News Digest — 2/5/20

IDF Strikes Hamas Targets In Gaza After 3 Rockets Fired Into Israel

The Israeli military carried out airstrikes in the Gaza Strip in the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday morning (5th) after terrorists based in the coastal enclave fired three rockets at southern Israel.

According to Palestinian media reports, IDF aircraft bombed several targets near Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

“IDF warplanes attacked Hamas terror targets in the southern Gaza Strip.  A site for manufacturing weapons for Hamas’ military wing was attacked, dealing a blow to the terror group’s ability to further arm itself,” the IDF said in a statement.

“The strike was carried out in response to rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel,” the statement said.

Sirens wailed across Israeli communities near the Gaza border shortly after midnight Wednesday (5th), as at least three rockets were fired from Gaza on the country’s south.

“The Color Red alert was triggered in the city of Netivot and in the area near the Gaza border,” the IDF said.  “Three launches were identified by IDF radars as coming from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory.”

“Two people were lightly injured while rushing for bomb shelters,” Army Radio reported.

The military said 13 rockets have been fired into Israel so far this week as concerns of fresh hostilities by terrorist groups in the Strip grow.



Hamas Threatens To Launch Tear Gas Canisters Into Israel

The Hamas terror group is set to intensify balloon attacks on communities bordering Gaza, by starting to attach tear gas canisters to airborne devices sent to Israel.

The organization’s military wing “balloon unit” said that the canisters, which they claim they’ll start launching in the coming days, will be set-off as soon as they land on Israeli territory.

The unit published a video on Monday evening (3rd) showing one of the members lighting the fuse on a canister that releases an enormous amount of smoke in just a matter of seconds.

Hamas has in recent weeks proven its ability to successfully upgrade the incendiary balloon project by adding an electronic mechanism that allows the militants to set off the explosives attached to the airborne devices once they’ve crossed into Israeli territory.

On Sunday (2nd) alone, nine explosive devices with balloons attached to them landed in communities bordering the Hamas-controlled enclave.

Hamas has recently suspended violent protests along the perimeter fence, while simultaneously allowing its members to step up the launching of the airborne devices some of which have reached as far as Jerusalem.

If this project is initiated, this will be the first time a terrorist group has launched tear gas canisters into Israel.



‘Stabbed In The Back!’ Erekat Fumes Over Sudan Talks

Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, blasted the meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sudanese leader, Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan on Monday (3rd),

“The meeting is a stab in the back of the Palestinian people…at a time when the administration of President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are trying to liquidate the Palestinian cause,” Saeb Erekat, said, according to the Palestinian Authority’s official WAFA news agency.

Al-Burhan spoke to Netanyahu in Uganda in a meeting lasting about two hours on Monday (3rd).  The two leaders agreed to work toward normalizing relations between their countries.

In a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu said he “believes that Sudan is headed in a new positive direction and he expressed his views to the Secretary of State of the United States of America.”

“The Chairman of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan, Lieutenant General Abdel Al-Burhan, is eager to help his country modernize by taking it out of isolation and putting it on the world map,” the statement read.

The meeting marks a dramatic change in relations between the two countries.  Sudan had officially been in a state of war with Israel, which it declared in 1948 and 1967. 

The removal of former Sudan leader, Omar al-Bashir, after 30 years, was a blow to the Palestinian Authority, who  counted him as a friend. Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas had planned to work with al-Bashir to block Israel’s efforts to improve relations with African countries.  Omar al-Bashir was overthrown on April 11, 2019 by the Sudanese Armed Forces.



Israel Comes Full Circle With Sudan – Dore Gold

→ On September 1, 1967, just after Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War, an Arab League Summit convened in Khartoum, Sudan, and issued what became known as the Khartoum Declaration, which stated: “No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel.”  Today that declaration has been reversed.

→ People forget that Sudan actually is an Arab state and a member of the Arab League.  It decided that the time had arrived for its new president to meet openly with the prime minister of Israel.  Precisely when the Palestinian Authority was trying to incite the Arab states against the U.S. peace plan, one of the largest Arab countries was thawing its relationship with Israel.

→ In the past, the Sudanese had brought together many of the main Islamist militant organizations and supplied them with training camps, including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Algerian GIA, Hezbollah, and even the PLO.  It was one of the earliest places that hosted the Saudi jihadist Osama bin Laden.

→ Tehran gained access to Port Sudan on the Red Sea for its naval forces.  Frequently they carried shipments of Iranian weapons that were transported northward into Egypt, destined for Sinai and Gaza.  This was one of the key supply routes for Hamas as it built up its capacity to wage war against Israel.

→ Then Sudan changed its pro-Iranian orientation and aligned its foreign policy with Saudi Arabia, severing Hamas’ Sudanese supply line.

→ Sudan was part of the joint front against Israel in many significant ways.  With Sudan exploring new ties with Israel, that front has been split. And the forces that waged war against the West over the last two decades have lost one of their most important bases of operations.

The writer is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and previously served as director general of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he undertook multiple initiatives in Africa on behalf of the prime minister.



Israeli Researchers’ Discovery Of How Shrimp See Could Pave The Way For Optical Innovations

Doctors Ben Palmer and Venkata Jayashurya Yallapragada of Ben Gurion University of the Negev and Doctors Dan Oron, Steve Weiner and Lia Addadi of the Weizmann Institute of Science have figured out how shrimp can see in the murky depths of the ocean.

According to their research, unlike human eyes that work with lenses, a shrimp’s eyes are compounded like those of an insect.  Such an eye contains a series of nanometer-sized mirrors arrayed in a concave formation that functions somewhat like a lens.

The researchers paid special attention to the reflective material that coats the rhabdoms, which are light detectors in the shrimp’s retina.  These rhabdoms, which are highly sensitive to light, are arranged in the retina in seven-pointed star formations.

The rhabdom coating is composed of dozens of unique biocrystals that form a series of “hollow balls” when stacked up against each other.  These “hollow balls” have a property known as “double refraction” that allows the shrimp to see fully even if it is only given the weakest ray of light.

In this way, the faintest blue light that filters through the water allows the shrimp to discern nearby objects in the dim conditions in which they live.  

The scientists hope the findings of this research will inspire the creation of new optical coatings, specialized paints and other innovations.