Categorized | Middle East

Middle East Roundup: March 18, 2016

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Israel brings complaint against Time magazine

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to Israel’s Government Press Office went public with a complaint against Time Magazine Thursday, five months after the magazine published an article referring to a terrorist as a “graphic designer … killed by Israeli security forces,” with no mention of the people he murdered and injured.

Terrorist Baha Aliyan was shot by Israeli security forces after he and another Palestinian, Balal Abu-Janem, boarded the Route 78 bus in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem and launched a joint shooting and stabbing attack that killed three men — Alon Govberg, 51, Haim Haviv, 78, and Richard Lakin, 76 — and wounded 17 others.

On Oct. 15, Time’s Rebecca Collard wrote: “On Tuesday, Allyan [sic], a graphic designer from the predominantly Palestinian neighborhood Jabel Mukaber, was killed by Israeli security forces after allegedly trying to carry out an attack in Jerusalem.”

In an article published on its website Thursday, the GPO wrote: “To our sorrow, repeated requests to Time Magazine, initially by an Israeli NGO and subsequently by the GPO, have all failed to induce Time to correct the serious factual error in the Oct. 15 article.

“An Israeli NGO first approached Time Magazine correspondent Rebecca Collard on Oct. 18 and received no response. The Government Press Office contacted Collard on Feb. 25, presented the facts and demanded a correction. Neither recognition nor correction of the erroneous article resulted.

“When contacted again, Time Magazine correspondent Collard wrote to the GPO on March 4: ‘I’ve forwarded your concerns to my editors.’
Breaking the Silence reportedly gathered classified information on IDF

( The controversial left wing NGO Breaking the Silence is under investigation into allegations as to whether or not it attempted to glean classified information from former Israel Defense Forces soldiers in the wake of a report by Israel’s Channel 2.

The report from Israel’s Channel 2 claimed that the left wing NGO Breaking the Silence actively worked to place people in classified units in the IDF in order to gather information that it could use in its activities against “the occupation.”

Additionally, activists from the group interviewed IDF veterans on issues related to military secrets and not human rights.

Channel 2 gained the information about the group using hidden camera footage filmed by activists from the right wing NGO Ad Kan.

Breaking the Silence has long been controversial in Israel. The NGO attempts to expose alleged IDF human rights abuses in the disputed territories by using testimonies of former IDF veterans.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the report and says that security officials are investigating the group’s actions.

“Breaking the Silence has crossed another red line,” Netanyahu said. “The defense establishment’s investigative bodies are looking into the issue.”

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon also said that the army has opened an investigation into whether or not the organization had gained classified information from former soldiers.

Latin American lawmakers sign pro-Israel resolution against BDS
( Parliamentarians from 13 Latin American and Caribbean nations have signed a resolution in support of Israel and against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The lawmakers recently met in Miami for the the Israel Allies Foundation’s Second Annual Latin America Summit on Israel.

The resolution, written in Spanish, states that the signatories “unequivocally declare, personally, our support for the Jewish people to live in peace, safety and security in the Land of Israel” and that “strong relations between the Western Hemisphere and Israel are crucial to the spread of freedom, democracy and justice around the world.”

“Boycotts and sanctions against the State of Israel and its products contribute to an anti-Semitic attitude inspired by anti-Semitism and opposition to the Jewish State…[and] are detrimental to a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and must be rejected by all actors that seek peace,” it also states.

The resolution affirms that “the eventual existence of countries with nuclear weapons in the Middle East poses an existential threat to Israel and for peace around the world.”

Uruguayan Minister Ruperto Long noted that his country was the first in Latin America to have an Israeli embassy.

“[The] Jewish people have played a very important role in Uruguay for more than a century, and we need to honor that tradition. It is unbelievable that after more than three thousand years the Jewish people have not been allowed to have their own country where they can live in peace. For me, this is an essential human rights issue to fix,” he said.

New app to allow Israelis to send video footage to emergency responders

( A new app that allows Israelis to make live video distress calls to emergency responders from their smartphones has been developed by a start-up named Reporty, which is chaired by former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak.

The app, launched nationwide on Wednesday, allows emergency operators to view a scene live on video, chat with callers via text messages, and determine the locations of those in distress both indoors and outdoors. The app is expected to be particularly useful in the midst of an ongoing wave of Palestinian stabbing and car-ramming attacks against Israelis in recent months.

Barak, who invested $1 million into Reporty, said he joined the initiative recognizing “that it is an important application with an excellent team.”

“From my personal experience I have seen that this is essential,” Barak said Wednesday at the launch of the app, according to Israel Hayom.

“At a time when the reality is so challenging, when terrorism and violence do not spare any country in the world, and at the same time people feel a growing need to be connected all the time, there is room for a comprehensive solution that will allow people to feel safe and connected. Reporty’s platform allows organizations and authorities to mobilize quickly and respond to terror attacks in real time, while minimizing the misuse of time and resources,” Barak said.
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