APN's daily news review from Israel - Thursday January 7, 2021
You Must Be Kidding:
"Soldiers lives were threatened."
-- The Israeli army said in response to the shooting by a soldier of an unarmed Palestinian shepherd, Harun Abu Aram, who was trying to pull his generator away from three armed soldiers. The soldier shot Abu Aram in the neck, paralyzing him from the neck down for life. Abu Aram is on life-support.**
- Mob broke into Congress after Trump called “to return the country to us”; Meeting to confirm Biden’s electoral victory was stopped
- Coup attempt // Natanel Slymovich
- Despite the flyers of the ultra-Orthodox leadership, the police does not plan to increase (corona restriction) enforcement
- For the first time, corona patients did not receive life-saving treatment due to overcrowded hospitals
- Netanyahu considers immunity again: Court refused his attorneys request to postpone the trial
- Channel 13 News provided police with video to incriminate suspects in attack on police officer
- Lacking responsibility // Gideon Sa’ar on Israelis not following corona guidelines
- In the name of “balance” State decided to recognize three Bedouin villages. Too bad this was on condition of allowing dozens of settlement outposts in the West Bank
- D.J. Sama’ Abdulhadi had a permit to DJ at a holy site in the West Bank. That didn’t stop the Palestinian Authority from going after her
- Group of hackers broke into Hezbollah bank and revealed the path of the money that bypasses sanctions
- Washington is burning
- The republic is ill // Nadav Eyal
- Israel is closing down
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
- From tonight at midnight: Closing down; 8,191 infected in a day
- Siege on Capitol Hill
- Fear in the commercial sector that this won’t be the last lockdown
- The break-in to the Capitol - Sad day for America
- (Editor-in-Chief) Boaz Bismuth reports from Capitol Hill in Washington
- “The lockdown will be enforced without compromises”
Top News Summary:
The third lockdown (again) beginning tonight - with police promising that this time it will be reinforced (although Haaretz+ reported that that was not true) vied for the top story with the siege of Capitol Hill. Even ‘Israel Hayom,’ the paper whose publisher was the biggest donor to US President Donald Trump’s election campaign, wrote on its front page that it was a “sad day for America.” Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu condemned Thursday the siege. Also, the leading think tank, INSS, concludes that the political dysfunction under Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu creating an internal crisis in Israeli society is one of the leading threats to Israel’s strength. (Also Maariv) And, Netanyahu may ask for immunity from his corruption trials after the court denied his request to postpone the trial hearing.
Protests over death of 'hilltop youth' settler, Ahuvia Sandak:
What is barely reported on is that the right-wing protests by pro-settlers over the death of Ahuvia Sandak, a settler ‘hilltop youth,’ who died when his car flipped while police chased him for throwing stones at Palestinians, continue every night in Jerusalem, the West Bank and elsewhere. Maariv reported that the water of the landmark Dizengoff fountain in Tel-Aviv was colored red and the words, “The blood of Ahuvia continues to boil,” were found spray painted on the fountain Thursday morning. On Wednesday, JPost reported that a 13-year-old boy was arrested during a demonstration at Shiloh junction in the West Bank and a 15-year-old youth was arrested during a demonstration in Ariel settlement. In Jerusalem, dozens blocked major streets again. (Also 0404 Hebrew.) But only the Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that the protesters also attacked Palestinian vehicles of E. Jerusalemites. And religious Zionist Hebrew websites reported that Minister Arieh Der’i made a condolence call at Ahuvia’s parents’ home and promised to the work of the Unit for nationalist crimes, which settlers are demanding be closed. Haaretz Hebrew ran a feature by Hagar Shezaf who visited the hilltop outpost where Ahuvia lived. Shezaf wrote that at the “Maoz Esther” outpost of Ahuvia Sandak, they don’t compromise on principles and "the Arabs better not raise their heads.” The small community live in gender segregation and aside from a deep conviction in their righteousness and the need for violence against their neighbors, they believe they are also victims, she wrote.
Leader of centrist Kahol-Lavan faction, Benny Gantz, and far-right-wing Yamina faction leader Naftali Bennett denied they would make a joint run in the upcoming elections, while MK Bezalel Smotrich, chairman of the far-right-wing National Union party, which is part of the Yamina faction, proposed forming a party for “lovers of religious Zionism," Maariv reported. And, the Knesset Elections Committee is preparing for possible a possible cyber attack, Maariv reported that Likud MK Osnat Mark is the MK whose son, Lidor, allegedly attacked police officers who asked him to leave a security road he was blocking near Maaleh Adumim settlement. (Maariv)
- Three Palestinians injured in a fresh settler attack near Ramallah - Illegal hardcore settlers, protected by an Israeli army unit, attacked with stones and beat up Palestinian farmers who were plowing their land in Kafr Malik village, injuring three who were taken to hospital. (WAFA)
- *Army says that the shooting of unarmed Palestinian (struggling for generator) was accident: 'Soldiers' Lives Were Threatened,' Israeli Army Says - IDF says 24 year old Harun Abu Aram, who was shot in the neck, paralyzed from neck down and is on life support system, was hit by stray fire. Human rights group B'Tselem: '53 years of occupation and the IDF still justifies murdering and injuring Palestinians.’ (Haaretz+ and Maariv)
- Prominent Palestinian activist found guilty of obstructing security forces, assault - Issa Amro’s lawyer calls out military court for 'ridiculous charges that would not be under discussion at all if he were not a person living under occupation.’ Ahead of hearing, Amnesty International says Amro faces "politically motivated charges for his peaceful activism against Israel's military occupation and illegal settlements." (Israel Hayom and Haaretz+))
- Key US Congressman pledges to resume US aid to Palestinians - US Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY), the new Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he was looking forward to resuming humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, as part of a push by President-elect Joe Biden for a two-state solution. In 2018, Trump canceled more than $200 million in aid intended for Palestinians. (WAFA)
- Amnesty: Denying COVID-19 vaccines to Palestinians exposes Israel’s institutionalized discrimination - The Israeli government must stop ignoring its international obligations as an occupying power and immediately act to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are equally and fairly provided to Palestinians living under its occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, said Amnesty International yesterday. (WAFA)
- Police Use Force to Disperse Hundreds Protesting Murder in Israeli Arab City - Protesters march through Kafr Qara after the killing of 25-year-old Sliman Naziye Masarwa, the latest in a string of murders in the Arab community. (Haaretz+)
- Thursday: Syria Reports Third Israeli Strike on Iranian Targets in Ten Days; 15 Deaths and Injuries Reported - A military spokesman said missiles flying over the Golan Heights targeted several locations and air defenses downed several missiles. (Agencies, Maariv and Haaretz)
- Sudan Says It Signed ‘Abraham Accords’ With U.S., Paving Way for Ties With Israel - Sudan announces agreement signed with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who is expected in Israel for talks on further Iran sanctions. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
- Israel's Normalization Deal With Sudan Won't See Asylum Seekers Deported, Top Official Says - Population and Immigration Authority head says situation in Sudan is 'unpredictable’ and that deporting asylum seekers is not on the table. (Haaretz+)
- Byzantine Tombstone Inscribed ‘Blessed Maria’ Found in Southern Israel - The tombstone of the woman who lived in the Nitzana area about 1,400 years ago joins others unearthed in excavations that belonged to Christians interred in local churches and burial grounds. (Haaretz+)
- Khashoggi Documentary, Too Explosive for Streaming, Debuts On-demand - Worried about the consequences of angering Saudi Arabia, major distributors failed to pick up the film, raising questions regarding the future of political films. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- European Powers Say Iran Enrichment Move Puts New Diplomacy With U.S. at Risk - Britain, France and Germany say there is 'no credible civil justification' to Tehran's decision to restart uranium enrichment at 20 percent. (Agencies, Haaretz)
Silence in the Face of Demolition and Pogroms (Zehava Galon, Haaretz+) Two campaigns are now taking place in the territories: demolition of homes and structures, and pogroms by the “hilltop youth.” Last Friday an Israel Defense Forces soldier shot Haroun Abu Aram, a Palestinian from the South Hebron Hills, in the neck. Shooting in the neck is unusual for the IDF, but it is symptomatic of what is happening in Israel’s backyard. The first campaign: According to the figures of B’Tselem, in 2020 Israel demolished 152 residential units and 412 structures (not including demolitions in East Jerusalem). It is Israel’s insistence on destroying unwanted communities that has led to a situation whereby a soldier shot an unarmed man in the neck, although the victim did not represent a danger and was only trying to hold onto a generator. The reason for this campaign is obvious: Israel was forced to retreat from the plan to annex Area C (60 percent of the West Bank), of which the prime minister had boasted (remember the “cabinet meeting on Sunday” that never took place?). The agreements with the Gulf states led to a donkey’s burial for the annexation. But the government is still stuck with Israel’s strongest pressure group, the settlers, and is attempting to implement a de facto annexation – because a de jure annexation would exact an overly high price…
The shooting in the neck and the strangulation of a population: Routine in Area C (Of the Palestinian Territories (Sarit Michaeli, Ynet Hebrew)The activity of the Civil Administration and the IDF, which led to the "generator incident" and the shooting of Harun Abu Aram, was not unusual. Israel has violated a measured policy that does not allow Palestinians to build there legally. The first thing that is shocking about watching the video documenting the incident of the shooting of Harun Abu Aram in the village of a-Rakiz in the southern Hebron Hills, happens even before the two shots are heard and it is revealed on the ground. The shock is due to the fact that Palestinians seem to be physically opposed to soldiers trying to confiscate a generator from them. Harun himself tries to save the generator with such determination that he loses his sandals. It is rare for Palestinians to oppose demolition or boycott in this way. Documentation of similar cases reveals that most residents are so threatened that it does not occur to them to do more than argue, swear or film from their phone. Here is a video of the demolition wave in December, that documents Government Civil Administration contractor workers dismantling a hut with a tin roof in the a-Zara'i community (Zaatara) near the village of a-Za'im. The photographer, who is also the landlord, does not intervene and just stands aside and announces his anger to the soundtrack of the video. And here's another video documenting a group of Bedouin from Ras al-Uja sitting and watching the Civil Administration bulldozer confiscate residential and agricultural huts. Two young men argue with the soldiers and are pushed back. And here's another video, from November: A bulldozer destroys Harun Abu Aram's family home. The same Harun Abu Aram who is now lying paralyzed from the neck down at Al Ahly Hospital in Hebron (and on life-support). Family members stand next to the building, one woman taking pictures on the phone. Two mothers sit on plastic chairs with a girl, watching… However, a sober look at the situation on the ground reveals that Israel perceives the suffocation of Palestinian development as a key goal designed to strengthen its control of the West Bank. The phrase "the battle for Area C," which is used by politicians from the settler right-wing to the radical center to describe Israel's relentless abuse of these Palestinian communities, strikes a chord. This is indeed a routine military mission and its Palestinian victims are well aware that in the current reality their lives are so worthless that if they try to resist they may find themselves in the sandals of Harun Abu Aram.
From the Chosen to the Pampered People (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) The cry of the downtrodden Israeli, 2021: A group of passengers that has just returned from a pleasure trip to Dubai in the midst of a global pandemic is screaming upon learning that they are about to be sent – pay attention – to a coronavirus hotel at state expense, after many cases of the virus were detected among those returning from that destination…When Ari Shavit in his time lamented the croissant and espresso that was taken from him by the terror attack on the Moment Café in Jerusalem, there was outrage. People had been killed. Now it’s a different story with a similar conclusion: Every small price that must be paid here turns into a cruel sacrifice that’s indescribable. In very few countries – most of them suffering far more from the coronavirus than Israel – do we hear the cries of oppression that we’re hearing here…
The Arab public should remember that Netanyahu has prejudices (Orit Lavie-Nashiel, Maariv) Allegedly, Netanyahu "discovered" the Arab public. Yesterday's enemy became today's lover. But if the Arab public is tempted to court him, he will prove to them the battered cliché: "Suckers do not die, they are just replaced.”
In Israel, Yet Another Political Lockdown (Haaretz Editorial) The infection statistics have skyrocketed in recent days and the government has only itself to blame. How can you reduce the rate of infections with a lockdown that’s not being enforced? Intensifying the lockdown is the collective price Israeli citizens must pay for poor enforcement for the past two weeks. The bitter truth is that the government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu is incapable of implementing a differential policy, without which the coronavirus’ spread cannot be curbed without shutting down the entire country. Netanyahu’s political calculations, particularly his dependence on the ultra-Orthodox parties, prevents him from managing the coronavirus crisis efficiently. That’s why Israel is being dragged time after time into full, “equal” lockdowns, because it is afraid to lock down only those areas with high infection rates…
At this rate, the assassin of the prime minister will find himself a Knesset member (Natan Zahavi, Maariv) As it seems now, Attorney Yoram Sheftel will shorten Yigal Amir's sentence, and the killer may even reach the Knesset.
Georgia Could Be a Big Win for American Jews – and a Big Loss for Netanyahu (Amir Tibon, Haaretz+) The projected Democratic win in Georgia will usher in a new reality for Democrats, Republicans and American Jews of all stripes. But there's one Jewish politician who will likely be very disappointed with the results.
Ossoff's Georgia Win Will Make Jewish History (Ben Samuels, Haaretz+) The 33-year-old candidate will be the first Jewish senator elected to a southern state since the 1880s, and the youngest Democrat elected to the Senate since Biden nearly five decades ago.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.