News Nosh 6.7.20

APN's daily news review from Israel - Sunday June 7, 2020

Quotes of the day:

“We are at a crossroads. One path leads to a joint society with a real democracy, civil and national equality for Arab citizens…The second path leads to hatred, violence, annexation and apartheid. We’re here in Rabin Square to pick the first path.”
Joint List Chairman, Ayman Odeh, said in a speech to joint Jewish-Arab rally in Tel Aviv against Israeli plans to annex West Bank settlements.*

“There is no such thing as democracy for Jews alone. Just like Martin Luther King and his supporters in the United States, we must realize that without justice there can be no peace. And there will be no social justice if we do not end the occupation."
Joint List Chairman, Ayman Odeh, said in a speech to demonstrators at a joint Jewish-Arab rally in Tel Aviv against Israeli plans to annex West Bank settlements.*

"In the words of my friend Ayman Odeh: The only future is a shared future.”
US politician Bernie Sanders tells a joint Jewish-Arab rally in Tel Aviv against Israeli plans to annex West Bank settlements.*

Front Page:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • Thousands demonstrated against occupation
  • The casino // Nahum Barnea thinks that Netanyahu’s July 1st date for annexation is real
  • Preparing for the second wave (of corona) - Concern in Health Ministry from rise in number of sick from corona
  • The triple assassination - In the middle of the day, in the middle of the country, three men, residents of Ramleh, were shot dead at point blank range when their car stopped at a traffic light
  • The fateful week - Tzipi Refaeli is on the way to jail: “I’m not sorry”

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • The laws of the battle - Gov’t expected to approve today emergency regulations for battle against corona
  • Female worker at Prime Minister’s Residence: “Sara told me to kiss her feet”
  • Stabbed his wife and jumped from the second floor - Tragedy in Modiin Illit
  • Annexation storm - Thousands demonstration in Tel-Aviv against the plan to apply Israeli sovereignty to lands in Judea and Samaria (West Bank)
  • Assassination in the middle of the day - 3 residents of Ramleh shot dead in their car in Lod

Israel Hayom

  • (Corona) Infection rising, the (start of the) train is delayed
  • Calling for democracy and waving a black flag // Amnon Lord
  • In the shadow of corona: The holiday schools return, the parents will continue to pay
  • Stabbed (his wife) - and jumped
  • Iran is violating the agreement, and Europe stands aside // Oded Granot
  • Assassinated - and escaped: 3 men murdered in Lod, shot at point blank range
  • No limit to the horror: “The suspect in the murder of Madeleine McCann kidnapped other children”
  • The protest in the US: Masses will demonstrate in front of the White House
  • Punishment that is hard to sweeten: Minister in Madagascar was dismissed because she ordered $2 million of candies

Top News Summary:

Murders in broad daylight and a murder attempt by a husband, an anti-annexation pro-peace demonstration with excessive violence by police and an uptick in corona virus cases were the top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

West Bank Annexation:

*Thousands of Israelis - Jewish and Arab - showed up at Rabin Square in Tel-Aviv to show their opposition to the Trump-Netanyahu plan to annex Palestinian territory in the West Bank and it was they made their views clear with signs: “Peace Now,” “Stop the Apartheid,” “Palestinian Lives Matter,” “Justice for Eyad” (reference to Eyad Alhallaq, a young autistic Palestinian man who a Border Policeman shot dead in cold blood last week - OH). Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh gave a powerful speech and US politician Bernie Sanders also gave a supportive speech to the demonstrators. (VIDEO) One woman interviewed there said she had voted for Gantz, but next time will vote for the Joint List. Police were filmed harming a Haaretz photographer
and other demonstrators and 12 were detained.

Meanwhile, Haaretz+ reported that international diplomatic pressure was mounting on Israel to delay annexation, with Germany's foreign minister intending to warn against it during his visit Israel this week. But ‘Israel Hayom’ reported that European Union diplomats predicted ‘low-key punishment’ for annexation. US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said unilateral annexation would undermine US national security interests and harm support for Israel. The UN wants to hold a meeting of the Mideast Quartet to deal with the threat of annexation, and the Palestinian Authority was advancing a UN resolution at the General Assembly condemning an Israeli sovereignty bid, knowing it would be vetoed by the US in the UN Security Council. The Palestinians also told the International Criminal Court that Israeli annexation nullifies the Oslo Accords.

But far-right-wing Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister Rafi Peretz didn't like the plan either. He said his party won’t accept the Trump plan, because it establishes a Palestinian state, as well as freezes settlement construction. And Haarez+ reported that settlers in the Beqaa Jordan Valley don’t think that annexation will help the area flourish.

Quick Hits:

  • 'He's disabled,' the caregiver screamed. 'I'm with her,' Eyad cried. The cop opened fire anyway - The 32-year-old autistic Palestinian lay wounded and terrified on the ground while his caregiver, standing nearby, tried to explain to Israeli policemen that he had a disability and pleaded for his life. To no avail: He was shot dead within minutes. (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+)
  • After coronavirus freeze on demolitions, Israel tears down homes of 65 Palestinians - Houses in the Jericho and Hebron areas were destroyed, rendering 25 children homeless, despite Israeli promises not to demolish inhabited dwellings during the coronavirus outbreak. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Ministers to Mull Coronavirus Emergency Bill That Would Increase Cabinet's Power - The cabinet would be able to repeatedly renew a 30-day state of emergency, but the police would still need a warrant to enter a person's home. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli police investigating uprooting of olive trees in West Bank village - Burin has regularly been the target of hate crimes from Israelis living in the hilltop settlement of Yitzhar. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Minister Pushes Bill to Block Detainees From Meeting Lawyers, Citing Coronavirus - The legislation advanced by Public Security Minister Amir Ohana permits remote meetings if there is a fear of infection; the public has only two days to comment on the expedited legislation. (Haaretz+)
  • Survey shows plunge in Israeli left-wing voters' confidence in courts - The Haifa University study also found a significant decline in settlers' and Arabs' confidence in police. (Haaretz+)
  • Jerusalem hopes 'Silicon Wadi' will create 10,000 jobs - Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion heralds "true revolution" for east Jerusalem, with emphasis on the high-tech, business, and hotel sectors. (Israel Hayom)
  • Family attacks 18-year-old with acid so she wouldn't do 'shameful things,' Israeli police suspect - Father confessed to attacking his daughter, who was hospitalized in serious condition, when she came home for Eid al-Fitr after refusing to move back in with the family. (Haaretz+)
  • News agency: Iranian ship sinks in Iraqi waters, 1 dead - Officials said it was not immediately clear why the vessel, which had a crew of seven, went down Friday. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Iran frees American, US allows dual citizen to visit Iran in deal, Trump boosts prospect of new deal - Iran's decision to release American Michael White and the US move to let dual citizen Majid Taheri visit Iran, both of which were confirmed by Iran's foreign minister, appear to be a rare instance of US-Iranian cooperation. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Trump thanks Iran, Iran challenges Trump to return to nuclear deal - Trump tweeted on Thursday after a U.S. prisoner was released: 'Thank you to Iran, it shows a deal is possible!'  Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, addressing Trump, said on Twitter, "We achieved humanitarian swap despite your subordinates' efforts.” (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Nuclear watchdog voices serious concern about Iran's blocking of old sites - IAEA report details suspected activities and materials including 'the possible presence...of natural uranium in the form of a metal disc' at a site that 'underwent extensive sanitization and leveling in 2003 and 2004.’ (Agencies, Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Resident of Alaska accused of laundering $1 billion for Iran - Kenneth Zong allegedly created fake invoices to help Iran draw cash held by South Korea in lieu of payment for oil shipments. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • 'It's time Gulf states normalized ties with Israel,' former top Dubai official says - Former Police chief Lt. Gen. Dhahi Khalfan stirs controversy with a series of tweets calling out Persian Gulf states for pretending they do not wish they had overt ties with Israel. (Israel Hayom)
  • Iraqi lawmakers vote in new premier's remaining ministers - With his government now complete, al-Kadhimi’s administration must tackle myriad crises facing Iraq, including financial shortfalls spurred by falling oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Half of Jewish heritage sites in Syria damaged 'beyond repair' - New research from the Jewish Cultural Heritage Initiative shows that only 11% of Jewish sites in Iraq remain fully intact, while in Syria, 32 of 71 Jewish sites have been destroyed. (Israel Hayom)
  • Egypt to launch peace initiative to bring calm to war-torn Libya - Step one of the initiative is a cease-fire starting Monday, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi said. (Agencies, Haaretz)


Elite Israeli troops went on a rogue op inside Syria. The result was deadly
It started with an accident that killed three soldiers, continued with a hate crime and ended with an incursion into Syrian territory. Haaretz investigation reveals the cover-up surrounding this team under the commander, Lt. Guy Eliahu, in the Israeli army Golani Brigade’s elite commando unit. The team gained a reputation as an independent force, which in the spirit of its leader did not feel obligated to following certain operational procedures. Or, as one person who is well acquainted with the reconnaissance unit explains, “They made it clear to the other soldiers in the unit that what happens in Team Eliahu stays in Team Eliahu.”(Yaniv Kubovich, Haaretz+)
DNA unlocks the secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Is every word in the Bible holy? When did prayers replace sacrificial offerings? The Dead Sea Scrolls consist of 25,000 fragments, but no one knows how to put them together. A new study suggests a way to solve that puzzle, which sheds new light on life in this land 2,000 years ago. (Asaf Ronel, Haaretz+)
In 1950, baby Yaffa was taken to a hospital. She was released, but her mother was told she had died
The child of Iranian migrants in Israel was hospitalized at six months of age. Years later, her brother found a document stating that the infant was released in a healthy state, but police have refused to open an investigation into what happened. (Ofer Aderet, Haaretz+)
Mystery solved: Who really built ancient bridge to Jerusalem Temple
Radiocarbon dating reveals who really built Wilson’s Arch, a massive causeway whose construction on the Temple Mount has been attributed to everyone from Herod to the Muslim caliphs. (Ariel David, Haaretz+)

West Bank Annexation Commentary/Analysis:
Netanyahu's annexation folly (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) Claiming sovereignty over parts of the West Bank is not in Israel's best interests; the prime minister wants the land but not the people - but there's a word for that and we all know how it ended in South Africa.
What exactly does Netanyahu mean by ‘annexation’? Israel's defense establishment has no idea (Yossi Melman, Haaretz+) What will the prime minister do in the West Bank a month from now? He himself probably doesn’t know. The army and intelligence services have sketched out scenarios but questions remain, including how Saudi Arabia and Jordan might react.
They'll miss Trump in Judea and Samaria (Yaakov Ahimeir, Israel Hayom) If the settlers manage to defeat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's attempts to implement the Trump plan, they'll get much worse offers in future.
Israeli Left’s Show of Strength Highlights Weakness of Anti-annexation Protest (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Most opponents of the occupation pursue expediency rather than justice and separation rather than U.S.-style integration or equality.
Netanyahu Vows to Annex on July 1. The White House May Ruin the Party (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) The prime minister will find it hard to back down.
Crooked sovereignty: Implementing the Trump plan will only hurt Israel in the long run (Dr. Haim Misgav, Maariv)  Implementation of the map now drawn, in coordination with the Americans, will leave the State of Israel captive, like in the face of the Gaza Strip, by terrorist organizations. The plan must be stopped and the madness must be thwarted.
Stop the Annexation Fanatics. Impose Sanctions on Israel (Saeb Erekat, Haaretz+) The only international response to the brazen Trump-Israel plan must be concrete action to stop Israel's West Bank annexation, and full-fledged apartheid
Haaretz’s Editor Wants Annexation (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) The editor of Haaretz, Aluf Benn, wants annexation. This conclusion is just as true as his conclusion that “Abbas wants annexation,” as he wrote in an opinion piece last week. Benn is an astute and original political commentator, and it may be that he knows what Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wants now; it certainly isn’t annexation…It’s much easier to know what Abbas wanted his entire life: a Palestinian state like all other states, within the pre-1967 borders. That’s the almost embarrassing minimum for those whose land this was until recently. A state with borders as open as it wants, with an independent immigration policy and an open arms-acquisition policy (Abbas gave in on this point) – only this could be called a state like all others…This was never on the table, simply because no Israeli prime minister has been willing. This being the case, Benn’s arguments collapse like a house of cards, the house of cards that many fine Israelis want to imagine to soothe their consciences, as if to say “we had no part in this.” Benn’s op-ed is a classic example of Israeli repression and denial, of blaming the other side and of the absolute avoidance of taking any responsibility or admitting that we share the guilt…According to Benn’s theory, one text message from Abbas to Donald Trump, who’s known for his concern for the Palestinians and the weak in general, and there’s no annexation. Not only hocus but pocus. One text message from Abbas to the U.S. negotiating team, which is 100-percent Jewish, Zionist, right-wing, pro-occupation and pro-settlements, and the weakest, most broken-down politician on the planet today will sway the White House…
Israel must not agree to a deal involving recognition of a Palestinian state (Prof. Arieh Eldad, Maariv) It is also forbidden to set permanent boundaries, freeze construction or accept the principle of return of “refugees.” By identifying the historical right time - the slice of the cake can be eaten without giving up anything else.
With Less Than a Month to Go, Netanayahu's Plans for Annexation Are Still a Mystery (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) On the way to ensuring his ‘legacy,’ the prime minister abandoned his rationale. But the settlers haven’t abandoned theirs.
The Right must act responsibly (Dr. Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) A small but vocal group, which has already toppled a right-wing government in the past, is convinced that Israel can do whatever it wants without having to consider what the world thinks.
In an unprecedented way: The security establishment is excluded from the process of applying sovereignty (Tal Lev-Ram, Maariv) In a revised world, the prime minister should have tasked the IDF with analyzing the plan and pointing out the strategic implications in the field.
Trump Has Erased the Israeli Right (Rogel Alpher, Haaretz+) Donald Trump has erased the Israeli right, just as then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak erased the left with his “no partner for peace” claim after the failed Camp David summit in July 2000. That’s the conclusion that must be drawn from the lambasting of the U.S. president and of Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin by the chairman of the Yesha Council of settlements, David Elhayani, who argued that Trump isn’t a true friend of Israel. As a result, the little that remains of the Israeli right is locked into demanding ownership of the entire West Bank and refusing any territorial compromise or mention of establishing a Palestinian state ­­– even the most limited one, which has absolutely no chance of acceptance by the Palestinians. Most of the right currently supports a territorial compromise (of the West Bank) on a 70:30 basis.
Annexation now, perhaps peace later (Tzvika Vogel, Yedioth/Ynet) Even if Israel only controls 30% of the West Bank, it is a message to the world - both allies and enemies - that the Jewish state is here to stay and it will no longer evacuate legal settlements and those who lawfully live in them.
Accept the Trump plan (Jason Shvili, Israel Hayom) Israeli leaders in Judea and Samaria have to understand that the "Deal of the Century" gives the Jewish state an opportunity it will likely never have again.
Israeli Annexation: Mountain or Molehill? (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) In contrast to the destructive passions that characterize Israelis’ debate over Benjamin Netanyahu’s leadership, their attitude toward annexation, which seems to be gaining unprecedented momentum, is characterized by lack of interest and apathy…On the left, a stubborn handful of people have been warning for 53 years now about the damage done by the occupation, without having any success or connecting in the slightest to Israelis at a gut level. For most Israeli Jews, simply recognizing the Palestinians as human beings with any rights at all is a subversive and even contemptible idea.
The right is waking up from the dream and realizing the magnitude of the fraud in the Trump plan (Nadav Haetzni, Maariv) Those who then delved into the American plan realized that it was a sting. And also: Those who are largely responsible for the unnecessary death of Eyad Alhallaq are people who incite, like the leaders of the Joint List.
We Cannot Justify Israel’s West Bank Annexation (Luciana Berger, Malcolm Rifkind, Simon Schama, Howard Jacobson, Vivien Duffield and 35 others, Haaretz) In an unprecedented letter to Israel’s UK ambassador, prominent British Jews warn that annexation ‘poses an existential threat to the traditions of Zionism in Britain, and to Israel as we know it.’ The following letter was sent by leading members of the UK Jewish community to Israel’s Ambassador to the Court of St James’s, Mark Regev:
It is vital to control the roads (Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, Israel Hayom) If roads to and from Israeli communities fall under Palestinian control, Israel will have no say in what is built on either side.
Why Israel Must Remove West Bank Annexation From Its Agenda (Friday Haaretz Editorial) Throughout the long time that has elapsed since the Six-Day War broke out 53 years ago today, all Israeli governments have refrained from applying sovereignty to any of the territory captured in that war (aside from the areas annexed to Jerusalem and the Golan Heights). And this was no accident. To this day, this policy has enabled Israel to stick to the claim that its control over the West Bank (and the Gaza Strip) is only a temporary situation, and that any decision on sovereignty in the territories would be made through negotiations between the parties. This “temporary situation” hasn’t hindered successive governments from creating facts on the ground via the settlement enterprise, military orders and force of arms. Annexing territory in the West Bank would void this claim of temporariness once and for all, while also closing off any possibility of reaching a viable permanent agreement and ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict…

Other Top Commentary/Analysis:
Investigate the Golani Brigade (Haaretz Editorial) A Haaretz exposé last week revealed a highly disturbing series of events related to a single Golani Brigade commando team that acted like a renegade militia. At the same time, the reporting reveals a thriving culture of lying and cover-up in the Israeli army…The effort to hush up the deeds of Team Eliahu again demonstrates that the Israeli army’s culture when it comes to the investigation of shortcomings is deeply tainted by negligence, the real aim of which is to cover up rather than to address the failings. Army Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi must put an end to this sick culture.
Empathy for Arabs is frowned upon in some Israeli circles (Chen Artzi Sror, Yedioth/Ynet) Jerusalem chief rabbi caused a stir when he showed up to the mourning tent of the family of Iyad Halaq, autistic Palestinian man unjustly shot dead by police; the rabbi should be commended for being able to sympathize with those on the other side of the conflict without being held back by politics.
Israel Isn’t George Floyd, It’s the Bad Cop (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) “Let me remind you that you’re from Israel.” This was the kind of comment to Gal Gadot on Instagram after her post expressing solidarity with the protests following George Floyd’s death in the United States. Bar Refaeli also got bashed. These comments are extremely important because they show that when an event divides the world into two – an aggressor and a victim – Israelis are categorically seen as on the aggressor’s side…The looting in America is being described as a by-product of the protest, in order to undermine its legitimacy. But maybe looting is the right word to describe what Israel is doing in the Trump era – exploiting the window of opportunity in which “the world’s policeman” is in our pocket, to steal all we can lay our hands on: an embassy, the Golan Heights, Area C in the West Bank, settlements, Jerusalem…
An American 'intifada'? (A.J. Caschetta, Israel Hayom) While everyone shares outrage about the death of George Floyd, no good can come of romanticizing and mimicking Palestinian "resistance."
Decades of occupation killed Eyad Hallaq, not racism (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) Comparisons between George Floyd and an autistic Palestinian killed by Border Police are false and unhelpful.
Leave Palestine Out of Black Lives Matter. For Now (George Zeidan, Haaretz+)Yes, we Palestinians also have many reasons to fear for our own lives. But real solidarity at this watershed moment means centering Black Americans’ struggle, without any competing narratives.
Days of Anarchy: The US will survive the riots - but what about us in Israel? (Ben Caspit, Maariv) The free world leader seems to be falling apart in front of our eyes, but the superpower will be strengthened. The question is whether we will survive the lynch that of a bunch of impudent Bibists are doing to Israeli democracy?
Netanyahu Talks About Sovereignty in the West Bank, but What About the Negev? (Israel Harel, Haaretz+) The incident that occurred this week in Tze’elim, in which officers who “took the law into their own hands” were nearly tried, is one bit of evidence, out of hundreds, of the mentality that prevails in the army, especially among a good portion of the senior officers. While preparing a training exercise for a reserve unit, the group of officers spotted some Bedouins trying to plunder military equipment. Contrary to the forbearance their cohorts had shown for decades, the natural reflex they felt was shame, and the need to prevent a crime. A chase ensued in which the officers’ jeep ended up in the center of a Bedouin village, where locals besieged the vehicle and threatened to harm the occupants. According to the media, the incident ended “without injury or loss of life.” Thankfully, it did indeed conclude without physical casualties. But the main damage that has been occurring for generations at Tze’elim is not bodily harm but harm to the soul. The soul of the IDF. First, a senior officer accused the officers of dereliction of duty, raising the possibility they would be court-martialed. For in the last decades, the “IDF spirit” – often when it comes to combat operations too – is one of meekness and restraint. [NOTE: The writer’s version of the events between the Bedouin and the army officers is the version that the right-wing are declaring. The details are unknown and no reporter has interviewed the Bedouin - OH]
Which rights take precedence in a pandemic turned civil crisis? (Jonathan S. Tobin, Israel Hayom) If coronavirus restrictions on religious services are enforced while anti-racism mass protests are allowed, are the lockdowns still valid? And has the rule of law vanished?
A law fit for dictatorship, not Israel (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) Under guise of coronavirus emergency, Netanyahu wants to give power to every inspector and police officer to enter the private home of any citizen, but no other democratic state has seen need for such legislation.
It's time to wean ourselves off American aid (Yossi Beilin, Israel Hayom) Of course, we owe the Americans a thank you for the generous aid. But it's also clear that assistance creates dependence.
A dose of sobering medication to Khamenei's tweet (Benjamin Weil, Israel Hayom) Let's take a look at what Israel has contributed to the world, and compare it to Iran in a few key metrics of a healthy society.
Has Israel Become America's Proxy in Syria? (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Attacks on Syria attributed by foreign sources to Israel, which have become more frequent in recent weeks, are highly consistent with the American strategy.
Suddenly, Israel can almost compete with America’s quality of life (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) The coronavirus pandemic may be tipping the balance more in Israel’s favor. Here’s a checklist for potential immigrants.
Iran betting time is on its side (Oded Granot, Israel Hayom) Iran's policy of brinkmanship versus the US relies on three basic assumptions: Trump is entirely preoccupied with the coronavirus, riots at home and the upcoming election; the US lacks the support of its European allies; and that in a few more months a new president could be sitting in the Oval Office.
Iran’s coming election is leading its top leaders to escalate rhetoric against the U.S. (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) It seems Washington is scattering empty threats, while Iran’s overcrowded political minefield could still drag the economically crippled country on the warpath.

'I didn't want a portfolio that would waste public money'
Likud MK Nir Barkat , who was a frontrunner for finance minister but who was left out of the cabinet entirely, says he understands and fully supports the prime minister. He also says that the day after Netanyahu steps down, he intends to run for head of the Likud – and win. (Interviewed by Yehuda Shlezinger in Israel Hayom)

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