Duterte: PH to buy arms only from Israel

admin   •   September 5, 2018   •   5406

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) stands next to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during their meeting in Jerusalem September 3, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/Pool

 

During his meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will only buy weapons from Israel.

“My orders to my military, that in terms of military equipment, particularly intelligence gathering, we only have one country to buy from – that is Israel,” he said.

He also said that the United States is a “good friend” but added that buying from them entails limitations, and it’s the same with China and Germany.

“If they (United States) sell you something, they would also be listening, so will China and everybody else, Germany,” said Duterte.

In mid-August, three prominent members of US President Donald Trump’s Cabinet signified through a letter the Trump administration’s intention to enter into an arms deal with the Philippines.

But Duterte challenged the U.S. government’s sincerity especially after the U.S State Department called off the procurement of assault rifles to the Philippine National Police (PNP) in 2016 citing concerns of human rights violations in line the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.

“Bumili tayo ng 23,000 rifles. What happened? Binara ng isang congressman, ilang senador, ng Congress nila so I was forced to go to China (We bought 23,000 rifles. What happened? A congressman and several senators blocked the sale. So, I was forced to go to China),” the President had said. — Rosalie Coz

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)

Gov’t won’t neglect Filipino families at risk of deportation in Israel – Malacañang

Maris Federez   •   August 12, 2019

Two Filipino women were arrested on July 23, 2019 along with their Israeli-born children during a crackdown by Israel authorities against foreign workers violating immigration laws.

Malacañang on Monday (August 12) has given its assurance that the Duterte administration will not forsake the hundreds of Filipino families in Israel who are at risk of getting deported.

“I’m sure the Secretary of Foreign Affairs will do something about it. We won’t neglect that,” said presidential spokesperson and chief presidential legal counsel, Sec. Salvador Panelo.

Based on reports, around 600 families may face expulsion for not having residency status.

In particular are caregivers and domestic helpers who have been working in Israel for a long time and who had gotten married and have children in the middle eastern country.

Although born in Israel, these children do not have legal status in the country and their parents cannot renew their working visas without risking expulsion. (with details from Rosalie Coz) /mbmf

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