APN's daily news review from Israel - Thursday April 22, 2021
You Must Be Kidding:
An Israeli settlement university in the West Bank is giving students academic credit for volunteering at illegal Israeli settlement outposts, many of which were established on privately-owned Palestinian land.**
Syrian Anti-aircraft Missile Exploded in Southern Israel, IDF Struck Near Damascus
Syrian missile fired at an IAF jet, missed its target and landed near Dimona and set off air raid sirens near the country's top-secret nuclear reactor. And Israeli interceptor was not activated to shoot it down, Maariv reported. In Tehran, some claimed it was a surface-to-surface missile, not a surface-to-air missile as reported in Israel. No group has taken responsibility for the launch, which could be Iran's revenge on Israel for Natanz sabotage attack. Israel attacked near Damascus afterward. Syria reported that one officer was killed and three soldiers were injured. (Haaretz+, Maariv, Ynet and Israel Hayom)
- Nine out of hundreds of thousands: We are the children who were sexually attacked and were neglected by the authorities
- Bennett: If the Likud doesn’t form a government, I will move towards a unity government; Netanyahu: You closed a deal with Lapid
- Shamelessly // Yossi Verter
- Despite the conviction of the policeman in the murder of George Floyd, Blacks in the US still have reason to fear // Natanel Slyomovich
- Ariel University granting academic credits to students who volunteer in settler outposts
- For the sake of their image, large oil companies are turning to “greenwashing”
- Pulling one off on everyone // Haaretz Editorial
- 33,000 apartments - Ultra-Orthodox Minister Leitzman pushing for establishing ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods and threatening to block budgets
- The right-wing caricaturist, Shai Charka, sets off against B’Tselem, the Balfour protests - and Netanyahu
- Head to head (Photos of Netanyahu and Bennett) (Hebrew)
- He accuses others of his own defects // Nahum Barnea (Hebrew)
- This is what’s left // Sima Kadmon (Hebrew)
- (Bennett:) An alternative from (Netanyahu’s right-wing) camp // Nadav Eyal
- Between two (tourist) cities - The day after the lockdowns: While Eilat is receiving tourists again, Nazareth is abandoned and the city with the highest unemployment in the country
- “I can’t believe I did this - and to a person I love so much” - Soldier who accidentally shot his friend now speaks about how he destroyed a family
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
- The post-elections clash - Bennett: “Israel doesn’t need to be a hostage”; Netanyahu: “A spit in the face of democracy”
- It’s not final // Ben Caspit
- Praying for his health - Itzik Saidian (IDF veteran with PTSD who self-immolated in protest) is fighting for his life
- The jurors ruled: Guilty - Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder
- Terrible car accident in the Arava: Two men killed in crash between car and truck
- Bennett: The people want a government - Netanyau wants elections; Netanyahu: Bennett deceived his voters and allied with the left-wing
- Head to head: Exchange of blows between Prime Minister and chairman of Yamina party is at a climax
- Apparently I was mistaken about you. Naftali: You are on the verge of falling from the (right-wing) path // Caroline Glick
- “I was broken, but I continued with my military training” - Soldier immigrated alone from Brazil and lost his parents to corona while he was in a navy course
- This is how the initiative to establish a body to treat soldiers with PTSD was missed
- “Only prayers”: Itzik Saidian (IDF veteran with PTSD who self-immolated in protest) is fighting for his life
- The Palestinian elections dilemma: In IDF they fear a wave of violence in Gaza and Judea and Samaria (West Bank)
- Escalation on Ukraine-Russia border: Zalansky calling up reserve soldiers, Putin sending threats
Top News Summary:
- Iran Adds Centrifuges at Plant Struck by Blast, UN Atomic Watchdog Reports - The explosion and a power outage damaged at Iran's underground uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, which was hit by a blast last week. Iranian state TV has shown footage of machines that it says were replaced there. (Haaretz)
- Israel said seeking greater IAEA oversight in renewed Iran deal - Kan says Mossad director, national security adviser and IDF chief will head to U.S. next week to seek bolstered mandate for UN inspectors ; Jerusalem believes its concerns being largely ignored as Washington seeks to revive 2015 pact. (Ynet)
- U.S. Outlines Possible Sanctions Relief for Iran in Nuke Talks - The U.S. has also been transparent with Israel regarding the potential sanctions it is prepared to lift, senior State Department official says. (Haaretz+)
- Europeans See Progress in Iran Talks, Major Hurdles Remain - Washington open to easing terrorism sanctions against Iran’s central bank, national oil and tanker companies and key economic sectors, says Wall Street Journal, citing two people familiar with the matter. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- As tension with Iran rise, one-third of Israelis lack bomb shelters - According to information obtained by Ynet, shortage of adequate protection against missiles in the general public has risen by 2% compared to the previous decade due to population increase and slow implementation of new projects. (Ynet)
Tehran losing sleep over situation on Iran-Azerbaijan border - Azerbaijan expanded its border
with Iran from 310 miles to 373 miles in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War. Considering the country's robust
intelligence collaboration with Israel, it's not surprising Tehran is concerned. (Israel
- ‘Break Their Faces’: As anti-Arab Attacks Spike, Jewish Supremacist Group Plans Jerusalem Show of Force - In Whatsapp group for the far-right Lehava organization's event, questions were raised about how to obtain tear gas and even grenades. (Haaretz+)
- **Settlement University Crediting Students for Volunteering at Illegal Israeli Outposts - Program includes opportunities at West Bank 28 farms, including locations that have been the scene of violence and the seizure of Palestinian-owned land. (Haaretz+)
- Settlers storm archaeological site near Nablus - Settlers forced their way into the archeological site of Sebastia, under the protection of the Israeli military, which declared the site off-limit for Palestinians. (WAFA)
- Israel approves appropriation of large tract of Palestinian-owned land west of Bethlehem - Occupation authorities have approved a plan to expropriate 147 dunums (147,000 square meters) of land belonging to Nahalin and Husan villages. According to the Israeli settlement-watch group, Peace Now, “Over the years, Israel has used a number of legal and bureaucratic procedures in order to appropriate West Bank lands, with the primary objective of establishing settlements and providing land reserves for them.” (WAFA)
- Israel Court Orders Police to Release (Israeli) Arabs Suspected of Attacking Rabbi in Jaffa - Judge Or Mammon said that the evidence demonstrating the attack was racially motivated did not convince him, saying 'if anything it significantly weakened it.' The judge added that since the Garboua brothers said that Rabbi Mali is a 'settler' "isn't necessarily a racist remark." (Maariv and Haaretz+)
- Israeli army infiltrates Gaza’s border, level farmlands - Seven Israeli military tanks and vehicles advanced several dozens of meters to the east of Rafah city in the southern besieged enclave, where they razed a large tract of farmland and erected earth mounds amidst a barrage of gunfire and smoke bombs. (WAFA)
- Despite 'Concerns About Discrimination,' Court Dismisses Appeal for Arab School in Israeli City -0 The Supreme Court says 'reality in which educational services for a third of the city’s students are supplied by private schools or public schools outside the local authority is not reasonable.' (Haaretz+)
- Palestinian Journalist among six Palestinians detained from West Bank - Israeli forces rounded up 43-year-old journalist, Alaa al-Rimawi, after storming his house in Ramallah. Al-Rimawi works as a journalist for J-Media, which is a Palestinian media organization concerned with producing videos, photography and live broadcasting services for Palestinian events. (WAFA)
- Life of IDF veteran who set himself alight in 'imminent danger' - Sheba Medical Center says the condition of 26-year-old Itzik Saidyan has worsened, 9 days after the 2014 Gaza War veteran set himself on fire at Defense Ministry's Rehabilitation Department offices following years-long battle over disability. (Ynet)
- Disgraced Zaka Founder, Accused of Sexual Assault, Attempts Suicide - Yehuda Meshi-Zahav was found unconscious at his home Thursday and evacuated to the hospital in critical condition after attempting suicide. This took place a few hours before the broadcast of a major investigation about him on the "Fact" investigative program on Channel 12. Meshi-Zahav’s neighbor told Walla! Website that Meshi-Zahav "was devastated, he thought he was going to be finished off ahead of tonight's investigation." In March, a Haaretz investigation revealed dozens of accusations of sexual assault against him. (Maariv, Haaretz+ and Ynet)
- Squabbling Among Water Officials Imperils Jordan River Rehabilitation - The water of the southern Jordan River is currently not of sufficient quality to rehabilitate the ecological system in the area. Implementing the Water Authority's plan would change that, but Mekorot Water Works has other ideas. (Haaretz+)
- Facing Iran Threat at Sea, Israel Working to Change Global Naval Warfare Rules - IDF officials have been meeting with experts worldwide to express the challenges faced in modern warfare, after Israeli-owned ships were attacked in the Persian gulf. (Haaretz+)
- With East Jerusalem Vote in Question, Palestinian Authority Considers Delaying Election - Israel prevents the PA from political activity in East Jerusalem, which could thwart the election – but that may work in President Abbas' favor as Fatah split bolsters Hamas. (Haaretz)
- Concerns rise as PA mulls cancelling election - Jerusalem is worried that if Ramallah cancels the vote, it might agitate the security situation in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip. (Israel Hayom)
- Palestinian Presidential spokesman: The leadership is committed to holding elections as per presidential decrees, Jerusalem is red line - Nabil Abu Rudeineh stressed that no decision will be taken regarding elections in Jerusalem without discussion with the leadership, the factions and all the forces. “The elections will take place on time and efforts are underway with all parties, including the European Union, which is trying to make every effort possible but is unable to force Israel to allow the elections,” said the presidential spokesman. (WAFA)
- Israeli occupation issues demolition and stop construction orders against 13 Palestinian-owned houses south of Hebron - Israeli forces raided the village and handed the orders against the 13 houses in the village of Qabalan under the pretext that they were built without a permit and that they are located in Area C of the West Bank, which is under full Israeli military rule. (WAFA)
- Israel to Implement Electronic Bracelets to Enforce COVID Quarantine, Starting in May - Over 132,000 people arrived in Israel from abroad in the last month, among which 445 cases of the coronavirus were identified. (Haaretz+)
- Gaza gravediggers and medics stretched as COVID spikes during Ramadan - Health officials in the Palestinian enclave record 86 virus-related deaths in the past 6 days, an increase of 43% from the week before; 'Wartime was difficult, but the coronavirus has been much harder for us,' says gravedigger in Gaza City. (Agencies, Ynet)
- Palestinian Spies Behind Hacking Campaign Targeting Activists, Reporters, Facebook Says - In report published Wednesday, Facebook accuses cyber wing of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service of running rudimentary hacking operations that targeted Palestinian reporters, activists, and dissidents. (Agencies,Haaretz)
- J Street Conference Marks 'A New Day in Washington' for U.S.-Israel Relations- Israeli, Palestinian and U.S. figures virtually addressed about 5,000 activists, signaling a new willingness from mainstream figures to apply pressure to influence Israeli policy. (Haaretz+)
- Florida university accused of fostering anti-Palestinian racism - In first case of its kind, Palestinian student files civil rights complaint against Florida State University for discrimination based on his national origin. (972mag)
- Israeli Envoy to U.S. Joins Arab Ambassadors in Planting Tree at UAE Embassy - Also present at the event were diplomats from Morocco and Bahrain, countries that reached normalization agreements with Israel last year. (Maariv, JTA, Haaretz)
- First Woman Ever Applies to Run for President of Syria - Little is known about 50-year-old Damascus resident Faten Ali Nahar however Assad is widely expected to run and win a fourth seven-year term in the May 26 election. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Syrian Government, Rebels Get First COVID Vaccine Delivery Under UN Scheme - 'Critical and timely' shipment of nearly 200,000 doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus shot would kick off Damascus' efforts to inoculate 20 percent of the population by the end of the year. (Agencies, Haaretz)
'Like Spy Agencies': Inside East Jerusalem's Jewish Settlement
Two weeks ago, in the dead of night, dozens of settlers moved into two new buildings in Silwan, as part of a broader plan to unite all the Jewish buildings into one neighborhood. Guards are recruited by the organization Ateret Cohanim (both voluntary and paid) to stay in the buildings until the families move in. One of them was Eran Tzidkiyahu, a left-wing tour guide and expert on Jerusalem’s geopolitics who wanted a close-up look at Silwan’s Jewish settlements. Tzidkiyahu found the job through an ad on WhatsApp, which read “We need a number of armed men fit for combat to take part in a meaningful role in settling the land of East Jerusalem,” it said. The daily salary was 500 shekels ($154), and each guard was required to own his own gun… (Nir Hasson, Haaretz+)
Climate breakdown and occupation are dismantling the lives of Palestinian shepherds
A settlement in the South Hebron Hills illustrates how the Israeli occupation and the climate crisis are destroying Palestinian land and livelihoods. (Natasha Westheimer,972mag)
Iranian Accounts, Russian Tactics and Q: Israel Has Become a Disinformation Battlefield
Recent take-down of fake accounts linked to Iran joins long list of cyberattacks, influence campaigns and disinformation ops: ‘We’re seeing techniques revealed by Mueller deployed against Israel.’ (Omer Benjakob, Haaretz+)
The Israeli Female Soldiers Took Her Aside and Undressed Her. The Cruelty Only Started (Tali Shamir, Haaretz+) Earlier this month something happened quietly in Israel, something that didn’t make headlines but which confirmed what we already knew: The Shin Bet security service can operate with complete impunity, no matter what its people do. The first criminal investigation of Shin Bet agents ever ordered by the Justice Ministry was closed without fanfare and without any indictments, even though the ugly deeds were witnessed by people other than the victim – soldiers, in this case. Even though this sick act was a vaginal and anal search – twice in each orifice. Even then there is no price to pay. The incident took place in 2015, during the nighttime arrest of a Palestinian woman suspected of abetting terror. After her arrest, a Shin Bet agent who was at the scene ordered the search of her orifices. Two female soldiers took her aside, undressed her, and each took a turn sticking their fingers in her vagina and anus. Nothing was found. In the end the woman was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for minor crimes. To understand how enormously scandalous this is, one must know the background: The Justice Ministry has a department for checking complaints of those who are questioned by the Shin Bet, known by its Hebrew acronym, Mavtan. Since it was set up in 2001, the department has received 1,300 complaints, which it examined to see if there was behavior by agents that justifies a criminal investigation. The results of Mavtan’s work are no less than jaw-dropping. All those hundreds of complaints that have accumulated since 2001 have resulted in only two recommendations for a criminal probe: The incident described above, and a case in which interrogators nearly killed a murder suspect,Samer Arbid (that investigation was also closed earlier this year). Now that both cases have been closed, the Justice Ministry has set a new world record for the ratio between complaints and indictments; zero indictments, zero prosecutions…
Why is the EU helping to label Israel criticism as antisemitism? (Ilan Baruch, 972mag) By adopting the IHRA definition, the EU is playing into the agendas of Israel advocacy groups that undermine civil society work against the occupation.
Israel Debates Its Treatment of IDF Veterans but Continues to Terrorize Palestinians Daily (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) The case of Itzik Saidian, the soldier who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and who set fire to himself last week, is harsh and shocking from any perspective. But the storm that erupted following his self-immolation was a mixture of understandable, justifiable horror plus a measure of loud exaggeration, hypocrisy, sanctimoniousness and double standards. This storm highlighted some of the basic features of Israeli society: self-pity, manipulativeness, protest that is too little and too late, and moral blindness to the suffering of the other. Saidian was a victim of appalling obtuseness. The protest that followed his act was no less obtuse. Israel was protesting the wrong thing at the wrong time. The next time Israel sets out on another brutal attack on helpless Gaza, instigates a war with Iran or bombs in Lebanon, then, precisely then, the traumatized, the disabled and their families must protest, because they know the truth about the terrible costs. But when the Israel Defense Forces go to war, Israel unanimously applauds. Nobody talks about the shell-shocked soldiers who will return from battle…
He who dismisses others over the defects he himself has (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth Hebrew) When Ariel Sharon wanted to insult Netanyahu, he pointed to his body language. Look how sweaty he is, mocked Sharon. He's scared, he's in a panic. Netanyahu found a way to overcome the beads of sweat, but those who watched him last night, up close or from a distance, could smell the sweat. The goal was to show strength, fighting spirit, determination. The result was pathetic.
Netanyahu is sweating, but Lapid and Bennett may end up like Tzipi Livni (Ben Caspit, Maariv) The great rabbi of rhetoric, the prince of charisma and the ruler of television, was seen as if he were on the edge of the cauldron yesterday. At the same time, it's too early for the other side to celebrate.. The story now is a race against time.
In Hysterical Remarks, Netanyahu Presents His Only Remaining Lifeline (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) For the first time in many years, Netanyahu is realizing that sometimes the party really is over.
Netanyahu supporters put leader above country (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) The PM's followers ambush family of former Likud MK at home, flood social media with most crackpot theories about his opponents, and sit quietly by when Likud brings the functioning of the state to a halt at a most trying time.
The more desperate Netanyahu's situation is, the more dangerous his conduct is(Orit Lavie-Nashiel, Maariv) MKs must come to their senses and serve as responsible adults to put an end to the farce. Anyone who thinks that while injured, the prime minister's will resign from being the head of the government does not know what he is talking about.
He lost control (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth Hebrew) It was enough to see Netanyahu's press conference yesterday to understand everything. Even if the sound was on mute - it was enough. Everything else was just a bonus. The prime minister is desperate. Helpless. Shut down. His speech yesterday was reminiscent of a drowning man, who wildly flails his arms in an attempt to raise his head above the water, but only aggravates his condition.
For Netanyahu, it's either him or scorched earth (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) Right now, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu isn't trying to form a coalition government; he's working to quash the efforts of the other side.
Flash elections for prime minister could be a logical way out of the mess (Anat Moshe, Maariv) The initiative for the direct election of a prime minister should not be rejected simply because it serves Netanyahu's interests. In some constellation and at another time, it can be a solution to the political deadlock.
Explained: The Only Way Netanyahu Could Remain in Power (Jonathan Lis, Haaretz+) And four other scenarios that could break Israel's political deadlock.
Likud Makes Its ‘Arrangements’ (Haaretz Editorial) On Sunday the “Netanyahu bloc” was defeated in the vote on the composition of the Knesset Arrangements Committee. This is the key committee, the cornerstone, that is responsible for establishing all the other Knesset committees. Until after the formation of a coalition that will establish permanent committees, the arrangements committee sets up temporary committees, which carry out the Knesset’s regular functions and oversee the government. But in accordance with the approach that has guided Likud under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in recent years – and which holds that no governmental power is designed to serve the public, only to serve a political interest – Arrangements Committee chairman Miki Zohar, who has realized that there is a solid majority against his proposal to appoint temporary deputies to the Knesset speaker, has refused to allow votes that are unacceptable to him to go forward, or to appoint temporary committees. In effect the Arrangements Committee does not convene, and the Knesset is paralyzed...
Elizabeth Warren's gall knows no bounds (Yaakov Ahimeir, Israel Hayom) The Democratic US Senator blatantly interfered with Israeli politics by calling on the anti-Netanyahu bloc to unite against the prime minister, whom she called "a corrupt leader who puts his own interests ahead of his country."
Tucker Carlson Is Right About America's Borders, Wrong About Israel's (Jonathan S. Tobin, Haaretz+) Tucker Carlson’s outlier views on Israel concern Jewish conservatives. But they agree with him about the illegal immigration crisis, even if his language sometimes echoes white supremacists.
An opening for cancelling the elections (Elior Levy, Yedioth Hebrew) One month before Palestinian legislative elections and in the Palestinian Authority they are preparing the ground for the possibility that they will be canceled. The official claim is that Israel is not allowing the elections to also be held in E. Jerusalem. But it appears the real reason is that in the divided and fragmented Fatah party they fear losing to Hamas and are looking for a ladder to come down from the [election - OH] tree.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.