian owners in order to establish an industrial zone in Jenin in the northern West Bank. (Maan
  • Palestinian, Israeli officials hold meeting on environmental issues - A major topic was the Israeli authorities' refusal to allow Palestinians to dispose of waste in a landfill southeast of Bethlehem which was intended to dispose of the waste of the southern West Bank's 800,000 inhabitants, and was built with World Bank funding. (Maan
  • 138 Irish academics pledge to boycott Israel - The 138 signatories, who hail from a diverse variety of academic fields, pledged "not to engage in any professional association with Israeli academic, research and state institutions ... until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights." (Maan)
  • Short of currency, Gazans turn to bartering - Import-ban on copper leads Palestinians in Gaza to smelt Israeli currency into electrical wiring, causing half-shekel coin shortage. (Ynet
  • Israeli naval boats open fire at Gaza fishermen - Fishermen in the boats jumped into the water following the incident, locals told Ma'an. Israeli warships also opened fire at a military site formerly used by the Palestinian Authority's national security forces near Rafah. (Maan
  • Gaza's economic woes pile up, unemployment soars - The Gaza blockade leaves local industry gasping for resources, as Egypt began a fierce campaign to close cross-border smuggling tunnels that used to provide Gaza with basic goods including food, fuel and building materials. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Two Israelis suspected of selling Iran arms were investigated 10 years ago - Two Israelis suspected of attempting to sell spare jet parts to Iran have been suspected of such acts in the past, roughly ten years ago. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Iran, Britain renew diplomatic ties, reopen embassies - Ties were severed by London after students stormed its Tehran embassy in 2011. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • First round of nuclear talks end; U.S.: We respect Netanyahu, but won't always agree - Delegations to meet March 17-20, week after Ashton visits Tehran; both sides say dialogue was 'constructive,' have four months of meetings planned. (Haaretz)
  • Rouhani: Iran hopes for 'liberation' of Jerusalem - Iranian president says the Muslim world is hoping for a solution to "occupation." EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says world powers and Iran made a "good start" at nuclear talks in Vienna. Gallup poll: Only 12% of Americans view Iran favorably. (Agencies, Israel Hayom

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