News Nosh 9.2.20

APN's daily news review from Israel - Wednesday September 2, 2020

You Must Be Kidding: 
“The commander showed restraint and was forced to arrest the suspect after he continued attacking the forces.”
— IDF Spokesman response to video in which an Israeli military officer is seen with his knee on the neck of a 65-year-old Palestinian protester.*

Front Page:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • In the country of ‘last minute” - record number of infected in a single day
  • Backpack, pencil holder and mask - School year began
  • The teacher was murdered a month before the beginning of the school year (Hebrew)

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • Economic peace (between Israel and UAE)
  • Learning corona - More than 2.4 million children started the school year under corona restrictions; 140,000 from 'red cities' stayed home
  • The attack and the alert - According to foreign reports, Israel attacked Iranian targets in Syria
  • Tragedy in Ramleh: 30-year-old teacher killed by stray bullet of shooting in clash between gangs

Israel Hayom

  • Likely: (Minister) Edelstein will support a full closure in ‘red (corona) cities’ - Record: More than 2,100 new infected in a day; Getting closer to 1000 dead
  • Tension in city with closed schools” “The are abandoning our children”
  • “There won’t be a corona vaccine in the winter”
  • “I can’t remember such an atmosphere during a diplomatic visit” - UAE considering opening a consulate in Nazareth or Haifa
  • “Pretended to be a medic and raped”: Today indictments in the affair of the (gang) rape in Eilat
  • There is no such thing as “death from a stray bullet” // Jalal Bana on the shooting (of an Arab-Israeli school teacher) in Ramleh
  • History at the Tour de France: Achievement for the rider from the Israeli team
  • The only one campaigning: Trump closes the gap in the polls // Erez Lin
  • Study: In comparison to the West, Israelis deal with overweight problems late
  • Storm over the resignation of (head of Finance Ministry budget division) Meridor continues: “He conducted himself with a high hand”

Top News Summary:
The United Arab Emirates said it got assurances from Israel and the US that Israel stopped its plans to annex West Bank lands, the number of infected with corona reached another record, and an Arab-Israeli teacher was shot dead by a stray bullet as she prepared for the first day of teaching her students - making top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers.

Maariv and Haaretz+ focused on the most important diplomat aspect of the agreement between the UAE and Israel: the stopping of the Trump ‘peace plan’ that would give Israel a green light to annex land of the future Palestinian state. Emirati Foreign Ministry official, Jamal Al-Musharakh, initially told Israeli journalists that the Emirates received Israeli and U.S. “assurances” that annexation will not happen. Oddly, 'Israel Hayom’ didn’t even mention that and instead focused on the upcoming commercial flights from Ben-Gurion Airport to the Emirates, on the Emirati plan to open up a consulate in Nazareth or Haifa for the benefit of Arab-Israelis and on the “winning connection” between Israeli and Emirati officials and the economic agreements signed. The papers noted that initially Al-Musharakh said Israeli annexation would not lead to the collapse of the normalization agreement between the two countries. Coalition Whip MK Zohar (Likud) jumped on the quote and wrote on Twitter that Israel should "Apply sovereignty now, even before the US election. The important and encouraging statements coming from senior Emiratis that applying Israeli sovereignty over part of Judea and Samaria will not harm the peace agreement can enable us to realize what we have promised the public in recent years. We must not miss this historic opportunity to exercise our right in our country." But, later, the Emirati Foreign Ministry issued a statement clarifying that that the bilateral agreement is indeed contingent upon Israel halting its annexation plan. "We are staying with the Arab consensus and Arab and international decisions. What we have done is stop the annexation, but the ultimate solution still depends on Israel and the Palestinians." In it’s English online story, ‘Israel Hayom’ ran a misleading report that only quoted the Emirati official saying that an Israeli declaration of sovereignty won't stop peace between Israel and the UAE. Senior White House advisor Jared Kushner visited Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and said it’s “logical that all 22 Arab states will normalize ties with Israel one day” and that he hopes the next Arab country will be in months. But, as much as Kushner would like, Saudi Arabia won't be normalizing relations any time soon. It is sticking to it’s Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 as long as King Salman is alive, a senior Saudi official said. Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blasted the UAE, saying, "The Emiratis will be disgraced forever for this treachery against the Islamic world, Arab nations and Palestine." ‘Israel Hayom’ further reported that Ofir Gendelman, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's spokesman in Arabic, said the diplomatic breakthrough was led by social media sites in the Arab world.

Quick Hits:

  • **Israeli Military Officer Filmed Kneeling on Palestinian's Head During Arrest - 60-year-old says he felt choked. Army calls video misleading, says violent rioting was underway in village of Shufa. Video shows another officer breaking car window, pointing gun. (Haaretz+VIDEO+PHOTO and Times of Israel with VIDEO)
  • Witnesses say police attacked detained (Israeli) protester in Jerusalem for no reason - Police say Refeal Solomon was violent and purposefully vomited on them, witnesses say the man was in the grips of a severe anxiety attack and repeatedly cried for help. (Haaretz+)
  • At least 11 killed in overnight airstrikes south of Damascus - Reports say 3 Syrian soldiers, 7 Shiite militia members, and 1 civilian killed in strikes south of capital. Syria claims missiles were fired from the Golan Heights, and most were intercepted. (Israel Hayom)
  • After Syria strike, Israeli army says working to 'assure strategic goals in northern front' - Army spokesperson does not confirm that Israel carried out strike south of Damascus that killed two and injured seven, but says Israel is 'doing everything necessary to achieve our targets.' (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli Arab Woman Killed by Stray Bullet Fired in Family Altercation - Police arrest three after Sharifa Abu Muammar, a 30-year-old schoolteacher and mother of three, was killed in her home as she was preparing a bottle of milk for her daughter. The stray bullet was apparently shot due to a long-running dispute between 2 crime families in the city. (Haaretz+ and Yedioth/Ynet Hebrew and Times of Israel)
  • Jewish Agency, Keren Hayesod to start operations, summer camps in UAE - The representatives also spoke of sending a permanent Jewish Agency emissary to the UAE. (Maariv, Israel Hayom and JPost)
  • UAE’s Etihad Airways Starts Selling Tickets in Israel - Abu Dhabi-based carrier not yet offering direct flights from Tel Aviv; Israelis can fly to UAE via Amman, Athens or Istanbul, cutting flight time to East Asian countries by three hours. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
  • After the ceasefire in Gaza and against the background of (Israeli) criticism (of the agreement), the IDF reported: We attacked about 100 Hamas targets - Following reports of agreements between Hamas and Israel on a ceasefire, the IDF Spokesman published a list of targets it attacked in the Gaza Strip over the past 19 days, in response to the incendiary balloons and rocket launches. (Maariv)
  • Israel to Charge 11 in Gang Rape of 16-year-old Girl in Southern Resort Town - Four suspects face rape charge, others with lesser charges in case that sparked renewed protests against sexual violence. (Haaretz+)
  • Coronavirus Israel Live: Fewer Patients on Life Support; 250 Active Cases in Gaza - Schools in ultra-Orthodox 'red zone' open despite government orders. Active coronavirus cases in Israel top 21,000. Health Ministry recommends reopening Egypt border. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Schools in West Bank Settlement Defy Closure Order for Israel's Coronavirus Hot Spots - Ultra-Orthodox settlement, Beitar Illit, says Education Ministry didn't inform town not to open schools. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Israeli Courts Administration Tried to Remove Articles Critical of Judges From Internet - Special task force asked Google to remove search results of articles from Haaretz, TheMarker, Globes and Walla. (Haaretz+)
  • In First, Israeli Firefighters Arrive in California to Help Battle Wildfires - Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg greeted the firefighters’ arrival in the capital city with a tweet: 'As a Jewish mayor, I’m particularly proud and happy to see them come to our aid.’ (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Cats of Knesset get pawliamentary immunity - Life is purrfect for some 30 cats who live in the backyard of Israel's parliament after officials who run the facility have decided to officially adopt the felines. (Ynet)
  • Hamas political leader visits Beirut for first time in 27 years - Ismail Haniyeh to participate from Lebanese capital in meeting called by Palestinian President Abbas to discuss Israel-UAE deal; confab will include all Palestinian factions including PLO and Islamic Jihad. (Ynet)
  • French leader warns Lebanese politicians of 'last chance' - Speaking at the end of two days of meetings in Beirut, French President Emmanuel Macron says France is committed to helping Lebanon get out of its crisis, but failing to implement reforms within a three-month period would result in punitive actions, including withholding vital international assistance. (Israel Hayom)

Top Commentary/Analysis:

The settlers' dilemma: to fight Netanyahu or wait (Elisha Ben Kimon, Ynet Hebrew) After the cancellation of the annexation, the delay in settler construction and the farce of the Ministry of Settlement, now the eviction of Mitzpe Karmim (settlement outpost) reached the High Court. Judea and Samaria wants to protest against the prime minister, but the timing is problematic…The ruling of the High Court last week ago regarding the settlement of Mitzpe Karmim put the settler leadership in battle positions. The decision on the eviction, within three years, was made at a sensitive point in time for the settlement enterprise. If in January they worked on a choreography of sovereignty dances in Beit El and Mehola settlements, then the seven months that have passed since have changed the picture significantly: annexation (of West Bank lands) has been revoked/rejected; The High Planning Committee of the Civil Administration (in the West Bank), which did not convene in February, isn’t receiving approval from the political echelon and in fact is delaying approvals for about 5,500 housing units, and in addition the lack of budget for the Ministry of Settlement means that it cannot function. All of these put the Yesha Council and the settlers' leadership in a complex situation. Conducting a struggle over the future of the settlement enterprise in the days of corona and an economic crisis is not at the top of the agenda of Israeli citizens and the chances of receiving public sympathy are low. Thus, at least for the time being, no harsh statements are being made and no harsh measures are being taken against the government. On Thursday, a few hours after the publication of the ruling regarding Mitzpe Karmim, its residents met with the head of the Binyamin region council, Yisrael Gantz, and with Zeev (Zambish) Hever, who is considered one of the leaders of the settlement enterprise. They discussed the possibility of fighting the ruling - whether in legislation, whether by appeal or in a public struggle, which as stated is not simple these days. Following the eviction of Amona (outpost) in February 2017, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared at dozens of conferences and events in Judea and Samaria that the days of evacuating residents from their homes were over. "No Jew will be evicted from his home," he said repeatedly. This statement now stands the test of reality: will he advance legislation that bypasses the High Court? Will he prevent the eviction of the residents in another way? But the ruling is also the opportunity for the Ministry of Settlement, which was established to provide a proper response to the 46 families living in the (outpost), while the clock till eviction continues to tick. The ministry, which was set up in the inflated unity government, was initially staffed by Minister Tzipi Hotoveli, who managed to hold tours and meet residents while the annexation was still on the table, but she did not really succeed during her short tenure in advancing plans and bringing them to the field. A few weeks ago, Minister Tzachi Hanegbi took office, but the ministry remained sterilized, with no budget or ability to act and become meaningful. The ministry should accompany the issue of Mitzpe Karmim, work with the Ministries of Justice and Finance, and of course with the Prime Minister's Office, and at the same time deal with the settlement leaders and give a proper response to the residents who built their homes there. A not-so-easy feeling is prevailing these days about settlement. The future, which was rosy and promising in January, became very foggy in August. The question is what the settlers will do? Will they choose to go to war even during the corona period and an acute economic crisis, or will they wait - again - for Netanyahu's promises.
The Real Peacemaker This Week Was Qatar, Not UAE. Here's Why (Marc Owen Jones, Haaretz+) The Trump-brokered Israel-UAE love-in was a nauseating publicity stunt that the media obediently promoted and amplified. It is not a peace deal.
Tourist Attractions in 'Yesha-stan': A Display of Israel's Apartheid Mindset (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) The PR piece about tourism in “Yesha-stan” – i.e., the Israeli settlement enterprise in the occupied West Bank – in Haaretz (“An occupation vacation,” August 29) there was welcome information here about the tourist attractions the settlement enterprise is initiating in the occupied territories, which heretofore was only doled out to us in dribs and drabs. It’s important to get to know this developing aspect of reality in Yesha-stan, which the article calls “the West Bank” by a non-accidental mistake. Because after all, this information is not about tourism in the West Bank but about tourism in an expanse earmarked for a Palestinian state, which Israel and the Israelis have appropriated and are appropriating to themselves, by means of force, weaponry and military orders and with the backing of the legal system, while leaving behind a few black holes that are outside of the map and statistics. Bantustans. In short, this article is about the development of tourism in the occupied Palestinian territory – minus the Palestinians…
The UAE-Israel accord is a victory for Temple Mount extremists (Daniel Seidemann, 972mag) The accord's stance on Jerusalem's holy sites allows extremist Jewish groups to pursue their dangerous aspirations — and fulfill Palestinians' deepest fears.
Welcome to 1st grade in the 'second Israel' (Avi Dabush, Israel Hayom) The discrepancy in education between the economic and geographic center of the country and the periphery hurts not only our children, but society as a whole.
Rape has no religion, no nationality, culture, education, literary or musical taste (Nir Kipnis, Maariv) You must have read quite a few who wrote on the social media networks that they "knew" tthat the rapists are supporters of Binyamin Netanyahu voters, Mizrachim and religious Mizrachi Jews - who will still appear suddenly wearing white kippas in court. You must also have come across those who linked the rape to balloons in the form of genitals in demonstrations against Netanyahu…The (gang) rape in Eilat does not stem from a "rape culture,” which is "by chance" among traditionally religious and Mizrachi Israelis. Imagine whichever “Other" people you want to blame, but remember that the rapist can also be the popular computer science student [suggesting an Ashkenazi nerd - OH].
With This Bombshell Resignation, Netanyahu Completes Erasure of Likud’s Old Liberal Elite (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) A paragraph at the end of departing budget chief Shaul Meridor’s letter hints at a divide within the Israeli right wing over much more than just financial policies.
Netanyahu is dismantling the Israeli ‘kingdom’ — and that’s a good thing (Meron Rapoport, 972mag) Netanyahu is tearing down the state's institutions, and in the process unmasking the sludge of seven decades' worth of racism and supremacism.
A different Saudi Arabia (Smadar Perry, Yedioth Hebrew) People around the elderly King Salman, 84, insist on returning to the Saudi Peace Initiative that focuses on the Palestinians. But young people are more open to the American program. For a long time, President Donald Trump's advisers toyed with the idea of secretly bringing the Saudi regent to Washington, and having him show up at the moment of signing the agreements between the United Arab Emirates and Israel. As soon as the ceremony is over, it was thought, Muhammad bin Salman would board the plane and return immediately to Saudi Arabia to deny senior members of the Democratic Party the opportunity to sue Ben Salman for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashougi. But the plan's general lines - which will not be implemented - were leaked, and the Saudi heir has made it clear in unequivocal language, in talks he has with his friend Jared Kushner, that he has no intention of going to the White House. Then came a new idea: to send senior Saudi officials to Abu Dhabi, to be present - openly or even behind opaque curtains - in talks that will open Monday in the Persian Gulf. And when the time comes, somewhere in October, the agreements will be signed in Abu Dhabi, in the presence of Saudi prince Bin Salman, the King of Bahrain and th eruler of Oman. Notice how Kushner constantly declares that "there are more countries," intentionally without specifying their names: to keep the door open. But the situation is much more complex at the top of Saudi Arabia’s echelons: in the immediate vicinity of the sick and elderly King Salman, 84, they are insisting on returning to the Saudi-Arab (peace) initiative from 2002, which focuses on the Palestinian solution as an insurmountable condition. The late King Faisal is suddenly quoted as saying that "if the Arabs agree to take Israel’s side and divide Palestine - we will never join them." As far as the older generation is concerned, the Saudi-Arab peace initiative of 2002 has not yet lost its power. In contrast, the regent and his close aides are more open to the American plan, but the Iranian threat hovers over their heads. It is true that the emirate's ruler Ben Zaid is, by and large, the mentor of the young Ben Salman, 34, but as one looks deeper, conflicting positions also emerge: the United Arab Emirates' Ben Zaid is no longer involved in the Saudi conflict with Yemen. The Emirates withdrew their forces despite the Saudi anger and also decided to stay away from the fighting in Libya and withdraw forces. And above all - the Iranian threat bothers Saudi Arabia much more, and rightly so, than the United Arab Emirates. Both the Saudi King and the Regent are unwilling to embark on peace adventures that will upset Tehran. It is worth noting a so-called marginal matter, which illustrates quite a bit: that it is the sick and dysfunctional brother, Sheikh Khalifa, of the emirate ruler who is signed on the announcement about hosting the Israeli delegation. Bahrain congratulated, Oman congratulated, and Saudi Arabia, over which an EL AL plane passed for the first time, was shrouded in strange silence. Not yet and not no, as if there are no contacts with American officials and as if there are no arms deals with Israel and security consultations, away from the public eye. Now of all times, the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem understands the complex game, but it is not an Israeli game against the United Arab Emirates or against Saudi Arabia. President Trump's envoys take full command here: only they will run things. True, here and there they consult with Netanyahu, and also listen, but they do the exact same thing with Ben-Zayed, who is considered the most prominent, shrewd and clever leader in the entire Arab world. Thus, until the last minute, they did not know whether a group of Saudi advisers would arrive in Abu Dhabi. It is not yet clear whether Regent Ben Salman will pledge to attend a signing ceremony in the Persian Gulf. His silence is thunderous, and not by chance. A much larger political rabbit would have to be pulled out to convince him. In the meantime he is not joining.
Israel-UAE Relations Will Truly Be Tested When America's Out of the Room (Noa Landau, Haaretz+) Except for the questions about annexation and Kushner’s call to return to negotiating table, the absent-present entity in delegation visiting Abu Dhabi was, as usual, the Palestinians.
Hurray for the new Middle East (Ben Dror-Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) We wanted a shift in the region and here it is taking shape right before our eyes; yet the detractors, even those on the Israeli side, continue to stamp their feet, demanding we continue down a path that has failed the Palestinians for decades.
Beyond Secret Cyber Deals, Israel and UAE Ties May Be a Boon for AI (Uri Eliabayev, Haaretz+) The UAE is the only country in the world to have an artificial intelligence minister and it has even opened a university dedicated to the field - they have much to gain from cooperating with Israel.
The Emiratis’ message: Peace between the people (Lahav Harkov, JPost/Maariv) REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK: A country without a free press is not accustomed to Israeli journalists’ chutzpah and demands for radical transparency at all times.
Can a Nuclear-armed Saudi Arabia Be Israel's Partner for Peace? (Chuck Freilich, Haaretz+) Riyadh is systematically building a nuclear infrastructure that it could easily flip from civilian to military purposes. A Saudi Arabia whose strategic interests align with the U.S. and Israel today may be a very different country down the line.
Israel has turned from being a burden that countries have tried to avoid - to being an asset (Eli Cohen, Maariv) The importance of the agreement between Israel and the Emirates entails tremendous economic opportunities, and proves that we have become an international technological incubator of innovation, futurism and improving the quality of life.
Netanyahu, Trump and Obama doctrines on display (Alex Traiman, Israel Hayom) While Israel's prime minister clearly prefers working with a friendly Trump administration, he has demonstrated his ability to improve Israel's diplomatic position regardless of which American political party is in power.
Israel and Hamas Spin Narrative, but Gaza Pandemic Fears Force Calm (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) For Hamas, recent developments are a proof it can use military force to extort concessions from Israel ■ Trump administration wants to complete sale of F-35 jets to UAE before November election.
No such thing as 'death from a stray bullet' (Jalal Bana, Israel Hayom) The State of Israel committed a great injustice by distinguishing between blood; between a murder motivated by hatred of Jews, and a murder that is motivated by "regular" hatred.
Heard the One About the Palestinian Who Walks Into a Jewish Resort? (Sefy Hendler, Haaretz+) Popular French comedian Nicolas Bedos gets bored and posts this to his 175,000 Instagram followers: “On certain evenings, when you don’t like soccer, you get a better idea of what it feels like to be a Palestinian in Deauville.” Translation: Deauville is a chic resort in Normandy, one that Parisian Jews also like to frequent. Thus, Bedos decided that a generic Palestinian would feel unwelcome there. A comedian is not expected to be an expert in geopolitics, of course, but he might be expected to be sensitive to humor’s effect on the social fabric. For two decades or more, France has been afflicted by a “new” wave of antisemitism that blends the old delusions about rich Jews who control the world with the tensions between France’s Arab and Jewish communities.

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