News Nosh 02.27.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday February 27, 2014

Quote of the day:
“They touched me all over my body. They even asked me about my bones. They asked me to take off my slacks, my bra."
-- Ezies Elias Shehadeh, an Israeli-Arab tourism teacher at a Jewish high school, on being separated from her students and strip-searched at Eilat airport on the way back from a school trip.*

Front Page News:
Yedioth Ahronoth
Israel Hayom

Peace Talk Highlights:
The IDF raised its level of alert in the north of the country after, in a rare move, Hezbollah acknowledged it was attacked and said it would take revenge on Israel for its attack. Meanwhile, there is more news on the peace talks front. US President Barack Obama reportedly intends next week to pressure Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin to accept the framework deal, while Al-Quds newspaper reported that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas threatened to end peace talks after US Secretary of State John Kerry pressured him to agree to a draft that included new articles, in addition to recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Maariv reports that the Palestinians may also end the peace talks if Israel does not release Israeli Arab prisoners next month. A group of Israeli members of Knesset apologized to the US ambassador for the attack on US policy by their right-wing colleagues. Meanwhile, Arabs politicians elsewhere in the region expressed anger and concern over the debate in the Knesset over implementing Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount.
Obama will host Netanyahu for a meeting in Washington Monday, during which he will pressure Netanyahu to accept Kerry's framework agreement, report the Israeli papers, quoting the NYT. A source told NYT that if the talks continued past the April 29 deadline, a new target date for a peace treaty could be the end of 2014.
The latest draft of the framework agreement has some new articles, that reportedly caused Abbas to blow a fuse. Some of the Hebrew papers reported on a Wednesday article in the Palestinian Al-Quds newspaper, according to which, Abbas threatened to end talks - and even abruptly end the meeting with Kerry in Paris when Kerry presented a new draft that would give Israel 10 settlement blocs, would require the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, would drop the Palestinian suggestion for an international force in the the Jordan Valley and accept the Israeli demand for Israeli forces, and would make the outlying E. Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina - instead of all of E. Jerusalem - the capital of Palestine. Abbas reportedly called the draft 'madness' and for this reason, Obama invited Abbas to meet him in Washington after the meeting with Netanyahu. According to "Al-Quds," Abbas was amazed to find that new White House draft adopted the Israeli position, and he threatened to "turn tables on their sides." (And in NRG Hebrew)
There's also another mine in the peace talks: the release of Israeli Arab prisoners, writes Maariv/NRG Hebrew's Ariel Kahane. The Palestinians are demanding that Israeli Arabs be released in the upcoming and final round of the four releases, but Netanyahu has refused and his ministers are expected to oppose as well. Israel is expected to release 26 prisoners in this round to reach the agreed upon number of 104. [The article fails to tell the readers that the number was agreed upon because that was the number of pre-Oslo Accord prisoners, and they are the ones who were to be released. - OH] According to Haaretz+ there are 32 pre-Oslo prisoners remaining in jail, 14 of them Arab Israelis and five more from E. Jerusalem. [Some of the newspapers - and most Israeli Jews - confuse being an E. Jerusalemite, who carries an Israeli residency ID, with being a citizen of Israel. - OH] According to Kahane, Abbas will likely end the talks if Israel does not release the Israeli-Arab pre-Oslo prisoners.
Some right-wing MKs apologized to US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro over the leaking of the off-the-record meeting they held with him this week, Haaretz reported. On the leaked recording, right-wing MKs are heard slamming Shapiro for U.S. policies on peace talks with the Palestinians. Other MKs from a number of parties from the right and left wrote a letter to Shapiro expressing support for US policies and diplomatic efforts in the region, reported Maariv's excellent Knesset reporter Arik Bender. They included Labor's Isaac Herzog, Meretz's Zahava Gal-On, Yesh Atid's Ofer Shelah, Hatnua's Amran Mitzna and Meir Sheetrit, and ultra-Orthdox MKs Moshe Gafni and Arieh Deri.
Meanwhile, the Knesset Temple Mount debate held Tuesday has raised the ire of Arabs in the region. Jordanian lawmakers voted Wednesday to expel the Israeli ambassador (although that likely won't happen at this time). The Egyptian foreign minister warned that Temple Mount activity by 'Jewish extremists' could result in an eruption of violence in the region. And the Arab League is considering filing a UN complaint over Israeli violations at Al-Aqsa (the Temple Mount). It also called upon the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to spread awareness regarding the dangers threatening the compound in order to gain support for the complaint and called upon the EU, major powers, and UNESCO to take responsibility in Jerusalem and to protect Islamic and Christian holy sites from Israeli threats. While the increasing number of right-wing visitors to the Temple Mount has raised ire in Arab states, the first Knesset debate over whether Israel should wrest control of the Temple Mount from Jordan has increased the tension. 

Quick Hits:
  • Amnesty: Some Israeli West Bank killings may be war crimes - In a report entitled "Trigger Happy," the human rights group accused Israel of allowing its soldiers to act with virtual impunity and urged an independent review of the deaths. Israeli military says forces faced with spike in Palestinian violence. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Lawyer: Israel puts Palestinian teen in solitary after suicide attempt, other youths tell of torture - Israeli authorities placed Muhammad al-Rajabi, 16, in solitary confinement after a failed suicide attempt at Hasharon prison. Separately, a Palestinian Authority lawyer said she was told by several teenage prisoners that they were being tortured in Israeli jails. (Maan)
  • Palestinian students launch provocative photo exhibit - Jerusalem termed the "sewer of the settlements" and Israeli soldiers called "hunters of liberty" in Hebrew University exhibit. University removes the captions, which say different things in Hebrew and in Arabic. (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinian Official: Settlers to operate armed patrols across West Bank - Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, said settlers had announced plans to run patrols of three gunmen on Israeli bypass roads as a form of protection. The first patrol would be stationed on road between Yitzhar settlement and Nablus. (Maan)
  • Israel's High Court orders removal of structure in illegal West Bank outpost - Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon agreed to consider legalization of Havat Gilad outpost in return for removal of earlier structures; one has since been rebuilt. (Haaretz+)
  • Silwan neighborhood retaining wall collapses as a result of Israeli excavations (in 'City of David') - Palestinian residents near Jerusalem's Old City were awoken at 3 a.m. by the sound of a wall's collapse. The homes of four families sustained damage. Prior to the wall's collapse, local residents said they heard heavy duty machines digging under their houses throughout the night. Israel frequently permits excavations and archaeological digs in E. Jerusalem. (Maan)
  • 7 home demolition orders handed to villagers in Nablus - Israeli forces delivered demolition orders for seven homes that were allegedly built without permits in Al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya village. Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank, including E. Jerusalem. (Maan)
  • **Arab teacher strip-searched before flying with her Jewish students - Ezies Elias Shehadeh was returning from a school trip to Eilat when stopped for security check. The Airports Authority said 'at no point was she stripped of her clothing." (Haaretz+)
  • Bennett to BBC: Would you hand over half of Britain? - (Pro-settler) Economy minister recommends Israelis and Palestinians going into business together in West Bank, because 'the diplomats are failing. Expresses distrust of Palestinian declaration of desire for two-state solution. (Haaretz)
  • New law distinguishing Christian, Muslim Arabs draws fire - Bill intended to allow Christians to 'counterweigh Muslims who want to destroy country from within' irks Palestinians, who claim it divides Arab population according to religion and not nationality. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Israel halts gas mask distribution, citing 'dramatic decrease' in chemical threat - Thursday marks the last day that Israeli citizens will have access to government-distributed gas masks. Defense establishment says chemical threat reduced. (Haaretz+)
  • Erdogan to Obama: Netanyahu to blame for stalled reconciliation - Almost one year after Obama asked Netanyahu to apologize for the death of nine Turkish nationals during the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid, talks with Turkey hit a dead end. (Haaretz+) 
  • NYU student conference to focus on Israel boycott advocates - BDS-related organizations to be featured in the New York University American studies program’s annual conference. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Israel silent on Uganda's anti-gay law, fearing blow to strategic alliance - Fearing damage to its alliance with Uganda and arrangements to deport African asylum seekers, Israel has not joined the chorus of condemnations from the West. (Haaretz+) 
  • Palestinian women seek tougher laws to combat honor killings - 'Honor' murders doubled in 2013 to 26. (Agencies, Haaretz
  • Gazans turn to solar power as fuel crisis bites - Many of Gaza's 1.6 million inhabitants are beginning to see solar power not just as a viable alternative, but perhaps as the only solution to the energy crisis, after Egypt destroyed cross-border tunnels used for importing fuel. (Maan
  • Israel completes tests on airline defense system - Elbit Systems and Transportation Ministry cooperation yields world's most advanced safety measure for passenger jets. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Syria agrees to new April target to remove chemicals - New commitment made after Syria fails to meet deadline for shipping out the chemical arsenal earlier this month, diplomats say. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Kerry decries 'new isolationism', says U.S. acts like poor nation - Secretary of State inveighs against what he sees as a tendency within the U.S. to retreat from the world even as he defended the Obama administration's diplomatic efforts from Syria to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Agencies, Haaretz)
Italy's vintners to the rescue of Cremisan monks
After I published my impressions from the annual Sommelier exhibition in Tel Aviv, at which the Cremisan wines were first showcased under a new brand name, I was contacted by wine lovers who wondered what had happened to the winery. It had, after all, gone off the radar in the past two decades. (By Itay Gleitman, Haaretz+)
New identity law raises fears of Israeli effort to divide Christians
A Knesset committee is even looking into instituting compulsory army service for Israel's 120,000 Palestinian Christians, a proposal which has raised ire among both Muslims and Christians citizens, who are currently exempted. But Palestinian society is not taking these efforts lying down. (Maan
How Israel tried to conceal its biggest arms deal with Germany - Hundreds of documents just uploaded to the Israel State Archives website shed light on German arms sales to Israel in the 1960s. (Haaretz+)

Jewish Orthodoxy can’t be truly open if it is closed to the Palestinians (Peter Beinart, Haaretz+) The cancelation of Rashid Khalidi’s talk at New York’s Ramaz School suggests that Orthodox Jews lack self-confidence in their own Zionism. 
A few tanks in the Jordan Valley will not make Israel safe
 (Senior Palestinian official and former PLO negotiator Muhammad Shtayyeh, Maan) There are six final status issues in negotiations. Rather than genuinely trying to reach an agreement on these issues, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is attempting to bring two non-issues to the table, to divert attention and appease a settler government. They are issues that the Israeli government knows that no Palestinian negotiator could ever accept.
Israel’s distinguishing between Christian and Muslim Arabs is racism (Wednesday Haaretz Editorial) Such a distinction is designed to spark conflicts between minorities in a divide-and-conquer style. 
First Kerry has to persuade America (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Kerry is very active: traveling, drilling down into details, promising and threatening, all in the wrong place. His true target must be Washington. 
Confusing self-criticism with self-debasement (Isi Leibler, Israel Hayom) Ari Shavit's questioning of the morality of Israel's birth will be used against us long after his positive depictions of the Jewish state have been forgotten. 
The new Israel is strong enough for peace (Ari Shavit, Haaretz+) With its army focused and its neighbors distracted, Israel has a golden opportunity to end the occupation. 
How can Israel question US support? (Eitan Haber, Yedioth/Ynet) The US is paying a price for its tireless support of Israel – and our MKs have the audacity to ask its ambassador, 'How can we trust you?' 
Temple Mount cannot be under Jordan's thumb (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) Jordan's influence on the Temple Mount cannot be allowed to cripple Israel. The Muslims must understand that they too have something to lose. 
The Baruch Goldstein effect (Israel Harel, Haaretz+) The massacre’s price – an exorbitant one - is being paid to this day by the settlers in the West Bank. On the day after the massacre, parts of the nation started to sever their emotional ties with the settlements. 
Israeli society needs responsible leaders (Bambi Sheleg, Yedioth/Ynet) In the past decade, our leadership has been guided by the notion that it only needs to handle immediate crises. 
Enemies? A love story (Gil Yaron, Haaretz+) The relationship between Germany and Israel is too complex, too broad and deep to be reduced to the issue of the personal chemistry between Merkel and Netanyahu. 
Business as usual (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) Syria and Hezbollah both have their hands full with internal issues and would rather contain Monday's strike than risk further security escalation. 
Jewish muzzling of pro-BDS speakers only makes them stronger (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) As Game of Thrones’ Tyrion Lannister says: 'When you tear out a man's tongue, you aren’t proving him a liar, you're telling the world you fear what he might say.' 
In admitting Israeli attack, Hezbollah changed the rules (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The 'denial doctrine' enabled it not to react if it wasn't convenient.

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