Clashes erupt between Palestinians and Israeli police at Jerusalem holy site

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 12, 2019   •   538

Israeli police fired sound grenades to disperse Palestinians during confrontations on Sunday (August 11) outside Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque where tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers gathered for the Eid al-Adha holiday, witnesses said.

A Palestinian ambulance service reported at least 14 Palestinians were taken to hospitals for treatment. While an Israel public radio said four police officers were also injured.

Scuffles ensued and the crowd fled as the sound grenades exploded and smoke wafted through the compound, witnesses said.

In a statement, police said they had deployed forces at the site in anticipation of disturbances and “dispersed rioters”.

Tensions had mounted at the start of Eid al-Adha as the holiday overlapped this year with Tisha B’Av, a Jewish fast day marking the destruction of the two temples.

Palestinian women demand legal protection after alleged honor killing

UNTV News   •   September 5, 2019

Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated in the West Bank on Wednesday (September 4) to demand legal protection for women, after a 21-year-old woman died last month in what rights groups say was a so-called honor killing.

A Palestinian Authority investigation is underway into the death of Isra’a Ghrayeb, a make-up artist who activists say was beaten by male relatives after a video posted on Instagram allegedly showed a meeting between her and a man who had proposed to her.

According to Palestinian media reports, Ghrayeb sustained serious spinal injuries after falling from a balcony in her home in Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem, while trying to escape an assault by her brothers. She died on August 22.

At least 18 Palestinian women have been killed this year by family members angered at perceived damage to their honor, which may involve fraternizing with men or any infringement of conservative values regarding women, according to the General Union of Palestinian Women and Feminist Institutions.

Ghrayeb’s family has denied the accusations. They said in a statement that Ghrayeb had a “mental condition” and died “after she had a heart attack, following an accidental fall into the (family’s) courtyard”.

The circumstances surrounding Ghrayeb’s death have stirred outrage within the Palestinian territories and on social media, with rights activists demanding action against the alleged perpetrators and legal protection for women under the hashtag #JustceforIsraa.

In the West Bank city of Ramallah, female demonstrators held signs reading: “We are all Isra’a” and “My body is my property. I don’t need your supervision, your care, your honor.”

Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said this week that several people had been detained for questioning over Ghrayeb’s death as part of the inquiry by the Palestinian Authority (PA), which exercises limited self-rule in the Israel-occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian penal code dates to the 1960s and has been criticized for inadequate protection for women and lenient penalties for men who kill them in honor crimes. (REUTERS)

Three injured in suspected attack near Israeli settlement – military

Robie de Guzman   •   August 23, 2019

Three people were injured in a Palestinian attack near an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, according to early reports by the Israeli military on Friday (August 23).

A military spokesman said the attack was carried out near Dolev, a settlement northwest of the Palestinian city of Ramallah.

“Three people appear to be injured at the scene,” the spokesman said, adding that troops were searching the area.

Israeli news reports said the wounded were Israelis, and that Palestinians had thrown an explosive charge near a water spring popular with hikers in the hilly central region of the West Bank. The first reports came shortly after 10 a.m. (0700 GMT).

Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service said it was treating three people in “serious condition”, including a 46-year-old man, a 21-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman. (Reuters)

(Production: Ismail Khadder, Roleen Tafakji)

Israel eases rules on cyber weapons exports despite criticism

Robie de Guzman   •   August 23, 2019

Monitor reading ‘Cybergym, you’ve been hacked’ | Courtesy: Reuters

Israel, one of the world’s leading suppliers of spyware, is easing export rules on offensive cyber weapons, despite accusations by human rights and privacy groups that its technologies are used by some governments to spy on political foes and crush dissent.

The United Nations and rights groups are calling for stricter oversight, while in Israel, things seem to be moving in the opposite direction.

The government is offering exemptions in the export licensing process, it is planning a reform in regulation, and in general is trying to remove red tape for selling technologies abroad, government and industry officials told Reuters.

From around the world, teams come to Cybergym, a cyber-warfare training facility backed by the Israel Electric Corporation. There experts learn to defend utilities and critical infrastructure from a growing number of cyber attacks. Cybergym’s CEO, Ofir Hason, said Israel is a leader in the field, not just in thwarting such attacks, but also in offensive capabilities. And when it comes to exporting sophisticated surveillance technologies, he said, there is always a risk they will be misused.

Israel is not the only game in town but its surveillance technologies have been linked to allegations of foreign governments spying on journalists, dissidents and critics.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear he has no intention to over-regulate, even though he acknowledged the risks.

Global demand for offensive cyber systems is on the rise. Few countries are able to develop sophisticated surveillance tools on their own, so Israel’s expertise has enticed foreign governments. Israel would never acknowledge whether this includes countries without formal ties, although Israeli technologies have been linked to scandals in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Tel Aviv University Professor Isaac Ben Israel, the father of Israel’s cyber sector and chairman of its space agency, said there was nothing wrong with using these skills to form a bond with neighbours like Saudi Arabia that have shunned formal ties.

Asked if there have ever been problems with exporters, Ben Israel said there have been some instances when licensed companies “cheated a little bit” and withheld information such as which groups would be receiving the hacking tools.

The head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency said cyber warfare is becoming more prominent in the global arena. But he called on private tech companies to coordinate closely with the government to make sure innocent people are not targeted. (Reuters)

(Production; Elana Ringler, Rami Amichay)

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