News Nosh 03.23.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday March 23, 2014

Quote of the day:
"But it isn’t about us. It is about creating an honest conversation regarding some of the most contentious issues facing both Israelis and Palestinians today."
--Zaki Djemal and Yoav Schaefer and four other Israel undergraduates at Harvard write about why they took participants of a tour of Israel and the Palestinian Territories to visit Yasser Arafat's grave.**

Front Page News:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • "We will release prisoners if negotiations are extended" - Israel places conditions to implementation of fourth round
  • Battle in Jenin - Special forces hunt for wanted men in Jenin ended in three dead terrorists
  • Suspicion: Abused baby with iron
  • "Netanyahu's people offered a large compensation, on condition that Sara would not know" - The affair of the house manager of the PM's residence renewed the discussion over the affair over (former housekeeper) Lillian Peretz
  • Selling fashion with bad taste: Beyonce at home of Anne Frank
  • "I'm not moving" - Lapid: Cancellation of VAT (on first homes) will not be expanded beyond including singles and couples without children
  • Days of Messiah - The most bizarre: How did Chuck Norris become a guru to hundreds of Israelis
  • not published today
Israel Hayom
Peace Talk Highlights:
Today's biggest story in the Hebrew papers was the killing of a Hamas militant and two others in Jenin. Yedioth reported that Israeli officials say Israel won't release the last round of prisoners if the Palestinians don't agree to extend the peace talks and Ynet reported that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he would not agree to anything short of a fully autonomous state.
Haaretz's Gideon Levy writes about meeting Hamza Abu Al-Haija when the latter was 11 years old and both his parents were in jail and then meeting him again recently before Israeli special forces killed him early Saturday morning in his home in Jenin along with two others, one from Fatah and one from Islamic Jihad. Ynet posted a video of the raid on home of Abu al-Haija, 22-years-old at his death. Haaretz+ offered readers the only real reporting that included information from the Palestinian side:  "According to residents of the refugee camp, Abu al-Haija was shot in the legs when he jumped out of the window of the besieged house. The soldiers then approached him, fired at him at point blank range and killed him. Residents also said the two other young men killed – Mahmoud Abu Zina, 17 of Islamic Jihad, and Yazan Jabarin, 23, were shot as they carried the body of their friend some distance from the place where he was killed." Maan reported on the funerals of the three men where thousands attended in rage, shouting against negotiations with Israel and called for reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. Militant groups also threatened 'painful' retaliation for the killings. The IDF said that Abu al-Haija was a ticking time bomb.
Yedioth's Itamar Eichner and Ynet's Elior Levy wrote in Yedioth today that unnamed Israeli officials said that since the Americans have yet to prepare a framework agreement, Isarel will not release the remaining prisoners agreed upon in July. [Interestingly, Yedioth reported that the number to be released was 26, Haaretz has reported that it is 34. - OH]. The Palestinians demand the release of 30, writes Yedioth. Moreover, Israel and the US are arguing over the release of 14 Arab Israelis. [The original agreement was to release all 104 prisoners jailed prior to the Oslo Accords. -OH] But, writes Yedioth, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu knows he will face fierce opposition among his ministers over the release of the Arab Israelis. The release was expected to take place at the end of March, but now Israel says no date was set and Yedioth also writes that even if it takes place in April, it won't include Arab Israelis, which is likely to cause a serious crisis with the Palestinians.
According to the article, if the Israelis and Palestinians stay entrenched in their positions, the Americans will say they will they tried and failed and US Secretary of State John Kerry will stop his involvement in the peace talks. But it's possible, writes Yedioth, that this is a tactic to pressure the sides to become more flexible and that in the end Kerry will present the framework agreement, even if he is in danger of it being rejected by both sides. Israeli officials told Yedioth there is no way Israel will reject the paper, rather it will say, "Yes, but" - and express its reservations. Interestingly, Yedioth quoted Environment Minister Amir Peretz (Hatnuah) who said that he would have preferred that Netanyahu had frozen settlement construction and not agreed to a prisoner release before restarting negotiations, but since Netanyahu chose releasing prisoners Peretz will not oppose it. "I won't be the one that will put a spoke in the wheels of the peace process. I want to look the public in the eye and say I did everything possible to achieve an agreement," said Peretz.

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated Saturday that the Palestinian leadership will not agree to anything less than a fully-autonomous state with East Jerusalem as its capital, that it will not cave into pressure and it will not relinquish its national rights.

Quick Hits:
  • U.S. 'disappointed' with lack of apology from Israel's defense minister - State Department spokeswoman reiterates call for explicit apology from Moshe Ya'alon over offensive comments on the Obama administration. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Bennett backs Ya'alon, lauds him for restoring Israel's deterrence - Economy Minister speaks up following uproar over Defense Minister's recent attacks on U.S.: 'Today, everybody knows we will not hesitate to act deep within enemy borders, to cut off our enemy’s hands,' Bennet writes on Facebook. (Haaretz)
  • Hamas texts Israelis: 'Get out of our country' - Threatening messages sent to Israelis' mobile phones vow revenge: 'Al-Qassam has chosen you to be The next Shalit... Be ready.' (Ynet
  • Israeli forces disperse West Bank protests - Two were shot with metal bullets in Nabi Saleh village west of Ramallah as Israeli forces dispersed a demonstration “honoring the struggling Palestinian mothers”. (Maan
  • Israeli forces clash with youths in Bethlehem camp - Several Palestinians were injured Friday evening in clashes with Israeli forces in Aida refugee camp, which started after youths smashed a hole in Israel’s wall and set the Israeli military watchtower near the northern entrance of Bethlehem on fire. (Maan)
  • Soldiers try to use journalists as 'human shields' in Aida clashes - Journalist Musa al-Shaer said that soldiers prevented him and a Palestinian and American colleague from doing their work and tried to use them as "human shields" and later detained them Saturday, while they were covering clashes in the camp between local youths and Israeli forces. (Maan)
  • Thousands pray in the streets amid Aqsa mosque restrictions for Marathon - Men under 50 were forced to pray in the streets as Israeli authorities imposed restrictions around the Old City to accommodate the Jerusalem Marathon. (Maan
  • Palestinians protest Jerusalem marathon - "Around 100 demonstrators holding Palestinian flags tried, at two separate parts of the course, to disrupt the race," Israel police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP. (Agencies, Maan
  • UN human rights investigator accuses Israel of 'ethnic cleansing' - Richard Falk says Israeli policy of pushing Palestinians out of East Jerusalem amounts to ethnic cleansing. (Agencies, Haaretz
  • Ex-Shin Bet chief lambasts Netanyahu's Likud as 'shallow' - Yuval Diskin slams major political parties on the right and in the center in a piece for Yedioth Ahronoth, sets out his vision for saving Israel from itself. (Haaretz)
  • Activists hold global day of action for Palestinian right of return - Activists around the world held a day of action entitled "Return Unifies Us" on Saturday in support of the implementation of the right to return of all Palestinian refugees, especially those currently in Syria. (Maan
  • Labor MK: Israel gave extra $172m to settlements in winter Knesset session - 'Instead of allocating tax money equitably and justly among all Israelis, one small group gets more than everyone under the table,’ charges MK Stav Shaffir. (Haaretz
  • Retirement benefits for career soldiers revealed - Military releases data on pensions, retirement benefits afforded to career personnel. Average pension amounts to 10,774 shekels. IDF official: Pensions fall short of other sectors, data clearly shows IDF is the most efficient body in the public sector. (Israel Hayom)
  • Lod residents protest police conduct after woman's murder - Protesters rally near Lod police station one week after murder of (Arab Israeli) Lilian Masoud. (Haaretz
  • Why did Harvard students visit Arafat's grave? Harvard University students take trip to Ramallah, post picture on social media next to Yasser Arafat's grave. Trip funded by Jewish donors, supported by Harvard Hillel. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel’s legal chaos makes West Bank a paradise for polluters - Israel needs to update its laws and apply this legislation across the Green Line, experts say. (Haaretz+) 
  • British architects group calls for boycott of Israeli counterparts - Association of architects in UK to call on international union to exclude Israeli counterpart due to ongoing settlement construction in West Bank. (Ynet
  • Defense Ministry receives Lavi military training jet from Italy - Israel receives first M-346 air force training jet from Italy. After serving the Israeli Air Force for 45 years, the American Skyhawk military jets will be replaced with the Italian aircraft. Plane rolled out in ceremony is part of billion dollar deal with ltaly. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israel training pilots with scenarios inspired by Malaysia flight - Missing Malaysian plane will likely be found in the bottom of the ocean, head of Israel's pilots association says. (Haaretz+)
  • IDF: Gaza terror tunnel one of largest ever detected - Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman: "This was a strategic tunnel for Hamas." Senior IDF officer: "This is a completely different type of tunnel, cemented to a higher quality, very structurally sound. It appears [Hamas] invested a lot of thought in it." (Israel Hayom)
  • Report: Assad used escalation in Gaza to deliver weapons to Hezbollah - While IDF was attacking terror targets in the Strip, Syrian government was transferring advanced medium-range missiles to its ally in Lebanon. (Ynet
  • Hezbollah's media mouthpiece: Syria-border attack – game changer - Paper affiliated with the organization claims Israel believed its Lebanon strike will be unanswered – and was wrong. (Ynet)
  • 3 Palestinians detained in Israeli raid on Salfit civil defense HQ - An estimated 40 Israeli soldiers stormed the office and detained three military personnel working there on Friday. (Maan+PHOTOS)
  • Muslim sheikh remembers settler rabbi - Sheikh Ibrahim Abu El-Hawa pays public tribute to Rabbi Menachem Froman, who was well-known for his unique peace activities in region. (Ynet)
  • Eight revelers hospitalized after outdoor party in Jordan Valley (West Bank) - 40 treated for injuries at Moshav Ro'i. Second party in Lower Galilee disbanded, organizers arrested by local police. (Haaretz)
  • Greece passes 'law of return’ for aged, native-born Jews - 'It’s about us feeling slightly better about correcting our past mistakes,' says legislation's initiator. (Haaretz+)
  •  Sudan says it foiled Israeli espionage ring - Informants gave Israel intel that facilitated attacks on Sudanese soil in 2009 and 2012, according to local reports. (Haaretz+)
  • Senators urge Obama to stand firm over Iran nuclear talks - Twenty-three lawmakers ask U.S. president to insist on a final deal that would prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Khamenei casts doubt whether 'Holocaust ever happened' - 'Holocaust is an event whose reality is uncertain,' says Iran's spiritual leader, who denies the Holocaust while claiming there is no freedom of speech in Europe. (Agencies, Ynet)

Israeli’s refugee camp raid could spark all-out battle (Haaretz Editorial) Retroactive validation of assassinations could lead to the indiscriminate killing of Palestinians and a violent flare-up. 
With growing despair, anarchy returns to Palestinian refugee camps (Amos Harel, Haaretz) Political disillusionment and plummeting economy make refugee camps like Jenin increasingly volatile and dangerous places - for both IDF and PA. 
Negotiating against ourselves (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) "Framework" and "shelf" agreements have proven to be a disincentive to Palestinian political maturation and moderation.
Arab blood remains cheaper in Israel (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) This country pardons the Jewish murderers of Arabs after only a few years. The Arab murderers of Jews stay behind bars for decades.
Complacency and arrogance: The failures of Ya'alon and Gantz (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) Defense minister's comments on US, chief of staff's boast of Iranian operations illustrate a worrying and dangerous state of mind.
How case 404 was lost, with many casualties (Amir Oren, Haaretz+) The humiliatingly public arrest of two former IDF officers this week is the latest fiasco in the police investigation into the Harpaz Affair.
Syria's rebels are pitting Israel against Hezbollah, and winning (Dr. Yaron Friedman, Yedioth/Ynet) Israel must think carefully about who benefits the most from the recent escalation along its Golan border with Syria.
We should find better heroes than Meir Har-Zion (Yossi Sarid, Haaretz+) Israel's leaders showed their true colors when they praised the late 'legendary soldier' who spilled innocent blood.
**Yes, we visited Arafat’s grave (Zaki Djemal, Times of Israel) In response to recent publications decrying a visit by Harvard students to the grave of former PA chairman Yasser Arafat, under the auspices of the Harvard College Israel Trek, raising understandable concern, we, the undersigned organizers, would like to make a number of clarifications and share some thoughts on the matter. 
The sorry affair of Ya'alon's apology (Yossi Verter, Haaretz+) The defense minister has again found it difficult to keep his mouth shut, damaging Israel’s national-security interests and again making us look like a ridiculous political entity in a Peter Sellers movie.
The storm after the calm (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) IDF intelligence officials have warned for some time that the northern front -- long Israel's quietest -- was about to change • Events of recent weeks show that these predictions are now coming to fruition. 
No longer is all quiet on the northern front (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) A series of terror attacks have put the north of Israel on the edge of escalation.
Forks in the road (Shlomo Cesana, Israel Hayom)
The White House wants to extend peace talks by another year at all costs, while Netanyahu and Abbas are weighing the costs and benefits of doing so. Meanwhile, Israel is apparently the only Western country that backs up its red lines with military action.
The defense minister's dangerous delusion (Haaretz Editorial) In addition to being scornful of Washington, Moshe Ya'alon is also dead wrong about his assessment of U.S. power and reliability.
Saving Israel from its corrupt politicians (Yuval Diskin, Yedioth/Ynet) Former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin makes a plea for the silent majority to reclaim the country.
Honesty has its limits (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon would be wise to remember that the public's support for rhetoric that might jeopardize Israel-U.S. ties is fleeting.
Fire Israel's defense minister (Yoel Marcus, Haaretz+) The person emerging as Benjamin Netanyahu’s most dangerous rival is Moshe Ya’alon.
US will not forget Ya'alon's insult (Alon Pinkas, Yedioth/Ynet) Defense Minister's comments will greatly influence American willingness to listen to Israel on crucial issues like Iran.
Olmert, the star of Israel's own little 'House of Cards' (Uri Misgav, Haaretz+) Despite his unresolved legal issues, Ehud Olmert continues maneuvering on a level worthy of prime-time drama. He opened a firm this week with the ex-chiefs of the Mossad and the IDF.
Fifth column: Christians and illusory promises of Israeli integration (Rifat Odeh Kassis, Maan) Israel actively seeks to make Palestinians forget that they share a history, a community, and a struggle, and is increasingly implementing legislation to make this aim a reality. The international media, unfortunately, has aided in this process through their simplistic, biased, and at times outright untruthful coverage of the issues facing Christian Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. 
What should being Jewish mean today? (Jon Leener and Avram Mlotek, Haaretz+) Why we need to reclaim the real Judaism from the stagnant institutions that don’t reflect the authentically Jewish passion for practical, ethical action.
From hocus pocus to open sesame to recognition as Jewish state: It’s a kind of magic (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Forget refugees, settlements, Jerusalem or security: Everyone is waiting for Abbas to say the magic words that will launch a whole new world, presto-change-o. 

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