Stone-throwing becomes daily occurrence in Jerusalem. Palestinian stone-throwing attacks on Jews in eastern Jerusalem have become a daily occurrence and have recently escalated to include Molotov cocktails, Israel Hayom reported.
Israel Defense Forces Maj. Gen. Kobi Dudian of the Jerusalem District Police told the Knesset’s Internal Affairs and Environment Committee last week that 207 stone-throwing perpetrators have been arrested in eastern Jerusalem in 2013, the majority of whom were minors, and that only 47 of them were detained, pending the conclusion of the legal proceedings against them.
Dudian noted that the number of cases involving stone and firebomb throwing has spiked by dozens of percentage points since Israel conducted Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza last November. But he noted that in recent weeks, the number of firebomb incidents has steadily declined, attributing that to the arrest of several terror cells that orchestrated the violent attacks.
Cyberattacks against Israel by Iran and its proxies on the rise, Netanyahu says. Cyberattacks against Israel perpetrated “directly by Iran and its proxies–Hezbollah and Hamas” are on the rise, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday at the annual international cybersecurity conference at Tel Aviv University. “The attacks will increase in intensity and in quantity,” Netanyahu said, according to Israel Hayom. “Cyberwarfare is an integral part of today’s battlefield. This is not the warfare of the future; this is the warfare of the here and now.”
Dr. Eviatar Matania, head of the Israel National Cyber Bureau, said his bureau is “spearheading extensive work on advancing national cybernetic defense and suitable national preparation, which will soon be submitted to the cabinet for approval.”
The cyberattacks have targeted Israel’s water system, electric grid, and trains and banks, Netanyahu said. “Every sphere of civilian economic life, let’s not even talk about our security, is a potential or actual target for a cyberattack.”
Netanyahu: Construction has ‘no bearing’ on peace deal. Speaking behind closed doors at the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that if peace negotiations with the Palestinians were entered into, they were expected to “be long and tough, but that the alternative Israel faces is a binational state, which Israel does not want,” Israel Hayom reported.
During a separate Likud faction meeting on Monday, Netanyahu said, “The construction in Jerusalem will continue regardless of the negotiations with the Palestinians.” The prime minister was commenting on an Army Radio report quoting Israeli Housing Ministry sources as saying there was a de facto building moratorium in eastern Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria. Netanyahu told the Knesset members that construction in Judea and Samaria “has no bearing on the peace deal.”
EU and Israel ink ‘open skies’ agreement. The European Union and Israel have formally signed their proposed “open skies” agreement, paving the way for more flights and cheaper prices between Israel and EU countries. “Israel is a key partner for the EU, and today’s agreement is very important for further strengthening the overall economic, trade, and tourism relations between Israel and the EU. We expect to see more direct flights to and from Israel, lower prices, more jobs and economic benefits on both sides,” Siim Kallas, European Commissioner for Transport, said in a statement.
While the agreement is expected to reduce prices of travel between Israel and EU states by adding more direct flights and competition, the cost savings might make the Israeli carriers less competitive. Staffers from three Israeli airlines–El Al, Arkia, and Israir–held a strike in early April, briefly shutting down Ben-Gurion Airport.
The agreement is scheduled to go into effect gradually over the next five years, with seven weekly fights to European destinations to be added annually. The EU is Israel’s largest market for aviation, with more than 7.2 million passengers between the two areas in 2011, according to Ha’aretz.
All of Israel is ‘occupied’ land, PA official says. All of Israel is “occupied” Palestinian land, senior Palestinian Authority official Jibril Rajoub recently said when asked about the FC Barcelona soccer team’s upcoming visit to Israel, Palestinian Media Watch reported.
FC Barcelona is hosting separate soccer clinics for children in Israel and in the West Bank on August 3 and 4. Asked by an interviewer on Qatar’s Al-Kass Sports Channel if the visit included “a visit to the occupied lands,” Rajoub–a member of the Fatah Central Committee, chairman of the Palestinian Football Association, and head of the Palestinian Olympic Committee–responded by mentioning an area including all of Israel. “They are coming to the occupied lands. All of Palestine–from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea–it’s all occupied,” Rajoub said June 2.
Iran wants to build 30 bombs a year, Israeli minister says. Israeli International Relations and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz warned that Iran is working nonstop on its nuclear technology to gain the capability to build as many as 30 nuclear bombs a year.
“The Iranians . . . have close to 200 kilos . . . of 20-percent-enriched uranium,” Steinitz told reporters from the Foreign Press Association on Monday, according to AFP. “Once they have 250 kilos, this is enough to make the final rush to 90 percent,” which is the level required to build a nuclear warhead, Steinitz said. “It is a matter of weeks or maybe two months to jump from 20 percent to 90 percent with so many centrifuges,” he said, adding that the upcoming Iranian election will change nothing.
Steinitz said the Iranians wouldn’t spend so much money and “suffer $70 billion of losses” due to international sanctions in one year to merely show that they can “spin some centrifuges.”
Assad could prevail in Syrian civil war. There is a “real possibility” that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “could survive Syria’s civil war and even prevail in it” against the rebels trying to topple him, Dr. Yuval Steinitz told a group of foreign journalists in Jerusalem on Monday.
Steinitz’s comments reflect the recent turnaround in Assad’s fortunes, with success on the battlefield thanks to immense military aid from Hezbollah, financial aid by Iran, and diplomatic cover by Russia. The assessment also underscores the changing nature of the Syrian conflict and Israel’s views on it. Israeli security officials were initially convinced that Assad’s demise was only a matter of time. Last July, then-Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the Assad regime was “at the beginning of its end.” (Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org)
Google to buy Israeli app Waze for $1.3 billion. Internet giant Google is set to acquire the Israeli navigation and traffic app Waze for $1.3 billion after Apple and Facebook were also reportedly interested in buying the company.
Waze, which is based in the Israeli city of Ra’anana, is one of the most popular navigation, apps in the world with 50 million users. The Waze app provides drivers with information on traffic conditions, including police presence, accidents, and roadwork, by collecting crowd-sourced information on its social network.
According to a report in the Israeli financial daily Globes, Waze resisted efforts by Facebook to buy the company because Waze “insisted that its Israeli employees should continue working in Israel, which Facebook did not accept.”
“Google has already made two acquisitions in Israel, and it has an office here, in contrast to Facebook, which closed most of the companies it acquired, including Israeli startups,” the Globes report noted.
Anti-Morsi petition claims nearly 15 million signatures. Organizers of a campaign seeking to “remove confidence” in Egypt’s Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, say they have nearly 15 million signatures for a petition to hold early presidential elections, the Egypt Independent reported.
The opposition campaign called Tamarod, which means “rebel” in Arabic, was launched in early May with the aim of collecting 15 million signatures to outnumber the votes gained by Morsi in last year’s presidential election.
Spokesperson Mahmoud Badr said the opposition is campaign “studying the possibility of confidentially submitting the forms to the Supreme Constitutional Court” before June 30. “We are printing the forms on CDs to preserve them,” Badr said. The group, which claims no political affiliation but has been generally supported by Egypt’s liberal opposition, the National Salvation Front, and also hopes to hold a series of rallies on June 30.
Since taking power last year, Morsi’s tenure as president has been marked by domestic unrest, a severe economic crisis, and political turmoil.
Kerry authorizes $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt despite concerns over democracy. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry authorized $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid to Egypt last month despite writing himself in a memo that the U.S. is “not satisfied with the extent of Egypt’s progress” on its democracy, Reuters reported Thursday.
The Secretary of State, according to U.S. law, needs to confirm that Egypt “is supporting the transition to civilian government, including holding free and fair elections, implementing policies to protect freedom of expression, association, and religion, and due process of law” prior to transferring the military aid.
But Kerry’s May 9 memo stated that waiving the restrictions on foreign military financing (FMF) was necessary to ensure “a strong U.S. security partnership with Egypt” that “maintains a channel to Egyptian military leadership, who are key opinion makers in the country.”
“A decision to waive restrictions on FMF to Egypt is necessary to uphold these interests as we encourage Egypt to continue its transition to democracy,” Kerry wrote.
Tamara Cofman Wittes, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, told Reuters that the U.S. State Department’s issuing of the waiver without any public discussion “has at the very least missed a significant opportunity to . . . raise its concerns about the political trajectory in Egypt.”
Israel divestment resolution defeated at UC Santa Cruz. An Israel divestment resolution was defeated at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) with 19 votes against, 17 votes in favor, and three abstentions. The defeat followed a 45-minute student senate debate.
“We are pleased that a divestment resolution was once again defeated, this time at UC Santa Cruz. We applaud UCSC’s student senate for recognizing the complexity of the conflict and the bigotry in this resolution. . . . Hopefully, next year, students who are obsessed with condemning Israel, while they cover up the terrorism of Palestinian groups like Hamas, will consider more constructive actions and resolutions,” said Roz Rothstein, CEO of the pro-Israel education group StandWithUs.
The student senators “understood the magnitude of hastily passing a slanderous bill with only days remaining in the school year,” leading to a relatively short debate on the issue, Don Waintraub, StandWithUs Northern California Campus Coordinator, told JNS.org.
“It was amusing to see the debate happen near the international section of campus, which contained . . . Qaddafi’s [Libyan] flag, which is no longer relevant. I remember . . . not believing they could have that dictator’s flag there, and seriously be considering divesting from the only country in the Near East where the Christian community is flourishing,” Waintraub added.
In May, an Israel divestment resolution was also defeated at the University of California, Davis. v