APN's daily news review from Israel - Wednesday November 11, 2020
Quote of the day:
“Biden was careful to be moderate in his approach, behavior and rhetoric, but not in his values. He didn’t
sell out his camp’s principles, kowtow to the rival side or make believe he was essentially a
—Shai Agmon writes that the Israeli center-left (Labor party and Kahol-Lavan) should learn from US President-elect Joe Biden not to ingratiate itself on right-wingers and not to give up on or flee from left-wing ideology: peace vs. settlements and matters of religion and state.*
You Must Be Kidding:
"Winking to the settlers? Kahol-Lavan works to legalize 1,700 homes in Judea and Samaria"
--Headline in Yedioth newspaper, which revealed that Defense Minister Benny Gantz, leader of the center-left Kahol-Lavan party, which seeks peace with the Palestinians, is working to legalize settlement homes built without Israeli government approval in the West Bank.**
"(Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership have) unfortunately not yet understood that the time has come to put away the excuses, return to the negotiating table, coordinate security and work together to create solutions...(they must) abandon policy illusions and act for another better reality for both peoples."
--At the Knesset, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, the leader of the center-left Kahol-Lavan party, accused the Palestinians of not acting for peace.**
- Attorney General Mendelblitt to High Court: Netanyahu must be required to act according to conflict of interests agreement
- Prime Minister: I did not neglect relations with the Democrats in the US
- The rate of positive testing is low, but the mystery is over the infection among ultra-Orthodox and Arabs // Amos Harel
- FDA gave approval to an emergency medicine similar to the treatment Trump received
- Contrary to the government position, the Knesset Constitution Committee approved a bill that will allow tourism in Eilat
- Trump announced to Congress his intention to sell F-35s to the UAE
- Netanyahu’s wink to MK Mansour Abbas inflames the crisis in the Joint List faction // Jack Khoury
- An arrangement between the IDF and rabbis of religious Zionism could prevent the integration of women in the ranks of the Armored Corps and the Engineering Corps
- Secretary General of PLO, Saeb Erekat, died from corona at age 65
- The woman hunter: The myth of gender division of ancient times was broken
- Moral stain // Haaretz Editorial
- Removing responsibility // Yehuda Atlas
- The fine line between art, protest and sexual harassment: Barak Cohen attacks in his first album one of the strongest people in Israel
- Professor from the Weizmann Institute believes that even without a vaccine it’s possible within nine months “to return to a fairly complete normalcy”
- Desperate - Ultra-Orthodox politicians pressured, government folded and Eilat against was abandoned (Hebrew)
- “Infection on the rise and we are making the mistakes of the last time” - Interview with Moshe Bar Siman-Tov, who led the corona battle in the first wave
- Lockdown known in advance // Chen Artzi-Srur (Hebrew)
- 50 stealth fighter jets, $23 billion (Hebrew)
- Bullying breaking news // Einav Schiff on (right-wing TV host) Avri Gilad's support for Trump's call that the US elections were stolen.
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
- War and peace - The approval for the normalization agreement between Israel and Bahrain again revealed a rift in the government
- US approved the sale of F-35s and defense systems to the UAE
- Business is not as usual - Knesset approved on first reading bill to open tourism in Eilat and Dead Sea, but require approval of Health Minister
- Tragedy in Mitzpeh Ramon - The metal bars dislodged and a 23-year-old fell to her death
- Corona: the damage remains - Loneliness of children and of elderly and the desperation of those working in tourism
- Hard line: Netanyahu’s sign to Biden // Ariel Kahana (Hebrew)
- IDF Intel warns: “Events in closed places in winter will lead to corona breakout”
- Gantz: “We are on the verge of elections”; Likud: “Show responsibility”
- Build-it-yourself law: Ikea decided to open its doors
- Pompeo: “There will be a smooth tranition to Trump’s second term”
- Fear in national soccer team for health of players ahead of friendly match with Norway
Top News Summary:
Pressure by the ultra-Orthodox scuttled a bill to allow Eilat and the Dead Sea to open for tourism. The Trump administration formally confirmed it was selling F-35 stealth jets to the United Arab Emirates. Yedioth pointed out that “Pompeo confirmed: ‘The stealth jets are in exchange for normalization,’” something Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had long denied. At the Knesset, where most most members voted to approve the Bahrain-Israel normalization agreement, Netanyahu found himself defending himself against accusations that he harmed Israel’s relations with US Democrats. In his defense, he even heaped praise on his relationship with former President Barak Obama, under whom Biden served as vice president. "With President Obama we reached the biggest aid package for Israel in history of $38 billion,” he said. But opposition leader MK Yair Lapid called him out on it, saying, “Netanyahu’s attempt to claim that he preserved good relations with the Democrats is embarrassing. His disconnect from what is happening in the US in recent years is so great that he doesn’t know what the Democrats and the new administration say about the person who established ‘Trump Heights’ [settlement in the Golan Heights] in the midst of a stormy US elections. Netanyahu took an uncalculated risk and endangered the special relationship between Israel and the US.” These were today's top stories in the Hebrew newspapers.
**In the plenum, both Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the Palestinians need to wake up and lower their demands. Netanyahu hinted that another Arab country is on the way to normalization with Israel. Gantz lectured the Palestinian leadership, saying it has “unfortunately not yet understood that the time has come to put away the excuses, return to the negotiating table, coordinate security and work together to create solutions…to abandon policy illusions and act for another better reality for both peoples.” But, Yedioth Hebrew ran an exclusive report that revealed that Gantz was working against that reality. According to the report, Gantz was advancing the Israeli legalization of 1700 settler homes that had been built around the West Bank without permission from the Defense Ministry. The list will include lands in Beitar Illit, Modi'in Illit, Ma'ale Adumim, Ariel, Yitzhar, Ateret, Halamish, Adora and Otniel settlements.
Later in the day, Gantz slammed Netanyahu and the Likud party for not passing the 2021 budget and said it was just a matter of time till the coalition government fell apart. (Also Maariv)
Also making news in the Hebrew media was not only the death of the most senior, if not the most eloquent, Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, but also the fight over eulogizing him. Erekat, who died yesterday of corona at the age of 67, had friendly relations with numerous Israeli right-wing and left-wing politicians and journalists, who yesterday expressed mourning on social media for his death. For that they earned scorn by some other politicians and journalists, and not surprisingly, by Yair Netanyahu, the prime minister’s son. Below are some posts and see the INTERVIEW section below for the translations of three interviews on 103FM with politicians and journalists who respected and reviled Erekat.
Tributes for Erekat poured in from right-wing and left-wing Israeli politicians present and past, from Arab ministers and a king, from Hamas, the Vatican and the UN Secretary General.
Former Likud minister, Kadimah chairwoman and peace negotiator, Tzipi Livni, wrote on Twitter:
“I’m saddened by the death of @ErakatSaeb. Saeb dedicated his life to his people. Reaching Peace is my destiny he used to say. Being sick, he texted me: “I’m not finished with what I was born to do”. My deepest condolences to the Palestinians and his family. He will be missed.”
After being slammed for eulogizing him, Tzipi Livni wrote again on Twitter:
"Hundreds of hours of negotiations I had with Saeb Erekat. We represented two different sides and there were disagreements between us, but the goal is common: to try to reach an agreement that will end the conflict between our peoples. And no, not all Palestinians are terrorists. Whoever makes generalizations and labels everyone that way deprives us of the ability to talk to the moderates with whom we can reach a future solution.”
“The death of Saeb Erekat is a sad day for all supporters of peace in Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Erekat, the 'man of peace,' was part of every process between Israel and the PA and fought to build real trust between Israelis and Palestinians until his last day.”
Yair Netanyahu on Twitter:
Just so you know, right now on Twitter, every left-wing journalist is mourning the death of the Palestinian terrorist who worked to destroy Israel, Saeb Erekat, and even writing about him "May his memory be blessed." Absolutely real, I'm not kidding. - Yair Netanyahu
Former Minister Shelly Yachimovich on Twitter:
"Saeb Erekat, who has now died in Israel, may be one of the last moderates of the Palestinians who advocate dialogue and the diplomatic path. I met him: He was a moderate, funny and intelligent man. He once said to me: ‘If you, Tzipi Livni or Zehava Galon were to lead Israel, there would already be peace. Whether he was right or not, I am sorry for his death and shares in the grief of his family."
Former presenter and Member of Knesset Yinon Magal commented on Shelly Yachimovich' eulogy for Erekat:
“About Trump, who loves Israel and makes peace, she said a few days ago: ‘Blessed are we who got rid of him.’ But she mourns the passing of a Erekat, an Israel-hater: ‘A moderate, amusing and intelligent man, I am sorry for his death.”
Mossi Raz, a former Knesset member on behalf of Meretz and a founder of Peace Now, wrote:
“I am sad about the death of Saeb Erekat, the gifted Palestinian negotiator. I first met with him 28 years ago at the home of the late Yossi Sarid (Meretz MK and minister) in Tel Aviv and have been following his career ever since. It is a pity he did not get to see his vision: two countries living in peace side by side… " (Maariv)
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert:
"His death caused me deep sorrow. For many years Erekat was the most prominent representative of the Palestinian camp who consistently and courageously advocated a peace agreement with the State of Israel. I never doubted Erekat's desire for true peace with Israel, when he fought on behalf of his people and for them. I offer my condolences to his kind wife, his family and the Palestinian people whom he has honorably represented." (Ynet Hebrew)
Haaretz+ shares Erekat’s most impactful columns in the paper from between 1955-2020.
- Israel's Top Court Hears Petition Against Plea Deal for Soldier Who Shot Two Innocent Palestinians - Palestinian families appeal ‘unreasonable’ three-month community service sentence for soldier whose case is supported by former top army brass. (Haaretz+)
- Property Vandalized and Stolen, Racist Graffiti Sprayed Near West Bank Village - Perpetrators cut irrigation hoses, stole work tools and water containers, and punctured the tires of a tractor, according to Israeli human rights group. (Haaretz+)
- UNRWA says it has run out of funds, cannot pay employees - Under US President Donald Trump, Washington cut all US funding to UNRWA in September 2018 over criticism the agency perpetuates the Palestinian refugee issue and incites against Israel in its student textbooks. (Israel Hayom)
- As Town Near Jerusalem Expands, This Palestinian Village Could Lose Its Spring - The plan to build 570 residential units is being contested in a rare alliance between nature conservationists and the residents of Wadi Fukin. (Haaretz+)
- Security alert due to anniversary of (Israeli) assassination of Bahaa Abu al-'Ata - IDF decided to raise military preparedness and deploy Iron Dome batteries ahead of one-year anniversary of assassination of the senior Islamic Jihad official today and tomorrow. Moreover, there has been a change in the runways at Ben Gurion Airport, whereby planes are transferred to different runways. The assassination, which also killed his wife, led to two very tense days of escalation in the south, during which about 450 rockets were launched at Israel - about 60% of them were launched into open areas and about 90% were intercepted. (Maariv and VIDEO of assassination, Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
- Netanyahu Must Honor Conflict-of-interest Deal, Israel's Attorney General Tells Court - Avichai Mendelblit argues the agreement, meant to guarantee that the prime minister does not use his power to affect proceedings against him, must be binding. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
- Israeli Mayor, a Former Likud Minister, Arrested for Corruption - 12 others were arrested alongside the four-time minister, who is being charged with accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust, conspiracy, money laundering and tax offenses. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
- Contrary to the Shin Bet’s position: the Prime Minister's Office upgraded the vehicles of Netanyahu's sons - Recently, Yair and Avner Netanyahu's vehicles have been upgraded, at a cost of hundreds of thousands of shekels, while demanding significant protection and equipment. The background to the demand: Demonstrations against the Prime Minister in Balfour. (Maariv)
- Netanyahu's Coalition Whip Demands Protesters in Front of His House Pay Him or Be Sued - Likud's Miki Zohar seeks 100,000 shekels each from two protesters and a woman who shared a video of a recent demonstration, along with an apology. (Haaretz+)
- Deputy head of Department for Investigating Police was in line to be dismissed - and then he applied for the position of state attorney - The prosecution offered Moshe Saada retirement on improved terms to avoid firing him in official circumstances of "non-compliance." On the day he was due to respond, Saada announced his candidacy for the position of State Attorney, and the State Attorney's Office decided to suspend the retirement process. Some Netanyahu supporters seem to be pushing for Saada, who has gotten into the news for clashing with Attorney General Mendelblitt, something that could endear him to the Likud. (Haaretz Hebrew)
- Joint Arab List outraged at MK's 'alliance' with Netanyahu - Ra'am party leader MK Mansour Abbas says cooperation with the prime minister and the Likud allow him to secure budget funds and resources for the neglected Arab sector. (Israel Hayom)
- Israeli Army Says It Downed Hezbollah Drone That Crossed From Lebanon - Drone was monitored from the moment it entered Israeli airspace and posed no danger, military said. (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
- U.S. Company That Has an Agreement With Israel Reports Progress on COVID Vaccine - Arcturus announces its coronavirus vaccine will be ready by the first quarter of 2021. Singapore and Israel are currently its two only customers. (Haaretz+)
- Zoom Sets Up Offices in Israel, Eyeing Big Local Customers - Zoom, which has a staff in Israel of just 3, is interested in expanding its operations to get more large Israeli firms to pay for their video-conferencing tech. (Haaretz+)
- Israeli Online Advertising Company IronSource Planning IPO at $6b Valuation - One of Israel’s biggest independent internet companies is currently valued at $1.7 billion and has been profitable for more than a decade. (Haaretz+)
- With Utah standing in for Israel, season 2 of TV series 'The Chosen' now shooting - "Fans will be able to walk with Jesus as he ventures into Samaria, which will be a very exciting period," says executive producer Derral Eves. (Israel Hayom)
- Iran frees 157 arrested during anti-government protests - The release came as the United States appeared poised to impose sanctions on Iranians involved in a violent crackdown on the protesters. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
- U.S. imposes Iran-related sanctions on individuals, companies - Treasury Department accuses entities of facilitating procurement of sensitive goods for Iran Communication Industries - an Iranian military firm blacklisted by Washington and the EU. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Iranian leader: American people have joined world against 'bully' Trump - The US presidential election results show that a country which is constantly wielding threats, sanctions and weapons must be pursuing a misled foreign policy, says Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
- Iran, Lebanon to Impose Lockdowns, Curfews as Virus Surges - Iran imposes nightly curfew in dozens of cities and Lebanon prepares for two-week lockdown as infection rates soar. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
Mourning Saeb Erekat: The Indefatigable, Media Savvy Palestinian Peace Negotiator Who Rejected Violence (Daniel Kurtzer, Aaron David Miller, Martin Indyk, Robert Malley, Dennis Ross, Jonathan Schwartz and Toni Verstandig, Haaretz) Together, we mourn the passing of Saeb Erekat and extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife Niemeh and his four children Salam, Dalal, Ali and Muhammed. They should be proud of who he was and what he accomplished in his life, through his decades of dedicated involvement in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, even though he would not live to see his greatest hope realized – a two state solution in which an independent Palestinian state would live in peace beside a secure Israel. Saeb was a unique figure among the Palestinian officials with whom we dealt: Confidante of both Arafat and Abbas, analytical, sometimes inflexible – and one of the few remaining true believers in a peaceful two state solution.
Time to turn over a new leaf (Sarah N. Stern, Israel Hayom) Saeb Erekat and those who mourn him represent the past. It would serve all of us well to bury this chapter of failed diplomacy along with him.
74 Palestinians Just Lost Their Home. Does Anybody Care? (Haaretz Editorial) The scope of the destruction wreaked by the Civil Administration November 3 in Khirbet Humsa, a Palestinian shepherding community in the Jordan Valley, was so great that a large delegation of European diplomats went there to see the devastation with their own eyes. The village is in an area that Israel has declared a firing zone. In terms of the number of people made homeless, it was the Civil Administration’s largest single demolition operation in 10 years: 11 families – 74 people, including 41 children. In terms of the number of structures razed, it was the biggest since 2016. Dozens of shacks, animal pens, water tanks, watering troughs and solar panels – all destroyed by Civil Administration employees…
A Palestinian patriot and man of peace (Yossi Beilin, Israel Hayom) Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat was a man who believed that peace and coordination with Israel are an important part of the realization of the Palestinian national interest. While he had very clear principles and adhered to the idea of a Palestinian state, he always understood the importance of diplomatic compromise.
It is vital to acknowledge whom we are dealing with (Dan Schueftan, Israel Hayom) The dangers Yossi Beilin raises in arguing for Israel to make territorial concessions are valid concerns. But we must not make the mistake of thinking the Palestinians will ever be partners in peace.
Netanyahu Needs One More Special Gift From Trump (Yossi Melman, Haaretz+) Jonathan Pollard, who spied for Israel in the United States, has suffered more than enough for his adventurous tendencies and should be allowed to move to Israel.
A smart move: Netanyahu and Rivlin did right by waiting to congratulate Biden (Avraham Tirosh, Maariv) It is not difficult to understand this "delay,” or rather this caution, and they should even be welcomed. Netanyahu and Rivlin had to be sure beyond any shadow of a doubt that he had indeed won definitively, completely.
Netanyahu Inflames Crisis Within Joint List Alliance of Arab Parties (Jack Khoury, Haaretz+) Parties meet amid internal rift and public criticism as prime minister seen as attempting to drive a wedge between them, while hoping an election is not in the offing.
MK Mansour Abbas is the Shasnik of Arab society (Fadi Kalada, Ynet Hebrew) The chairman of Ra'am [a part of the Joint List faction - OH], who is loyal to the pragmatism of the Islamic movement, believes that concern for the well-being of his public justifies joining the government. Almost any government. This may indicate the end of the Joint List.
Biden Will Soon Choose a Secretary of State. The Impact on Israel Could Be Dramatic (Allison Kaplan Sommer, Haaretz+) President-elect Joe Biden has no shortage of contenders vying to be his secretary of state. Will he opt for a diplomatic or political appointee, and how will they be greeted in Jerusalem?
Israel between 2 presidents (Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Israel Hayom) Israel must begin preparing itself for the incoming US administration, rather than exploiting the remaining months of Trump's presidency to work towards goals that will alienate it.
Biden Offers Israel's Peace Camp an Opportunity, Nothing More (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) For all his craziness, Donald Trump was a consistent president. With him, Israel always knew where it stood…It’s true that he’s crass, a habitual liar, corrupt, a swindler, a man who doesn’t know how to spell the term “human rights” – so what? He’s family, a product of the House of Netanyahu. Biden, on the other hand, is already beginning to be seen as a threat.
*What the Israeli Left Should Learn From Biden's Victory (Shai Agmon, Haaretz+) It’s hard to believe, but once again we hear the eternal calls by the Israeli center-leftists to move closer to the center. Yes, that failed political strategy that has accompanied the Israeli left from the beginning of the past decade to this day is making a comeback on the coattails of the important win by U.S. Democrats. Biden, the centrists claim, overcame his party’s radical wing and promoted a statesmanlike stance that allowed many Republican voters to cross party lines and propel him into the White House. There are two types of centrism…The second type is the kind that has crushed the Israeli left for the past two decades where camp’s chiefs have chosen to fold all their ideological flags, refused to talk about peace or the existential threat the settlement enterprise poses to Israel. They’ve put a kippa-for-show in their pockets, kept silent on matters of religion and state and shunned their political allies. There is no connection between their centrism and Biden’s strategy. A political camp that gives up its values and is self-effacing when confronting its rival will end up losing the election in the short run and sooner or later disappear from the map. That’s how we’ve come to a situation where those who traditionally vote for left-wing parties are seriously considering voting for right-winger Naftali Bennett. If even the leaders of the left are disavowing the values of the left, and the battle is solely for proper administration and against corruption, Bennett is also fine…
Trumpism without Trump (Sagi Barmak, Israel Hayom) Under Donald Trump, the Republican party has broken with conservatism in the traditional sense of the world and replaced it with a kind of right-wing nationalism. This is the future of the American Right.
Under Trump, Israel became the GOP's Mideast branch (Tzipi Shmilovich, Yedioth/Ynet) The Jewish state has been brainwashed into a cult of an evil and immoral man, adored by racists and Nazis, who stands in complete contrast to everything Judaism is and what Jews strived for after Holocaust.
Hardline: Netanyahu's hint to Biden (Ariel Kahana, Israel Hayom) Since Joe Biden's victory in the US presidential election, the assessements market has been bursting with rumors about the expected nature of relations between Israel and the new administration. But it seems that one important question has not been asked, and that is: which line will Netanyahu lead against Biden. Will he soften, flee from confrontation and give up only to prevent friction, or will he insist on what is important to Israel, even at the cost of a conflict, even with a new government? Because the media discourse in Israel is distorted, it does not reflect Israel's current position as expressed inside the rooms. Thus, for example, Netanyahu's historic speech in Congress against the nuclear agreement with Iran is presented to this day mainly as an act that damaged relations with the Democratic Party. The fact that that bold speech prevented the approval of the nuclear deal in the Senate, shattered the legitimacy of the deal in the US, thus paving the way for Donald Trump's withdrawal from the deal and eventually brought about new peace agreements with Arab countries. This whole flow chart is barely heard or broadcast to citizens of Israel. With the exception of this newspaper and a few other media outlets, there is nowhere to read or watch these things. Well, the distorted appearance in the Israeli media is not the reality as it is. In reality, Israel will not confuse the trivial (minor damage to relations with some Democrats) with the main thing (doing whatever it takes to prevent Israel from facing existential danger, that is: Iranian nuclear weapons). This position does not belong solely to the Prime Minister. This is the professional perception of different levels in different ministries, without any political affiliation. If this perception is put to the test, it will be expressed where necessary. In other words, no one will deceive himself - in the US or in Israel - that the lesson in Jerusalem from 2015 is an escape from confrontation just because of the unpleasantness involved. Israel, no doubt, will stand its ground. This, as stated, is the lesson of the professional echelons - but it can also be echoed in the words of the Prime Minister yesterday in the Knesset. Netanyahu has been increasingly inclined to look back recently. This is how he described his long journey at the top of Israel's political elite. “When I was a deputy minister during the Republican administration of President Bush Sr., I was firmly confronted with pressure exerted on us by the Secretary of State (James Baker; etc.). As Prime Minister during the Democrat administration of President Clinton, I also stood firm there for our interests. During the administration of President Bush Jr., when we were under pressure to stop Operation Defensive Shield, I traveled to Washington as a citizen and spoke with 50 senators from both parties to ward off the pressure. During President Obama's administration, when we faced the demands for dangerous concessions to the Palestinians and the nuclear agreement with Iran, I did not hesitate to stand firm on our vital interests." For Netanyahu, this is his way and his legacy. Based on this history, there is reason to believe that what matters to him, Netanyahu will also face the Biden administration.
Gambling on Wrong Vaccine Is the Least of Israel's COVID Worries (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Latent infection rates among ultra-Orthodox and Arabs, bewildering double standards on education and high turnover among senior health officials during the coronavirus crisis all reveal the government's skewed priorities.
Israel should at least thank Donald Trump (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) The outgoing president can and should be criticized, not least for his refusal to acknowledge the results of a democratic election, but we must not forget the good things he has done for Israel and the stability of our region.
Likud MK Sharren Haskel: "Saeb Erekat supported terrorism"; Former Meretz party chairwoman, Zehava Galon: “People are dancing on the blood of the dead.”
The news of the death of the senior Palestinian Authority official caused a stir, after condolences were issued on the left, and the right condemned it. 103FM interviewed Likud MK Haskel and former Meretz chairwoman Zehava Galon. (Interviewed on 103FM/Maariv)
Interviewers: Do you manage to understand the difficulty for parts of Israeli society from participating in the grief over the death of Saeb Erekat?"
Zehava Galon: “I admit that I feel absolutely terrible hearing the words of Sharren Heskel and others, who in my eyes are just repulsive, dancing on the blood of the dead. He died at the age of 65, he lived under Israeli occupation from the age of 12 and yet insisted on seeing Israelis, who occupy his country and homeland, as human beings. I listen to all those who curse him and not all of them are human beings, I must say. No, not all of them are human beings. This is a demonstration of opacity. What did they expect? That he would love Israel?”
Interviewer: Nevertheless, he praised terrorists, he was one of those who pushed the false narrative of a massacre in Jenin and he supported a boycott of Israel.
GALON: ”I did not hear him praise terrorists, I met him several times and heard him talk about opposition to terrorism, he was very frustrated by the situation. I wrote yesterday that he belongs to the speaking generation of the Palestinian leadership. He fought for the state he thought they deserved and I support there be a Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel. He did not act according to the standards that Israelis expect him to act and he was not our enemy. I hear people like Rafi Peretz and others who live in the settlements and they do not admit that Israel is not at war with the Palestinian Authority, but rather in a certain conflict and it allows them to live there.”
Interviewer: (Far right-wing MK) Rafi Peretz mentioned the Oslo attacks.
GALON: ”I suggest to Rafi Peretz to remember the victims of the settlements who pay the price for the fact that in the end we did not reach an agreement with the Palestinians and whoever thinks that what Netanyahu sells to us, that the paradigm has changed and it is peace for peace and not land for peace - which was what Erekat believed in - he is wrong and misleading."
Interviewer: When we talk about Saeb Erekat, there is something confusing about his character that on the one hand, he made very strong statements about the Palestinian struggle and on the other hand, he is a polite and kind and soft-spoken man, and maybe that is what confuses some of the Israeli public who do not know how to accept this.
GALON: ”I think you describe an accurate description of Erekat with his fluent English. He is not Arafat, he is not the Palestinian you expected to see, that the Israeli public expected to see. Erekat is educated, polite, struggling, determined. Your description is reminiscent of Prime Minister Netanyahu."
Interviewer: Are you comparing them?
GALON: “I compare the fluency and ability to speak and then the way it is perceived."
Sharren Haskel: I want to respond to some things said by Zehava. I want to remind you that Erekat was born during the Jordanian occupation and that he blamed Ehud Barak for the failure of Camp David. The claims that he did not support terrorism are delusional because he stated that at all costs they will continue the payments of the salaries of the terrorists who carried out terrorist attacks, so to say that never happened is a bit far-fetched.”
Interviewers: Every leader speaks to his people. In this case of the F35, Netanyahu spoke in one way when on the White House lawns and in another way here.
HASKEL: "With all due respect, the two languages spoken by the Palestinian leadership are far-reaching. On the one hand, in fluent English, they know how to speak peace, and in Arabic, when spoken to, they whip up war and encourage terrorism."
Interviewer: That's what they want to hear.
HASKEL: ”It could be that this is what the Palestinians wanted to hear from Erekat, it shows and proves how much he did not have the courage to promote peace or coexistence or commitment between us Palestinians."
Interviewer: Should he have been referred to Hadassah Hospital to be treated?
HASKEL: "I think the very fact that we provided him with medical treatment after all the BDS speeches and activities against Israel and in an attempt to prevent the Palestinians themselves from receiving medical treatment in Israel only proved his hypocrisy and that of the entire leadership."
Interviewer: One last word, Zehava, we are at the anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat. It has been 16 years since the leader passed away, not much has changed.
GALON: "First of all, Saeb Erekat belongs to the generation of the speakers, as I said. I do not mark this day and I did not remember it. Arafat was a partner in dialogue with the Israeli governments to try to reach an agreement and, unfortunately, it did not work. I want to say something maybe bigger. There is an asymmetrical situation (here): there is an occupier and there is an occupied and we can come and accuse the Palestinians and most of them rightly, that they are not blameless. But Netanyahu also met with Erekat and with Abu Mazen and with Arafat, and there will be no choice, they will have to meet with the Palestinian leadership because they are not going anywhere.”
[Right-wing journalist] Shimon Riklin on Erekat's death: "I have contempt for those who mourn him"
The journalist spoke with Yinon Magal and Ben Caspit on 103FM about the Israelis who eulogized the Palestinian Authority official: "Does it make sense to eulogize those who opposed the existence of the state and funded terrorists?" asked Riklin. (103FM/Maariv)
Meretz Chairman Nitzan Horowitz: "Whoever attacks Erekat cannot talk about peace." 103FM hosts (right-wing) Erel Segal and Avi Issacharoff interviewed Horowitz, who said about PLO Secretary General, Saeb Erekat: "He was a talented man whose negotiations were the project of his life." (Interviewed on 103FM/Maariv)
Segal: J You wrote that Erekat was a man of peace. You see that it created a wave of harsh and sharp reactions. Many Israelis were very upset by the eulogy.
HOROWITZ: ”I really do not understand why and I am not pretending to be naive. I know their positions but Saeb Erekat for those who know a bit about diplomatic negotiations over the last 30 years knows that he has moderate positions, supported a peace agreement with Israel, he wanted dialogue. Whoever attacks such a man and says it is impossible to even talking to someone like Saeb Erekat does not want and can not talk to anyone about peace. And the Israeli interest, in my opinion, is peace with the Palestinians."
Segal: He is an enemy.
HOROWITZ: ”He's not an enemy."
Segal: He congratulated the martyrs and the murderer of Minister (Rehavam) Gandhi.
HOROWITZ: “I know him personally so all these stories do not affect me. I sat with him for many hours over over years, including at difficult times, and I hear and I know. I express sorrow, because he was a serious talented man who contributed to the negotiations and saw it as his life project. There was a lot of opposition. from Palestinian side to this. He stood up to it sometimes bravely and paid personal prices, and I certainly express sorrow over his death. Personally, he was a friend and I enjoyed talking to him. A sharp, witty and wise man. I wish some of our diplomats were at the level of Erekat.”
Issacharoff: He was no small provocateur to say the least.
HOROWITZ: “The man was Palestinian and not Israeli, and he acted for the Palestinians and not for the Israelis. But he understood that the right way to act for them is through an agreement with Israel and not through terrorism and this understanding is very critical and important. He wasn’t exactly crazy about us, of course, he was neither Jewish nor Israeli nor Zionist. He was a proud Palestinian and did what he could to advance the Palestinian interest but not with the intention of destroying Israel."
Segal: He did not recognize a Jewish state.
HOROWITZ: ”There are Palestinians who do not recognize Israel and there are Israelis who do not recognize Palestinians and support their expulsion. I know the voices both here and there. The question is what prevails over what. A person who supports peace sees the common interest in two states divided. That’s not easy for them or for us. But there is no choice, we have to share this land so we can both live.”
Issacharoff: Erekat and Abu Mazen said each time, “Why do we need to define you.’
Segal: Anyone who underestimates the power of ideas and does not understand that the Palestinians are unwilling to accept the Jewish people in its land, and therefore must that we fight for this point, is at the breaking point.
HOROWITZ: ”There is a disregard for reality. Because what were the Oslo Accords [if not recognition of Israel - OH]? Before that there was mutual recognition between Israel, they recognized us as the State of Israel. Yes, the existential conflict between us and them that was the greatness of the agreements and should have been continued for a two state solution. This is the solution I believe in, the optimal one, not the perfect one, but the optimal one."
Interviewer: If there will be an election will the story return to play significantly? What do you think will happen with Biden's entry? Will the peace process with the Palestinians return?
HOROWITZ: ”I hope they do it and they intervene and bring back the peace process. I hope. To say it will happen soon? I'm not sure the Middle East will be at the top of their agenda, but there certainly will not be the attitude of Trump who tried to push the Palestinians completely out of the picture and I think that was a mistake. As far as I have heard, Biden is committed to two states.”
Segal: Do you support the IDF occupying the Strip?
HOROWITZ: ”No, I do not support the IDF occupying the Gaza Strip."
Segal: So how will you talk to them?
"Israel has ways, including financial and other means. Israel is not a weak factor in the region. There are means to put pressure on Hamas and get the Palestinian Authority more active in Gaza. I believe that our partner is the PA."
Segal: I'm more realistic than you.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.