“Schlaglicht Israel” offers an insight into internal Israeli debates and reflects selected, political events that affect daily life in Israel. It appears every two weeks and summarizes articles that appeared in the Israeli daily press.
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Main topics covered in this Publication:
- Reform of the Public Service Broadcasting
- Exchange of Blows on Golan Heights
- Intel acquires Mobileye
- Selection of Articles
Reform of the Public Service Broadcasting
Early election folly
(…) There are those who postulate that Netanyahu’s readiness to go to the ballot box over a non-issue is motivated by a desire to influence the criminal investigations against him. There is some logic to this claim. (…) But this is no reason to throw the nation into an election. Under Netanyahu’s leadership Israel has successfully navigated a turbulent Middle East. But we face many new challenges. (…) Besides the blow to governance resulting from a premature national election, the direct costs are staggering. (…)This would be a large chunk of the gain to the state coffers from the Mobileye sale. And there is the psychological effect of a culture of shortlived governments. Politicians who know they have only a short time before having to campaign again will be averse to money-saving but unpopular reforms. The present government was elected in a fair, democratic process. It is a remarkably stable, ideologically homogeneous coalition (…). There is no justification for a costly election now.
Editorial, JPO, 19.03.17
The saga involving the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation is just part of the much bigger crisis (…). In the current climate, putting in motion an unnecessary election campaign that lacks any certainty is a high-risk maneuver that would not stop the IPBC from launching at the end of April. By doing so, (…) This crisis was of his own making, (…) and virtually no one wants to hold an early election. (…) This is not just about the IPBC or about Kahlon. It is also about Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett, who a few days ago accused Netanyahu of neglecting the national religious sector. This is also about Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who may be Netanyahu’s most loyal coalition partner, but his threat to close down a national religious yeshiva over a leading rabbi’s controversial statements has put Netanyahu in a cul-de-sac. Netanyahu has unholstered his gun and is willing to go all the way. If he causes everyone to fall into line and lay down their weapons, this will have turned out to be brilliant maneuver.
But this is a high-risk maneuver and there is no guarantee that such an outcome will transpire. (…)
Mati Tuchfeld, IHY, 19.03.17
In his attempt to threaten elections, Netanyahu lost his deterrence
(…) If there is one issue that all the coalition factions agree on today, it’s that there is no reason to dissolve the government and call elections. (…) None of the coalition faction leaders has a reason to seek elections (…). If the Likud goes to early elections, it will get a worse coalition and a smaller number of Knesset seats. (…) Netanyahu is grabbing the opportunity presented by the IPBC crisis for personal reasons, out of a personal interest. Or as a wise and experience man said: Bibi does not see the country before his eyes. All he sees is himself. But if Netanyahu intended on leading Israel to elections because of the police investigations against him, he found himself even more weakened. The investigations will proceed against his will. He won’t be able to prevent it. (…) In his attempt to threaten elections over the IPBC, he lost his power of deterrence. Now, he knows that his coalition members are unwilling to commit political suicide for him. (…) The lesson Netanyahu learned over the past two days is extremely important. He can’t take a personal agenda and expect others to carry it for him. The response from coalition factions and his own party members left no room for doubt: This is the fate of someone who tries to lead people to a place they are not interested in being in.
Sima Kadmon, YED, 20.03.17
Who’s in favor of liquidating the news corporation?
Under Netanyahu’s conditions the regime will decide who runs the new broadcasting corporation and what its budget will be. That’s not a free press – that’s North Korea.(…) the premier had supported the closure of the IBA when the issue was on the agenda in 2014. He decried the waste there, from the excessive salaries to the surplus manpower. (…) And now, a little more than a month before the IBA is to close, he practically broke down in tears (…). Oh, come on. The last thing he’s worried about is the fate of the IBA employees. (…) The only thing that interests him is controlling the broadcasting outlets. (…) Netanyahu already controls a significant portion of the media. (…) He doesn’t want to give up anything. (…) For all the political spats we’ve almost forgotten why the IBA had to be shut down in the first place. It’s a sick organization whose output and quality had been deteriorating for years. It was way overstaffed by people getting excessive wages and all kinds of strange salary increments. (…) The big question is whether replacing the IBA with a new corporation is the right move. First of all, it’s going to cost a lot (…). Second, today there are so many media channels, on television, on the radio and on the internet that compete and offer pluralism and a variety of opinions (…) that it isn’t certain there’s a need for a government or state media outlet. (…) if at the end of this process we get a corporation that’s essentially the IBA in disguise, with an excess of workers (…) and under Netanyahu’s political control, then this media outlet can’t justify its existence either.
Nehemia Shtrasler, HAA, 21.03.17
Netanyahu may want to call elections, but he can’t really do it
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (…) may want to go to elections, for his own reasons, but one can only go to elections with those one is planning to form the next government with. (…) he can’t go to elections when Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon, Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett, Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Lieberman, Shas leader Aryeh Deri and United Torah Judaism leader Yaakov Litzman (…) and 75 percent of the Likud members don’t want it. (…) If Netanyahu goes to elections in the current climate, he could find himself without a coalition the day after the vote. (…) Despite the denials, and even though this scenario seems far-fetched and flimsy—and even imaginary—we must not rule out the possibility of an alternative government being established in the current Knesset without Netanyahu. The overwhelming majority of Knesset members won’t make it easy to go to elections. Such a move could also include lawmakers from the Likud, who are afraid they won’t return to the Knesset for another term after elections. The bottom line is that Netanyahu may want to call elections, but he can’t really do it.
Moran Azulay, YED, 23.03.17
Netanyahu on the road to self-destruction
It happened to Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and other prime ministers: The fourth-term curse (…). The prime minister’s hold on the government is stronger than ever; he has gotten rid of his rivals in the party (…). He doesn’t know any other prime minister. (…) In politics, this point marks the beginning of a self-destruction process. (…) Benjamin Netanyahu has many reasons to be satisfied. (…) the Likud is not just the ruling party—it is the river most competing political forces wish to flow into. (…) the current government is the most solid government Netanyahu has ever had. (…) The most fallacious crisis is Netanyahu’s sudden concern for the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) workers. For years, the IBA was run as a corrupt, inflated and unnecessary institution under Netanyahu’s wings. He was in favor of shutting it down and establishing the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (IPBC) instead. (…) Then he changed his mind, then he changed it again, and then again. (…) The IBA’s influence is small and insignificant, amounting to two hours of morning broadcasts on the radio, and the IPBC’s influence won’t be any bigger. The only rational explanation for his move can be found elsewhere—in the police investigations against him. (…) A decision on new elections will freeze and maybe even dissolve the investigation. (…) If he survives, he will argue that the investigation is unnecessary, as the people have already cleared him from any suspicion. And then he will put together the same coalition he is fed up with today. (…)
Nahum Barnea, YED, 20.03.17
The fig leaf is too small
(…) I oppose public broadcasting. I think it is a waste of money. (…) But if we are fated to spend this money, let us at least use it to right this longtime wrong of leftist hegemony in broadcasting. (…) The public broadcasting corporation is frantically waving around its right-wing fig leaves, but most of them were brought on only after public pressure from the Right. And still, the vast majority of editors, managers and producers in the new corporation are from the old media order. (…) Instead of complaining, open up the media to all. (…) there is no shortage of radio frequencies. If the Right wants to break apart the leftist media monopoly, please feel free to hand out broadcast licenses to anyone who asks, and turn local radio stations into national ones. Ultimately, the Israeli Fox News channel will begin broadcasting and set off the necessary revolution. (…)
Dror Eydar, IHY, 24.03.17
Netanyahu’s election calculations
(…) Around half of the present Likud Knesset members know that they have little chance of being reelected to another Knesset term due to the way in which the Likud selects its candidates for its Knesset list, so they are in no rush to vote themselves out of a job. The same is true for the majority of Netanyahu’s coalition partners. (…) The only coalition partner who has a real interest in elections is Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett, who is still smarting over losing right-wing voters to the Likud in the previous election, but he knows an election over the future of public broadcasting is hardly going to galvanize his core. Bennett needs an ideological issue to campaign on. Which is where Donald Trump might step in to help. (…) the new American president is showing the same opposition to Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territories as his much-maligned predecessor Barack Obama. If Netanyahu fails to deliver on his promise to build a new settlement in the West Bank for the families from the destroyed illegal outpost of Amona due to American pressure, Bennett will have his rallying call. (…) the prime minister might prefer elections in the near future, ostensibly over the esoteric issue of public broadcasting, as opposed to giving Bennett the choice of electoral battlefield.
Jeff Barak, JPO, 26.03.17
No need for this public broadcaster
The agreement reached (…) is in fact utter surrender by Kahlon in the face of Netanyahu’s obsession with the media, because Kahlon (…) is afraid of early elections. Kahlon (…) was crushed under Netanyahu’s thundering gallop to destroy the possibility that Israel would have an independent media body detached from political influence and interference by those acting out of self-interest. (…) the IBA in its current format will continue to control public broadcasting for an unknown period of time, including the news broadcasts of Channel 1 and Reshet Bet radio. Netanyahu was occupied with two issues (…). One was to make sure that the new entity (…) would not broadcast news, and that its heads, Gil Omer and Eldad Koblenz, would have nothing to do with current events. The other was that no matter what, no significant obstacle would be created between the new broadcasting body and the politicians. In other words, Netanyahu demanded that the government, and particularly its head, could continue to influence the content of the broadcasts and the nature of the coverage. In that sense, the agreements Netanyahu reached with Kahlon are a total victory for the prime minister. (…) the prime minister managed to drag the political world into pre-election vertigo once again, all to preserve his control over public broadcasting. Netanyahu’s (…) crude moves only show that there is no justification for funding public political broadcasting to the tune of hundreds of millions of shekels a year. That body (…) has no right to exist (…).
Editorial, HAA, 31.03.17
Netanyahu’s Pyrrhic victory
(…) the public could not care less about public broadcasting that barely anyone watches. All the deal did was switch one group of journalists in the unemployment line with another. (…) Netanyahu and Kahlon (…) emerged so scarred by the affair that it was hardly worthwhile for them. (…) Besides the Public Broadcasting Corporation workers who lost their jobs, the losers include Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who initiated the corporation, and Attorney- General Avichai Mandelblit, who was weakened by giving his stamp of approval to a deal that looked so bad. (…)
Gil Hoffman, JPO, 31.03.17
Exchange of Blows on Golan Heights
The winds of war are blowing on Israel’s borders
(…) The weekend events in the north indicate that Israel is striking (…) to demonstrate its presence in Syria and make it clear, especially to the Russians, that there will be no agreement in Syria without Israel’s input. (…) We are one step closer to a military escalation on the Syrian front. Both sides have climbed up a high tree and are unwilling to budge. Israel can’t climb down that tree because, according to its military policy, every show of weakness will harm its interests and give the Iranians a foothold in the Golan Heights and a pier at the port of Latakia. Such a pier will turn the supply of arms to Hezbollah from a drizzle into a deluge. If the Syrians fail to climb down the tree and continue threatening Israel’s freedom of action against the weapon convoys to Hezbollah, a clash with the Syrian army—not just in the Golan Heights, but also deep within Syria—will be inevitable. (…)
Alex Fishman, YED, 19.03.17
The battle over the next war
The relatively large number of airstrikes in Syria that have recently been attributed to the Israel Air Force and the escalating Syrian response to these attacks are part of what can be described as a battle over the next war. Iran and Hezbollah have initiated this battle in an effort to turn Syrian into another front against Israel if a war breaks out between either of them and the Jewish state. (…) Hezbollah and the Iranians have more or less exhausted the potential in turning Lebanon into their base of operations against the Israeli home front and its northern communities. That is why they need a new front from which they could also launch rockets, missiles and drones towards Central Israel (…). This is what they want to establish in the Golan Heights. (…) the idea is not just to use the front line in the Golan Heights as a base from which attacks and rockets can be launched, but rather turn the all of Syria into a new base of operations for Hezbollah and Iran. (…) Syria has everything Hezbollah needs: Starting with factories in northern Syria where rockets and missiles are being manufactured for the Shi’ite militia, through launch sites scattered all over the country (…) to Assad’s anti-aircraft apparatus. (…) In other words, Iran and Hezbollah want to add another base of operations in which they would not only be protected by Syria’s anti-missile and anti-aircraft apparatus, but also by the Russian presence in the country. The Syrians believe Israel wouldn’t dare attack so close to Russian forces, despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s understandings with Putin not to hurt shared interests in Lebanon. (…) as long as Israel doesn’t try to undermine Assad’s regime (…) Russia will allow the IDF to have freedom of operations. (…) The fact Hezbollah, Iran and Syria’s high trajectory weapons are dispersed across the territory of two countries—Lebanon and Syria—will make it harder for the IDF to deal with this challenge. (…)
Ron Ben-Yishai, YED, 20.03.17
Fighting Iran’s ambitions in Syria, Israel risks angering Russia
(…) Netanyahu and Eisenkot described Israel’s policy goals as unchanged from what they were more than five years ago, shortly after Syria’s civil war began: keeping Israel out of the actual fighting but trying to prevent arms transfers to Hezbollah. The first goal has been achieved in full. As for the second, the numerous reports of Israeli strikes indicate that some of the smuggled arms have been intercepted. (…) Meanwhile, a significant turning point has occurred within Syria itself. The Assad regime’s recapture of Aleppo, combined with achievements on other fronts in recent months, have stabilized the country’s situation and reduced the chances of it collapsing anytime soon (…). These successes (…) have encouraged the regime to change its policy in recent months and start trying to bring down Israeli jets operating in Syria (…). The question Israel’s leadership must ask itself now is whether this change in circumstances requires a change in Israeli policy – or in other words, when is a string of airstrikes that are tactical successes liable to create strategic risk by spurring Syria into a harsher response, or alternatively by persuading Moscow to send a strongly worded cease-and-desist message (…).
Amos Harel, HAA, 22.03.17
A dangerous tailspin
Decision-makers in Israel were preoccupied with one issue this week: whether last week’s (…) Israeli Air Force strike on a Hezbollah-bound weapons convoy will result in an unwanted security escalation opposite Syria and the Shiite terrorist group. The answer, most likely, is “yes.” (…) A chain of events in Syria (…) is threatening to fundamentally change things in the war-torn country (…). The IAF strike may be the last, albeit not the most significant, straw. (…) Israel has been able to pursue its war on terror in Syria to preserve its interests, knowing that the chances of a perilous security escalation were slim: The Syrian regime has been preoccupied with a daily struggle for survival and could not risk a military clash with Israel that could bring it to its knees. (…) Assad is still years away from regaining full control over Syria (…). Still, an organized campaign is currently underway with clear Russian direction (…) to create “Assadstan,” a territorial continuum from Damascus to the Alawite region in Syria’s northwest where Russian military bases and interests are concentrated. (…)the tensions on the northern border do not spell an inevitable Israeli-Syrian conflict, as all regional actors have a clear interest to avoid it: Assad wants to re-establish his rule (…); Iran and Hezbollah currently prefer to expand their regional sphere of influence quietly; and Israel wants peace and quiet as long as its two main interests — preventing advanced weapons from reaching Hezbollah and avoiding war on the Golan Heights — are maintained. (…)
Yoav Limor, IHY, 24.03.17
In light of changes in Syria, Israeli policy must be updated
(…) Until now, Israel has stuck to a policy of defining red lines and acting if these red lines were crossed. (…) Nevertheless, the trends taking shape in Syria right now require an update of the Israeli policy. The most significant variable is the Russian military presence and dominance in Syria, alongside Iran’s support, which helped the Syrian regime recover and rebuild its self-confidence. (…) Israel should clarify its strategic targets again and continuously and thoroughly review the benefit of its moves versus the risk of unwanted escalation. The basic component is establishing and reinforcing the deterrence (…). As for preventing Hezbollah from growing stronger, an updated assessment is needed on whether the strikes disrupt the organization’s power-building process in a way that justifies the risks of escalation: If the damage to Hezbollah’s intensification is minimal, it is possible that the risks of escalation are unjustified; and if it is significant, Israel must keep preventing Hezbollah from arming itself with high-quality weapons. (…) On the deeper strategic level, Israel’s important diplomatic and military objective is to prevent Iran from putting down roots in Syria. (…)
Amos Yadlin, YED, 24.03.17
The real threat to Israel: Hezbollah and Iran – not the Palestinian stalemate
(…) In possession of medium-range ballistic missiles and on the verge of the ability to produce nuclear warheads for these missiles, the Iranian theocracy that has pledged Israel’s destruction constitutes a real threat to Israel. (…) Eisenkot’s job is dealing with imminent threats to Israel, and Hezbollah’s vast rocket and missile arsenal poses such a threat. (…) Israel should never have allowed Hezbollah’s capability to grow to this point, but now that it’s here it’s the greatest challenge facing the IDF and its commander. We must remember that the orders to Hezbollah come from Tehran, and thus the Iranian threat and the Hezbollah threat are in the final analysis intimately connected. (…) It’s almost 50 years since Israel was attacked by Jordan in 1967 and 12 years since the uprooting of Israeli settlers and the Gaza disengagement, and although just before the Six-Day War there was a feeling in Israel that its very existence was in danger, that doesn’t seem to be the case now. (…)
Moshe Arens, HAA, 27.03.17
Intel acquires Mobileye
Did Intel get a bargain?
(…) From a local perspective, this is indeed a major step up for Israel’s auto-tech companies. It is also (…) a merger deal between two companies operating in the global semiconductors market. (…) Worldwide, revenue from the auto chips sector is currently $40 billion a year, and its annual growth rate is around 6%. (…) Current studies estimate that the volume of this market will increase to $50 billion annually within five years. (…) this is one of the most profitable sectors left in the chip industry, whose profits have greatly shrunk in recent years. The main players in the sector – Intel, Qualcomm, Nvida, and others – are therefore now engaged in an Armageddon over every company that can give them a golden key to the closed and hidebound auto industry. The sums being tossed around in this worldwide battle are unimaginable. (…) the asset that Intel is acquiring in the deal is not just Mobileye’s technology; it is also, and perhaps in the main, Mobileye’s signed contracts to supply components to a long list of manufacturers and models in the present and the future. This is a golden key that will probably enable Intel to supply other chips, such as graphics processors, to manufacturers, and to get in on the ground floor of joint projects for developing future vehicles. (…) all the Internet giants are now investing in attempts to obtain or create up-to-date high-resolution digital maps. This means that companies with unlimited resources, such as Google, Alibaba, and Chinese company Baidu, are also potential customers for Mobileye’s mapping product (…), the price of the current deal reflects a premium of only 10% on Mobileye’s peak price. (…) Intel took advantage of a buying opportunity. Maybe it even got a bargain.
Dubi Ben-Gedalyahu, GLO, 16.03.17
Who is an Israeli? One who succeeds
From time to time, we wonder who is an Israeli, who is a Jew, what is a nation. For example, people often say that the State of Israel is one of the leading countries in the number of Nobel Prize laureates. A short examination reveals that Israel is not even among the top 10 countries, neither relative to the population nor in an absolute manner of course. (…) And what about the current national pride: The exit of driverless technology firm Mobileye, which has been sold to Intel for about $15 billion? Although there is a tendency to say that Israel is a high-tech power, that’s not true. Israel is a startup power and an exit power as well. The number of Israeli high-tech companies is very small, and even they are in the short phase between a startup and an exit. Are companies that choose to sell themselves to foreign owners for cash entitled to be called Israeli? (…) In short, at least one clear rule can be concluded: If you’re successful, in any field, we’ll call you an Israeli—even if the most Israeli thing you’ve ever done is eat falafel at a stand in Paris. You don’t have to live here, you don’t need to have an Israeli citizenship, to build and be built, to be born and to die. All you have to do is be successful.
Sima Kadmon, YED, 21.03.17
Israel’s open secret
The sale of Mobileye to Intel for the whopping amount of $15 billion is the latest in a long list of exits by Israeli high-tech companies acquired by large foreign corporations. (…) However, beyond the glamorous success story of Israeli software companies (…) lies a different story that is just as fascinating. (…) It’s a story about the training of the brightest computer and software geniuses, who then went on to found the most successful start-ups our planet has seen. It just so happens that 80% of them served in the Israeli military and contributed to the security of our country before they ventured out into the business world. (…) In a long and cumbersome process, the IDF identifies, summons, examines and chooses the best and brightest young Israelis who are most suitable for these positions. The IDF inducts and trains these young recruits for a long period so that they can serve in elite security units, dealing with such matters as aerospace technology, cyber-warfare, cryptography and more. (…) The Israeli security establishment is able to develop cutting-edge technologies and young Israelis gain once-in-a-lifetime work experience that helps them build their careers. And the country benefits every time a company is acquired by receiving huge amounts in direct and indirect taxes.
Lior Akerman, JPO, 25.03.17
Selection of Articles
Sarna versus Sara und Benjamin Netanyahu – Two tough days for journalism
(…) Yediot Aharonot journalist Igal Sarna faced down an angry Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, in a Tel Aviv courtroom. (…) It’s the claim that Mrs. Netanyahu stopped the prime minister’s heavily protected convoy smack dab in the middle of the busy Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway to throw him out of their limo. (…) Did it happen? (…) I wouldn’t bet that the Netanyahus are exactly lovebirds, but to think that their bodyguards would allow something like this to transpire in the post-Rabin era staggers the imagination. (…) If the journalist really thought the convoy story to be true, the news would have appeared somewhere in the anti-Netanyahu Yediot, if only under a general staff byline. Instead, Sarna seemed to ignore the fact that no matter where a high-profile journalist says or writes something, no matter what the forum, his professional reputation is at stake, as is the reputation of journalism in general. (…)
Lawrence Rifkin, JPO, 23.03.17
The entry law bars too many Zionists
(…) part of my personal pro-Israel, anti-occupation politics includes not buying goods from the settlements — a choice made by many who believe that the settlement movement is endangering Israel’s future and perpetuating an unjust occupation. (…) people like me may soon be banned from any travel to Israel at all. I am leading a pro-Israel trip with the purpose of producing future pro-Israel political world leaders, but if not for my ability to enter on an Israeli passport, Israel might try to keep me out of the country entirely. (…) If Israel is keeping out non-citizens who object to Israeli policy through nonviolent means, what’s next? Deporting much of the Israeli left? This bill isn’t actually about defeating the BDS Movement or countering delegitimization of Israel: it’s about defending settlements while silencing voices like mine. The bill equates being pro-Israel with being pro-settlements, and implies that critics who understand that settlements put Israelis in serious danger are not welcome. (…)
Rikki Baker Keusch, TOI, 21.03.17
When an Israeli minister threatens a newspaper
(…) Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (…) knows that this was not exceptional behavior – far from it. Under his responsibility, the police have long since become a violent and unrestrained force, especially toward weaker groups such as Arabs and those of Ethiopian origin. Erdan’s threats against Haaretz (…) are of course far more polished than the policeman’s threats. But both bore the same stench of bullying. (…) Erdan, who calls Haaretz “fake news” – inspired by his spiritual mentor, U.S. President Donald Trump – is revealed as nothing more than a fake minister. He accuses Haaretz of lies without producing any examples or any shred of evidence. (…) A minister who threatens a newspaper and his critics (…) cannot serve in his position in a democratic state. It is not surprising that he removed the democratic component and defined Israel only as a Jewish state in his Facebook post.
Editorial, HAA, 24.03.17
The enemy just blinked: Why Hamas’s new charter is a big deal
(…) Hamas is replacing its anti-Semitic and violent charter with a comprehensively revised document modifying several of its extreme and rejectionist positions. (…) this is a big deal. The main reason for this is because the internal process required within Hamas to get all its different parts to unite and ratify these changes is simply enormous. (…) Moreover, the actual group of individuals who have initiated and pushed through this enterprise have put their future in the organisation at stake, as well as their lives if it were to fail. To stand up in one of Hamas’s shura councils, surrounded by extremists, and argue that the time has come to depart from the organisation’s original plan as set out by its founding fathers cannot have been easy. (…) The new charter will include (…) a Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders. (…) As opposed to its former calls for the indiscriminate use of violence, Hamas will now state that, while it still considers the use of force to be its legitimate right, its focus will instead be on non-violent and popular resistance activities. (…) Hamas will state that it does not have any organisational ties to other Islamic organisations. (…) By doing so, however, Hamas will be regarded as a traitor by other extreme Islamist groups and risk a new wave of defections from its military ranks. (…) What we are seeing is nothing but a highly skilled political actor struggling to keep pace with changing political realities.(…) Hamas is indeed capable of change (…). For the first time ever, the enemy just blinked.
Björn Brenner, HAA, 22.03.17
An appalling error Israel simply must apologise for
(…) Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Gaza clinician (…) is a man who lost three of his daughters and a niece when an Israeli tank shell struck his home during the final days of Operation Cast Lead in 2009. (…) Dr Abuelaish returned to Israel to seek an apology and compensation from the Israeli government. (…) Israel has few enough friends in Gaza as it is: why not bow to the inevitable, accept the responsibility and tell a grieving father how sorry the state is? (…) Israel was trying to defend the indefensible. (…) Court papers were produced in which it was argued that while there is no denying that the IDF shelled the doctor’s Gaza building, “the presence of other explosives in the building means the deaths and injuries might have been caused by those other explosives”. “Might”? (…) Israel should apologise because Dr Abuelaish was a bit of a media star, but rather because there was a terrible error made, in the heat of war. (…)
Jenni Frazer, TOI, 21.03.17
HAA = Haaretz
YED = YediothAhronoth / Ynetnews
JPO = Jerusalem Post
IHY = Israel HaYom
TOI = Times of Israel
GLO = Globes
Published: April 2017
Dr. Werner Puschra, Head of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Israel
Susanne Knaul, Judith Stelmach