News Nosh 9.10.20

APN's daily news review from Israel - Thursday September 10, 2020

Quote of the day:
"We were trying to save the two-state solution..If we kept going with the status quo… ultimately, Israel would have eaten up all the land in the West Bank."
--In a phone call with the press, senior advisor and son-in-law of U.S. President Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, admits that the Trump Administration recognizes Israel's wrongdoing in creating settlements and declares that it accepts that and so must the Palestinians.*

Front Page:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • On the way to a lockdown during the holidays
  • “I’m not retiring (from the race)” - Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelach on his hope to become the leader of the party - despite Yair Lapid’s opposition
  • There is no disqualification at this stage // Tova Tzimuki
  • Elections, now // Amichai Attali
  • It’s time to speak about the dark side of the single’s parties

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • Judicial battle (between Netanyahu and Attorney General)
  • Expose - 100 Israelis will receive the trial vaccine
  • The candidate -Due to the agreement between Israel and the UAE: Nomination for US President to receive Nobel Prize
  • Not a lockdown, not restrictions - restraint
  • The stock market of peace - CEO of Bank Hapoalim opened trade at Dubai’s NASDAQ Stock Exchange

Israel Hayom

Top News Summary:
The new hot topic of the possible disqualification of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu by Attorney General Avichai Mendelblitt, the accusations by Netanyahu and the denials by the Attorney General over the case of the killing of Yaakub Abu Al-Kiyan and the increasing likelihood of a general lockdown of the country over the three-week period of the Jewish High Holidays were today’s top stories in the Hebrew newspapers. Oddly, what didn’t make a key story were the surprisingly open comments by the senior advisor and son-in-law of U.S. President Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, about Israeli colonization of the Palestinian territories.

Netanyahu accused the Police and the State Prosecutor’s office of deliberately covering up the fact that the Bedouin-Israeli teacher, Yaakub Abu Al-Kiyan, who police shot, was not a terrorist, in order not to derail the corruption investigations against Netanyahu. “It is clear that the police and prosecution are making political decisions against justice and law in order to topple a right-wing prime minister," Netanyahu said, demanding a probe of the investigators in his corruption trial. Sources told Channel 12 News they believed Netanyahu hopes the establishment of an independent inquiry committee would allow him to submit a request for his trial to be put on hold until the misconduct allegations against prosecutors are properly addressed. A sharply worded statement released in the name of the Attorney General rejected Netanyahu’s claims that the State Prosecutor called Abu Al-Kiyan a “terrorist” in order to harm the Netanyahu: “The claims are a lie and a falsehood, whose invention was solely meant to delegitimize the law enforcement system and its decisions regarding the Prime Minister.” Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz expressed support for the law enforcement system and told it not to fear fulfilling its duties. Abu Al-Kiyan’s family called on Netanyahu to visit their home and help them rehabilitate. His son said: “I invite Netanyahu to come and see how we live. We demand negligence compensation from the police and from all those responsible for this wrongdoing. Netanyahu, if you are honest regarding your apology, come and rehabilitate our lives and our home.” Abu Al-Kiyan’s mother said: “They could have shot at the wheels (of his car) and not harmed him physically. My son is not a terrorist.” Ironically, the parents of the policeman, Erez Shaul Levy, who was killed when Abu Al-Kiyan’s car ran him over after Abu Al-Kiyan was shot, were also angry at Netanyahu. Until now, the policeman was considered a victim of terrorism, but now he isn't. His parents, Bat Chen and Meir Amdi, slammed Netanyahu: “It is shameful of the Prime Minister, who sacrificed our son for his political interests. I am ashamed for the state. Suddenly Netanyahu remembers to apologize because it serves him, three and a half years since the day our Erez fell.” The parents said they want to return the letter that Netanyahu sent them on 19 January 201, that reads: “Sadlly, Erez fell victim to a criminal murder by a hateful murderer. His comrades in the unit harmed the terrorist and shot him to death. I ask to strengthen you at this painful time.” Erez's father said: “Suddenly, Al-Kiyan, who ran over our son, is a hero. And the fighter who went out in the service of the country to enforce law and order - they don’t even mention his name. He is suddenly, ‘the policeman.' He has no wife, children, parents, siblings. That’s it. So that Netanyahu will profit a little more in defamation of the (former) police commissioner and the state prosecution so that he can evade the trial, he kills my son for the second time.”

Haaretz+ reported that it obtained an internal document that indicates that the Shin Bet never suspected Yakub Abu al-Kiyan of trying to run over the police officers who shot him to death in 2017, thereby contradicting the then police chief’s declarations that Abu Al-Kiyan was a terrorist. (VIDEO)

Haaretz+ reported that Attorney General Mendelblitt is holding consultations on whether Netanyahu should be disqualified over abuse of his office for personal benefit. Mendelblitt reportedly sees a conflict of interest in Netanyahu's attempts to undermine the criminal case against him. However, the State Prosecutor’s Office denied such consultations were held. Yedioth’s excellent judicial affairs reporter, Tova Tzimuki, wrote that despite all the reports, there is no scenario that the Attorney General will use his power to decide that a serving prime minister will not continue in his position only because of criticism - even if it’s disgraceful and false - against the law enforcement system. Mendelblitt does not think that Netanyahu should be disqualified, but he doesn’t close the door to the possibility. Maariv’s Anna Barsky wrote that the Likud - Kahol-Lavan coalition agreement states that in the event that "the prime minister…ceases to hold office in the period until the date of the exchange, the government will be deemed to have resigned, and will apply to the term of office of the government and the prime minister." In other words, Netanyahu's disqualification will lead to an election.

Meanwhile, coalition lawmakers voted down opposition legislation targeting Netanyahu, which would bar anyone indicted from becoming president, Maariv’s Arik Bender and Times of Israel reported. Most of the coalition Kahol-Lavan party left the plenum. The three pieces of legislation aimed at embarrassing the premier would have barred persons under indictment for misdemeanors or criminal offenses from serving as president. They would also have ruled out from serving in the post anyone convicted of a crime whose punishment is longer than three months in prison and whose statute of limitations has not expired. (Also Maariv)

In a phone call with the press, Jared Kushner, said a number of interesting things. But the most interesting one did not make headlines. Yedioth’s article by Washington correspondent Orly Azoulay focused on the statement that Israel agreed to a two-state solution, with a map. Haaretz+ and ‘Israel Hayom’ focused on the announcement that Saudi Arabia will allow east-bound flights from Israel to fly over its airspace. Ynet’s headline was that the US wanted to save the two-state solution. But what was really interesting was that, without intending, Kushner declared that Israel’s rejection - twice - of the Palestinian-supported Arab Peace Initiative and Israel’s continued construction of settlements was wrong, but that the current US administration accepts the ‘facts on the ground,’ and the Palestinians will just have to accept it and take what land is left. “The reality today is that a lot of this land is inhabited with Israelis…What we did with our plan was we were trying to save the two-state solution, because… if we kept going with the status quo… ultimately, Israel would have eaten up all the land in the West Bank.” Oddly, Kushner doesn’t seem to understand the meaning of what he said, because he continues to blame the Palestinians for not agreeing to the Trump Administration’s plan that would accept the Israelis’ facts on the ground. (Most of the Israeli media articles were online because the phone call took place late Wednesday night Israel time.)

Here is the main part of his full phone interview. dealing with the settlements and the two-state solution:

MR. KUSHNER: Sure. So with regards to the Palestinians -- so again, we put out the most detailed proposal ever for the Palestinians. You know, Israel agreed to a state for the Palestinians, and they agreed to a map, which is something that had never been done before. In the first meetings with President Abbas, he said, “If you could get Israel to agree to a map, then the rest will be easy to figure out.” We did better than that: We got them to agree to a state with a map and then real granular conditions as to, you know, how operationally the two people can live together. And so we worked very carefully on that proposal, which is what we thought would be a fair place to start from America. Israel agreed to negotiate on that basis. And then the Palestinians rejected it before it even came out, so before they even knew what was in it. So -- and, again, their strategy has been just to avoid getting into the details on this. But I think that there's a real desire in the region to try to see it resolved and move on. And so, you know, the offer still remains out there for their leadership. The proposal is on the table. We've chosen not to chase them. But the moment that they're ready to engage, we believe that we have the ability to make a peace deal between them and Israel. But we can't want them to make peace. We can't want them to have peace more than they want to have peace.
So when they're really ready for peace, they'll call us. They know the terms that we were able to get Israel to agree to negotiate on the basis on. Again, if they think that the lines are drawn in the wrong place, we should come and try to come with a counter proposal, and then we’ll see if we can, you know, bring the two parties together…So the reality is, today, that a lot of this land is inhabited with Israelis. What we did with our plan was we were trying to save the two-state solution because if you — if we kept going with the status quo of what was happening, ultimately, Israel would have eaten up all the land in the West Bank. And so, right now, you have a situation where there is land that could become a Palestinian state. It is possible to connect it, but the land that Israeli settlers are in right now is land that Israel controls, and the odds of them ever giving it up is unlikely. That’s why the map that we drew was what we thought was a realistic map based on the — we played the ball as it lies, right? We took the realities in the world today and we drew a map based on that, knowing what was achievable and what was not achievable. So, again, you know, people used the Arab Peace Initiative, and that was a great effort, but it was in 2002. If that would have worked, then we would have made peace a long time ago. So, you know, we need new points of reference, and that’s what we have right now. And so, you know, again, my fear for the Palestinians is that if they do what they’re very good at doing, which is figure out how to not make a deal and play the victim card, then what’s going to happen is, you know, more time is going to go by and the situation is just going to get worse and worse for them.

Corona Quickees:

  • Coronavirus Israel Live: Top Health Official Says Politics Influenced Decision-making - Since the morning, hundreds of new coronavirus cases have been diagnosed, Health Ministry figures show. There are now 143,049 cases diagnosed in Israel, 32,217 of which are active. There are 487 patients in serious condition and 961 are hospitalized, of whom 137 are on ventilators. One more patient has died, bringing the national toll to 1,055. Gaza cases top 1,200. (Haaretz
  • Health Ministry chief: New full lockdown could last a month - Health Ministry DG's warning comes during conference call with government officials, hospital directors; attendees told it will take more than 90 days to get Israel's infection rate down to below 400 daily cases; healthcare facility chiefs warn they are close to overload. (Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Small businesses, self-employed threaten 'anarchy' if new lockdown imposed - Business owner union demands financial restitution in advance for potential holiday coronavirus lockdown which could cost the economy upwards of NIS 13 billion. (Ynet)
  • Soaring numbers of Israelis seeking food aid, charity warns - Amid pandemic and ensuing economic crisis, food bank organization records 86% increase in applications for assistance compared to same period last year; new applicants include previously financially stable households. (Ynet)
  • "Netanyahu wants a lockdown so that we do not demonstrate against him" - MK Eli Avidar (Yisrael Beiteinu) harshly criticized the prime minister on 103FM radio rogram and claimed that that the Prime Minister was pushing with all his might for a general closure during the holidays in order to prevent the demonstrations against him. (Maariv)
  • Man arrested in Ashdod after he chased with a knife a woman who asked him to wear a mask - A man began to chase a woman who told him that he should wear a mask while he was boarding the bus with a knife in his hands. The suspect was located and arrested, a search of his body turned up a knife. The woman was not injured. (Maariv)
  • COVID-19, Israeli occupation measures devastate Palestine’s shattered economy - UNCTAD - Restrictions and leakage of fiscal resources continue to undermine the Palestinian economy. UNCTAD previously estimated the annual leakage of Palestinian fiscal resources to the Israeli treasury at 3.7% of GDP or 17.8% of total tax revenues. (WAFA)
  • Palestine records highest daily coronavirus surge - Health Minister Mai al-Kaileh announced that 1,000 Palestinians tested positive for the highly contagious virus and seven others died of it in the occupied territories in the last 24 hours. (WAFA)
  • Hunger striking Palestinian prisoners are in difficult and serious health conditions, says PPS - Two Palestinian prisoners in Israel, Maher al-Akhras, 49, and Abdul Rahman Shuaibat, 30, who are on hunger strike in protest against their administrative detention [held in jail without charges - OH], are in very difficult and serious health condition, today said the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS). Akhras, a former prisoner, is from Jenin and a father of six children, while Shuaibat is from Bethlehem and is also a former prisoner. (WAFA)

Quick Hits:

  • The Unit Investigating Israeli Cops 'Almost Paralyzed' Amid Bitter Rivalry With Police - Justice Ministry unit at a standstill, refraining from investigations against top officers, some of its senior members tell court. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli soldier’s light punishment in fatal shooting of Palestinian faces scrutiny - Light punishment of soldier who unjustly killed Palestinian revives accusations IDF's justice system hopelessly biased, creates atmosphere of impunity for soldiers suspected of violent crimes. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Palestinian Indicted for Attempted Murder in Multiple Stabbing of Israeli Man - The attack in August in the city of Rosh Ha’ayin by Walid Mansour, 23, of the West Bank town of Jenin and who crossed into Israel illegally, was politically motivated, indictment states. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Settlers attack Palestinian vehicles on main West Bank road - Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian vehicles on the road connecting the West Bank cities of Jenin and Nablus late Wednesday night, smashing the glass windshields of over ten of them, according to a local source. (WAFA)
  • A bill to return the assets of "residents of the country who were deported in 1948" will be put to a vote in the Knesset - MK Hiba Yazbek's bill (Joint List - Balad faction) to return assets to Palestinian refugees and to absentee owners will be put to the vote in a preliminary reading. A similar bill has been submitted in the past by former MK Azmi Bishara (founder of the Balad party). Many of the people who were defined as absentees with the establishment of the state later became citizens of Israel. Although hundreds of Arab citizens returned to their country and ceased to be de facto absentees, the definition of “absentee” in law continued to apply to them, without any legal or moral justification, and so the custodian of absentee property continued to hold their lands and property. (Maariv)
  • MKs urge PM to greenlight settlement construction - Seventeen lawmakers on Wednesday sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging him to unfreeze the construction of some 9,000 housing north of Jerusalem. The Prime Minister's Office said in a statement, "Prime Minister Netanyahu has fostered an unprecedented construction boom in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria and he will continue to do so. (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinian Forced to Demolish Fourth Floor of his Home in Jerusalem; Court ruled to expel Palestinian extended family from their building - The owner for the home, Hamed Hammad, said he was ordered to remove the fourth floor of his house himself or pay excessive demolition costs to the Israeli municipality. In related news, an Israeli court issued a verdict in favor of the settler group, Ateret Cohanim, expelling a Palestinian family from their apartment building in Silwan neighborhood, located on the outskirts of the Old City of Jerusalem. According to the Wadi Hilweh Information Center (Silwanic), the building consists of three apartments, which are home to 30 members of the Rajabi family. (IMEMC)
  • Journalist among six Palestinians detained from West Bank - Israeli occupation forces Thursday overnight detained at least six Palestinians, including a journalist, from various parts of the occupied West Bank, according to local  sources. One of the two detainees was identified as a former prisoner, while the other was beaten up before being detained. (WAFA)
  • Israel's Punitive Policy Disproportionately Hurts Poor, Public Defender Office Says - Report criticizes system allowing citizens to pay fine instead of jail time, says half of those represented by public defender don’t consult with lawyer before police questioning. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel Still Without State Budget, but Cabinet Approves $3.2 Billion in Increased Spending - The cabinet had previously cancelled meetings on extra funding, which will be allocated to defense and various projects, due to ongoing coalition dispute between Netanyahu's and Gantz's parties. (Maariv and Haaretz+)
  • Before his release: IDF combat soldier arrested on suspicion of harming state security - Uri Barkai, a Nahal Brigade soldier, who was supposed to leave for pre-release holiday, was arrested on suspicion of helping Palestinians cross the border. His father told 103FM radio: There’s a deputy platoon commander who marked the platoon as left-wingers.” (Maariv)
  • Aliyah to Israel rising despite COVID-19, bureaucracy bottlenecks - "We are doing the best we can to help process everyone," says Yael Katsman, vice president of public relations and communications at Nefesh B'Nefesh. (Israel Hayom)
  • Congress probing sale of U.S. ambassador's residence in Israel to Sheldon Adelson - After initially refusing to disclose identity of buyer for sprawling compound in upmarket Herzliya, State Department names casino tycoon and GOP mega-donor; property said to cost over $80M, making it most expensive residential real-estate deal in Israeli history. Lawmakers in the U.S. House and Senate are looking into whether the sale of the American ambassador's residence in Herzilya to Republican super-donor Sheldon Adelson complies with regulations. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Israel Suspends Pilot Project for Gender Segregation at Dead Sea Nature Reserve - Justice Ministry doubts whether Nature and Parks Authority' pilot at Enot Tsukim Nature Reserve, which came at the request of the religious public, meets legal requirements. (Haaretz+)
  • "Robbery of millions": The management of the Fishermen's Association calls blames government ‘reforms’ for the loss of their income - The Israel Fishermen's Association demanded the change of the “draconian“ regulations of the "fisheries" reform in 2016, which severely damaged their livelihoods. In contrast to many other industries in the economy, Israeli fishermen did not receive any compensation, both for the period of downtime, when they were banned from working, during the two-month breeding season and for the Corona lockdown period. For the first time since the establishment of the State of Israel, all the types of fishermen united and formed the "Israel Fishermen's Association.” They claimed in a document submitted for discussion: "This is robbery from tens of millions of shekels from fishermen, and hundreds of tons of fresh fish from the public. All the claims that we harm the marine environment are an attempt to divert attention to another matter. We seek to manage a suitable fishing management backed by research, and which does not stem from foreign considerations for fishing and the marine environment.” The new Minister of Agriculture, Alon Schuster (Kahol-Lavan party), ordered a round table to be held with the relevant officials and the Fishermen’s Association representatives “in order for all parties to reach a formula that ensures the livelihood of the fishermen on the one hand, and preserves the marine environment on the other hand.” [NOTE: MOST of the some 1000 Israeli fishermen are Arab. The Minister of Agriculture at the time of the debilitating reforms was Uri Ariel, a settler. - OH] (Maariv)
  • Israel restricts movement of Jerusalem's Palestinian governor to his hometown - The Israeli occupation authorities today restricted the movement of the Palestinian Authority's Governor of Jerusalem, Adnan Ghaith, to his hometown, Silwan, and prohibited him from being in contact with more than 50 people, including President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh. Since his appointment as governor of Jerusalem two years ago, Ghaith was detained more than 17 times, summoned for investigation dozens of times, and handed four military orders banning him from entering the West Bank, communicating with a list of national figures, and preventing him from participation in social events and occasions, and provision of humanitarian aid. (WAFA)
  • 'Implications of PA's collapse may not be as dramatic as assumed' - Study by [right-wing pro-setter organization - OH] the "Bithonistim security and defense forum" finds that should the era of Palestinian Authority, in its current form, come to an end, better alternatives could present themselves.
    Netanyahu had asked the forum's top members, including former head of the IDF Intelligence Directorate's Research Division Brig. Gen. (ret.) Yossi Kuperwasser, to study the reification the PA's potential economic collapse would have for Israel in a meeting they held about two months ago. (Israel Hayom)
  • CSI Expert Helps Israeli Archaeologists Nail Writers of 2,600-year-old Letters - Forensic analysis of texts found at Tel Arad shows at least 12 different authors, giving clues about literacy in ancient Judah and when the oldest books in the Bible were first written. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel's OrCam scores soccer legend Messi as rep - Jerusalem-based OrCam Technologies, which develops artificial intelligence-based wearable devices to help the blind and visually impaired read texts via audio feedback, announced Wednesday that soccer legend Lionel Messi has agreed to be the face of the company. (Israel Hayom)
  • Drone Delivery From Israel's Flytrex Arriving From a Walmart Near You - Walmart attempting to compete with fellow U.S. retail giant Amazon, which recently received permission to start commercial drone delivery trials. (Haaretz+)
  • Report: Serbia won't move embassy to Jerusalem if Israel recognizes Kosovo - A source close to Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic says, "Many have argued that Israel recognizing Kosovo would be akin to countries unilaterally recognizing Palestine." (Israel Hayom)
  • Palestinians fail to persuade Arab ministers at Arab League to condemn UAE-Israel deal - At a video conference of foreign ministers, the Palestinian leadership softens its own censure of the UAE for the US-brokered Aug. 13 accord, which is to be formalized at a signing ceremony at the White House next week, but to no avail. Disappointed by the decision, Palestinian officials accused the U.S. of blackmail and said money triumphed over dignity at the pan-Arab organization. (Israel Hayom, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • *Kushner: U.S. Mideast peace plan aimed at saving two-state solution - White House advisor says concept of Israeli, Palestinian states existing side by side is still viable and on the table; president's son-in-law says without American plan, 'ultimately, Israel would have eaten up all the land in the West Bank.’ (Ynet)
  • Saudi Arabia supports comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace solution - Kingdom's FM says Riyadh backs establishment of Palestinian state along 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital; Palestinian official urges Arab rejection of accord between J'lem, Abu Dhabi. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Kushner Says Saudi Arabia Will Allow All Flights From Israel to Pass Through Its Airspace - Kushner's comments come ahead of the signing ceremony for the UAE-Israel normalization deal, to take place at the White House next week. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • Coronavirus restrictions complicate coverage of UAE-Israel peace event - In order to avoid potential exposure, journalists who travel with Netanyahu to White House signing ceremony will be subject to mandatory testing and prevented from leaving hotel. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel's largest hospital to develop health tech with UAE firm - MOU between Sheba Medical Center and APEX is first cooperation between Israeli hospital, Emirati company after countries agreed to normalize ties last month; Sheba says deal paves way for cooperation on innovation, training, medical tourism, COVID treatment. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Israel's Hapoalim expects UAE bank ties to follow normalization - Top lender revs up cooperation efforts to facilitate banking relationship with local banks across the Gulf state before officials meet at White House for signing of peace treaty. (Agencies, Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • Behind the scenes of Israel's rapprochement efforts with UAE - PM Netanyahu's adviser and an Emirati minister held secret meetings in London, Abu Dhabi and Nicosia for years an in effort to foster normalization between the Jewish state and the Gulf sheikdom. (Israel Hayom)
  • “The craziest in the world”: This is what your vacation in Dubai will look like - As the normalization agreement between Israel and the Emirates progresses, Israeli tourism companies have already arrived in Dubai to sign collaborations. "This is the craziest agreement we have ever signed," says the CEO of Spirit World Productions. In an interview from Dubai with Ynet studio, the CEO of LTD says: "Everything here is the biggest there is." (Ynet Hebrew and VIDEO)
  • WATCH: Model Diplomacy: Israeli Waves Flag in UAE Pajama Photoshoot - The unusual snapshot on the part toward normalization between the two countries, which began with a U.S.-brokered deal on Aug. 13, involved pajama-wearing models instead of diplomats. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Kairos Palestine Condemns US Bishop’s Support for Israel-UAE Normalization - A major Christian Palestinian group yesterday criticized a United States bishop for condoning the recent Israeli-UAE normalization agreement. “People who think that any mutual recognition between an Arab country and the state of Israel is a step forward towards peace are mistaken. It would be a step towards peace if this accord were accompanied by the resolution of the core of the conflict: the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian land,” they said. (IMEMC)
  • Wasserman-Schultz Opposing U.S. Sale of F-35 Fighter Jets to UAE Puts Democratic Strategy on Display - U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who is seeking reelection to a ninth term in Congress, said the deal would undercut work toward encouraging other Arab states to normalize relations with Israel. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • United States Formally Announces Troop Reduction in Iraq - In June the U.S. and Iraq affirmed their commitment to the reduction of American troops in the country in coming months, with no plans by Washington to maintain permanent bases or a permanent military presence. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • “Thank you!”: Trump shared a Tweet by the Jerusalem Post - The US president shared a tweet from the Israeli media, in which it stated that he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, following the normalization agreement he initiated between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. (Maariv and PHOTO of Tweet)
  • Iran Begins Expansive Annual War Games Amid Tensions With United States - Commander of the annual exercise said the operation in the Strait of Hormuz is aimed at 'improving readiness in confronting foreign threats and any possible invasion,' following exercises meant to threaten United States. (Agencies, Haaretz and Israel Hayom)
  • Israel and Lebanon 'Getting Closer' to Settling Maritime Border Dispute, U.S. Official Says - Border dispute stems from contested natural gas field, but Lebanon's willingness to advance talks stemmed, among other things, from its dire economic situation. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • Sri Lanka tea storm swirls around Lebanon president - Massive delivery of supplies, destined for victims of Beirut port blast, found to have been given to Michel Aoun's staff and military elite, spurring vast criticism by citizens on social media. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Hezbollah-allied parties say U.S. sanctions target whole Lebanon - Washington sanctions senior members of Christian Marada movement and Shi'ite Amal party, saying they 'provided material support to Hezbollah and engaged in corruption.’ (Agencies, Ynet)
  • BBC at it again as senior producer shares anti-Israel propaganda - Senior producer Rosie Garthwaite, who is currently working on a new documentary critical of "Israeli actions" in east Jerusalem, deletes "inaccurate" pro-Palestinian propaganda on Twitter. (Israel Hayom)


IN PHOTOS Inside a Pakistani wedding between a Muslim bride and a Jewish groom
There are as many tears as cheers at this celebration in Frankfurt, Germany. (David Bachar, Haaretz+)

Top Commentary/Analysis:
Israel's Attorney General Knows Netanyhau Can't Stay. Soon He Will Have to Make the Call (Gidi Weitz, Haaretz+) Avichai Mendelblit has already prepared an exit clause to disqualify Netanyahu – but he may be too conservative to do it. Mendelblit has understood that Netanyahu is blatantly exploiting his office to get back at the people who investigated and prosecuted him, that he is investing resources and energy in extricating himself from trial no less than he is in extricating the country from the coronavirus pandemic. At the beginning of the week, Mendelblit announced that if Netanyahu signs a conflict of interest agreement that bars him from dealing with appointments, legislation and budgeting for the law enforcement and judicial system, the attorney general would not resort to disqualification. But as of now, Netanyahu does not intend to sign such an agreement, and after the deadline, Mendelblit will have to make a fateful decision.
Netanyahu sets sights on override clause (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) The prime minister's latest attack on the legal system were actually aimed at the leaders of the Blue and White party, particularly Benny Gantz.
Keep Netanyahu and his associates away from the legal system (Prof. David Harel, Ynet Hebrew) The rock bottom to which the attack of the prime minister and his entourage is deteriorating, and the refusal to sign a conflict of interest agreement, are reminiscent of how urgent it is that he be disqualified.
Call It What You Will, but It’s Still Occupation (B. Michael, Haaretz+) Boaz Haetzni, a “columnist and tour guide” in the occupied territories is angry about a column I published in Haaretz a week ago. I wrote about the grotesqueness of inviting people to take vacations in the occupied territories where evil, avarice, racism and violence run rampant without let or hindrance. Maybe Haetzni was frightened by the possible damage to his income, or perhaps he simply saw an opportunity to recycle the lamest and sloppiest excuses that Israel has invented to justify the occupation. So I’ll hitch a ride on his article to once again set the legal and historical record straight, lest even a single Haaretz reader innocently swallow the swill Haetzni is selling. Israel’s legal trick is to argue that because there was no legal sovereign in the West Bank in June 1967, it’s impossible for the territory to be occupied. For there to be an occupation, there must be a sovereign from whom the territory was captured. If there is no sovereign, then there’s no occupation. Therefore, the territories became all kinds of things – “liberated,” “administered,” “held,” “tafus betfisa lohmatit” (the Hebrew equivalent of “under belligerent occupation,” except that the Hebrew term doesn’t actually include the word for “occupation”), “wrapped in filo dough” ... anything except “occupied.” Not one serious person worldwide ever bought this shady maneuver. It’s been thrown out of every possible door. Even when the late Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy recruited all of his prestige to market this Israeli bluff, nobody bought it. But the Levy Report (a 2012 document that concluded that Israel’s presence in the West Bank is not an occupation) required a response. And it duly arrived, as expected, from the organization responsible under international law for international humanitarian law – the Red Cross. When it comes to occupations, it is the overseer, the interpreter, the arbiter. And the Red Cross once again said that under both the Hague and the Geneva conventions, which deal with the laws of war and humanitarian law, only two conditions must be met to declare a given territory occupied. First, the territory must have been seized by military force. Second, the territory must be under military rule. The question of what sovereignty the territory was under prior to the occupation is completely irrelevant. “Accordingly, contrary to what is claimed in the Levy report, it is manifestly clear that the West Bank is occupied by Israel,” the Red Cross said. Plain and simple. I’d also like to use this occasion to inform Haetzni of what it said in that same document about the settlements: “Furthermore, concerning the settlements in the West Bank, it has to be emphasized that Article 49 (6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits a state from transferring parts of its own civilian population to territory it occupies ... also prohibits any action by the occupier which facilitates such transfer.” So perhaps Haetzni the tour guide should nevertheless warn his customers before he takes them on a hike in the occupied territories…
Binyamin Netanyahu's apology is not enough (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth Hebrew) It has long been known that Yaakub Abu Al-Kiyan, who was killed in Umm al-Hiran, was not a terrorist. The conduct surrounding the affair should be disinfected. Even through a commission of inquiry.
The killing of a Bedouin man is a weapon in Netanyahu’s war for survival (Edo Konrad, 972mag) Netanyahu is using the wrongful police shooting of Yacoub Abu al-Qi'an as a cudgel to attack the authorities charging him with corruption.
Amazing What Israel Can Achieve When It Doesn't Take Innocent People Into Account (Zehava Galon, Haaretz+) Whitewashing is a suitable description of what the murder of Yaakub Abu Al-Kiyan [Arab-Israeli shot by police and ruled by police as being a ‘terrorist’ - OH] Everyone participated in the festivities: the rank and file policemen, the police commissioner, the public security minister and the prime minister, who at the time demanded of Arab MKs “to stop the incitement.” Everyone participated in the festivities: the rank and file policemen, the police commissioner, the public security minister and the prime minister, who at the time demanded of Arab MKs “to stop the incitement [for claiming that the police were at fault for shooting dead Abu Al-Kiyan, whose car then hit a policeman, killing him. - OH] The person in the State Prosecutor’s office, who leaked the cover-up to a journalist, sat on the information until the moment it would be most effective. If that’s what happened, there’s no difference between him and State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan. They both treated the life and death of Abu al-Kiyan as a trivial tool in a larger war…
Now he remembers: Netanyahu apologizes to Arabs only when he has to (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Shortly after the killing of Yaakub Abu Al-Kiyan, it was already known that it was a terrible and unnecessary disaster, but without (journalist) Amit Segal, Netanyahu would never have apologized…The killing of Yaakov Abu al-Kiyan is a terrible and unnecessary disaster. He bled at the location (where police killed him), no one treated him, no one even determined his death. Netanyahu did well to apologize yesterday. The problem is that he could have apologized a long time ago. The Shin Bet and Justice Ministry Department for Investigating Police determined shortly after the incident that Abu al-Kiyan was not a terrorist. The evidence was spread over entire pages. The media did its job and the picture was clear. Except for the right-wing shouters we all knew there was a glitch here. Now the right-wingers have turned around. They have turned the killing of Abu al-Kiyan into an example for a simple reason: it leverages their ridiculous conspiracy theory about (the law enforcement system) stitching up the cases against Netanyahu. And what has Netanyahu done in all these years, after it was determined and proven that Abu al-Kiyan was not a terrorist? Nothing. He was silent. He would apologize to Arabs? He does this only when he has to. For example, when he said, “The Arabs are going in droves to the election polls.” So Tuesdsay he had to. And what is the connection between the fact that Roni Alsheikh insists that Abu al-Kiyan was a terrorist and the indictment of Netanyahu and the “stitching of cases" against him? God knows. In fact, it seems to me that there are things that even God does not know. In any case, the Abu al-Kiyan’s family can thank (right-wing journalist) Amit Segal for Netanyahu's apology. Had it not been for the expose Tuesday, they would have waited a much longer time for an apology. The second comedic segment is Segal’s report that the said materials (declaring that Abu Al-Kiyan was not a terrorist) were placed on the State Comptroller's desk. Stop the printing presses! The State Comptroller!! [The present State Comptroller, Matanyahu Engelman, was Netanyahu’s choice. - OH]…And one more little thing: one day they, and maybe you too, will need a strong police force. An independent State Prosecutor's Office. A determined attorney general. The wheel turns, as is well known. The day you need it all, you will find that you have ruined everything. Smoking logs will be there, where the State of Israel's law enforcement system once was. All that will remain is the roar of the D9 bulldozer [reference to right-wing MK who called to destroy the High Court “with a D-9.” - OH]. That's what the war is about now, and only  that…What needs to be done now is to split the role of Attorney General into attorney general and legal counsel (to the government). Two different positions. Strengthen the independence of the attorney general and of teh legal counsel. Legislate a sane overriding clause, after an in-depth and balanced public discussion. Enact a maximum law, which will not allow for the withdrawal of investigations beyond three years and decisions on prosecution for another year. Strongly strengthen the audit commission on the State Attorney's Office and give it teeth. And more. Netanyahu physically prevented all of this from happening for ten consecutive years. He was also proud of it. Now he remembered. After the system had already tried Olmert and Hirschson and sent them to actual prison sentences. After demanding that Olmert resign because a prime minister cannot run a country while he is "immersed up to his neck in investigations." And what happens when he is already charged with a criminal offense? He doesn’t run the country (as we see in the corona crisis), but simply dismantles it.
In This Bedouin (Israeli) Town, Murder Wasn’t the Only Crime (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) The murder of Yakub Abu al-Kiyan was not the only crime committed by the State of Israel against his village, Umm al-Hiran, and it may not even be the worst. Of course, killing is killing. Abu al-Kiyan, a beloved math teacher and the first Bedouin Ph.D. in chemistry, was executed by incited policemen who were too quick on the trigger, who also let him bleed to death without giving him medical assistance that could have potentially saved him. But anyone who thinks that wraps up Israel’s crimes against Umm al-Hiran is deluding himself. The hollow apology by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t even begin the series of apologies that Israel owes the people of that village…
An exercise in apology: The Prime Minister cynically took advantage of the horrific event about Abu Al-Kiyan (Orit Lavie-Katab, Maariv) The prime minister did well to apologize for the tragedy, but it is a pity he did not show restraint. As usual, he made insensitive use of the late justice that comes to the deceased and used it to deal with his own issues.
Run, Shelach, Run: Finally a clear leftist who understands business (Ran Edelist, Maariv) If elections are held in the near future, in the shadow of the Corona and economic crisis, they will bring candidates who will be less satisfied and hungrier. In this sense, MK Ofer Shelach (Yesh Atid), who is an ascetic, combative and matter-of-fact, has an advantage over the smug Yair Lapid…Beyond politics, there is an ideological gap between Shelach and Lapid at the basic level of left and right. Shelach is a clear leftist in the sense of the five usual flags: preserving democracy, preserving the law and justice system, opposing the occupation, separating religion and state and fighting uncompromisingly against corruption. Lapid is a right-wing nationalist a-la Tommy, his father. He apologized for contributing to the legitimacy of the Joint Arab List as an opposition partner, but that was not what would deter him from renewing the partnership with Bennett. His tactic was to pull out a kippah at every opportunity that Jewish nationalism requires divine validity, and the strategy is to float in the direction of the Prime Minister’s Office at all costs, including cooperation with the Joint List or with Bennett, all are welcome.
Qatar is with Iran against its Gulf neighbors (Dr. Edy Cohen, Israel Hayom) Relations with Israel are a deterrent to the Iranians, and therefore Qatar and Al Jazeera must not be allowed to drive a wedge between us and Qatar's Gulf neighbors.
Israel Is Heading Down Lebanon's Failed State Trajectory: Four Case Studies (Meirav Arlosoroff, Haaretz+) Looking at finance, health, employment and defense, Israel is on a concerning path.
Israeli Filmmakers Put AIPAC and U.S. Evangelicals Under the Spotlight – and Are Alarmed at What They Find (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+) Two new documentaries, 'Kings of Capitol Hill' and 'Til Kingdom Come,' offer a fascinating snapshot of the past, present and future of pro-Israel lobby groups in Washington.
Palestinian holy sites are crumbling under Israeli rule (Irit Segoli, 972mag) Israeli land grabs are preventing Palestinians from accessing Muslim shrines in the West Bank, with some falling into ruin or being deliberately destroyed.
Netanyahu Does Everything He Can to Stop Israelis From Reading (Racheli Edelman, Haaretz+) Not reading is fundamental for Israel's Prime Minister.

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