News Digest — 6/15/22

Israel Signs Statement Against China’s Treatment Of Uyghurs At UNHRC

Israel joined a 47-country bloc that denounced China’s forced imprisonment of Uyghur Muslims at the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday (14th).

“We continue to be gravely concerned about the human rights situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region,” said Dutch Ambassador Paul Bekkers as he read out the statement during the second day of the 50th session of the UNHRC in Geneva.

It’s the second year in a row that Israel has signed on to such a statement.  Last year, the initiative to highlight China’s human rights abuses was led by Canada, with the support of the United States and many European countries.  This year it was spearheaded by the Netherlands.

At the UNHRC on Tuesday (14th), Bekker said that “numerous extensively researched and credible reports indicate that over a million people have been arbitrarily detained.

Bekker’ statement spoke of the abusive treatment of the Uyghur Muslims but did not mention the word genocide.

Bekker said that aside from the mistreatment of the Uyghurs, the signatories to the statement were also “gravely” concerned about the deterioration of human rights in Hong Kong and Tibet.

He urged China to comply with international law and to ratify the international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  He also called on all countries not to force people at risk to return to China.

The countries that signed the China statement were: Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Eswatini, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Montenegro. Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Palau, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.



Report: Israel Warns Assad His Palaces Could Be Targets Of Next Counter-Iran Strike

Israel has warned Syrian President Bashar Assad that it would include one of his palaces in its counter-Iran target bank if he continues to allow Tehran to transfer “quality weapons” to Syria and Hezbollah, Arab News website Elaph reported Tuesday (14th).

The London-based outlet’s report cited an unnamed senior Israeli source as saying that such a strike could be part of the deep raids the IDF is gearing up for to counter the Iranian presence in Syria.

Elaph’s report came several hours after websites affiliated with the Syrian opposition claimed that a large explosion rocked the city of Bukamal, in the Deir ez-Zor area of eastern Syria, near the border with Iraq, on Monday night (13th).

According to the reports, Unidentified fighter jets targeted Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps positions in Bukamal.  Syrian state media made no mention of the incident.

If the area was indeed bombed, the strike came on the heels of two strikes on Damascus International Airport that took place last week, and which Arab media attributed to Israel.

Israel has made it clear it would not tolerate Iranian military presence on its borders.  The IDF has carried out hundreds of strikes against Iranian assets in Syria – Israel’s neighbor to the north – as part of the government’s declared policy of preventing Iran from entrenching itself militarily in the war-torn country.

Elaph further noted that Russia, which stepped into the Syrian fray in 2015 to save the Assad regime from collapse, had denounced the strike on the airport.

The coordination mechanism set up by Moscow and Jerusalem to avoid any intentional clashes between  their forces, has faltered recently, and Russia is now allowing pro-Iranian forces to move more freely toward southern Syria, contrary to the understanding previously reached by the two countries.



Abbas’ Fatah: Hamas Trying To Take Over West Bank

Hamas members planned to seize control of a Palestinian security installation near Ramallah, Palestinian sources claimed on Tuesday (14th).

The claim coincided with the 15th anniversary of Hamas’ violent takeover of the Gaza Strip, which resulted in the collapse of the Palestinian Authority and its security forces there.

According to the sources, the PA security forces recently discovered a weapons cache and tunnel near the headquarters of a Palestinian security installation in the town of Beitunia, west of Ramallah.

At least 19 Hamas members were arrested in connection with the weapons and the tunnel.

The Hamas men are suspected of planning to infiltrate and seize control of the security installation, which belongs to the PA’s Preventive Security Service, the sources said.  The weapons were discovered following an explosion in a carpentry workshop in town.

During the coup in the Gaza Strip in 2007, Hamas militiamen used a tunnel to detonate explosive devices underneath the headquarters of the Preventive Security Force in the city of Khan Yunis.  Several officers were killed in the massive explosion.

More than 700 Palestinians were killed during the clashes that erupted in the Gaza Strip between Hamas and the Fatah faction ruled by the PA.

“In its crimes against our people in the Gaza Strip, Hamas used heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and bombs, and killed hundreds under brutal torture,” according to a report by the PA’s official news agency Wafa.  “Hamas killed entire families after besieging their homes and raining missiles on them as if they were fighting a people other than their own.  A large number of Fatah members and security officers were martyred, and their headquarters and homes were burned and demolished over their heads and those of their families.”  

In a statement marking the anniversary of the Hamas coup, Fatah warned that the Gaza-based terror group was continuing its efforts to extend its control to the West Bank.  Hamas is “proceeding with its attempts and conspiracies to control the West Bank,” Fatah charged.

Fatah went on to accuse Hamas of preparing to carry out “sabotage attacks” in the West Bank in order to undermine the PA and its security forces.  Referring to the reports concerning the alleged Hamas plot near Ramallah, Fatah said that the discovery of the weapons and tunnel was a clear example of the terror groups’ ongoing efforts to spread chaos and anarchy in the West Bank.  Since the 2007 coup, the West Bank and Gaza Strip have been divided into two separate entities.

Ayman al-Raqab, a senior Fatah official, said that the split was a Palestinian “gift” to Israel.  “The division was the worst event to happen in Palestine,” he said.  “Israel stands to benefit from the consolidation of the division.”

At least seven attempts by Arab countries to end the rivalry between Hamas and Fatah have failed.

Senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmed said that Hamas’ “black coup” remains an obstacle to the “continuation of the Palestinian struggle to end the occupation.  Hamas is not interested in ending this black chapter in the history of our people,” al-Ahmed argued. 



‘No Strings Attached:’ EU Releases Funding To PA Despite Antisemitic Incitement Textbooks

The European Union voted to release millions of dollars in funding to the Palestinian Authority that had been frozen over concerns about PA textbooks that encourage terror and promote incitement and hatred toward Jews, despite the PA reportedly not committing to change or withdraw those texts.

After a vote on Monday night (13th), some $220 million in EU aid will be released, and PA officials hailed the move as a victory, telling Times of Israel that the funding comes “with no strings attached.”

Notably, the release of the funds coincides with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s three-day trip to the region.  She was expected to meet with PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh upon arrival.

Oliver Varhelyi, the EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, said in late 2021 that funding to the PA should only come after the PA pledged to stop using antisemitic and terror-supporting textbooks in its classrooms.

Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy told EU Parliament President Roberta Metsola that the current wave of terror Israel is facing can be directly traced back to Pa educational institutions that promote hatred of Jews.

“It starts with the textbooks in the Palestinian Authority, which erase the existence of the State of Israel; anti-Semitic lies about Jews are spread, and there are explicit calls for violence. It continues with  the money the Palestinian Authority pays terrorists for killing innocent people, all the while it receives donations and large amount of money from the European Union.  Also they disseminate online lies and incitement about the State of Israel harming holy sites,” he said.

Levy said, “These acts and lies fan the flames, spread hatred, create an atmosphere of violence, and eventually bring about a wave of terror.”

“Palestinian textbooks hatred for Jews and incitement to violence will not change as long as the PA gets financial support from the EU and others.  They must be held accountable,” he added.     



Israeli-Based Company Seeks Approval To Ease U.S. Shortage Of Baby Formula

An Israeli-based company hopes to fill the void as the baby-formula shortage in the United States continues, with parents finding store shelves bare, particularly for those seeking specialty formulas.

Three weeks ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. issued emergency guidance enabling the import of infant formulas produced abroad.  Tel Aviv-based MyOr – an Israeli health-tech company – is among companies seeking FDA approval as its Mexican subsidiary, AlphaCare, produces and markets MyOr formulas from a plant in north-central Mexico.

We have 200,000 cans of formula ready to be shipped right now, with a capacity to produce another 250,000 a month,” said MyOr co-founder and chief technology officer Michael Brandwein.  Once it receives FDA approval, he said, the company will be able to ship formula to homes and distributors in a matter of days, as many back-end arrangements have already been made.

Among the formula products AlphaCare makes are specialty ones in very short supply.

“These are for premature babies and for infants dealing with food allergies and sensitivities,” said Brandwein.  “They are produced by fewer companies and in smaller batches.”

He said the company remains hopeful that “approval will come in the next few days.”

Founded in 2018, MyOr provides preventive health-care solutions for infants at-risk with a specific focus on food allergies and nutritional sufficiency.  Company products include a digital platform for predicting food allergies and eczema from birth, as well as a non-invasive hemoglobin test using a smartphone camera.

“MyOr has received numerous requests from distressed retailers in the U.S. eager to supply our products,” said Dr. Ariel Katz, CEO of MyOr and AlphaCare.  “We’re talking about the most basic and humane act of providing newborn babies with nutrition.  MyOr has made supporting the community of parents in the U.S., our No.1 priority.”