News Digest — 10/4/19

Indictments Filed Against Dvir Sorek’s Murderers

Indictments were filed against the murderers of Dvir Sorek in the military court in Judea on Thursday (3rd).

The five members of the terrorist cell who carried out the knifing attack are Qassem Al-Atzafra, Natzir Al-Atzafra, Ahmed Al-Atzafra, Yoseif Zahur and Mahmoud Attuna.

The indictments say that the five formed a terrorist squad associated with Hamas to carry out attacks against Israeli targets.  As part of their activities, the squad members conducted training and observation and equipped themselves with knives.

On August 8, 2019, Qassem Al-Atzafra and Natzir Al-Arzafra were traveling in their vehicles near the settlement of Migdal Oz.  Noticing Dvir Sorek, Natzir left the vehicle, stabbed Dvir several times in his torso, and the two men fled the scene.

The military prosecution sought to extend the arrest of the defendants until the end of the legal proceedings against them.

The indictment also attributes a 2011 stabbing attack to Qassem Al-Atzafra in the city of Beersheba in which two Israeli civilians were hurt.

An indictment was also filed against Qassen Al-Arzafra’s wife, Inis, on September 8 for failing to prevent a felony, providing asylum to terrorists and other offenses.



Where’s The Qatari Money? Hamas Facing Growing Criticism In Gaza

As injuries increase, so does the criticism towards Hamas and its policy of sending young men to riot at the Gaza fence in exchange for small amounts of money or food, while the organization’s heads are taking the Qatari money meant for the people all for themselves.

According to the statistics, of thousands of Palestinians injured during the weekly protests at the border, the casualties are mainly youths who will, in the best-case scenario, limp for the rest of their lives, or worse, lose one of their legs.

An example of such criticism, is a picture making rounds online, where one can see the leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, with his six sons standing healthy in tailored suits, and beneath it, a picture of Gaza youths who have had their legs amputated.

Another example is a ‘rare recording’ of criticism of Hamas by a Gaza father whose wounded son was left on a gurney in the middle of the street following confrontations at the border fence.  The father is heard accusing Hamas of corruption and stealing Qatari money intended for Gaza citizens.

“If it were the son of one of the Hamas leaders, he wouldn’t be thrown out in the street with a bullet in his leg,” the outraged father says.

“I was told I needed to provide his medicine and treatment out of my own pocket.  If he were the son of one of the Hamas higher-ups, the whole world would have given him aid.”  

The furious father blamed his son’s situation on Hamas corruption.

“Let the heads of Hamas come and see my son, only yesterday they received the Qatari money, and what did they do with it?  They split the money among themselves,” the man said.

“Where am I supposed to get medicine from?  They told my boy to get on the bus and protest, and then they threw him out to die.”

Qatar has transferred hundreds of millions of dollars in aid for Palestinians in Gaza.

Additionally, a recent video uploaded to social media shows a father beating his wounded son as he’s getting out of an ambulance, apparently displeased at the fact that he’ll have to fund his son’s treatment alone.

Hamas, which hates any kind of criticism, hosts an occasional ‘appreciation’ evening for those injured – although these events are easy targets for those criticizing Hamas, especially on social media. 

One such post displays a picture from one of the Hamas celebratory meetings, accompanied by a message to Hamas leaders: “Go to the Gaza fence, take a bullet, lose a leg, earn fifty bucks.” 



Report: Iranian Entrenchment In Syria (U.S. Institute Of Peace)

→ Iran’s deployment of its own forces and proxy militias recruited from other countries has been decisive in the Assad regime’s reversal of territorial losses to the Syrian opposition.

→ As a result, Iran now has wide latitude to pursue its own geopolitical agenda on Syrian territory, including the introduction of sophisticated weapons systems that will enable Iran to open a new front against Israel and threaten freedom of navigation in the eastern Mediterranean.

→ The Syria Study Group (US Institute of Peace) believes the US can still influence the outcome of the Syrian war in a manner that protects US interests.

→ The US has meaningful tools of leverage to prevent the re-emergence of ISIS and counter other terrorist groups, stop Iran from turning Syria into a forward operating base, provide relief to displaced and Syria’s hard-pressed neighbors, and advance a political outcome that stops Syrian territory from serving as a net exporter of terrorism and instability.

→ The key near-term goal should be to prevent further entrenchment of Iran and its partners and proxies while raising the cost to Iran for its actions in Syria.

→ To this end, the US should continue its support of Israeli air strikes; enforce sanctions aimed at undermining Iran’s ability to fund its proxies and partners in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq; and maintain the US military presence at the al-Tanf military base.

→ The US should insist that any political settlement require the withdrawal of Iranian forces and proxies from Syria.



Sukkot: Tens Of Thousands Of Gaza-Made Lulav Holders Sent To Israel

Tens of thousands of lulav holders made in the Gaza Strip were transferred through the Kerem Shalom crossing into Israel with help from the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

The holders are made out of palm leaves and are meant to bind together the lulav, a bundle consisting of a palm-frond, myrtle branches and willow branches used in ritual services on the holiday of Sukkot.

“On the Sukkot holiday we hope that a shelter of peace is spread over us,” said Ori Madar, COGAT’s agricultural coordinator.  “This is a great example of steps that we’re taking every day of the year, steps that are good for agriculture and help markets on both sides: the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

The Jewish people are in the midst of their High Holy Days, having just celebrated Rosh Hashanah the Jewish New Year, from Sunday evening (9/29) through Tuesday evening (10/1).  Yom Kippur begins Wednesday evening, (8th) and ends Thursday evening, (9th) at sundown.

Sukkot begins Sunday (13th) at sundown and ends Sunday evening (20th).



Weizmann Institute Researchers Discover New Way To Stop Development Of Bone Cancer

Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have discovered a new method to keep bone cancer from spreading, which has shown promising results in a study on mice.

The researchers have discovered molecular interactions between Ewing sarcomas and proposed a treatment that prevents the cancer from spreading.  Ewing sarcoma is a bone cancer that appears primarily in teenagers. The new possible treatment could prove crucial, as it is hard to treat once it spreads to distant organs.

Working in Prof. Yosef Yarden’s laboratory of the Biological Regulation Department, Dr. Swati Srivastava, together with other colleagues, concluded research focusing on receptors for steroid hormones called glucocorticoids.

The study showed a link between the Ewing sarcoma oncogene and glucocorticoid receptors.  They tested the hypothesis that these receptors boost the growth of Ewing sarcoma. A series of studies supplied evidence that this is indeed the case.

The primary medical significance of these findings is that they open the door for a new treatment for Ewing sarcoma.  When the researchers implanted human Ewing sarcoma cells into mice, the tumors grew slower when the mice were treated with an approved drug that blocks the synthesis of glucocorticoids.

If research in human patients confirms the study’s findings, it may offer new hope to young patients with this malignancy, especially in cases when the sarcoma has metastasized beyond the bone.

The team’s findings were published recently in the Cell Reports science journal.