News Digest — 2/16/21

Israel Derails Turkish-Hamas Money Train Funding Terror In Judea And Samaria

Israel’s combined security services exposed and neutralized a money transferring mechanism between Hamas’ headquarters in Turkey and Hamas terror infrastructure in Judea and Samaria, the Ministry of Defense announced Monday (15th).

Hamas in Turkey was sending merchandise to its operators in Judea and Samaria, who were selling the commodities and using the proceeds to develop terror infrastructure.

Minister of Defense Benny Gantz signed an order for the seizure of goods worth hundreds of thousands of shekels that were transferred by commercial companies under the guise of legal trade.

Following a combined operation by the National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing (NBCTF) at the Ministry of Defense, the Shin Bet security services and Israel’s Customs service, Gantz signed a $121,000 confiscation order of goods which were transferred through commercial companies by Hamas in Turkey to Hamas operatives in PA territories.

The Shin Bet investigation found that the Turkish Tekno Global Makine PLUS IC VE DIS, and the SENSE SANITARY COMPANY from Shechem (Nablus), are jointly-owned by Hamas operatives Abdullah Tuqaha living in Turkey and Ayman Masari from Shechem.

Israel’s security forces seized containers owned by the companies in the port of Ashdod that contained goods, and disrupted the transfer route.

Gantz stated that “we will continue to strike at terrorism, and pursue its organizational infrastructure everywhere – in Israel and around the world” and welcomed the integrated activities of the security forces that prevent “every day transfer of funds and means that are the fuel of terrorist organizations.”

Hamas’ headquarters in Turkey, headed by the organization’s number two leader, Saleh al-Arouri, focuses on military buildup and terrorism.  Its divisions are responsible for procurement, development and recruitment.

Hamas’ efforts to equip itself with rockets and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are also at the center of its activities.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shares a similarity in ideology with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, and after having been expelled from Syria, Hamas’ leaders have taken refuge in Turkey and have been working unimpeded.

Since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007, Turkey has expanded its ties with the terror organization and has had direct talks with its top representatives Khaled Mashal and Ismail Haniyeh.



Israeli Strike Near Syrian Capital Kills 6 Iran-Backed Fighters

Israel fired several missiles early on Monday (15th) targeting areas near the Syrian capital, Damascus,  Syria’s state news agency reported.  An opposition war-monitoring group said the strikes killed six Iranian-backed fighters.

The SANA news agency claimed that Syrian air defenses shot down some of the missiles that were fired from the Golan Heights.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. An opposition war monitor with a network of activists on the ground, said the strikes hit positions of the Syrian army’s fourth Division in the mountains near the highway that links Damascus with the Lebanese capital of Beirut.  It said another strike hit Syrian army positions in Kiswah, just south of Damascus.

The Observatory said that of the six Iran-backed fighters killed, four were killed in one strike and two in the other one.  Weapons depots were also struck in both areas, it added.

Israel has launched hundreds of strikes against Iran-linked military targets in Syria over the years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.

Iranian entrenchment on Israel’s northern border remains a red line, and the Jewish state has repeatedly struck Iran-linked facilities and weapons convoys destined for the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.

Monday’s (15th) strike was the first since February 3, when a Syrian military official said Israel fired surface-to-air missiles at targets in southern Syria, causing material damage.



Terror Fears From New Direction: Israeli-Jordan Border Sees Uptick In Infiltrators

Israel always had border troubles.  But one border that has been thankfully quiet for many years has been its longest, the one it shares with neighboring Jordan.  That may be changing as it becomes an attractive option for illegal migrants crossing into Israel.

Over the past year, the Israeli-Jordan border saw an uptick in illegals seeking work, mainly from Turkey.  According to the IDF, in 2020 it thwarted 64 attempts to cross the Jordan border into Israel, as opposed to 20 in 2019.  In the last month, four more attempts were foiled, the Walla news site reports.

The illegal migrants are helped by guides in Jordan who show them where to cross the border.  Sometimes a vehicle is waiting for them on the other side to take them into the center of Israel where they link up with building contractors looking for laborers, the report says.

The IDF fears that the crossing points could also be used by terrorists.

A civilian security official in the area said that about a year ago a border fence was swept away by floods, leaving tens of kilometers exposed. “We saw an IDF soldier manning an outpost that had been abandoned for a long time, but it is not enough,” the security official said.

IDF officials told Walla that there is close cooperation between the IDF and Jordanian security forces, noting a few weeks ago that the Jordanians foiled a drug smuggling attempt into Israeli territory.

The IDF is also deploying more fencing.  It has laid down 22 kilometers of wire fence and another 50 kilometers will be deployed in the coming months.  There are no plans to build the sort of  high fence found along the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

“Attempts by infiltrating job-seekers on the Jordanian border are a recognized issue handled by the IDF and security forces.  Over time, defense components have been added to the border to provide an optimal and rapid response to intrusion attempts, including additional observation,” the IDF spokesman said.

To deal with migrant smuggling, Israel is also building a giant wall of salt for 20 miles along its border with Jordan, i24News  reports.  “The salt will harden under the sun and become as sharp as knives,” said the news site.



Qatar Confirms Gas Pipeline Projects In Gaza Strip

Qatari envoy to the Gaza Strip, Mohammed al-Emadi, received new details Sunday (14th) about a plan to lay a natural gas pipeline in Gaza.

In an interview with Gaza-based Sawa news agency al-Emadi said that Qatar’s Gaza Reconstruction Committee has recently held several “productive” meetings to advance the matter together with representatives of the Chevron Corporation, as well as officials from the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia.

The committee also held meetings with diplomats from France, the Netherlands, and the Palestinian Authority.

The Qatari envoy shared that there already exists two contracts regarding the pipeline.  The first one is a contract between the Palestinian Authority and a gas company concerning the purchase of natural gas.  The second one is a contract for the installation of the pipelines.

“An agreement has been reached with Europe to allocate $5 million for the assembly of gas pipelines from the border to the power station, while Qatar will install pipes on the Israeli side,” al-Emadi said, also revealing the plan to set up a team of officials from the reconstruction committee and the PA to monitor the implementation of both contracts within the next six months.

According to the envoy, the power plant in the Gaza Strip will save the Palestinian Authority millions of dollars and solve its consumption crisis.  The PA currently pays $11 million for the power line from Israel, in addition to the $2.5 million allocated to the power plant itself.

Qatar buys $7 million in fuel every month for this station.

The envoy predicted that the project would be completed within two and a half years from the time the pipeline work begins.  



Israeli Tech Turns Air Into Water For Native Americans

Israeli technology is set to convert air into clean drinking water for Native American communities in the United States as part of a collaboration between Israeli and American enterprises.

A crowdfunding campaign is underway to supply four Watergen GEN-M water generating machines to Native American communities in need.

The GEN-M atmospheric water generator requires no special infrastructure except for electricity and collects water by cooling collected air at its dew point.  The water then goes through physical, chemical and biological treatment followed by a mineralization process to ensure cleanliness and pleasant taste.

The campaign was launched by Israeli water-from-air tech company Watergen, Native American non-profit Bright Path Strong and Native American-owned distribution company 4D Products & Services.

Each dollar donated will be matched by Watergen and 4D until the goal of $400,000 is reached.  Israel education NGO StandWithUs, meanwhile, will promote the campaign on multiple platforms.

Access to clean drinking water has been a challenge for Native American communities for decades,” says Bright Path Strong Co-Director Chris Taylor.  “This has amplified the effects of the ongoing pandemic in our communities, leaving them amongst the most hard hit and vulnerable.  Thanks to Watergen, StandWithUs and 40 Products and Services, we are not only spotlighting these issues but creating real and practical solutions that will sustain our communities into the future.”

Watergen President Michael Mirilashvili said this product is a critical part of the company’s vision.

“When I took control as head of Watergen, I did so with a clear vision: to guarantee the best quality drinking water to every human being on the planet through the deployment of the company’s revolutionary drinking water from air technology,” he said.