News Nosh 03.25.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday March 25, 2014

Quote of the day:
“A body that lives off of public funds, without reporting what it does with the money, doesn’t deserve a shekel of our tax money.” 
-- Said Labor MK Stav Shaffir, who leads the fight against transfers tax money to the World Zionist Organization's settlement arm and forced a postponement of the vote.**

Front Page News:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • not published today
Israel Hayom
  • Foiling his path to the Presidency - Woman who worked for Minister Shalom 15 years ago claims he committed sexual offenses against her. Minister denies: "This is a despicable plot with cynical timing"
  • Prosecution: "Developments in Zaken affair"
  • End to hope in Malaysia plane crash
  • City that doesn't stop - but with limits - Historical decision: Tel-Aviv municipality approves kiosks can open on Shabbat
  • Victory of the battalion commander in reserves: Fired from his work after he fought terrorist (because he served so many days in reserves) - and will receive compensation
  • Housing cabinet approved: 0% VAT and "goal price"
  • Numerous subjects: This is how the new the matriculation certificate will look

Peace Talk Highlights:
Today's top stories in the Hebrew papers were about the sexual harassement allegations against contender for Israel's presidency, Minister Silvan Shalom, and the approval of a VAT exemption for first-time home buyers. On the peace talks front, the papers reported on the imminent issue of the last round of releases of pre-Oslo Palestinian prisoners. The main obstacle for Israel is the release of Arab-Israeli prisoners and the US is trying to find a compromise to avoid the explosion of the peace talks, while relatives of victims of terror have begun demonstrating in the street against the releases. Yedioth's Alex Fishman writes that Israel suggested releasing 26 Palestinians who are from the West Bank or Gaza Strip and whose crimes were committed before Oslo, but they were arrested after the Oslo Accords were signed. Israel claims it never committed to whom it would release. (Note, however, the number of pre-Oslo prisoners Israel agreed to release, 104, was the exact number of all those arrested before the Oslo Accords, which includes the Israeli citizens. - OH) Ynet reported that some MKs called to freeze settlement construction instead of releasing prisoners, while Haaretz+ quoted a Maan report, according to which, if Israel agreed to freeze settlements, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would agree to extend talks (which a poll says most Palestinians support). But if Israel does not release the prisoners, the Palestinians will go to the UN. Meanwhile, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has prepared a classified legal opinion that paves the way for Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's plan to make Arab areas of Israel - and the citizens living there - part of a future Palestinian state. The move would require consent of the Palestinians, could not leave anyone without citizenship and would involve a mechanism for compensation, writes Haaretz+. And, a new peace group urged the Arab League to revive its 2002 peace plan, saying such a gesture would give a much-needed boost to troubled US-backed peace talks. The group consists of Israelis, Palestinians and other Arab parliamentarians, and is known as the Prague Forum.

Quick Hits:
  • Vandals slash tires of 34 cars in hate crime in East Jerusalem - The slogan 'Goyim in Israel = Enemies’ was spray-painted on a bus in the Beit Hanina neighborhood; Jerusalem police investigating. (Haaretz+ and Ynet and Maan
  • Israeli jets perform mock raids over Gaza - Witnesses said that loud sounds were heard as Israeli fighter jets roared low over Gaza, causing panic among residents. Earlier, the Israeli army fired an artillery shell into the northern Gaza Strip; no injuries were reported. (Maan)
  • UN rights chief hits Israel over settlements - Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay says Israeli construction and attacks by settlers on Palestinians are 'at the core' of human rights abuses in West Bank. (Ynet
  • Israel cut off refugee camp north of Jerusalem from water supply, activists say - A third of inhabitants of Shuafat have no water at all, and rest can get only very weak dribble. (Haaretz+)  
  • Most land Israel sold for new homes in 2014 in West Bank or East Jerusalem - The Israel Lands Authority published tenders for land to build some 3,050 residential units in the first quarter but only 45 units are in the center of the country and 55% are in the West Bank or East Jerusalem, despite demand around Tel-Aviv being higher. (Haaretz+) 
  • **Lacking majority, Knesset panel balks at funding WZO's settlement arm - Opposition by centrist Yesh Atid party forces Knesset Finance Committee to postpone vote on transferring $51 million. (Haaretz+)
  • Jimmy Carter: I oppose Israel boycott, but settlement goods must be labeled - Former U.S. president tell AP that he and the 'elders' will not 'publicly endorse any kind of embargo, or so forth, against Israeli invasion, or occupying troops in Palestine.' (Haaretz+)  
  • U.K. universities minister: No academic boycotts of Israel in Britain - Fewer Israelis have been coming to study in U.K. because of misperception of hostility, says David Willetts on visit to Jerusalem. (Haaretz)
  • EU-Israel ties growing, despite disagreements - Campaign to boycott Israel clouds otherwise strong economic and security ties between European countries and the Jewish State. (Ynet
  • 4 (E.) Jerusalem detainees released by Israeli court - The Palestinian Prison Society's Jerusalem director, Nasser Qaws, Jerusalem prisoners families committee member, Alaa Haddad, head of the Fatah-affiliated youth group al-Shabeeba, Ahmad al-Ghoul, and Adi Sublabban were released on bail and on condition that they do not enter Damascus Gate for 60 days. (Maan)
  • Waqf: Israel implementing 'biggest Judaization project' in Jerusalem - Israeli institutes have begun implementing "the biggest Judaization" project in Jerusalem, the Waqf organization that overseas the Al-Aqsa Mosque said in a statement Monday. The project, called the "National Antiquities Complex," will be constructed on a 20 dunams (5 acres) of land in West Jerusalem. (Maan)
  • Who controls Israel's government ministries? New report details how the government is outsourcing not only services but also policy formulation and decision making to private bodies, raising the question who runs the country? (Ynet
  • Palestinian Authority ministers to visit (E.) Jerusalem hospital in budget crisis - Health Minister Jawad Awwad and Finance Minister Shukri Bishara will visit al-Maqasid Hospital, on the Mount of Olives, the main recipient of patients referred by the PA Health Ministry from the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. (Maan
  • Survey: Quarter of secular youth want to live abroad
  • - Surprising data from internet survey conducted among Jewish Israeli youth in honor of the Youth Congress held in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc at the initiative of the Zionist Council in Israel and the World Zionist Organization: only 76% plan to enlist in IDF and 20% would give up Jerusalem in the framework of a peace agreement. (Maariv's NRG Hebrew)
  • Asylum seeker ordered to take down pictures of crosses - The allowance of Eritrean refugee Michael Abrae, currently held in Holot, was taken away after he refused to remove pictures of crosses he had hung: 'I am deprived of religious freedom'. (Ynet)  
  • Palestinian children beat up settler who wandered into their village - Returned to Israel by Palestinian liaison office after he was rescued by local adults. (Haaretz)
  • Syrian patients in Israel call on Netanyahu to bomb Syria - Israeli hospital in northern Israel treats 16 Syrian patients, who call Hezbollah 'Satan's organization', express much gratitude for the treatment they are given. (Ynet)

Two-staters, unite behind Kerry (Ori Nir, Haaretz+) You don’t have to love everything that the U.S. Secretary of State will present in his 'framework’ paper - but there is too much at stake not to support a chance for peace.
Can Diskin save Israel? (Shimon Shiffer, Yedioth/Ynet) Former Shin Bet chief is likely seeking to head new centrist party, writes Shimon Shiffer, but does he have what it takes not to quickly sink into oblivion? 
The occupation reinforcement division (Haaretz Editorial) The government is using the WZO's Settlement Division to bolster the occupation, which is exactly why it must be made transparent. 
Gaza Strip, the paradoxical balance (Dr. Kobi Michael, Israel Hayom) The public needs to understand that Israel's options in Gaza are not between good and bad, but about weighing strategic interests, including bolstering Hamas, to ensure that things stay quiet.
Tragedy, farce - Israel’s handling of the Palestinians contains it all (Oudeh Basharat, Haaretz+) Benjamin Netanyahu wants discrimination against Palestinians who are Israeli citizens to be validated by the future Palestinian state. Talk about Israeli chutzpah. 
The Christian-Israeli revolution and its enemies (Ori Shenhar, Haaretz+) Many Israeli Christians realize that only a strong Israel can ensure them freedom and prosperity. So young people in the community seek to join the army.
The American option for Middle East: A variation of unilateral withdrawal (Lawrence J. Epstein, Ynet) Israel should unilaterally implement suggestions, which will be proposed by US for solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
What Candidate Clinton needs to do (Seth Lipsky, Haaretz+) She misread the Arab Spring, her re-set with Russia is in ruins, and John Kerry makes her look like a slacker. But if Clinton can seize the centrist ground, all is not lost.

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