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December 8, 2016 / 8 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Sinai’

Minor Earthquake Near the Kineret

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

A minor earthquake, registering 3.8 on the Richter scale struck northern Israel at 6:35 AM. The epicenter was just 5 kilometers north of the Sea of Galilee and the city of Teveria (Tiberias).

No damage or injuries were reported.

On Tuesday, there was a minor earthquake in the Sinai, and last week there was a minor quake in Lebanon.

Jewish Press News Briefs

UN Report on Failed Gaza, PA Governments: It’s All Israel’s Fault

Monday, September 5th, 2016

If a visitor from outer space were to read the new Report of the “United Nations Conference on Trade and Development assistance to the Palestinian people: Developments in the economy of the Occupied Palestinian Territory” to be issued Tuesday, they would have walked away with an image of a nation of industrious, democratic, peace-loving people named the “Palestinians” who are intentionally and on a daily basis prevented from thriving and achieving the economic success they so richly deserve by a cruel and capricious Israeli occupation that sets out to torpedo every shred of goodness those peaceful folks manage to sustain.

This horrifying image is only enhanced by the fact that this report comes from the principal organ of the UN General Assembly dealing with trade, investment, and development issues. The organization’s goals are to: “maximize the trade, investment and development opportunities of developing countries and assist them in their efforts to integrate into the world economy on an equitable basis.”

With that in mind, here is the opening paragraph of the Executive summary of the UNCTAD report, meaning the gist of whatever else comes below:

“In 2015, Israel withheld Palestinian fiscal revenue for four months, donor aid declined and Israeli settlements continued to expand into the Occupied Palestinian Territory, while poverty and unemployment remained high. The Occupied Palestinian Territory continued to be a captive market for exports from Israel, while occupation neutralized the potential development impact of donor aid. Genuine reconstruction has yet to take off in the Gaza Strip despite $3.5 billion in donor pledges. Gaza’s socioeconomic conditions worsened and the infant mortality rate increased for the first time in 50 years.”

It’s an executive summary, so one cannot argue that so many of these assertions are being lumped together out of context. And yet, for a report that should provide an overview of the economic and social situation in the PA and Gaza to cite the withholding of revenues without mentioning that Israel was forced to freeze those funds after the PA had accumulated half a billion dollars in unpaid electric bills; and for the same executive summary to make the construction of a smattering of Jewish apartment units as a top-level cause for Arab decline — signals the point of view and general inclination of the authors.

You’re welcome to read the entire report if you wish. We went looking for those items that best reflect how the report turns facts and figures on their head to come up with the preconceived conclusion: it’s all the fault of the Israeli occupation, and once Israel is out of the picture you’ll see how those Palestinians will become Switzerland of the Middle East.

UN Blames Israel for Unemployment

Take, for instance, item 5, dealing with Arab unemployment. In 2015, the unemployment rate in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory” was 26%, compared with 12% in 1999.

What happened in 1999? Well, for some unknown reason, there was an Israeli “tightening of restrictions on movement and access of Palestinian labor and goods.”

What a capricious, wicked nation those Israelis must be. Of course, 1999-2000 marked the eruption of the second intifada, which made the current plague of shooting, stabbing, car ramming and stone and firebomb throwing look like a day at the fair. Israeli employers were done with hiring Arabs from the PA and Gaza who would turn on them one morning and slash their throat, thank you very much. Israel imported foreign labor from Asia, and other migrants started cutting through the border illegally in the Sinai, and the Arabs were pushed out of the Israeli labor market. God is in the context.

UN Blames Israel for PA Arabs Wanting to Work for Israelis

Next, the report offers a blatant lie (Item 6): “Lack of employment opportunities in the domestic economy forces thousands of unemployed Palestinians to seek employment in Israel and in settlements in low-skill, low-wage manual activities.”

The reality is that those “lowly” jobs in Israel pay three times what the average job pays inside the PA, and if Israel only issued more work permits, those PA Arabs would have gladly abandoned their lousy jobs in Ramallah and Shechem and flooded Israel’s construction sites.

But the report is unhappy with the fact that as many as 12% of the PA Arabs find decent employment in Israel, because, let’s face it, “this forced dependence on employment in Israel and in settlements magnifies the vulnerability of the Palestinian economy to political shocks, as Israel can at any time bar Palestinian workers, even those with Israeli permits, from entering Israel and settlements.”

On that assertion, there is one surefire way to make sure Israel would never, ever bar those workers and take away their permits: if Arabs from the PA not start shooting, stabbing, car ramming and stone and firebomb throwing. It’s a scientific correlation, proven by 50 years of Israeli presence in Judea, Samaria and Gaza: Arab violence leads to Arab poverty; Arab civility leads to Arab prosperity. It’s such a simple message, one must attend many anti-Semitic incitement sessions at one’s local mosque to be able to ignore it.

Israel’s Response to Arab Terror and Illegal Construction Harms the PA Economy

Here’s Item 9, which does not belong in an economic report, because it covers a negligible issue in terms of costs to the Arab economy, but it’s there to make a political point, and tell another lie: “In April 2016, the Secretary-General of the United Nations advised the Security Council that demolition of Palestinian homes and businesses in the West Bank was continuing at an alarming rate.” How alarming? “By early April, the number of Palestinian structures demolished had exceeded the total of those destroyed in 2015, displacing 840 people.”

Israel demolishes Arab homes in Area C for two reasons: illegal construction, and participation of one of the occupants in a terror attack. In terms of numbers, the vast majority of the structures are destroyed for lack of building permits. Israel is the recognized sovereign in Area C, according to the Oslo accords, and you can’t defy the sovereign power by building whatever and wherever you want. But Israel also demolishes Jewish structures in Area C, for a variety of legally contested issues, a fact that is completely ignored by the report which prefers to repeat the mantra that Israel demolished those Arab homes “while accelerated settlement activity created facts on the ground.”

Now, what was the economic effect of those 840 demolitions on the PA, whose citizens reside in Areas A and B? Probably negligible, but a point scored is a point earned.

In Item 14, UNCTAD supports the World Bank’s assessment of a problem they named “the Palestinian fiscal leakage.” What it means is that while the Arab earnings are meager and sub-standard in the PA, the PA Arabs working in Israel make triple those wages and get to keep a lot more after taxes, some of which Israel transfers to Ramallah. But the World Bank and now the UNCTAD want those PA laborers in Israel to pay higher taxes, which would go to their government. Indeed, Israel has promised to collect and transfer to Ramallah “$128 million to cover some of the losses accumulated over the years by the Authority.” That money, as the Israeli Finance Ministry explained to the Knesset Finance Committee this summer, will be coming out of the wages of PA Arabs working in Israel.

UN Blames Israel for Gaza’s Internal Problems

Now we get to what the report names, “Slow reconstruction in Gaza and disregard for the productive base.”

It has been documented by every major news outlet and at least two recent court cases in Israel that Hamas has completely usurped the $3.5 billion in donations for the digging of new terror tunnels and for rebuilding Hamas leaders’ homes destroyed in the 2014 war. It is also understood by most rational people in the world that as long as the Gaza Strip is governed by a terrorist organization whose major stated aim is to destroy the Jewish State, Israel has no choice but to impose a blockade on the free flow of goods into Gaza, because those goods would inevitably be used to prepare for the next attack on Israel.

Not on planet UNCTAD.

Item 22 states without benefit of context or recognition of regional realities: “Israel’s blockade of Gaza, in its ninth year, continues to exert a heavy toll. The population of Gaza is locked in, denied access to the West Bank and the rest of the world. … The blockade has affected Gaza’s once vibrant export sector.” Ah, those capricious Israelis and their obsession with not getting killed.

UN Report Straight Out Lies

The same item adds a nasty line: “Even people in need of medical treatment are not allowed to travel to obtain essential health care.” The author of this blatant lie should come visit Israeli hospitals in Ashkelon, Ashdod and Beer Sheva, where Gazan patients are a regular feature, including family members of top Hamas officials.

Israel Refuses to Be Annihilated

Item 23 is also about Israel’s refusal to be annihilated: “A prominent element of Israel’s restrictions on Palestinian productive activities is the dual-use list, which prohibits the importation of civilian goods deemed by Israel as potentially having other, harmful uses. The list includes essential factors of production, raw materials, agricultural fertilizers, telecommunications equipment, steel, pipes, spare parts and other capital goods.”

Yes, because Hamas engineers have skillfully turned all those highly useful items into highly murderous weapons.

The same item complains that “recently, more items have been added to the list, and the thickness of wood classified as dual-use has been reduced from 5 to 3 cm, then to 1 cm. This has far-reaching implications for Gaza’s furniture industry, among other harmful effects. Enforcement of the stringent dual-use restrictions obstructs reconstruction efforts, raises production costs and forces Palestinian firms out of business.”

Again, let Hamas officially abandon its murderous designs on Israel, let it sign a document recognizing Israel’s right to exist and watch how the Gaza Strip becomes paradise in a month. The fact is, with the right investments and without the Islamic extremists’ threat, Gaza could become as pretty and as prosperous as Sad Diego. Parts of it already are, even today.

UN Blames Israel for Gaza’s Now Rising Infant Mortality Rate

Item 25 is a tour de force of convoluted logic: “A shocking indicator of the grim situation in Gaza is the rising infant mortality rate, one of the best indicators for the health of a community. Infant mortality has risen for the first time in 50 years. The rate of neonatal mortality has also risen significantly, from 12 per 1,000 live births in 2008 to 20.3 in 2013.”

The sad truth is that Israel was investing in Judea and Samaria and Gaza infrastructure and social services to the point where they exceeded the standards in all other Arab countries. It is safe to say that had Israel continued to run those territories, today they would have been its equal in terms of social services and levels of income.

The relatively low baby mortality cited for Gaza in 2008 did not appear out of thin air — Israel, that hated occupier, pushed it on with heavy investments and years of government effort. The progressive decline in both parts of the Arab-run territories is not the result of “the occupation,” but of the utter failure of local Arab governments to manage modern state systems. We can illustrate this point:

On June 16, 1994, the Israeli Civil Administration in the Territories issued a report comparing the state of the Arab infrastructure in Judea, Samaria and Gaza in 1970 with 1990. According to that report, in 1970 Gaza had 3 community clinics. In 1990 there were 28. Each of the Israeli built Community Clinics in the Gaza Strip offered mother and child health services, family care units, and pharmacies. Several of the centers offered 24-hour a day delivery units and emergency services, and minor x-ray units.

Major renovations and/or additions were made to almost every hospital in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza since 1967. Thus, for example, Rafidiah Hospital in Shechem received a radiology center in 1987 and an out-patient department in 1988. Wattani Hospital in Shechem received an intensive care unit in 1987. Ramallah Hospital received a diagnostic radiology center in 1987 and a neo-natal and premature intensive care unit in 1986. Beit Jala Hospital received a radiology center in 1987. Hebron Hospital received an outpatient and laboratory wing in 1988. The Bethlehem Mental Hospital received a chronic care department for male patients in 1986. The dialysis department at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City was completely renovated in 1989. Khan Yunis Hospital’s surgical suite was refurbished in 1987. The Opthalmic Hospital in Gaza City was renovated and re-equipped in 1989.

And infant mortality in Gaza declined from approximately 85 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1968 to 26.1 in 1990. In Judea and Samaria, infant mortality declined from approximately 35 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1968, to 18.1 in 1991.

For comparison, in 1991 deaths per 1,000 births in Libya stood at 62, Egypt 82, Turkey 54, Iraq 66, Syria 37, Tunisia 38, Jordan 38, Lebanon 50 and Saudi Arabia 69.

Together with the decline in infant mortality, great progress was made by Israel in controlling and eliminating major childhood diseases, due mainly to immunization programs instituted since 1967. Twelve nursing schools, two of which offer BA degree programs were opened between 1971 and 1991. The numbers of both doctors and nurses more than doubled from 1967 to 1991.

Voluntary health insurance plans which were unavailable before 1967 were first offered in Judea and Samaria in 1973, and in Gaza in 1976. In 1978, a new comprehensive plan was introduced; it was automatically applied to Civil Administration workers and to area residents working in Israel and was offered to all other area residents on a voluntary basis.

Israel greatly improved and expanded sewage treatment facilities in the liberated areas. Before 1967, there were no sewage treatment plants in Judea and Samaria. Since 1967, modern installations were built in Jenin (1971), Tulkarem (1972), Ramallah (1979), and Kalkilya (1986). The first stage of the Hebron sewage treatment plant was completed in 1991. In Gaza, sewage was managed through local septic tanks. Since 1967, treatment facilities were improved and/or constructed in Gaza City, Khan Yunis, Jabalya, Rafiah, and the Shati refugee camp. Routine testing of sewage for various enteric bacteria was begun in 1981.

Judea and Samaria were recognized as malaria-free areas in 1971.

UN Report Blames Israel for Palestinian Authority’s Failure in Self-Government 

Item 37 in the UNCTAD report unwittingly makes this point: “Palestinian economic indicators have deteriorated in the last two decades, with serious ramifications for the welfare of the Palestinian people. In 1995-2014, the population grew by 3.6 per cent annually, while real GDP per capita grew by only 1 per cent. In addition, productivity failed to grow and unemployment increased by 9 percentage points to 27%.”

What else happened between 1994 and 2014?

Yes, governing of Judea, Samaria and Gaza was handed over to the local Arab leadership, which proceeded to mess things up while inciting to violence against the only country on earth that actually took the trouble to help them. With numbers like these, and the report heaps them in multicolored tables, the Arab record of self-government is nothing short of abysmal.

Naturally, UN reports that tell the world these failed regimes aren’t to blame, it’s all Israel’s fault, are not helping anyone, least of all the local Arabs who by now are telling survey takers openly they would rather live under Israeli rule or escape to Canada, whichever comes first.

JNi.Media

Egyptian Soldier Shot Dead by Sniper in Rafah

Monday, September 5th, 2016

An Egyptian soldier was killed Sunday afternoon by snipers in an ambush attack near a military base at the entrance to the Egyptian part of the city of Rafah.

When Israel withdrew from the Sinai in 1982, Rafah was split into a Gazan part and an Egyptian part, separated by barbed-wire barriers. The middle of the city was razed to create a large buffer zone.

Egyptian security sources said Sunday the attack killed a soldier named Mustafa Badr Hashim, 19, years of Assiut, from a gunshot wound. His body was flown to the military hospital in El-Arish.

Meanwhile, according to the Hamas government, the Egyptians have kept the Rafah border crossings open all day Sunday and will keep it open Monday, to allow passage from the Gaza Strip into Egypt and on to Saudi Arabia for the Muslim pilgrimage. So far a reported 1,243 have been allowed through, while 51 were rejected. Thousands more are expected to request passage should the Egyptian government decide to keep the crossing open.

David Israel

46 Dead as Egyptian Air Force Strikes ISIS in Northern Sinai

Monday, August 1st, 2016

The Egyptian Air Force attacked a Da’esh terrorist installation in northern Sinai on Sunday, where Egyptian intelligence reported a large number of ISIS operatives were gathered.

Egyptian government forces targeted a weapons plant where security officials said explosives were being manufactured by the terrorist organization.

At least 46 armed men were reportedly killed in the air strike, according to Sky News.

Hana Levi Julian

Report: Israeli Drones Attack Sinai Terrorists with Egypt’s Approval

Monday, July 11th, 2016

A former senior Israel official who spoke on condition of anonymity said that his country has conducted numerous drone attacks on Islamist terrorists in the Sinai in recent years, with Egypt’s blessing, Bloomberg reported Monday.

Terrorist activities in the Sinai have increased sharply since the ouster of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in 2011. The terrorist group Ansar Bayit al-Maqdes, which is active in the Sinia, has pledged allegiance to ISIS a year ago and has been targeting Egyptian security forces in the northern Sinai.

Israel has been claiming for some time that Hamas supports the Sinai ISIS terrorists, and that Gaza hospitals provide medical care for wounded terrorists smuggled into Gaza through underground tunnels.

The IDF has said in the past that it’s “only a matter of time” before Sinai based terrorists strike at Israel, which is why it has become involved in denying them increased capabilities.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has acted with a vengeance against the Gazan’s ability to smuggle goods into the Sinai, destroying and flooding hundreds of tunnels, Bloomberg reported, adding that Israel has responded to El-Sisi with financial gestures and, according to the Israeli military’s deputy chief of staff Major-General Yair Golan, increased intelligence-sharing.

“The level of cooperation is something we’ve never experienced before,” Golan said. “It’s not about love, it’s not about common values. I wouldn’t describe it as the relationship we have with the United States of America, but I think it’s a good starting point.”

David Israel

Netanyahu’s Can Do Minister Plans Gaza’s Offshore Island Harbor

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Yisrael Katz (Likud), who currently wears two ministerial hats: Transportation and Road Safety and Intelligence and Atomic Energy, has probably the most productive minister in Benjamin Netanyahu’s three consecutive cabinets, being responsible for an unprecedented network of new, modern highways crisscrossing Israel and an ever-improving train service — all of which means that if he has made up his mind to carry out a project, it’s probably going to happen, and sooner than you may think. The project in question is the Gaza harbor island, which Katz has recently begun to promote.

Speaking at the 2016 Herzliya Conference last week, Minister Katz described his plan for an island with a port off the Gaza Strip, connected to the mainland with a three-mile bridge, with no residential buildings, and, most important—no place for Hamas to dig terror tunnels. According to Katz, an artificial island to be built on the high seas would also be a spot which was “not promised by God to anyone,” with no ideological ties to any of the warring parties in the region. This island would be built strictly for humane and financial purposes: permit the monitored, daily flow of traffic in and out of Gaza, provide construction jobs for the people of Gaza, and, eventually, who knows, there’s room for many imaginative ventures once you’ve gotten yourself an island.

“We can practically change the current reality,” Katz promised last week. And on Monday he told reporters: “I do not think it is right to lock up two million people without any connection to the world. Israel has no interest in making life harder for the population there. But because of security concerns we can’t build an airport or seaport in Gaza [proper].”

This week, Minister Katz raised the heat under his proposal, announcing that Israel is actively seeking foreign investors to construct a $5 billion artificial island with a seaport, hotels and an airport just off the coast of the Gaza Strip. The island, comprising an area of three square miles (although once you start making islands in the sea, what’s to stop you from making them even bigger), would “ease the blockade it imposed on the Palestinian enclave a decade ago.”

Up until last week’s announcement, there were several alternative harbor proposals being discussed by the Israeli leadership, to help ease the pressure on Gaza’s civilian population without harming Israeli security. One was what seemed like an exotic idea a few months ago, of building an artificial island that would face the Gaza shore, where ships would unload their goods under strict Israeli control. One called for the harbor to be built in El Arish, a sleepy Egyptian town in the north-eastern Sinai, which is under Egyptian rule. There was also an idea to build a Gaza harbor in Cyprus. And, of course, there was the more intuitive idea of building the Gaza harbor in Gaza, but conditioning its operation on long-term ceasefire deals. Naturally, as soon as Hamas starts shooting rockets at Israel, Israel could wipe out their nice harbor.

Katz insists his man-made island proposal is under review by Netanyahu’s security cabinet, and showing “a lot of potential.” The experts are drafting plans on ways to maintaining security on the offshore island and inside the off-shore harbor. One tactic being proposed is closing down the bridge when hostilities flare up on the mainland. But with Hamas investing in training its Navy SEAL commandos, closing down the bridge may not necessarily secure the island.

Minister Katz wants the island to be built with foreign investments, and he would like to see the Saudis and the Chinese, as well as private Israeli investors picking up the tab for his project. Katz said Israel would allow foreign construction workers into its territorial waters for the project.

According to the Washington Post, citing a high level Israeli official, Prime Minister Netanyahu is “exploring the option but has not yet made a determination.”

The Palestinian Authority folks hate the plan, which they called “dubious.” The PLO fears that the man-made island would bring about “the final severing of Gaza” from the PA.

JNi.Media

Police Arrest Women of the Wall Director for Torah Scroll Violation and Catch 22

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Police arrested Lesley Sachs, Executive Director of Women of the Wall, as she was exiting the Western Wall plaza with a Torah scroll Tuesday morning. Sachs was detained for “disturbing the public order,” although, according to the WOW’s own report, the prayer service of about 80 women at the Kotel was “relatively quiet and uneventful” on Rosh Chodesh Sivan. Apparently, Police accused Sachs of smuggling a Torah scroll into the women’s section.

According to the WOW email, the incriminating Torah scroll was lent to WOW executive board chair Anat Hoffman by Peter and Lawrence Michaels from Congregation B’nai Israel in Sacramento, California, in memory of their parents, Ann and Rudy Michaels. Hoffman, who flew from Sacramento to Israel with the Torah scroll in her arms, related that on her journey she ran into her flight’s all-female team of pilots, Captain Wendi Shaffner and First Officer Katrina Mittelstadt, who were moved by the small Torah. The email did not specify what or where they were moved to.

“Though we believe that the Torah was handed down to women and men equally at Mt. Sinai, and though women and men both sacrificed their lives and loved ones for the reunification of Jerusalem, in 2016 Women of the Wall struggle for access to Torah scrolls at the Kotel,” the WOW statement lamented. Of course, these dear women could access as many Torah scrolls as they wished anywhere else, including at the Reform section of the Kotel a few yards away, but over at the Women’s section of the Kotel it was No Torah for you, ladies, which, apparently, defied the equality promised to women at Mt. Sinai. Not the one on Fifth Ave., the one in Sinai.

The email also accused Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the state-appointed administrator of the Kotel, of creating a “Catch 22” for women: “he prohibits entrance with private Torah scrolls and refuses women access to the 100 scrolls he holds at the Kotel for public use in the men’s section.” But that’s not a catch 22, which was described by Joseph Heller in his 1961 novel by the same title via the character Doc Daneeka, an army psychiatrist who invokes “Catch 22” to explain why any pilot requesting mental evaluation for insanity—hoping to be found not sane enough to fly and thereby escape dangerous missions—demonstrates his own sanity in making the request and thus cannot be declared insane.

Rabbi Rabinowitz simply doesn’t want women to read out loud from the Torah at the Kotel because he interprets this as a desecration of halakha. As the WOW email confirms, he has the right to interpret it this way because he is the state appointed official in charge of interpreting Kotel-related issues.

The real question, not asked by WOW, is how come Sachs was picked up at the end of the Rosh Chodesh prayer session in which she openly defied the law, and not while she smuggled it in, or while the women were reading from it?

In a final episode of Heller’s book, the Catch-22 rule is described to Yossarian, the main protagonist, by an old woman recounting an act of violence by soldiers: “Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can’t stop them from doing.”

Wow.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/police-arrest-women-of-the-wall-director-for-torah-scroll-violation-and-catch-22/2016/06/07/

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