News Digest — 9/27/22

Israeli Officials Warn IDF Soldiers Of Terrorist Ambush In West Bank

Terrorist networks in the West Bank are attempting ‘provocation attacks,’ in which they lure Israeli soldiers into an ambush by getting their attention, Israeli security officials warned on Monday (26th).

This strategy was used last week when shots were fired toward the settlement of Har Bracha, near Nablus, as well as toward a nearby military post.  The shooter managed to escape, but the IDF found at least 60 shell casings during sweeps.

IDF intelligence officials and field observers were asked to be alert and aware of such incidents occurring again.  In addition, Palestinian social media is being heavily monitored to observe and detect individuals who could potentially carry out attacks.

Sources within the Israeli security establishment warned the Palestinian Authority and its security mechanisms that if it does not act to prevent terrorist attacks and violent clashes in the West Bank, the IDF will.

The IDF leadership is seeking to restore calm in the region and avoid any provocative activities that could potentially cause tensions to escalate.

Palestinian terrorist group ‘Lions’ Den’ later claimed responsibility for the shootings in Har Bracha.  Early on Sunday morning, (25th) Israeli forces killed one Palestinian terrorist and wounded several others in an operation conducted in Nablus.

The slain terrorist, Saeed al-Houri, was later confirmed to have been part of the Lions’ Den group.

Mahmoud al-Bana, another Lions’ Den member, was seen during al-Houri’s funeral, held in the West Bank on Sunday (25th).  According to security intel, he was also likely involved in the shooting attacks but managed to escape capture in nearby refugee camps.



Lebanon: US Proposal For Maritime Border-Deal With Israel To Be Sent By End Of Week

An American proposal to resolve a maritime border dispute between Israel and Lebanon is expected to be sent to Lebanese President Michel Aoun in the coming days, his office said Monday (26th)

According to a statement posted to Twitter by the Lebanese presidency, US mediator Amos Hochstein’s written offer of a border demarcation will arrive at Aoun’s desk before the end of the week.

The statement also said the deputy speaker of Lebanon’s parliament, Elias Bou Saab, briefed Aoun on his recent talks with Hochstein in New York.

No details were provided about the expected proposal.

The maritime disputes relate to some 330 square miles of the Mediterranean Sea that includes lucrative offshore gas fields.

The US-brokered talks on rights to the area, the subject of long-running negotiations between Jerusalem and Beirut and repeated threats from the Hezbollah terror group, have appeared to make progress in recent weeks.

On Sunday (25th), Israel’s Channel 13 News said security officials believe a deal will be reached in the next two weeks.

The television reports followed talks Prime Minister Yair Lapid held on preparations to produce gas from the Karish field, amid Hezbollah threats to attack Israel if it begins drilling there before a maritime border deal is reached. 

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said last week that his Iran-backed terror organization’s missiles were “locked on” Karish.

Lebanon claims that the Karish gas field is in disputed territory, while Israel says it lies within its internationally recognized economic waters.

Earlier this month, Lapid’s office vowed Israel would go ahead and extract gas from Karish with or without a deal on the maritime border with Lebanon.  Those comments came hours after Aoun said that indirect talks with Israel to end a maritime border dispute were in their “final stages.” 

A spokesperson for Lapid issued a statement later that day saying: “Israel believes that it is both possible and necessary to reach an agreement on a maritime line between Lebanon and Israel, in a manner that will serve the interests of the citizens of both countries.”



Egyptian Cleric Who Supported Attacks Against Israelis Dies At 96

Muslim cleric Youssef al-Qaradawi, once seen as the highest Sunni authority, died on Saturday (24th) at the age of 96.

He had been living in Qatar following the Egyptian military’s overthrow of a Muslim Brotherhood-led government in Egypt in 2013.  An Egyptian court sentenced him to death in absentia in 2015 alongside other Brotherhood leaders.

Al-Qaradawi had advocated for attacks against Israelis including by suicide missions and called for Jews around the world to be targeted as well.

In 2009, the Shin Bet accused al-Qaradawi of allocating $21 million to a charity funded by the Islamic militant group Hamas to set up militant infrastructure in Jerusalem.  Hamas, which was originally established as a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and now rules the Gaza Strip, denied the allegations.

The cleric also justified the Holocaust and claimed it was God’s punishment to the Jews.

Al-Qaradawi remained a staunch critic of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi, who led the overthrow of the Brotherhood and who rights groups say has established an even more authoritarian government than the one led by Mubarek.

Egypt considers the Brotherhood a terrorist group and has arrested thousands of its members.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) included al-Qaradawi on a list of dozens of organizations and individuals that they sanctioned for alleged terrorism in 2017 as part of a diplomatic dispute with Qatar, which denied the allegations.



Following Death Of Mahsa Amini, Protests Against Iran Erupt Worldwide

The death of Mahsa Amini has made headlines worldwide, prompting many people from all over the world to organize and protest against the Iranian government, bringing attention to the death of Amini while in the custody of Iran’s morality police.

Protests were held across multiple cities since Sunday (25th), including in Athens, Greece; Los Angeles, California, and Ottawa, Canada.

In Athens, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the Iranian embassy, Greek media reported on Sunday (25th).  Two masked men arrived at the embassy on a motorcycle and threw a Molotov cocktail at the building, which exploded.  

Before the incident at the embassy, approximately 200 people gathered at Syntagma Square in central Athens to express their disapproval of the Iranian government’s recent actions and pushback against protests in their country following Amini’s death.

Hundreds of protesters also gathered in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood in Los Angeles, California on Sunday (25th), where they waved Iranian flags and brought signs criticizing the Iranian government, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Protesters chanted, in both English and Farsi, “Freedom for Iran!” and “Say Her Name!”, The report said.  

Protests also occurred in northern California, where crowds were seen marching across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Sunday (25th) also saw protesters burn headscarves in downtown Ottawa in the Ontario province in Canada, CBC reported.

Police estimated at least 1,000 people participated in the protest.

A Sunday rally in Perth, Australia saw women cutting their hair to show solidarity with Iranian women, who are forced to wear a hijab by their government, while condemning the death of Amini, ABC reported. 

Hundreds of Iranians in the city gathered to protest the human rights abuses , the report said.

In Kurdish-controlled northern Syria, hundreds of women protested on Monday (26th) over Amini’s death by cutting their hair and burning headscarves in an echo demonstration of those in Iran.

Protesters held aloft pictures of Amini as they marched through a street in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli.

Meanwhile in Iran, more than 75 people have been killed in the Iranian authorities’ crackdown against unrest sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in morality police custody, a rights group said Monday (26th).

Officials said Monday (26th) that they had arrested more than 1,200 people as the dragnet widened against the nationwide demonstrations over Amini’s death, following her arrest for allegedly breaching the country’s strict rules on hijab headscarves and modest clothing.

Tensions with western powers grew as Germany summoned the Iranian ambassador and Canada and other nations announced sanctions alongside the European Union’s criticism Sunday (25th) of Iran’s “widespread and disproportionate use of force against nonviolent protesters.”

The EU said it would “continue to consider all the options at its disposal… to address the killing of Mahsa Amini and the state’s response to the protests in Iran, a country already under punishing sanctions over its nuclear program.”

Meanwhile, Iranian news agency IRNA blamed protests in Iran as being steered by “foreign and revolutionary agents.”



Israeli Delegation In Puerto Rico Offering Emergency Aid In Wake Of Storm

Instead of attending Rosh Hashanah services in Israel, a delegation of medical and psychological experts from the emergency medical service (EMS) organization United Hatzalah flew to Puerto Rico to help survivors of hurricane Fiona that hit the area.

While there the team, which is comprised of four members of the Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit (PCRU) as well as two emergency medical technicians (EMTS) will be providing psychological and emotional stabilization as well as medical care to residents adversely affected by the hurricane and the resulting floods in various communities in the southern part of the island.  

The specialized PCRU has responded to several major incidents around the world following large-scale as well as more localized disasters.  Some of the unit’s previous missions include responding to the Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting in Pittsburgh, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, last year’s Surfside building collapse in Florida, and most recently the war in Ukraine and the ensuing refugee crisis in the neighboring countries.

The volunteers who flew to Puerto Rico left their families and loved ones knowing that they would miss Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which is one of the holiest days on the Hebrew calendar.

Mission commander and director of international emergency management Gavy Friedson summed up the mission by saying: “We hope not only to treat people on the ground but also to educate others and train them on how to build resiliency in their own communities and connect those we help to other existing services and networks in their own communities as well as other international relief efforts.”

“As a partner of Olam, a network of Jewish and Israeli organizations that work in developing countries, we hope to work closely with our fellow partners as well as community leaders that are already active inside Puerto Rico.  In this way, we hope that our mission will act as a force multiplier and enable people to help others in their own communities for many years to come.”



Storks Seen Making Annual Migration, But Is Israel’s Autumn Still Far Off?

Storks are already in Israel, according to a video published by KKL that shows them migrating.  Storks are known to be a symbol of the change of the seasons, from summer to fall.

Storks migrate from Europe to Africa during the autumn season, and they usually fly through Israel, mostly over the east and northern Negev.  It is considered to be the first bird to migrate and open the bird migration season.  But what is the weather prediction for the coming week?

As October is approaching, many in Israel hope for the end of the summer and a decline in the heat.  However, according to the Israel meteorological Service (ISM), the heat is here to stay for at least another week.

The predicted temperatures for next week are still in the high 70s and 80s Fahrenheit, and it does not seem like summer is ending despite the arrival of the storks.  In Jerusalem, the temperature is expected to be between 86 and 92 F. during the day, and between 68-75 F. during the night.  

This time last year, the temperatures were slightly lower.  According to the ISM, this year’s August was hotter than last year’s and was the fourth hottest summer in history.