News Nosh 03.26.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday March 26, 2014

Quote of the day:
"Around halfway in, what was meant to be a fair but pointed indictment of J Street becomes instead a remarkable expose of the odd-man-out bitterness and the burning, bully pulpit venom of marquee personalities in the American Jewish right."
--Haaretz's Bradley Burston writes about the irony of the right-wing funded film meant to convince Jewish Americans to be right-wing.**


Front Page News:
Haaretz
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Education Minister: We are all guilty - Friend brings a friend: 9 youth suspected of raping 13-year-old girl. Minister on latest rape incident: "The problem is not just the education system; Israeli society needs to do soul-searching in order to stop the (moral) decline of the youth"
  • Expected: The probe against (Minister Silvan) Shalom will be closed
  • Shame in Peru - Dozens of Israeli backpackers arrested near Cuzco on suspicion of vandalizing the archaeological site of the Incas during a trans dance party. Police: They sprayed graffiti, stole ancient ruins and had orgies. Israelis: There was just alcohol and drugs
  • At the last moment: Prosecution in negotiations with (Shula) Zaken over additional materials against (Ehud) Olmert
  • The new trend - What parents are tattooing on their bodies
Maariv
  • not published today
Israel Hayom

Peace Talk Highlights:
The top stories in today's Hebrew papers about possible criminal cases: Prosecution has renewed contact with Shula Zaken about testifying against former prime minister Ehud Olmert and the police are likely to drop the case of sexual harassment against Minister and presidential contender Silvan Shalom.

On the peace talks front, with only three days till the date the fourth round of releases of Palestinian prisoners was to take place, an Israeli Knesset committee met yesterday to discuss the criteria for releasing the security prisoners. Committee chairwoman Likud MK Miri Regev said she opposes the release because "until now we have released numerous prisoners, but we don't see any progress from (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas), Israel Hayom reported. But in a tough and pessimistic speech at the Arab League summit, Abbas said Israel was just trying to sabotage peace. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Abbas today in Amman in an effort to convince him to agree to extend the talks in exchange for the release taking place and Haaretz also reported that a US team met with its Palestinian counterparts in Ramallah over the past two days. However, Palestinian officials have rejected any attempt to make releasing veteran prisoners contingent on extending negotiations. A senior State Department official said that Kerry was expected to speak with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, either by phone or by video conference.
 
Meanwhile, top Hamas official Sheikh Hassan Yousef in the West Bank said Hamas would accept a peace deal between the Palestinian Authority and Israel should it win approval in a national referendum. 

At the Arab League summit there was much criticism of Israel. The Arab League chief delivered the most scathing criticism, saying: "The Israeli occupation of Israel is equal to the apartheid system. It is the last stronghold of colonialism in the 21st century and runs against the progress of history." Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Salman bin Abdel-Aziz, said Israel's policies undermine any hope toward a peaceful settlement, including the construction of Jewish settlements and "insisting on the Jewishness of Israel." Qatar's ruler criticized fellow Arab leaders for not following through on a Qatari proposal made a year ago to set up a $1 billion fund to help the Arab residents of E. Jerusalem, defiantly stating that his tiny but super-rich nation will go ahead with the $250 million it has already pledged. The Jordanian king vowed to protect Jerusalem and called for any peace deal to uphold Jordan’s interests. Maan reported that Abbas was satisfied with the Arab summit resolutions and expressed support for reconciliation with Hamas. "What we want from Hamas is to determine a date for elections in order to complete the Palestinian reconciliation," said Abbas.

Quick Hits:
  • IDF opens fire on suspected Gaza smuggling boats - Israeli army reports fire on their naval ships, no injuries; Palestinians in Gaza report four moderate injuries. (Haaretz and Maan)
  • ‘Iran arms ship may have been bound for Sinai, not Gaza’ - Israel could have obfuscated ship’s real destination to spare Egypt the humiliation of conceding the security unrest in the peninsula, US official tells Reuters. Jerusalem denies report. (Times of Israel)
  • Israelis attempt to torch Palestinian-owned shop in Jerusalem - Israeli police said that three Israelis attempted to set fire to a gift shop in W. Jerusalem owned by a Palestinian man. The suspects also vandalized the shop with slogans reading "Kahane was right," before fleeing the scene. (Maan)
  • Minister Piron: "Gush Etzion is part of national consensus" - Drawing borders? Education Minister said West Bank area was part of national consensus at conference held in Gush Etzion when asked how he deals with the fact that there are students and teachers who see the settlement bloc as outside the national consensus. "We need to be everywhere which is inside the sovereign territory of the State of Israel." (NRG Hebrew)
  • After years of humiliation, Israeli Arabs say getting better treatment at airport - The new automated security system at Ben-Gurion Airport has replaced the humiliating checks that had become routine for Arabs and Palestinians. (Haaretz)
  • Court questions discriminatory practice in Arab and Druze schools - Education Ministry rules forbid dismissal of teachers during school year, but not for Arabs and Druze. (Haaretz+)
  • AG nixes army service as criterion for VAT break when buying home - Attorney General concerned for equality; most ultra-Orthodox Jews and Israeli Arabs don't do army service. (Haaretz+)
  • Court asked to restore water to Arab parts of Jerusalem - Rights watchdog says four areas have little to no water pressure. (Haaretz+)
  • Masked protesters march again at Al-Quds University - 4 months after Nazi-style Islamic Jihad rally ended the (East) Jerusalem Palestinian school’s ties with Brandeis, Hamas supporters parade with mock rockets. (Times of Israel
  • Family: Oldest Palestinian prisoner diagnosed with kidney cancer - Fuad Shobaki, the oldest Palestinian prisoner in Israeli custody, has been diagnosed with kidney cancer. He has served more than half of his 20 year sentence for alleged involvement in shipping illegal weapons to the occupied West Bank in 2002. (Maan
  • IDF and Shin Bet uncover two terrorist cells - Security forces uncover three-man terror cell belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which attacked and threw a stun grenade at Israeli troops in February. IDF troops stop two infiltrators from climbing Israel-Egypt border fence. (Israel Hayom)
  • U.S.: Israel’s discrimination keeps it out of visa waiver deal - Discrimination against visiting Arab-Americans is primary reason Israel ineligible for a program allowing Israeli tourists into the U.S. without visas. (Haaretz)
  • ‘US denying visas for officers serving in West Bank’ - Amid tensions over entry permits, Congressional sources say State Dept. rejecting those it believes violate Palestinian rights. (Times of Israel)
  • Israel authorizes transfer of Turkish medical equipment to Gaza - The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Civil Affairs submitted an application to Israel over a year ago to request the transfer of Turkish medical equipment. Israel officially authorized the request on Monday. (Maan)
  • Israel and Turkey may sign reconciliation pact in April - Deputy Turkish PM Bulent Arinc says compensation agreement over Gaza flotilla raid could be signed after March 30 elections. (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Israeli unions to end boycott of Turkish vacations - After a four year pause, Israeli unions will resume subsidizing and promoting tourism to Turkey. The union’s new stance may also encourage other Israelis to return to Turkey. (Haaretz+)
  • Israeli military vehicles enter Gaza - Israeli tanks entered the Strip near Nahal Oz accompanied by bulldozers that leveled Palestinian lands. Additionally, Israeli military vehicles were seen east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. (Maan)
  • Egypt prevents Gaza pilgrims from crossing Rafah -Egyptian authorities prevented hundreds of pilgrims who were in Mecca from returning home to Gaza on Monday after closing the Rafah crossing. The pilgrims spent the night at the bus station in the city before trying to cross on Tuesday. (Maan)
  • UNRWA chief appeals to Israel, Egypt over Gaza restrictions- Filippo Grandi says Israel and Egypt need to take into consideration the milions of Palestinians suffering from the ongoing blockade. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • U.S.: Carrying out Egypt's death sentences would be 'unconscionable' - The 529 death sentences for members of outlawed Muslim Brotherhood will play into U.S. aid policy toward country, State Department says. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • U.S. welcomes departure of 'noxious' UN Palestine envoy Falk - U.S. envoy condemns Richard Falk's 'relentless anti-Israeli bias' and 'perpetuation of 9/11 conspiracy theories.' (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • BDS movement urges Rolling Stones to cancel Israel show - Citing group's past criticism of South African apartheid regime, pro-Palestinian activists call on legendary band 'not to overlook Israel's human rights violations.' (Maan and Agencies, Ynet)
  • PM Netanyahu receives Jabotinsky's sword - Israel Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino presents Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with sword that once belonged to Revisionist Zionist leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky. "For me, this closes a circle," PM says. (Israel Hayom
  • Outrage rising among Palestinians over steady increase in 'honor killings' - Annual number of Palestinian women murdered by family members quintuples since 2011. (Haaretz+) 
  • Saudi denies entry to reporter covering Obama trip for Israeli paper - US 'deeply disappointed' at Riyadh's decision to deny a visa to Jerusalem Post reporter Michael Wilner. [Note: Israel regularly denies entry to people seeking to visit the Palestinian territories. - OH]. (Ynet)
  • The commander was vilified on WhatsApp: the officers were suspended without a hearing - Officers of an elite anti-terror unit were dismissed from the IDF without a hearing and orderly legal proceedings after being members of a WhatsApp group in which their commander was vilified. Two of them did not vilify him. (Maariv's NRG Hebrew)
  •  Watch: Thousands celebrate Palestinian culture in Jerusalem - In an event organized by the Shabbab al-Balad youth initiative, Palestinians from Jerusalem, the West Bank, and inside Israel gathered to read and to mark the anniversary of the opening of a public library in East Jerusalem's Jabal al-Mukkaber neighborhood. (Maan)
  • Camp David minutes show how understanding overcame distrust - 'How can I make an agreement with people I don’t trust?' Sadat asked. But he did, as did Begin - despite what he called his 'pained heart.' (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • When Putin met his Jewish German teacher in Israel - Russian president bought a Tel Aviv flat for Mina Yuditskaya Berliner after the two reunited in 2005. (Times of Israel)

Commentary/Analysis:
**J-Streetophobia, and the U.S. Jewish right's hatred for American Jews (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) A new film was meant to be an expose of J Street. Instead, it sheds light on a message that marquee names on the U.S. Jewish right have for the vast majority of their fellow American Jews: You're stupid. We hate you.
What does Bibi really want? (Eitan Haber, Yedioth/Ynet) The most important condition for Israel's prime minister today is that a move towards peace will not result in his political suicide.
Getting rid of Israel's Arabs (Haaretz Editorial) The goal of Lieberman's transfer plan cannot be described as anything other than ethnic cleansing – even if not by force of arms.
Responsibility, sense of worth – it’s all personal (Yoel Easteron, Yedioth/Ynet) Don’t ask what you can do for your firm – ask what you can do for your society, Calcalist publisher Yoel Easteron tells MBA graduates.
A Jewish nation-state is for Israelis with identity anxiety (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel’s exclusively Jewish nature stems from angst about the country’s identity.
Silvan Shalom affair: Who's harassing who? (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth/Ynet) When an alleged sex offense from 15 years ago pops up just as a veteran minister is about to run for president, it stinks.
A former PM and ex-Mossad chief go into business (Asher Shechter, Haaretz+) From the people who brought you the magic of the Second Lebanon War: an exciting new business venture! 
Shalom could emerge stronger (Mati Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom) Because of the wondrous way of politics, it will be no surprise if the attempt to bury him only revives him, and if his grave diggers are ultimately the ones to find themselves inside the coffin.
Probe all civilian killings, not just the embarrassing ones (Tamar Feldman, Haaretz+) For example, a soldier killing a 20-year-old Palestinian this month should be investigated, not just the incident at the Allenby Bridge.
Keep your fingers crossed for General Sisi (Smadar Perry, Yedioth/Ynet) Next Egyptian president's methods may be far from democratic, but if he fails it will be Israel's problem too.
 

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