News Nosh 03.27.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday March 27, 2014

Quote of the day:
"It is a stain of dishonor that no members of the foreign service have seen fit to stand up and challenge policies that they know better than anyone are leading Israel to international leprosy and domestic disaster."
--David Landau, former editor-in-chief of Haaretz, writes why Israelis don't need to sympathize with striking Foreign Ministry employees over their low wages.**

Front Page News:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • not published today
Israel Hayom
  • The recording - The suspicion: obstructing justice - Drama in Holyland trial: 5 days before ruling, Zaken testified at police - and this time brought evidence
  • Olmert lost control // Dan Margalit
  • (State Prosecutor Shai) Nitzan's baptism of fire // Mordechai Gilat
  • Suspicion of rape of 13-year-old girl: "At school, there is no education about proper sexual behavior"
  • The complainant against (Minister) Silvan Shalom: The polygraph examiner caused me to fail the test
  • Will the fourth round of prisoner releases be delayed? In the meantime - contacts for extending the diplomatic negotiations
  • Change your clocks: Tonight moving to Daylight Savings

Peace Talk Highlights:
Today's top story continued to focus on former prime minister Ehud Olmert and the allegations against him by his former aide Shula Zaken in the Holyland trial.

Meanwhile, the US denied the Israel Army Radio report, according to which it offered Israel it would release US-Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard in exchange for Israel going ahead with the planned release of the Palestinian prisoners, including 14 Arab Israeli citizens, on March 29th. The only information to come out of the meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was that Kerry tried to find a way to get Abbas to agree to extend the negotiations and not take unilateral steps, such as a UN appeal. Kerry also spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who reportedly assured the scheduled release of prisoners on Friday — if Abbas agreed by then to extend the time limit for the talks. An Israeli official told Israel Hayom that Israel would go ahead with the release, and is ready to "restrain construction" outside the settlement blocs (without an official government decision on the matter), if Abbas agrees to a one-year extension of the peace talks. According to Israel Hayom, the release will likely not take place on Saturday March 29th, because "the decision on whether to go ahead with it or not, with or without Palestinian agreement to an extension of the peace talks, will likely be made only at the start of next week." Haaretz+ reported that "Palestinian officials said...the talks between the sides are likely to continue in the next few days in a bid to reach an agreement on three key issues – an Israeli agreement to suspend construction in the settlements, carrying out the release of the 26 prisoners, and arranging the additional release of high-profile prisoners such as Marwan Barghouti and Ahmed Sadat." However, Abbas told reporters in Kuwait that there have been no talks on extending negotiations beyond the April deadline and that he refuses to discuss the framework agreement before the prisoner release takes place. Relatives of the Jewish victims say that "Netanyahu doesn't see us." Some 150 people protested Wednesday night in front of Netanyahu's residence against the release. Meanwhile, the Arab League rejected Israel's demand to be recognized as a Jewish state, expressing support for Abbas' stance.

Quick Hits:
  • B'Tselem: Israel at fault over West Bank teen's death - NGO claims 15-year-old was looking for gundelia, a thistle-type plant used in cooking, and not trying to sabotage security fence as army had said. (Ynet)
  • Jerusalem municipality orders demolition of Abu Dis home - The owner, Muatasim Adila, a lecturer at al-Quds University, said the demolition order for his home in Abu Dis was surprising because his building is in the West Bank and he "possesses all documents to prove that." (Maan+PHOTO)
  • Israeli forces shut down Palestinian conference in Jerusalem - Israeli special forces and police reportedly stormed the headquarters of the Yabous Cultural Center immediately prior to the start of the conference held by Palestinian human rights organizations in Jerusalem opposing Arab enlistment in the Israeli military. (Maan)
  • Israel's Transportation Ministry earmarks $57 million for West Bank roads - The 24 infrastructure projects include new roads between settlements, the beginning of a West Bank train system, and a Jordan Valley pedestrian bridge for Palestinians. (Haaretz+)
  • In photos: 4 days of Aida clashes after activists break through wall - Monday marked the fourth day in a row of clashes between residents of Aida camp and Israeli forces, after Palestinian activists tore through the separation wall that surrounds the camp (near Rachel's Tomb). (Maan+PHOTOS)
  • Aida youths set fire to Israeli watchtower - A group of youths from Bethlehem's Aida refugee camp set fire to an Israeli watchtower a day after Israeli forces entered the camp to replace a destroyed section of the separation wall, which activists in the area have repeatedly targeted. (Maan)
  • Ashrawi: US must hold Israel 'accountable' - PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi told US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues, Catherine Russell, that the US must stand up for Palestinian human rights and hold Israel accountable, stressing that there was "no hope for peace" if it failed do so. (Maan)
  • Sharon farm solar facility set to be retroactively approved - The Israel Land Authority Council is defying rulings by the Supreme Court. (Globes)
  • Learning to build rockets, in a Tel Aviv square - War machines for kids, too real for comfort. 'It’s to strengthen the Israeli ego.' (Haaretz)
  • Iron Dome model displayed in Tel Aviv for Science Day - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that Beersheba, capital of the Negev, will also become a cyber capital. Technological innovations including satellites and self-driving cars also on show outside the Tel Aviv Municipality building. (Israel Hayom)
  • Lawyer: Palestinian prisoner in critical condition on 77th day of hunger strike - Wahid Hamdi Abu Mariya, 47, who is on hunger strike in protest against his detention without trial, said his heart had almost stopped beating two days ago and he had almost lost his eyesight before he fainted, his lawyer said. (Maan
  • Israeli major denounces soldiers who hung gay flag on base as 'disgrace’ - Gay pride flag 'disgraces the State of Israel.' officer tells soldier, before court martial. (Haaretz+)  
  • 2 Gaza men jailed for collaboration with Israel -  According to an announcement released by the court, one man was sentenced to 12 years in jail and another to eight years. (Maan)
  • King's College students union backs boycott of Israel - Students' union votes to support BDS campaign against 'Israeli products, companies or institution' that 'profit for the violation of Palestinian rights.' (Haaretz)
  • University of Michigan votes down Israel divestment, Loyola narrowly passes - After six hour meeting, Michigan's student government votes 25-9 with five abstentions. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Michelin-starred chefs to raise funds for Jerusalem's elderly - Leading chefs from France, Germany and Holland to cook gourmet dinner together with Israeli counterparts to help complete life enrichment center for needy senior citizens. (Yedioth/Ynet
  • PFLP: Palestinian Authority doing 'free service to Israel' by arresting members - Gaza-based PFLP leader Kayid al-Ghoul told Ma'an Wednesday that the detention of the group's members harmed relations between the various Palestinian factions and indicates that the PA is attempting to quell resistance against Israel. (Maan)
  • Barak: Hezbollah will be able to pick which building to hit - Former defense minister says advanced missile technology will spread and become cheaper to terror organizations in five years' time. (Ynet)
  • Egypt's Sissi resigns, declares candidacy for presidency - General Sedki Sobhi, who holds the post of chief of staff, is expected to replace Sissi as army chief and defense minister. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Nearly half of Syria's chemical stockpile removed, watchdog says - Syria's UN envoy says rebels, attempting to affect chemical shipments were 'trying to create a catastrophe.' (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • US State Department silent on ayatollah's Holocaust denial - Despite U.S. President Barack Obama's vow to strongly respond to anti-Semitic revisionism, the State Department fails to criticize Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's most recent Holocaust denial statement. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)

Village of the lost girls
They escape after suffering sexual or psychological abuse and arrive, alone, without anything, to the big cities, especially the mixed Jewish-Arab ones. This is how in recent years a worrying rise has developed of young girls from the Arab sector who are working in prostitution. Reporter Shosh Milo opens a window to the societal phenomenon that is shaking the Arab society, and describes the trap the girls face daily for whom every day in the street is hell, but returning home could have one meaning: death sentence. (Shosh Milo, Yedioth, 7 Days Friday magazine)
Canadian city's attempt to attract more Jews backfires

Snow-swept Winnipeg looked to South America to bolster its declining Jewish community, but it mainly got secular Israelis. (JTA, Haaretz)
Bypassing from the right
They stand at (military) checkpoints that surround Jerusalem. They help Palestinians in the (border) passages. They give medical aid to the children. And they try to help the residents of the Territories. And, no, this time we are not talking about left-wingers. Dudi Avitan went to Qalandiya Checkpoint and observed an unusual scene: Students from right-wing Hebrew University political groups, Lavi and Im Tirtzu, trying to help Palestinians at checkpoints. They formed KahoLavan' (BlueWhite). And despite this, women from "Machsom Watch,' who have been (at the checkpoints) for 13 years, claim: "Strange, we never meet them in the field." (Dudu Avitan, Yedioth Jerusalem supplement, p. 17)

Protect secular students too (Haaretz Editorial) Religious organizations cannot be allowed to meddle in the public school system, while religious schools remain ideologically insular. 
Peace is good for economics (Dr. Avihai Snir and Eli Freidman, Ynet) For over 20 years, Israel and Palestinians struggle to imagine how peace would look like. A group of researches made it their project to paint an accurate picture of life after a peace deal, and discovered: Peace is good business for Israel, PA and Jordan.
Abbas wants peace -- with Hamas (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) Abbas will soon need to decide if he is a juggler seeking to appease the extremists in his own camp -- or a leader.
Sorry, Schocken: Israel's old left can't end the occupation ( Ari Shavit, Haaretz+) The truth must be told: The old left won’t evacuate a single settlement, and won't bring us closer to peace.
If Israel embraces (Egyptian General) a-Sissi, it will only harm him (Eli Avidar, Maariv's NRG Hebrew) The new landlord of Cairo is expected to easily win the presidential election. It won't be a honeymoon with Israel, but proper conduct, stability can return to the southern boundary.
Israeli warnings, attacks won't deter Assad (Eliezer (Chiney) Marom, Yedioth/Ynet) Syrian president operating under influence of Iran and Hezbollah, subject to their mercy.
Everything but negotiations (Zalman Shoval, Israel Hayom) It is convenient for Abbas to brag about withstanding "tough pressure" during his visit to the U.S., but it is unclear on what issues, if any, American is pressuring the Palestinians, who are digging in their heels.
**Where is the moral conscience of Israel's diplomats? (David Landau, Haaretz) The foreign ministry strikers are stained by the dishonor of never standing tall against policies that they well know are leading Israel to international leprosy and domestic disaster.
Demolishing homes, demolishing peace (Jeff Halper, Maan) Israel has declared a racist policy of maintaining a 72% majority of Jews over Arabs in Jerusalem. How does it achieve that? Its dual policy of demolishing homes while not issuing building permits to Palestinians, a process Israel officially calls "Judaization," whereby 40% of the Jewish residents of Jerusalem now live in expansive settlements in the Palestinian part of the city, confining Palestinians to tiny ghettos. The same policies of displacement, de-Arabization and Judaization take place in the West Bank.
Where was the U.S. Jewish outrage over Ya'alon? (Peter Joseph, Haaretz+) American pro-Israel advocates should not have joined in Netanyahu's silence after his defense minister made unacceptable remarks that undermine U.S.-Israel relations.

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