Newsletter : 14fx1212.txt
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Israeli, Palestinian Officials Dispute Autopsy on Dead PA Official
By Reuters & Israel Hayom
Israeli and Palestinian officials issued conflicting accounts on Thursday over the
results of an autopsy on a Palestinian Authority official who died after being involved in
clashes during a protest near the village of Turmus Ayya on Wednesday.
Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai
decided with his Palestinian counterpart Hussein A-Sheikh to have an Israeli pathologist
from the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute join the pathologists who arrived from Jordan to
investigate Ziad Abu Ein's death.
A-Sheikh told Reuters that Jordanian and Palestinian doctors involved in the late-night
examination of the body said Abu Ein, 55, had died from "being struck, inhaling tear gas
and a delay in providing medical attention."
But an Israeli medical source familiar with the autopsy results told Reuters the
official died from a heart attack and had a pre-existing heart condition. "His death was
caused by a coronary occlusion, brought on by stress," said the source, who spoke on
condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. He added that
the stress may have been the result of the conflict with IDF soldiers, one of whom grabbed
Abu Ein by the neck.
The protest took place on Wednesday near the Adei Ad settlement, a site of ongoing
dispute. That same day, the leaders of neighboring villages and human rights organization
Yesh Din filed a petition to the High Court asking that Adei Ad be evacuated.
In an effort to prevent protestors from crossing a line drawn to protect local
residents, the Israel Defense Forces used stun and smoke grenades. A video of the protest
shows the Palestinian official being grabbed and pushed, but an IDF official said
Wednesday evening that "the circumstances that directly caused injury to the official are
not seen." After Abu Ein collapsed, Palestinians evacuated him to a hospital in Ramallah,
where he died. The IDF is questioning all soldiers who were present during the incident.
IDF officials anticipate disturbances of the peace in the West Bank following Abu Ein's
death, prompting Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz to send two battalions to reinforce
security in the area. Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon responded to the incident in a
statement: "We regret Abu Ein's death. The stability of the security situation is
important to both sides, and we will continue [security] coordination with the Palestinian
Meanwhile, PA President Mahmoud Abbas announced three days of mourning and said: "This
was a barbaric crime. We will ensure those responsible [are punished] to the full extent
of the law."
Secret IDF Video Documentation of Zikim Attack Leaked
A classified internal military video presentation showing previously unseen footage of a terrorist attack near the Zikim base on July 8, has found its way to Arabic websites. The IDF is investigating how this happened. See http://youtu.be/WbwBvMHZKIQ
The attack was mounted by five Hamas commando terrorists who infiltrated into Israel
through the sea on the first day of Operation Protective Edge. IDF female lookouts
identified the terrorists and alerted the forces that eliminated two of them. The IDF
forces then combed the area, located three more terrorists, and killed them as well.
The presentation shows one of the terrorists placing an explosive charge on a tank. The
explosive then blows up. Terrorists are also seen hurling an explosive charge at a tank.
IDF sources said that the leak is a serious breach of secrecy and that "it will be
investigated and dealt with properly not through the media."
Israeli Boys Try to Rob Bank with Toy Guns
By Reuters & YnetNews.com
Using toy guns, a 12-year-old boy and his 13-year-old accomplice tried to rob a bank in
central Israel but fled without any cash after apparently losing their nerve, police said
on Thursday. "We did it as a joke," one of the said after being arrested.
Security camera footage showed the boys, wearing hooded sweatshirts, entering the bank in Rishon Lezion, a suburb of Tel Aviv on Wednesday. One had a schoolbag on his back and what appeared to be a rifle in his hand. See http://youtu.be/mWNUn7KA7G4 Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said both were carrying fake M-16 assault rifles and that they shouted "this is a holdup.
"They were toy guns but they looked real. The people in the bank were scared, but then
the suspects ran out without taking any money," he said, adding that police were able to
identify the pair from the security footage and later arrested them.
`Israeli-Palestinian Study Finds Regional Flowers Help Combat Viruses
A three-year international study, in which Israeli, Palestinian, Spanish and Greek
researchers took part, yielded new findings about medicinal plants that have the potential
to be used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.
As part of the study, researchers gathered plants from different regions in Israel -
such as Jerusalem, Mount Hermon, the Hula Valley, Netanya and Palmachim beach, the Dead
Sea - and Nablus in the Palestinian Authority, and found that the plants have the ability
to aid in treatment of diabetes, infections, and viruses as well as are useful for
The researchers found that the Pistacia lentiscus plant, a small tree of the pistachio
genus, and the Cistus flower, were effective in treating various viruses. Likewise, sumac,
a flower that is commonly used as a spice in the Middle East, and rhus coriaria, known as
Sicilian sumac, were also found to aid in the treatment of viruses. Using the leaves of
the plants to make tea or even consumption of the plants were found to help treat viruses,
according to the study.
The senecio flower, a genus of the daisy family which can be found in almost every
field in Israel, was found to aid in treatment of type 2 diabetes, according to the
research. Individuals with the illness who drank tea made from the senecio flower had seen
an improvement in their condition.
Other plants researchers found to be effective in treating diabetes were stachys
aegyptiaca, marram grass, and sonchus oleraceus. The tamatix nilotica tree, commonly found
in the Negev region in southern Israel, was found to help combat fungus. The bold-leaf
launaea and the golden samphire were also found to be effective in combating fungus. For
infection, the anemone coronaria, pistacia atlantica, and viburnum tinus flower were found
the most effective.
Another interesting find by the researchers - A flower picked near the Western Wall in
Jerusalem called the capparis spinosa was found to be useful in the treatment of
The rare collaboration between researchers, led by President of Hadassah College, Prof.
Berthold Friedlander, and Dr. Gili Joseph, received 2 million Euros in funding from the
European Union as part of a project encouraging cooperation between various regions
surrounding the Mediterranean.
The project was selected from a batch of 700 applications sent to the European Union
and included the participation of the Biodiversity and Environmental Research Center
located in Nablus in the Palestinian Authority, the Hellenic Regional Development Center
from Greece and Leitat Technological Center from Spain as well as the Hadassah College in
Jerusalem, which led the study. The study was also aided by researchers from the US.
Friedlander, who headed the study, said: "The study of plants for medicinal purposes
was the prime goal, but the cooperation with the researchers from the Palestinian
Authority and from the rest of the nations was no less important. The mutual
understanding, joint endeavor and the yearning to deliver results, which was important to
both nations, helped bring the final result."
According to Friedlander, he and his colleagues were surprised by "how much the project
connected the participants from all corners of academic research. We are proud and
grateful we were able to head it," said the professor. The results of the study are still
raw but the researchers say that the results will form the basis for further research in
order to bring them to use in the medical industry within a few years.
Palestinian Terrorists Have Gone Online
Everyone's looking for the third intifada out on the streets, but it's not only there;
it has active and threatening offshoots on the Internet too. The younger generation of
Palestinians has learned well from Islamic State's staggering success when it comes to
sowing the seeds of fear, and has moved the focus of its resistance to the social
networks. The blogger has joined forces with the muezzin; the talkbackers are in cahoots
with the stone-throwers; and the "share" buttons are working alongside the incitement
The social network is the new mosque, and there's no need to remove one's shoes when
entering; there are Border Police and there's no tear gas; and the police don't impose an
age restriction on worshipers.
In recent months, this protected expanse has allowed the Palestinians to establish a
new terrorist infrastructure. Instead of recruiting activists on the ground and worrying
about them getting picked up on the radar of the Shin Bet security service, they've moved
over to online recruitment via popular campaigns designed to sow hatred and covey the
sense that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is under threat in the hope of prompting a terror
mission carried out by a lone attacker, one who is not affiliated with any terrorist
Such was the case with the recent terror attacks in Jerusalem; and such was the case,
too, with the death of the construction worker in Petah Tikva in September. We're no
longer dealing with a wave of religious suicide attackers who are waiting to be received
by 72 virgins. The new martyrs fall on the network, and get flooded with Likes.
Orit Perlov, a social media analyst at the Institute for National Security Studies
(INSS) who monitors and analyzes the discourse on the social networks in Arab states, says
that the Palestinian Internet is currently running a number of incitement campaigns at the
same time. "One of the leading campaigns calls for running down Jews with vehicles,"
Perlov says. "It uses the word, 'Idaas,' which is 'run down' in Arabic, alongside a
picture of a car running down ultra-Orthodox Jews.
Immediately after the shooting of Yehuda Glick, the networks began a more focused
campaign that called for running down Knesset members who have encouraged pilgrimages to
the Temple Mount.
"And there's also the popular 'Atan' campaign, which simply gives the instruction, 'Stab;'
and there's the 'Atbah' 'Slaughter' campaign, in which you see a masked
Palestinian youth beheading someone. And there are Palestinians who are replacing their
Twitter profile picture with a picture of an ax. This doesn't mean that these people are
going to go out tomorrow and take action, but that they identify with the notion and
Who posts this kind of material? Who's behind it? "Individuals in the West Bank and
East Jerusalem who understand the psychology of the Net, who know what works." Gilad
Shiloach, a network analyst who works at the American news website, Vocativ, which
monitors social network activity, says that Palestinian Web users respond quickly to
developments on the ground. Such was the case, for example, in the affair of the dead
Egged bus driver, Yusuf al-Ramouni, who Israel determined had committed suicide, whereas
his family claims he was murdered.
"Shortly after he was found hanged, activists from East Jerusalem sent out a Tweet with
the heading, 'Yusuf was strangled,'" Shiloach relates. "Within a few hours, we were
seeing it in the thousands. Graphic designers used Photoshop to prepare a beautiful design
of Yusuf on the backdrop of the Temple Mount, with slogans like 'The Jews are sullying
Al-Aqsa.' This is how a blood libel spreads on the social networks; and this happened two
days before the terror attack at the synagogue in Har Nof."
Prof. Yair Amichai-Hamburger, the director of the Research Center for Internet
Psychology at the Interdisciplinary Center's School of Communication in Herzliya, explains
that the discourse on the Internet functions as a breeding ground for extremists. "The
Internet group is actually feeding your mind with its messages all the time, and then
there's a kind of escalation," he says. "The group becomes a hotbed for an idea of a
certain nature, and the individuals take it to the extreme in order to play a significant
part in it. For the next terrorist, the Internet creates a media ghetto of sorts. He sees
what is happening on the social networks, and it becomes his reality."
What does he experience there? "The propaganda is absolute. We are perceived there as
Satan's earthly representatives, who can take on the form of a Border Policeman, a
25-year-old woman or a baby of a few months. For him, every Jew represents a part of the
threatening mechanism. "Once the message has seeped in, the sense of solidarity becomes
absolute, and the attacker's personal existence becomes meaningless. He turns into the
long arm of Islam. This gives rise to a new profile of a terrorist, one who perhaps just
a few days earlier had no intentions of driving his car into a group of soldiers or people
at a train station, but ends up saying to hell with the world."
For many in Israel, up until a month or so ago, Yehuda Glick was an unknown figure; but
he's been a target on the Facebook pages of Palestinian activists for the past two years.
"You'll be dead soon," said the caption alongside his picture on pages that dealt with
visits by Jews to the Temple Mount. Glick complained, but nothing was done; and one
Internet surfer who internalized the message eventually shot him. Today, the social
networks are carrying calls for another attempt on the life of the right-wing
Glick now has bodyguards, and the same goes for others associated with efforts to visit
the Temple Mount and who also star on the social networks; but the big question is can the
Shin Bet foil the plans of the next terrorist a terrorist who doesn't yet know he
is one. "The defense establishment has been caught unawares by the new kind of attacker
that has emerged; it's been caught with its pants down," says Prof. Amichai Hamburger.
"The thought that a regular man with a family and children might suddenly carry out an
attack doesn't fit its profile."
The Palestinian masses aren't the only ones taking advantage of this security vacuum;
the terror organizations, too, are entering the fray. "These organizations are using the
networks to try in fact to find those who do not necessarily fit the classic profile
the introverted attacker, an individual on the margins of society,"
Amichai-Hamburger continues. "And it could be just about anyone from among this very large
group. That's the scary thing."
Daniel Cohen, an expert in cyber terrorism at the INSS, names Hamas as one of these
organizations. "The organization is trying to join the masses and to encourage the lone
perpetrator by means of incitement campaigns. We're talking about popular terror attacks
of sorts, ones for which the organization doesn't have to claim responsibility and have
less chance of being thwarted. Once you used to be able to monitor the phone calls of
activists and try to identify the individual who would be going out to perpetrate an
attack; now, however, the activity has moved to the Net and is directed at the masses, and
you have no way of knowing which one it will be."
According to social media analyst Perlov, "Today, all the security mechanisms have
software that monitors content on the Net, so you can see if there is a mass of activity
and how many people support the campaign. But there is still no computer program that can
analyze sentiment in other words, the intentions of a specific person. Furthermore,
the two terrorists at the synagogue, for example, were not key figures who were active on
the Net. People like that won't make an impression on the security mechanism's that are
monitoring the Internet activity; they're small fry."
Despite the fact that the defense establishment has little chance of laying its hands
on the lone terrorist, it still sees value in monitoring the social media sites
digging through the Facebook statuses and Twitter messages can at least offer an
understanding of the mood among the Palestinians in the territories.
"There's something called 'public intelligence' intelligence that is gathered
with the purpose of studying the public," explains an Israel Defense Forces intelligence
officer. "The bottom line is that we want to have our finger on the pulse of the
Palestinian public; and in the age of the social media networks, you can't not add this
piece of the puzzle to the picture. It has great value because it shows which way the wind
is blowing among the public and allows you to know what pains it.
While the IDF merely monitors the Palestinian social media sites without actually
taking any action against the incitement campaigns and the like, the Palestinian Authority
adopts a more active approach, shutting down Facebook pages and conducting arrests when
efforts are made to organize and affect change on the ground.
"During Operation Protective Edge, for example, one of the campaigns that went viral
called for the assassination of Mahmoud Abbas," Perlov says. "He was dubbed "the Zionists'
dog,' 'a traitor' and 'a collaborator.'"
Just in case you were wondering, Israelis are no saints either. "Only live ammunition
saves lives," "Jews, revenge," "Arabs are murdering you," "Enemies aren't given jobs"
these are just a few examples from numerous incitement campaigns that have appeared
in recent months on the social network sites in Israel.
And while the Israeli public isn't swept along to the same extent as the Palestinian
public, we are seeing racist and provocative campaigns on the part of right-wing groups,
threats against the left, and the undermining of fundamental values of a democratic state.
It turns out that this open expanse is actually closing the most mouths.
"If radical right-wing groups were once on the margins of the margins of the Israeli
public, hidden deep on the Net, the opinions of such organizations today have become
legitimate," Shiloach says. "Their presence on the social networks has grown at least four
to fivefold in relation to the period prior to the abduction of the boys. It was very
noticeable during the war; we saw the emergence of groups such as 'I'm also in favor of
death to terrorists' or 'I also support killing the Arabs of Israel.'"
One of the major sources of the fire that has spread through the Israeli social media
networks is the extreme right organization, Lehava. Its principal agenda is to prevent
marriages between Jewish women and Arabs; but in the wake of the recent terror attacks, it
has embarked on a new campaign against the employment of Arabs. "Don't hire enemies,"
Benzi Gopstein, head of the organization, corrects me. "Saying 'Arabs' is racism; there
are Arabs who aren't enemies and they can be employed."
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