News Digest — 9/2/21

Israel Triples Work Permits For Gazans, Grants Fishing Rights, Despite Ongoing Border Riots

In a gesture of goodwill, Israel has announced a group of humanitarian measures for Gaza, despite nightly riots currently raging on the enclave’s border.

On Wednesday (1st), Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians, formerly known as the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), released details of the measures, which came into effect Wednesday morning (1st).

They include expanding the Gazan fishing zone to 15 nautical miles, the largest it has been since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, and permitting building materials for private construction to pass through the Kerem Shalom crossing, in addition to what is permitted for humanitarian projects.

Both the Kerem Shalom crossing and the fishing zones had been closed during the May war with Hamas, in which some 4,200 rockets were fired by Palestinians into Israel, and they have not been reopened since.

Israel will also issue an additional 5,000 workers’ permits, allowing Gazans to cross into Israel to work – more than tripling the total which currently stands at 2,000.

Also, an additional 1.3 billion gallons of water will be allowed into the Strip, as the existing aquifers are deteriorating.

Jerusalem had attempted to link the measures to the release of the remains of two soldiers killed in the 2014 war and two civilians still being held captive, but apparently backed away from those demands.

“These civil steps were approved by the political echelon and are dependent upon the continued preservation of security stability for an extended period.  An extension of them will be considered in accordance with a situational assessment,” the military liaison said in a statement.”

The move comes amid violent riots on the border between Gaza and Israel.  Hundreds of Palestinians participating in “night confusion units” have lobbed improvised explosives and set tires on fire, rolling them toward Israeli soldiers stationed along the border.

Addressing defense officials on Monday night (8/30), IDF Chief Aviv Kochavi insisted that the border riots would not be tolerated by Israel.

“Calm and security will allow an improvement in civil conditions, but rioting and terror will lead to a strong response or operation,” he said.



Israeli Mother Of Six Helped By Palestinians After Injured In Rock-Throwing Terror Attack

An Israeli mother of six was helped by Palestinians after being wounded in a rock-throwing terror attack while driving by Halhul, near Hebron, in Judea and Samaria.

The woman, who did not want to be identified by name, told Ynet that she had been driving to Kiryat Arba, a Hebron suburb, when a group of men standing in the road suddenly started hurling stones at her vehicle.

Pictures from the scene show that her windshield was shattered.  The woman was struck in the head with a rock, which caused her to swerve into the opposite lane of traffic.

“Suddenly I found myself on the wrong side of the road, in enormous pain and with blood pouring from my head,” she told Ynet.

“Miraculously, there was no oncoming traffic…I could have died…it’s unbelievable.”

After pulling over on the side of the road, the woman tried to call for emergency help, but her cell phone network did not work in the area.

“I was crying and screaming…it was really a difficult moment,” she said.

Three Palestinian men, who were not involved in the attack, came to her aid.

“One told me he was a doctor, and he stopped the bleeding from my head.  The other tried to call rescue services, because he had a Palestinian cell phone provider.”

It took more than 10 minutes for him to reach an Israeli ambulance dispatch, she said.

The woman was eventually taken to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem.

“It’s a miracle I survived today,” she said.  “Stone and rock- throwing attacks kill.”

In a statement, Kiryat Arba council head Eliyahu Leibman called on the Israeli government to improve cell phone networks in the area, adding that the lack of cell phone reception is a threat to security and that the government must swiftly address the issue.



Israel Aerospace Industries Reopens F-16 Wing Production Line

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is resuming its production of wings for F-16 fighter jets for Lockheed Martin.

This production makes use of an assembly line first established in the 1980s, which will make the wings and ship them to the assembly line in Greenville, South Carolina.

The production line is reopening due to widespread demand worldwide for the F-16 jet.

“The many years of cooperation between IAI and Lockheed Martin demonstrate another important milestone,” IAI president and CEO Boaz Levy said in a statement.

“Resuming the production of F-16 wings is a continuation of decades-long cooperation of manufacturing aerostructures for Lockheed Martin customers.  The F-16 assembly line once again joins IAI’s assembly center of excellence for the production of fighter aircraft wings.  The center also produces F-35 wings along with T-38 wings for the American defense establishment.  IAI stands at the forefront of the civilian and military aviation industries in the world, and will continue being the first address for many global companies,” Levy said.



Iran Planning 4th Round Of Talks With Saudi Arabia

Iran plans to hold a fourth round of talks with regional rival Saudi Arabia in Iraq after the new Iranian government sets up, Tehran’s ambassador in Baghdad was quoted on Tuesday (8/31) as saying.

Iran and Saudi Arabia, leading Shiite and Sunni Muslim powers in the Middle East, have been rivals for years, backing allies fighting proxy wars in Yemen, Syria and elsewhere.  They cut diplomatic ties in 2016.

Iran confirmed publicly for the first time in May that it was in talks with Saudi Arabia, saying it would do what it could to resolve issues between them.  Since then, it has elected a new president, hardliner Ebrahim Raisi, who was sworn in on August 5.

The announcement of plans for new talks, carried by the semi-official Iranian news agency ISNA, came days after a regional summit held in Baghdad to help ease tensions among Iraq’s neighbors.

“We have had three rounds of negotiations with the Saudi side, and the fourth round is to be held after the formation of a new Iranian government,” said Iraj Masjedi, Iran’s ambassador to Iraq, according to the Iranian Student News Agency.   

Iran’s parliament last Wednesday (8/25) approved all but one of the nominees for a cabinet of hardliners presented by Raisi.

Separately, Iran’s foreign minister also said he had discussed ways of improving ties during a meeting with Vice-President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates on the sidelines of the Baghdad summit.

Tensions rose in Iran’s relations with the UAE after the US-allied Gulf Arab state agreed last year to normalize ties with Israel.



Report: Taliban Gives US Tanks, Military Equipment To Iran

The Taliban has begun turning over American made military equipment to Iran, according to a report by Iran International

According to the report, images on social media show military equipment which was given to the Afghan army by the US, showing up in Tehran and other parts of Iran.

Photographs also show armored tanks and Humvees being transported towards Tehran.

Two of the images were posted by acting Defense Minister of Afghanistan Bismallah Mohammadi, who called Iran a “bad neighbor” and said that the country’s “bad days are not eternal.”

Last week, Iran offered to resume fuel shipments to Afghanistan to prevent an economic collapse.

The US left behind billions of dollars worth of equipment in Afghanistan when it completed its withdrawal from the country Tuesday morning (8/31)