News Nosh 03.12.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday March 12, 2014

Quote of the day:
"All Arabs are criminal"
--Graffiti spray-painted on a wall in the Arab-Israeli town of Jaljulya.**

Front Page News:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • not printed today
Israel Hayom

Diplomacy and Peace Talk Highlights:
Today's top story was the unanimous passing of the governance bill in a vote boycotted by the opposition, resulting in the raising of the threshold to enter the Knesset. As British Prime Minister David Cameron lands in Israel today, Israeli officials are keeping their fingers crossed, while Palestinians are already disappointed. And Israeli and Palestinian leaders are not budging on what Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called a deal-breaker in peace talks. In any case, a poll says Israelis don't trust the US mediator. Meanwhile, Netanyahu has expressed regret to the Jordanian government for the IDF killing of a Jordanian judge - despite an IDF probe that said the killing was in self-defense.

Left wing, Arab and religious parties boycotted the Knesset vote on the controversial governance law yesterday, because it was packaged with two other contentious bills and coalition members were obliged to vote in favor of all three. As a result, the electoral threshold rose from 2 percent to 3.25 percent. Were this the threshold in the last elections, none of the Arab parties would be sitting in the Knesset. The opposition was so angry about the 'package vote' that it has threatened to abandon the Knesset plenum after the speech of British Prime Minister David Cameron today, while Cameron is still in the hall. Fearing it would dishonor the dignity of the Knesset, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein threatened to cancel Cameron’s planned address.

Cameron will speak before the Knesset about the benefits of peace with the Palestinians and Israeli officials hope he will call Israel 'a Jewish state,' Haaretz+ reported. Meanwhile, Palestinians are already disappointed because Cameron will spend only three hours of his two-day trip in the Palestinian territories.

But, the Palestinians and Israelis continue to stay entrenched in their positions on Netanyahu's Jewish state recognition demand. The Fatah Revolutionary Council unanimously endorsed Abbas' rejection of demands to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, officials at the Tuesday meeting told AFP. Abbas said in his speech to delegates that "at 79 years old, he wasn't going to back down on his people's rights or betray their cause," despite the "great pressure being exerted," said the official. Later in the day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was such statements that diminished the prospects for a peace agreement. Speaking at a Likud faction meeting, Netanyahu said, "we are farther away from an agreement, because of the Palestinians. They said this week that they will never recognize a Jewish state and will never give up on the right of return."

Interestingly, a majority of Israelis don't trust the US mediation of the peace talks. A new poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) and Tel Aviv University found that 64% of Israelis do not trust US Secretary of State John Kerry to take Israel's security needs into account, while 60% think Kerry is motivated by personal reasons. 
In a rare move made to avoid a serious diplomatic crisis, Netanyahu expressed 'regret' over the IDF killing of a Jordanian judge
at the West Bank border crossing, despite an IDF preliminary probe, which said that judge Raed Zeiter, 38, was trying to steal a weapon and kill a soldier. However, he came short of actually apologizing. Maariv's NRG Hebrew and Israel Hayom both erroneously wrote that Netanyahu 'apologized.' Haaretz+ reported that "the unusual statement was issued after marathon talks over the last 24 hours between the prime minister's envoy Isaac Molho and senior Jordanian government officials intended to prevent any escalation." [In similar situations Israel has been careful to 'express regret' rather than apologize, because an apology would mean admitting guilt. The reconciliation with Turkey following the crisis over the IDF killings on the Turkish flotilla to Gaza began after Netanyahu made a phone call to Turkish Prime Minister Tayep Erdogan and used the word "apologize." Until that point, Foreign Minster Avigdor Lieberman and other right-wing hardliners insisted Israel only 'express regret.' - OH] Moreover, a statement released by the Prime Minister's Office said that Israel was committed to the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty and had "agreed to a Jordanian request to establish a joint Israeli-Jordanian team to complete the investigation." 
Zeiter, who comes from one of the elite Palestinian families of Nablus, was buried in his family's home city. Hundreds attended the funeral, but not his wife who, it appears, either was refused permission from Israel to enter the West Bank or did not ask. Zeiter's nephew accused Israeli soldiers of deliberately killing his uncle. "If he allegedly provoked a soldier at the checkpoint, that soldier could have fired one shot at his foot, but he in fact fired several shots at his body before another soldier fired more shots." 

Quick Hits:
  • **Graffiti in Israeli town: 'All Arabs are criminals' - Nineteen cars vandalized, tires slashed, in Jaljulya, Israeli Arab town near Kfar Saba. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinians lose appeal over Hebron house ownership - Supreme Court upholds ruling that settlers' purchase of 'House of Contention' through a front was legal. (Haaretz and Maan
  • Official: Palestinian dies in car wreck after 'Israeli police chase' - Palestinian liaison department contacted Israeli counterpart, the latter claimed that the incident was a car accident, with no hot pursuit involved. Palestinian security sources said Israeli troops fired at the car, but that it was not clear whether Fidaa Muhye Addin Majadlah was killed by the gunfire or the crash. Israel holding  the body. (Maan)
  • Israeli police restrict access to Aqsa (Temple Mount) compound - Israeli forces on Tuesday prevented Muslim worshipers under the age of 50 from entering the al-Aqsa mosque compound. (Maan
  • Palestinian youths clash with Israeli forces near Bethlehem - Youths in the area organized a rally near Azza refugee camp to protest the Israeli army's recent killings of Palestinians, locals said. A number of young Palestinian men were injured by Israeli rubber bullets and excessive tear gas inhalation. (Maan
  • Edmond Levy: 1941-2014 - Former Supreme Court justice who convicted Rabin's killer dies at 72 and headed committee that stoked international controversy by concluding that Israel is not an “occupier” and that Jewish settlements are legal. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • Maariv for sale again, third of workers put on unpaid leave - Trustee explains the 183 out of 550 workers aren't essential to Maariv as a going concern. (Haaretz
  • Foreign Ministry officials warn of imminent strike that would paralyze Israeli diplomatic activity - Due to labor sanctions, the Israeli delegation to UN didn't report seizure of Iranian arms shipment, so no international investigation will be opened. (Haaretz+)
  • EU envoys: Gaza’s fortunes will improve if Hamas forgoes violence - But, internal report says, Israel is largely responsible for the Gaza Strip’s economic woes. (Haaretz+) 
  • In response to Gaza mortar fire, IAF kills 3 Islamic Jihad terrorists - Terrorists launch mortar attack on Israeli troops near Kerem Shalom on Gaza border. IAF targets Islamic Jihad terrorists involved in mortar fire, killing three. Also on Tuesday, Israeli drone crashes in southern Gaza, due to apparent technical glitch. (Israel Hayom)
  • Hamas publishes Israeli drone photos - The al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, published photos of an Israeli drone it seized earlier on Tuesday. (Maan+PHOTOS and Ynet
  • Iranian coffee lovers flock to new wave of cafés - Under Rouhani's moderate rule, young Iranians enjoy boom in local cafe culture; for years, authorities kept number of cafes limited as they were considered anti-Islamic, symbol of Western influence. (Agencies, Ynet
  • Iran's finger on trigger to destroy Israel, warns senior Revolutionary Guards commander - Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Brigadier General Hossein Salami says Iran is not the only country with the capacity. (Haaretz
  • Iran scoffs at Israel weapons claim - Tehran calls Israel's showcase of arm shipment a 'farce'; Israel's move stems from concern over strengthening ties between Tehran, US, says Iranian FM. (Agencies, Ynet
  • Iran weapons ship causes greater stir in Arab world than West - Netanyahu and senior officials showcased arsenal on board seized ship, vowed to expose Iran's true face. (Ynet
  • Hezbollah lost nearly 500 fighters in Syria war, sources say - Facebook has been flooded with photos of the dead fighters, with supporters praising their 'martyrdom.' (Haaretz)
Israel's apology for an all-too-common-death: It's different when it's Jordan (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) When other Palestinians in the territories are killed by the Israeli army, there is no such response. But this casualty was Jordanian. 
Netanyahu cries out, world remains silent (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) Israel's prime minister sees battle against Tehran as his life's mission, but world has in fact come to terms with Iran becoming a nuclear threshold state.  
Ignoring Arab education imperils Israel's future (Meirav Arlosoroff, Haaretz+) A culture war is being fought over integrating young Haredim into Israeli society, but nothing has been done for Israel’s Arabs. 
Netanyahu must heed his own warnings (Ruthie Blum, Israel Hayom) The intentions of the Palestinians are just as ill as those of the Iranians. Both want to annihilate Israel. 
The Defense Ministry and IDF are one (insatiable) hand (Reuven Pedatzur, Haaretz+) U.S. security officials look at national security as a whole and do not shrink from challenging the military, while Israeli defense ministers represent the IDF. 
Where's the money? In defense and the settlements (Avi Temkin, Globes) New fiscal rules are a ruse to take from the weak and give to the strong.  
The goal behind Netanyahu's reality show: Unmasking Obama's love affair with Iran (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Israel’s propaganda over Klos C is titled 'The true face of Iran.' Scratch the surface and you see Obama’s name instead of Iran’s.
A golden elephant - The rating is most important (Aviad Kleinberg, Yedioth) Kleinberg discusses Monday's presentation of the rockets, mortar rounds and bullets from the Klos-C. "Netanyahu's show in Eilat was unnecessary. Of course the weapons smuggling network to Gaza must be stopped and it is good that our security forces did their work," but adds, "Was capturing a ship laden with 90-160 kilometer-range rockets, mortar rounds and ammunition an exceptional event? Probably not. Is the item that Iran is sending weapons to Hamas a newsworthy event? Not really. Is this item enough to change the world's mind about Iran? No...The event smells like an unsuccessful photo-op of a leader and his generals, an event in which the leader extols himself in front of the cameras and makes a media mountain out of a molehill."
Israel should heed Cameron’s friendly warning (Azriel Bermant, Haaretz+) The British prime minister will likely be bearing a candid message during his visit: Stop settlement expansion and preserve the two-state solution. 
A Jewish state: It’s our problem, not theirs (Donniel Hartman, Times of Israel) In our negotiations with the Palestinians, the purpose of our red lines is to ensure that a withdrawal from Judea and Samaria and the formation of a Palestinian state not undermine our legitimate security concerns or our identity as a Jewish state. There are many sub-issues to these red lines, from the necessity of ending the occupation, to ensuring the demographic balance necessary for our Jewish democratic character, to our stake in Jerusalem. 
Netanyahu's empty weapons display (Shimon Shiffer, Ynet) PM was looking for his victory photo in light of miserable failure to recruit world against Iran.
God's work (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) The people who found those rockets before they could be used on children and the rest of us, were doing God's work. If all they did was to prevent one more war crime here. Or forty of them.

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