News Nosh 06.26.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday June 26, 2014

Quote of the day:
"Direct dialogue is a prerequisite for our Middle East to be a place of life."
--President-elect Ruvi Rivlin declares he is willing to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.**

Front Page News:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Fire in my city - Fire raged for 5.5 hours between outlying neighborhoods of Jerusalem
  • Rivlin: I will meet with Abu-Mazen - The president-elect: (Abbas') call to return the kidnapped is an opportunity to build trust
  • No private medical services (at hospitals) - Following public debate: Health Minister joined those opposing private medicine at public hospitals
  • State Comptroller examining the handing out of jobs in local authorities, as revealed in Yedioth investigation
  • Security establishment comptroller's job suspended - He delayed filing sensitive reports
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links)
Bill: You were fired? Insurance will pay your mortgage
  • German Committee: Private medical services - not in public hospitals
  • Solution, not a problem // Yehuda Sharoni
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
possible arson at a Jerusalem forest, the rejection of offering private medical services at public hospitals and the end to the Palestinian detainees' hunger strike were top stories in today's Hebrew papers.
The mothers of the kidnapped teens slammed the government for making an agreement with Palestinians administrative detainees to end their mass hunger-strike, calling it a 'grave mistake.' “It can’t be that while our children still haven’t been found, the government makes an agreement with the prisoners,” Bat Galim Shaar said. [It is in question whether the end to the hunger-strike would have been reported on so widely had the mothers not protested it - OH.]

The details of the agreement were not released and a Palestinian official said it was 'no victory' because Israel did not agree to end the use of prison without charges. Yedioth and Israel Hayom reported that Hamas said that Israel agreed not to hold administrative detainees for longer than a year, but that Israel denied that was true. Maariv wrote that the hunger-strikers agreed to end the strike because of their fear of the passing of the force-feeding bill on Monday as well as due to Ramadan which starts Saturday. Many are receiving vitamin supplements and water to survive, but they would not be able to take that during the month-long Ramadan fast.

Interestingly, one senior military official told Maariv that the ending of the hunger-strike must be examined in the wider context of the kidnapping and the recent security incidents as well as in the context of the 300 prisoners who were arrested during "Operation Brothers' Keeper,' including 57 released in the Shalit deal. [Unfortunately, the report did not explain what the official's conclusions were, but he may have meant that the kidnapping was sparked by the hunger-strike, in the hope to get the prisoners freed, and that the hunger-strikers did not want to be a cause for so much Palestinian suffering by the Israeli military campaign to find the kidnapped, so they ended their hunger-strike. - OH] 

Not all the detainees ended their hunger-strike. Ayman Tbeish is suffering serious health complications as he entered the 119th day of a hunger strike to protest his detention without trial.
Meanwhile, Mustafa Aslan, 22, died of his wounds after being shot by IDF forces in clashes last week in E. Jerusalem, bringing the Palestinian death toll to five [if you don't include the elderly man who had a heart attack and died when IDF forces raided his house in Nablus. - OH] But Aslan's death was barely reported on in the Israeli media today as Operation Brothers' Keeper entered its 14th day and there is no sign of the youth.
The Israeli security cabinet is considering blocking the transfer of Palestinian funds for prisoners, at the behest of far right wing Economy Minister Naftali Bennett. (Haaretz+ revealed that Bennett tried to bring another far right-wing minister, Uri Ariel, into the meeting, 'in order to balance the “leftist” mix of the group,' and got into an argument with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who kicked Ariel out.)
Israel and the Palestinian Authority are both campaigning in the international arenas: one for condemnation of the kidnapping, the other for condemnation of the military campaign to find the kidnapped. On his final foreign trip as President, Shimon Peres met with US President Barack Obama in Washington and asked him to help get Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard and the three kidnapped teens released. Obama said, "Our hearts are with kidnapped boys." Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman meets today with US Secretary of State John Kerry, and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to discuss the issue. Israel has had some successes: members of the Council of Europe called to "Free the three hostages" and for their governments to help achieve that goal. Maariv reported that signatures were collected based on the assessment that Hamas was involved in the kidnapping. MKs Nachman Shai and Ronen Hoffmann told the Council: "The fundamental values ​​of the Council of Europe are now put to the test." And, a giant #BringBackOurBoys ad went up in Times Square. 

Meanwhile, the interim Palestinian government urged signatories of the Geneva Conventions to hold an emergency meeting and appoint a fact-finding commission to investigate the ongoing “vicious” Israeli military campaign and collective punishment against the Palestinian people. 
**President-elect Ruvi Rivlin announced he would be willing to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud AbbasMaariv and Yedioth reported. "I ​​listened closely to (Abbas') words when he called out to the kidnappers: "Bring back the boys." I see the words of Mahmoud Abbas as an opportunity to build a relationship of trust between the sides." And in a barb against Netanyahu, who has boycotted talks with the Palestinians, Rivlin said: "Direct dialogue is a prerequisite for our Middle East to be a place of life."

Kidnapping Quick Hits:
  • Palestinian pollster: Kidnapping 'very bad for Palestinian people' - In an interview, Nabil Kukali, President of Palestinian Center for Public Opinion says most Palestinians want the abducted Israeli teens to be unharmed and found. Kukali does not believe Hamas is behind the kidnapping. (Ynet)
  • 23 Palestinian members of parliament in Israeli jails - Eleven of the 23 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council were detained prior to the campaign, the first of whom was Marwan Barghouthi in 2002. The two most recently-detained lawmakers were taken on Tuesday night during a raid in Bethlehem. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces raid 70 houses in Yatta, injure 1 - Israeli soldiers searched the neighborhoods of Yatta, a town near Hebron, for more than four hours, damaging homes. (Maan+PHOTOS)
  • Israeli forces shoot and injure Palestinian near Hebron - Younis al-Rjoub, 18, was shot in the abdomen during clashes in Kharsa south of Hebron and taken to hospital. (Maan)
  • Video: Hamas operative's arrest through the lens of the Skylark UAV - IDF arrests 17 Palestinians overnight, including member of legislative council Khaled Ibrahim; searches for abducted teens continue north-west of Hebron. (Ynet)
  • Mike Huckabee visits families of abducted teens - Huckabee: 'If you hurt that kid, you don't want to know what we will do.' Calls for ultimatum on UN: 'Jackhammer that thing right off the edge of Manhattan.' (Ynet)
  • State comptroller urged to probe police response to West Bank kidnapping - Complaints followed slow reaction to abducted youth’s distress call. (Haaretz+)
  • Soldier reports own abduction in prank call to authorities - Roadblocks set up in central Israel, police helicopter begins search; soldier who claimed to be kidnapped found safely on bus. (Ynet)

Quick Hits:
  • Israel sentences five Palestinian teens to 2 years in jail - The teens were convicted of "throwing a Molotov cocktail in the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood (of East Jerusalem), and throwing rocks at Israeli vehicles, injuring an Israeli child." (Maan
  • Woman, child hurt as Israeli police attack worshipers in al-Aqsa - Two Palestinians were injured on Wednesday morning after Israeli officers beat worshipers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound as they protested the presence of a tour group of 30 Israeli settlers escorted by a large contingent of heavily armed Israeli police. (Maan)
  • France warns citizens: Don't invest in Israeli settlements, Golan Heights - France's Foreign Ministry says West Bank settlements, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights are built on occupied land, which is illegal according to international law. (Haaretz+) 
  • UN experts to Israel: Force-feeding prisoners is cruel and inhuman - UN human rights experts urge Israel to drop bill on force-feeding and medical treatment of prisoners just a few days before it heads for Knesset reading. (Haaretz+)
  • Putin meets with Abbas, calls for resumption of peace talks - The Palestinian president thanked the Russian leader, characterizing the meeting as 'a meeting of two friends,' The Voice of Russia reported. (Haaretz+)
  • Peres’ parting tip to Obama on Middle East: Stick with your friends, warts and all - In farewell meeting at White House, the outgoing Israeli president spoke out on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas, al-Sissi, King Abdullah and the Kurds; but a unified Iraq, he assumes, is a lost cause. (Haaretz
  • PA health ministry to ship 20 truckloads of medicine to Gaza - The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health will ship 20 truckloads of medicine and medical equipment to Gaza this week. (Maan)
  • 2 Palestinian navy officers injured in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza - The two navy police officers were hospitalized after sustaining injuries from an Israeli airstrike on a police station west of Gaza City. (Maan
  • Hamas: Our missiles can reach anywhere in Israel - "We have the right to defend ourselves and our holy places against the ongoing Israeli crimes," senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahhar said, while speaking at a funeral. (Maan
  • Talking about peace again - Haaretz is convening the Israel Conference on Peace on July 8th to provide a platform to discuss this critical national issue. Most Israelis believe that peace is a vital building block for the security of the State of Israel - yet this vision has yet to be realized.  (Haaretz)
  • Zambian president visiting Israel amid criticism at home - The reasons for President Michael Sata's trip to Israel are unclear and questioned by Zambian opposition. (Agencies, Haaretz
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel celebrates 400,000th participant - Thousands of Taglit-Birthright Israel participants attend festive ceremony at Caesarea Ampitheater. "Israel is your homeland, you are our ambassadors," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells the crowd. Sheldon Adelson: We are all one big family. (Israel Hayom)
  • OECD survey: Half of Israeli schools lack good teachers - About half of principals report shortage of computers and library materials. Also, 65% of Arabic-speaking schools in Israel reported a shortage of instructional software, and 61% reported a shortage of library materials for study. (Haaretz+)
  • State refuses to run free summer camps at semi-private Haredi, Arab schools - State comptroller examines whether state's refusal to subsidize 'unofficial' schools' camps constitutes discrimination. (Haaretz+) 
  • Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones enjoy Israeli couscous - Hollywood couple arrives in Israel to celebrate son's bar mitzvah. After touring Jerusalem's important sites, family spotted having lunch at posh Tel Aviv restaurant. (Ynet)
  • Israel fears world powers softening on Iran's nuke program - Senior Israeli officials say six world powers have hinted that they could live with Iran retaining several thousand centrifuges, rather than the mere few hundred they had originally demanded as a ceiling. (Haaretz+)
  • UN demands end to Syrian military action in the Golan Heights - The Security Council adopted a resolution strongly calling for the cessation of fighting in the region, fearing it could jeopardize the cease-fire between Syria and Israel. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Egyptian soap opera banned over poor image of police - 'Ahl Alexandria' (People of Alexandria) gets taken off of air during Ramadan after censor claims character of corrupt police officer gives local police bad image. (Agencies, Ynet)
  • Israeli and U.S. terror victims move to seize Iran's domain names - Court papers served to the organization administrating the World Wide Web, would have the plaintiffs control the domains of Iranian, Syrian and North Korean websites. (Haaretz)

What are they hiding? (Haaretz Editorial) The Ministerial Committee for Legislation can determine a bill's fate; the public has a right to know how its members vote. 
The days of the Israeli empire are over (Oudeh Basharat, Haaretz+) The world accepted Israel’s expansion beyond the borders designated for it in 1948, but those days are over.
Until the good news arrives (Eitan Haber, Yedioth/Ynet) If kidnapped teens' families want to see their sons back home, they should not let go of government, army and Israeli public.
How Israel can avoid a hellish future (Sari Nusseibeh, Haaretz+) Israel's challenge is to reframe the political climate such that one or another mathematically possible two-state solutions can become possible.
What Sayed Kashua wishes for the 3 kidnapped boys (Sayed Kashua, Haaretz+) The teens’ kidnapping is terrible, but seeing only half the picture is no less terrible.
Always the same Arabs (Dmitry Shumsky, Haaretz+) Reactions to Sayed Kashua’s recent column showed that many Israeli Jews insist on an interpretation that is the polar opposite of its explicit meaning.
Unconditional Czech support for Israel? (Jan Kapusnak, Israel Hayom) The claim that the Czech government supports Israel unconditionally to the detriment of the peace process is without foundation.
The world is sick of Israel and its insanities (Gideon Levy, Haaretz+) Israel is discovering that it’s no longer the center of attention as it always was before.
Israeli mothers in the den of wolves and hyenas (Noah Klieger, Yedioth/Ynet) Instead of supporting women whose teenage sons were kidnapped in blatant violation of human rights, members of UN Human Rights Council attacked them with lies.
If Israel’s supporters want the world's empathy, they must give it themselves (Peter Beinart, Haaretz+) Netanyahu considers himself a master at public diplomacy, but he’s losing the propaganda war to Abbas, who speaks English like a Bulgarian diplomat from the 1980s.
Peace in the Mideast? I’m not interested (Avirama Golan, Haaretz+) Both the upper crust of Israeli society and the 'social' right wingers enjoy the occupation for personal and political gain. It is the peace camp's role to break this mold.
Israel's new eastern front (Ari Shavit, Haaretz+) While Iran is on the rise, radical sub-state actors are also emerging, with whom peace is impossible and deterrence is difficult.
Stop the rotating door (Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom) It sounds cruel but it is necessary -- the PM cannot base his policies on the tears of a mother.
The two peoples of the Holy Land (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) The real divide is not between Israelis and Palestinians, but between those who fear peace and those who hate it.
Keep dreaming (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) The U.N. Human Rights Council is quick to chastise Israel, but when three Israeli teens are abducted on their way home -- we can apparently only dream of a condemnation.
Israel’s codependent relationship with Haneen Zoabi (Asher Schechter, Haaretz+) The Arab Israeli parliamentarian causes outrage, again, and again Israel freaks out. But this dance has no end.

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