News Digest — 9/7/23

Report: Qatari Envoy Visits Gaza Amid Tensions Along Israeli Border

Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Emadi traveled to the Gaza Strip this week, according to several reports in Palestinian and regional media.

The envoy has played a key role in Gaza over the years.  In March, he urged Israeli officials to work to de-escalate tensions and his trip this time coincided with tensions along the Gaza border.  

Palestinian media reported that al-Emadi arrived in Gaza Thursday morning (7th) while media linked to Hamas said he arrived last night.

Al-Akhbar and a Fatah-linked website wrote that the envoy’s arrival was to calm tensions, hold meetings and check on the progress of projects supervised by the Qatari-backed Gaza Reconstruction Committee. 

In March al-Emadi arrived in the area in the context of Ramadan and the lead-up to Passover.  He again visited Gaza in May  according to Middle East Monitor as head of the Qatari Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, remaining there for several days.

Qatar has also played a key role in working with the United Nations, Palestinian Authority, and Egypt to move funds to Gaza for support of civil servants and others over the years.

Most of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents live in poverty, and the economy is dependent on Foreign Aid.  Qatar has paid hundreds of millions of dollars since 2014 for construction projects.  It currently pays $30 million per month in stipends to families, fuel for electricity, and to help pay public sector wages.

COMMENT: Meanwhile, Hamas rules the coastal enclave with an iron-fist and cares very little about the average everyday citizen, while it stockpiles  armaments, backed by Iran, for use against the State of Israel. 



Two Wounded, One Seriously, In Terror Stabbing Near Jerusalem’s Old City

Two people were wounded, including one seriously, in a terror stabbing on a promenade near Jerusalem’s Old City on Wednesday afternoon (6th), police and medics said.

According to police, the alleged terrorist, a 17-year-old Palestinian from eastern Jerusalem, carried out the attack with a butcher’s cleaver just outside the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City.

The assailant, who attempted to flee the scene after tossing his weapon, was arrested by officers following a brief chase, police said.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service said a 56-year-old Israeli man was seriously hurt after being stabbed in the upper body, and a 17-year-old tourist was slightly hurt after sustaining a superficial stab wound to his abdomen.  A woman was also treated by medics for acute anxiety.

MDA said it took the seriously wounded man to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus in the capital in stable condition.

The attack came after a Palestinian woman tried to stab a police officer in the city on Monday night (4th).  Last Wednesday (8/30), a Palestinian teenager stabbed and moderately hurt an Israeli man at a light rail station in Jerusalem, before being shot dead by police.

Tensions have remained high across the region, amid a string of Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank that have left 27 civilians and three soldiers dead, and several others seriously wounded since the beginning of the year.



IDF Nabs Terrorist Linked With Abbas’ Fatah Faction In Jenin Raid

The IDF arrested a senior operative of the Tanzim terror group – associated with the Palestinian Authority’s Fatah party – in a raid in the Jenin ‘refugee’ camp on Wednesday (6th).

The terrorist Muhammad Naghnaghiya, is suspected of playing a role in several terror attacks in Judea and Samaria in recent months, the IDF said.

Following the raid, an image of the terrorist accompanying the notorious Aqsa Brigades commander Zakaria Zubeidi in the early 2000s was published on Palestinian media sites.  Zubeidi was released by Israel in a 2007 amnesty deal but was detained again a decade later.

While awaiting trial, Zubeidi fled Gilboa Prison exactly two years ago along with five other terrorists serving life sentences.  The group was apprehended weeks later by Israeli forces following a lengthy manhunt.

The raid to apprehend Naghnaghiya comes less than two days after another IDF operation in Jenin in which three Hamas operatives were apprehended.



Israel Completes Sale Of TROPHY Active Protection System To UK

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems said a 20 million pound agreement signed with the UK will see an advanced version of the TROPHY Active Protection System modified to specifications, provided to the British military.

“RAFAEI, in collaboration with the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense successfully completed the 2nd phase of integrating the TROPHY Active Protection System (APS) on the Challenger 3 (CR3).  A series of live fire tests, conducted toward the end of 2022, demonstrated the system’s effectiveness as it intercepted well over 90% of threats targeting the CR3 representative tank fitted with TROPHY APS,” the company said in a statement.

Rafael has already completed sales of the system to the U.S., Germany and Norway, in recent years, and it has been used successfully by the IDF for over a decade.  In testing, the TROPHY succeeded in thwarting incoming fire from various weapons over 7,000 times.

The British military will receive the latest version of the TROPHY after it has been modified, to suit their specifications, and it will be deployed on other armed vehicles as well.

The UK invested some 20 million pounds in the initial stage and is expected to add millions more in the coming years totaling over 100 million pounds.

New versions of the system allow immediate identification of the source of anti-tank fire and an automated launch of projectiles, in response.  The IDF had wanted to deploy it on its patrol vehicles after some of them  had been hit by anti-tank fire in the past, but although Rafael was able to modify the TROPHY to suit 18 types of vehicles, budgetary considerations prevented the acquisition.

The version being sold to the UK is 40% smaller and is lighter than earlier versions.



4 Roman Swords, Nearly 2,000 Years Old Found In Judean Desert

A sensational find in the Judean Desert: a cache of four 1,900-year-old, excellently preserved Roman swords and a shafted weapon were discovered in a crevice in a cave in the Ein Gedi  Nature Reserve.  It appears that the weapons were hidden by the Judean Rebels, after they were seized from the Roman army as booty.

“Finding a single sword is rare–so four?   It’s a dream!  We rubbed our eyes to believe it,” said the researchers.

The rare weapons were exhibited for the first time at a press conference that took place Wednesday morning (6th) with Eli Escusido, the Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, and the researchers.

The weapons were discovered in a small hidden cave located in an area of isolated and inaccessible cliffs north of Ein Gedi, in the Judean Desert nature reserve, under the jurisdiction of the National Parks Authority.  Fifty years ago, a stalactite with a fragmentary ink inscription written in ancient Hebrew script characteristic of the First Temple period was found in this same cave.

The swords were exceptionally well preserved, and three were found with the iron blade inside the wooden scabbards.  Leather straps and wooden and metal finds belonging to the weapons were also found in the crevice.  The swords had well-fashioned handles made of wood or metal, and from their dimensions were identified as Roman spatha swords.  The swords were carefully removed from the crevice in the rock and transferred to the Israel Antiquities Authority climate-controlled laboratories for preservation and conservation.  The initial examination of the assemblage confirmed that these were standard swords employed by the Roman soldiers stationed in Judea in the Roman period.

“The hiding of the swords in deep cracks in the isolated cave north of Ein Gedi, hints that the weapons were taken as booty from Roman soldiers or from the battlefield and purposely hidden by the Judean Rebels to reuse,” said Dr. Eitan Klein, one of the directors of the Judean Desert Survey Project.  “Obviously the rebels did not want to get caught by the Roman authorities carrying these weapons.  We will try to pinpoint the historical event which led to the hiding of this cache in the cave, and seek to determine whether it was at the time of the Bar Kochba Revolt in 132-135 CE.”

At the entrance of the cave,  a Bar Kochba bronze coin from the time of the revolt was found, possibly pointing to the time when the cave served for the concealing of the weapons.



Ambassador Erdan:  ‘Abbas’ Hitler Claims Show True Face Of Palestinian Leadership’

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan responded on Wednesday (6th) to the claims of Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas that Adolf Hitler only killed the Jews “because they dealt in usury and money.”

“This is explained in many Jewish books,” Abbas said.  “They say that Hitler killed them because of their Jewishness.  Not so.  The Nazis fought them because of their social role and not because of their religion.”

Ambassador Erdan  quoted Abbas on X (formerly Twitter) and wrote: “This is the true face of the Palestinian ‘leadership.’  It is no wonder that a few hours ago a young Palestinian terrorist in his teens attacked innocent Israelis with a butcher knife in Jerusalem.”

Yisrael Beytenu chairman MK Avigdor Liberman also criticized Abbas’ speech, calling it “another scandalous and anti-Semitic speech by the wretched Holocaust denier Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas).  Not only is he a staunch supporter of terrorism who constantly files complaints with the Criminal Court in The Hague and accuses IDF soldiers of war crimes, but he also wrote and published an entire doctoral thesis on HoLocaust denial.  Today he proved once again that he is a staunch enemy of the State of Israel.”