Tuesday, January 08, 2019

08-Jan-19: In the wake of multiple murders, this violent Pal Arab village's economy just grew

Kobar [Image Source]
Providers of foreign aid to the always-insolvent Palestinian Authority - and the ordinary citizens who unwittingly contribute to the funding via their taxes - acquired yet another new beneficiary earlier today.
Assem Barghouti suspected of participating in the murder of 4 day old Amiad Ish-Ran and IDF soldiers Staff Sergeant Yuval Mor Yosef and Sergeant Yosef Cohen, and the injury of numerous others, was arrested this morning. According to Palestinian Authority law and regulations, since he was arrested by Israel for his "participation in the struggle against the occupation", Barghouti is entitled to a monthly salary from the PA of 6,000 shekels [at today's exchange rate, about US$1,637 - TOW]. According to PA law, his salary will increase over time to 12,000 shekels per month 
[at today's exchange rate, about US$3,274 - TOW]Barghouti's starting salary is higher than most other terrorist prisoners, since he has already spent 11 years in prison for past involvement in terrorism. During his first term in prison, Barghouti received an estimated cumulative sum of 447,000 shekels [at today's exchange rate, roughly US$122,000 - TOW]Additionally, according the PA law and regulations, upon his release, Barghouti was also entitled to a $6,000 one-time release grant and a guaranteed salary paid by the PA even if he did not work... ["Another baby murderer to receive fat salary from the PA", Palestinian Media Watch, January 8, 2019]

Barghouti's younger brother, 29 year old Saleh Omar Barghouti
shot and injured seven Israeli civilians at a bus stop outside of the Ofra settlement on December 9. Among the wounded was a pregnant woman who gave birth prematurely. Her baby boy died three days later... [The two are the sons] of West Bank Hamas leader Omar Barghouti, from the village of Kobar... [Jerusalem Post, December 20, 2018]
That younger brother who was the subject of an intense manhunt for several days was arrested on December 12, 2018 when IDF soldiers, conducting a manhunt, intercepted a cab he was riding in. Saleh died in the subsequent shootout with IDF forces. A second Palestinian Arab suspect also from Kobar, Wa’ed Barghouti, was arrested separately shortly afterward.

Image Source
The Barghouti's home village of Kobar (also written Cobar, Kaubar and Khobar), controlled by the Palestinian Authority and located about 10 km north of its seat of government, Ramallah, has a population about 3,500 (as of  2007). 

Almost all of them belong to one of eight family-clans of which the most prominent is the Barghoutis. 

For a thinly-populated Palestinian Arab place, it possesses a rich and strikingly repellent charge-sheet:
Omar al-Abed, 19, from a Palestinian Arab settlement called Kobar - the home village of the notorious convicted Palestinian Arab terrorist Marwan Barghouti - jumped the fence in the dark and made his way to one of the nearby, brightly-lit houses. He burst into the home around 9:30 pm brandishing a kitchen knife he had purchased earlier in the day for what he admitted to be an intended knife attack on Jews... Times of Israel says the Salomons were celebrating the birth of a baby boy in the family. Also that El'ad's wife, Michal, managed to flee from the carnage and protect their five children behind a locked door in the house from where she called police. That same report quotes the 19 year-old murderer saying he was driven to carry out the killings by the incitement of "the imams on the Temple Mount". This statement ought to be getting much media amplification but almost certainly will not... ["22-Jul-17: Friday night carnage in Neve Tzuf"]
For reasons best known to certain kinds of Brits, the English West Midlands industrial town of Walsall in Staffordshire chose to establish a twinning relationship with Kobar which is still in operation. What each side gets from this borders on the frankly disturbing.
Kobar's economic basis was bleak as of 2011 which is when some detailed analysis was published. Some 62.5% of its population were categorized at the time as "not economically active". The village was reported to have (and this the whole list) an olive oil-press and two stone quarries, 14 grocery stores, one fruit and veg store, five "professional workshops", three service stores, and one shop for agricultural tools [source].

We have not yet found published data to show what share of daily life in this violent place is sustained by lifetime Pay-to-Slay stipends from the Palestinian Authority. Whatever it is, it grew larger today. Thanks, Europe.

Monday, January 07, 2019

07-Jan-19: Pre-dawn Gazan rocket attack on Ashkelon is thwarted

The marina at Ashkelon [Image Source]
It's a little after seven in the morning on a chilly January Monday and the sleep-deprived citizens of Ashdod are, not for the first time, counting their blessings.

Around three this morning, incoming-rocket warnings were sounded in the coastal city that has the misfortune of being within easy firing range of the rocket-rich Gaza Strip and its mayhem-minded terrorist hordes:
...[W]arning sirens blared in the southern city of Ashkelon and the nearby Ashkelon beach region after 3 am. The IDF said it identified a single launch from Gaza that was intercepted by Iron Dome. Residents reported hearing loud explosions, apparently from the interceptor. The launch came hours after the Israeli Air Force struck two Hamas positions in the eastern Gaza Strip in response to an explosive device that was flown into southern Israel earlier in the day, the army said. On Sunday morning, a bomb was flown into Israel using a large cluster of balloons and a drone-like glider device, landing in a carrot field in the Sdot Negev region of southern Israel shortly before noon... ["Air force hits Gaza targets after rocket fired into Israel", Times of Israel, January 7, 2019]
Following the now-familiar playbook, the in-bound rocket was aimed at civilian targets (Ashkelon is not a military base but a bustling city of about 140,000 civilian residents). The fact that it was intercepted mid-flight indicates it was on-target for causing the very sort of damage and destruction that it was intended to. The Iron Dome system calculates the trajectory of enemy rocket attacks before telling its operators whether or not to commit to firing off one of its counter-measure rockets.

No less familiar, Israel's response was to fire from the air against "several terror targets at a Hamas training camp in the northern Gaza Strip" according to Times of Israel quoting the IDF. Since this happened in the dark of the early morning, it's likely no one was injured on the ground.

Yesterday's balloon attack: The payload exploded while
being examined by Israeli police [Image Source: IDF]
Yesterday (Sunday), a brightly-colored, large cluster of balloons carrying an explosive payload as well as (bizarrely) a non-functioning drone-looking device floated across Gaza's frontier with Israel and exploded in a carrot field in one of southern Israel's Gaza containment communities:
The balloons were attached to a drone, which was labeled with a logo from the Gaza engineering college. The balloons sat in a field near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip for most of the day before security personnel could raise the drone using heavy machinery. When that occurred, the device detonated, but the incident did not cause any damage or injuries. Palestinians frequently send balloons, kites and other items laced with incendiary devices over the border fence in attempts to harm Israeli territory, since the "Great March of Return" riots along the fence began in March 2018. The devices have burned more than half the forested land in the area, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) data showed in October... ["Israel hits Hamas posts after incendiary balloons, drone, fall near border", Jerusalem Post, January 6, 2019]
Given the very different kind of media coverage terrorism gets here versus outside Israel, the capacity of Hamas' rocket-equipped forces to deliver serious and deadly harm to Israelis is well-recognized by Israelis; much less so by people far from the scene. Less than a month ago, some 300 Israel-bound rockets were fired from Gaza [Ynet, December 11, 2018] during a single, very violent 5-hour time span on a Monday evening.

No one expects attacks of that sort to end soon.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

29-Dec-18: A quiet weekend

Dutch police action [Image Source]
A handful of terror-centric reports that arrived in our news filter this quiet weekend and that, for the most part, have gotten very little media attention.

Friday night Arab-on-Israel rocket attack
A rocket was fired Friday from the Gaza Strip into Israel, the IDF Spokesperson’s Office said, the first such incident in over six weeks. The Red Alert alarm warning system was not activated as the projectile landed in an open area, the spokesperson added. No injuries or damage were reported. [Times of Israel]
Five men arrested in Rotterdam on terrorism charges 
Five men have been arrested in Rotterdam on charges of preparing a terrorist attack, broadcaster NOS said on Saturday. Four were arrested early on Saturday morning at homes in the centre and east of the port city and the fifth man was picked up later in the day. The first four are aged 20 to 30 and have a ‘non-western’ background, broadcaster NOS said. One is said to be a Syrian refugee with residency status named as Saleh H. A second man is said to be an Egyptian national... [DutchNews.nl]
Egypt security forces kill 40 suspected terrorists in raids - report 
Egyptian security forces killed 40 alleged terrorists in raids in the Giza and North Sinai regions early Saturday, state media reported, a day after four people were killed when a roadside bomb struck a tourist bus in Giza. Egypt's Interior Ministry said the raids, conducted at dawn Saturday, targeted three suspected hideouts of terrorists who were planning hostile acts during the Christmas holidays, according to the state-run Al-Ahram online newspaper. Ammunition, firearms and improvised explosive devices were recovered in significant numbers... Three Vietnamese tourists and an Egyptian tour guide were killed and at least 11 people were injured in the attack Friday in a central tourist area of Giza, near Cairo, where the pyramids are located... [CNN]
...meanwhile from the Palestinian Authority's media mouthpiece:
"...Spokesman Yousef al-Mahmoud said in a statement that the Palestinian people and its leadership stand with Egypt in fighting “this cowardly terrorism aimed at innocent people and the security and stability of the Egyptian people.” He expressed belief that Egypt is capable of fighting terrorism and those who stand behind it, calling on Arab countries to stand together in fighting terrorism and extremism targeting the Arab world in particular and the world in general.
Three charged with planning terror attack in Sweden
Sweden's prosecution authority said on Thursday it had charged three men with planning a terror attack in Sweden, warning the plot could have caused serious damage had it not been prevented... The men, aged between 30 and 46, originally hail from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Their residency status in Sweden could not immediately be verified... The three are suspected of "obtaining and storing large amounts of chemicals and other equipment with the aim of killing and wounding other people," the prosecution authority said in a statement. "If the terrorist crime had been carried out, it could have seriously hurt Sweden." The trio were also charged, along with three other people, with financing terrorism. Prosecutors accuse them of sending money abroad to fund the so-called Islamic State's operations... According to Dagens Nyheter, at least one of the suspects had been in contact with Rakhmat Akilov, a radicalized Uzbek asylum seeker who mowed down pedestrians in Stockholm with a stolen truck in April 2017, killing five people. Akilov was sentenced to life in prison in June 2018... [TheLocal (Sweden)]

Thursday, December 27, 2018

27-Dec-18: What's changed these past 15 years with the maleducation in Palestinian Arabs schools?

One of the most distressing and depressing aspects of how the Abbas and Hamas regimes weaponize their Palestinian Arab society's children is in how they educate them.

The evidence for the open and callous manipulation of their children's minds and futures has been out there for anyone concerned with the truth to absorb. Yet its corrosiveness goes on. And no less disturbing, it continues in large measure to be funded by non-Arab states in the name of "helping".

We're reposting here an article written by Arnold Roth for the Wall Street Journal back in September 2003 - more than a decade and a half ago.

Readers paying attention will see that, while some things have changed somewhat, others remain just as rotten as they were back then.

Blood, Money and Education
Arnold Roth / The Wall Street Journal Europe
September 26, 2003

JERUSALEM -- The European Commission is abuzz with financial scandals involving significant sums and the EU's statistical agency. They pale, however, compared with the consequences and scale of EU mismanagement in an area that affects my family and me.

Last December, I traveled to Brussels as a member of a small contingent of Israelis. Each of us had experienced the loss of a family member by terrorism in the past two years. My daughter, Malka Chana, 15, was killed by a Hamas terrorist cell. She was a high school student, a talented musician, a volunteer passionately dedicated to the care of disabled children. When her murderer exploded himself in a Jerusalem restaurant in August 2001, he massacred 15 innocent civilians, mainly children and teenagers. Hundreds were injured.

Chris Patten, the EU's Commissioner for External Relations, plays a central role in the provision of EU financial aid to the Palestinian Authority. I intended to ask him in that visit whether he was aware of evidence that EU money, channeled through his office to the PA and so necessary to improving Palestinian lives, was being diverted to fund terrorism. Did he believe a just peace could be achieved when teachers paid from EU grants to UNRWA (U.N. Relief and Works Agency) teach Palestinian children that Israel has no right to exist and that their martyrdom is a glorious part of the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the Middle East?

Unlike the other senior EU figures we approached, Mr. Patten declined to meet us. We met his deputy instead.

I referred him to evidence uncovered by Israeli forces in 2002 showing that the PA's top managers skim money off the payroll and that secret bank accounts are a routine part of corruption in the PA. My concerns were misplaced, he said, since all payments made via Mr. Patten's office to the PA are closely supervised by the International Monetary Fund. Immediately after our meeting, I checked the record and learned that some months before, the IMF had published a report denying this. The IMF report confirmed budgetary abuse by the PA.

Earlier this month, my family and I again lost friends to terrorism. One of the victims of another massacre in a Jerusalem cafe was an emergency room doctor, David Appelbaum, who had dedicated his life to caring for terror victims -- Jews and Arabs alike. His daughter, killed with him, was to be married the next evening.

Their tragic murders led me to reflect again on what it would take to stop the hate-filled education of Palestinian children that turns them into walking grenades.

Checking the EU's Web site, I found a Dutch MEP had just asked some questions to Mr. Patten on this theme. Mr. Patten's written answer said that the Commission "has no evidence of Community funding to the Palestinian Authority being misused for anything other than its agreed purpose. Should such evidence come to light, immediate action would be taken."

This was strikingly similar to his response to charges about the misuse of EU money by the PA. The refrain was repeated after Human Rights Watch's report into Palestinian terrorism noted that "The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades appear to have benefited from the routine misuse of PA funds."

Some 55% of all Palestinian Arabs are under the age of 20. Addressing their needs is critical to the building of bridges of peace between our two peoples. Around 3.5 billion euros in the form of EU aid reached the Palestinian leadership between 1994 and 2001. Wherever it went, it has failed to benefit their education or bring peace. The hateful messages that permeate their education, including EU-funded textbooks, guarantee another generation incapable of reconciling itself to peace with Israelis. In fact, there is internal Palestinian correspondence verifying that Hamas has taken control of the Palestinian Ministry of Education, ensuring the children continue to be taught to admire and emulate suicide bombers.

Mr. Patten promised immediate action when concrete evidence comes to light. I have now written to him, pointing to two specific sources.

First, the San Francisco Chronicle, in an interview last week with Mahmoud Abbas, the PA prime minister who just resigned, quotes him as confirming what Israeli documents proved 18 months ago: that the PA's top managers skim money off the payroll and that secret bank accounts are routine.

The story quoted Mr. Abbas as saying that Arafat blocked financial reforms because they threatened illegal slush funds Arafat was using to pay for the intifada. PA officials' salaries are paid by the EU, "but Arafat or his cronies were skimming off up to 15% in income taxes and using it for their own causes," said the story.

It then quoted Mr. Abbas as saying "Personally, I don't know where those funds go. When we wanted to cancel them, they said: `You're harming the intifada'."

A second source is a report on the Palestinian economy released last week by the IMF. This reveals that $900 million was "diverted" by Arafat from tax receipts alone over the past several years. Most of it possibly ended up in Palestinian public assets. But the IMF adds that not all the missing money can be accounted for and points to additional specific problems in internal PA budget control practices. Published Israeli military intelligence reports said exactly this last year. Mr. Patten dismissed them.

The Commission has stubbornly denied the existence of such corruption even while serving as one of its principal feeders. Innocents like my daughter die because money is available to lubricate the wheels of evil and corruption and for hate-filled education.

My letter reminds Mr. Patten that the EU-sponsored road map demands an immediate end to Palestinian terrorism. He can choose to exercise the funding power already in his control, and condition future PA grants on unambiguous prior evidence that Palestinian education has become peace-directed and positive. Or he can continue denying the price of EU blood money.

* * *

Click to go to "Snouts and troughs"
Chris Patten, better known today to those who respect and appreciate him as Baron Patten of Barnes, CH, PC, went on at the conclusion of his European Commission gig to to become Chancellor of the University of Oxford and then Chairman of the BBC Trust, the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corporation. He resigned (on grounds of ill-health) in 2014. He never troubled himself to reply to our expose or to the letters mentioned in the WSJ article.

For a little additional colour and background, please take a look at some related past posts of ours:

26-Dec-18: Vehicle rammer is stopped by IDF Wednesday afternoon

Image Source: Xinhua
Times of Israel reported yesterday["Attempted West Bank car-ramming attack reported outside Nablus"] on an attempted car-ramming attack on Israeli soldiers and civilians in the northern West Bank. IDF troops opened fire and stopped the attacker, who is now injured, before he could do more damage.
The suspect attempted to run over a group of people waiting at a bus stop at a junction outside Nablus, near a military base, according to the military and the Samaria Regional Council. Soldiers at the scene shot at the assailant, who was taken to hospital in moderate condition. No Israelis were physically hurt in the attempted attack, although the Samaria Regional Council spokesperson said three people — two women and a man — suffered panic attacks and underwent treatment. “He was driving slowly and suddenly sped up toward us,” said eyewitness Emunah Mevorach, 23, who said the car had tried to maneuver between concrete columns placed next to the bus stop to prevent such attacks. “The soldier shot many bullets and we ran behind a concrete block. The soldier’s reaction saved us.”
The Chinese newsagency Xinhua ["Israeli forces foil Palestinian car-ramming attack in West Bank, driver injured"] adopts a straightforward approach to their headline, while Turkey's Anadolu does what most of the Arabic-language press customarily does: irrespective of what their sources tell them, and pretending there is not a years-long obsessive Palestinian Arab campaign to encourage vehicle rammings of Israelis underway - and many dead Israelis as a result - it suggests the attack may or may not have happened, depends whom you ask (but their reporters rarely ask). See "Israeli forces shoot Palestinian in alleged car attack" from the Turks.

From Ma'an's version of the news
The notorious Ma'an News Agency (not surprisingly) headlines its version of the news with this: "Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian at Huwwara checkpoint":
The Palestinian Ministry of Civil Affairs confirmed that they were officially informed of the driver's injury, whom they identified as Raed Thiab, 35, from Kafr Qalil village. The ministry added that he was injured with two bullets in the leg. Witnesses told Ma’an that the vehicle was parked dozens of meters away from the Huwwara checkpoint, near a transport stop for Israeli settlers.
The headline of their Arabic-language version is (not surprisingly) less shy and owns up to how the guy wasn't just shot but "was injured allegedly carrying out an attack".

Sunday, December 23, 2018

23-Dec-18: In the UK, what we used to know about airport safety suddenly looks so 1990s

Massive disruption at Gatwick this week [Image Source]
As the UK deals with the strange and unsettling experience of one of its most strategically important airports being left in a state of total paralysis as the holiday travel season reaches its peak, thoughtful Brits will be contemplating some even fresher - and certainly no less disturbing - news.

Gatwick Airport, the UK's second-busiest, was the scene of a still-perplexing series of massive anxiety attacks this week:
After rogue drones forced it to close for 32 hours this week, the airport, one of Europe’s busiest, reopened Friday morning and had a nearly 12-hour uninterrupted run of takeoffs and landings. Then came an unconfirmed drone sighting, forcing the airport to close yet again, although briefly, leaving planes circling above and travelers fuming in the terminals. And by the time flights resumed Friday night, many questions remained: What was behind the incursions? Why couldn’t they be stopped more quickly? And is Britain doing enough to keep the devices away from airports and other sensitive spots? Early Saturday, the police in Sussex announced that they had arrested a man and a woman on suspicion on the “criminal use” of the drones... ["Two Arrests, and Many Questions, as Gatwick Reopens After Drone Threat", New York Times, December 21, 2018]
The answers, when they come, are unlikely to calm the fears of rational Brits. It's clear enough that the huge disruption at Gatwick, whatever its actual details (which at this stage are sketchy) can be reproduced and exacerbated at will by any trouble-minded copy-cat; sustainable protective and defensive measures are almost certainly on the agenda of the authorities but in the nature of things, are unlikely to be implemented as rapidly as they are needed.

But then what if people with serious and deadly malice on their minds, let's say, read the news reports and decide to test those not-yet-in-place defences? And not necessarily in the UK, or in the UK only, but elsewhere?

The issue is far from speculative and not at all fanciful. Underscoring the potential for serious trouble, a Times of London report under the byline of its political editor, Tim Shipman, this morning makes that painfully clear. 

Highlights to mull:
  • The UK's Minister of State for Security and Economic Crime Ben Wallace met with senior UK airport managers a week ago, prior to the Gatwick chaos, in order to to discuss what's now known about threats to their facilities including the “insider threat” of jihadist sleeper agents working undercover at airports.
  • "Al-Qaeda is resurgent and seeking to carry out new terrorist atrocities against airliners and airports, [he] warned last night. The terrorist group behind the 9/11 attacks in 2001 poses a growing threat that is keeping ministers “awake at night”, he told The Sunday Times... They have reorganised. They are pushing more and more plots towards Europe and have become familiar with new methods and still aspire to aviation attacks.”
  • "...The decline of Isis meant al-Qaeda would seek to reassert itself as the world’s leading terror group and an aviation spectacular would be its calling card.... al-Qaeda is developing technology to bring down passenger jets using miniaturised bombs and drones packed with explosives." 
  • "Security sources say sketches of drones designed to deliver bombs were discovered during a recent terrorist investigation in the UK. British businesses have also been warned that Islamist terrorists are seeking to mount attacks using a drone armed with explosives or chemicals."
  • "British intelligence chiefs are concerned that Donald Trump’s decision last week to withdraw US troops from Syria will create a new safe haven for Islamists to launch attacks on the West. The UK found out about his decision only when he tweeted it on Wednesday."
  • Especially depressing is his advice about how useful current, and very intrusive, security arrangements directed at ordinary travelers are. "Wallace said improvements in airport security meant terrorists were less likely to smuggle explosive through terminal security systems: “They have explored other ways of getting bombs on planes. We’ve talked publicly about an insider threat issue. If you can’t get in the front door, you’re going to try to get in the back door.”" ["Al-Qaeda terror group returns to target airliners and airports", Times of London, December 23, 2018]
Meanwhile, UK travelers are still absorbing the scale of the impact on their lives from what, at least at this moment, looks like a criminal offence at worst with no immediate connection to terrorism:
The drone sightings had forced the cancellation or diversion of more than 1,000 flights over three days, affecting some 140,000 people, officials said. On Saturday, Gatwick warned passengers to expect still more delays and cancellations and to check their flight status before going to the airport... [British] officials identified the two [suspects] as Paul Gait, 47, and his wife Elaine Kirk, 54... from Crawley, a town just south of the airport. The couple are suspected of disrupting civil aviation services and endangering people or operations — offenses that carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, according to the police. They have not been formally charged and are still in custody, but the police did not release further details. The incident exposed the vulnerabilities of the airport to outside interference and drew attention to the limitations of security officials responding to such a threat at a peak travel time... ["Married Couple Arrested Over Drone Incursions at Gatwick Airport", New York Times, December 22, 2018]
It's evident that whatever the solution, technology will be part, but only part, of fighting back. We noticed some reporting in a Russian source about the things technology can potentially do in ameliorating the drome threat:
UK authorities could use an Israeli-made "Drone Dome" system that the British army acquired in August 2018 to take down the drones, which had been disrupting Gatwick Airport's operations for the last two days. The equipment, seen on the rooftop of a building near the airport and operated by the UK police looks just like the "Drone Dome" components in the photos, published in 2016 by several media platforms. The DJI system is capable of not just detecting drones and hijacking their controls, but also of tracking down the person, who controlled it. Its major downside is that it is not compatible with all drones. On the other hand, "Drone Dome" can take down any drone, by either hacking and landing it or by shooting it down with powerful laser. ["What is 'Drone Dome' That UK Could Have Used to Take Down Gatwick UAV", Sputnik News, December 22, 2018]
What the Russian report calls "Drone Dome", a system developed by two of Israel's major defense firms Rafael and RADA, is described in this recent Times of Israel report: "UK army said to use Israeli-made system to end drone chaos at London airport".

UPDATE Sunday December 23, 2018 at 2:30 pm: So who is actually behind the drone assault (if that's what it was) on Gatwick? At this point, and despite the certainty generated by a proliferation of news reports referring to a specific couple, it seems ["Gatwick drones pair 'no longer suspects'", BBC, this afternoon] no one actually knows:
A man and woman arrested in connection with drone sightings that grounded flights at Gatwick Airport have been released without charge. The 47-year-old man and 54-year-old woman, from Crawley, West Sussex, were arrested on Friday night on suspicion of "the criminal use of drones"... Sussex Police said the pair were no longer suspects. Det Ch Supt Jason Tingley said: "Both people have fully co-operated with our inquiries and I am satisfied that they are no longer suspects in the drone incidents at Gatwick... "Our inquiry continues at a pace to locate those responsible for the drone incursions, and we continue to actively follow lines of investigation."

Friday, December 21, 2018

21-Dec-18: After the terror attacks, the focus moves on as the quiet struggle of the victims continues

Shira and Amichai Ish-Ran speak to reporters from hospital
five days ago [Image Source]. Their baby did not survive the cowardly attack.
Based on reports in the past few hours from several news sources, including Times of Israel and Jerusalem Post, here are some updates on the Arab-on-Israeli terror attacks of the past ten days.

Amichai Ish-Ran, who took three bullets in the leg as a civilian victim - alongside his wife - of a  drive-by shooter at a bus stop near the entrance to the Israeli community of Ofra ["09-Dec-18: A shooter in a passing vehicle seriously injures several Israelis tonight near Ofra, north of Jerusalem"] is thankfully doing well enough that he was released from Shaarei Zedek Medical Center yesterday (Thursday).

His wife Shira, who suffered critical injuries in the attack, is said to be "steadily recovering". She had further surgery on Wednesday and this is reported by the hospital to have been successful. The baby boy she was carrying in her womb when they were shot died four days after the attack after being born under emergency conditions by Caesarian section.

An IDF soldier, 21-year-old Naveh Rotem, who was critically injured this past Friday when stabbed and head-bashed with a rock by a Palestinian Arab at a military post outside the Israeli community of Beit El is thankfully doing much better. The attacker who fled the scene, prompting a manhunt, later turned himself in.
The soldier, had been taken to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in life-threatening condition, unconscious and hooked up to a ventilator. The hospital said in a statement that Rotem had been treated by multiple medical experts over the past week, and quoted neurosurgeon Dr. Iddo Paldor as saying he was returning home “in good condition, strong and smiling.” Rotem will undergo followup treatment. His parents said in a statement that they were “happy to thank all the hospital staff,” saying they had “felt we were in good hands..." [Times of Israel]
Shira Sabag, a civilian seriously injured in last week’s Arab-on-Israeli shooting attack ["13-Dec-18: Another lethal Arab-on-Israeli shooting attack Thursday"] at a bus stop near the small Israeli community of Givat Assaf, is said to be improving though still hospitalized at Shaare Zedek.

An IDF soldier, Netanel Felber, whose family made aliyah to Israel from the US a decade ago, is still reported to be critically injured and fighting for his life and suffering gunshot wounds to his head in the attack, He has undergone multiple surgeries at Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital. Two of his army colleagues, Yovel Mor-Yosef and Yosef Cohen, were killed in the attack.

It was reported yesterday (Thursday) that the main perpetrators of both the Ofra and Givat Assaf attacks are brothers, As'am Barghouti, 32, and Saleh Omar Barghouti, 29, clansmen and residents of the same village (up until he was incarcerated) of prominent Palestinian Arab convicted terrorist Marwan Barghouti. (There's some background here: "18-Apr-17: So what, in reality, is Marwan Barghouti?") Salih Barghouti was shot last Wednesday in a village near Ramallah as he resisted apprehension by Israeli security forces. The attack allegedly carried out by As'am Barghouti happened the following day. There is an ongoing manhunt for him.

It was also reported yesterday for the first time that this As'am Barghouti was released from an Israeli prison in April 2018 after serving an 11-year sentence.

We personally sat through the 2003/4 terrorism trial of Marwan Barghouti in Tel Aviv (he was convicted and has been in prison since then). Beyond the homicides for which he was convicted, we learned that Barghouti personally laid out $500 [source] for the making of the explosive-filled guitar case that was brought to, and exploded inside, Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria destroying it on August 9, 2001 and killing fifteen innocent people including our daughter Malki. 

The Sbarro bombmaker, the inventor of that grotesque explosive-and-nails-filled guitar case, was another Barghouti clansman, Kuwait-born Abdullah Barghouti. About him, we have written numerous times. Here's one piece: "20-Jun-13: Abdullah Barghouti, terrorist, bomb-maker, killer of 66 innocents, has some demands".

When churchman Desmond Tutu, himself a Nobel Peace Prize winner,
nominated convicted murderer and terrorist Marwan Barghouti for the same
award, he tweeted the news with this photo of himself with Mrs Marwan
Barghouti [Twitter Source]
And yet one more clansman, Bilal Yaqub Barghouti, a senior Hamas operative, was personally sheltered by Marwan Barghouti in his home when Bill Barghouti was on the run from the Israeli security forces because of his involvement in the massacre at the Sbarro pizzeria (he was later convicted for his part). Bilal Barghouti said for the record that, during his stay there, "he saw a number of weapons, and when he left the house Barghouti armed him with a gun for his use."

Unlike most of the Sbarro Massacre plotters, Bilal Barghouti still resides in an Israeli prison cell. On being sentenced in 2003, he said: "Thank god. I regret that I did not kill even more people than I did kill". (More background here: "24-Aug-18: What aid funds handed to the Abbas regime ($1 million and growing) have done for savages who kill Jews".)

And this: Marwan Barghouti, whom the Nobel Prize-winning social activist church-man Desmond Tutu odiously nominated for a Nobel Prize in 2017, is arguably an unindicted accessory-after-the-fact to the Sbarro murders. (It would be nice if someone were to forward this post to Archbishop Tutu in South Africa.)

May all the victims needing a full and rapid recovery get it.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

20-Dec-18: Has Iran's terrorism-by-remote-control activities just run into Albanian resistance?

The Kosovar defendants in their May 2018 trial
[Image Source: Balkan Insight]
Times of Israel has an important-sounding story today about how Albania has expelled two Iranian diplomats for what are being called illegal activities threatening Albania's security.

The threats, it appears, were directed at Israeli football players engaged in a World Cup qualifying match. 

The technical grounds for the expulsion as quoted in an Associated Press report published yesterday (Wednesday) are “violating their diplomatic status”.

The TOI report quotes Top Channel, a private Albanian media outlet [on line here] saying
the Iranians are suspected of illegal activities related to a World Cup qualification soccer match between Albania and Israel two years ago. About 20 people were arrested in Albania and Kosovo following that match, which was threatened with an alleged terrorist attack. Albanian officials would not confirm that report. The planned attack in November 2016 was said to have been coordinated by two Albanians in Syria fighting with the Islamic State group.
Albania's capital city, Tirana [Image Source]
Eight Albanians were sentenced by a Kosovo court in May 2018 to imprisonment over the same foiled attack, according to an Associated Press report ["Eight Kosovars jailed after foiled attack on Israeli football team"] at the time. Police found explosive devices, weapons, electronic equipment, and extremist religious literature at their homes:
The prosecution said the group had planned to attack the Israeli team with explosives and automatic rifles. Police found explosive devices, weapons, electronic equipment and extremist literature at their homes. The plan was thwarted when Kosovo police got wind of the plot and tipped off Albanian authorities who moved the game from a stadium in Shkoder, near the border with Kosovo, to a town closer to the Albanian capital, Tirana. The prosecution said some of the defendants received orders to carry out an attack from Lavdrim Muhaxheri, a prominent Daesh member from Kosovo and the self-declared “commander of Albanians in Syria and Iraq.” Muhaxheri was killed in Syria, police and family members say...
Kosovo used to be part of Serbia but broke away and declared its independence in 2008. The country is ethnically Albanian and religiously Muslim, and 
has been confronted with hundreds of its citizens waging jihad in Syria and Iraq. It has subsequently strengthened legislation and attempted to root out radical Islamist networks [Times of Israel]. 
What do we know about the expelled Iranians? Not much at this stage except that another Associated Press report [here] says
A tweet from President Donald Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, provided the first report that Albania had expelled the Iranian ambassador. Bolton praised Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama for expelling "the Iranian ambassador, signaling to Iran's leaders that their support for terrorism will not be tolerated." "We stand with PM Rama and the Albanian people as they stand up to Iran's reckless behavior in Europe and across the globe," he wrote.
An anti-Iranian-regime source [here] suggests Iran has been targeting Albania for some time with diplomats who happen to be intelligence operatives.

If we learn more, we will update this post.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

13-Dec-18: Another lethal Arab-on-Israeli shooting attack Thursday

The scene of today's Givat Asaf  shooting [Hadas Parush/Flash90]
There has been another shooting attack today (Thursday): reports say two Israelis were killed - both of them IDF soldiers according to Israel National News - and two others were severely injured, one critically.

The attack happened near the Palestinian Arab town of Silwad, on Route 60 near the Givat Asaf community, about two kilometers from Ofra, the site of the Sunday night shooting.

The shooters escaped after the attack and a large-scale IDF manhunt is currently underway.

Times of Israel, quoting the Israel Defense Forces spokesperson, says one gunman exited a vehicle along the Route 60 highway and opened fire at a group of soldiers and civilian Israelis before fleeing. It seems likely that the soldiers were there doing security work - probably standing guard to protect the civilians.

It also quotes Palestinian Arab media saying the attack vehicle was quickly abandoned nearby and two suspects — the driver and the shooter — got away on foot in the direction of Ramallah.
Two of the victims were declared dead at the scene. One of the injured, a 21-year-old male, is in critical life-threatening condition with a bullet wound to the head. He is receiving emergency care at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital.

A female civilian is seriously injured and is getting emergency care at the trauma center of Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

The army has closed off the entrances to Ramallah and set up roadblocks throughout the area. Additional infantry battalions were sent into the West Bank both to defend roads and settlements and to conduct additional searches and arrests, the army said.

UPDATE Thursday December 13, 2018 at 9:00 pm: As reported this evening, the soldiers shot to death are Staff Sgt. Yovel Mor Yosef, 20, and Sgt. Yosef Cohen, 19.
Mor Yosef was from the southern city of Ashkelon. Cohen was a resident of Beit Shemesh. Both were members of the Kfir Brigade’s Netzah Yehuda infantry battalion, a unit for religious soldiers... Mor Yosef’s funeral will be held in Ashkelon and Cohen’s in Jerusalem on Friday morning. A third soldier was critically injured in the shooting and underwent surgery for a gunshot wound to the head at Hadassah Hospital Ein Karem in Jerusalem on Thursday. A civilian woman was also seriously wounded... [Times of Israel]

13-Dec-18: On Jerusalem's Hagai Street in the Old City, another Arab-on-Israeli knifing attack this morning

Image Source: Haaretz
A little before a chilly dawn in Jerusalem's Old City today, a 26 year-old Palestinian Arab is caught by a security camera pushing a recognizably ultra-Orthodox man to the ground in Hagai Street, one of the pedestrian lanes running down the hill from the Damascus Gate (in Hebrew, Sha'ar Shechem).

That location is the favored entry point for observant Jews on their way to early morning prayers at the Kotel.

It has also become a popular site for recent Arab-on-Israeli knifings and is heavily patrolled. (Clich here for past Hagai Street attack reports.)

Times of Israel describes how the surveillance footage from the scene shows the attacker using a  knife to try to stab the worshiper. This does not work out, and an instant later [as the video shows] the assailant's attention is directed at two nearby Border Guard police. 

The male officer is (in the favored manner of Palestinian Arab knifing attacks) stabbed in the face, near his eye. The female border guard is stabbed in the leg. Ynet says she is 19, the male 21. The attacker was shot dead by the officers. His weapon was recovered at the scene.

Haaretz, quoting Arab sources, says the knifer's name is Majd Matir. He was a resident of the Qalandiya neighborhood on Jerusalem's north side.

The Arabic edition of the European-financed Ma'an News Agency (but not the English) names him as Majed Jamal Mutair, 25, and in traditional terror-incitement fashion calls him a martyr.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

11-Dec-18: Near Hevron, another thwarted Arab-on-Israeli vehicle ramming

Idhna [Wikipedia]
The hunt for the drive-by shooters in the attack we reported on Sunday ["09-Dec-18: A shooter in a passing vehicle seriously injures several Israelis tonight near Ofra, north of Jerusalem"] goes on. Meanwhile there are fresh reports today of similar Arab-on-Israel violence.

In the less dramatic of two Tuesday reports, a Palestinian Arab driver in a village called al-Jiftlik, 33 km north of Jericho in Israel's northern Jordan Valley, drive directly at officers of the Border Guards who were securing the work of Civil Administration personnel engaged in demolishing illegally-constructed buildings. The village is part of Area C, meaning it is subject to full Israeli military and civil administration. The driver, a 30-year-old male from the village
allegedly accelerated his car toward a group of Border Police officers. The troops fired warning shots into the air, and the suspect stopped and was arrested, police said... He was handed over to the Shin Bet security service for further questioning [source]
In a separate incident, Times of Israel says a Palestinian Arab driver was shot dead by Border Police mid-morning today (Tuesday) in Idhna, an Arab town of about 20,000 people, located 13 km west of Hevron with an out-of-the-ordinary background.

The circumstances point to a failed vehicle-ramming attack:
The Border Police officers... were standing guard as members of the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration, which oversees day-to-day activities in the West Bank, were taking part in an effort to crack down on the illegal burning of garbage. According to police, the Palestinian suspect drove through a checkpoint the border guards had set up, hit a security vehicle with his car and then “accelerated toward a Border Police officer.” The border guards opened fire at the vehicle, fatally wounding the suspect... No Israeli troops were injured.
The driver was later identified by the Palestinian Arab Red Crescent authorities as Omar Hassan al-Awawdeh, 27.

An Iranian news source frames today's events in ways that will be familiar to consumers of Israel-bashing reports:
The Israeli military regularly opens fatal fire on Palestinians, accusing them of seeking to attack its personnel. Human rights groups have repeatedly slammed the Tel Aviv (sic) regime for its shoot-to-kill policy as a large number of the Palestinians killed at the scene of attacks did not pose any serious threat to Israelis.
A December 2017 Aljazeera report from Idhna where today's
thwarted attack took place [Source]
In the wake of the thwarted vehicle-ramming, we have yet to see any Arab media attention on what Times of Israel noted - that what brought the Israeli police into the town today was "an effort to crack down on the illegal burning of garbage".

Sounds prosaic. But it turns out to be a classic instance of the Israeli authorities trying to prevent the Palestinian Arabs from doing even more harm to themselves and their own backyards.

Idhna was once a thriving agricultural town. Today, it's notorious for being one of the most polluted places in the region. The environmental damage the residents have done to their land is massive and lethal, much of it resulting from the illegal burning - in order to extract resalable components, especially metals - of televisions, fridges, computers, air-conditioners and other appliances. The result is massively large and damaging levels of heavy metals, especially cadmium and lead, damaging crops and aquifers and making life hazardous

Almost exactly a year ago, Aljazeera gave it some attention in a video report: "Palestine's Idhna struggles with e-waste". Though the word 'dumping' is used, it's evidently the town's people who go out looking for the dangerous and the toxic because that's where the money is.

A quick survey of Arabic-language news media shows that the shot driver is invariably called a "martyr", with zero mentions of why the Israeli police where there, of the thwarted ramming [Al-Madinah; Al-Fajr; Ad-Dustour (Jordan); Safa; Panorama] or of the crushing pollution.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

09-Dec-18: A shooter in a passing vehicle seriously injures several Israelis tonight near Ofra, north of Jerusalem

The facts are still somewhat unclear though enraging and upsetting. Here is what we understand.

People (not yet identified - apparently two individuals) inside a moving white sedan directed gunfire at a small group of Israeli standing at the roadside near Ofra, a community of about 4,000 Israelis located in the Binyamin region about 20 km north of the Israeli capital Jerusalem. The attack occurred around 9:00 pm Sunday night.

Times of Israel says seven people are shot (we have seen other credible reports that there are 9 - we will wait for the fog to clear). At least one, a pregnant woman, is said to be in critical condition.

Of the other injured people, two are reported to be moderately wounded and four are somewhat less seriously hurt. Israel National News says two of them are 16 year old girls. Aljazeera's mind-reading field reporters already "know" that the shooting victims are "settlers". (Obviously they have absolutely no idea at this stage but it's a well-established practice designed to demean and dehumanize the innocent victims of Arab shooting frenzies down through the ages.)

After first responder care at the scene by Magen David Adom ambulance crews, all are now in hospitals - Shaarei Zedek Medical Center and Hadassah Mt Scopus - receiving emergency treatment.

Security camera video of the shooting, posted to multiple social media sites in the past half hour, shows the white car slowing down near what appears to be a bus-stop or hitch-hiking post. Bullets are seen striking the victims who rush to escape the point-blank fire. The car stops for a few moments, then leaves the scene at high speed. Heroes.

A major manhunt is now underway.

UPDATE Monday December 10, 2018 at 6:00 am: Via Israel National News, the pregnant shooting victim is a young woman of 21, with the Hebrew name (for prayer purposes) Shira Yael bat Liora. Her baby was delivered, premature, by caesarean section and then placed in the NICU for emergency care. The mother is "suffering from gunshot wounds in the pelvic area and abdomen. The woman arrived in critical condition, she lost a lot of blood, received blood transfusions, was stabilized and was taken to the operating room for urgent emergency surgery."

UPDATE Wednesday December 12, 2018 at 7:00 pm: Sadly, "Baby dies after emergency delivery following Ofra terror attack"
“With great sorrow we announce the death of Shira and Amichai’s newborn four days after the attack despite the efforts of doctors at the neonatal intensive care unit to save him,” a spokesperson for Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem said, referring to the baby’s parents. A funeral for the baby will be held at 9:45 p.m. (tonight - Wednesday) at the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem.

09-Dec-18: More on that Jordanian conference to "defend" Jerusalem

Jordan's Minister of Endowment (Awqaf), of Islamic Affairs
and of and Holy Sites
 Abdel Nasser Abul Basal [Image Source]
Expanding on what we reported yesterday ["08-Dec-18: How closely aligned are Jordan and Hamas?"], we offer some additional information from an Arabic-language source (via machine translation), :
The [Jordanian] Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, Dr. Abdel Nasser Abul Basal, stressed that the increasing frequency of incursions and violations against Al-Aqsa Mosque was the main objective of holding the second international conference of the road to Al-Aqsa.

Abu al-Basal said that the most important challenges facing Al-Aqsa Mosque are the daily and hourly closures and the establishment of Jewish prayers inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque which diminish the value of this great place and condemn it. He added that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is not negotiable, sharing, sharing or in any way, and that it is necessary to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is the first of the Qibla and the third of the two Holy Mosques.

He pointed out that this conference is not a research conference to present research and articles, but its main purpose is to discuss solutions and ways to support the cause of Al Aqsa Mosque and the participation of Jerusalemites in their efforts and their struggle to defend Al Aqsa Mosque...

He... has received responses and turnout where the number of participants at the moment [is] a thousand, 500 participants from within the country and 500 from outside. He said that this conference came to remind all the Islamic, Arab and international countries that their internal concerns do not relieve us of the obligation to preserve and defend Jerusalem... It is the duty of all institutions to stand by the Jerusalemites and not leave them alone in defending her.
Muslim faithful outside Al Aqsa [Image Source]
Consistent with the congratulations (mentioned in yesterday's post) passed along by Hamas, the Iran-aligned Taghrib News Agency website adds [here] that
The conference will be held under the patronage of King Abdullah II and is titled “A Call from the Blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque”.
It's a significant bit of information. It would be a pity if we publicized it and then found out it was not accurate. Though we have been searching, we have not yet found confirmation in Jordan's government-controlled media that the anti-Israel gathering has the imprimatur of the monarchy or that King Abdullah II will be its patron.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

08-Dec-18: How closely aligned are Jordan and Hamas?

Al-Rishq of Hamas  [Image Source]
As you read this brief news report from a respected Arab source, keep in mind that the US Department of State, in the most recent edition (published in September 2018) of its annual "Country Reports on Terrorism" calls the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan "a committed partner on counterterrorism and countering violent extremism".
Hamas welcomes Jordan’s decision to host Al-Aqsa conference
Member of Hamas’ political bureau Izzat Al-Rishq welcomed Jordan’s decision to host an international conference on the dangers facing Al-Aqsa Mosque under the patronage of King Abdullah II. “Jordan’s official announcement of hosting an international conference to support Al-Aqsa Mosque is a step in the right direction to stop the Judaisation programme,” he said. Al-Rishq said King Abdullah II’s patronage of the conference is an important message that highlights the dangers facing Muslim sanctities. The Jordanian Minister of Endowment Abdel Nasser Abul Basal announced this week that his ministry is to host a conference titled “A Call from the Blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque” under the patronage of King Abdullah II on 20 December. More than 1,000 participants are expected to attend the event which will highlight the dangers faced by both Christian and Muslim sites in occupied Jerusalem. [Middle East Monitor, December 6, 2018]
Jordan's British-led military imposed a massively destructive occupation (Wikipedia) on what is today called East Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967 in the course of which historic Jewish synagogues and holy sites in the Jewish people's most sacred place on earth were systematically pulverized and incinerated.

This week's praise from Hamas comes a day after Jordan joined 56 other states in voting down a US-sponsored resolution at the United Nations ["In Blow to Haley, U.N. Rejects Measure Condemning Hamas", New York Times, December 6, 2018]:
In remarks before the vote, Ms. Haley characterized the resolution as an opportunity for the 193 member states of the General Assembly to put themselves on the side of “truth and balance.” Though the body has voted many times to condemn Israel, never once has it passed a resolution critical of Hamas, an organization Ms. Haley described as one of the “most obvious and grotesque cases of terrorism in the world.”
Of the 177 countries who voted, 87 gave their support to condemning Hamas. Under normal circumstances that would have been enough for the vote to be carried since only 57 opposed. But because 33 abstained, the resolution - which needed a super-majority of two-thirds because of some last minute chicanery from several Arab entities led by Kuwait - was defeated.

Jordan, as we noted, cast its vote in favor of the jihadists. What this means in terms of what the US State Department calls its "counterterrorism and countering violent extremism" strategy is a subject we plan to revisit in the next day or two.

UPDATE December 9, 2018 at 8:30 am: We have some additional information about this act of Jordanian grotesquery. See "09-Dec-18: More on that Jordanian conference to "defend" Jerusalem"

Saturday, December 01, 2018

01-Dec-18: Suspected Eilat terror attack: Jordanian wielding hammer seriously injures two Israeli dock-workers

After crossing the border from Jordan into Israel, Jordanian workers wait
for their transport to pick them up, outside the Yitzhak Rabin Border Terminal
in Eilat, southern Israel, on March 15, 2018 [Image Source: David Vaknin]
There were reports Friday morning that two people had been injured in Israel's southern port city of Eilat after they were attacked by a Jordanian national. The details we have seen so far seem incomplete and raise additional questions.

From Israel National News, we understand that an attack happened at about 8:30 Friday morning on board a vessel docked in Eilat's port. It quotes the Magen David Adom ambulance service as a source for a police assessment that "the incident appeared to have been a brawl between the workers" and that "all possible motives were being examined". It says the attacker "has been identified as a Jordanian national who is employed as a dock worker in the port, while the victims are also believed to be dock workers." One of the victims, described as a 24-year-old male, is reported to be in moderate condition with contusions to his upper torso and hospitalized in Eilat's Yoseftal Medical Center. A second person is said to be in "light condition.” A JTA report says both were then transferred to Beer Sheba's Soroka Medical Center.

Arab News however says both victims were hospitalized with serious injuries and adds the detail that the Jordanian "beat them with a hammer". From Haaretz:
Tamir Gross, one of the two victims, said he had been among the workers conducting drilling from the deck of a ship. "Out of nowhere, I suddenly got three blows of a hammer on my head," he said. "I fell into the water and immediately the guy jumped in after me and began swimming toward me." Gross said he swam away and managed to ascend a ladder to a dock. "One of the Jordanian workers helped me," he said.
the Jordanian, who was employed as a repairman at the port, used a heavy-duty hammer weighing over 2 pounds to hit both Israelis in the head, fracturing their skulls.
From Times of Israel, we learn that Israel Police suspect the attack is a terrorist incident; that the attacker was, as of Friday, going to be interrogated by the Shin Bet; that a second Jordanian male was injured, lightly, trying to restrain the attacker. And this: the suspected attacker, who is not yet named, began working in Israel on Thursday after being issued a daily work permit from the Population and Immigration Authority.

About Jordanians and work permits: While Palestinian Arabs with Israeli work permits are generally barred from entering Eilat, Israel, in June 2014, started issuing permits for up to 1,500 Jordanian citizens to work in Eilat hotels. Jordan and Israel would be jointly monitoring the implementation of the plan, it was said at the time. [See "In a first, Israel lets Jordanian workers cross border for jobs", Washington Post, May 16, 2016: Quote - "So far, nothing bad has happened. “The Jordanians need work, and we need workers,” said the head of the Eilat Hotel Association, Shabtai Shay."] A Tourism Ministry press release said the Jordanians would be performing cleaning, dish-washing and room service jobs. Conditions included that they would return each night to Jordan at the end of the day. It appears the program was then extended to cover labor in the port.

None of the Jordanian media sites we regularly scan have reported any of this so far. We will check again on Sunday morning.

UPDATE Saturday December 22, 2018 at 5:45 pm:
  • The Jerusalem Post reports that a 28-year-old Jordanian citizen was indicted Friday on charges relating to an attack on two Israelis in Eilat last month (as we reported above) without giving his full name. The Southern District Attorney's Office in its indictment calls the incident "nationalist" which in this part of the world is synonymous with terror. The accused is charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit a terrorist act. 
  • Over at Israel National News, they give his name as Taher Halef and say he intended "to murder Israelis and Jews due to his identification with the Palestinian people, for Palestine and God, and as revenge for the occupation, with the intention of harming state security". As part of dock renovation work at the port of Eilat, divers were engaged to perform underwater work. The Jordanian was sent to bring equipment from a storage shed; he came back with a hammer and launched his assault on the divers. A day before, he was videotaped by his family reading them his last will along with inspirational quotes from the Koran (including "Do not think of someone who died for the sake of the dead, but lives and breathes with God") and asking his parents to protect his wife and children. 
  • Times of Israel says the suspected attacker, who had just gotten a daily work permit from Israel's Population and Immigration Authority, had commenced work in Israel only a few days before the attack. It appears he had been plotting an assault on Israelis for years. Disturbingly, the indictment says he passed the Israeli screening process even though the Jordanian manpower agency that originally interviewed him flagged him as a potential terrorist.