Weekly roundup of world briefs


March 29, 2024

‘US taps Hamas ally Qatar to build port in Gaza’

By David Isaac

(JNS) — At America’s request, Hamas ally Qatar has agreed to take charge of operating and financing the temporary pier on its way from the United States to the Gaza coast, Israel’s Channel 14 reported on Tuesday. 

Qatar consented to run the port on condition that the construction work go to the Al-Hisi firm, “a company controlled and sponsored by Hamas,” according to Channel 14 correspondent Baruch Yedid, citing Arab media reports following a meeting in Cyprus between diplomatic officials from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates several days ago.

“Qatar has an interest in this port. Qatar wants to preserve Hamas,” he said. “Qatar also wants leverage over Hamas.”

Qatar is a key financial backer of the terror group and has sent millions monthly to prop it up. Since 2012, the Gulf State has pumped an estimated $1.8 billion dollars into Gaza, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. Qatar also hosts senior Hamas leaders.

Although Israel has accepted Qatar as a key negotiator in hostage talks, members of Israel’s government have said Qatar will play no part in Gaza’s post-Hamas future. However, when Israel expressed to the United States its opposition to Qatari involvement in the pier, it was rebuffed, according to Yedid.

“We’ve arrived at a situation where the Qataris have control because they’re financing. For Hamas, it’s good because it’s their company,” said Yedid. “The whole idea was to isolate Hamas as a whole. Here, once again is Qatari-American cooperation and [Hamas] isn’t isolated.”

Ironically, Hamas was at first against the building of the pier, which it saw as a way for Israel to establish long-term control over Gaza, Yedid noted. 

Israeli leaders initially expressed support for the pier, which the United States sent on March 12, arguing that it would serve to divert humanitarian aid from Hamas, undermining the terror’s group’s dwindling but still active presence in the Strip. 

It will “help lead to the collapse of the Hamas regime,” said Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on March 10.

Jewish actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson offered Bond role

By Georgia L. Gilholy

(JNS)— Jewish British actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson, 33, has reportedly been offered the role of James Bond in the beloved spy movie franchise.

Speculation has been rife regarding who will take up the mantle of the fictional MI6 agent, with names like Tom Hardy, Regé-Jean Page and Idris Elba repeatedly making headlines as possible candidates for the role. However, reports suggest that Taylor-Johnson is now the frontrunner to succeed Daniel Craig, who departed from the role following “No Time to Die” (2021).

“Bond is Aaron’s job, should he wish to accept it. The formal offer is on the table and they are waiting to hear back,” a source revealed to The Sun newspaper.

The 33-year-old actor was raised in a Jewish family in the English town of High Wycombe. In 2015, he told The Guardian that he was happy when someone said he resembled a fashionable Chasidic Jew, stating, “That was nice because I have really curly hair and also I’m Jewish”. 

He is known for his roles in “Kick-Ass,” “Tenet,” “Bullet Train” and the teen comedy “Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging.”

Eon Productions is allegedly gearing up for the announcement should Taylor-Johnson accept the job.

In 2023, rumors swirled about Taylor-Johnson’s alleged secret audition for the Bond role and reports of his meeting with producer Barbara Broccoli further fueled claims about his links to the project.

Taylor-Johnson has remained tight-lipped on the topic, telling a recent interview that he found it “charming and wonderful” that people saw him as a contender for the Bond role.

Filming for the 26th Bond installment is set to begin later this year.

IDF forces nab nine Palestinian terror suspects in Judea & Samaria

(JNS) — Israeli forces overnight Monday arrested nine Palestinian terror suspects in operations across Judea and Samaria.

In the Balata camp on the outskirts of Nablus, the forces located and destroyed several explosive devices that had been planted to harm troops.

In other raids, soldiers confiscated weapons, including a Kalashnikov rifle.

No Israelis were injured.

Since Oct. 7, the IDF has detained 3,500 wanted Palestinian terrorism suspects throughout Judea and Samaria, more than 1,500 of whom are associated with Hamas.

Meanwhile, the Israel Defense Forces’ Central Command, which is responsible for Judea and Samaria, has established a team to investigate alleged terror tunnels in the area.

The unit, which was established several months ago, consists of engineering and intelligence specialists, as well as civilian experts, Ynet reported on Tuesday.

About five shafts have been uncovered in Jenin and Nur al-Shams near Tulkarm, though none led to attack tunnels, according to the report.

The IDF has looked into complaints by residents of Bat Hefer, a village east of Netanya, of tunneling sounds coming from the direction of Palestinian Authority-controlled areas near the Judea and Samaria security barrier.

In recent months, the army has also investigated possible infiltration tunnels Israeli forces discovered near Jewish communities in the Hebron Hills in Judea and Shiloh in Samaria’s Binyamin region.

Ninety terrorists killed, over 300 interrogated at Shifa battlefield

More than 160 of the suspects were transferred to Israel for further questioning

(JNS) — Israeli special forces are continuing an operation launched early Monday to root out a resurgent Hamas presence at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, so far killing 90 terrorists and interrogating more than 300 in the compound.

More than 160 of the suspects have been transferred to Israel for further questioning, according to the Israel Defense Forces, which is conducting the joint operation along with the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet).

“Over the past day, the troops have eliminated terrorists and located weapons in the hospital area, while preventing harm to civilians, patients, medical teams and medical equipment,” the IDF said.

According to Palestinian reports, Israeli forces operating in the area of the medical complex on Wednesday arrested Khaled al-Batash, a senior member of  Islamic Jihad‘s political wing.

Furthermore, an Israeli Air Force craft on Tuesday struck an operational Hamas terror tunnel shaft after a launch was identified from northern Gazan at the southern Israeli city of Sderot.

Also in northern Gaza, in Jabalia, six terrorists were eliminated in an Israeli strike.

In the central Strip, an IDF sniper killed a terrorist.

Troops continue to be active in southern Gaza, killing two terrorists and attacking “military” sites in Al-Qarara, near Khan Yunis, and striking a terrorist who was loading weapons.

Hezbollah arms depot hit ‘in heart of civilian neighborhood’

(JNS) — The Israel Defense Forces provided visual proof on Wednesday that Hezbollah operates from within residential areas, showing footage of an airstrike on a weapons depot “in the heart of a civilian neighborhood deep in Lebanon.”

As can be seen in the video, the recent Israeli Air Force attack set off lengthy secondary explosions that constitute “further proof of Hezbollah’s method of operation in which it stores explosives and dangerous chemical substances in civilian villages.”

The IDF accused the Iranian terrorist proxy of deliberately placing its weapons production infrastructure in the middle of civilian areas in Southern Lebanon, the Beqaa Valley and Beirut.

Using human shields is a war crime and is a tactic used by the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza and by other jihadist organizations.

According to the IDF, “under the law of armed conflict, the presence of the civilian population cannot be used to render certain points immune from military operations, or to shield one’s own military operations.”

Israel has been engaged in a low-intensity conflict with Hezbollah since the terrorist group joined the current war in support of Hamas following the Oct. 7 atrocities in the northwestern Negev. Tens of thousands of Israelis have been evacuated from areas close to the northern border that have seen near-daily rocket, mortar and drone attacks. 

A majority of Israelis support attacking Hezbollah in Lebanon with full force either immediately or after the war in Gaza ends, according to the results of a monthly survey the Jewish People’s Policy Institute published on Sunday.

Sixty-three percent of respondents support attacking the Iranian terrorist proxy, with 29 percent favoring military action as soon as possible while 34 percent want to wait until Hamas is defeated in the Gaza Strip. Another 34 percent believe that a political settlement without expanding the current war is the best option and 9 percent are undecided.

Houthi missile breaches Israeli airspace

(JNS) — A cruise missile launched by Houthi terrorists from Yemen overnight Monday hit an open area near the Red Sea resort city of Eilat, the IDF confirmed on Tuesday evening.

The incident marked the first time that a Houthi missile was able to penetrate Israeli territory. In previous attacks, Israel Defense Forces air defenses managed to shoot down the projectiles in the Red Sea.

The IDF said it was examining the missile impact, which did not cause any injuries or damage. According to the military, the Israeli Air Force followed the missile’s trajectory the entire time.

Since declaring their support for Hamas terrorists in their current war against Israel, Yemen’s Houthis have launched many missiles and drones towards the Jewish state.

The Iran-backed Houthis also continue to attack international commercial shipping off the coast of Yemen.

The Houthis’ decision to target commercial vessels in the Red Sea was made in light “of what the Gaza Strip is being exposed to from the brutal Israeli-American aggression,” the group said last year.

Israel has bolstered its naval presence in the Red Sea area in response to the attacks. Missile boats were deployed “as part of the increased defense efforts in the region,” the IDF said.

On Nov. 9, Houthi rebels in Yemen fired a ballistic missile at Eilat, which was intercepted by an Arrow 3 exoatmospheric hypersonic anti-ballistic missile, in the aerial-defense system’s first operational use.

That same day, a drone launched from Syria caused a large explosion at an elementary school in Eilat, injuring one civilian. The IDF struck assets in Syria in response but did not specify which organization was behind the UAV attack or what targets were hit in Syria.

A week earlier, Israel’s Arrow 2 aerial-defense system for the first time intercepted a surface-to-surface missile fired from the Red Sea area.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that the Eilat Port, which gives Israel a gateway to the East without the need to navigate the Suez Canal, announced its intention to fire half its 120 employees.

The port, which mainly handles car imports and potash exports, was hit hard by the Red Sea crisis, the wire agency said.

Iranian hackers claim to have breached Dimona nuclear facility

(JNS) — Israeli experts are currently inspecting the authenticity of documents leaked by an Iranian hacker group which claims to have breached the Dimona nuclear facility in the Negev desert, Channel 12 reported on Thursday. 

The hackers claim to have stolen thousands of PDF documents, including invoices, email correspondence, Excel tables, Word documents and PowerPoint presentations, according to an initial report, details of which are still under Israeli government censorship.

The hackers’ modus operandi fits with previous Iranian cyberattacks, Israel’s CheckPoint Software told Channel 12, in which an intimidating video is released announcing a successful hack and with the goal of sowing fear. 

The hackers say that Israel needs to evacuate Dimona and Yeruham, a town less than 10 miles from Dimona, as they have “their hand on the switch,” according to Channel 12. 

However, cyber security experts told the channel these claims are an exaggeration and that so far it appears the hackers only succeeded in stealing unclassified documents, if that.

‘Failure to protect Jewish students, faculty’: House committee asks for Berkeley documents

(JNS) — Citing a “violent riot” targeting Jews and “numerous antisemitic incidents” on the University of California, Berkeley campus, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), chairwoman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, wrote to the public school requesting its documentation on its response to Jew-hatred.

“We have grave concerns regarding the inadequacy of UC Berkeley’s response to antisemitism on its campus,” Foxx wrote in a 15-page letter to Berkely’s chancellor, president and board chair on Tuesday. “Several recent incidents have been particularly troubling.”

Foxx cited the Feb. 26 “violent riot” at Berkeley, during which “anti-Israel activists assaulted Jewish students and shattered glass windows, forcing the cancellation of an Israeli speaker’s lecture.”

“In recent weeks, anti-Israel students have occupied and blocked UC Berkeley’s landmark Sather Gate, a key entrance to the center of campus, and harassed Jewish passersby,” she added. “UC Berkeley’s failure to address this activity breaches a specific and longstanding university commitment to keep the gate unobstructed as part of a legal settlement and constitutes a selective dereliction of duty to enforce university rules against harassment.”

“Pervasive” Jew-hatred has been documented at the public university “well before the Oct. 7, 2023 terrorist attack,” Foxx added, noting a 2016 Brandeis University study that found that “over a third of students surveyed at UC Berkeley and three other University of California system campuses perceived a hostile environment toward Jews on their campuses.” Several indications show that matters have worsened since Oct. 7, she added.

The day after an anti-Israel Berkeley student group supported Hamas’s terror attacks explicitly on Oct. 7, Berkeley’s administration issued a statement “responding to the Oct. 7 attack” that “failed to use the words ‘Israel,’ ‘Gaza’ or ‘Hamas’ or to address the student group’s endorsement of terrorism, prompting Ethan Katz, the director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Jewish Studies, to criticize it as ‘very upsetting’ and ‘very weak,’” Foxx wrote.

After documenting several pages worth of antisemitic incidents on Berkeley’s campus, Foxx asked the public school to provide documentation of its responses to Jew-hatred since Jan. 1 and to do so by 2 p.m. Washington time on April 2.

The committee also asked for materials related to “faculty and staff hiring in Jewish studies and Middle Eastern languages and cultures” since Jan. 1, minutes of the board of regents meetings since Oct. 7, and policies and documentation about donations from foreign sources.

Protesters demonstrate outside hotel during Biden’s visit to Dallas

(JNS) — Anti-Israel activists rallied early on Thursday morning near U.S. President Joe Biden’s hotel during his stay in Texas, aiming, according to their chants, to deny him some rest.

What a news pool report described as “a few dozen” protesters demonstrated across the street from the Dallas hotel where the president stayed during a campaign trip. The group banged on pots, blew a whistle, yelled through bullhorns and chanted, “If we don’t get no justice, you don’t get no sleep,” per the New York Post.

Signs at the event called for a ceasefire between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip after five months of war, even though Hamas is still holding as many as 134 hostages. They threatened Biden by withholding votes—one warning: “In November, we will remember.”

A good many wore keffiyehs either around their shoulders or as masks concealing their identities.

The Palestinian Youth Movement organized the action.

The group said in a statement, “While Biden raises funds in two private campaign receptions set up by lawyers in North Texas, over one million Palestinians in Gaza are on the verge of death due to starvation, all the while being signed off by the Biden administration.”


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