News Nosh 07.24.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday July 24, 2014

Quote of the day:
“Is it controversial that the children [aren’t] alive? That they’re children? That those are their names? These are facts that we wish to bring to the public’s knowledge.”
--Israeli human rights organization, B'tselem, asks the Israel Broadcasting Authority why broadcasting on the radio the names of the Palestinian children killed in Gaza was 'politically controversial.'**

Front Page News:
  • UN establishing committee that will investigate if Israel committed war crimes in GazaJohn Kerry left Cairo without any breakthrough
  • [2 main side-by-side photos: man walks over rubble of bombed out building next to half-bombed building; Israeli soldiers carry coffin draped with Israeli flag. Also: Photos of five Israeli soldiers killed
  • Balance of gains and losses // Amos Harel
  • The mistake of the shapers of the (people's) mind
  • Between deviation and war crimes // Aeyal Gross
  • Hamas' concerns // Zvi Bar'el
  • Rocket in Yehud, escape from Lod // Amir Oren
  • The old members of PLO remember Beirut // Jacky Khoury
  • Freezing of flights to and from Israel extended for another 24 hours
  • Third casualty in Home Front: Foreign laborer who worked in greenhouse
  • 1/4 page ad: The escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the last month has brought with it a wave of incitement and displays of racism and verbal violence towards Arab citizens...The Jewish public must understand that the Arab citizens in Israel are part of the Palestinian people and many of them have family in the Gaza Strip. The Arab sector naturally identifies with its people. In the face of pictures of dead civilians, many of whom are women and children, and the enormous destruction in the Gaza Strip, Arab citizens feel anger and loss, which receives no place in the public discourse. On the contrary, people in the government and the media are taking advantage of the natural solidarity of the Arab citizens with the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza to incite against them as terror supporters. We call on the government to move towards the immediate end of the war and to achieve a long-term political solution. At the same time, the government must act immediately to deal with the racist and destructive elements that are threatening Israeli society. Signed: numerous Israeli NGOs, including ACRI, Shatil, Keshet
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Goal: Temporary ceasefire without exiting Gaza
  • Another five IDF soldiers killed
  • Kerry's tunnel // Alex Fishman
  • A matter of (more) time // Yossi Yehoshua
  • Parting in sadness - On the last day serving as President: Peres offers condolences to the family of [Ethiopian] first sergeant Moshe Malko, who was killed in Gaza. Today Ruvi Rivlin will be inaugurated as president
  • Between [Albert] Cami and [Kibbutz] Nir Am // Amnon Avramovitch
  • Letter to a bereaved mother // Tami Arad
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links) Israel Hayom

Talk of a ceasefire and a speech by Khaled Mashaal, a UN decision to investigate Israel for war crimes and a continued freeze on flights to and from Israel were top news in today's papers alongside the stories of more soldiers who were killed in Gaza.

The papers reported and commented at length on the 46-minute speech Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal gave in a press conference in Qatar. Their conclusion was that while Mashaal said he opposed a ceasefire without an end to the siege on the Gaza Strip, he left an opening for a humanitarian ceasefire. Yedioth called it 'belligerent,' but Maariv quoted much of the speech, including interesting words pointed to Israelis, in which he says he does not want war. (See Interviews below for Mashaal's key quotes.) 
Meanwhile, Hamas got the support of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, but that hardly made the papers. At the end of an emergency meeting headed by Abbas in Ramallah Tuesday night, the Palestinian leadership issued a statement saying "We praise the resolute stand of the great Palestinian people and the forces of resistance that are fighting heroically against the occupying army that is committing crimes and slaughtering our compatriots." The statement also called for a general PLO meeting to be held in Cairo, which would include all Palestinian factions, writes Haaretz+. A senior official told Haaretz that Abbas had no choice but to align himself 'with the people' after the Arab world and international community failed 'to bring the goods.'
Haaretz's Zvi Bar'el also wrote that "if the first sign of a breakthrough to a cease fire can be sighted, it is the decision of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to pay the salaries ofHamas officials working in the Gaza Strip," beginning today. "This is an important development, since the nonpayment of the Hamas salaries was one of the central reasons for the unrest in Gaza, and portrayed Hamas as not having failed to get anything out of the reconciliation with Fatah," wrote Bar'el, who added that "a number of Palestinian officials said they expect a cease-fire to be reached by the Id al-Fitr holiday on Monday, which marks the end of the month of Ramadan." Bar'el also wrote a piece explaining Hamas' dilemma: whether to trust Egypt, Israel and the US that they will agree to discuss the matter after a cease-fire goes into effect, as the Egyptian proposal states — or to insist on receiving a detailed commitment to the opening of Gaza as a precondition for the cease-fire...Qatar’s goal is to cause Saudi Arabia to pressure Egypt to change its cease-fire proposal in such a way that Hamas can accept it without looking as if it has surrendered." The problem is that the Egyptian plan does not specify a timeline for easing the blockade, writes Reuters.
US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Abbas and Netanyahu and UN chief Ban Ki-moon yesterday and said there was progress made on a cease-fire, but that "There's still work to be done." The US deputy national security advisor suggested that demilitarization of Hamas could be considered in cease-fire negotiations, something Israel would like very much. Senior Maariv commentator Ran Adelist wrote that the call for demilitarization of Gaza was a way for Israel to get more time to continue the operation. However, Kerry left the country without a breakthrough and Haaretz's Barak Ravid wrote that Kerry and Netanyahu spoke for roughly two hours but refrained from making statements to the press and appeared chilly toward one another during a photo opportunity. After their meeting, Kerry took off for Cairo, to hold another meeting with Egyptian leaders." The cabinet is set to hold an emergency session in the Knesset on Thursday to deliberate on the operation Gaza. 

The security cabinet met after Kerry and Netanyahu's meeting to decide whether to expand the ground invasion. It appears that they went in the direction of considering a 5-day ceasefire, as Abbas had proposed on Tuesday, and which Maariv and Yedioth discussed at length, but called a US proposal. Maariv's Yuval Bengo quotes a 'senior minister,' who said, "(Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin) Netanyahu is looking for a political solution." The minister said that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon will bring a draft to a vote at the government's security cabinet by the week's end. Yedioth's Nahum Barnea wrote that the security cabinet, which met last night, discussed a ceasefire draft: a humanitarian truce for five days, during which IDF forces would remain on the inside edges of the Gaza Strip. The IDF expects that this would allow it to continue to destroy tunnels. During those five days, the sides would meet indirectly in Cairo to negotiate. Moreover, writes Maariv, it's likely that the ceasefire would be extended.
UN human rights chief slammed possible Israeli 'war crimes' in Gaza, after which, the UN Human Rights Council decided to form a commission of inquiry over Israeli 'war crimes' in Gaza, with the US casting the only dissenting vote and European nations abstaining. Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni told the UN Human Rights Council on FB to 'get lost." Livni herself can't visit a number of countries due to being accused of war crimes following Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009.
Haaretz has an excellent review of Day 16 of Operation Protective Edge, which included an NYT report that the Foreign Press Association in Israel condemned “deliberate official and unofficial incitement against journalists” who were reporting on the fighting in Gaza, including “forcible attempts to prevent journalists and TV crews from carrying out their news assignments." 
Quick Hits:
  • Ex-IDF soldiers endorse refusing army service, in letter to Washington Post - 51 former soldiers, some of them reservists, declare: 'We now refuse to participate in our reserve duties, and we support all those who resist being called to service.’ (Haaretz+)
  • **Israeli agency bans radio clip naming children killed in Gaza - Calling material 'politically controversial,' Israel Broadcasting Authority refuses to run item by B’Tselem human rights group. (Haaretz)
  • Madeleine Albright: Israel 'overdoing' its response to Hamas - Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says focus should be on how to end conflict and implement two-state solution. (Haaretz)  
  • Tepid apology by British MP for tweet condoning Gaza rockets - Liberal Democrat David Ward, who wrote that he would probably fire a rocket at Israel if he lived in Gaza, may still face party disciplinary action. (Haaretz)
  • Right-wing rabbi’s ruling: Israel may totally destroy Gaza if necessary - 'Deterrent measures to exterminate the enemy’ are allowed in some cases, Rabbi Dov Lior writes. (Haaretz+)
  • Belgian cafe sign: Dogs allowed, but not Zionists - Concern over European anti-Semitism rises in light of Gaza operation; governments condemn anti-Semitism at pro-Palestinian protests. (Ynet
  • Pilots: They are tying our hands out of fear of civilian casualties" - Air Force pilots claim that they are forced to cancel a high rate of attacks against terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip for humanitarian reasons, which endangers the lives of IDF soldiers. (Maariv
  • Shelter from the war? For Israel’s Arabs, not so much - Most Israeli civilian casualties from the Gaza conflict have been Bedouin, but the state isn’t solely at fault: Arab local governments don’t invest in civil defense. (Haaretz+) 
  • (IDF) VIDEO: Terrorists fire rockets from Gaza hospital - Israel says Hamas uses Wafa hospital compound to attack soldiers, fire anti-tank missiles; ground, air forces attack Gaza City where they claim 'an entire Hamas brigade is active'; 10 terrorists killed. (Ynet
  • Israel asks U.S. for $225 million to replace missing Iron Dome parts - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel asks Congress to meet 'Israel's critical missile defense needs in light of the ongoing conflict in Gaza.' (Haaretz+)
  • Rivlin to be sworn in as Peres concludes presidential term - President-elect Reuven Rivlin to become Israel's 10th president Thursday afternoon in a relatively modest inauguration ceremony. Peres dedicates last days in office to comforting bereaved families of fallen soldiers, visiting southern Israel. (Israel Hayom
  • Jew-kissing-Arab selfie goes viral amid Israel-Gaza fighting - The #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies campaign for coexistence gains momentum, with photos being posted to Facebook and Twitter carrying messages of peace. (Haaretz
  • Astronaut snapshots exchanges of fire over Israel and Gaza: ‘My saddest photo yet’ - Image taken hundreds of miles from earth captures IDF strikes on Gaza, rockets launched from Strip fly over Israel. (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • WATCH: Pro-Palestinian protesters, Israeli soccer players brawl in Austria - Activists disrupt friendly Maccabi Haifa-Lille match. (Haaretz+VIDEO)
  • Controversial? Bar Refaeli learned from Operation Pillar of Defense - Since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, the supermodel maintains a conciliatory line, without any big declarations that could turn criticism on her, as she had got during the previous operation. And the talkbackers? They are still attacking. (Maariv)
  • 30,000 gather in silence to honor 'lone soldier' from L.A., killed in Gaza - 'You told me that you did not have many friends in Israel,' Max Steinberg's sister says. 'Look around you. 30,000 people are here to tell you that you are among friends.' (Haaretz and Ynet)
  • As rumors about IDF casualties run rampant, 4 Israelis detained - Military Police's Fraud Unit launches criminal investigation into leaks of names of IDF casualties via WhatsApp instant messaging app. Three soldiers, one civilian detained, face charges of leaking restricted information. (Israel Hayom
  • European airlines extend Ben-Gurion flights ban as Israel mulls diverting plans to Eilat - Lufthansa, Air Berlin extend cancellations, Air France imposes open-ended ban; Netanyahu urges Kerry to renew US flights as Bloomberg takes El Al flight to 'show solidarity'. (Ynet)
  • Republican Senator Ted Cruz suggests U.S. flight ban is boycott of Israel - Cruz questions whether Obama used the Federal Aviation Administration to impose an economic boycott on Israel; the State Department rejects the comments as 'ridiculous and offensive.' (Agencies, Haaretz
  • Thousands stranded in Israel by canceled flights desperately try to get out - Passengers are not eligible for compensation for canceled flights or hotel expenses. (Haaretz)
  • Israel opens airport in Negev as alternative to Ben-Gurion - Ovda, a military airfield, has opened after the FAA and the European Aviation Safety Agency temporarily canceled all flights to Israel due to a Hamas rocket attack on Tuesday. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom
  • Hackers step cyber attacks on Israel to protest Gaza operation - Netvision customers hit by foreign hackers; Anonymous threatens 'day of solidarity and resistance' in cyber attacks on Friday. (Ynet
  • Turkey's Erdogan describes Israel as 'terror state' - Turkish prime minister also says Israel is 'creating a wave of terror' in Gaza and denies his company is funding terrorist activities. (Haaretz
  • Turkey denies defense, energy ties with Israel amid Gaza fighting - Turkey’s Foreign Ministry says no cooperation taking place during period in which country is working to achieve cease-fire between sides. (Haaretz)
  • Psst. Palestine wants to import Israeli gas, but don't tell anyone -  At TheMarker’s Energy Conference, Israeli exec sees future for Israeli gas exports, but adds: exports to Palestinians, Jordan 'would be philanthropy.' (Haaretz+)
  • Lebanon arrests man allegedly involved in rocket attack against Israel - The Daily Star quotes security source as saying man helped fire two rockets from Lebanon's Arkoub region. (Haaretz)
  • Palestinians fired from SodaStream in Ramadan dispute did not receive hearings - In violation of labor laws, 60 employees at West Bank plant were dismissed without written notice or preliminary hearings. (Haaretz)

Hamas' dilemma: Trust Egypt's staged truce initiative or demand advance commitments (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The dilemma facing Hamas is whether to trust Egypt, Israel and the U.S. that they will agree to discuss the opening of Gaza after a cease-fire goes into effect or to insist on receiving a detailed commitment in advance.
The decision over a cease-fire is political (Ran Adelist, Maariv) Eradicating tunnels is not feasible and takes a costly toll of human life. But the decision to make a cease-fire could break up the (Israeli) government and the demand for demilitarization of the Gaza Strip is an excuse that allows us to continue to fight... Until the point that a ceasefire proposal crystallizes, each party tries to achieve maximum results, which in a less cleaned-up language means maximum casualties and destruction to the other. This is the cruel nature of a war that cannot be won. Therefore the decision of the ceasefire is not military but political. Can the Israeli government cope, publicly, with daily reports of the dead? With ours, of course. Nobody expects the government to take note of the Palestinian casualties (some 600) except a small sanctimonious mention for the benefit of the foreign media... 
Humans of Gaza, Humans of Tel Aviv (Josie Glausiusz , Haaretz+) I do not want my children to grow up to kill or be killed in a senseless war that has no end.
Rely on deterrence, not on understandings with Hamas (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) After removing tunnel threat, Israel should take its forces out of Gaza but maintain military freedom of action. 
Don't let war tear Israel's Jews, Arabs further apart (Haaretz Editorial) The recent outbreak of violence and racism against Arabs exposes the regrettable fact that the platform underlying shared life in Israel is not solid enough yet.
War is here (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) The threat of the tunnels was not taken seriously. It is nothing short of a miracle that we woke up at the last minute.
Netanyahu bolstered Hamas while rejecting Abbas (Sefi Rachlevsky, Haaretz+) Hamas’ racism and messianism must be fought. An iron wall must be erected against them, and against all racism. But that can’t be done by a regime that is itself tainted with racism and messianism.
Those who scream their hatred don't represent Israel (Yair Lapid, Yedioth/Ynet) Real Israeli discourse, which is shared by 99% of residents, isn't filled with hatred towards one's fellowman, doesn't silence people, and knows how to agree even when it's okay not to agree.
In this sad war story, Israel is in the right (Ari Shavit, Haaretz+) Those who are even slightly forgiving of Hamas are cooperating with a fanatically religious tyrannical dictator. Hamas are Palestinian neo-Nazis.
Israel under siege (Aharon Lapidot, Israel Hayom) The suspension of flights to and from Israel by foreign carriers was an extremely problematic development for Israel
War crimes won’t bring Israel security (Sabri Saidam, Haaretz+) Fatah, in line with the Palestinian national consensus, believes Israeli war crimes should be prosecuted, including through Palestine's immediate accession to the International Criminal Court.
Destroying Hamas is only way to peace (Sever Plocker, Yedioth/Ynet) Israel must advance agreement with Palestinian Authority while eradicating – rather than weakening – Islamic organization in Gaza. 
When the state sanctions Turkey’s ugly anti-Semitism (Louis Fishman, Haaretz+) Once marginal in Turkish politics, anti-Semitism is now been co-opted, if not incited, by Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan and his ruling party. How can Turkish Jews stay when they're now considered the enemy? 
Israel’s best weapon against Hamas: Giving the Palestinians hope (Peter Beinart, Haaretz+) Unfortunately, as effective as Benjamin Netanyahu has been at destroying Palestinian rockets, he’s been even more effective at destroying hope and strengthening despair.
Victory for Israel (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) Reports claim that Hamas is in a state of euphoria, yet why do I get the impression that no other armed group in the world would switch places with it today? 
Hamas is losing on the battlefield but hitting Israel where it hurts (Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz+) A host of opportunities have presented themselves for Hamas to challenge and undermine Israel's close-knit, Westernized and relatively affluent society.
New York-Gaza, 2014: When war is there at your fingertips (Avital Chizhik, Haaretz+) What if they had live-tweeted the Dresden bombings, with the Allies rushing to explain the necessity and then Goebbels in turn tweeting pictures of wounded German children taken in 1915? Thanks to social media we have become both ambassadors and voyeurs.
The increasingly dystopian dialogue of the deaf about Israel’s Gaza operation (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz) George Orwell, 1945: 'Every nationalist is capable of the most flagrant dishonesty, but he is also unshakably certain of being in the right.'
'It's a nightmare, but I just don’t see a better policy'
Two IAF pilots discuss the morality of the IDF, its determination to avoid civilian casualties, and what it is really like to be in the cockpit in wartime. (Interviewed by Nechama Douek in Yedioth/Ynet)

Khaled Mashaal: "We will not accept a ceasefire without lifting the siege"
Head of the Hamas political bureau spoke at a press conference in Qatar, saying that he agrees humanitarian ceasefire. About Netanyahu: "He acted from helplessness to release public pressure. The IDF is an occupying army."
Key quotes published in Maariv:
"Netanyahu failed when he could not show an achievement, he decided to choose and to act against Hamas, while we directed our action against settlers, which, from our point of view, is an honor, and then he allowed Muhammad Abu Khdeir to be burned. Then he went to Gaza, which did not do anything. Nothing. They just expressed anger because we are one people. He had no reason [to act against Gaza, he acted] out of helplessness in order to release Israeli public pressure, and of course the pressure by [Israeli Foreign Minister] Lieberman. I now call the IDF the army of aggression and occupation."

"The failing Netanyahu was blind in the absence of intelligence, and the killing of civilians. More than 1,500 homes were destroyed. We are the victim, not Israel. I call upon the international organizations to save Gaza and open the Rafah crossing and allow medical personnel to enter. We are willing to have a humanitarian truce," said Mashaal.
Towards the end of his remarks, he turned to Israelis: "How many soldiers do you want us to take captive? To all the [Palestinian] prisoners I announce that your message has arrived and we are working to release you."
"There are requirements that must be respected. We all want to stop the hostilities today. Nobody wants war and therefore we are not interested in it continuing. End the siege with a guarantee. We will reach agreements on the demands, and we will announce a zero hour for the ceasefire. We are prepared to fight for a week, two weeks, a month and two months. We have not yet begun the war...I bode to the Israeli murderers that there will be a Goldstone II [report]."

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