JNS news briefs: October 19, 2012
(JNS.org) On the one-year anniversary of Gilad Shalit’s release Oct. 18, Hamas’s leadership spoke openly about capturing more Israeli soldiers in order to use them as bargaining chips for the release of Palestinian prisoners.
“It should serve as a road map to free Palestinian prisoners in the future,” Hamas’s leader Ismail Haniyeh said at an event marking the anniversary.
Haniyeh’s comments followed remarks earlier in the day by Abu Obeida, the spokesman for the military wing of Hamas.
“The theory of the solider safe inside his fort has been shattered,” Obeida said. “The enemy soldiers can at any moment be killed, or captured, or made disabled, regardless of the weapons they have, because they are facing the soldiers of God.”
According to Haaretz, Obeida also spoke about the release of a Hamas-produced film called The Dispersion of Illusion, which documents the 2006 abduction of Gilad Shalit, including preparations for his kidnapping and release.
Shalit was released on October 18, 2011 after more than five years in captivity in Gaza. He was exchanged for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, many of whom were convicted terrorists.
(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) A Cyrpus intelligence agency prevented a terrorist attack on Israelis who often dock at a port in Limassol on their cruise ship tours, according to a report by the Cypriot daily Alithia on Thursday. The report said 100 grams of a pink-colored explosive material was found at the port in a ball-shaped form.
No arrests of suspects were said to have been made and the incident was not confirmed by officials in Cyprus or Israel.
Last month, Israel’s Counterterrorism Bureau urged security, government and police agencies in Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Thailand to increase their covert and overt levels of security for Israeli visitors. “The terrorist campaign did not end with Burgas,” a bureau official said at the time, referring to a July 18 attack on an Israeli tourist bus in Bulgaria that left five Israeli tourists and their Bulgarian bus driver dead. The official pointed out that the bureau did not issue a travel warning for Bulgaria prior to the incident because there was no specific information of an impending attack in Bulgaria.
(JNS.org) The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) promoted a female Christian Arab to become a combat commander for the first time ever on Oct. 17.
Mona Abdo, 20, grew up in a Christian home in Haifa. She voluntarily enlisted in the IDF when she turned 18 with the encouragement of her family. Upon enlistment Mona was assigned to the Ordnance Corps. However, she quickly realized that she wanted more of an active role and was transferred to the combat unit Caracal—which has both male and female, and Arab and Jewish soldiers fighting alongside each other.
However, despite her family’s support, Mona has faced mixed reactions within her community. “There were people who were very proud of me, but there were those [Arabs] on the street who saw me with the IDF uniform and the fighter pin and told me I was a traitor,” Mona told Israel’s Channel 2 News.
With the IDF commanders training course behind her, Mona is looking forward to becoming a pioneering leader within the IDF.
“I’m very excited and I’m thinking about the fact that soon I’m going to get new troops who will be under my command. I hope to lead by personal example,” she said.
(JNS.org) An Israel inventor has created a bicycle made nearly entirely out of cardboard as well as a new model of “green” transportation production that could allow poor nations to get bicycles for free.
The bicycle created by cycler and entrepreneur Izhar Gafni, 50, is made out of cardboard but is treated with a secret organic concoction that makes it water and fire proof, and is then coated with lacquer paint. The device will have no metal parts, and even the breaks, wheels and pedal will be made from green materials.
“This is a real game-changer. It changes … the way products are manufactured and shipped, it causes factories to be built everywhere instead of moving production to cheaper labor markets, everything that we have known in the production world can change,” said Nimrod Elmish, Gafni’s business partner, according to Reuters.
The cardboard bikes would be produced on automated production lines that would be supplemented primarily by pensioners and the disabled. The entrepreneurs intend to use advertising for making profit.
“Because you get a lot of government grants, it brings down the production costs to zero, so the bicycles can be given away for free. We are copying a business model from the high-tech world where software is distributed free because it includes embedded advertising,” Elmish said.
(JNS.org) A new nonpartisan study by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) has shown that sanctions are hurting the Iranian economy but not accomplishing their “core strategic objective” of stopping Iran’s path toward obtaining a nuclear weapon.
“There is a consensus that U.S. and U.N. sanctions have not, to date, accomplished their core strategic objective of compelling Iran to verifiably limit its nuclear development to purely peaceful purposes,” the study said.
Iranian Oil exports, which make about 70 percent of its government’s revenues, have declined sharply due to the sanctions from 2.5 million barrels exported per day to only 1 million this month. Other Middle East oil exporting nations such as Saudi Arabia are selling more oil to countries currently boycotting Iranian oil. In addition, blocking Iran from using the international banking system and depleting its foreign exchange reserves has collapsed the value of its coin.
However, while these sanctions are making it more difficult for Iran to obtain some technology needed to continue moving toward nuclear capability, the country is still making progress in that regard. Iran is also “building up its conventional military and missile capabilities, in large part with indigenous skills” and ignoring UN requirements that it cease selling weapons abroad, especially to Syria’s Assad regime, CRS said.
“The CRS conclusions demonstrate the error of Obama administration claims that their Iran policy is working,” Elliott Abrams, former adviser for President George W. Bush, told the Washington Free Beacon. “Sanctions hurt Iran’s economy, but that is not our goal; forcing change in their nuclear program is the goal and sanctions have not achieved it.”
Preceding provided by JNS. org and reprinted with permission
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