News Nosh 07.30.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Wednesday July 30, 2014

Quote of the day:
 “I was shocked to learn of the email sent to you by Professor Sheinman. It was a hurtful letter..."
--Dean of the law faculty at Bar-Ilan University, Prof. Shahar Lifshitz, apologizes to students for letter written by law professor Hanoch Sheinman, in which he expressed empathy for all of those affected by Gaza-Israel crisis.**

Front Page News:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Between a truce and an escalation
  • "It comforts me to know that my son died happy" - Mother of killed IDF soldier Daniel Pomerantz
  • The killed at the battle near Nahal Oz - 53 IDF fallen since start of operation
  • War lexicon: the words that turned into part of our lives in the last month
  • The fig leaf // Nahum Barnea
  • The bunker desert // Alex Fishman
  • Digging in // Yossi Yehoshua
  • Overthrow Hamas // Yoaz Hendel
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links) Israel Hayom

Senior IDF commanders' complaints and a revealing video clip by Hamas were top stories in today's Hebrew newspapers, followed by pages of stories about the Israeli soldiers killed in Operation Protective Edge.
Senior IDF commanders were clearly displeased with the political echelons yesterday. Speaking to journalists IDF commanders said they demanded that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decide whether the army would expand the offensive or end it. "The political leadership must decide now – either we push deeper (into Gaza) or we backtrack," said one high-ranking military official.

They also contradicted Netanyahu's claims that the government was not aware of the full extent of the threat posed by Gaza tunnels. They also made clear that "by the end of the operation we won't be able to take out every tunnel and every pier. We are taking out their ability to use the tunnels. (In this regard) we were surprised to find out the deep connection between Hamas's leadership and the tunnels," as one IDF official said.
However, Yedioth's Yossi Yehoshua wrote that after the interrogations of 179 Palestinians that IDF forces detained in Gaza, Military Intel discovered that the tunnel industry was far more expansive than was thought. Dozens of people who were expert tunnel makers were involved, who were not connected to the militant organizations.
The other big story was over a Hamas video clip released of the attack its military wing made against an IDF military installation near Nahal Oz on the Gaza fence that left five Israeli soldiers dead. Israeli commentators and analysts agreed that Hamas was far more professional than previously thought and that the IDF was far less professional than previously thought. [See Commentary/Analysis] In the footage, Hamas militants are seen walking in a tunnel and then emerging armed with a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG.) They are seen approaching the Israeli military post and then hiding and afterward shooting at soldiers. It appears they tried to abduct one of the dead soldiers. All but one of the militants reportedly escaped unharmed. Oddly, there were conflicting reports whether one was killed or wounded. [You would think the IDF would have retrieved him and known if he were either. - OH]

Haaretz reported that there were three similar previous incidents and notes that two of them targeted Israeli soldiers (there were no details about the third). Yet, despite the militants targeting military, the Israeli newspapers continued to call them terrorists. And papers have been writing, without any proof, that Hamas planned to use the tunnels for a mass terror attack on civilians. [The analysts don't ask why they did not do so until now. - OH]
Hamas' military leader, Mohammed Deif, declared victory over the IDF and repeated politburo chief Khaled Mashaal's conditions for a truce: lifting the siege on Gaza.
News about the number of Palestinians killed was buried in all the papers, except Haaretz. The articles in Yedioth (p. 18) and Maariv (p. 14) devoted to the Palestinian side ran titles referring to how the Gaza Strip's only power station was destroyed. The death toll neared 1,200, with over 7,000 people wounded, but that was deep inside the articles.

Haaretz, however reported that "Gaza yesterday experienced one of the most difficult days of the 22-day Israeli military operation" and gave names of whole families who were killed when their homes were bombed on them. Israel also bombed the house of Hamas Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh (he wasn't there.) Maj. Gen. (ret.) Giora Eiland told Ynet that the bombing of Haniyeh's house "does not bother him. I do not think this attack is important, I do not think attacking buildings is important."
Haaretz has an excellent review of live updates of Day 22 of Operation Protective Edge.

Quick Hits:
  • Some 400,000 Gazans seek refuge in schools, parks - Many of the displaced, especially children, have developed intestinal, skin or eye diseases due to poor sanitary conditions and spoiled food. (Haaretz+)
  • Poll: 90% of Israeli Jews believe Gaza operation is justified - A new survey by the IDI shows that most Israeli Jews predict further fighting with Hamas, do not expect long-term quiet. (Ynet
  • Foreign Ministry proposes Israeli Security Council resolution for end to war - Diplomatic initiative to end the fighting via a Security Council resolution is similar to the way the Second Lebanon War was ended. (Haaretz+)
  • Washington, Jerusalem deny reports of harsh call between Obama and Netanyahu - White House and Prime Minister's Office say a transcript of a call in which the U.S. president demands Israel immediately cease hostilities in Gaza, reported by Israel's Channel 1, is 'fabrication.' (Haaretz and Israel Hayom
  • Kerry: Netanyahu raised idea of ceasefire - US Secretary of State deflects criticism of his actions by Israeli officials, says prime minister had called him about negotiating temporary truce. (Ynet
  • Bennett: Destruction of tunnels not enough - Hamas must be completely defeated - Economy Minister criticizes Netanyahu's remarks that wiping out tunnels is main target of operation. (Haaretz
  • Soldiers criticize lack of safety measures outside battlefield - After four soldiers die at a rally point outside Gaza, IDF reservists and regulars say 'we have not received a single briefing' about procedures for mortar attacks. (Ynet)
  • Soldiers' deaths evokes memories of 2006 Lebanon war tragedy - Mortar attack on Eshkol that killed four IDF soldiers bears painful resemblance to attack of deadly rocket barrage that claimed lives of 12 reservists in 2006. (Ynet)
  • Some 3,800 IDF attacks launched on Gaza during current war - To date Israel has taken 179 Gazans prisoner, a substantial number of whom turned out to be noncombatants. (Haaretz+)
  • Knesset approved: Government can return terrorists to jail - MK Ze'ev Elkin (Likud), who initiated the bill, said the bill was designed to create a deterrent. In contrast, MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) said: "The law was designed to prevent peace negotiations." (Maariv)
  • **Israeli university rebukes professor who expressed sympathy for both Israeli, Gazan victims - 'The matter will be handled with appropriate seriousness,’ says 'shocked’ Bar-Ilan University dean after students, parents complain against Prof. Hanoch Sheinman for writing in an email about an exam date that he hopes the email “finds you in a safe place, and that you, your families and those dear to you are not among the hundreds of people that were killed, the thousands wounded, or the tens of thousands whose homes were destroyed or were forced to leave their homes during, or as a direct result of, the violent confrontation in the Gaza Strip and its environs.” (Haaretz+)
  • MK Zoabi suspended from Knesset plenum for excusing West Bank kidnap - Arab lawmaker said she doesn't view kidnappers of three Jewish teenagers as terrorists; Zoabi responds to decision: Move political and anti-democratic, and she plans to appeal to Supreme Court. (Haaretz+ and Israel Hayom)
  • War puts employees’ freedom of speech to the test - Lawyers say spate of firings for offensive statements may not stand up in court. (Haaretz+)
  • Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem denounce Israeli 'genocide' in Gaza - Group of Spanish film stars, directors, musicians and writers issue open letter blaming Israel for new round of violence in Middle East. (Ynet
  • Chile and Peru recall Israel envoys over Gaza operation - The two Latin American nations join Brazil and Ecuador, who announced last week they were recalling envoys to Israel in protest at the Gaza war. (Haaretz)  
  • US lawmakers back Israel amid Gaza fighting - 'At times like this, people try to isolate Israel, we are here to stand with Israel,' says House Speaker John Boehner, while Ted Cruz slams Obama over FAA's flight ban, which he called an 'economic boycott' of Israel and nuclear talks with Iran. (Ynet)
  • NBA players call off Israel visit - Magic Johnson and other past and present NBA stars will not attend inauguration of Jerusalem's new multi-purpose sports arena in September. (Ynet)
  • Sinn Fein mayor slammed for calling on retailers to boycott Israeli products - Northern Ireland mayor accused of trying to intimidate store-owners with letter asking them to list products they stock from Israel or 'the occupied territories.' (Haaretz)
  • British supermarket giant Tesco to drop Judea and Samaria products - The supermarket chain insists its decision is not "politically motivated," or having to do with Operation Protective Edge, but rather a part of the "regular product review process."  Israeli dates packaged in Judea and Samaria to be dropped from the shelves. (Israel Hayom)
  • Belgium advises retailers to label products from Israeli settlements - The non-binding recommendation has nothing to do with escalating conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, the Belgian Economics Ministry says. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • German synagogue firebombed amid rising anti-Semitism - Police: 18-year-old male suspect, whose citizenship could not immediately be clarified, arrested. Jewish leaders from abroad tell embassy reps and ambassadors in Israel that their communities are suffering increased anti-Semitism since start of Gaza war. (Israel Hayom)
  • Iran leader urges Muslims to arm Palestinians against 'rabid dog' Israel - 'The Zionist regime deeply regrets starting this (war) but has no way out,' says Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Israel cuts interest rates to limit economic impact of Gaza war - The central bank releases statement saying that although economic data indicated continued moderate growth, thanks to services exports, the current operation against Hamas and other Gaza terrorist groups would harm growth to some extent. (Israel Hayom)
  • Chinese hackers stole Iron Dome data - Cyber-crime blog says hacking group affiliated with Chinese People’s Liberation Army broke into computers of three firms involved in development of missile defense system, stole information on 'Arrow 3', drones. (Ynet)
  • 1,000 people attend Jerusalem memorial event for slain teens - President Reuven Rivlin commends the families of Gil-ad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach for their courage, value of life. Rivlin: "We must insist on life and on the value of life. We must remind ourselves that there is another way." (Israel Hayom)
  • Holocaust survivors donate to IDF soldiers - 'No matter what language they speak or what color skin they have, they are all dear and beloved,' Holocaust victims say. (Ynet)

Kfar Aza family: 'We will not leave our home'
"Life here in the family is like being an army cook: a week of war in Kfar Aza, and then a few days away to relax. But for better or worse, we are staying," Kfar Aza resident Nadav Goldstein says. (Israel Hayom)
Gaza diary: Searching for memories amid Gaza’s rubble
Scrounging around in what is left of their homes in the Strip's Shujaiyeh neighborhood, residents recall other wars and mourn their losses. (Abeer Ayyoub, Haaretz+)

Wake-up call for the Israel Defense Forces (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) Despite the IDF's many achievements, the current war in Gaza reveals once again the necessity of a comprehensive reorganization of the military.
Demilitarization will have to wait (Former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy, Yedioth/Ynet) Obama sees Gaza's demilitarization as a realistic and desirable goal, but not as an alternative to the result on the battlefield. 
Cease-fire crumbles, sniping resumes on the U.S.-Israeli front as well 
(Chemi Shalev, Haaretz+) Kerry was supposed to make do with the U.S. administration’s universal condemnation of his Israeli critics but his lost honor screamed for revenge and the Secretary went on the warpath.
'Leader of terrorist gang' is now seen as Israel's savior (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) Israeli government, which waged an international campaign against Palestinian reconciliation government, is now clinging to it with all its might as a dignified way out of Gaza operation.
Let's not forget the civilian agenda - even in wartime (The Marker Editor-in-Chief Guy Rolnik, Haaretz+) The press and the pundits, us among them, have been busy trying to estimate the cost of Operation Protective Edge – the cost of the weapons, of calling up the reserves, of the collapse of Israel's economy. Yet all that may pale in comparison to the true danger: that the public agenda will regress to one that is convenient for the people in power. 
Can Netanyahu withstand political pressure? (Sima Kadmon, Yedioth/Ynet) Is the prime minister, who has exercised discretion and moderation for three weeks, about to get dragged into a wide-scale operation he isn't interested in?
This is the time to declare victory and leave Gaza. Preferably with an agreement (Yossi Melman, Maariv)
The confrontation with the U.S. administration was unnecessary as was the attempts (at creating) a new security zone (within the Gaza Strip) and the entry into a digging war with Hamas. Israel's achievements are impressive but it's time to stop and use our heads.
Egyptian cease-fire proposal could end up pressuring Israel, not Hamas (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The Palestinian delegation’s trip to Cairo pushes Qatari and Turkish mediation to the side, but the resulting accords could be tough on Israel.
How does a terror cell enter Israel, kill 5 soldiers? (Yossi Yoshua, Yedioth/Ynet) After Hamas releases chilling video documenting how they entered Israel through a secret tunnel, killed five soldiers and returned to Gaza almost completely unscathed, the question is how did the IDF not see them coming?
Gaza is trigger for American Jews’ tension and dissonance on Israel (Emily L. Hauser, Haaretz+) Despite the calls for solidarity, the Gaza conflict is alienating increasing numbers of American Jews from Israel and from the organized Jewish community, which equates being Jewish with a monolithic political position on Israel.
The video clip of the infiltration of the terrorists into Nahal Oz: We underestimated Hamas (Ben Caspit, Maariv) Let's make order of things:  the pictures from the infiltration into Nahal Oz are difficult, but they do not contradict the IDF version of events that happened there in clashes that killed five IDF soldiers. Still, one must ask the tough questions and wonder if we did underestimate Hamas.
Tunnel threat gives offensive its legitimacy (Haaretz Editorial) Benjamin Netanyahu must distinguish between concrete military objectives and the desire to settle scores with Hamas.
Obama's humanitarian cease fires (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) Mr. President, the word "humanitarian" does not even appear in the Hamas lexicon.
We must defeat Hamas - next time (Benny Morris, Haaretz+) The Israeli government must prepare both the Israeli people and its allies for the next round against Hamas, and be prepared to deliver the killer blow. 
Drawing a line in the sand (Avital Sahar, Ynet) Israel does not need to provide Western leaders and media with gruesome pictures of dead Jews in order to appease their apparent need for 'a balanced casualty rate.'
Gaza justifies Israeli control over West Bank (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) If before, it had been possible to fantasize about some sort of peace, now the fate of the West Bank has been sealed and the settlers can relax. 
Restraint and responsibility (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) The country's leadership must find success amidst external threats and internal strife, not to mention well-intentioned bungling by the U.S. secretary of state. 
A clear victory for Israel, whatever Hamas says (Avi Shilon, Haaretz+) Hamas’ insistence on continuing to fight demonstrates the extent to which it is dissatisfied with the current results. 
Caught between head and heart (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) Israel's heart demands an expansion of the military operation while its head knows it should remain focused on the main goal -- the destruction of the tunnels.
Israel and Gaza: Occupation 2.0 (Eitan Diamond, Haaretz+) Even during the fighting, Israel has a legal and moral responsibility for inhabitants of Gaza, including supplying them with electricity and power.
With Zoabi’s suspension, Knesset moves toward fascism (Aeyal Gross, Haaretz+) AG Yehuda Weinstein decided not to open criminal proceedings against the MK for the statement that triggered Knesset suspension.
Liberal U.S. Jews sitting on couches, alone (Amy Klein, Haaretz+) Is there a way to prove to other Jews that we love Israel too, even though we disagree with its policy in Gaza? 
Don't give them money (Prof. Efraim Inbar, Israel Hayom) The developing international consensus to offer Gaza an economic package to convince Hamas to agree to a cease-fire is immoral and a strategic folly.
Israel’s tarnished moral calculus (Don Futterman, Haaretz+) We used to shoot and cry, as the old Si Heyman song says. Now we kill and justify. Hamas is out to kill Israelis, but when did we lose our interest in minimizing brutal tactics?
Barack Obama is not the enemy (Haaretz Tuesday Editorial) One can argue about the degree of sophistication the president has displayed during the current crisis, but there is no reason to doubt his friendship and desire to bring an end to this round of violence.
US diplomacy is going bankrupt (Prof. Abraham Ben-Zvi, Israel Hayom) Current U.S. pressure on Israel has no strategic logic and shows a fundamental lack of understanding of Hamas' character and the terrorist threat.
The 'hounding’ of Israel's hypocritical left (Amiel Ungar, Haaretz+) Claims of a 'crackdown' on left-wing dissent are ludicrous self-promotion. If they really cared about free speech, where were they during the antinationalist witch hunts in the disengagement and after Rabin’s murder?

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