January 10, 2019

Israel Arrests Palestinian Who Killed 2 IDF Soldiers

On Tuesday (8th), Israeli security forces arrested a Palestinian man suspected of shooting dead two IDF soldiers and wounding another at the Givat Assaf outpost in the West Bank last month.  He is also suspected of involvement in the shooting outside of the Ofra settlement that led to the death of an infant whose mother was wounded in the attack.

As’am Barghouti was arrested in an operation conducted by the Shin Bet domestic security services, Israel Police and IDF forces, following a month-long manhunt for the suspect.  Barghouti’s brother, Saleh, was killed during an IDF operation two days prior to the Givat Assaf shooting, after it emerged that he had been involved in the attack near Ofra junction that left seven people wounded, including a 21-year-old pregnant woman who was seriously hurt.

Last month’s attack claimed the lives of Sergeant Yosef Cohen and Staff Sergeant Yovel Mor Yosef, who had been gunned down by Barghouti, who exited his vehicle and opened fire on soldiers and civilians standing at a bus stop at the Assaf Junction near the post.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated the security forces on the successful operation to detain the suspect.  “Israel will bring to justice all those who harm our citizens,” he said.

The fact that the suspect was captured alive will assist the intelligence services in locating those involved in at least two attacks involving the Barghouti brothers.

(ynetnews.com; jpost.com)


After Rocket Fire, Israel Asks Qatar To Pause Cash Transfer To Hamas

Israel has asked Qatar to delay its monthly disbursement of $15 million to the Gaza Strip, a senior Palestinian official told Israel media on Monday (7th), after a rocket was fired from the coastal enclave at Ashkelon, on Israel’s southern coast, overnight Sunday (6th).

The funds would not be transferred this week and it still wasn’t clear if they would be transferred next week, the Palestinian official said.

“Israel sent a message to Qatar that it would not allow the money transfer to Gaza, because Hamas was not honoring the cease-fire understandings and permitting incendiary balloons and rocket fire,” the official said.

Later on Monday (7th), however, Channel 10 news reported that Qatar and the United Nations envoy to the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov, told Hamas that the money would enter the Gaza Strip within two days.

According to the report, which cited news outlets affiliated with Hamas, the terrorist group was informed that the Qatari money would reach Gaza provided the organization did not escalate the security situation.

Qatar began making the monthly money transfers to Gaza last year as a way of mitigating the ongoing humanitarian crisis the residents of Gaza are enduring.

The first cash infusion was made in November.  At the time, Qatar’s official news agency said the funds would benefit 60,000 public servants hired by Hamas since 2007.



Fatah Official Vows More Extreme Measures To End Hamas’ Rule In Gaza

The Palestinian Authority’s withdrawal of its employees from the Rafah crossing constitutes the first of a number of measures it will take to end Hamas’ control over the Gaza Strip, Azzam al-Ahmad, a top Palestinian Liberation Organization and Fatah official, said late Monday (7th).

On Sunday (6th), PA employees pulled out of the Rafah crossing at the border between Egypt and Gaza, putting its regular operation at risk.

Egyptian authorities have not said if they will allow the sole crossing between Egypt and Gaza to remain open on a regular basis without PA employees present.

“The withdrawal of the workers at the Rafah crossing is the beginning,” Ahmad, who holds the title of Fatah Central Committee member, told Palestine TV, the official PA channel.  “There will be other measures… to annihilate the authority of division and status quo.”

Fatah officials frequently refer to Hamas as the “authority of division and status quo.”

Ahmad said that the additional measures the PA was considering include cutting funding it allocates to Gaza.

“Infrastructure…education, environment, sewage and water – all of them are on the table,” Ahmad said.   

Abbas has said the PA previously sent $110 million to Gaza every month, but recently decreased its funding for the Strip to pressure Hamas to cede control of the territory.  Since April 2017, the PA has only paid part of its employees’ salaries in the coastal enclave.

In recent months, Abbas has suggested the PA will cut all payments to Gaza if Hamas does not hand over control of Gaza to it.  On several occasions, he has said the PA will take no responsibility for Gaza if it does not control everything there.



‘Jew Ghetto’: Vandals Target Jewish Community In Small UK Town

Vandals in a small English town targeted the local Jewish community with a series of spray-painted anti-Semitic slogans.

On Monday (7th), residents of the town of Shenley, in Hertfordshire, England north of London, discovered that the words “Jew Ghetto” encompassing a Star of David had been spray-painted at several locations across the town.

Local authorities say three locations were vandalized with the anti-Semitic graffiti.

Shenley, home to some 4,500 people, is roughly 20% Jewish, according to the London-based Jewish Chronicle.

“As a Shenley resident and the descendant of families pretty much wiped out in the Holocaust, I am sickened by this graffiti which I just drove past,” Michelle Spevick, a member of the local Jewish community wrote on Facebook.

“I doubt the person who did this feels remorse or shame but they badly need some education.  Having happily lived in this lovely, peaceful, warm and open community for nearly 15 years, I am just so sad at this,” said Spevick.

Police said the vandalism is being investigated as “religiously aggravated criminal damage.”

(israelnn.com; thejc.com)


Israeli Students Create New Superfood

With the world’s population expected to rise to a staggering 9.8 billion by 2050, the question arises how to feed everyone nutritious, healthy food.  A surprising solution might be found in a food that was eaten by the Aztecs hundreds of years ago: spirulina.

While nowadays better known in the form of dietary supplement pills and superfood powders, spirulina is in fact a biomass of blue-green algae.  It was a daily food source in the Americas until the 16th century, when it lost popularity as lakes were drained for agriculture and urban development.

Spirulina produces its own food by photosynthesis, and its cultivation requires much less land and water than that needed by cattle or poultry, making it an eco-friendly alternative to feed the world.

It is also nutritious – dried spirulina contains 5% water, 8% fat, 24% carbohydrates and 60% protein – that it’s been suggested as dietary support for long-term space missions.

But how is it incorporated into everyday diets?

A team of graduate students from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology found one very Israeli answer to that – a falafel enriched with spirulina.

For an extra kick, they served it with tahini enriched with astaxanthin, a health-promoting compound found in certain algae and seafood (It’s responsible for salmon’s reddish color and flamingo feathers’ pink hue).

It took the students a year to conceive, develop and produce their “Algalafel.”

The hard work paid off, as the team recently won first prize in a competition held by EIT Food, a European initiative focused on the food sector.

EIT Food supports creative and economically sustainable initiatives that promote health, access to quality food and the environment.