Middle East Roundup: March 14, 2017

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Delegation of North-African Arab journalists calls Israel Western and free

(JNS.org) Following an invitation from Hassan Kaabiya, Israel’s deputy spokesman for Arab media, a group of six North African journalists and bloggers is visiting Israel this week as guests of the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

During their trip, the Algerian and Tunisian journalists are meeting with senior Israeli officials at the Foreign Ministry, the Supreme Court and the Knesset. Members of the delegation Monday visited the Old City of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, and the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum.

According to Yedioth Ahronoth, the bloggers described their first impressions of Israel as “appearing Western and free.”

This is the sixth time that a delegation of North African journalists has visited the Jewish state as part of an initiative by Israel’s Arab media representatives. Most recently, in November 2016, seven Moroccan journalists participated in a weeklong trip to Israel sponsored by the Foreign Ministry. The Palestinian terror group Hamas condemned the Moroccan delegation’s visit, calling it a “crime against our people.”

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British BDS activist denied entry into Israel

(JNS.org) A week after the Israeli Knesset passed legislation banning foreign nationals who actively support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement from entering Israel, the new law has already been put to use.

The former chair of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, Hugh Lanning, was denied entry into Israel Sunday. According to an official statement by the Israeli Embassy in the U.K., Lanning had direct ties with leaders of the Palestinian terror organization Hamas. The British anti-Israel activist was placed on a flight back to the U.K. Monday.

“Those who act against Israel must understand that the reality has changed. No sane country would grant entry to central, pro-BDS figures who want to harm it and isolate it,” said Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud).

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New Israeli technology makes internet media immune to cyberattacks

(JNS.org) A researcher at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) has developed a new method that provides “virtually 100 percent protection against cyberattacks launched through internet video or images,” the university said.

Regarding the technological threat that BGU’s technique seeks to resolve, Prof. Ofer Hadar, chair of the university’s Department of Communication Systems Engineering, said that “any downloaded or streamed video or picture is a potential vehicle for a cyberattack. Hackers like videos and pictures because they bypass the regular data transfer systems of highly secure systems, and there is significant space in which to implant malicious code.”

Hadar’s remedy for cyber-related vulnerabilities, dubbed “The Coucou Project,” involves using a series of algorithms to completely disable hackers from infiltrating systems through video or pictures and extracting data. The professor’s technique entails combating steganography, which BGU described as “a process that involves hiding a message in an appropriate carrier, such as an image file.”

The Israeli researcher envisions antivirus companies implementing the Coucou protection system in their applications and products.

 

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Intel acquires Israels Mobileye for $15.3 billion in largest-ever tech buyout

(JNS.org) The American high-tech giant Intel Corp. announced Monday that it has agreed to buy Israeli vision technology developer Mobileye for $15.3 billion, in the largest-ever acquisition of an Israeli technology company.

As automakers around the world compete to develop cutting edge self-driving car technology, Intel’s purchase of Mobileye, a global leader in the development of vision technology for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, places the U.S. computer chip company at the forefront of the expanding autonomous vehicle market.

After the deal was announced, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu tweeted, “Congratulations to Mobileye! Israeli genius, Israeli pride.”

Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis also spoke proudly of Israel’s hi-tech industry following the announcement, saying, “The fact that large international companies see potential in Israel and are seeking to acquire Israeli companies that lead their prospective fields is a source of national pride for our technological strength.”

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Home of Palestinian terrorist raided after Jerusalem stabbing attack

(JNS.org) Israeli police raided the eastern Jerusalem home of Palestinian terrorist Muhammad Ibrahim Mattar Monday, just hours after the suspect initiated a stabbing attack on two border guards at the Lions’ Gate entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City.

The police officers were moderately wounded in the attack when Mattar, 25, stabbed them with a large butcher’s knife. The injured border guards were transported to Hadassah Hospital for treatment and were reported to be fully conscious and in stable condition upon arrival. The guards shot the terrorist during the attack, and he later died of his wounds.

Following the attack, police entered the Mattar family home in the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem and arrested four family members, including the attacker’s parents and one of his brothers. Jabel Mukaber has been home to several Palestinian terrorists since the beginning of a Palestinian terror wave that began in October 2015.

 

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Trump special adviser visits Israel in effort to restart peace talks

(JNS.org) President Donald Trump’s international negotiations adviser, Jason Greenblatt, arrived in Israel this week for meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

Prior to his White House role, Greenblatt worked as a real estate lawyer with Trump during the past two decades.

The stated purpose of Greenblatt’s trip is to jumpstart negotiations between Israel and the PA, and to explore new strategies for advancing Middle East peace.

Greenblatt and Netanyahu met for more than five hours Monday night and “reaffirmed the joint commitment of both Israel and the United States to advance a genuine and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians that strengthens the security of Israel and enhances stability in the region,” according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The Israeli leader told Greenblatt “that he believes that under President Trump’s leadership, it is possible to advance peace between Israel and all its neighbors,” Netanyahu’s office added, while Greenblatt similarly “reaffirmed President Trump’s commitment to Israel’s security and to the effort to help Israelis and Palestinians achieve a lasting peace through direct negotiations.”

During his visit, Greenblatt was also scheduled to meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, opposition leader Isaac Herzog, acting National Security Council head Yaakov Nagel and Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) head Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai.

 

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Israeli defense minister calls for population swaps in future peace deal

(JNS.org) Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday that any future peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians should include some Israeli-Arab Knesset members becoming citizens of a future Palestinian state.

The defense minister posted a message on his Facebook page in which he listed three Arab Knesset members alongside the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel’s Northern Branch.

“There is no reason that Sheikh Raed Salah, Ayman Odeh, Bassel Ghattas or Haneen Zoabi will continue to be citizens of Israel,” said Lieberman, mentioning figures who all have histories of anti-Israel statements and have been accused of incitement.

Lieberman, a strong advocate of population swaps in the context of any future peace deal, reiterated his past calls for such measures. He suggested that Israeli Arabs be included in a Palestinian state if a two-state framework is agreed upon, saying, “The only way to a sustainable agreement is through land and population swaps as part of a larger regional peace deal.”

“It cannot be that a hegemonic Palestinian state will be established, without a single Jew—100 percent Palestinian, and Israel will be a bi-national state with 22 percent Palestinians,” Lieberman said.

 

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Articles from JNS.org appear on San Diego Jewish World through the generosity of Dr. Bob and Mao Shillman.

 

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