News Nosh 03.20.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday March 20, 2014

Quote of the day:
"The video was made after years in which the left had become the right's punching bag."
--Peace Now director Yariv Oppenheimer on why he and left-wing MKs made the satirical video that went viral.**

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

Diplomacy and Peace Talk Highlights:
The arrest and interrogation of military aides of former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi and the questioning of Ashkenazi to take place over the role he may have played in sabotaging the appointment of his successor, as well as the apology Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon gave to the US administration for calling it 'weak' just as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu calls to prepare for an attack on Iran were top stories in today's Hebrew papers. On the peace talks front, more threats and demands were made over the issue of the upcoming release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, while a son of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the New York Times that the two-state option was passe´.
The world powers and Iran have adjourned nuclear talks until April 7 and are aiming for an agreement in June, but Netanyahu has ordered the IDF to prepare for possible strike on Iran this year and senior IDF officers have told MKs to allocate $2.9 billion for the preparations. This comes in the wake of Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon's second apology to the US, this time for saying the US was 'weak' and should be leading a campaign against Iran. Yaalon also said he supported unilateral Israeli action against Iran. A source told Channel 10 News that US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Netanyahu over Yaalon's comments. However, Yaalon's associates say Washington officials are targeting Yaalon over his right-wing views, including opposition to the peace talks, write Haaretz+ and Ynet. Meanwhile, Russia has threatened to change its stance on Iran because of Crimea-related sanctions.
Nine days till the date of the last round of releases of Palestinian prisoners and Deputy Minister Danny Danon (Likud) declared he would resign if it took place. "I will not sit in a government that releases terrorists from prison in exchange for (Justice Minister and chief Israeli negotiator) Tzipi Livni’s fantasies," he said. Haaretz+ wrote that Likud people say that Danon’s move "is tactical and meant to strengthen his position ahead of the debate between him and Netanyahu at the upcoming Likud summit, set for three days after the planned prisoner release." Meanwhile, another 30 MKs urged Netanyahu to free Jewish terrorists, saying "keeping Jewish prisoners in jail as opposed to releasing Arab prisoners is discrimination." MK Miri Regev (Likud) initiated the bill.
However, the Palestinians not only threatened to resume their campaign for international recognition at the United Nations if Israel called off the prisoner release,but also demanded the release of Fatah star, Marwan Barghouti, as a condition to extending talks, in addition to the demand that Israel freeze settlement construction.
The PLO released a statement saying that since talks began in July, 56 Palestinians were killed and 897 injured.

In an interview with the NYT, quoted in Haaretz, Abbas' son, Tareq, said a one-state solution would be easier than a two-state solution, which was seen as reflecting the generation gap among Palestinians.

Quick Hits:
  • Palestinian teen killed by Israeli army fire in South Hebron Hills - Israeli military officials say Yusuf Abu-Akar, 15, tried to sabotage the separation barrier along with two other people. Village residents claim otherwise. (Haaretz+ and Maan
  • Jerusalem approves 184 housing units beyond Green Line - Also gives land to police, army for construction beyond Green Line; opposition says its ruining peace chances. (Haaretz
  • Israeli bulldozers demolish Palestinian home in East Jerusalem - Without prior warning, Israeli military forces surrounded the Beit Hanina property, blockaded the home of Badwan Salaymah while he and his family were absent, and proceeded to tear the house down, Salaymah's brother said. (Maan)
  • Israeli army recruits, rightists tour Aqsa compound (Temple Mount) - Over 90 Israeli army recruits entered the compound Wednesday escorted by Israeli police officers. The visit was part of an Israeli army orientation tour, the PA ministry said. Over 20 (Israeli) extremists also entered the mosque compound, it added. (Maan)
  • Israel delivers remains of 4 Palestinians held for over a decade - Israeli authorities late Tuesday delivered the remains of four Palestinians withheld by Israel for over a decade. (Maan
  • Thousands bury Bethlehem man after Israel returns body - Thousands of mourners on Wednesday attended the burial of Bethlehem local, Jamil Khalaf Mustafa Hmeid, whose remains were returned to the occupied West Bank by Israel after nearly 12 years. Hmeid died carrying out a suicide bombing that injured several Israeli settlers near the illegal settlement of Efrat in March 2002, south of Bethlehem. (Maan
  • Palestinian security forces arrest over 40 Hamas members in Nablus following funeral - A source said that Hamas members attacked the ambulance delivering the remains of former Hamas leader Mohammad al-Hanbali, breaking its window, assaulting a doctor and a nurse, removing the Palestinian flag he was covered in, and subsequently wrapping him with a Hamas flag. (Maan
  • Israel 'destroyed' Islamic archaeological sites in Silwan dig - The Israel Antiquities Authority destroyed several ancient archeological sites and antiquities during a controversial dig in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem (City of David), said the Al-Aqsa Foundation. (Maan)
  • 2 Palestinian prisoners end hunger strike after deal with Israel - An Israeli prosecutor agreed to the demands that hunger-strikers Muammar Banat and Akram al-Fseisi announced when they started the strike. (Maan)
  • 6 MKs back bill against Israel Hayom - Bill initiated by MK Eitan Cabel (Labor) is meant to directly damage Israel Hayom and benefit Yedioth Ahronoth. Bill would ban the distribution to the public of free newspapers. (Israel Hayom)
  • Former employee suing Netanyahus, PMO for millions - 
  • Report claims Sara Netanyahu mistreated former official residence's superintendant, who claims his rights were trampled on by PMO, Netanyahu couple. (Ynet)
  • 2 men arrested for 'attempt' to attack Fatah spokesman in Egypt - Two unidentified men were arrested and taken to Abdeen Police station in Cairo on suspicion of attempting to assault Fatah spokesman Ahmad Assaf. (Maan)
  • Jordanian PM: No action against Israel until probe is complete - Jordanian parliament members give government an ultimatum to sever diplomatic ties with Israel, and release Ahmed Daqamseh, the Jordanian soldier who in 1997 murdered seven Israeli schoolgirls at the Island of Peace. (Israel Hayom)
  • Hezbollah's Nasrallah sent secret assurances to Israel - Leader told Russians in 2013 to let Israel know 'Lebanon’s southern borders are the safest place in the world,' according to leaked document cited in London report. (Haaretz)
  • Your next Mideast news source: Hezbollah launches new app - 'LCG' is available via the Apple Store for iPhone and iPad. Two years ago, another Hezbollah app was removed from the store. (Haaretz)
  • Israel strikes Syrian army targets after border blast; one dead - Israel hits several Syrian military and security targets that 'enabled and aided' Tuesday's attack on IDF troops which left four Israeli soldiers wounded, IDF Spokesman says. (Haaretz)
  • Syrian army: Repeat of Israeli air strikes could destabilize entire Mideast - 1 soldier said killed, 7 hurt in IAF strikes on military targets in Syria in wake of attack on IDF patrol near border that left four IDF troops wounded. (Ynet+VIDEO)
  • Princeton locals find Golan wine hard to swallow - Residents plan to protest presence of Golan Heights wine at restaurant event because it 'is being produced illegally in illegal territory.' (Haaretz)
  • Tunisian president visits local synagogue exhibit - Moncef Marzouki says he is proud of the country’s Jewish citizens and their historical role. (Times of Israel)
  • Indian police detain suspicious man outside Israeli embassy - Man started running after being approached by security personnel, according to Indian news service. (Haaretz)

**Why Israel’s peace camp is acting up (Yariv Oppenheimer, Haaretz+) Faced by an ongoing campaign by the right to delegitimize them, Israel’s peace camp has abandoned its customary defensiveness - and has taken its message to YouTube.
The right to a Jewish nation (Dror Eydar, Israel Hayom) The demand to recognize the Jewish state is not caprice. 
Before Abbas recognizes the Jewish state, Israel must define it (Peter Beinart, Haaretz+) Is it Netanyahu and Lieberman’s Jewish state that alienates its Arab citizens, or Yitzhak Rabin’s inclusive Jewish state that dedicated itself, briefly, to true equality?
Turning on the 'Jewish state' (Ari Shavit, Haaretz+) There'll be no peace if the Palestinians don’t contribute their share; but they won't contribute their share unless people who want peace insist they contribute it.
War between wars: New rules of engagement (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) As part of what the IDF calls 'war between wars', Israel and terrorist groups and their state sponsors must play a very dangerous game, according to a new set of rules, while trying to create deterrence that doesn't lead to an all-out regional conflict. 
The Shin Bet in our beds (Oudeh Basharat, Haaretz+) The Arabs say to themselves: Let’s resign ourselves to the discrimination - it's more merciful than the flood of incitement we will get if we fight it. 
Hezbollah's fingerprints, Syrian hands (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) To this point Israel has managed to stay out of the civil war in Syria, but it now seems we are being slowly and disconcertingly dragged into the quagmire.
Bibi's great escape from peace (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) With impressive skill, Netanyahu used the demand for Jewish state-recognition to avoid compromising with the Palestinians.
Not wise (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth) Kadmon discusses the controversy over Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon's recent remarks regarding US foreign policy and Israel-US relations. "Only if the minister knows what apparently nobody else in the world knows, namely that Israel is the greatest major power in the world, that it does not need any other country either militarily or diplomatically, that contrary to what is commonly believed, it does not rest on the US's shoulders but the opposite, and that the real dependence is that of the American administration on the Israeli government – only thus can one explain the Defense Minister's irresponsible conduct." Kadmon urges Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to call Defense Minister Yaalon to order and says, "Netanyahu needs to personally apologize to the Americans no less than he apologized this week to the Jordanians for the killing of the judge," and adds, "Our relations with Washington are no less important than our relations with Amman."
The Western devil wears Prada (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) The annexation of Crimea may be problematic, but it is less problematic than the occupation of the Palestinian territories by Israel.
Lapid's housing plan is unfair and unsound (Haaretz Editorial+) As experts warned, the finance minister’s proposal to reduce home prices could do more harm than good. The discrimination inherent in the proposal against Arabs, ultra-Orthodox people, couples without children and others raises questions as to its constitutionality. 
Kerry’s gift to Abbas (Dan Calic, Ynet) US secretary of state's criticism of Netanyahu's Jewish statehood demand is the real 'mistake in the diplomatic process.'
With Syria strikes, Israel sending message to Assad: Rein in Hezbollah (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Jerusalem signaling: You've let Hezbollah approach our border from the Syrian side. Stop it or else.

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