May 26, 2024
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Israel Denies Reports of Truce Talks with Hamas

( Israel on Monday denied reports that it was involved in indirect talks with the Hamas terrorist group about a long-term truce deal.

A Prime Minister’s Office statement said, “Israel would like to officially clarify that it is not holding any meetings with Hamas, neither directly, nor via other countries, nor via intermediaries.”

Arab media had reported that a delegation of Hamas officials, led by Ismail Haniyeh, would travel to Cairo soon for talks with Egypt’s intelligence chief about a long-term truce with Israel.

Hamas officials told Arab media that significant progress had been made in recent talks in Qatar between Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal and former Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair about the possibility of a long-term truce. Reports also cited a Turkish official as saying progress had been made toward such a deal between Israel and Hamas.

The London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported that Israel had agreed to lift the blockade on Gaza and establish a naval passageway between Gaza and Cyprus in exchange for Hamas agreeing to a cease-fire of seven to 10 years.

Meanwhile, though London’s Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported that progress has been made in reconciliation talks between Israel and Turkey, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said, “As for relations with Turkey, agreement is still far off.”

Israel Intercepts Gaza-Bound Rocket-Building Materials

( Israel’s Shin Bet security agency revealed that it intercepted two tons of fiberglass material bound for Gaza that could have been used to manufacture long-range rockets.

According to the Shin Bet, Israeli customs officials at the Nitzana border crossing became suspicious of the shipment, which was labeled by a Gaza-based importer as “clothes and materials,” and upon closer inspection discovered the rolls of fiberglass inside.

“Terror groups in the Gaza Strip are taking advantage of every means possible in their attempts to rebuild, even smuggling basic materials for the terror industry by hiding them in humanitarian equipment,” the Shin Bet said in a statement.

Earlier this year, customs officials also stopped a shipment of fiberglass at the Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel to Gaza that was marked as containing school equipment.

There have been dozens of attempts to ship banned materials into Gaza this year, the Shin Bet said. Among the shipments seized have been diving suits, polyurethane rocket propellant, and carbon and sulfur rods for blast furnaces used in metal work.

Egypt Approves Sweeping New Counter-Terrorism Laws

( Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has approved sweeping new counter-terrorism laws in order to fight the growing threat posed by Islamic jihadists.

The new laws approved Monday include fast-tracked trials for suspected terrorists in special courts, with sentences up to 10 years; life sentences for financing of terror groups; sentences of five to seven years for inciting violence or creating pro-terror websites; and stiff fines for journalists for misreporting on terror attacks, the BBC reported.

Human rights groups have criticized the new laws, claiming they go beyond the so-called “emergency laws” that were in place under former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak that led to widespread abuse by security forces. Those laws were suspended following the ouster of Mubarak in 2011.

El-Sisi vowed new counter-terrorism laws following the assassination of prosecutor general Hisham Barakat in June.

An ongoing surge of violence led by Sinai Province, an Islamic State-affiliated terror group operating in the Sinai Peninsula, has killed hundreds of Egyptian security personnel over the last few years.

Palestinian Terrorist Stabs Israeli Policeman in Latest Attack

( A Palestinian terrorist was shot dead Monday after stabbing an Israeli border policeman at Tapuach Junction in Samaria. The policeman was lightly wounded in the incident.

The attack was the latest incident in a surge of Palestinian terrorism in recent weeks. On Saturday, two Israeli security personnel were lightly wounded in separate stabbing attacks in Samaria within hours of each other. One of the attackers was moderately wounded and the other was killed.

Last week, an Israeli man was moderately wounded when he was stabbed by a Palestinian terrorist at a gas station on Route 443, which is one of the main highways linking the Jerusalem and Tel Aviv areas. The terrorist in that attack was shot and killed by Israeli troops as he tried to flee the scene.

On Aug. 6, three Israeli soldiers were wounded when a Palestinian motorist intentionally rammed them with his vehicle at a junction on Route 60 near Shiloh in Samaria. Three days earlier, three Israelis were wounded when a firebomb was thrown at an Israeli vehicle near the Arab neighborhood of Beit Hanina in northern Jerusalem.

Iran Behind All Recent Attacks in Golan Heights Region, IDF Officer Says

( All attacks in the Golan Heights region since December 2013 “have been carried out with Iranian direction,” a senior Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Northern Command officer told reporters on Sunday.

According to the officer, who remained anonymous, several hundred Hezbollah terrorist operatives are currently active on the Syrian side of the Israeli border in the Golan Heights. The officer also said Iran was responsible for the planting of an explosive device on the Israel-Syria border in April.

Terrorist operatives in the border area have received “clear guidance” from Iran to carry out attacks, the officer said. One terrorist cell operating in the area is led by Samir Kuntar, the Lebanese Druze terrorist who was released from Israeli prison in 2008 as part of a swap deal with Hezbollah. Kuntar has recruited local Syrians to join the ranks of his cell.

“Iran sends advisers [to the area] and provides money, weapons, and training [to terrorists operating there],” the officer said, Israel Hayom reported.

U.K. Jewish Newspaper Expresses Alarm Over Anti-Israel Opposition Candidate

( The U.K.’s Jewish Chronicle newspaper sounded the alarm over the impending election of Member of Parliament Jeremy Corbyn as the next head of the Labour Party and British opposition leader.

“In this rare instance we are certain that we speak for the vast majority of British Jews in expressing deep foreboding at the prospect of Mr. Corbyn’s election as Labour leader,” a Jewish Chronicle editorial stated.

“In a nation where, thank heavens, racism and extremism are now regarded as beyond the pale, it is little short of astonishing that a man who chooses to associate with racists and extremists is about to become leader of one of our two main parties and could conceivably become prime minister,” the newspaper added.

The editorial was triggered by Corbyn’s reported letter of support to Rev. Stephen Sizer, who has blamed Israel for the 9/11 attacks and was banned by the Anglican Church for six months. Corbyn said Sizer was “under attack” by a pro-Israel smear campaign.

In 2009, Corbyn referred to Hezbollah and Hamas as “our friends,” saying that inviting members of those terrorist groups to speak is “absolutely the right function of using parliamentary facilities.”


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