News Nosh 6.8.20

APN's daily news review from Israel - Monday June 8, 2020

Quote of the day:

"In '47, they were offered to settle for half of Palestine, but they refused and lost a considerable share of the land. In 1967, they and their Jordanian patrons lost everything else. They came to Oslo weak, so they agreed to give up three-quarters of Palestine, provided they had an independent state in less than a third of the territory. Now the Jews want to gnaw on what remains."
--Maariv Middle East analyst, Jacky Khougy, shares the Palestinian view of Israel's plans to annex West Bank land.*

Front Page:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • “Amit, my dear son, they caught him” - IDF and Shin Bet caught the terrorist who killed the soldier of the Golani Brigade’s commando unit (Hebrew)
  • Sovereignty time: From both sides of the rift of the right-wing (Hebrew)
  • The neglect and the disregard at the hostel for the sick (with Prader-Willi syndrome) (Hebrew)

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • Netanyahu to annexation supporters in the Yesha Settlers Council: I will give you the map for corrections
  • The detained terrorist confessed to murder of Amit Ben-Yigal
  • Masked ball - Without parents, without friends…and with masks against corona: These are the expected guidelines for the end of year school parties
  • Emergency landing - Conditions that Finance Ministry offer to rescue El-Al Airline could return it to state ownership

Israel Hayom

  • The disregard for the virus - Citizens and schools are not following the guidelines
  • Because of the rise in infection: the corona cabinet will convene this morning
  • The public is confused and is looking for logic // Meital Yasur Beit-Ur
  • Doctors are in dispute with each other, the sick are suffering
  • “Sovereignty within weeks”
  • Mountain of expectations: Families who moved to Judea and Samaria (West Bank), particularly now
  • Suspect in killing of Sgt. Amit Ben-Yigal was caught; The family: “May that despicable person rot in jail his whole life”

Top News Summary:
The Palestinian man suspected of throwing the rock that killed an Israeli soldier outside the man’s house in the West Bank was named, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with settlers who support the Trump plan for annexing parts of the West Bank and coronavirus has closed down 127 schools in Israel and continues to delay the restarting of trains in the country making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also, according to a Syrian report, 12 people were killed overnight Saturday in an airstrike on Iranian sites in Syria.

The Israeli newspapers exclaimed that the Shin Bet had arrested the Palestinian man suspected of killing the Israeli soldier, Staff Sgt. Amit Ben Yigal, last month. With the usual exception of Haaretz, the papers called 49-year-old Nazmi Abu Baker a “terrorist” murderer. In the photo of him wearing a prisoner’s uniform, he looks like a tired and dejected father. Abu Baker was one of a few family members who confessed to throwing rocks on the troops from the roof of their home. The Israeli troops had raided Yaabed village before dawn in order to detain four Palestinians, sparking a riotous response from the villagers.

Yedioth (mistakenly) reported that forces had been searching for Abu Baker for weeks and had just located him. But actually, as written in Haaretz and Maariv, the Shin Bet said that Abu Baker and three others involved in throwing stones were detained three hours after the May incident and have been interrogated since then to discern who was the one who threw the rock that killed Ben-Yigal. [NOTE: Ynet reported wrote that “an attack was mounted,” as if Israeli forces were just making a visit and not invading and Abu Baker and his family knew about it and had planned to kill them. According to international law, an occupied people have the right to fight the occupying forces. - OH] (Recommended reading, Gideon Levy’s Op-Ed, “An Israeli Soldier Just Died in the West Bank for No Reason.” Baruch Ben-Yigal, Amit's father, said he felt joyous when he was informed that his son's alleged killer had been detained. (Also Maariv) Netanyahu ordered Abu Baker’s home demolished.

After the Trump-Netanyahu annexation plan got bad press with a settler leader saying Trump was no friend of Israel, Netanyahu met with 11 settler leaders who supported the plan and tried to alleviate fears. He even told them they could see the annexation map, that construction in settlements will not be frozen and that although plan includes Palestinian state, 'he does not call it s state.’ Yedioth reported that Israeli diplomats received warning from U.S. officials that West Bank annexation can wait. "The Americans are over the head with protests and coronavirus, therefore annexation is not their top priority right now," said an Israeli official. Israel Hayom reported that the consensus among settlers is that this annexation of West Bank land with US approval is a golden opportunity that should not be missed.

Maariv reported that in closed conversation with their party members, Kahol-Lavan leaders, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said that Israel is “not obligated to every offer in the dialogue with the Americans.” In other words, the actual annexation plan is not finalized and Kahol-Lavan may not be on board.

Meanwhile, Ynet’s Elior Levy reported that despite Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ declaration that security coordination with Israel was off because of Israel's annexation plan, Palestinian security services thwarted a potential attack on IDF forces near Jenin. Levy reported that Palestinian security forces received information on preparations to carry out an attack against IDF forces in the Jenin area. According to the information, a Palestinian militant squad was able to hide dozens of pipe explosives near a road where Israeli forces travel. The Palestinian security forces uncovered the stash of pipe-bombs and a shot gun. Palestinian security forces refused to say whether the information had been transmitted to Israeli security officials.

Quick Hits:

  • Netanyahu Calls Police Killing of Autistic Palestinian Eyad Hallaq 'A Tragedy' - During weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu tells ministers he expects their 'complete examinations' of the shooting. (Haaretz+ and Yedioth Hebrew)
  • Reenactment of Killing of Autistic Palestinian Called Off Due to Media Presence - The reenactment of the Border Police shooting of Eyad Hallaq, a Palestinian with special needs, had been due to take place late Saturday night. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Officer Faces Dismissal After Haaretz Investigation Reveals Deadly Foray Into Syria - Lt. Guy Eliahu, a squad commander of an elite unit, is involved in several other incidents, including hate crimes against Palestinians and a fatal road accident. (Haaretz+ and VIDEO)
  • Israeli Anti-corruption Protesters Chain Themselves Outside Cabinet Meeting - Demonstrators prevented ministers from accessing the Foreign Ministry headquarters by car, while Netanyahu convoy entered through back. (Haaretz+)
  • Netanyahu appoints controversial adviser who trashed Obama and Biden - Aaron Klein, former Breitbart journalist, hired by Netanyahu as strategic consultant; Said Biden should be concerned about Russian collusion. (Maariv/JPost)
  • Israel's budget deficit grows to 6% - The Bank of Israel predicts that the budget deficit for 2020 will amount to NIS 150 billion ($43 billion) or 11.5% of the gross domestic product. (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinian Man Admits to Rape, Murder of Israeli Teenager - Arafat Irfaiya was charged in the premeditated murder of Ori Ansbacher, 19, as court says he was motivated by nationalism. (Haaretz+ and Maariv and Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli Man Charged With Arson Attacks on Jewish Religious Institutions - Zion Cohen, 68, is accused of torching six institutions, including the Tel Aviv rabbinical court, in a bid to separate religion and state in Israel. (Haaretz+)
  • Bracing for second wave, Israel now making N95 masks - Country taking steps to prepare for resurgence of coronavirus to hit, Gantz says as he announces the opening of a Sderot-based factory that will produce the high-spec face coverings. (Ynet)
  • El Al May Be Nationalized in Revised Rescue Plan - Israeli government offers to buy shares in rights issue, which could leave it with a 61% stake. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • After Over a Year, Israel Appoints New Ambassador to Egypt; For first time - a female - New envoy to Turkmenistan also appointed. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • Vowing to Never Go Back, Ex-con Seeks to Improve ‘Intolerable’ Conditions in Israeli Jails - Yoni Yahav served five sentences behind bars. Since his release he has been battling to improve prison living condition and has organized demonstrations against a bill to prevent attorneys’ visits to jails. (Haaretz+)
  • Despite Rosy Projections, 2020 Could Be Worst Year for Aliyah in Nearly a Decade - According to the Jewish Agency, immigration to Israel is down 36 percent in the first four months and 86 percent in April, stung by the coronavirus. (Haaretz+)
  • LGBTQ community names Tel Aviv as Israel's most gay-friendly city - Jerusalem rated among cities least amenable to gay and trans community, ignoring the needs of residents and refusing funding, while the coastal cultural hub heads the list with a dedicated department in city hall. (Ynet)
  • 1,800-year-old 'idolatrous' waterspout discovered in Galilee - Anxious to prevent bending to worship idols, Talmudic rabbis would have frowned at richly decorated humanized lion gargoyle, uncovered at Tzipori National Park in northern Israel. (Ynet)
  • Drive-through corona testing in Congo, courtesy of Israel - 'From the moment they contacted us, we were ready to help and to share our knowledge,' says Magen David Adom spokesman. (Israel Hayom)
  • Former Islamic Jihad Leader and Wanted Terrorist Ramadan Shalah Dies After Years in Coma - His tenure at the top of the Gaza-based national-religious militant group was marked by deadly attacks on Israeli civilians and internal divisions. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Tributes from Iran pour in as PIJ leader buried in Damascus - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says he is "deeply affected" by the loss of Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shalah, who "spent his life fighting for the holy Palestinian cause." PA President Abbas: Palestinian people lost a great national figure. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Report: Iran's Ahmadinejad eyeing political comeback - Hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was Iran's president from 2005 to 2013, is said to be eyeing a third term in office. A 2021 presidential run requires the approval of the powerful Guardian Council, which has final say on the identity of the candidates. (Israel Hayom)
  • Netanyahu calls for Iran sanctions over nuclear 'violations' - PM accuses Tehran of ‘systematically’ breaching 2015 nuclear deal by hiding uranium sites and enriching fissure material; vows to curb Islamic Republic's ‘aggression’ in the region. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • How Bernie Sanders Came to Address an Anti-annexation Rally in Tel Aviv - For many of the demonstrators at Rabin Square Saturday night, the American senator's appearance ‒ in the midst of a national crisis in the U.S. ‒ was a pleasant surprise. (Haaretz+)


‘Iyad was the flower of the family. They cut him down too early’
The family of Iyad al-Hallaq, the Palestinian with autism killed by police, describes a man who had recently began to cook and was terrified of Israeli soldiers. 'They took my mother's joy and left a wound that won't heal.’(Suha Arraf, +972mag)

Annexation Commentary/Analysis:
At Anti-annexation Rally, Aging Hippies Joined in on ‘We Shall Overcome’ in Arabic, English (Moran Sharir, Haaretz+) It was the most mixed Arab-Jewish protest that’s Israel's seen in a long time, while rightist counter-protesters, held back by police barricades, wondered what’s the danger in waving Israeli flags in Tel Aviv.
*The PA does not have many cards left to pressure Israel, but one particularly dangerous card remains (Jacky Khougy, Maariv) The IDF has solutions for non-operating Palestinian Authority. But when the street comes into picture - the price has always been high for both sides…Two weeks ago, I wrote here that, contrary to public discourse in Gaza and the West Bank, deep in their hearts, most Palestinians prefer annexation over the existing situation. And not just annexation. In their dream they see themselves as ordinary citizens in the State of Israel. It is not their ideological vision, nor their first aspiration, but the result of an urgent reality. The idea of the Palestinian state is getting farther and farther, and in their plight they are looking for alternatives. The best alternative to an independent country, at this moment in time, when Israel is rich and stable, is a comfortable life under its sovereignty. Like Muslims in Europe or Jews in America. The idea of the bilateral state from the sea to the river was loudly voiced by the ruler of Libya, Gaddafi, years ago. He called it Isratin, a combination of Israel and Palestine. His vision slowly established itself on the fringes of the left, and now, with the talk of annexation, is beginning to seep into the Palestinian street. The settlers anyway want one rule from the sea to the river, a Jewish rule of course. Hamas is also in love with this formula, but the opposite - under Muslim rule. At present, the Palestinian Authority (PA) despises the idea, the Israeli government dismisses it, but the more that the PA weakens, so the pendulum moves away from the two-state idea to the one-state idea. They laughed at Gaddafi at the time, thought he was a clown. One day they will erect a monument in his honor in the center of Ramallah. (Israel’s) government said a week ago that Palestinians will not receive Israeli citizenship after annexation. The spirit of the Palestinians who support a bi-national state has not fallen. They assume the journey is long, and that annexation without citizenship is only the first stop, the moment the window opens. Over the years, with certain circumstances, they will also receive citizenship…Will they have to fight for it? No problem, they will struggle. And who knows, with Allah’s help, in another decade, or two, or three, they will succeed in reaching a position of government and end Jewish hegemony. It is a second plan of action that runs in the minds of many Palestinians. Born out of their despair, after witnessing the collapse of the dream of an independent state whose capital is East Jerusalem, it is gaining a grip among them as time passes. This week, when I said these words on Army Radio, Palestinian MP Fares Qaddura got on the broadcast and said that my words did not represent reality. We, he explained, did not abandon our aspiration for an independent state. But I did not state that they had abandoned it. I said they were forced to put it aside, due to the circumstances. His anger can be understood. He is a former Fatah prisoner, a thoughtful man and well acquainted with the Israelis, who, although not part of the Abu Mazen camp, is a loyal spokesman for the PLO, especially when speaking to an Israeli audience. The future of the PA in the coming years will keep us busy. In any case, it has weakened financially, and has not take flight politically. If annexed, it could deteriorate further and expedite the end. Already, many see it as a lost entity, blaming it for the loss of the national vision. Imagine a sharp wave of violence in the territories following the annexation. Which Palestinian policeman would dare to stop those harming? He would immediately be considered a traitor. The view of the Palestinian national movement, annexation of territories in the West to Israeli sovereignty, is a continuing Nakba by other means. In '47, they were offered to settle for half of Palestine, but they refused and lost a considerable share of the land. In 1967, they and their Jordanian patrons lost everything else. They came to Oslo weak, so they agreed to give up three-quarters of Palestine, provided they had an independent state in less than a third of the territory. Now the Jews want to gnaw on what remains. The PA holds few bargaining cards in its fight against annexation. One of the strongest cards, the security coordination freeze, they have already pulled out, but Israel has not withdrawn from its plan. No one is there for the Palestinians, they are alone to themselves. And therein lies the danger. When the Palestinian street felt it was about to explode, the Intifada was born. Both, in December 1987 and September 2000, it was the street that set the area alight, and its leaders hitched a ride on the flames. Five years ago, the Palestinian citizen, on his own initiative, launched a knife attack on the streets of Israel, but this time the Palestinian Authority assisted in its containment. You (the PA) will get along with the Israeli governments. Even with the protests of the Jordanians and Egyptians, and with the Europeans and their friends in the Gulf. But no answer has been found for the anger of the Palestinian street, after decades of confrontation and the use of tremendous power and sophisticated means.
That Lazy Abbas. He Won’t Even Phone Trump (Odeh Bisharat, Haaretz+) Last week, which marked the 53rd anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank in 1967, Aluf Benn expressed his dissatisfaction with the laziness of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The man won’t even pick up the phone to U.S. President Donald Trump. Abbas, Benn asked, why don’t you announce your willingness “to resume peace talks with Israel on the basis of the ‘deal of the century,’” and thwart the annexation Israel plans to impose unilaterally on July 1? Benn also criticized the Israeli left, which, in the name of honor, justifies Palestinian “indifference and intransigence.” Look at how, following the wave of desertions to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, the word “honor” has become an insult, while the man who rides roughshod over his principles based on how the wind is blowing is a king. Someone ought to whisper to the editor of Haaretz that Abbas is not Deputy Prime Minister and Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz – not because of hollow honor, but rather because of the appalling reality.
Israeli sovereignty bid has Palestinians in a bind (Pinhas Inbari, Israel Hayom) Despite its threats, the Palestinian Authority has few options open to it given Israel's plan to extend sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley.
Since the Altelana affair: Israel has often been on the brink of a civil war (Yossi Ahimeir, Maariv) A tragedy similar to the one that occurred at the founding of the state will occur if the winds don’t calm down. The bitter internal rivalry is ingrained in us, and may yet again strike, certainly towards a course of annexation, should it occur.
The Left's ideological dog and pony show (Moria Kor, Israel Hayom) The protesters waving Palestinian flags in Rabin Square cannot reconcile this one fundamental contradiction: They accuse right-wing Israelis of racism, yet do all in their power to ensure segregation from the Palestinians.

Other Top Commentary/Analysis:
The Right to Protest and the Arrogance of the Israel Police (Michael Sfard, Haaretz+) The police tried to thwart Saturday’s left-wing demonstration against annexation. The arm-wrestling between police and the organizers ended this time with a victory for the organizers, and the rally took place at Rabin Square as planned. But the organizers had to expend a lot of energy coping with the resistance from police, who see foiling demonstrations as legitimate – something that is worrisome, outrageous and above all dangerous. Can anyone imagine the police harassing supporters of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and threatening their rally in this fashion? No way.
At a time when the government is endangering citizens: Maintaining democracy has become an essential necessity (Former Shin Bet chief Yaakov Perry, Maariv) Although the crisis is not over, it’s time to check the necessity of the regulations that have been in place since the spread of the virus. In addition, the test should be done by people who are not directly involved in them.
The murder of Iyad al-Hallaq is the face of Israeli annexation (Orly Noy, +972mag) With the killing of Iyad al-Hallaq and Israel's plan to legitimize land theft, we must echo the slogan inspired by protests in the U.S.: 'Palestinian Lives Matter.'
Israel's New Public Security Minister Shows Leftists Rules of the Game Have Changed (Haaretz Editorial) Israel's Public Security Minister Amir Ohana is continuing his campaign to destroy democracy. After devoting his first day on the job to a campaign of intimidation in south Tel Aviv, where he made it clear to asylum seekers that their already difficult lives were about to become intolerable, on Saturday it was the turn of leftists and journalists to understand that the rules of the game have changed. After a demonstration against annexation in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, police clashed with protesters who had blocked roads by lying down on them. Officers dispersed them forcibly and arrested five. Haaretz photographer Tomer Appelbaum, who had been assigned to photograph the demonstration, was aggressively forced to the ground by police officers who beat him and damaged his equipment. The Israel Police said later in a statement that the officers mistakenly thought Appelbaum was a protester and that the incident will be investigated. The police’s explanation reveals the depth of the problem. Even if Appelbaum had been a demonstrator rather than a press photographer, why was it legitimate for the police to behave in such a violent manner? Moreover, the distinction between these two groups – “leftists” and “journalists” – has been completely destroyed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as part of his efforts to incite the public against “the left-wing elites in the media, academia and the legal system” and slander them as having conspired against him.
A-Sisi's efforts to improve Israel's image in the Egyptian public are very important (Yitzhak Lebanon, Maariv) Recently, the words and actions of the President of Egypt show an effort on his part to reduce hostility toward us and to highlight the benefits of good relations. If successful, it will help us move towards normalization in the future.
Nobody Should Die Like a Dog. Not Even Dogs (Orna Rinat, Haaretz+) In expressing his outrage at the killing of an autistic Palestinian, Haaretz writer Rogel Alpher vilifies dogs, portraying them as lowly creatures who deserve to be shot.
U.S. Jews are standing up for Black lives. Why aren’t we doing so for Palestinians? (Oren Kroll-Zeldin, +972mag) By failing to speak out over the killings of Palestinians like Iyad al-Hallaq, U.S. Jewish groups are devaluing our stance against state violence at home.
Conferences and speeches will not renew Israel-US relations (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) New York Jews do not recognize and do not understand the revelations of President Trump expressed in the right-wing parties. On the other hand, the Israeli left is seen as anti-religious…It’s unpleasant to spoil the party, but there are slight chances that a dignified event such as the International Conference on Israel-Diaspora Relations “with the world,” which is taking place in Jerusalem, will yield significant changes on the subject that is highly debated. Other recent events in Israel on this issue are also unlikely in the foreseeable future to bring about a practical transformation in a field whose correct and bleak name is "the non-relationship between Israel and the US community.”
The Arab Gulf states have no good options (James Dorsey, Israel Hayom) The coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout may rewrite the security as well as the political and economic map of the Middle East.
Has Israel Become America's Military Contractor 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.
What the international singer doesn't understand about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (Meir Uziel, Maariv) Our problem is not British singer Dua Lipa, who shared an anti-Israeli post. Our problem is that there are those of us who think like her - that everything will be over and we can come to peace if we agree to a Palestinian state.
The Day the New York Times Redefined ‘Liberal’ as ‘Closed-minded Outrage Mob’ (Jonathan S. Tobin, Haaretz+)  When Senator Tom Cotton is branded more uniquely offensive than Putin, Erdogan, Ahmedinejad, Maduro or the Taliban, the NYT’s pro-Israel Jewish conservatives are on borrowed time.

Yaakov Amidror: “From a professional point of view - there is no reason to annex"
The former National Security Council chief spoke on Ben Caspit and Inon Magal’s 103 FM radio program about preparations ahead of applying sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, and was surprised when he said, "I would only annex the Jordan Valley, where there is a consensus in (Israeli) society.” (Maariv/103FM) 

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