Peace talks and musical awards grab top headlines on Tuesday after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas shows his cards to the press and a singer gets denied a lifetime achievement prize because of controversial statements about minorities.
The Israeli media responds to an interview Abbas gave The New York Times about the Palestinians’ stance in the US-mediated negotiations with Israel. The papers break down Abbas’s talking points and the remaining points of contention between the two sides. Abbas called for a NATO peacekeeping force in the Jordan Valley to guarantee Israel’s security, but Israel wants IDF troops. Abbas said the IDF can remain for five years after a deal is reached as the fluid truce congeals, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants 10.
The major sticking point appears to be Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state — “This is out of the question,” Abbas told The New York Times, pointing out that Jordan and Egypt weren’t required to do so in their peace agreements with Israel.
“No recognition, no deal,” is Israel Hayom‘s headline, and quotes Netanyahu saying “[Abbas] knows that there won’t be a deal without recognition of the nation-state of the Jewish people.”
“There’s barely a single clause in the parameters [Abbas] presented… which jibes with the Israeli position on the core issues of the conflict,” Maariv writes in its lead, but Yedioth Ahronoth presents an infographic showing that Netanyahu and Abbas agree that a future Palestinian state must be demilitarized and that IDF troops must remain for some time after the deal is inked. “The war: Recognition,” Yedioth has as its headline.
Haaretz, surprisingly, buries a brief summary of the NY Times interview on Page 4 and provides little feedback.
In Maariv, Ariel Kahana calls the peace talks “a conversation of the deaf,” and asks how long this process will continue “as if 20 years haven’t passed since the Oslo Accords.” He calls the demand for the Palestinians to recognize a Jewish right to the land “elementary and necessary.”
“Only if the Palestinians indeed declare aloud that they recognize a Jewish state in the Land of Israel and only if they teach their children to accept it, only then will there be a serious cause to think that they abandoned the dream of destroying Israel from within,” he writes.
Ariel Zilber’s rejection of the Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ACUM) and his call for its dismantling because it denied him a lifetime achievement award catches big headlines in the tabloids. Yedioth echoes one of Zilber’s songs about a pine tree, saying “like a lone pine Zilber stood in the face of a storm, and wasn’t broken.”
“I would return the prize,” Yedioth reports he announced on stage, “but I won’t turn my back on the love and support I received today from the nation.”
“I turned into a punching bag,” for interest groups, Israel Hayom quotes him saying in its headline.
Despite his radical views, Alon Idan writes in Haaretz, Zilber deserves the lifetime achievement award because of his music, not his politics. He says the ACUM award has been taken captive in Israel’s culture war. Singer Achinoam Nini protested Zilber’s prize because of his right-wing views, and in so doing “is imposing filters on music, and on art in general,” Idan writes.
“Essentially, she wants the cultural canon to include only art that meets certain social and political criteria. It’s hard to imagine a more anti-artistic act,” he says.
Ar’el Segal writes in Maariv that the “Israeli left has difficulty shaking the legacy of politruks and the thought police, the shadows of tyranny and the echo of the past of the Soviet Union.”
“Zilber has a resume [full of] ugly, hurtful statements, but he did not get an award for political thought but for his musical work,” he writes. He goes on to pan Nini the “sensitive and conscientious” for (again) censoring another artist because of her political opinions, recalling the singer’s refusal to sing the final stanza of Naomi Shemer’s “Jerusalem of Gold.”
Elsewhere in the news, Haaretz reports that a breakthrough in the compensation negotiations with Turkey over the Mami Marmara affair could take place in the coming days. It quotes a Channel 10 report saying that a senior Turkish delegation will be arriving to meet with Israeli counterparts on Sunday.
Israel Hayom reports that Iran quickly denied reports that it would recognize Israel if Jerusalem and Ramallah signed a peace agreement.
Yedioth reports that five contractors were taken in handcuffs to the Kfar Saba Magistrate’s Court for allegedly bribing the Rishon Lezion planning and construction committee’s legal council. It runs the headline, “Why was it necessary to cuff them?”