News Nosh 11.06.14

APN's daily news review from Israel
Thursday November 6, 2014

Quote of the day:
 "At least during the war there was a siren."
--Jewish resident of Jerusalem waiting in fear at a light rail stop in the capital.**

Front Page News:
Yedioth Ahronoth
Maariv This Week (Hebrew links)
  • Jerusalem Intifada
  • Our Jerusalem? // Kalman Libskind
  • Enclave of the West Bank // Ariel Ronis
  • Obama lost the Senate, too
  • The burden of proof - US Jews are angry at Obama // Shlomo Shamir in NY
  • End of his career // Michael Wilner, Jerusalem Post
  • Rabin family furious: "Netanyahu's speech at the memorial ceremony was political"
  • Prosecutor at the Int'l Criminal Court at The Hague: Israel committed war crimes on the Marmara flotilla
Israel Hayom

News Summary:
Two hit-and-runs, one which killed a Border Police officer and critically wounded three others caused the papers to say for the umpteenth time in the last two months that an Intifada has broken out in Jerusalem. However, the newspapers did not say why. They either did not report at all or did not make any connection to the violence that took place on the Temple Mount that morning nor did they discuss the high tensions as right-wing Israeli politicians and activists who are fighting for the right to pray there continue to visit the sensitive holy site. It was only the reactions of Palestinians to the hit-and-run attack by Ibrahim al-Akri, and the reaction by Jordan, which first called for a UN resolution and then recalled its ambassador that made the connection between the Temple Mount violence and the violence below. Moreover, the newspapers took as fact that the hit-and-run in the West Bank, which injured three Israeli soldiers, was intentional. But a look at the video shows that it could be otherwise. 

Just after noon Wednesday, Ibrahim al-Akri, a 38-year-old married father of five and a resident of the East Jerusalem suburb of Anata, on the city's north-eastern side, slammed his car into a group of Druze Border Police officers in uniform at the Jerusalem light rail station, killing one of them, before driving down the tracks and hitting more people on the way. At one point he got out of his van with a metal rod and in a 'crazed state' began beating the police cars that surrounded him. A group of Border Police officers got out of their vehicle and he ran towards them and one of them shot him dead. 

[This is the third time in three weeks that a Palestinian attacker was shot dead by police and in this case it is quite clear he could have been stopped without being killed. The Israeli media never raises this issue, but the Palestinians have expressed outrage at the 'extra-judicial killings.' The officer who shot al-Akri seemed to try to explain why he shot him dead: "The terrorist opened the door, got out with an iron bar, and started to hit cars and residents. When he saw us he ran toward us, and we shot him to neutralize him. I have no doubt that every fighter would have done the exact same thing."  Ynet reported.  Ynet posted a video under the title, "VIDEO: Police take out J'lem terrorist"

The papers stressed how much Jaddan Assad, the Druze Border Policeman who was initially hit by the car and killed, loved serving in the Border Police.
But towards the end of the articles in both Maariv and Yedioth, the Assad family was quoted politely putting the blame for this situation on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. His uncle, a former Likud MK, Assad Assad, told Yedioth that he called on Netanyahu to prevent MKs from "going wild on the Temple Mount." His cousin, Ihab Assad, told Maariv, "Only the Prime Minister can end this terrible thing. It's time to have peace with the Palestinians. Enough of going with this extremism and with this bloodshed. We hope Jaadan is the last fallen one."

Netanyahu, however, blamed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, saying it was due to his 'incitement.' He held a special cabinet session last night to discuss the violence on the Temple Mount, the hit-and-run attack and Jordan's withdrawal of its ambassador. 

Howevever, the Palestinian parties blamed Israel's actions on the Temple Mount for the attack. Some of the papers wrote that Hamas took responsibility for the attack in the city, but the quotes they used did not reflect that.Hamas said the attack was a 'natural reaction' to the events on the Temple Mount. On Tuesday, Hamas had called for Palestinians to join a "human chain" event in Ramallah at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday in solidarity with Al-Aqsa. It appears this event did not take place in the end. Islamic Jihad said that the "battle of Jerusalem" is open and that Palestinians must not remain silent in the face of raids at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Other Palestinian factions also spoke of this being 'small payback' for Israeli crimes and the only way to defend Al-Aqsa, Maan reported.

Upon reading today's Hebrew newspapers you would not know that yesterday morning, before the hit-and-run attack, was a particularly violent morning on the Temple Mount. Yedioth did not report on the violence, Israel Hayom and Maariv wrote about it, but did not connect it to the attack that took place a few hours later, nor did Haaretz, and the papers gave little detail; Haaretz and Maariv noted that the Palestinians said one person was severely injured. Maan describes a picture of chaos and bloodshed and reported that Israeli forces closed the mosque with chains and steel barriers, locking rioting youth inside, as right-wing Jews prepared to tour the compound. Two people were severely wounded, one in the eye. 

The right-wing Jewish activists came to hold a prayer vigil for shooting victim Yehuda Glick, Ynet reported. Arab MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) and MK Ibrahim Sarsur (Raam-Taal) also arrived at the Temple Mount but were denied entrance.

And while Netanyahu says that there is no change to the status quo, Maan interviewed Al-Aqsa Mosque Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani who described the police changes, for the benefit of the Jews, in the Temple Mount visiting policy. Maan also reported that the union of “Temple Mount Organizations” called on thousands of Jews to come to the mosque on Wednesday for a major rally in the holy place. The rally, according to organizers, will be dedicated to prayer for Yehuda Glick, the right-wing activist who was shot last week outside an event in Jerusalem. 

But no one except Ynet's Hassan Shaalan actually spoke with the family of the hit-and-run attacker. Shaalan quoted al-Akri's wife to what happened that morning at the Temple Mount, and said: "Starting in the morning, he followed what happened in Al-Aqsa and saw the blood, the wounded, the desecration and all that happened. He left home quickly and went to the site of the attack to crown himself among the martyrs and heroes."

**After the attack, the US ambassador to Israel urged 'everyone...not to engage in provocations. In Jerusalem, Israeli Jews waited at light rail stops in fear and the police put up cement blocks at light rail stations.

But meanwhile, Jordan recalled its ambassador accusing Israel of stopping people from worshiping freely and of allowing Jewish extremists to enter. Israel says Jordan's move does not contribute to calming of tensions.

Three Israeli soldiers were wounded in a suspected West Bank hit-and-run attack after 10PM last night. The hit-and-run taking place so soon after two others prompted the security establishment to assume it was an intentional attack. The video shows the soldiers were standing in the middle of the road on a bend at night and two cars who passed the soldiers managed to drive around the soldiers, but the third car drove very fast and hit the soldiers. [The last time a Palestinian man turned himself in immediately to the IDF after unintentionally hitting someone on the same West Bank road - he ended up dead in jail. The Palestinians say Raed al-Jabari, a 35-year-old a Palestinian father of five, was tortured to death. - OH]
Quick Hits:
  • Amnesty International: Israel committed war crimes during this summer's Gaza war - Israel's foreign ministry rejects findings, saying Amnesty 'ignores documented war crimes perpetrated by Hamas.' (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • ICC says won't probe Israeli raid on Gaza-bound flotilla - International prosecutors believe Israeli soldiers may have committed war crimes during the 2010 raid, but these offenses were not of sufficient gravity to fall under the court's jurisdiction. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • French MPs call for vote on recognition of Palestine - Move follows recognition of Palestinian state by Sweden and similar vote in the British parliament. While approval of the motion it is unlikely to change government policy in the short term, it would be of great symbolic significance. (Haaretz)
  • Palestinian injured after being hit by Israeli settler car - Locals said Ibrahim Hamdan was on his way to work when he was hit by an Israeli settler vehicle, driving through the West Bank city of Beit Jala, lightly injuring him. The incident follows a similar one on Oct. 19, when an Israeli settler ran his car into five-year-old Einas Khalil in the West Bank town of Sinjil, fatally wounding her. (Maan)
  • Israeli forces conduct arrest raids in East Jerusalem, Abu Dis (severely injuring two of them) - Addameer rights groupsaid Israeli forces detained 13 Palestinians under the age of 20, some of them minors. Photos show damage to their homes. (Maan+PHOTOS)
  • Israel demolishes building under construction in al-Tur, E. Jerusalem - Israeli forces, escorted by municipality employees and bulldozers, raided the area and demolished a building belonging to Abu Shuaib al-Hadra, claiming it was built without a license. Abed al-Hadra, the son of the owner, said the demolition took place without any official notification. (Maan)
  • Overcrowding leads to shortages of winter clothes (for Palestinians) in Israeli jails - Palestinian prisoners in Megiddo and Gilboa jails are facing shortages in blankets and winter clothes due to overcrowding, a lawyer said Tuesday. (Maan)
  • Israel's Channel 1 to broadcast right-wing satirical show - The show was scheduled for broadcast over a year ago, but postponed by the then management of the Israel Broadcasting Authority, which has since been changed. (Haaretz)
  • Israeli ministers oppose acquisition of more F-35 fighter jets - Ministers split over Air Force spending; some say Israel must not be wholly dependent on fighter jets. (Haaretz+)
  • Bride, 18, jailed for protesting demolition of Negev home - Duaa Sami Abu Sweilem, 18, from Wadi al-Niam in the Negev has been held in an Israeli jail for three weeks for protesting the demolition of her home in the Negev one week before she was due to get married. (Maan)
  • Jewish, pro-Israel candidates score wins in U.S. midterm elections - New York's Lee Zeldin becomes the sole Jewish Republican in Congress, while the two Jewish senators up for reelection both kept their seats. (JTA, Haaretz and Ynet)
  • Israeli FM: Cyprus has right to explore offshore oil, gas - In meeting with Cypriot counterpart, Lieberman says Turkey must respect the Greek part of the island’s energy exploration efforts. (Agencies, Haaretz)
  • Top Iranian general, Hezbollah lead Iraq ground war against ISIS - Powerful Iranian general who heads elite Quds force, aided by Hezbollah, helped Iraqi forces beat Islamic State group in key Iraqi town. (Agencies, Ynet)

Israel must quell this third intifada immediately (Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet) The attacks in Jerusalem, which receive Abbas' blessing, illustrate the need for Israel to separate the two populations in the capital, and give up the pretence of happy cohabitation between Jews and Arabs.
Israel's ties with Jordan put to test in face of Jerusalem crisis (Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz+) The sword is dangling not just over the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty, but over the interlocking relationship between Israel, Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinians.
The hate-hate relationship between Obama and Netanyahu (Ari Shavit, Haaretz+) Because during the next two years Obama will be unable to advance any social legislation, he will make every effort to leave an international legacy.
The day after: Obama will have time for Israel and Iran (Yitzhak Benhorin, Ynet) US president will not try to start a hopeless Israeli-Palestinian process, but after losing Congress and with it chances to pass reforms, he is expected to focus more on foreign relations.
Our Jerusalem? (Kalman Libskind, Maariv) The Prime Minister thinks the capital belongs to us? It is time he began to act accordingly, because in the meantime it does not really look like that on the ground. The solution? Build, enforce, and signal to the police that it should stop being afraid. Rabin also thought (this is the solution) and the responsibility for the situation is also on those who claim they are continuing in his path. 
When it comes to Jerusalem and security, what a difference a year makes (Amos Harel, Haaretz+) The current escalation, with several attacks within two weeks, seems more serious than the one that plagued the West Bank last fall.
Despite gales, JNF stays the course (Russell F. Robinson, Haaretz+) What would Israel look like, and what would life be like without our achievements?
From Rabin to Rivlin: Another autumn of incitement (Marit Danon, Yedioth/Ynet) Yitzhak Rabin's personal secretary says memory of days leading up to prime minister's murder won’t let her keep silent in light of another picture of a public figure wearing a keffiyeh.
Who’s afraid of a woman who defecates on a flag? (Ravit Hecht, Haaretz+) One may find Natali Cohen Vaxberg’s video installation disgusting or insensitive, but that does not make it a matter for law enforcement authorities.
Why does the U.S. shun Cuba, but not Israel? (Carolina Landsmann, Haaretz+) The UN serves as an arena in which the U.S. acts toward Cuba as it acts toward Israel: In opposition to the rest of the world, and against the direction of historic traffic.
The GOP sweep is no victory for Netanyahu (Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, Haaretz+) If they hope to safeguard the security of their country, Israel’s leaders will now be required to demonstrate a sophistication in their relations with the United States that has not been much in evidence of late.
A truly Jewish state would help rebuild Gaza (Bradley Burston, Haaretz+) If Israel is true to its word, if Israel truly has nothing against the residents of Gaza, this is the time to rescind the siege and foster reconstruction. They need our help now. It's starting to rain again.

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