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Israel Update 1.8.19



From journalist Ian Williams: In June, a file landed on my desk, a devastating expose of the top management of UNRWA.The confidential report, compiled by the ethics office of the agency, cited “credible and corroborated reports” that members of the “inner circle” at the top of UNRWA have engaged in “abuses of authority for personal gain, to suppress legitimate dissent and to otherwise achieve their personal objectives.”They “have engaged in sexual misconduct, nepotism, retaliation… and other abuses of authority.”In the face of questioning from myself and Al Jazeera to whom I took the story, three people named in the report have resigned.        Read more here


The report paints a picture of a small number of mostly foreign senior leaders centralizing power and influence while disregarding UN checks and balances. UNRWA’s top official, Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl, is alleged to have been romantically involved with a colleague who was appointed in 2015 to a newly created role of senior adviser to the commissioner-general after an “extreme fast-track” process. Read more here


The Netherlands and Switzerland announced the suspension of funding for UNRWA. Read more here




In recent weeks there have been several attacks against Iranian proxies in southern Syria attributed to Israel which has made it clear that it won’t accept Hizbullah’s growing presence in the Syrian Golan. Thispresence began last summer following the reconquering of the Syrian Golan by regime troops.Read more here




Iran and Hamas have come to an understanding about opening a second front from Gaza if war breaks out in Israel’s north, according to Israeli defence officials.Hamas and Islamic Jihad would try to force Israel to divert forces and air defence systems to the south…This week, an Iranian diplomat announced the establishment of a united military front “from Tehran to Gaza.”Israel has also noted an increase in the number of terrorist attacks directed by Hamas in the West Bank: In 2018, attacks planned by 130 Hamas terrorist cells in the West Bank were foiled – 40 more than in 2017 and nearly double the number in 2016. Read more here




Three Israeli soldiers were shot and wounded by a Gazan from a Hamas border patrol who infiltrated the Gaza border fence on Thursday. The attacker who was wearing a Hamas uniform and armed with an AK-47 and grenades, was killed by Israeli fire.        Read more here


As part of understandings reached in Egyptian-mediated talks between Israel and Palestinian factions in Gaza, a field hospital is to be set up near the Erez border crossing.  The PA denounced the move,saying: “The hospital that Israel and the U.S. are seeking to establish…is part of ongoing attempts to separate the Gaza Strip and the West Bank under humanitarian pretexts.” Read more here


Two Gazan youths aged 11 and 15 crossed the border fence on Thursday carrying knives, and were apprehended by IDF forces.       Read more here


Israel is increasingly confiscating packages ordered online and mailed to Gaza as seemingly innocuous items can be intended for military use. The dual-use products include drones, hidden cameras, encrypted two-way radios, diving equipment, laser pointers, night vision equipment etc. Read more here




There has been an increase in politically-motivated crimes among the Bedouin community amid a decline in such crimes among Israel’s Arab population as a whole. Israeli Arabs have generally been seeking to integrate into Israeli society as the younger generation of the country’s Arab community is becoming more Israeli in their identity.  Israeli authorities arrested 120 Arab citizens on suspicion of terrorism in 2015, but the figure fell to around 100 per year in 2016 and 2017 and declined further in 2018. At the same time there was a major increase in the number of Bedouin charged in terrorism-related incidents between 2013 and 2017.     Read more here




Former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley blasted a UN council last week for singling out Israel for alleged violations of women’s rights. The UN Economic and Social Council resolution was approved by a 40-2 margin, with nine abstentions. Among the countries voting yes were Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Pakistan, all notorious for often misogynistic policies and denying basic rights to females. Only the US & Canada voted against. Read more here




Palestinian President Abbas said last Thursday, “We declare a cessation of all agreements signed with Israel, including security coordination.” He has made similar statements in the past and not implemented them. Read more here



Israel has upgraded the neonatal units at the Kumasi South and Suntreso Hospitals in the Ashanti Region to help enhance infant delivery and reduce mortality. Doctors at the facilities, who have been trained by Israeli specialists, revealed that every year each unit saves the lives of 700 babies. Read more here




Israeli biotechnology company Bonus BioGroup has developed a unique technology to revolutionize bone healing. It has the world’s first viable human bone graft manufacturing facility, where bone grafts are constructed outside the body from the patient’s own live tissue. A new bone is grown in a laboratory bioreactor and then implanted back into the patient. In addition to healing bone gaps, the technology could help osteoporosis patients. Read more here


Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have found a way to enable magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to provide information about molecular changes occurring in the brain, and not only images of organs, bones, nerves and soft tissue, as the technology currently does. This model may become a tool to help doctors determine if a patient is merely getting older or developing a neurodegenerative disease, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.Read more here




Singer and actress Jennifer Lopez (J Lo) arrived in Israel on Wednesday and will give a concert Thursday night in Hayarkon Park, Tel Aviv, a week after Bon Jovi’s show at the same location. Read more here




Sander Gerber and Dan Diker:  The PA has defiantly declared that it is more committed to financing terrorists and their families than to paving a path to economic prosperity for the Palestinian people, let alone signing a peace deal with Israel. The PA assigns 7% of its annual budget to fund terrorists and their families…The U.S. Congress, in passing the Taylor Force Act in 2018, determined that these Palestinian payments reward and incentivize terrorism.The PA has succeeded in devastating the Palestinian economy while enriching itself. One Palestinian businessman who defied death threats to attend the Bahrain economic conference said of the PA,”They don’t want anyone to speak about their theft, their misdeeds, the money that they stole from the Palestinian people.” Read more here


Ruthie Blum: The U.N. body (UNWRA) that placed Palestinians in a fraudulent category all their own—one that enables them to remain “refugees” for generations, rather than helping them resettle quickly—also abets terrorists. It does this does technically, by allowing Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad to stockpile weapons in and under its schools, and ideologically, through revisionist textbooks and other methods that teach Palestinian children to hate and aspire to kill Jews. Naturally, UNRWA always denies that it its entire existence is based on a false premise. It is equally indignant about being accused of ties to terrorism. Read more here


David Horowitz interviewed journalist and author Matti Friedman:  That “real” Israel, Friedman argues, is the Middle Eastern Israel, Israel as “part of the continuum of Judaism in the Muslim world.” It’s not European. And it doesn’t divide into right and left, religious and secular.       Read more here