News Nosh 07.28.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Monday July 28, 2014

Number of the day:
--Number of Gazans, mostly civilians, who have been killed in Israel's Operation Protective Edge as of last night. the Israeli papers told no stories about the individuals.

Front Page News:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Obama: Stop the fire immediately
  • Siren in the neo-natal ward [Main photo: nurses and mothers holding babies in crowded room]
  • Unnecessary crisis // Nahum Barnea
  • Gaza roulette // Alex Fishman
  • With a shaking hand // Yossi Yehoshua
  • The 43 (soldier) killed
  • Friends in blood - Friends who served in Nahal Brigade together, entered Gaza together. One got injured rescuing another and the two of them met again at the grave of a third
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links) Israel Hayom

US President Barack Obama demanded an immediate ceasefire, angering the Israeli government, which was already angry at US Secretary of State John Kerry for his proposal for a ceasefire making the top story in the Hebrew papers, which did not satisfy Israel's demands. Nevertheless, a tactical ceasefire was set in place on the ground by Sunday evening: quiet for quiet.
Obama called Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the midst of a cabinet meeting and told him he needed to stop firing and make an "immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire that ends hostilities now and leads to a permanent cessation of hostilities based on the November 2012 cease-fire agreement." Yedioth called it, 'Obama's Red Light.' Obama also agreed that any long-term ceasefire must include the demilitarization of Gaza, which Israel demands. Obama's demand for an unconditional ceasefire angered right-wing members of the government, which want to continue operating in the Gaza Strip to destroy tunnels.

But the Israelis - both right-wing politicians and journalists - including of Haaretz - were already up in arms over Kerry's draft proposal for a ceasefire, which required that Israel withdraw its forces from the Gaza Strip and not complete the destruction of tunnels in Gaza. He also included in the proposal that crossings from and into the Gaza Strip would be opened. In other words, an end to Israel's siege on the beleaguered Strip.  Maariv called it a proposal that 'bypassed Egypt,' because it used the recommendations of Turkey and Qatar, which included Hamas' demands.  Israel and its journalists who wrote that such an agreement empowers Hamas. Indeed, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (of the rival Fatah party) was also angry that Kerry took this route, wrote Khaled Abu Touemeh in the Jerusalem Post and Maariv online, insisting that he needs to be part of the picture. He was angry Palestinian Authority and Egyptian representatives were not invited to the meeting of foreign ministers in Paris, while Qatari and Turkish representatives were.
David Horovitz's piece in Times of Israel sums up the Israeli view point:
"It seemed inconceivable that the American secretary of state would have drafted an initiative that, as a priority, did not require the dismantling of Hamas’s rocket arsenal and network of tunnels dug under the Israeli border... It seemed inconceivable that the secretary’s initiative would specify the need to address Hamas’s demands for a lifting of the siege of Gaza, as though Hamas were a legitimate injured party acting in the interests of the people of Gaza — rather than the terror group that violently seized control of the Strip in 2007, diverted Gaza’s resources to its war effort against Israel, and could be relied upon to exploit any lifting of the “siege” in order to import yet more devastating weaponry with which to kill Israelis."

[Indeed, most Israelis do not see that an end to the siege can lead to an end to the hostilities, as Hamas has promised, and that is what the Gazans want. Moreover, the Israeli demand of demilitarization is a new one. It was not part of the 2012 ceasefire agreement. OH]

The Israeli government and press slammed Kerry for daring to offer a proposal that would respond to Hamas' demands and for presenting Hamas as equal to Israel.
In turn, the US administration said it was extremely upset with the attacks on Kerry. Speaking in a conference call with Israeli journalists, the official said that "some of the reports contained overheated assertions that mischaracterized Kerry's work and motivations. The criticism was extremely offensive. Mainly the charges that he betrayed our closest ally in the region – Israel." The official rejected Israeli claims that Kerry's document served Hamas' interests more than Israel's, wrote Barak Ravid.
That said, Yedioth's Yossi Yehoshua wrote "let's not delude ourselves, it is impossible to completely destroy the tunnels. Tunnels will remain and new tunnels will be established. Israel needs to declare the tunnel issue as a national problem and invest resources and manpower to deal with them." Following the phone call, a sort of ceasefire began last night by which the IDF ordered its troops not to fire unless fired upon. Respond, do not initiate.
Israel has released numerous videos of 'terror tunnels' and Egypt destroyed 13 more Gaza tunnels into Egypt.

Israel says that Hamas aimed to make a mega-terror attack by sending 200 fighters wearing IDF uniforms to seize kibbutzim while killing and kidnapping civilians. [Strangely, no one has asked or answered until now why that was not done before this operation if the tunnels were operable, as Israel says. - OH]

Haaretz has an excellent review of live updates of Day 20, without paywall.

Quick Hits:
  • Israel acknowledges mortar shell hit UN school [but denies killing anyone] - IDF says military probe showed 'a single errant mortar' landed in the yard of the Beit Hanoun school, but says was yard was empty at the time [insinuating that the UN and the families of the 17 people killed there lied that they had been killed in the compound.] IDF Spokesman says people may have been injured by shrapnel. (HaaretzAP/Ynet and Israel Hayom)
  • **Gaza death total reaches 1,062 as Id-al Fitr 'holiday' begins - Sunday was one of the calmest days since Israel’s ground incursion began, although 13 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, including an Islamic Jihad field commander. (Haaretz+)
  • 1.2 million Gazans suffering from disrupted water supply - Sewage flooding further threatens the water system racked by Israeli bombing. (Haaretz+)
  • IHH plans another Gaza flotilla - Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation says "Freedom Flotilla II" will be protected by Turkish Navy vessels. Israel said to be following reports closely. Turkish Red Crescent to send 20 tons of medical aid to Gaza Strip via Israel. (Israel Hayom)
  • Satellite footage documents Gaza destruction - Three weeks of Operation Protective Edge decimate parts of Sajaiyeh neighborhood; Palestinians note damage worse than any previous IDF operation. (Ynet
  • Netanyahu talks demilitarization of Gaza in U.S. interviews - Premier tells Sunday talk shows that Hamas violated its own cease-fires and is responsible for civilian casualties in Gaza. (Haaretz and Israel Hayom+VIDEO)
  • IDF hits 20 Gaza targets between ceasefires - Total of Palestinian casualties rises to 1,031, with over 6,000 wounded; Palestinians say IDF attacked car in Khan Younis, killing one. (Ynet
  • Rocket attacks force Birthright to drop Tel Aviv from its itinerary - This summer was supposed to have seen a record number of Taglit-Birthright participants in Israel, but about 30-40 percent have canceled. (Haaretz
  • Parents of soldier initially thought missing agree to mourn his death - Golani Brigade Sgt. Oron Shaul's parents agree to begin mourning ritual after IDF determines he was killed in action and is not missing. IDF officials answer family's questions before mourning begins. Shaul family asks IDF to locate remains. (Israel Hayom)
  • Facebook increasingly used against 'Israel-hating' employees, students - Several people who expressed joy at deaths of IDF soldiers or spoke harshly against the Gaza war have been fired due to efforts of online groups. (Haaretz+)
  • Two Bedouin IDF doctors indicted for allegedly evading combat duty - The two, serving in GOC Southern Command field units, allegedly absconded on the day Operation Protective Edge began. (Haaretz+) 
  • Egged bus drivers refused to enter (Arab-Israeli city of) Nazareth, dumped passengers en route - Company says it was acting on official directives on Thursday, but the police force said it did not order the route shift. (Haaretz+)
  • Palestinian who posted 'death to Jews' is released - Defense attorney says many Jews, Arabs using verbal violence, but not jailed. (Haaretz+)
  • Border Guard officers thwart terror attack near Jerusalem - Security personnel at checkpoint stop suspect with large explosive device, several gas cylinders in vehicle. (Ynet)
  • Madrid Jews vow legal action against writer who cited Gaza war in justifying expulsions - Award-winning playwright and author Antonio Gala says Israel’s Gaza operation justifies past the expulsions of Jews from Spain. (JTA, Haaretz
  • European Jews face rising tide of anti-Semitism in Gaza operation's wake - Two leading German newspapers led their Friday editions with calls for an end to hatred against Jews. (JTA, Haaretz
  • Australian Jewish leader resigns from state position after anti-Hamas remarks - Vic Alhadeff steps down as head of New South Wales Community Relation Commission, two weeks after accusing Hamas of war crimes in an email to local Jewish community. (Haaretz+)
  • Israel offered medical aid to Gazans, but the PA refused to accept it - Health Ministry prepared millions of shekels worth of medicine, chemotherapy and medical equipment for Strip; MDA offered blood donations. (Ynet)
  • It turns out that JetBlue spat was all in the family - Lisa Rosenberg was kicked off a JetBlue flight for arguing vociferously with a Palestinian over the Gaza-Israel conflict. It now turns out her rival was actually Jewish. (Haaretz)  
  • German pilots rap decision to renew flights to Israel - The pilots union is demanding that all crews flying to Israel do so on a voluntary basis only. (Haaretz)  
  • Amid cyber attacks on Israel, security agency wins a battle fighting back - The Shin Bet says it thwarted a foray against both government and nongovernment websites. (Haaretz+)

A journey through a ghost Hamas neighborhood
Ynet correspondent Yoav Zitun joins Maglan fighters as they enter Gaza in a heavy armored personnel carrier. (Ynet
IDF: Bloodiest battle in Gaza could have been much worse
Extraordinary measures taken to save soldiers from fierce Hamas counterattack a week ago in Shujaiyeh, where 13 Golani troops and some 70 Gazans, half or more of them civilians, were killed. “Working with the knowledge of the enemy’s location, we put all the Golani soldiers in the Namers [the army’s best APCs] and we fired at our forces. We gave them half an hour to get into the vehicles and we laid down fire, after which there was no more shooting from there, not even light weapons,” he said. (Haaretz+) 

Shock-and-awe unlikely to work on Hamas, Gazans (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) Israel is banking on scope of destruction to cow the enemy, but is making the wrong assumptions.
An Israel Without Illusions (David Grossman, Yedioth/New York Times) The famous Israeli author calls to stop the grindstone of Israeli-Palestinian violence.
US-Israel row benefits Hamas (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) Netanyahu government, which really wants a ceasefire in Gaza, may now be portrayed as if it gave in to Obama's pressure. 
Obama gets tough with Netanyahu, for Gaza and/or for Kerry
 (Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Remember: nothing riles the White House more than the appearance that Israel is supplying ammo to Obama’s political enemies, as it did on Sunday.
Kerry doesn't get it (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Why did Kerry adopt the Qatari-Turkish proposal when he had a golden opportunity to mend his relationship with Egypt?
Israel's other war, now on a street near you (Haaretz Editorial) Netanyahu must speak out against the increasing number of violent assaults on Arabs and leftist who express opposition to the war.
Reckless Kerry risks causing escalation (Ari Shavit, Haaretz+) If Israel is forced to undertake an expanded ground operation, it would be appropriate to name the offensive after the person who caused it: John Kerry. 
Historic missed opportunity: Netanyahu has no courage to continue full steam ahead (Ben Caspit, Maariv) There is a risk with a rare strategic opportunity: the elimination of the southern front. But the truth must be told: The Prime Minister lacks the courage, determination and international credit to order the IDF to operate until Hamas agrees to a cease-fire that will include complete demilitarization. Netanyahu prefers to return home safely. 
Obama's wars on Israel (Guy Bechor, Yedioth/Ynet) Ban on flights to Israel was just another attempt by US administration to force Israel to accept difficult conditions in Gaza.
Restoring military supremacy (David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom) Victory over Hamas is critical for Israel in the grand strategic perspective. Israel must not allow Kerry's shortsightedness to throw us off track.
One people: Reunite Gaza and the West Bank (Khaled Diab, Haaretz+) Draconian Israeli restrictions on Palestinian freedom of movement mean that for many families divided between the West Bank and Gaza, phone or online is their only contact: 'Your eyes can see but your hands can’t touch.' 
John Kerry needs successes - and Israel is in his crosshairs
 (Shmuel Rosner, Maariv) The U.S. Secretary of State's series of failures prove that he was not a particularly big success. For Israel that might prove to be more of a problem than it seems. 
Hamas should thank Israel’s right-wing (Ayman Sikseck, Haaretz+) The rising death toll in Gaza and ever-expanding swath of destruction in the territory are the perfect backdrop for the restoration of Hamas’ reputation.
The cease-fire and the donkey's jaw (Dr. Reuven Berko, Israel Hayom) If the Hamas leaders cowering underground could see the pictures of the destruction, their fantasy of murdering Jews might fall apart.
Netanyahu's Hamas dilemma: Deterrence or decisive victory? (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) After Kerry truce initiative fiasco, the Israeli PM and his counterparts in Cairo and Ramallah likely have little faith in U.S. efforts to achieve a truce. 
Standing in silence in memory of the dead in Gaza? I am ashamed (Eyal Gefen, Maariv) I will not accept that a bunch of artists and intellectuals get together with the victims on the other side. This is shocking and as pretentious as a fox about to die. Enlightened friends - let's first of all stand in silence in memory of our victims. 
The Obama legacy: A Democratic party unsympathetic to Israel? (Seth Lipsky, Haaretz+) Sympathy for Israel is strongest by far amongst conservative Republicans, in the latest Pew survey; support from liberal Democrats, Obama's voter base, has dropped off the cliff.
Obama abandons Israel (Isi Leibler, Israel Hayom) We do not ask Americans to shed their blood for us, but we expect their full ‎diplomatic support in this battle against a murderous global Islamic ‎fundamentalist movement.‎
Why American Jews are standing with Israel (Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, Haaretz+) U.S. Jews are repelled by the killing, but their hawkish instincts say that an end to the fighting must ensure Hamas' disarming, and must not simply pave the way to another round of rockets and terror. 
The price of the failed assassination of (Hamas chief) Mashaal (Avi Benayahu, Maariv) Head of the Hamas political bureau lives in comfortable conditions in Qatar and is ready to continue to fight "until the last drop of blood" of the old Gazan man and boy - and it's all thanks to a (botched assassination) by Israel. Also: ...the reason for the relatively balanced coverage of the military campaign by the international media. 
What Northern Ireland can teach us about the Hamas problem (Carlo Strenger, Haaretz+) You can never achieve a lasting peace if a major player in the conflict is excluded from the process.
Another grave American mistake (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) Only the Obama administration could organize a summit devoid of the relevant players, which are Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority.
The Israel-Hamas conflict is a war like no other (Moshe Arens, Haaretz+) Hamas learned from Hezbollah to use a whole civilian population as a human shield. In Gaza, only the disarming of Hamas is the answer.
Netanyahu’s voice backs up Hamas’ dirty work (Avirama Golan, Haaretz+) When the rockets started flying, the prime minister adopted the tone of a statesman, but the incitement that’s running wild in Israel’s streets is hard to stop.

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