News Nosh 06.25.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday June 25, 2014

Quote of the day:
"'Informed assessments,' militant suggestions in revenge for the kidnapping and the arrogance to guess what (Palestinian President) Abu Mazen is thinking - all these prove that we did not yet find new solutions to our reality."
--Maariv commentator, Prof. Cielo Rozenberg, says Israel should not Palestinian help to find the kidnapped, nor should it adopt punitive steps against the Palestinians, because it will only backfire.**

Front Page News:
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links)
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
The IDF is scaling back Operation Brothers' Keeper as the mothers of the three kidnapped teens calls for help at the UN, making top headlines in the Hebrew press today. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had some nice words for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Abbas again condemned the kidnapping. Also, an update on the force-feeding prisoners bill.

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said the search on the ground and the bulk of actions against Hamas have been exhausted. Maariv writes that the reason it won't be expanded any more is out of fear that the situation might escalate and the West Bank would erupt into violence. IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said that as time passes, concerns grow regarding the fate of teens.  Now, write the military experts, it is up to the Shin Bet to find the intelligence that will lead them to the kidnapped. The military is mulling whether to impose sanctions against the Palestinians, especially as the sensitive month of Ramadan nears. In Hebron, life is slowly returning to normal as the IDF pulls back. The IDF admits that it is close to impossible to prevent a rogue terror cell from pulling off a terror attack. Only four Palestinians were arrested Monday night, a dramatic decrease from every night in the last week.
Netanyahu spoke positively about the statements by Abbas, in which the latter called for the return of the kidnapped teens and said it was wrong to kidnap them. "I appreciate what President Abbas said a few days ago in Saudi Arabia, rejecting the kidnapping. I think these were important words," said Netanyahu. Haaretz+ writes that this was Netanyahu's first positive statement about Abbas' remarks. (After Abbas spoke last week, Netanyahu's office released a statement dismissing the remarks.) Maariv, writes that Netanyahu spoke positively about Abbas' remarks to the US media. In any case, the compliments came with a condition: "But if he really means them, and is truly committed to peace and to the war on terror, reason dictates that he dismantle the alliance with Hamas. That is the only way we can continue moving forward," said Netanyahu, who called Hamas "hatred-glorifying terrorists."
Meanwhile, Abbas told an Egyptian newspaper that "we are sorry (the kidnapping) happened...We hope to bring them back but we also hope that Israel would think of us as humans too." Abbas noted that "When three Palestinians are killed we do not hear any reactions from the Israeli government that they are sorry, yet we are working to bring those kids back to their families." He also said that Israel wants the Palestinian Authority without authority.
And on the subject of the force-feeding bill, in a Knesset Committee discussion the Committee chairwoman admitted: "The law has a political purpose." Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment committee chairwoman (Likud) MK Miri Regev, also said, "The bill is balanced. The hunger strike is a form of terrorism." Meretz MK Basel Ghattas: "There is no way to improve torture." And Yesh Atid MK Pnina Timno-Shata said one of Israel's interests is not to allow the political protest to reach the court. For this reason, she said, it is better to stop the legislation. She also requested a hearing on the use of administrative detention (prison without charges). (Maariv) In the end, the bill was softened, and the Yesh Atid party agreed to support force-feeding Palestinian prisoners. - The bill that split the coalition will likely be approved on Monday after doctors will no longer be required to perform the force-feeding. Regev: "I agreed to compromise in order to get the bill passed." (Maariv

Kidnapping Quick Hits:
  • Number of Palestinian children in Israeli jails 'surpasses 250'
    "Detaining Palestinian children from their houses in the middle of the night without informing their parents and families of the reasons for their detention is kidnapping," said Palestinian lawyer Hiba Masalha. The statement said Palestinian children are often subjected to violence upon being arrested and interrogated in Israeli prisons. Talal Khalid Sayf, 16, was Sayf was struck in the stomach and back and left with his nose and mouth bleeding when beaten by Israeli soldiers during the arrest process. (Maan)
  • PPS: Over 500 detained in Israeli operation to find teens - As of Monday evening, Israeli forces had detained 529 Palestinians throughout the operation -- 179 from the Hebron district. (Maan)
  • PPS: 21 more prisoners sentenced to administrative detention - Palestinian Prisoner's Society said a total of 143 Palestinians have been sentenced to 3-6 months detention without trial as part of a mass arrest operation in the occupied West Bank. (Maan
  • Israeli forces detain man, confiscate tractor near Jenin - Israeli soldiers entered Bir al-Basha and searched dozens of houses before detaining Sharif Hussein Ghawadrah, 50, and confiscating his tractor. (Maan
  • Parody video depicting the abduction of the three youth spreading on the Web - On the tape are 'three hostages' threatened with weapons by two masked Palestinians, who demand the release of Palestinian prisoners and an end to house demolitions and land confiscations.  Another scene depicts the abduction itself through the use of pepper spray. [The YouTube channel that published them explains in English about the plight of Palestinian adults and children in Israeli jails. - OH](Maariv)
  • Prisoner release deal is no longer possible, Lieberman says - Foreign minister tells Ynet he will no longer allow Yisrael Beiteinu ministers to vote in favor of any deal to release prisoners. (Ynet)
  • Diskin: Don't release prisoners under pressure - On Twitter, former Shin Bet director addresses arrest of Baruch Mizrahi's murderer: 'I'm not surprised. The Jibril Deal led to an Intifada'. (Ynet
  • Ya'alon updates Hagel on kidnapping, Syria - In a phone conversation, U.S. secretary of defense pledges continued support to his Israeli counterpart. (Haaretz)  
  • WATCH: Abducted teen's mom at UN: Children shouldn't be tools of war - Rachel Fraenkel urges world to do more than condemn the kidnapping. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Restaurant owner gives MK Haneen Zoabi the boot - The Arab Knesset member has been vilified in Israel for saying the abductors of the teens in the West Bank are not terrorists. (Haaretz)
  • Hadash MK Affo Aghbarieh: "Hamas is not a terrorist organization, it's a liberation organization" - In an interview on the Knesset channel, the left-wing MK also said: "(Israel) always sends a provocation to Gaza. There's always a list of 'wanted' Palestinians, Israel goes and kills them and then the Palestinians shoot mortars, which is Israbluff, because no one even gets wounded or killed from them...But from one Israeli bomb, a thousand people are killed." MK Moshe Feiglin, who was invited to join the panel, abandoned the studio. (Maariv and Israel Hayom)

Quick Hits:
  • Israeli forces detain 4 kite-flying children in (E.) Jerusalem - Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli forces detained the four children, aged 10-14, while they were flying a kite in the al-Aqsa compound (Temple Mount). (Maan)
  • For first time, Israel compensating Palestinians over settlers' land grab - State agrees to pay six Palestinians $87,500 for lost revenues from their fields after settlers seized their land to build the unauthorized Amona outpost. The Palestinian landowners filed the civil suit with the help of the Yesh Din legal office against the state for failing to enforce the law. (Haaretz+) 
  • (Culture Minister) Livnat: "Cancel the Meretz party" - After Meretz called (then retracted) to cancel Jerusalem Day (celebrating 'unification of E. and W. Jerusalem), Limor Livnat posted on Facebook: "Meretz is self-righteous, arrogant and provoking." (Maariv, p. 14)
  • MKs push for transparency on rising settlement funding - Settlement spending multiplies under Netanyahu coalition, Knesset ministers worry that lack of oversights means important tax funds are being taken from other areas. (Reuters, Ynet)
  • Israel seeks re-incarceration of seven Jerusalemites freed in Shalit swap - Palestinian prisoners, freed in Gilad Shalit prisoner-exchange deal, violated terms of presidential pardon, attorney general says. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom
  • Israeli court extends detention of al-Issawi until June 29 - Samer al-Issawi made international headlines last year. He was released from Israeli jail last December as part of an agreement in which he ended a 266-day hunger strike. (Maan
  • PMO: Transparency will not apply to cabinet legislation process - Netanyahu decides that Ministerial Committee for Legislation's deliberations will remain secret. (Haaretz+)
  • Iron Dome intercepts two rockets fired from Gaza at southern Israel - Since kidnapping of teens 12 days ago, there has been sporadic rocket fire into Israel; IDF bombed some 20 targets in Gaza so far. (Haaretz)
  • Gaza rocket misfires, kills 3-year-old Palestinian girl - IAF hit Gaza targets after rocket barrage slams into Israel; however, one rocket failed to land in Israel, mistakenly killed girl, wounding her family. (Ynet)
  • U.S. House votes to increase funding for IDF missile defense system - The House's Defense Appropriations Bill gives the Iron Dome anti-missile system $131 million more than funding in the previous fiscal year provided. (JTA, Haaretz)
  • Muslim states rap Australia over East Jerusalem terminology - Islamic organization, Arab ambassadors to Australia strongly condemn its description of East Jerusalem as 'disputed’ rather than 'occupied.' (Haaretz+)
  • Israel joins Paris Club of rich creditor nations
  • Club is an informal group of 20 countries, including the U.S. that collectively negotiate deals with poor countries struggling with huge debts. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • 16% of Israelis go hungry - Poverty report reveals 11% of Israelis forced to go without food at least once every two days, with percentage even higher for ultra-Orthodox and Arabs; 27% say economic situation worse than it was a year ago. (Ynet)
  • Severe shortage in medicines, medical equipment in Gaza - 122 types of basic medicines completely ran out and 91 types would run out in a few weeks. Furthermore, 471 types of medical equipment and disposables have run out completely and some 85 types will run out in a few weeks. (Maan)
  • 250,000 liters of fuel to be sent to Gaza - The fuel, to be delivered Wednesday, aims to operate the Gaza power generation station and continue the supply of electricity for eight hours daily. (Maan
  • Gaza employees go on strike Thursday - Workers in the former Gaza government will have a full strike in all government institutions in protest of being left out of the unity agreement. (Maan)
  • Israel's largest defense company to build world's first elevated transit network in Israel - The pilot project will be built at Israel Aerospace Industries' central Israel campus and, if successful, will be followed by a commercial network in Tel Aviv. (Haaretz
  • Facebook page ridicules Israelis' selfies at Auschwitz - Page called 'With my Babes at Auschwitz' causes stir on Israeli social media, presents selfies that Israeli teenagers posted online while on Holocaust memorial trip to Poland death camps. (Ynet)
  • Peres embarks on final trip as president of Israel - 
  • In Washington, outgoing President Shimon Peres will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House Wednesday, deliver address to Congress. Peres will also visit New York City, where he will meet with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. (Israel Hayom)
  • Leading U.S. scholars urge Obama to commute Pollard sentence - The Israeli spy's prison term has been disproportionate and his sentence was legally unsound, eminent legal scholars say in letter to the president. (Haaretz)
  • Officer's hunch prevents Beirut massacre, costs own life - After bomb rips through Lebanese capital, details reveal attack's sole victim is also its hero. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Syria threatens: We will respond to the Israeli Air Force attack on our territory - Minister for National Reconciliation was interviewed by Al-Sinara newspaper and threatened: "The response, its character and timing will be determined by the military leadership after receiving orders from the political leadership." He also stated: "We are at war with the enemy." (Maariv and Israel Hayom)
  • IDF building suppressive fire posts along the Syria border - The posts, similar to those already operative in Gaza, will coordinate between the different army units to offer quick response to any attack against Israel. (Ynet)
  • Jordan, Israel cooperate in face of ISIS threat - Source in Jordan's embassy in Israel says kingdom's cooperation with Israel has only increased as situation in Iraq has deteriorated amid ISIS offensive. (Ynet)

A blank check for a billion shekels (Haaretz Editorial) In a mockery of procedures, the Finance Committee okayed the transfer of nearly a billion shekels without knowing what it was earmarked for.
Return the soldiers - It's time to stop exposing our soldiers to unnecessary dangers (Alon Mizrachi, Maariv) The operation instructions are as vague as the press releases to the media, and in a moment, the image can change dramatically - and the result can be fatal. Without any concrete intelligence information the search will not help locate the kidnapped youth.
Lack of red lines led to Passover eve murder (Shimon Shiffer, Yedioth/Ynet) Murder of police officer by prisoner released in Shalit deal shows that a prime minister incapable of handling public pressure will find himself extorted time and again.
Separation begins in school (Asaf Ronel, Haaretz+) Finding a bilingual educational framework for Arab and Jewish children is next to impossible in Israel.
Don't negotiate with terrorists (Haim Shine, Israel Hayom) Exchanging terrorists for captives reveals Israel's sensitivity, but also exposes its weakness.
Force-feeding debate misses point on Israel’s true transgression (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) It’s easy to ponder forcing a feeding tube up a Palestinian prisoner’s nose when the fact he’s an administrative detainee (imprisoned without charges) doesn’t raise a thought.
**The return of the concept (Prof. Cielo Rozenberg, Maariv) Informed assessments,' militant suggestions in revenge for the kidnapping and the arrogance to guess what (Palestinian President) Abu Mazen is thinking - all these prove that we did not yet find the new solutions to our reality..." Rozenberg writes that Israel should not expect from Abu Mazen to harm Hamas people within the West Bank, as numerous experts claim he wants to do, because this could "severely harm the status of those who will be seen as Israel's collaborators. "Israel must do the work to bring back the kidnapped without depending on the other side for help. I heard a very militant female MK who believes that immediate annexation of Gush Etzion (settlement bloc), at the very least, will teach Hamas and the other terror organizations a lesson. She also suggested, along with the chairperson of an important Knesset committee, to put back in jail all those released in the Shalit deal. The question is: what is the benefit of this move? Will Hamas disappear from the region? Will other Palestinians be deterred from murder or will their motivation actually increase? These are questions that cannot be ignored...Also, this is not the time for belligerant ranting and for declarations, that could, G-d forbid, endanger the lives of the kidnapped...
Shalit deal was inevitable (Ariela Ringel Hoffman, Yedioth/Ynet) Release of kidnapped soldiers, alive or dead, has been part of Israeli ethos for decades. 
Worthless pledges (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) The terrorists released in the Schalit deal who were re-arrested this week are proof of why such deals should be beyond the realm.
Netanyahu’s new Middle East equations: Iraq=Iran and Hamas=Al-Qaida + ISIS (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) 8 takeaways from the PM’s interviews on NBC and NPR, including the revival of Menachem Begin’s famous blessing on the Iran-Iraq War: I wish both sides success.
The scorpions at the UN (Ruthie Blum, Israel Hayom)
We should not get our hopes up about receiving any ‎assistance from the scorpions at the U.N. They don't even bother pretending that they will ‎give the Jewish state a fair shake before dealing it a lethal sting.
Shalit campaign was a hysterical surrender to terror (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) Before Shalit deal, 123 Israelis had been murdered by released Palestinian prisoners. It was all known, but an entire country went mad.
In scaling back West Bank operation, IDF lowers expectations (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) It's not the army's job to prepare the public for the possibility that the search for the kidnapped teens won't end well, but IDF chief Gantz is doing just that.
Don't take Zoabi's bait (Dr. Aviad Hacohen, Israel Hayom) The Balad MK's statements are contemptible, but trying her for incitement is a waste of resources and will give her 10 times more attention than she deserves.
Fouad Ajami: A courageous scholar who was friendly to Israel (Seth Lipsky, Haaretz+) If Fouad Ajami had been brought into U.S. public diplomacy, perhaps the Obama administration wouldn’t now be stumbling in its support for the right of the Arab world for liberty. 

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