Nov 14: What is Bibi’s position on another settlement “freeze”?

Some dailies believe Netanyahu supports the American deal on another settlement “freeze”, while others are skeptical; a witch hunt to silence settlement boycotters, that would make McCarthy proud; and creative suggestions in East Jerusalem

The Headlines: The American Deal and its Prospects

> The US has proposed a deal to Netanyahu, that requires Israel to “freeze” settlement construction (excluding Jerusalem) for three months, including a halt to building that began since the end of the previous freeze, six weeks ago (in those six weeks settlers have managed to begin construction of more housing units than in all of 2009, when no freeze was in place). This three-month period is supposed to allow negotiations with the Palestinians on borders to proceed to the point where it is clear which territory will remain in Israeli hands, and therefore construction can go on; and which areas will be part of the future Palestinian state, making construction there pointless. In exchange, the Americans have promised Netanyahu not to ask for another “freeze” extension, to provide Israel with advanced fighter planes, to shield it from moves against it in the UN on the Palestinian issue or on the nuclear issue, and to increase pressure on the Iranian nuclear program.

> Now Netanyahu and his coalition partners must decide. Ma’ariv claims that Netanyahu supports the deal, and is now trying to convince key ministers. Yisrael Hayom seems to endorse the same view. Yedioth argues that Netanyahu want to continue bargaining, and estimates that he is just trying to buy time, despite having sufficient political support. Ha’aretz is somewhere in the middle, adopting a skeptical tone when discussing Netanyahu’s intentions.

> The government will debate today whether to allow the immigration of a group of Ethiopians from Jewish descent.

> There is a surge in the killing of women by their spouses.

The Sidelines: McCarthy’s Worthy Successors

> Several mayors decided to conduct a counter-boycott, refusing to hire performers who have announced they will not perform in Ariel, a settlement built on dispossession and discrimination against Palestinians. A bank is now being pressured to fire a presenter in their commercials, because the actor – who opposes the boycott – nonetheless argued that those artists that support it should not be sanctioned by government authorities (Ma’ariv). A senior Culture Ministry official resigned in protest over this policy (Yedioth). McCarthy would be proud…

> The municipality of Ariel claims it is part and parcel of Israel, when artists want to boycott it. But when the taxman cometh

> Ma’ariv keeps banging on the drum, demanding that Israel act to secure the release of American spy Jonathan Pollard, who has spent the last 25 years in federal prison after being convicted of selling classified information to Israel.

> Ma’ariv also enlists for another cause: opposing the prosecution’s decision to appeal the partial acquittal of former minister Tsahy Hanegby (Kadima), accused of making corrupt political appointments. This is an issue that seems to unite Israel’s newspapers, which are campaigning for this influential power broker as if he is a character out of “Les Miserbales”, hounded by the authorities for stealing a loaf of bread.

> The ugly fight over the next Chief of Police, involving allegations of sexual harassment, continues [Heb].

The Bottom Lines: Different Shades of Democracy

> Activists protesting the eviction of Palestinians from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarakh, have come up [Heb] with a new proposal to solve the problem. They suggest the government should expropriate the homes, now formally owned by Jewish settlers, in the interest of public order, and prevent the evictions.

> Netanyahu has decided to support a bill that would require a referendum on concession of territory in East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights (conquered from Syria in 1967), both of which were annexed by Israel (Yedioth).

> A Likud MK endorses [Heb] the idea of transferring Arab Israeli areas to a future Palestinian state, in order to boost the Jewish majority.