News Nosh 08.19.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Tuesday August 19, 2014

Quote of the day:
"Unfortunately, it's not nice to be an Arab in Israel these days."
--Social Affairs Minister Meir Cohen tells Bedouin he visited in south.**

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

Israel and the Palestinians extend the ceasefire another day and the Shin Bet accuses Hamas of setting up infrastructure in the West Bank to topple the Palestinian Authority making the top stories in today's Hebrew newspapers.

Despite the extension of the ceasefire by another 24 hours., the Israeli analysts were not optimistic, with the exception of Israel HayomMaariv's Yossi Melman wrote that the chances of Hamas and Israel reaching a long-term agreement are not big. "The bitter truth is that the Netanyahu government, which until now belittled Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and did everything to end the nine months of fruitless diplomatic negotiations, is now interested in crowning him ruler in Gaza...One way or another, the Israeli government is not interested in a peace agreement or any agreement that will require it to evacuate settlements and re-settler settlers. Therefore, all it is doing now is crisis-management, like the one in Gaza now, and continuing to deal with one crisis after another." Yedioth's Alex Fishman wrote that "Netanyahu, basically, sent the Israeli delegation back to Cairo with a Bennett-formula: Israel does not need an agreement with Hamas. We will give the Gazans humanitarian aid and rehabilitation - above the heads of the heads of (Hamas). They need this arrangement more than we do. If we want - we will expand the supply of electricity and water. If we want, we will expand the fishing zone, allow construction materials to enter and increase the production from Gaza. It's a brilliant idea, it only has no chance of working, because the moment Hamas begins firing - all the aid to the Palestinian citizen will end. Therefore, Israel, too, even though it won't admit to it, needs some kind of arrangement."
According to Palestinian officials, the new Egyptian proposal includes the opening of the Rafah crossing with Egypt, the opening of other crossing between Israel and Gaza for commerce and the expansion of Gaza's fishing zone. Most major issues, such as the construction of an airport and seaport for Gaza, the demilitarization of the Strip and the return of the bodies of two Israeli soldiers will only be discussed one month after the signing of the document. Sources in Jerusalem said Israel and America secretly agreed on steps to ease the humanitarian hardship in Gaza by opening crossings and agreed on the details of a future permanent accord with Hamas, including eventually opening Gaza up to sea traffic, Ynet reported.
Haaretz+ revealed that last week, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tried to hide the previous Egyptian cease-fire proposal from the cabinet last week. Only when Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman brought copy to the cabinet meeting did the prime minister reluctantly admit its existence, but said it was one of many that had been updated again and again in previous days and that he had not accepted it anyway. 
Meanwhile, in what the Israeli military analysts wrote was suspicious timing, Israel announced it had arrested 93 Hamas men in the West Bank who were planning to make 'major terror attacks against Israel' and overthrow the Palestinian Authority. "The timing of the expose is clear," write Yedioth's Alex Fishman. "It was not only meant to show another failure of Hamas, but to remind whoever forgot: Look at who we are dealing with. The same Hamas, which secretly prepared for long months to topple Abu Mazen, is simultaneously holding negotiations with him over a unity government. With people like that can you make an agreement?" Maariv's Yossi Melman wrote that the Shin Bet emphasized that the timing of the revelation of the big Hamas terror network in the West Bank was incidental and not meant to drive a wedge between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority." Israeli reporters did not question the veracity of the Shin Bet's 'discovery' of a plan to overthrow the Palestinian Authority despite the fact that only 27 rifles, six pistols, seven RPG launchers and ammunition were found. Only Haaretz+'s military affairs reporter, Gili Cohen, noted that "Nevertheless, they don’t seem to have progressed far toward that goal. Up to the time of their arrest, their efforts were focused mainly on acquiring arms and recruiting additional members, and the numbers of both they managed to obtain are minuscule compared to the thousands of men and thousands of rifles in the PA security services."
That said, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the Hamas plot threatens the unity government. Haaretz has an excellent review of live updates of Monday, August 18, 2014 of the Gaza-Israel crisis.

Quick Hits:
  • Israeli army demolishes homes of West Bank kidnapping suspects - Demolition follows three appeals of the matter to the Israeli High Court of Justice. Two main suspects remain at large. (Haaretz+) 
  • UN: Unless blockade ends, Gaza faces years of misery - Head of UN refugee body, UNRWA, says rehabilitation of Strip to take 15 years without accelerating pace of imports. (Agencies, Ynet
  • Lapid calls for regional conference on Gaza rehabilitation - Conference to be held in Egypt prior to international conference on Sept 22, condition rehabilitation with 'some sort of demilitarization' of Gaza, finance minister tells Ynetnews. (Ynet
  • IDF criminal interrogations not filmed, unbound by state law - 2002 law mandating video recording of civilian serious crime suspects still not extended to the IDF. (Haaretz+)
  • AG: Conduct psychiatric tests of arrested Palestinian minors - 'A minor is a minor, no matter where he lives,' Weinstein tells military advocate general. (Haaretz+) 
  • Arab MKs' trip to Qatar sparks demands for investigation - Knesset Ethics Committee and attorney-general are asked to probe visit by Balad MKs Hanin Zoabi, Jamal Zahalka and Basel Ghattas to Doha. "Fifth-column party has no room in Knesset," says Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. (Israel Hayom)
  • Thousands of West Bank Palestinians denied exit since Gaza conflict - Shin Bet barred 1,463 from crossing into Jordan in July, says Palestinian police. (Haaretz+)
  • Army colonel tells religious troops to stay put for women's performance - Givati commander tells soldiers to stay put while women perform on stage despite his own religious convictions that caused him to cancel performance from Sarit Hadad. (Ynet
  • Jerusalem razes Palestinian home, after fining 200,000 shekels - Municipality says Ghazzawi family lacked permit for home; family says city turned down several requests for one. (Haaretz+) 
  • **Welfare minister seeking solution for rocket-exposed Bedouin towns - Social Affairs Minister Meir Cohen says the state cannot place mobile shelters for all the scattered homes, but it must provide proper protection. Cohen denounces incitement against Arab public: 'Unfortunately, it's not nice to be an Arab in Israel these days.' (Haaretz+ and Ynet)
  • Israel taps McKinsey to help address minorities’ woes - Critics say a consulting firm has no special understanding of the plight of Israeli Arabs. (Haaretz+)
  • IDF backtracks: No such offense as 'fraternizing with minorities’ - Still, former military prosecutors say such allegations have been laid a number of times. (Haaretz+) 
  • Most Israelis are happy despite troubles, poll shows - Some 85.7 percent of Israelis are happy with their lives, Central Bureau of Statistics survey shows. Despite this, only 53 percent are happy with the country's economy, 27 percent often feel stressed, and 40 percent struggle to balance work and family. (Israel Hayom)
  • Press Council rejects complaints against Haaretz's Gideon Levy - Rules 'a democratic society must protect right of every individual to express opinions liable to incense majority.' (Haaretz+) 
  • Netanyahu in Sderot: You've had an empowering personal experience - Prime minister meets with mayor, teenagers of Sderot and asks to hear stories of their experience during Operation Protective Edge. (Ynet)
  • Glasgow junket canceled by purported U.S. exec over gesture to Gaza - Email tells mayor that 600 sales people won't be coming because city hall is flying Palestinian flag. (Haaretz+) 
  • NY Post slams Obama's 'unforgivable' Israel policy - "What kind of ally refuses to send you desperately needed weapons when you're smack in the middle of a war?" says New York Post editorial. U.S. President Barack Obama is "letting personal pique get the better of him," it says. (Israel Hayom
  • Pro-Palestinian rally prevents Israeli ship from docking in Oakland - Zim Integrated Shipping Services vessel, identified as the Pireus, forced to remain at sea. (Haaretz)
  • The Guardian rejects Dershowitz ad on 'human shields' in Gaza - Harvard University professor, whose ad questioned claims that Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, accuses paper of anti-Israel bias. (Haaretz)

'Holding this medal insults my relatives, slain in Gaza by Israel'
91-year-old Henk Zanoli returned his Righteous Among the Nations medal to Israel after six members of his Palestinian family were killed in a bombing in Gaza. (By Amira Hass, Haaretz+)  
Fire in the bush
With thousands of supporters, thousands of people turning to them, and hundreds of activists, the soldiers of Bentzi Gopstein promise to continue to battle against relationships between Jewish women and Arab men. LEHAVA organization.  A look from inside. (By Eyal Levi, Maariv Magazine supplement, cover)
Extremists' hatred poisons Mahmoud and Morel's wedding
Toward the end of the demonstration the mixed wedding was forgotten; what remained was cries of 'Death to the Arabs’ and 'Death to the leftists.’ (By Roy (Chicky) Arad, Haaretz+)

Why did Israelis support the pointless Gaza war? (Aeyal Gross, Haaretz+) It’s hard to write against a war when people are fearful of rocket fire, worried about their relatives both at home and at the front, and mourning the dead. But the question must be asked. 
Obama's real problem with Netanyahu (Nahum Barnea, Yedioth/Ynet) Netanyahu's bureau says the president and the prime minister have ideological differences, but that's not the root of it. Nor is it truly personal. 
Israel can't let the enemy take the initiative (Uri Heitner, Israel Hayom) The strategy of avoidance carries a heavy price, keeping the Israeli public in thrall to a radical jihadist enemy. 
Israel should cooperate with UN Gaza commission (Yehezkel Dror, Haaretz+) We may assume the chairman will be cautious in showing a clear anti-Israel stance. If he is not, he may be credibly condemned thanks to Israel’s cooperation. 
This is how the Shalit deal gave Hamas strategic leverage (Rami Igra, Maariv) The only plan that can work in the Middle East is deterrence, but the Israeli leadership was dragged into a campaign without any desire or willingness to sacrifice, and that is why we all know the next round is just a matter of time. 
Defeat in Gaza, victory in Cairo (Efraim Halevy, Yedioth/Ynet) Israel needs to reach an agreement in Egypt to end the fighting in Gaza, or it runs the risk of transforming its achievements on the battlefield into diplomatic losses.
The unexpected results of Hamas' plans (Yoav Limor, Israel Hayom) Hamas tried instigating a revolt against the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and ended up with Fatah forces in Gaza Strip.
Bibi, the Americanologist (Nehemia Shtrasler, Haaretz+) Netanyahu had better watch his step in his relations with the U.S. 
Unsung heroes of the Gaza war: A (very) partial list (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) This list is my very inadequate way of saying thanks to those who are, even now, helping people for whom the war struck with devastating impact and profound tragedy. 
Divorce the personal from the collective (Ruthie Blum, Israel Hayom) The brouhaha surrounding the wedding reception of a Jaffa couple on Sunday is an example of ideology gone haywire. 
Worrying opposition to mixed marriage in Israel (Haaretz Editorial) The country must avoid becoming a backward, fundamentalist society in which religious and racial purity are maintained by force. 
Ambiguous negotiations (Dan Margalit, Israel Hayom) Near the Gaza border, calm is the greatest enemy of vigilance.
Lapid and Livni, it's time to say: It's either us or Bennett (Uri Savir, Maariv) Precisely at this time, which is critical for making decisions that will strengthen Abbas over Hamas, senior Israeli and Palestinian Authority politicians choose to sit on the fence and not make courageous decisions.
Taking the battle to Schabas' own court (Eytan Gilboa, Yedioth/Ynet) Israel should set up to parallel commissions of inquiry - one into the conflict in Gaza, and one into the UN Human Rights Council.
Jews and the Left: An alliance breaks up (Philip Mendes, Israel Hayom) The Left no longer ‎supports objective Jewish interests. And, crucially, the structural factors that drew many ‎Jews historically to the Left no longer exist.

Former Israeli is organizing Mavi Marmara flotilla 2: "I'm not a traitor"
Dror Feiler, the radical left-wing activist who was also on the first flotilla in 2010, argues that his intentions are actually good: "I want to help you. Israel is a country addicted to war, and my purpose is to wean you off." (Interviewed by Arik Bender in Maariv)

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