APN's daily news review from Israel - Thursday November 19, 2020
You Must Be Kidding:
Inspectors from Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank impounded cows belonging to a Palestinian resident of the northern Jordan Valley on the grounds that he had been grazing them in a nature reserve. However, the same Umm Zuka nature reserve has been used for grazing hundreds of cows by settlers of an unauthorized outpost in the same area.***
- The submarines (corruption) affair: Gantz leans towards establishing a probe committee
- Netanyahu did not rush to condemn the right-wing demonstration in Caesarea. Not by chance // Yossi Verter
- A warning signal to Iran: Israel bombed Iranian headquarters in Syria
- Vaccine distribution committee lacks information about vaccines for the dilemmas it faces
- Withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan: Headache for the local government and for Biden // NYT
- The manager of the goat farm taught the children English, but then the policeman arrived
- The freeze plan // Aluf Benn on solution to political crisis
- Another victory like this // Amira Hass on the way the Palestinian Authority renewed coordination with Israel
- Battle over establishing new marinas is not just between rich and poor, but also between nature lovers and its destroyers
- Hadassah women’s (organization) wants to appoint (former MK) Dalia Itsik as chairwoman. CEO Rothstein doesn’t hide his opinion: “It’s delusional”
- The judge who releases violent man - Yedioth expose: The revolving door for criminals in the courtroom of Judge Ziyad Salah
- Outrageous silence // Chen Artzi-Sror
- Demonstrators in support of Netanyahu scorned a bereaved family
- He’s the son of us all // Eliezer Shkeidi
- Shameful // Amichai Attali
- Deni Avdija’s big night - To be chosen for NBA draft
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
- Show of hatred - Right-wing demonstration at neighbors of Prime Minister’s home in Caesarea, because they “host” anti-Netanyahu protesters
- A puddle of poison // Ben Caspit
- The night of (Israeli basketball players) Madar and Avdija (to be selected for NBA draft)
- Casualties from Israel’s air strike in Syria
- Bahrain: Peace will benefit both peoples
- The meeting is a message to Biden // Amnon Lord
- The situation in the north is changing // Yoav Limor
- Prime Minister in message to Teheran: Whoever attacks - will cause people to die
- Fire and remembrance - Six years after losing his wife in the Carmel (forest fire), Amit Klein was caught himself in a fire. Afterward he joined the firefighters
- The incident in Casesarea: That wasn’t a protest and that isn’t the right-wing // Ofir Dayan
- Netanyahu: “On the verge of an agreement to increase the number of doses of vaccines that Israel will receive from Moderna”
- Corona cabinet approved: Up to 10 people in a shop
- State Comptroller will probe the flood at the Hatzor military base; 8 jets were damaged in the incident
Top News Summary:
A storm broke out after Netanyahu supporters verbally attacked a family whose son was killed in the Second Lebanon War, an Israeli teen waited to hear if he were picked for the NBA (and after the newspapers were printed, he was!) and discussion of the vaccines continued making top stories in the Hebrew newspapers. Interestingly, the Israeli Air Force attack on a site in Iran was not a big story. Yedioth focused on violence against women. And a look at the numerous reports about protests revealed that comparisons to Nazis has become popular.
Demonstrations and Comparisons to Nazis:
A storm broke out after Netanyahu supporters verbally attacked a bereaved family that hosted anti-Netanyahu protesters. The Farkash family, whose son was killed in the Second Lebanon War, lives next door to Netanyahu’s home in Caesarea. The pro-Netanyahu supporters were filmed standing outside the Farkash home shouting that “Losing a son doesn't give you the right” to host anti-Netanyahu supporters. Meanwhile, the trial began of an Ethiopian woman who threw an apple at the Netanyahu during an election campaign rally in Netanyahu last year and compared him to Adolf Hitler. Sadi Ben Shitrit was filmed saying, “There is no forgiveness for a crook, there is no forgiveness for destruction and abuse against us, the citizens…In the 1930s, there was an enemy of the Jews, he was in Germany, and he behaved just like you." The apple missed Netanyahu and hit a Likud activist sitting behind him. Ben Shitrit is on trial for attempting to attack a civil servant and for harming a person. (Israel Hayom Hebrew) Yet, Yair Netanyahu, the son of the prime minister, compared Israel’s kibbutz movement to Nazi Germany and other totalitarian regimes. “Kibbutzim are something that doesn’t exist outside of North Korea. We always know how ideas for utopian societies end. In the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, there was a desire to create exemplary societies and utopian societies. It never ends well, the desire to engineer human society.” On Thursday, CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour invoked Kristallnacht, the 1938 Nazi pogrom, in comparing President Donald Trump to the Nazis. The Israeli government has called on her to apologize, which she did. And a Boston-area synagogue equated Trump post-election actions to Nazi Germany, writing in its newsletter: "On this week when we mark the 82nd anniversary of Kristallnacht, we Jews know that when assertions are made by authoritarians that go unchallenged, when ordinary citizens shrug and do nothing, or worse, are co-opted by those looking to undo democracy, the gravest harm ensues.”
The Israeli Air Force killed between 3-10 people when it struck a site in Syria, which Israeli intel said was the military base of an Iranian unit that paid locals to plant explosives on the Syria-Israel border in the Golan Heights. In a rare move, Israel admitted it had made the attack and it released footage from of it. Meanwhile, the US imposed more Iran-related sanctions and the UN said that Iran fed uranium gas into advanced centrifuges underground. Today, Iran's Revolutionary Guard launched an aircraft-carrying ship.
The visit to Israel by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been favorable to Netanyahu and the right-wing. At a joint press conference Wednesday with Netanyahu and the visiting Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Pompeo praised Israel’s normalization agreements with the Gulf countries and said they leave Iran ‘more isolated than ever.’ Al-Zayani said the normalization agreements “will pave the way to a dawn of peace for the entire Middle East.” Israel and Bahrain agreed to the mutual opening of embassies.
Today, Pompeo said that the US will take action against the BDS - Israel boycott movement, which the Trump administration considers ‘anti-Semitic.’ Many boycotters of Israel, only boycott things related to the settlements. Pompeo not only visited a West Bank settlement, the first top US diplomat to do so - breaking from previous administrations' policy not to visit land Israel occupied in the 1967 war, but he declared that the US will mark settlement goods as 'Made in Israel.’ Israel's right-wing saw it as "doing justice," while the left claimed it was a “de facto annexation step...that strengthens our enemies in the world.” (Maariv) Senators Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Kelly Loeffler were the ones who suggested the idea in a wrote a letter to US President Donald Trump asking him to label products made in settlements as “Made in Israel.” The Palestinian Liberation Organization denounced the call as “outrageous.”
Interestingly, the Palestinian Authority (PA) made a number of moves this week that are part of efforts to build bridges with the incoming Biden administration. On Tuesday, the PA announced it was renewing coordination with Israel and it was reportedly considering cutting down stipends to families of prisoners in Israeli prisons. Moreover, PA officials said they will send envoys back to Bahrain and the UAE, after recalling them three months for normalizing relations with Israel.
- Israeli Settlers, Soldiers Assault Palestinian Minor and his Father in Hebron - A crowd of illegal colonists physically attacked a Palestinian minor, identified as Haytham Abu Aisha, 15, in the Tel Rumeida area in central Hebron, part of what is known as H2. When the boy’s father, Tayseer, tried to protect his child, Israeli soldiers struck the man in the back. (IMEMC)
- Protected by soldiers, Israeli settlers infringe and work on Palestinian land in north of the West Bank - Settlers from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar trespassed on Palestinian land in the eastern part of Urif village and plowed the land in order to sow it. The Israeli army gave cover to the settlers as they infringed and plowed the land, which often leads to taking it over. (WAFA)
- The UK says Israeli construction in the occupied West Bank a violation of international law - United Kingdom yesterday condemned Israeli settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, particularly a plan to build over 1200 units in a new settlement between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, saying they violate international law and calling for suspending them. (WAFA)
- **Israel Impounds Palestinian’s Cows Grazing on Nature Reserve, Ignores Settlers’ Cows - Family that owns the cattle says it hasn’t been able to access its pasture area since illegal settler outposts were built nearby, and that settlers accompanied inspectors. (Haaretz+)
- Israeli University to Give Credits to Students Who Work With Far-right Group - Ben-Gurion University of the Negev will be giving two academic credits to students who volunteer with the right-wing movement Im Tirtzu, which aims to strengthen and promote 'Zionist values in Israel.’ A significant part of its activity is battling lecturers with left-wing views. (Haaretz+)
- Switzerland to continue its $44 million annual support for UNRWA in 2021–2022 - At its meeting yesterday, the Swiss Federal Council decided to continue to provide the same level of support to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) for the next two years. (WAFA)
- OCHA: In one month, Israel targeted 47 Palestinian-owned structures, displacing 41 people, affecting 1200 others - The number does not include the demolition on November 3 of 83 structures in the Bedouin community of Humsa al-Bqai’a, in the northern Jordan Valley, displacing 73 people, including 41 children, which the United Nations considered as the largest number of people displaced in a single incident since March 2016, and the largest number of structures demolished in a single incident since the UN office in the occupied Palestinian territory, OCHA, started monitoring demolitions in 2009. (WAFA)
- Israeli forces order stop-construction work on a house in the north of the West Bank - Israeli forces handed a local resident a notice ordering him to halt the construction work on his house in Beit Awwa town, under the pretext of being built too close to the separation wall. (WAFA)
- Marking World Children’s Day, PPS says Israel detained 400 Palestinian minors since start of year - Palestinian Prisoner Society said 170 minors have received prison sentences and are currently held in three prisons around the country. (WAFA)
- IDF tests its victory concept in latest war drill - "Lethal Arrow" exercise, held as part of the military's 2020 training program, includes increased use of fighter jets, attack helicopters and other aircraft, coupled with a surge in ground military traffic. (Israel Hayom)
- Gantz Nears Decision on Inquiry Committee to Probe Netanyahu Associates' Submarine Affair - Kahol Lavan sees the potential move as a way to pressure Netanyahu over Israel's stalled state budget, a freeze on senior appointments and threats of an early election. (Haaretz+)
- Israeli Ministers Threaten Pushback Against Controversial Yad Vashem Chairman Nomination - Gantz’s party threatens to block the appointment of former far-right politician until an agreement is reached with Netanyahu’s Likud on other top positions in the public service still waiting to be filled. (Haaretz+)
- Palestinians Are Concerned as West Bank and Gaza Hit COVID-19 Records - Amid 1,068 new daily cases – the highest number yet – the Palestinian Authority and Hamas are making do in part with a lockdown of institutions and businesses that violate health restrictions. (Haaretz+ and WAFA)
- Rights group: Israel excluding at-risk Arab communities from emergency COVID-19 food security aid - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel has sent an urgent letter to Israel’s interior minister demanding he revokes a policy that excludes at-risk populations – notably Bedouin citizens of Israel living in unrecognized villages in the Naqab – from receiving COVID-19 food security grants which are conditional upon one’s determined eligibility for municipal property tax rebates. But citizens who live in unrecognized communities do not fall under any municipal jurisdiction so are unable to obtain food assistance. (WAFA)
- MK Ayman Odeh as you have never heard him: "Police, mow them down!” - The chairman of the Joint List delivered a speech from the bottom of his heart in the Knesset against the phenomenon of crime in the Arab sector, and called for a harsher punishment against people possessing illegal weapons: “You give it to them! Mow their face, mow the face of organized crime. That’s what we want. Can we be any clearer than that? We want to live in a society without weapons.” After the debate, Odeh and Minister of Justice Avi Nissenkorn gave a joint statement, in which they discussed the bill initiated in recent days by Odeh for harsher punishment for the illegal possession of weapons. Nissenkorn added, “The eradication of violence in Arab society and in Israeli society as a whole is for me an extremely important national task. The phenomenon of illegal possession of weapons has in recent years become a real scourge of the state and despite the efforts of the system, the existing enforcement mechanisms do not provide a satisfactory answer.” (Maariv and News1)
- Tel Aviv Is Costlier Than New York, Economist Ranking Finds - Worldwide Cost of Living Survey puts Israel’s commercial center at fifth place in global ranking. Last year, Tel Aviv ranked seventh. (Haaretz+)
- Ivanka Trump’s Former Best Friend Scorched Her in a Brutal Vanity Fair Essay - In a widely talked about Vanity Fair essay published Tuesday, journalist Lysandra Ohrstrom details her long and close friendship with Ivanka Trump. (Haaretz+)
- Saudi Arabia takes aim at Muslim Brotherhood before Democrats take over in Washington - Riyadh worries Democrats will question human rights record repression. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Iraq, Saudi Arabia reopen key border crossing for first time in decades - The Arar crossing was shuttered in 1990s, following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait after which Riyadh cut all ties with Iraq. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- McConnell breaks with Trump over plan to cut troop levels in Afghanistan, Iraq - Trump's decision triggered warnings from critics who say it will undermine security and hurt fragile peace talks with the Taliban. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Bipartisan Efforts Aiming to Halt Trump's Multibillion Arms Sale to UAE - The proposed deal has circumvented normal channels, and has elicited rare opposition across the aisle, with four resolutions condemning Trump's last-ditch attempt to push through the $23 billion sale. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
Chateau Occupation: How Settlers’ Red Wines Are Blurring the Green Line
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to a settlement winery this week reflects how the humble grape has proved an unlikely secret weapon in settlers’ efforts to normalize the occupation. Plus, how good are Psagot wines? Five wine aficionados put four of them to the test. (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+)
Netanyahu's Silence on His Supporters' Sickening Action Is Even More Malicious Than His Words (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) The prime minister issued a belated and meager condemnation of a demonstration outside the house of a bereaved family accused of opposing him. But just look at the organizer: What else would you expect?…The naïve among us who were wondering about the meaning of the prime minister’s silence got their answer on his son Yair’s Twitter account: “The Farkash family hosts anarchists on their roof every week. They yell and curse the prime minister, even mentioning his deceased brother, Yoni,” he tweeted at 10:26. “But the right to demonstrate in the other direction? Heaven forbid! They’re saints.”…We already know that Yair dictates the tone. He’s the real head of Netanyahu’s government. His attitude is combative and uncompromising, and his father obeys. Otherwise, testify veterans acquainted with the doings at Balfour Street, he gets hell when he comes home. As noted, only hours later did someone release their grip and the anticipated response showed up.
It is doubtful whether after his departure it will be possible to correct what he has wrought here (Ben Caspit, Maariv) It always starts and ends with him - he is threatened, persecuted, cursed. Netanyahu forgets that he is the prime minister, that this is part of the job - and he is dissolving the glue that still unites us here…Puddle of poison: At first they tried to say he was "planted". Then they tried to explain that he "did not belong". He himself said he was not part of the demonstrations, he only came when something upset him on social media. Ephraim Greif, the one who wished the Farkash family "another one" (tragedy) yesterday, the one who announced that the son, Captain Tom Farkash, an Apache pilot killed in the Second Lebanon War, was in fact a punishment from G-d for the family's leftism. I interviewed him yesterday on 103FM radio, I watched him in interviews he spread widely on the TV channels. An Israeli like you and me. A person from the neighborhood. His hands are not stained in blood. He is stained in hatred. Greif tried to distance himself from Bibism yesterday. The truth is different. He is a member of many of the most militant, rude and violent WhatsApp groups of this gang. The groups in which the river of sewage flows from the well in Balfour, Yair Netanyahu.
Biden's first presidential miracle: Palestinian resumption of coordination with Israel (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Biden’s advent will probably be felt in the coming months as the Palestinians cease their self-righteous entrenchment and their refusal of any ties with Israel or the United States.
Abbas Isn't Fooling Anyone With the Crude Lie of a Palestinian 'Victory' in Renewing Israel Ties (Amira Hass, Haaretz+) It was totally expected that the Palestinian president would reboot security coordination at one stage or another, but his Fatah party is lying to itself – and its people – on how it got there.
Left dazed and confused (Karni Eldad, Israel Hayom) For members of the Left, Ra'am party leader MK Mansour Abbas's decision to play the same political game as everyone else has been nothing short of a betrayal. It seems that for the Left, political alliances among Jews are one thing, but when you bring an Arab into the equation, that's cause for condemnation.
Have you no shame? (Michal Aharoni, Israel Hayom) In the minds of protesters outside the Farkash home in Caesarea, nothing you can do is worthwhile unless you support the prime minister. Likud supporters do not care what good non-Likud supporters do in life because nothing that they do, no matter how significant, can ever be compared to supporting Netanyahu. Working to contribute to society, creative work, development for the good of the whole, or even placing one's life on the line – none of these are redeeming qualities. Gone are the days when you received praise for your achievements in life; everything has an expiration date.
Stop the Hypocrisy: This Self-proclaimed Racist Is a Suitable Pick to Head Yad Vashem (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Putting at the head of Yad Vashem an intellectual or a person of morals who would combat racism, ultra-nationalism and war crimes anywhere they exist, in the name of remembering the Holocaust, would be in total contradiction to the memorial enterprises with which Israel inundates its younger citizens. Such an appointment would also be in contrast to the ultra-nationalist message Israel broadcasts to the world, as a lesson learned from the Holocaust. Which is why the prime minister has done well in appointing a man who will represent Israel’s spirit at the head of the most prestigious memorial institution in the world.
The Solution to Israel's Political Crisis Is Blindingly Obvious (Aluf Benn, Haaretz+) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz should sign another coalition agreement that freezes the current situation. The “unity” between Likud and Kahol Lavan will continue, but there will be no rotation for prime minister; each with retain their current positions until the end of this government’s term in 2023…there is no ideological dispute between Likud and Kahol Lavan: Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn supports the nation-state law, Gantz and oreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi supported outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” and the agreements with the Gulf states and Sudan. All support Israel’s war of attrition against Iran and bombing deep in Syrian territory…
Assad must realize the cost of allowing Iran free rein in Syria (Col. (res.) Ronen Itsik, Israel Hayom) The Syrian leader is responsible for Iran's actions in his country, just like Lebanon is responsible for Hezbollah's provocations.
The change in security perception has led Israel to admit it made an attack on Syria (Tal Lev Ram, Maariv) The terrorist infrastructure that the Hezbollah organization and (Iranian) Quds Force are trying to establish and operate in the border area in the Golan Heights are intended to harass Israel and turn the border in the Golan into another border of terrorism.
Israeli interests take precedence over American politics (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) If you believe foreign media reports, Israel has substantially decreased the number of airstrikes it carries in the northern sector over the past few weeks. The reasons for that are both diplomatic and operational, but this perceived lull may have sent the wrong message – that Israel has taken a step back with regard to the battle it has been waging against Iran's efforts to entrench itself militarily in Syria. The Israeli airstrike on Iranian assets in Syria sends a clear message to all regional players.
With Syria Strike, Israel Signals to Iran It Had Crossed a Red Line (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Israeli intelligence suggests Quds Force, whose positions were targeted in the latest airstrike, pays Syrian residents of the Golan Heights to plant explosives along the Israeli border.
A necessary wake-up call on the northern border (Oded Granot, Israel Hayom) Although common sense dictates that Iran and Hezbollah should have stood pat until the next US president was decided, the recently discovered roadside bombs indicate otherwise.
Kristallnacht comparisons cross the line (Nurit Greenger, Israel Hayom) CNN's chief international anchor Christiane Amanpour's denigration of one of the worst pogroms in Jewish history cannot be tolerated.
How Saudi Arabia is pressuring Pakistan to recognize Israel (Kunwar Khuldune Shahid, Haaretz+) Mohammed bin Salman wants Muslim Pakistan to 'normalize normalization,' the army wants open relations with Israel, the grassroots are shouting betrayal and Imran Khan could be the collateral damage.
'Israel, Please Help Us Overthrow Eritrea's Autocratic Regime'
As war threatens the Horn of Africa, the leader of an Eritrean opposition movement appeals to Israel to take the long־term view, for its own strategic benefit. (Interviewed by Yossi Melman in Haaretz+)
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.