The return of Palestinian terror?
Hebrew media review

The return of Palestinian terror?

The Israeli press reacts to the stabbing death of a soldier; the battle over an Iran deal continues; and who’s the mystery singer?

Police investigate the bus where Israeli soldier Eden Atias was stabbed to death on November 13 (photo credit: Avishag Shaar Yashuv/FLASH90)
Police investigate the bus where Israeli soldier Eden Atias was stabbed to death on November 13 (photo credit: Avishag Shaar Yashuv/FLASH90)

Shock and outrage are splashed across the front pages of Israel’s dailies Wednesday as they react to the stabbing death of an Israeli soldier, Eden Atias from Upper Nazareth.

Yedioth Ahronoth starts its coverage with a blow-by-blow account of the attack through the eyes of two men who witnessed it. It profiles a security guard and an IDF officer who acted quickly — but not quickly enough — to subdue the stabber, a 16-year-old from outside Jenin who was in Israel illegally. Second Lieutenant Yitzhak Mimon was outside the bus when he saw the youth attack the solider. He immediately ran onto the bus and pulled his weapon on the stabber, “but he wasn’t out of control; in fact, he just froze in place.”

The paper also carries an article that looks back over the past two months and reminds its readers that eight attacks against Israelis have occurred since mid-September. However, despite the apparent uptick, the IDF denies that there is a new wave of incidents. “This is just a single attack,” an IDF source tells the paper.

Writing about the attack in Haaretz, Amos Harel says the IDF knows it has a problem with lone, spur-of-the-moment attackers. Since they’re not affiliated to any organization, the IDF doesn’t receive any intelligence about the attack, thus making it hard to prevent. Police sources tell Harel that the 16-year-old stabber told investigators that he snuck into Israel to find a job and decided that if he wasn’t successful he’d kill a Jew.

Over in Israel Hayom, the front-page headline editorializes: “Incitement = murder.” In an op-ed, Haim Shine openly places the blame for the attack on the Palestinian Authority for, he says, creating an atmosphere of violence. “A Palestinian boy who knows the will of his leaders doesn’t need to get instructions. The message is clear and sharp as a knife: The only way to force the Israelis to make concessions on Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] is through acts of violence.”

Maariv also waxes political in its coverage, with Elkana Shor penning an odd piece about prisoner releases titled “Rewards without punishment.” Instead of staying in the present, Shor goes 14 years into the future and imagines what the now 30-year-old stabber will be feeling as he is about to be released due to American pressure on Israel. In the story he has changed, no longer an angry teen but rather remorseful and cognizant of the fact that violence didn’t achieve anything for the Palestinian people, and all he wants is a family. In the end of the piece he is excited for his release, while Shor noticeably leaves out any mention of the victim, Atias.

Fighting for sanctions

Not far from the media spotlight is the still-simmering fight over a possible deal on Iran’s nuclear program. “The war over sanctions,” is how Yedioth characterizes recent discussions. The Obama administration reportedly told Congressional leaders, “Don’t add any more sanctions” while negotiations with Iran are ongoing, saying that additional measures could spoil the negotiations.

Meanwhile, back in Israel, the French ambassador to Israel is crediting his foreign minister for standing up to the Iranians. Maariv quotes Patrick Maisonnave as saying that it was only after Paris raised objections to a proposed nuclear deal with Iran that the rest of the world powers fell in line, including the US.

In Israel Hayom, Boaz Bismuth reacts to Thomas Friedman’s column in The New York Times, in which Friedman argues that the US is worried about its interests and not Israel’s. Bismuth goes on to praise the French for worrying about interests other than their own, while quoting Ambassador Maisonnave: “The US secretary of state took France’s objections, and they became American objections and then the position of the six world powers.” In another nod to France, Bismuth cheekily closes his column with a quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson: “Every man has two countries – his own and France.”

Who’s the singer?

There’s a question on Yedioth’s front page that is repeated throughout the other papers as well: Who’s the singer? The paper reports that a famous singer (not named due to Israel’s privacy laws) is being accused of having sex and doing drugs with a 15-year-old girl and perhaps her friend as well. The girl told investigators that there is also a cellphone video of the two, but police sources say they have not seen the footage yet. Yedioth includes a statement from a friend of the singer who states, “This never happened; it’s just a malicious story.”

While police investigate the singer, the Haaretz editorial criticizes law enforcement officials for their plan to use administrative detention for organized crime suspects. The paper calls administrative detention, the holding of suspects without charges, a grave practice that has traditionally only been used in clear danger to the state. But as the practice has been expanded to include asylum seekers and now organized crime, it must stop. “Renunciation of the rule of law is more dangerous than the harm of organized crime,” the paper writes and concludes, “A law expanding administrative detention to the criminal realm would be an unconstitutional violation of the right to freedom.”

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