News Nosh 03.09.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday March 09, 2014

Quote of the day:
"The Palestinians in the occupied territories live under the Israeli government's rule, even though they did not choose this government and they cannot influence its decision-making in any legal way. This situation is unequal and unjust."
--From a letter written by Israeli Jewish teenagers to the Israeli Prime Minister declaring they refuse to be drafted into the Israeli army.**

Front Page News:
Yedioth Ahronoth
Israel Hayom

Peace Talk Highlights:
Today's top stories were docking of the ship carrying missiles allegedly from Iran to Gaza and the three controversial bills that will be pushed through a Knesset vote this week, to the great dismay of the opposition. For the first time in over a year, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave interviews to the Israeli press and spoke evasively about details of what Israel is willing to concede in the peace process. He also accused the Palestinians of not wanting to negotiate. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has meanwhile reiterated that recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is not going to happen
There have been complaints that Netanyahu speaks often to the foreign press, but not to Israelis. That local silence broke over the weekend, when Netanyahu filled the waves with his face and voice - in interviews to Israeli TV channels 2 and 10 as well as an interview to the Israel Hayom daily tabloid, the first in over a year. Netanyahu spoke about the peace process and said that while he "won't leave any Israeli undefended under peace deal," he conceded that "some of settlements will not be included in the (final) agreement. That's clear. Everyone understands that. I will ensure the number will be as small as possible, as far as is possible, if we get there," Netanyahu said attempting to reconcile his position and the need to reach a two state solution.

But he again blamed the Palestinians for problems achieving peace, accusing them of not wanting to negotiate. "Let's first see if the Palestinians are even willing to enter negotiations, because the way I see it, it seems to me that now they are very very far from that, they think they will be able to continue to take their rejectionist route, with unrealistic demands, petitioning the UN; distancing themselves from the question of how they will compromise, how they will recognize the Jewish State, how they understand the right of return (and) how they bring about the end of the conflict," he said. To Israel Hayom Netanyahu said that Abbas refuses to move toward a peace deal. Netanyahu reiterated his demand for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, but, Abbas told Fatah party youth activists that he would stand firm, particularly over the demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry was in Jordan Friday to discuss the peace process with King Abdullah in Aqaba.
This week some fiery battles will be raged in the Knesset over the votes on three of the coalition’s flagship bills – the bill that raises the electoral threshold to 3.25 percent, the bill on drafting ultra-Orthodox Jews into the military, and the bill requiring a national referendum for Israel to give up annexed land. "The three bills are considered a package deal – a way to pressure coalition parties to pass all three, although some members of the coalition have objections to each of the bills," explains Haaretz+. Coalition chairman Yariv Levin (Likud) if only one bill passed it would mean “the immediate breakup of the coalition, and I think that none of the partners want that." Under existing law, a party must win at least 2% of the valid vote count to enter the parliament, translating into two Knesset seats. The new bill will raise that threshold to 3.25% and make it virtually impossible for small parties, including all the Arab parties to enter the Knesset. The floor debate is scheduled for Monday, with a final plenum vote on Tuesday. Many accuse the coalition of trying to banish the Arabs from the political arena. Opponents of the national referendum bill say that it would make it difficult to hold peace talks and finalize a permanent accord.

Quick Hits:
  • European fact-finding mission to investigate Israeli prison conditions - The mission, scheduled for a 3-day visit to Palestine and Israel from March 19th, will investigate the humanitarian conditions of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody by visiting Israeli interrogation and detention centers and major prisons. (Maan)
  • Lawyer: Negev prisoners could start hunger strike in April - Palestinian prisoners in Israel's Ktziot prison said that they have many reasons to begin a hunger strike, including "humiliating" inspections of visiting family members, dire living conditions and a lack of appropriate medical services. (Maan
  • Israeli forces detain Jerusalem lawyer - Israeli forces detained Adv. Amjad al-Safadi as he was visiting clients at Hadarim prison on Thursday. Forces also raided al-Safadi's house and confiscated a computer and several documents. (Maan)
  • Israeli court extends detention of Issawi siblings, including lawyer - An Israeli court on Friday extended the detentions of Shireen Issawi and her brother Shadi Issawi without charge until March 13. Shireen, who is a prominent lawyer, and Shadi are siblings of former prisoner Samer Issawi, who Israel released from jail following a long hunger strike. (Maan
  • Settlers 'attack' Palestinian families in central Hebron - A group of Jewish settlers Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron attacked the two local families and foreign activists from the International Solidarity Movement near Shuhada Street, only days after settlers erected a banner nearby reading "Palestine never existed! (and never will)." (Maan)
  • Israeli military jeep hits Palestinian teen, 'injures her seriously' - An Israeli military jeep hit 14-year-old Samirah Tawfiq Awad during a protest Saturday against land confiscation in Yatta. She was hospitalized. (Maan
  • Israeli soldiers forcefully disperse Women's Day demonstration - Eleven Palestinian women were hurt by tear gas inhalation Saturday when Israeli forces dispersed a demonstration marking International Women's Day held near Qalandia checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem. (Maan)
  • Six injured as Israeli forces disperse protests across West Bank - Six Palestinians were injured and two Israeli peace activists were detained as protests against the Israeli occupation broke out in at least four villages across the West Bank on Friday. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces detain 8 at Al-Aqsa following Friday prayers - Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that "masked suspects threw stones at police" at the Moroccan Gate following Friday prayers. Israeli authorities put restrictions in place Friday to prevent "plans for unrest," amid a debate on extending Israeli sovereignty over the compound that has provoked outrage across the region. (Maan
  • Israeli settlers stone AFP photographer's car in West Bank - In photographs of the incident, four settlers are seen running, three of them with pistols. Another shows the settlers stoning the car while the soldiers watched. The Palestinian photographer said several of around 100 settlers who were gathered at the side of the road threw stones at his car, cracking the windscreen and lightly injuring him in the face and hands. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces block entrance to Beit Ummar - Israeli forces blocked the entrance to the village of Beit Ummar near Hebron with piles of dirt and cement blocks on Friday, closing the entrance to the village that connects to the main road between Jerusalem and Hebron. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces arrest man for planting trees near Qalqiliya - Israeli forces on Friday afternoon detained a young man while he was planting an olive sapling in Izbet at-Tabib village. He was participating in a campaign to plant olive saplings on Palestinian lands under threat of confiscation by Israeli authorities. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces hand out 2 stop-work orders in Hebron village - The orders to stop work on construction were received for a house owned by Wisam Jibril Hittawi, which was built four years ago and is home to six people, as well as a house under construction owned by Sayel Mahfouth Islemiyya, both in Ithna village. (Maan
  • Water returns to East Jerusalem neighborhoods after 3-day outage - Affected areas belong to city of Jerusalem, situated on Palestinian side of separation barrier plagued by dilapidated infrastructure, neglect. (Haaretz+)  
  • **Dozens of teens sign letter vowing not to serve in IDF - Refusenik letter sent to Netanyahu cites Israeli policies toward Palestinians and military’s 'penetration into civilian life.' Teens write: We won't join an army that commits war crimes. (Yedioth, p. 12/Ynet and Haaretz+)
  • Combat units are more attractive to new recruits in March induction - There is an uptick in the number of qualified new recruits aiming for combat units in the March induction Israel Defense Forces data shows. The "people's army" is one of Israeli society's principal foundations, says Manpower Directorate chief. (Israel Hayom)
  • Stern Israeli airport security measures questioned - Ben-Gurion Airport stirs debate over tough inspection of passengers, faces accusations of ethnic profiling, harsh treatment of specific population groups. (AP, Ynet
  • Gaza-bound ship docks at Eilat, three days after Israeli seizure - WATCH: Once docked in Eilat. Israeli engineering and navy crews will continue to search the ship for weapons. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • WATCH: IDF soldiers celebrate Shabbat on way to seize Iranian arms ship - Army releases footage of soldiers singing Shabbat songs around the dinner table, days before successfully seizing the KLOS C. (Ynet)
  • IAF scrambles jets after Syrian aircraft near border - Jets scrambled four times on Friday morning after Syrian fighter planes and one helicopter were spotted. (Haaretz+ and Ynet
  • Reform leader: (Israeli) Cabinet pledged to nix transfer of Wailing Wall prayer area to settler group Elad - Rabbi Rick Jacobs says promise could end crisis of confidence between Israeli government and non-Orthodox movement over prayer deal at Western Wall. (Haaretz+)
  • 10th annual Israeli Apartheid Week kicks off globally - Palestine solidarity activists launched the 10th annual Israeli Apartheid Week in North America and the UK last week, as their counterparts around the world prepared to mobilize throughout the month of March. (Maan
  • Irish student union endorses Israel boycott - The student body's decision makes it the first Irish academics union to support BDS. (JTA, Haaretz)  
  • Scarlett Johansson says support of SodaStream is environmentally motivated - Star bemoans her rift with Oxfam in interview with The Telegraph. (Haaretz
  • Hamas field commander killed in explosion in Rafah - Nine other Hamas militants injured in blast, that was a result of an explosive device accidentally going off. (Maan and Ynet)
  • "Ma'ariv" fails to publish - The Jerusalem District Court will hear publisher Shlomo Ben-Tzvi's petition for a stay of proceedings today. (Globes)
  • Confusion over pope's planned visit to Holy Land - Foreign Ministry employee says strike may jeopardize planned visit in May, but Vatican says trip still on the agenda. (Haaretz+ and Ynet
  • Israeli envoy opens 'hotline' with Ukrainian ultra-nationalist - Agreement aims to 'prevent provocation' and denounce the anti-Semitic tendencies of Ukraine's nationalist camp. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Injured Ukrainians arrive in Israel for treatment - Jewish community of Ukraine funds flights to Jewish State, medical care for 9 citizens injured in demonstrations. (Ynet
  • Hezbollah families: Our sons are cannon fodder for Assad - Families of Hezbollah fighters angry their sons are being sent to die in Syria, Saudi paper Al-Watan reports. Groundswell of anger first erupted months ago, but has recently grown stronger due to the large number of casualties Hezbollah has sustained. (Israel Hayom)
  • Egyptian Jewish leader Nadia Haroun dies - Nadia Haroun, who worked as a lawyer, suffered a heart attack. She is survived by her husband, activist Ahmed Qassem, along with two children, a son and daughter. Her funeral will be held at a Cairo synagogue. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Egyptian TV station under fire for promoting tourism to Israel - A segment on Arab-Israeli town of Jisr az-Zarqa sparks controversy among Egyptians who oppose normalizing relations with neighboring Israel. (Ynet
  • Palestinians in Gaza protest Egypt ban on Hamas - Senior Hamas leader says Cairo trying to 'criminalize resistance' to Israel but that Hamas will not stop fight against Israel. Says Egypt ban on Hamas could lead to 'Israeli attack on Gaza.' (Ynet and Maan)
  • Saudi Arabia designates Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist group - King Abdullah approves committee conclusions finding Brotherhood, Nusra Front, and others as extremist organizations. (Maan
  • EU foreign policy chief arrives in Iran for nuclear talks - Catherine Ashton is the first EU foreign policy chief to visit Iran since 2008. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Ashton should ask the Iranians about the arms shipment to Gaza terrorists that Israel intercepted in the Red Sea. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Iran president criticizes hard-liners over media - Rouhani claims judicial authorities' closure of two pro-reform papers on allegations of questioning Islamic principles is wrongful. (Agencies, Ynet)
When will the U.S. Jewish community talk peace? (Ori Nir, Haaretz+) How will the U.S. Jewish establishment, such as AIPAC, confront the prospect of peace for Israel when it is mired in an echo chamber of self-righteous axioms and simplistic thinking? 
Recognizing Israel is enough (Friday Haaretz Editorial) Israelis live in a Jewish state, which is the realization of the Zionist vision; they need no Palestinian recognition. 
Palestinian Arabs and America do not need to recognize Israel (Ronn Torossian, Times of Israel) Recent clamoring about whether the Palestinian Authority and America should or should not recognize Israel as a Jewish state as part of a “peace” agreement is completely irrelevant. Israel’s right to exist is the right of the Jewish people and unreserved. There is no reason for the people of Israel, whose rights to the land of Israel are in the Bible to ask anyone to recognize the country.
Iran and 'Karine B' (Elliot Abrams, Israel Hayom) In the Karine A case, the key issue was the intended recipient of the seized weapons; this time, the key issue is the donor.
Israel's state-sponsored missionary work (Haaretz Editorial) Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is obsessed with ‘Jewish identity,’ led by cabinet member Naftali Bennett. 
Iranian cement and Israeli whitewash (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) A country that basks in the glory of military achievement, no matter how impressive, is not a healthy country. 
A boycott for a boycott (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) When it comes to concrete steps taken by the Palestinian leadership, the reaction should not only be verbal. In simple biblical Hebrew, "an eye for an eye."
Hey Arab sister, I’ve got 4,135 days to make peace… (Chaya Lester, Times of Israel) I’ve got a 6 year old son… and, as much as I admire & appreciate the IDF, I’d prefer to NOT send him to the army in 12 years...Do you remember me my Arab sister 6am frantic panicked at the hospital in the heart of Jerusalem We brushed arms as we rushed our girls along that sickening maze of hallways... 
Rocking the boat? (Ruthie Blum, Israel Hayom) Obama is neither listening to nor cares about Netanyahu's repeated warnings that time is running out before Iran acquires nuclear weapons.
If I were an American Jew, I’d worry about Israel’s racist cancer (Daniel Blatman, Haaretz+) Amid the awareness that Israel is sliding toward an apartheid regime, the silence of Jews worldwide is deafening. 
Stop fiddling while Israel occupies (Rachel B. Tiven, Times of Israel) From Ramaz High School disinviting Rashid Khalidi, to Hillel after Hillel tying itself in knots, to front-page New York Times coverage of my synagogue’s e-blasts, American Jews engage in a sort of proxy conflict that avoids the real issues. This is a diaspora luxury that Israel and those who care about it cannot afford. American Jews must engage directly and immediately to resolve the terrible conflict with which Israel was born.
Irrational ire invoked at Israel (Dan Calic, Ynet) No other nation or people have engendered such a plethora of movements, organizations and views obsessed with boycotting it, dividing it up or destroying it altogether. 
Frankly, America, Bibi doesn’t give a damn (Yoel Marcus, Haaretz+) In his speech to AIPAC, it was as if Netanyahu were saying to Obama: Attack me before I arrive and I’ll get you back double. 
Operation Full Disclosure: A promo of Israel's capabilities (Dr. Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) It's important the international community understand that Israel takes very seriously its right to exist without a nuclear threat hanging over its head. 
It's time to sign on the Green Line (Matthew Kalman, Haaretz+) An initiative by British Jewish students calling on pro-Israel groups to use maps that show the Green Line is long overdue. 
Change in status of Arab women begins in Tunisia (Smadar Perry, Yedioth/Ynet) Situation of tens of millions of women in Arab and Muslim world, even after Arab Spring, is in alarming state of regression. In Tunisia, however, innovative constitution sees women as worthy of any position.
Rare intelligence collaboration (Lilach Shoval, Israel Hayom) Using satellites, drones and signals intelligence, Israel was able to track the Gaza-bound weapons shipment at any given time.

Netanyahu to Israel Hayom: Iran has not changed
"Right now the battle is over the truth, and the truth is Iran is a country that breaks all the rules," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says in Israel Hayom interview. PM: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas refuses to move toward peace deal. (Interviewed by Shlomo Cesana in Israel Hayom)

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