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Thursday, Feb. 16 ’12, Shevat 23, 5772
1. REPORT: DM BARAK WAS TARGETED FOR TERROR ATTACK IN SINGAPORE 2. TAL’S MOTHER: ‘SHE IS A HERO’
3. DIFFERENT EXPLOSIVES USED IN DELHI AND BANGKOK ATTACKS 4. CARJACKING ATTEMPTS ON THE RISE IN SAMARIA 5. 2,000 JEWS WORSHIP IN KEVER YOSEF 6. CHARGE: PROSECUTORS’ BIAS KEEPS NATIONALISTS IN JAIL 7. HEVRON SURVIVOR DIES WITHOUT SEEING LAND RETURNED 8. HUNGER STRIKING TERRORIST HEADED TO SUPREME COURT
1. REPORT: DM BARAK WAS TARGETED FOR TERROR ATTACK IN SINGAPORE by David Lev
A report in an Arab newspaper Thursday said that the Mossad, in cooperation with Singapore security forces, in recent days managed to foil a terror attack targeting Defense Minister Ehud Barak. The report, in the Kuwaiti Al-Jarida newspaper, is based on conversations with “senior Israeli sources” who said that the increased security by Israeli forces since the terror attacks in India and Georgia earlier this week have paid off.
Barak is in Singapore for an international aviation exhibition. According to the sources, Barak was targeted by several Iranians during the trip. Three Iranians, working with Hizbullah, had gathered information about Barak’s schedule in preparation for what was most likely to be a shooting attack.
Israeli intelligence officials alerted Singapore security forces about the impending attack even before Barak arrived in the country earlier this week, and the three Iranian terrorists were arrested in what the paper called a “secret operation.” The sources did not say how the plot was uncovered, but the three are now in custody, with Israeli officials participating in their interrogation in order to gather information about future planned attacks, the report quoted the sources as saying.
The Defense Ministry issued a statement Thursdau afternoon, saying that they were “unaware of any such incident, and apparently it did not take place.” In the past, Al-Jarida has been considered to be a reliable source, some Israeli officials said Thursday. Barak left Singapore Wednesday for Japan.
On Thursday, the Foreign Ministry issued a travel warning for Israelis in Thailand. The warning said that in the wake of the attacks on Israelis in India and Georgia earlier this week, Israelis should “act with caution” when traveling in Thailand. Similar warnings were released Thursday for travelers to Italy, Norway, and Taiwan.
2. TAL’S MOTHER: ‘SHE IS A HERO’
by Gavriel Queenann
The mother of Tal Yehoshua-Koren, the Israeli wounded in Monday’s terror attack in Delhi, will soon travel to India to be with her daughter as she recovers.
“She has been very, very brave throughout this incident. She is a hero for handling the situation so sensibly and has been raised to be a strong person. But right now, she is very weak physically and we plan to fly down to New Delhi very soon to be with her,” Tzafira Koren told the Indian Express on Thursday.
Koren told the paper she has yet to speak with her daughter, but did speak to her grandchildren aged 7 and 12. The family was informed of the terror attack by Tal’s husband, Israel’s defense attaché in Delhi.
Tal was on her way to pick her children up from the American Embassy School on Monday when a lone motorcyclist attached a magnetic explosive device to her car and sped off. According to reports she narrowly exited the vehicle as the bomb went off.
She sustained shrapnel injuries to her spine in the explosion, and has undergone two major surgeries at the Primus Hospital in Chanakyapuri. Doctors say she is experiencing partial paralysis in her lower extremities, but may regain full function.
Her driver and two Indian nationals who work for the embassy were also lightly wounded in the explosion.
Tal’s brother Iddo Koren and sister Sharon are expect to arrive in New Delhi on Thursday.
According to reports Tal, who has lived in Delhi for four years, is very active in Jewish life in Delhi.
3. DIFFERENT EXPLOSIVES USED IN DELHI AND BANGKOK ATTACKS by Gavriel Queenann
Officials in India said Thursday that the explosives used in attacks on Israeli targets in Thailand and India are not the same.
Sources from the Home Ministry told IBN-CNN that C4, a military explosive, was used in Thailand, while a nitrate and potassium based bomb was used Monday’s attack targeting an Israeli diplomat’s wife in Delhi.
Tal Yehoshua Koren, the wife of Israel’s defense attaché in Delhi, was seriously injured when terrorists triggered an explosive device on her vehicle. Her driver and two Indian nationals who work for the embassy were also lightly injured in the blast.
On Wednesday, it was reported Delhi police had arrested five suspects and identified the motorcycle used in the attack.
However, Delhi Police Commissioner BK Gupta, told reporters that while the investigation has “gathered pace,” no major breakthroughs have occured.
Meanwhile, security agencies in India, Thailand, Georgia, and Bangkok have been coordinating their investigations into this week’s attacks.
“Government agencies got information from Georgia and Thailand regarding organizations and persons. The forensic experts are working on these leads. Analysis is also on to match things used in the Tbilisi and Bangkok strikes with those found in the Delhi incident,” an Indian intelligence official confirmed.
Indian officials – who have over USD 10 billion in Iranian trade on the line – have refused to accuse any nation or group of the bombing. However, Indian intelligence sources told the Times of India that investigators believe Iran used local proxies to carry out the attack.
Indian officials have said there will be “consequences” if Iran is found to be behind the attack. Delhi consumes 12 percent of Tehran’s exportable oil.
According to officials monitoring the case, forensic experts are trying to ascertain whether there are similarities between the twin attacks in India and Georgia, as well as the Thailand attack.
Police in Georgian capital Tbilisi averted an attack on Monday when they disabled an explosive device found in the car of an Israeli embassy employee.
Meanwhile, another attack targeting Defense Minister Ehud Barak, was reportedly thwarted on Thursday by the Mossad and authorities in Singapore.
Israel has accused Iran of being behind the attacks. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday, “Iran is undermining the world’s stability and harms innocent diplomats. World countries must condemn Iran’s terror acts and draw a red line.”
His statement came after three Iranian men were arrested in Thailand and Malaysia in the past two days after an explosive device went off accidentally in Bangkok.
According to Bangkok police, the three were planning to attack Israeli diplomats.
4. CARJACKING ATTEMPTS ON THE RISE IN SAMARIA by David Lev
Thefts of cars owned by Israelis by Arabs from PA controlled areas is a long-time phenomenon, but in recent weeks, several incidents of attempted violent carjackings by PA Arabs on the roads of Samaria underscored the need for security on the roads.
On Tuesday, a resident of Karnei Shomron was forced from here vehicle while driving along Road 55 towards Kfar Sava. In an interview with Arutz 7, Osnat Vashdi said that all had been well until she stopped her car on the side of the road for a moment to adjust her seat belt. “After I passed the village of Nabi Elias, very close to the checkpoint on Road 55, I stopped the car,” she said. “Within seconds a number of Arabs attacked the vehicle, screaming and yelling that I should get out of the car. I held tightly onto the steering wheel and began blowing the horn, but they did not stop.”
The Arabs managed to get into the car and one began driving it, apparently intending to drive it to Kalkilya, just a few hundred meters away. But Vashdi was unable to get out of the car at that point, as she could not get her seat belt off. “Finally I was able to get it off, after I realized my life was in danger,” she said.
Police arrived within minutes, but the took about 35 minutes to get to the scene of the carjacking, she said. “The commander said that the gang was known, and that they had taken the car to Kalkilya, but after 25 minutes there was no point in chasing them,” she said. Her husband took her to the hospital where, thank G-d, she found that she hadn’t broken any bones – but she was badly bruised, she said.
A similar incident was reported last week by a woman who was driving past Yakir, in central Samaria. The woman was driving from Ariel to Kedumim at night, and was several hundred meters before the entrance to Emanuel when an Arab vehicle cut her off on the narrow road, and forced her stop. An apparently armed Arab jumped from the vehicle, rapped on the window, and demanded that the woman open the door. Instead she pulled the door closed – but as he was stronger, he managed to force it open, and dragged her from the vehicle. The Arab drove her car away, leaving her on the dark road alone. She managed to run to the Emanuel junction, where someone stopped for her and she was able to report the incident.
In light of the incidents, the Karnei Shomron Local Authority issued safety procedures it recommended everyone take when driving in the area, urging drivers to lock their doors, not to stop on the side of the road, not to stop near Arab villages, not to stop when unidentified people try to flag them down, and, if they do need to leave the car, to take the keys with them.
5. 2,000 JEWS WORSHIP IN KEVER YOSEF
by David Lev
Some 2,000 Israelis of all backgrounds – religious, secular, and Hareidi – held prayers overnight Wednesday at the Tomb of Joseph (Kever Yosef) in Shechem. The special visit was arranged with the IDF, and soldiers accompanying the group participated in prayers as well.
Leading the group was Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, Rabbi Elyakim Levanon (rav of the Samaria region), Samaria Council director Gershon Mesika, and chairman of the Samaria Residents Council Benny Katsover.
Accompanying the group were some 50 reporters, both Israeli and foreign, mostly from France. The reporters heard a detailed presentation about the Tomb and about the return of Jews to Samaria by Katsover, one of the pioneers of Jewish settlement in the region. Among the guests were members of the Livnat family of Elon Moreh. Last year, Ben Yosef Livnat was killed near the Tomb.
Edelstein also spoke, unable to hide his emotion at the scene of thousands of Jews praying at the site. He called on the government to allow Jews to freely visit the site and to set up a permanent presence there. “Experience shows that holy sites that are under Israeli control have free access and are safe for all – unlike the Palestinian Authority, which prevents Jews from entering holy site, and even burns them down, as has occurred several times at Kever Yosef. I believe we need to return to total control of the site, and many in the government believe so as well,” Edelstein said.
The Tomb, which was destroyed and desecrated 11 years ago, was restored last year after painstaking and dangerous work by the Samaria Regional Council, the Shechem Echad organization, the IDF, and the Civil Authority.
Mesika thanked the security forces for ensuring the safety of visitors. “Kever Yosef, the Temple Mount, and the Machpelah cave are the basis of all of the Land of Israel, where the Jewish people derive their strength from,” he said. “Unfortunately, we remember how the ‘PA police,’ the terrorists in uniform, desecrated this site. We, along with the IDF, have merited to reclaim the site in recent years, and we call on the government to act upon something that is even written in the Oslo Accords – imposing Israeli control on the Tomb of Joseph, which is so holy to the Jewish people.”
6. CHARGE: PROSECUTORS’ BIAS KEEPS NATIONALISTS IN JAIL by Maayana Miskin
State prosecutors in Jerusalem are keeping nationalist Jewish activists in jail due to personal bias, legal rights activists charged Thursday. Several Jews have been kept in jail until trial for charges of vandalism – a situation that activists and families say is unprecedented.
Legal Forum head Nachi Eyal expressed shock as prosecutors fought an order releasing right-wing activists who protested two months ago in Qasr al-Yahud. “We have checked the precedents regarding anarchists in Bilin and Nalin, and we were amazed to find that there were no cases in which left-wing activists were arrested in similar circumstances,” he said.
The Qasr al-Yahud protesters have been in prison for several weeks. The recent release order would see them freed until trial under tight restrictions.
A similar situation is unfolding in the case of Oryan Nizri, a young woman accused of vandalizing an Arab man’s property in the PA town of Luban a-Sharkiya. Nizri is charged with puncturing bags of cement and leaving anti-Islam graffiti.
Like the Qasr al-Yahud protesters, Nizri was to be released until trial under strict conditions, including supervised house arrest. However, Jerusalem state prosecutors have filed an appeal aimed at keeping her in jail.
Her attorneys say the situation is unprecedented. Vandalism is not a charge that has previously been used to justify detention until trial, they said.
Legal experts who spoke to Arutz Sheva confirmed the attorneys’ claims. “It is not customary to arrest suspects for breaking laws regarding graffiti or property damage,” they said. “There is no doubt that if [the detainees] were left-wing activists or Arabs the police would not have arrested them even for a single day, and may not have attached any importance to the complaint.”
With the departure of Shai Nitzan from the Prosecutor’s Office “we have hoped for a new spirit, a balanced professional approach which would see each case individually and not ideologically,” they said. However, they continued, “Litman’s start in office has not boded well.”
7. HEVRON SURVIVOR DIES WITHOUT SEEING LAND RETURNED by Maayana Miskin
Yaakov Castel, one of the last remaining survivors of the 1929 Hevron massacre, passed away on Thursday morning. His dream of restoring his family’s home in the city remained unfulfilled.
Castel survived the brutal massacre of Hevron’s Jews at the hands of an Arab mob as a young child. His father, Rabbi Shlomo Castel, was murdered.
Survivors of the massacre were expelled from Hevron by the British. When Jordan seized control of the city in 1948, their homes were given to Arab families.
Israel’s return to Hevron in 1967 did not lead to survivors’ return to their homes. Instead, Israeli authorities decided to treat the properties as abandoned land. Jews who moved into the Castel family’s home in Hevron’s marketplace were expelled at the order of the Supreme Court.
Castel fought a lengthy legal battle to get his property returned.
Yaakov Castel owned an ancient copy of the Book of Esther which had been read on Purim by Hevron’s Jews. Eleven years ago he donated the scroll to the Hevron museum, which chronicles the city’s Jewish history.
Castel aslo owned a book detailing his family’s rich history, which has included more than 500 years living in Gaza and then Hevron following the expulsion of Jews from Spain. At the time of the Hevron massacre the family had been in Hevron for generations.
Castel displayed the book, written by a granddaughter, at the Diaspora Museum. In an interview with Arutz Sheva several years ago, he explained that his goal in displaying the book was, in part, “to make sure that there will be Jews living in Hevron.”
8. HUNGER STRIKING TERRORIST HEADED TO SUPREME COURT by Gavriel Queenann
The attorney for Islamic Jihad leader Khader Adnan said Monday that he will appeal his client’s administrative detention order to Israel’s Supreme Court.
Attorney Jawad Bulus said he would file an urgent request to the Jewish state’s highest court in light of a rapid decline in the health of Adnan, 34.
Adnan has been on a hunger strike for 61 days to protest his incarceration by Israeli security officials, which he began one day after his arrest on 17 December 2011.
Bulus said that Adnan was on Tuesday still refusing to eat and fighting “for the dignity and pride of Palestinian prisoners held without justification”
However, observers say the High Court may not consider Adnan’s hunger strike material to his detention as he is refusing food of his own volition, and note Adnan’s hunger strike is only unique in duration. Previous hunger strikes have not resulted in prisoner’s being released.
The World Medical Association maintains hunger-striking prisoners who have made a rational decision to refuse sustenance should not be force fed.
In 1975 the organization resolved, “Where a prisoner refuses nourishment and is considered by the physician as capable of forming an unimpaired and rational judgment concerning the consequences of such a voluntary refusal of nourishment, he or she shall not be fed artificially.”
“The decision as to the capacity of the prisoner to form such a judgment should be confirmed by at least one other independent physician. The consequences of the refusal of nourishment shall be explained by the physician to the prisoner,” the WMA maintains.
Israeli officials say they will consider forcibly terminating Adnan’s hunger-strike should he begin to suffer serious health effects, but say that hasn’t happened yet.
On Monday, a riot erupted outside the Ofer military base after an IDF tribunal rejected Adnan’s appeal of his detention by security officials. In the riot 23 protesters and 1 border police officer were injured.
Fatah and Hamas officials have warned that Adnan’s death in custody would spark mass protests throughout PA enclaves in Judea and Samaria, and Gaza.
Under Israel’s administrative detention laws security officials may seek a court order to detain an individual without charge if they are suspected of being a threat to national security.
Such orders can be appealed to a higher court, and must be reviewed by the court every six months. Israel’s Supreme Court is the final court of appeal.
Israeli officials have a strict policy of not discussing intelligence matters in public and Adnan’s hearings have been held in closed court.
However, Adnan is a senior member of the Islamic Jihad terror organization in northern Samaria. Islamic Jihad seeks the destruction of Israel and actively targets Jewish civilians.
In late January, the GSS and Israel Police foiled a shooting attack planned by an Israeli Arab in collaboration with an Islamic Jihad terror cell from Tulkarem in northern Samaria.
Last August, Islamic Jihad terrorists from Gaza were involved in the deadly cross-border ambush of an Israeli civilian bus that left 8 Israelis – 7 of them civilians – dead.
Islamic Jihad leaders in Gaza – whose terror cells are heavily involved in rocket attacks on Israel’s southern communities – have been targeted with airstrikes rather than arrest and detention.
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