News Nosh 10.14.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Sunday March 01, 2014

Note: Wednesday, Erev Sukkot, News Nosh will come out in its short ‘Friday-version.’ Thursday, Sukkot holiday there will be no News Nosh and Friday will be as usual.

Quote of the day:
"You need a lot of courage to appreciate the enemy you face."
--An Israeli officer responding to controversial remarks by IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz that Hamas fighters were brave.**

Front Page News:
Yedioth Ahronoth
  • Bitter dispute (between Transportation Minister and Police Commissioner over whether to appoint new commissioner from outside police ranks)
  • It’s (the commissioner’s) right and obligation (to speak out) // Arieh Amit
  • British Parliament: “Yes” to Palestinian state
  • The Israeli closest to ISIS – Michal Bar-David, 34, was born in Ramat Gan but moved to Turkey in her childhood. Now she reports on the battles between the Kurds and ISIS on the Syrian border as a reporter for Chinese TV
  • “We were so scared of this trip” – Parents of Yuval Tel-Nir, 21, who was killed in rafting accident in Peru
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links only)
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
Aside from the quarrel over the appointment of the next police commissioner, the other top stories in the Hebrew papers today focused on events related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict: The British Parliament voting overwhelmingly in favor of recognizing a Palestinian state, the UN Secretary General sharply criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during their meeting yesterday and the increasing stone-throwing in E. Jerusalem.
In his meeting with Netanyahu in Jerusalem, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon slammed Israel for continued Israeli settlement and for the destruction caused to the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge. “I call on the government of Israel to stop these construction initiatives and cancel the plan to expand construction in E. Jerusalem,” he said. On his part, Netanyahu said that Gaza was not occupied since “Israel left every centimeter” [Note: The Gaza Strip remains occupied by Israel because Israel controls it from land, sea and air. IDF forces enter the Strip regularly for ‘routine’ security visits and shoot at people inside the Strip who enter Israel’s self-declared buffer zone along the inside fence of the Strip. By international law, Israel remains the occupier ad is responsible for the welfare of the Palestinian citizens. Moreover, the Palestinian Territories are a single entity. Netanyahu also urged Ban to stop the unilateral Palestinian moves at the UN for statehood and an end to Israeli occupation. Netanyahu also hinted at criticism of the UN saying that UN employees handed over to Hamas rockets that were found in UN schools. Israeli President Ruvi Rivlin told Ban that without Hamas’ disarmament, Israel’s siege on Gaza won’t end. Ban said Israel acted correctly by easing some of the economic sanctions on Gaza and that “we are expecting additional steps in this direction.” (Maariv)
Today, Ban visits the Gaza Strip and according to Ynet security preparations are underway for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to visit the Strip in the next few weeks. This will be Abbas’ first time since 2006. Ynet writes that “the visit would seem to mark the victory of his Fatah movement over the Islamist Hamas faction which has controlled Gaza since 2007.” [However, it’s likely that the visit is a signal of the increasing trust between the two sides that ensures that such a visit will not be marred by violence. – OH] A Palestinian source told Ynet that Abbas is expected to make a major announcement during the visit. The visit comes after the first visit to the Gaza Strip of the Prime Minister of the Palestinian unity government, Rami Hamdullah.
And while, Netanyahu asked Ban to prevent the Palestinians from advancing their UN initiative for Palestinian statehood and a deadline to the Israeli occupation, the British parliament overwhelmingly passed a non-binding motion recognizing a Palestinian state, much to the chagrin of Israel: 274-12. The vote was the initiative of MP Graham Morris following Operation Protective Edge and the criticism against Israel. Although the vote is non-binding, Yedioth wrote that the decision was a heavy blow for Israel, and it makes Britain the second country after Sweden that recognizes Palestine, even without a diplomatic agreement. Yedioth’s Yaniv Halili wrote that the decision has wide international significance because it could cause a wave of European states to follow in its path, in opposition to the Israeli position of not recognizing Palestine. Halili also reported that Israeli diplomats had been working for weeks to convince British MPs to vote against the motion. Israel was encouraged by the fact that some MPs did not show up for the vote, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, as well as most of the Conservative MPs. Cameron promised that British foreign policy would not be affected. 
Arab-Israeli MK Ahmed Tibi was in London ahead of the vote to lobby for Palestinian statehood. Tibi told British Labour party officials that their support of a Palestinian state was a moral act that would promote the peace process. He slammed the Israeli Labor party's appeal to their British Labour colleagues to not support the motion, calling it “an immoral and embarrassing move” and adding that "This request by Labor places it as a subcontractor for [far-right-wing Foreign] Minister Avigdor Lieberman's foreign ministry.” 

Israel responded to the vote saying it “sends a troubling message to the Palestinian leadership that they can evade the tough choices that both sides have to make." Israel also said that Palestinian statehood can only come from negotiations and that the motion "undermines the chances to reach a real peace." The PLO welcomed the British parliament's symbolic vote. The British ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, said the vote was a sign of a 'concerning' shift in British public opinion.
The recent clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians at the Temple Mount and the continued stone-throwing in E. Jerusalem has gotten more attention in the papers, particularly in Israel Hayom, which revealed that since the beginning of the Jewish New Year in late September, the Israel Police has changed its policies, and now instead of closing the Temple Mount to visitors after Muslim rioting, it simply pushes them back inside Al-Aqsa Mosque and leaves the Temple Mount open. Netanyahu said Palestinian extremists instigated violence through incitement at the Temple Mount, by allegedly saying that Israel is trying to take over the Muslim sites. MK Moshe Feiglin accused Hamas and the Islamic State of seizing the Temple Mount. Haaretz+ reported that the Israeli right-wing was increasingly critical of limited Jewish access to Temple Mount.
And due to three months of stone-throwing in E. Jerusalem that began with the abduction and murder of a Palestinian teen in Shuafat neighborhood on July 1st, the Jerusalem light rail, which saw 40% of its trains put out of commission, has cut back its train service to that part of the city, which also leads to the Israeli settlement neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev.

Quick Hits:
  • Israeli troops seize Hebron home for military post - Salim al-Salayma said that Israeli troops broke into his house Sunday and locked him and his 17 family members on the first floor. (Maan
  • Israel renews detention without charges of 6 Palestinian (Hamas) MPs - Decision to keep six lawmakers in detention without trial or charges comes after they completed between 3-6 months each under similar conditions. Currently, 33 Palestinian MPs and two ministers held in detention, majority arrested in June-July, when Israel arrested en masse any individuals related to Hamas after disappearance of three Israeli teens. (Maan
  • Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike for 24 days - Raed Moussa, 35, was detained in Jenin on Nov. 29, 2013 and sentenced to 6 months of administrative detention (jail without charges). His detention was extended for four months, so he started a hunger strike, until he was promised no more extensions. He restarted his strike in September when Israeli Prison Service sentenced him for another four months. His is now in solitary confinement. (Maan
  • Lapid's Treasury folds on settlement construction oversight in order to pass budget - Row erupts after (pro-settler) Housing Minister discovers clause in budget requiring Finance Ministry approval for all settlement construction; Netanyahu tells Lapid: If you want to leave government, then go. (Yedioth/Ynet
  • Haredi propaganda at Hamas' service - Gaza terror organization distributes posters from anti-IDF campaign inciting against yeshiva students who have joined military service. (Ynet
  • **Chief of Staff: "Hamas made courageous operations" - Speaking to soldiers Benny Gantz said: "A cell that tries to enter (Israel) by sea - those are brave people. To run and put an explosive device on a tank is not something that people who are not brave do." The statement contradicts what senior Israeli officers, specifically Givati Brigade commander Ofer Winter and Paratroopers' Brigade commander Eliezar Toledano said during Operation Protective Edge: That Hamas fighters ran away when Israeli soldiers showed up. Some officers present said "such a remark in public was inappropriate." Others commended Gantz for not fearing to express his opinion. "You need a lot of courage to appreciate the enemy you face," said one.(Yedioth, p. 4)
  • 'Milky Protest' organizers call for mass rally in Tel Aviv - Protest set for Tuesday night meant to promote emigration from Tel Aviv to Berlin, where the cost of living is ostensibly lower. "Up until now no one has spoken to us regarding this protest," Tel Aviv municipality employee says. (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli emigration slowing down, despite fears of ‘Berlin aliyah’ - Despite 'Milky scare,' only a few thousand Israelis living in Berlin. (Haaretz+)
  • Egypt deports 68 Palestinian migrants to Gaza - The Palestinian migrants were found in Alexandria by security forces and had hoped to reach Italy, Egyptian officials said. (Maan
  • Visitor entries to Israel down 20% in September - Despite Gaza conflict, first nine months of 2014 still records 5% increase in tourist entries from same period last year. (Ynet
  • Minister: Tourism in Palestine improving since Gaza war end - Palestinian Tourism Minister Rula Maayeh said that tourist cancellations to the West Bank and (E.) Jerusalem are down from a high of 60% during the Gaza war to only around 30% now, and that the rate is gradually dropping. Christmas would be a good opportunity to encourage tourism in Palestine, she said. (Maan
  • Don’t tell us what to talk about, say students at Open Hillel’s first conference - Activists claim ‘red lines’ within established U.S. Jewish community stifle genuine debate on Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Haaretz+)
  • Algerian medical delegation arrives in Gaza to conduct surgeries - Algerian surgeons arrived Saturday and will stay in Gaza for two weeks to carry out "sensitive" surgeries in different specializations. (Maan
  • Pro-Israel lawmakers call for stricter review of UNRWA funding - Legislators from 21 countries arrive in Israel on Sunday to participate in annual Israel Allies Foundation conference in Jerusalem. President Reuven Rivlin calls for strengthening ties between Israel and Jewish and Christian communities worldwide. (Israel Hayom)
  • Hoop dreams: Susan Rice plays ball with Israelis and Palestinians - Though the peace process is in garbage time, Obama’s top aides take time out from dealing with ISIS to join kids on the White House court. (Haaretz+)
  • Iran's Rouhani: Nuclear deal possible before deadline - Iranian president's remarks on the eve of the Vienna talks on Iran's nuclear program were likely meant to inject fresh optimism into the negotiations, but Rouhani's assessment has not been substantiated with developments on the ground. (Agencies, Israel Hayom)
  • Penelope Cruz named Esquire's sexiest woman alive - just don't ask her about the Mideast - Esquire Magazine calls Spanish actress `impossibly beautiful' and `more than private.' She declines to discuss signing of letter condemning Israel's bombing in Gaza. (Haaretz

Sissi's speech burst Netanyahu and Lieberman's bubble (Haaretz Editorial) The Egyptian leader, who called on Israelis and their leaders to adopt the Arab Peace Initiative, made it clear that the path to Cairo and to Abu Dhabi runs through Ramallah.
The road to Israeli-Palestinian peace is not through Stockholm (Israeli Amb. to UN, Ron Prosor, Yedioth/Ynet) New Swedish government made an irresponsible decision to recognize Palestine, which only helps Mahmoud Abbas in his efforts to bypass negotiations. 
The world is tired of Lieberman's excuses (Shlomo Shamir, Maariv) The political isolation suffered by Israel is the direct responsibility of the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, the latter who is in a position he should not be. You want proof? Ask the representatives of Italy and the UN Secretary-General. 
How cantonization can save Israel (Carlo Strenger and Judd Yadid, Haaretz+) For Tel Aviv residents sick of rabbis telling them whom they can marry and Bedouin tired of having their homes demolished – 
a bold, mutually beneficial solution is at hand.  
What are the implications of U.K. parliament's recognition of Palestine? (Matthew Kalman, Haaretz+) Monday’s vote may well have been an expression of feeling rather than policy, but can the Israeli government afford to ignore the signals coming from Westminster? 
The legal system as the left's political tool (Ben-Dror Yemini, Yedioth/Ynet) In a democracy, different organizations have the right to be part of a demonization campaign against the state. But since when is it the state's duty to assist such bodies? 
The adolescent phase of Islam (David Barzilai, Haaretz+) Just as Judaism and Christianity went through periods characterized by conquest, so, too, it can be argued that Islam is now in its violent 'Crusader' incarnation. 
Hamas is upping its prices for return of IDF soldiers' remains (Alex Fishman, Yedioth/Ynet) Islamist organization insisted on separate negotiations over bodies of Oren Shaul and Hadar Goldin, and is now busy with psychological warfare that worked in Shalit deal.
Urgently needed for Israel: political courage (Uri Sevir, Maariv) In order to break the political deadlock, an upgraded model of the 2002 Saudi peace initiative must be examined. One that will answer (Israel’s) security needs and normalize our relations with the Arab world, but will lead to a settlement freeze. 
Dead end for Hamas (Dr. Reuven Berko, Israel Hayom)
In Gaza, Hamas finds itself trying to walk up a down escalator. 
Guy Rolnik: The pied piper of Hamelin (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) Does Israel have the right to ‘raise the standard of living' when this aspiration rests on the oppression of millions of Palestinians? A response to Guy Rolnik’s ‘call to arms.’ 
Detached in Berlin (Amichai Shikli, Israel Hayom)
Young people who are disconnected from collective Israeli memories have no investment in the future of the Israeli collective.
Iran and Sudan rift could pose a problem for Hamas (Roi Kais, Ynet) Ties between two of Gaza's arms suppliers strained after Khartoum closed Iranian culture centers in Sudan out of concern Tehran was trying to promote its Shi'ite ideology in Sunni Sudan. 
The real U.S. power struggle behind the ‘Jerusalem, Israel’ passport case (Seth Lipsky, Haaretz+) Could a Supreme Court ruling suddenly open the door for Congress - way more pro-Israel than the White House - to play a more assertive role in foreign affairs?
Rebuilding Gaza is rebuilding terrorism (Boaz Bismuth, Israel Hayom) $4 billion for the residents of Gaza? Yes. $4 billion for Hamas terrorists? No. 
Why is Iranian citizens' money buying missiles for Hamas? (Ali from Tehran, Yedioth/Ynet) In open letter to Israelis written during Operation Protective Edge, young Iranian man slams his country's leaders for fanning flames between Israelis and Palestinians and increasing bloodshed.

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