APN's daily news review from Israel - Wednesday May 12, 2021
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Quote of the day:
"How you rejoiced over peace with the Emirates, how you internalized Netanyahu's status quo doctrine
vis-à-vis the Palestinians, and how you suppressed the word 'occupation.' You are the only ones who are surprised
by this escalation."
--Dr. Omer Einav writes in Yedioth Hebrew that you can't ignore the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It must be resolved.*
- On the verge of war: 3 killed in unprecedented barrage towards Israel; Buildings were leveled in Gaza
- Getting closer to war // Amos Harel
- For the sake of Al-Aqsa // Nir Hasson
- Now it’s a different Hamas // Zvi Bar’el
- The protest generation (of Arab Israelis) // Jack Khoury
- The tension set alight the (mixed Jewish-Arab) cities of Ramleh and Lod and the illusion of co-existence was cracked
- The assessment in the security establishment was that Hamas was not interested in an escalation with Israel and then came Monday
- Residents of Ashkelon had to stay next bomb shelters yesterday, but for many of them, there aren’t any
- In Gaza they are counting the dead. Among the killed is a 19-year-old special-needs man and a 2-year-old infant
- The High Court accepted request of Zadorov (who was convicted of murder) for a retrial: “Real potential for a change in the result”
- Missiles on Israel
- The riots of Tashpa (2021 in Hebrew calendar) - Police has lost control: Jews are attacked in mixed cities
- The mistake and the failure: IDF did not identify Hamas’ intentions - nor its capabilities // Yossi Yehoshua
- The escalation turns everything around, and distances the establishment of a change (anti-Netanyahu) government
- The paralysis of daily life, the shooting at the civilian population, the damage to the Eilat-Ashkelon oil facility: That is war // Alex Fishman
- Now of all times: We must not forget the voices of reconciliation which arose in the last months // Merav Betito
- Lod has always been a conflicted mixed city, but the one that set it afire now were the Arab residents // Amichai Attali
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
- The country is on fire - Operation Guardian of the Walls
- We have created a monster // Ben Caspit
- Everything has turned around // Tal Lev-Ram
- Losing control: Jews were rescued from their homes in Lod, clashes in mixed cities
- High Court ruled: Retrial for Roman Zadorov (who was convicted of murder)
- Hit Hamas!
- Operation Guardian of the Walls - Unprecedented barrage on south and center of country; Israel attacks terror towers in Gaza
- The riots of Tashpa (2021 in Hebrew calendar) - Night of riots (by Arab Israelis)
- We must not be deterred: There is a consensus for harsh blows // Amnon Lord
- The political echelons must rethink their path // Yoav Limor
- Hamas doesn’t have anything to lose - and everyone pays // Eyal Zisser
- The events in Lod: An organized nationalist attack // Jacob Bardugo
- It’s about time for the Arab (Israeli) leadership to act // Jalal Banaa
- Without laundering words: The enemy is not the victim // Jacky Levy
- Bennett needs to stop negotiating and to join the government // Limor Samimian-Darash
- Drama in the High Court: Zadorov (who was convicted of murder) will get a retrial; His wife: “We waited for this moment for 15 years”
Top News Summary:
Tuesday evening, Hamas showered central Israel hitting a bus, damaging buildings andsetting a large oil tank on fire and killing six Israelis until the time of writing, while Israel pounded the Gaza Strip, leveling highrises, destroying factories and assassinating Hamasand Islamic Jihad military commanders and killing 53 Gazans, including 14 children. The harm to the Palestinians barely made headlines, with the exception of Haaretz. At the same time, rioting by Arab-Israelis intensified in mixed cities across the country and in Lod, Jewish residents feared for their lives. This and the retrial for a man in jail for 15 years for the murder of a schoolgirl were the top stories in today’s Hebrew newspapers. Meanwhile, Israel's coalition talks remained frozen with kingmaker, the leader of the Israeli Islamist ‘Ra’am’ party, Mansour Abbas, suspending the talks over an anti-Netanyahu coalition government.
The violence between the Gaza Strip and Israel has escalated and the lethal tit-for-tat continued throughout the night and today with an unprecedented barrage of rockets hitting the cities and outlying areas of central Israel. Israelis in that part of the country are unaccustomed to running to bomb shelters, but many spent Tuesday night in them. Among the six killed in Israel were an Arab father and daughter from the unrecognized Bedouin village, Dahamash, near Lod [and for which the government possibly did not build a bomb shelter - OH] In Gaza, six children died in a single IDF airstrike and 18 other residents were injured in that strike, including a woman and 10 children. Senior US officials spoke with their Israeli and Palestinian counterparts [in the Palestinian Authority, not with Hamas - OH] in a bid to de-escalate the situation. But to no avail. Arab media reported that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is trying to mediate a ceasefire and stop the escalation (Maariv).
Today, Israel declared a state of emergency in the mixed Arab-Jewish city of Lod and a night curfew in the wake of the riots by Arab residents, which intensified during and after the funeral of a local Arab man who was allegedly killed by a Jewish resident, who has been arrested. (Video of shooting.) The Israeli Islamist party leader, MK Mansour Abbas of the Ra’am party, called today for calm, as did other Arab MKs.
Haaretz+ reported on the frustration among people in DC over US President Joe Biden’s hands-off approach to the violence between the Israelis and the Palestinians. At an emergency Arab League meeting, Arab states condemned Israel’s actions in Jerusalem and Gaza calling them “a miserable show of force at the expense of children's blood.” And Turkish President Tayip Erdogan told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Israel needs a “strong and deterrent lesson.”
- Muslim Leaders Condemn Israel for 'Barbaric Attacks' Against Al-Aqsa Worshippers - An emergency meeting of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation calls on the international community to hold Israel liable for the latest escalation in Jerusalem ■ Iran's Khamenei called on Palestinians to build up their fighting power. (Haaretz)
- Suspects arrested for vandalizing German synagogues cite Israel-Gaza fighting - German authorities arrest over 12 men in three separate cities for targeting synagogues, burning Israeli flags. (Israel Hayom)
- Canadian Musician, 'The Weeknd,' Shares Instagram Posts Protesting Sheikh Jarrah Eviction - Palestinian-American supermodel Bella Hadid and British singer Dua Lipa also share posts in solidarity with East Jerusalem Palestinians facing eviction from lands claimed by Jewish settlers. (Haaretz)
- Netanyahu Trial: Cross-examination of Ex-news Site CEO Resumes - The former Walla CEO, Ilan Yeshua, is in the dock over accusations that the controlling shareholder of the news site promoted biased coverage of the Netanyahu family. (Haaretz+)
- Israel Prepares to Vaccinate Children Ages 12 to 15 After FDA Approval - Israel's declining COVID morbidity rate may cause many parents to hesitate to or opt not to vaccinate their kids. (Haaretz+)
- The World Is Desperate for COVID Vaccines, and Israel Wants to Sell Them to a Luxury Cruise Line - As millions around the globe desperately seek coronavirus vaccines, Israel's transportation and tourism ministries are hoping to find ways to open the economy and the tourism industry. (Haaretz+)
- U.S. Military Ship Fires 30 Warning Shots After Encounter With Iranian Vessels- The Pentagon said Monday that the warning shots were fired after the Iranian fast boats came as close as 150 yards of six U.S. military vessels. (Agencies, Haaretz)
- Iran confirms talks with Saudi Arabia, promises best efforts - "De-escalation of tensions between the two Muslim countries in the Persian Gulf region is in the interest of both nations and the region," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a televised news conference. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
- Turkish Firm Tells Lebanon to Fix Debts, End Legal Action or Face Power Cut - The firm said it had not been paid for 18 months, a period coinciding with Lebanon's financial crunch. (Agencies, Haaretz)
'There's Systematic Expulsion of Arab Society in Israel, and We've Reached a Boiling Point'
To understand the rage in the mixed Jewish-Arab cities, one has to look at social media. (Nir Hasson, Haaretz+)
Israel Believed Hamas Didn’t Want Escalation. And Then It Happened (Yaniv Kubovich,
Haaretz+) At a meeting Sunday, IDF General Staff were confident about Hamas’ intentions. Shin Bet and Military
Intelligence were not.
*The "conflict management" lie exploded in your faces (Dr. Omar Einav, Yedioth Hebrew) The battle cry was heard and everyone became silent. The studios broadcast continuously, a serious expression was adopted by the presenters, the generals stood up to mediate the reality and explain that the IDF should be allowed to win, our commentators spoke confidently about the fears of senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders and provided masterplans of neighborhoods in Gaza, as if they were shrewd real estate agents. The shelters were opened, the educational institutions closed. It is time to unite. There is no room for unnecessary doubts. But maybe still, maybe some questions? It is very difficult to watch from the sidelines this "dramatic escalation," as it is called in the media, and ignore the circumstances that led to it. It is possible to choose a mystical-fatalistic approach that here, on the festive day of Jerusalem, once again the people of Israel are facing a test against their enemies who are coming to destroy it, and the Jews must take care of themselves. But a slightly more mature approach requires explanations with a little more grip on reality. It is difficult to accept as a violent fate that flares up like this all of a sudden. In reality, it has two different but tangent factors, which have merged to burn the explosive barrel. The first factor is more cynical, and is placed in the political context. The police barriers set up at Damascus Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City (the entry to the Muslim Quarter - OH) and the open check given to MK Itamar Ben Gvir - who imagined that this ‘peace activist’ would behave in this way after he was elected to the Knesset? - to set Sheikh Jarrah alight are the result of the Israeli government's promiscuous policy of irresponsible management. Why was it decided only at the last minute not to allow the Jews to ascend the Temple Mount and not to let the Flag March pass through the Damascus Gate? Because it is clear that such decisions, had they been made at an earlier stage, could have helped stop the avalanche. The second factor is the illusion of the status quo. Israel has been strengthening for more than a decade what it wants to think is "conflict management." According to this formula, political progress towards a two-state solution should be avoided, while at the same time reducing violent outbursts to a minimum. In this space, Palestinians should be provided with as many non-political carrots as possible from the those who created the economic peace approach, the kind that can make the Palestinians indifferent so they forget about the fact that they are under military occupation. The problem is that time does not freeze. The status quo is neither a work plan nor a vision. Is a delay mechanism that can short circuit at any moment and lead to a catastrophic result. Binyamin Netanyahu, it seems, is completely passive in the face of the escalation that everyone warned about (both the moves by the right-wing in Jerusalem and the defense establishment's warning about the cancellation of the Palestinian Authority elections), assuming he will know how to control the flames and return the situation to how it was with an “arrangement.” In other words, the usual bribery of his loyal partners in Hamas. These games, in the end, will get out of hand and we will return to the horrific sights of the First and Second Intifada. It is impossible to hold on to an occupation for a long time and expect a different result. The vast majority of those presently and in the past were in the security establishment also believes so. The controversy over the Flag March - between the restrained approach of the IDF and the Shin Bet and between the warheads of the Minister of Public Security Amir Ohana and the Police Commissioner - is a reflection of the former's understanding of the grim reality of occupation and the consequences of Israel's aggressive and defiant policy toward the Palestinians. In his retirement interview last year, former head of the IDF research division, Brigadier General Dror Shalom, said: "The Palestinian problem is at our doorstep like a ticking time bomb. This is not something that will happen tomorrow morning. But it’s possible there will be disintegration the day after Abu Mazen dies and this should not be ignored. It is an economic, civic and governmental challenge...Strengthening the Palestinian Authority is an Israeli-security interest…We must not think that the Arab world is suddenly ignoring the Palestinian problem. The Palestinian problem is the lowest common denominator of the entire Arab world, and in the end these normalization agreements (with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan) were signed because (Israeli) annexation was postponed.” Netanyahu may think that everything is under control, and that in a few days the situation will return to normal. Along the way, he may be able to signal success in thwarting the Bennett-Lapid government. But it is also possible that reality will overcome the political games and get out of control. It must happen sometime. Simply because it is impossible to erase and hide the occupation. Who knows, maybe even in the TV studios someone will dare to step out of the security establishment stance and ask what is actually going on here. Maybe, God forbid, the word "occupation" will even pop out of one of their mouths.
Israeli Politicians Aren’t Managing the Jerusalem Crisis and Hamas Wins Big (Nir Hasson, Haaretz+) Hamas emerges as the winner of the day’s events, while Israeli police were left to handling the most complex security event in years | Five comments.
Palestinian leaders' Al-Aqsa hoax strikes again (Ruthie Blum, Israel Hayom) Distorting the reality of the Temple Mount as a tool for spurring death and destruction comes naturally to the honchos in Ramallah and Gaza.
The day of the fighting yesterday changed the rules and brought Israel closer to a large-scale military operation (Tal Lev Ram, Maariv) When Hamas shot rockets toward Jerusalem, it gave up the stage of testing things out and sent a message last night that it was willing to pay heavier prices. At this point, Israel cannot afford a ceasefire.
The Myth of Netanyahu, the Man of Peace (Zvi Bar’el, Haaretz+) The baseless myth, according to which Benjamin Netanyahu is not a warmonger. says that with the exception of one terrible war – Operation Protective Edge, which ended with the horrific killing of thousands of civilians and the destruction of the Gaza Strip – Netanyahu prevented wars, his responses are measured, and his foot is always on the brake. A cautious driver, he maintains a safe following distance, always signals before a turn, stays in his lane, doesn’t curse and doesn’t cut off other vehicles. This myth is always accompanied by warnings and threats. If Netanyahu goes, there will be war. If a government is formed without him – a government of change that is not change, is not left and is not center, but rather extreme right – it will not have anyone who can apply the brakes…The problem is that the accounts don’t balance out for some reason. The failed war in Gaza in 2014 cannot be swept under the rug of history and seen as a one-time failure…
We raised a monster from a pet: whoever goes to sleep with Hamas, wakes up with Hezbollah (Ben Caspit, Maariv) If we don’t wake up soon, we will soon find out that we also have a terrible balance of deterrence with Hamas and that we have lost our freedom of action against Hamas. It seems to me that we can not afford that.
Netanyahu Is Leading Israel Into Civil War Between Jews and Palestinians (Louis Fishman, Haaretz+) For years, through illusions, incitement, a captive media, brutal policing and discriminatory laws, Netanyahu has repressed Israel’s Palestinian citizens, preparing the ground for violent conflict. And now it may be starting.
Time for Arab leadership to wake up (Jalal Bana, Israel Hayom) Arab society must reach conclusions regarding the role its leaders are playing and the forces penetrating and influencing Arab public opinion.
Child’s Play in Ideological Tussle for Jerusalem Gives Way for Deadly Adult Warfare(Anshel Pfeffer and Yanal Jabareen, Haaretz+) At some points during the long and tense Jerusalem Day on Monday, it seemed that the Israel-Palestine conflict in the city is now being fought by children. On both sides.
The objective: Make Hamas regret its actions (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) Hamas did not want this escalation but now, it has an image to protect. By hammering Israel with rockets, it undermines the Jewish state's image as an omnipotent force in the region – and we cannot afford that.
Rivals’ Coalition Talks Mean Netanyahu's in No Rush to De-escalate Gaza Tensions(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.
Rioters do not represent all Arab Israelis (Yoseph Haddad, Israel Hayom) The violent Arab protesters who took to the streets to hurt Jews have mostly harmed the Arab public in Israel.
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.
Israel's diminished deterrence and political turmoil are recipe for disaster (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) The riots in Jerusalem and the Arab sector, coupled with Israel's leaders being caught completely off guard by Hamas' missile capabilities, risk giving Iran and Hezbollah ideas far deadlier than what has been witnessed so far.
Replacing Netanyahu Is More Urgent Than Ever (Haaretz Editorial) Israel is once again on the brink of a broad military confrontation in the Gaza Strip. The rocket barrages fired by Hamas and Islamic Jihad on Israeli cities, causing deaths and injuries, as well as the Israel Air Force strikes on Gaza, are moving both sides toward a war whose duration and cost, in human lives and in property, is unknown. But even as the situation vis-a-vis the Gaza Strip deteriorates, violent protest is spreading in Arab towns and in mixed cities throughout Israel. The spirit of the events of October 2000 hovers over the confrontations between civilians and police, and threatens to once again undermine the delicate and fragile fabric of coexistence, and certainly the faint hope that a government could be formed based on Jewish-Arab cooperation.
A deterring blow is needed (Dr. Eran Lerman, Israel Hayom) IDF strikes on Gaza's terrorists should be intense and aimed at causing severe damage to the intermediate level of command, infrastructure and weapons.
Israelis Have Come to Expect Prosperity. Rocket War Could Change That (David Rosenberg, Haaretz+) Israel’s economic boom of the last two decades could come to end if missile war is sustained over time.
Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.