News Nosh 5.11.21

APN's daily news review from Israel - Tuesday May 11, 2021

Quote of the day:

"Jerusalem Day is a national day of mourning. It’s the day when Israeli society marks the conquest of East Jerusalem. Not its liberation. Not its unification with the western part of the city. Not its freedom. The Palestinians living in Silwan, Sheikh Jarrah and Shoafat did not go from slavery to freedom at the end of the Six-Day War. They, along with all of East Jerusalem, were conquered and...have been living under a violent occupation that deprives, excludes and humiliates them."
--Rogel Alpher writes in Haaretz about the meaning of Jerusalem Day, which right-wing religious Jews attempted to celebrate yesterday, but for once, were thwarted.*

Front Page:


Yedioth Ahronoth

  • Hamas decides
  • Jerusalem Day turned into a day of battle; More than 100 rockets launched towards Israel; Today: Hundreds of thousands of pupils will stay home; IDF attacks in the Gaza Strip. Name of the operation: “Guardian of the Walls”
  • With a heavy hand // Nahum Barnea writes to deal harshly with Hamas restore relations with the Palestinian Authority (Hebrew)
  • Bankrupt // Yossi Yehoshua blames the “extremely restrained” policy for the present situation (Hebrew)
  • Folding and getting hit // Shimrit Meir
  • The policeman who prevented a lynch (of a Jewish man in E. Jerusalem)
  • No time to be afraid // Amit Shabi, the photographer who documented the lynch attempt (Hebrew)

Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)

  • (Rocket) Fire on Jerusalem Day - “Guardian of the Walls” Operation
  • In blood and in fire // Ben Caspit blames Netanyahu for escalation
  • Declaration of war // Tal Lev-Ram
  • Anti-tank missile launched from Gaza hit a car; the driver was saved by a miracle
  • The hero of the day: Police officer pulled out a gun and saved an Israeli driver from a lynch
  • Homes damaged in Kiryat Anavim: “Mothers grabbed their children and ran”
  • School cancelled in south and along coast, Tel-Aviv area municipalities opened bomb shelters

Israel Hayom

  • The goal: To break the Gaza-Jerusalem axis
  • Jerusalem Day turned into a day of battle; Heavy barrage of rockets from Gaza; IDF attacks in Strip
  • Assessment: Lapid-Bennett government in danger
  • Enough of the restraint: Bring back the deterrence // Amnon Lord
  • Hamas’ declaration of war // Yoav Limor
  • The moment that restraint turned into weakness // Nadav Shragai
  • Permanent pattern of violence // Dan Scheuftan
  • The dangerous mistakes of the government // Caroline Glick

Top News Summary:
‘Jerusalem Day’ turned into a ‘battle day’ with clashes on the Temple Mount in Sheikh Jarrah and a war siren that went off after Hamas shot rockets toward Jerusalem. Then Israel and Hamas exchanged volleys of missiles and rockets over the Gaza border, which has not ended and has so far resulted in 24 Palestinians killed - making the top news in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Also making headlines was an Israeli policeman who intervened when Palestinians were throwing stones at (“and about to lynch”) an Israeli man in E. Jerusalem.

The violence has complicated efforts by the ‘change’ bloc to form a government. On Sunday, Yamina leader Naftali Bennett expected to form a government this week after meeting with MK Mansour Abbas. But on Monday, Israeli Islamist party leader, MK Mansour Abbas, chairman of the Ra’am party and kingmaker for an anti-Netanyahu government, suspended talks because of the violence at Temple Mount and with Gaza.

Twenty-four Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire and over 300 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli forces in the clashes that took place on the Temple Mount Monday. But the Israeli papers focused on the fact that ‘Jerusalem Day,’ the day that right-wing religious Zionist youth celebrate the ‘reunification’ of Jerusalem - i.e. the conquering of E. Jerusalem and occupation since 1967 - was ruined, that Hamas had the chutzpah to launch rockets toward Jerusalem and that it continued to shoot more rockets on the Israeli communities around the Gaza Strip.

The violence on the Temple Mount Monday was a continuation of the violence that eruptedover the previous few days between Israeli police and Palestinians over Israel’s planned evictions of Palestinian residents from their homes in the E. Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. What made things even more tense was that, Monday, was Jerusalem Day, which is celebrated by the ‘Flag March,’ through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City and which over the last few years has been used by right-wing religious youth to curse and attack Palestinians living and working there and for other right-wing religious Zionist Jews to go up to the Temple Mount in a celebration of Israel’s getting control of it. Some Palestinians were waiting for those ‘visitors’ with rocks early Monday morning. At the last minute, the police decided not to allow the Jewish right-wingers to enter, but clashes began between some of the thousands of Palestinians who were on the Temple Mount to pray there during Ramadan and the many Border Police who were deployed there. That resulted in at least 330 injured Palestinians, over 250 of which were taken to hospital, and 21 Israeli police were injured.  As calm returned after police withdrew much of its forces from the Temple Mount, the Palestinians declared a victory. After that the reporting is unclear, but it seems that some clashes continued. In the meantime, the police decided at the last minute to reroute the Flag March so that it did not go through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. Participants were angry. Despite the hundreds of Palestinian casualties in clashes with Israeli forces, Israel’s police commissioner said the police 'showed too much restraint.’ Then Hamas announced it was giving Israel an ultimatum: pull your forces out of the Temple Mount and out of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and release all those police detained in clashes by 6PM, or else. Of course, Israel had no intention of doing Hamas’ bidding and at 8:02 war alert sirens went off in Jerusalem and communities south of the capital warning residents to take cover. Hamas had launched seven rockets towards the capital that landed in fields or were intercepted. One damaged a house, there were no injuries. After that, the Israeli security cabinet green-lighted extensive airstrikes on Gaza, with officials saying that "Hamas must be dealt a heavy blow, and yet, everyone understands our limitations. We have no desire for large wars. Obviously, we will pay a certain price but they will pay a heavier price. We hope that everything will end by Eid al-Fitr in two or three days." Initially, nine people were killed, including three children, in Israeli drone strikes near Beit Hanoun. Also a senior Hamas military wing official was killed. By midnight, Israel said that Palestinians launched 150 Gaza rockets at Israel throughout the day. The Palestinians said that Israel had killed 20 Palestinians, there were no Israeli casualties yet, Israel named its attack: “Operation Guardian of the Walls” and Hamas gave Israel another ultimatum: It has till 2AM end its “siege” of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and remove all its forces. The tit-for-tat continued throughout the night with Palestinian rocket fire and Israeli airstrikes. Two more Palestinians were killed in Israeli airstrikes around 5AM and Hamas hit two homes in Ashkelon then said, “We fired rockets at Ashkelon following an Israeli strike that hit a house west of Gaza City. If Israel continues to attack, we will turn Ashkelon into hell," the spokesman of Hamas' military wing, Abu Ubaidah said. After 6AM, Israelis began to be injured as Hamas pointed its rockets inside populated areas, specifically the southern city of Ashkelon. By 9AM Tuesday, two people in Israel were killed in Ashkelon. As of 6PM Tuesday, Palestinian media has reported 28 killed by Israeli strikes.

Bezalel Smotrich and Kahanist Itamar Ben-Gvir, the two most far right-wing anti-Arab members of Knesset, Israeli announced they’d visit Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood to show solidarity with the Jewish residents (settlers) there, and when they showed up they reignited clashes there. But the two extremist Jewish MKs were blocked by Knesset members of the ‘Joint List’ party. Arab MKs Ayman Odeh, Ahmad Tibi, Aida Touma-Sliman, Sami Abou Shehadeh and Jewish MK Ofer Cassif had a face-off with the two extremists and were separated by police. (VIDEO) Also, Instagram and Twitter got slammed for deleting over 200 posts, photos and videos about the possible evictions of the Sheikh Jarrah residents. Instagram and Twitter blamed it on technical errors, but data rights groups feared it was actually "discriminatory" algorithms are at work.

At night, a fire broke out on the Temple Mount, worrying many. ‘Israel Hayom’ reported that it was an ‘apparent fireworks accident.’ The Palestinian news agency, WAFA, reported that a pine tree caught on fire from grenades fired randomly by Israeli forces in the compound.

After the clashes on the Temple Mount that began on Friday, the IDF chief of staff sent on Sunday three additional battalions to the West Bank. And today, Tuesday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered calling up 5,000 reservists for ‘Operation Guardian of the Walls’ and to strengthen the home front. Moreover, Border Police reservists were mobilized following dozens of acts of arson and stone-throwing by Arab-Israelis inside mixed cities, Maariv reported.

On Sunday, the protests spread to the mixed Jewish-Arab cities of Haifa and Nazareth. On Monday night, some Arab-Israelis replaced an Israeli flag with a Palestinian flag during a demonstration that broke out in the city of Lod in response to an IDF attack in Gaza. Also late Monday night, a Jewish man shot dead an Arab-Israeli man in Lod in a suspected hate crime.

On Monday morning, Israel had rebuffed the "serious concerns" that U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan expressed to his Israeli counterpart over the situation in Jerusalem.But when Palestinian rockets began to fly, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “I am deeply concerned about the rocket attacks” and he urged all sides to take steps to de-escalate the situation. He was about to meet with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi about the escalation. Later on, the UN Security Council met and considered making a statement about the violence including calling on Israel to halt the Palestinian evictions.Jordan summoned the Israeli ambassador to voice its official protest. And King Abdullah called on Israel to cease the ‘dangerous provocations,' while Amman's foreign minister called the prospective evictions of Palestinians a war crime. Several thousand Jordanian citizens protested outside the Israeli embassy in Amman for the second day. Protests also took place outside the Israeli embassy in  Turkey following Israel's attack on Gaza.

On Monday, the Tourism Ministry published data revealing, sadly and ironically, that Jerusalem is the most popular city in Israel for visitors from abroad.

Quick Hits:

  • Palestinian foreign ministry calls on ICC to speed up investigating Israeli war crimes - The Ministry held in a statement the Israeli government fully responsible for what it described as "the brutal aggression against our people in Jerusalem, their holy places, and their homes, and against our people in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and in the Gaza Strip." It also held the international community responsible for keeping silent and not pressing Israel to stop its aggression and crimes. (WAFA)
  • Syria Reports One Civilian Wounded in Israeli Helicopter Strike - An Israeli helicopter gunship opened fire on Monday on a home on the Syrian Golan Heights, wounding one person, Syrian state TV reported. Attack came days after a similar attack by an Israeli helicopter on Quneitra that did not inflict casualties, according to Syrian state media. (Agencies, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Biden expected to choose next ambassador to Israel in coming days - Two candidates for the posting, Thomas R. Nides and Robert Wexler, have reportedly reached the finish line. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel's Presidential Election Slated for June 2, Nominations to Be Submitted by Next Week - Isaac Herzog is seen as the likely front-runner, but has yet to officially declare his candidacy. (Haaretz+ and Yedioth Hebrew and Israel Hayom)
  • Israel Indicts Officials in Multimillion Dollar Submarine Deal, Drops Case Against Netanyahu Associates - ThyssenKrupp representative charged with bribery and money laundering, while former treasury and National Security Council executives indicted for accepting bribes. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • Netanyahu Trial: News Site ex-CEO Didn't View Biased Coverage as Criminal – at First - Ilan Yeshua testified that 'I wouldn’t have gone near anything criminal. I wouldn’t have done it for fear of punishment, period.’ (Haaretz+)
  • Jerusalem deputy mayor to Palestinian activist: It’s a ‘pity’ you weren’t shot in the head - Palestinian ‘activist plans to sue. “How is your ass? The bullet is still there, that’s why he’s limping,' Deputy Mayor Arieh King screamed, referring to a gunshot wound the Palestinian activist had previously suffered. (Maariv, Haaretz+ and 972mag)
  • Pollard's handler to be promoted? - Aviem Sella, the handler of Jonathan Pollard, the US citizen who spied for Israel, might soon be granted the rank of brigadier general, something he was denied decades ago due to the Pollard affair. (Israel Hayom)
  • Think tank maps out Hezbollah's missile arsenal, exposes new military sites - From short-range Burkan rockets with massive warheads that can destroy buildings to medium-range Iranian Fateh 110 missiles that can reach greater Tel Aviv, the Alma Center sheds new light on how Lebanon is brimming with Hezbollah's firepower. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel and South Korea to Sign Free Trade Pact - The deal is meant to bolster bilateral trade by cutting out customs duties and offering safety nets on investments. (Haaretz and i24News)
  • Tragedies of Ethiopian Jews Who Died en Route to Israel, Revealed - To mark Monday’s memorial day for Ethiopians who didn't survive the journey to Israel, the state's archives released formerly inaccessible testimonies from bereaved families. (Haaretz+)
  • An Israeli Author Just Won France's Most Prestigious Literary Prize - Author Shmuel Meyer was informed that he won the Spring Goncourt Prize during a family visit to Israel. 'My culture is French, my heart is in Switzerland, but my soul is in Israel,' he tells Haaretz. (Haaretz+)
  • Iran confirms Saudi talks, says 'too soon' to discuss results - In first since both nations cut relations in 2016, Islamic Republic says diplomats have been holding 'both bilateral and regional' talks in Iraq, facilitated by Iraqi premier. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Evidence of Genocide Against Yazidis in Iraq, UN Investigator Says - The intent of Islamic State 'to destroy the Yazidi, physically and biologically, was manifest in the ultimatum that was repeated in so many different villages in Iraq,' head of investigating team says. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Jordanian Prince Muhammed Bin Talal, Brother of Late King Hussein, Dies at 80 - The prince held several senior positions in Jordan's monarchy, including as personal representative to his nephew King Abdullah II. (Agencies, Haaretz)

The shooting by the terrorist organizations towards Jerusalem is a declaration of war (Tal Lev Ram, Maariv) Israel wanted to avoid a (military) operation or war in Gaza, but Hamas solved Israel’s dilemmas yesterday. This time Israel must finish this round with an operational achievement, when it is clear who is the winner and who is the loser.
*Jerusalem Day: A National Day of Mourning (Rogel Alpher, Haaretz+) Jerusalem Day is a national day of mourning. It’s the day when Israeli society marks the conquest of East Jerusalem. Not its liberation. Not its unification with the western part of the city. Not its freedom. The Palestinians living in Silwan, Sheikh Jarrah and Shoafat did not go from slavery to freedom at the end of the Six-Day War. They, along with all of East Jerusalem, were conquered. Yes, that’s the truth: East Jerusalem was conquered in the 1967 war, and since then its residents have been living under a violent occupation that deprives, excludes and humiliates them.
Israel chooses violence (Haggai Matar, 972mag) From the repression in Sheikh Jarrah to the bombing of Gaza, the Israeli government has opted to escalate its brutality toward Palestinians.
Jerusalem Day Reminds Me: Israel's Extremists and Fanatics Are Not My Jewish People (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) Israelis neglected by their government, war vets with PTSD, plus millions of Palestinians under occupation – all of these things are being swept under the rug, while we are being asked to celebrate.
Stalemate (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth Hebrew) Hamas broke the rules yesterday: The seven missiles it fired at Jerusalem created a new situation, which is unbearable for Israel. The shooting has immediate implications for the reality on the ground, in Jerusalem, in the West Bank, perhaps also on the northern border and in the Arab sector. In the long run, it puts the IDF’s power of deterrence in question. There is no choice but to act, hard and forcefully.
Hamas Acted Unexpectedly, Israel Is on Brink of a Gaza Operation - Once Again(Amos Harel, Haaretz+) After Hamas gave Israel an ultimatum and fired at Jerusalem, the security cabinet approved a broad strike on Hamas targets.
Restoring deterrence must supersede containment efforts (Amnon Lord, Israel Hayom) Hamas and the Palestinian Authority sense a tolerant international atmosphere and think they can get away with rocket fire on Jerusalem and Israel's south.
Fold, ignore - and then get slammed (Shimrit Meir, Yedioth Hebrew) Here is a general outline for Israeli behavior, from escalators to full escalation, which you will have for the next times: start with humiliation [of Israel by Palestinians], move on to more humiliation, hold out for another drop, brief journalists that Hamas is not interested in escalation, try to believe it, Palestinians are full of themselves and celebrate victory, we fold another drop - maybe this is what will help, the Palestinians cross the line of good taste, fold over something else, the Palestinians pass the bounds of bad taste, and then we explode.
Israel Police, Take Note: Ramadan Is Not the Time for a Show of Strength (Nir Hasson, Haaretz+) In many cases, it's police judgement that could decide whether Jerusalem descends into violence.
Bankruptcy (Yossi Yehoshua, Yedioth Hebrew) The one who controls is now being controlled: In this round, Hamas is the one which issued an ultimatum to Israel, it is the one that opened with a strong blow, and it is the one who wanted to stop after obtaining a victory picture. For Hamas, the first event of this round of fighting was also the picture of its victory: rocket fire toward Jerusalem. Thus, after another day of riots in the capital of Israel, on what is supposed to be a celebration of the city, Israel lost its deterrence. Israel did not properly assess relations of Hamas’ top brass and assumed that (Hamas political bureau chief) Yahya Sinwar would block (Hamas military chief) Muhammad Deif's policy - and were wrong. This is how we got embarrassing pictures of MKs fleeing to the Knesset shelter, police evacuating the (Jerusalem) Flag March and Palestinians rejoicing at the sound of (incoming attack warning) sirens going off in Jerusalem. The IDF must end this round with a victory, and try to reach Muhammad Deif [meaning assassinate him - OH] - so as not to lose the next war.
How Israel Invented Its Exclusive Claim Over Jerusalem (Seraj Assi, Haaretz+) The Zionist movement, until relatively recently, never regarded Jerusalem as the Jewish people's 'eternal, unified' capital, the early Zionists regarded it as a spiritual center. Now, Israel's nationalists are willing to set the Middle East ablaze for the sake of Greater Jerusalem.
The picture of Hamas' victory is a direct product of Netanyahu's policy (Ben Caspit,Maariv) Shortly before taking office as prime minister in 2009, Netanyahu promised to overthrow Hamas rule in Gaza. Twelve years later, the same organization caused the evacuation of the Knesset and the disruption of Jerusalem Day.
Israelis Don’t Need More Lethal Muscle-flexing (Haaretz Editorial) Flare-ups don’t begin in a single day; they are not natural disasters. A chain of events, which include the confrontations in Sheikh Jarrah, the police barriers erected at the Damascus Gate, the clashes on the Temple Mount and the plans for the Flags March, were nothing but provocations planned in advance to demonstrate mastery and control. They have carefully marked a path that has led to violence and could drag Israel into a war.
Hamas' declaration of war (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) Firing rockets on the capital, on Jerusalem Day in particular, is a provocation that Israel cannot stay silent over. Now, the IDF has no choice but to let loose and respond with disproportionate force.
What’s Mine Is Mine, and What’s Yours Is Mine Too (B. Michael, Haaretz+) It’s happening once again, this time in Sheikh Jarrah. Palestinians who fled or were expelled from their homes in West Jerusalem are slated to be evicted from their homes in East Jerusalem too. Why? Because the homes in which they’ve legally resided for 160 years or more were built on land that was once owned by Jews. On the face of it, it is merely a real estate dispute. But in actuality, it is an event that holds much wider implications. It is yet another outrageous instance of the extent of Israeli discrimination and oppression. The Palestinians who fled or were expelled from Jerusalem have no shortage of property. Almost half the city is built on their lands. So what’s the problem? The Jews can go regain the lots they absented in the eastern part of Jerusalem and the Palestinians will go regain their property in the western part. But this is where the Zionist trick comes into the picture: Only Jews may sue to claim property from which they fled or were expelled. Palestinians are only entitled to forget the properties from which they fled or were expelled. This is the unique version of justice that is practiced around here: What’s mine is mine forever, and what’s yours – is also mine forever...
Jerusalem Clashes: The Arab World Stays Mum, Except for One Powerful Billionaire(Zvi Bar’el, Haaretz+) “Arab leaders, save Jerusalem! This is the heart of the Palestinian, Arab and Islamic problem. The issue does not require a summit meeting or condemnations, as we’ve been accustomed to and sufficed with, but requires action to stop the Israeli breaches that are supported by your silence. Peace, not to mention war, demands the display of fangs in unsmiling faces, until victory or peace is achieved.” Thus tweeted former Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani last Friday.
An Immoral March (Monday Haaretz Editorial) The quiet in Jerusalem has been seriously undermined over the past few days, and the situation is likely to get even worse on Monday because of the Flags March scheduled to take place in the afternoon. Whether it goes ahead is in the hands of the prime minister, the police, and the Jerusalem municipality.
Sheikh Jarrah dispute reflects Arab-Israeli conflict (Micha Danzig, Israel Hayom) Shimon HaTzadik is a neighborhood where Jews and Arab could have lived side by side peacefully – had Arabs not tried to ethnically cleanse all of the Jews living there.
Jerusalem Day Reminds Me: Israel's Extremists and Fanatics Are Not My Jewish People (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) Israelis neglected by their government, war vets with PTSD, plus millions of Palestinians under occupation – all of these things are being swept under the rug, while we are being asked to celebrate.
When restraint turns into weakness (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) The desire to avoid Palestinian loss of life at any cost, even though extremist elements set the city ablaze, together with the decision to allow Muslims to continue to pray on the Temple Mount even though they have turned it into a base for terrorism and violence – do not pass the test of reality.
Rivals’ Coalition Talks Mean Netanyahu's in No Rush to De-escalate Gaza Clashes(Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) United Arab List Chairman Mansour Abbas suspends talks with Lapid amid violence in Jerusalem and Gaza, giving Netanyahu an incentive to keep tensions high.
New government, same old tricks (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) The current atmosphere seems eerily similar to that of 2005, when one of the most ardent of right-wingers willingly handed the power to the Left.
The United States is determined to return to the nuclear deal, and Israel must recalculate its steps (Zalman Shoval, Maariv) The Biden administration is determined to return to the nuclear deal with Iran, and neither domestic opposition nor outside political and diplomatic efforts will prevent this. Israel must consider its steps accordingly…As the American author Scott Fitzgerald wrote, "High intelligence requires the ability to simultaneously internalize two opposing ideas and maintain the ability to act," and this is indeed Israel's challenge. In recent years, Israel has been able to formulate a successful strategic policy in the face of the emerging reality in the Middle East, but the emerging internal political changes call into question the continuation of this trend. Were it not for their religion, it is likely that the ayatollahs in Tehran would have opened bottles of champagne in light of Binyamin Netanyahu's possible push from the helm of the state. The leaders of the emerging coalition even announced that "in the first year they will not engage in diplomacy.” It is doubtful whether their government will last a year, but the diplomatic issues will certainly not wait. Israel's possible steps include military preventive actions, deepening the actions attributed to Israel of the Mambam [acronym for “the war between the wars” and refers to the campaign waged by the State of Israel in the 21st century through the IDF and the intelligence community against the empowering of enemy countries, including Iran and Syria, and paramilitary organizations. - OH] and to deepen deterrence, i.e. a clear and unmistakable threat to the very survival of the Islamic Revolution by all overt and covert means at its disposal. Israel must act in all ways, diplomatic and others, while maintaining close contact with the United States, to prevent the renewal of the nuclear agreement, but at the same time also consider the pros and cons of containing the situation if the agreement is renewed.


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