Manhunt Continues for Ariel Junction Attacker

The search continued Tuesday for a Palestinian man who carried out a stabbing and shooting attack at the Ariel Junction in the West Bank on Sunday, murdering 19-year-old IDF Staff Sgt. Gal Keidan and 47-year-old father of 12, Rabbi Achiad Ettinger, while a third victim, another 19-year-old soldier, was reportedly “out of mortal danger” although still in the intensive care unit of Bellinson Hospital near Petah Tikvah. "He is conscious, breathing on his own and talking to staff. His condition still remains serious," the said a statement from the hospital.

“Security forces continue in their pursuit of the terrorist who conducted the attack at the Ariel Junction and the Gitai Avishar Junction earlier this week,” the IDF said in a statement. “Overnight, troops searched the area of the village of a-Zawiya, southeast of Qalqilya.” The statement added that the search had uncovered several illegal weapons and resulted in the arrests of suspects wanted in connection with terrorist activity.

Phone Hacking at Center of Political Fracas
Tuesday morning brought some embarrassment for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a report emerged in a Saudi Arabian newspaper that Iranian intelligence had hacked into the smartphones used by his wife Sara and his son Yair, just a few hours after he had chided Blue and White leader Benny Gantz for the hacking of his phone by Iranian cyber-agents. However, a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office declared that "after an inquiry made with security officials, it never happened" and the Shin Bet also denied the report. During a Likud Party event Monday evening, Netanyahu said that Gantz, who he reminded his audience was in charge of a cyber security firm that went bankrupt, “was supposed to protect his phone. That is his personal failure. If Gantz can’t protect his phone, how will he protect the country?”

In related news, Labor leader Avi Gabbay addressed a factional rally at Expo Tel Aviv on Monday using his speech to, among other things, beg Labor supporters not to cast their ballots for Blue and White in order to achieve their long-time hope of unseating Netanyahu. Polls show a large percentage of voters who supported Labor in the past plan to do just that.

Internal Feuding Among Palestinian Factions
In the latest sign of intense internal feuding between rival Palestinian factions, Atef Abu Seif, the Fatah spokesman in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, was reportedly accosted from his home in the Gaza Strip by unidentified gunman Monday afternoon and severely beaten, leaving him in critical condition. Fatah has accused the Hamas terror militia, which rules the Strip, of being behind the attack. Hamas has, in turn, accused Fatah of provoking street demonstrations against it in recent days. The protesters themselves, who have been brutally suppressed by Hamas security forces, say they are fed up with Hamas’ poor leadership and the economic hardship it has caused in the Strip.

Here is a video about Hamas activities

IAG Delegation in Tel Aviv Looking for Aviation Tech
The movement to Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) Israel suffered another defeat this week as a large group of senior representatives from the International Airlines Group (IAG) arrived in Tel Aviv’s WeWork ToHa pavilion for presentations by some of the Jewish State’s cutting edge hi-tech suppliers. “Israel is one of the leading technology centers in the world, certainly for its size,” Dupsy Abiola, IAG head of Global Innovation, told The Jerusalem Post. “If you’re serious about understanding what’s interesting and bubbling up in technology, I think you can’t ignore Israel.”

In related news, an official at the Israel Export Institute told Reuters this week that the chip manufacturing plant Intel built and recently expanded in Kiryat Gat has been largely responsible for a massive increase in the volume of Israel’s exports to China over recent years. "Israel has the technology and China has the market – the space for cooperation is big," said Gu Wenjun, chief analyst at ICWise, a semiconductor consultancy in Shanghai.

Israel Blesses the World
United Hatzalah, the Israeli medical first-response organization, opened a new franchise in the South American country of Columbia this week, standing up an initial unit in the city of Cartagena. Another unit is being planned for the capital of Bogota, to be deployed in the next few weeks. Citing the long wait time for an ambulance, local Columbian medics said that they were happy to copy the model they had seen work so well in Israel.

Israel on Alert Following Weekend Terror Attacks

Israeli security forces were on high alert Monday following a weekend which saw rockets fired at Tel Aviv and the southern Negev by terror militias in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip as well as a stabbing and shooting attack near the West Bank community of Ariel. There were no casualties from the rocket attacks, which Hamas officials claimed were a “mistake” but two Israelis, 47-year-old Rabbi Ahiad Ettinger and 19-year-old IDF soldier Gal Keidan, died in the attack at a road junction near Ariel. The attack near Ariel began when a Palestinian man identified by security forces as Omar Abu Lila stabbed Keidan and stole his weapon, using it to fire on nearby vehicles including one in which Ettinger was riding in. Although wounded, Ettinger managed to return fire on Abu Lila with his pistol, a move which his son-in-law Zeev Goldstein said probably prevented a more severe attack.

However, Abu Lila managed to steal a vehicle and drive to the nearby Gitai Avishar junction where he shot and wounded another Israeli civilian, identified by media outlets as Alexander Dvorsky, who recently immigrated to Israel from Moldova.

At press time, he was still at large and the subject of a manhunt by Israeli security services.

The attack came hours after IDF aircraft struck over 100 terror-related sites in the Gaza Strip in retaliation for a barrage of rockets from the Strip, beginning with a pair of Iranian-supplied medium-range rockets fired at Tel Aviv, the first such attack on the coastal metropolis since 2014. The Islamist terror militia Hamas which rules the Strip later told Israel through Egyptian intermediaries that the firings were a “mistake” but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement Sunday saying that “Hamas bears the responsibility for all attacks from the Gaza Strip, whether the firing is intentional or in error. The IDF hit them hard, if necessary, we will intensify those attacks as is needed, in order to continue to ensure quiet for Israel’s citizens.”

Here is a video about Hamas' activities in the Strip

Here is a video which shows the recent attacks on Israel from Gaza

UN Official Offers Rare Rebuke to Hamas

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov issued a rare rebuke of the Islamist terror militia Hamas on Sunday, saying “I strongly condemn the campaign of arrests and violence used by Hamas security forces against protesters, including women and children, in Gaza over the past three days. The long-suffering people of Gaza were protesting the dire economic situation and demanded an improvement in the quality of life in the Gaza Strip. It is their right to protest without fear of reprisal. I call on all Palestinian factions to engage in earnest with Egypt in order to implement the Cairo Agreement (2017) in full. The United Nations will continue its efforts to avoid escalation, relieve the suffering of people in Gaza, lift the closures, and support reconciliation.”

Here is a video about Hamas' activities in the Strip

IRGC Commander Mocks and Threatens Israel
Commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari gave an interview with Iranian media outlets Monday in which he said, among other things, that Israel is “under full siege from all around their borders,” before adding that Israel “has not been successful in the region and all its plots and operations have ended up with nothing but failure for them and success for the Islamic Revolution and the Resistance Front.” He added that the Lebanese Shi’ite terror militia Hezbollah has rockets that can hit everywhere in Israel and that it merely awaits his command to do so.

US Position in Syria Remains Fluid
A report in the Wall Street Journal newspaper that the US is keeping nearly 1,000 Special Operations troops in Syria despite an announcement several months ago that they were being withdrawn was disputed Sunday by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford. However, analysts assessed that the US position in Syria remains fluid amidst lingering concerns regarding the presence there of Iran and other enemies including the Islamic State (IS) terror militia.

Israeli Athletes Shine in Abi Dhabi
The movement to Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) Israel suffered several crushing defeats in recent days as the Israeli team at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi collected nine medals in three different sports and over 40,000 runners from 80 countries around the world came to Jerusalem to participate in the annual Marathon. Israel’s medal haul included a gold medal in swimming when 39-year-old Avital Naveh won the women’s 100-meter individual medley Saturday evening following her bronze-medal performance in the 100-meter backstroke on Friday. Israeli athletes won a silver medals in Individual Bowling as well Judo and another two bronze medals in swimming. Additionally, the Israeli squads won silver and bronze in Unified Bowling.

Today's video shows the recent attacks on Israel from Gaza

Sea of Galilee Level Rises Amidst Late-Winter Storm

A late-season storm hit the eastern Mediterranean region Wednesday evening bringing low temperatures, wind and rain to many parts of Israel, including the north where the Sea of Galilee reportedly rose 2 cm, bringing it 49 centimeters above the lower red line. The Water Authority announced that the ancient body of water still needs to rise another 3.71 meters to reach the top red line after a multi-year drought has vastly depleted it. Rain continued to fall in much of the country, including Jerusalem, throughout the day on Thursday.

US Signals Possible Shift in Longstanding Policy
The US State Department published its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices Wednesday, including a section on Israel which, for the first time, described the Golan Heights, West Bank, Gaza Strip and eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem without saying they were “occupied” by Israel but rather being under Israeli “control”. However, Michael Kozak of the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor told reporters Wednesday that “My understanding is that there is no change in our outlook or our policy vis-à-vis the territories and the need for a negotiated settlement there.”

“We decided not to use the term in the reports because it is not a human rights term and it was distracting,” he added. “What we’re trying to do is report on the human rights situation in those territories.... You’re just trying to find a way of describing the place that you are reporting on. ‘Occupied territory’ has a legal meaning to it. What they tried to do was shift more to just a geographic description. So we said Israel, Golan, West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem.”

However, several Israeli political leaders immediately issued statements thanking the Trump Administration for agreeing with Israel’s position that it will retain the Golan Heights indefinitely and to work towards annexation of the West Bank.

Iranian Human Rights Lawyer Sentenced to Prison, Lashes
In a move roundly condemned by Human Rights groups and governments around the world, the clerical regime which rules Iran has sentenced human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes with a whip. The US State Department declared the sentence to be “beyond barbaric” while her husband, Reza Khandan has appealed to the United Nations to help his wife, who was convicted of charges including “'encouraging corruption and debauchery,” "colluding [and] propaganda against the system,” and “disrupting public order," as well as making statements that insulted the dignity of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Report Indicates High Levels of Poverty in Israel
The Adva Institute, a private Israeli think tank, issued a report Wednesday providing statistics on poverty in Israel, including an estimate that as many as 1 in 4 Israelis live at or just above the poverty line. “We found that the distance between those that are not poor but are near the poverty line is very small,” Dr. Shlomo Swirski, academic director of the Adva Center and author of the report, told The Jerusalem Post.

Today’s video shows the opening of a recent conference on anti-Semitism at the Institute for National Security Studies think tank at Tel Aviv University

Iran Menacing Israel on Northern Border

Satellite images were posted by Israeli intelligence firm ImageSat International (ISI) on Wednesday showing what appears to be a new factory being built in the town of Safita, east of Tartus on the Mediterranean coast in southern Syria, designed to build missiles. The images are raising fresh questions about Iran’s malign influence in Israel’s northern neighbors, as the layout of the facility is similar to a surface-to-surface missile production plant in Khojir, Iran. “The construction patterns, the compound location and the activity signs at the compound and its region, increase the probability that this is a missile manufacturing site,” (ISI) said, adding that “if this site is indeed related to SSM manufacturing it is possible that the two hangers include production line and the third is for manufacture or assembly.”

In related news, Israel's ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon issued a formal complaint to the Security Council Wednesday regarding the “Golan Project” which involves attempts by the Lebanese-backed Shi’ite terror militia Hezbollah to establish bases and infrastructure in the Syrian zone of the Golan Heights to attack Israel. The Project was revealed publicly by Israel on Wednesday as Danon wrote in an official letter to the Security Council that Israel "will not ignore the conversion of Syria and Lebanon to a military front against us and will act with force against the aggression from Tehran."

Here is a video about the issue posted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

IDF Reveals Hezbollah Buildup in Syria

The IDF announced on Tuesday that is has evidence showing that the Iranian-backed Shi’ite terror militia Hezbollah “has begun an attempt to establish and entrench a covert force in the Syrian Golan Heights that is designed to act against Israel when given the order.” The project, which the IDF said was not yet operational, is being directed by Ali Mussa Daqduq, a senior Hezbollah operative who spent five years in an Iraqi prison for his part in an attack in 2007 which killed five US soldiers in the Karbala Governorate. 

“Hezbollah is taking advantage of the fact that Assad is busy in the north of the country and that villagers in the Syrian Golan need the money,” the IDF said, adding that “if Assad is serious then he has to have full control and know what is happening in his territory…the proximity of these communities to Israel is what allows the operatives to conduct observations continuously and without revealing their true goal – to convey information about the regular activities of our forces to Hezbollah and the leaders of the network.”

“We hold the Syrian Regime as the sovereign its territory and expect it to honor the terms of the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement. We expect it to prevent any hostile elements, including Hezbollah, from operating out of its territory. The IDF will not allow any attempt by Hezbollah to entrench itself near the border and we will act with all our might to force this terrorist organization out of the Golan Heights and ensure the stability of the region.”

“The Northern Command and the 210th Division have identified the enemy’s movements and are acting to strengthen the security response at the border by strengthening intelligence gathering capabilities, fire capabilities and are defending the sector with increased forces,” said Brig.-Gen. Amit Fisher, Commander of the 210th Division. He added that IDF troops “are operating overtly and covertly to locate the enemy, force them away from the border and ensure security near the border.”

Israel’s Relations with the World Improving
There was some good news for Israel’s foreign relations this week as the 2020 budget proposed by US President Donald Trump and submitted for review by the US Congress on Monday included the full $3.3 billion in military assistance to Israel promised under a 10-year memorandum of understanding between the two countries signed by the previous US Administration. It was one of a small handful of ongoing Federal programs that the White House proposal didn’t include cuts to.

In related news, the Keren Kayemet L'Israel-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) along with JNF Holland inaugurated a Water Project in Mitzpeh Ramon in honor of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. Dutch Ambasador to Israel Gilles Beschoor Plug, President of the JNF Holland Professor Moshe Kon, CEO of the Mitzpeh Ramon Local Council Dror Dvash and other Dutch and Israeli officials honored the occasion with their presence.

Iranian Generals Threaten Israel Over Maritime Smuggling
Iran's Minister of Defense Amir Hatami issued a scathing rebuttal Wednesday to a recent statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel would act against illegal oil smuggling operations by the Islamic Republic. Characterizing such statements as a threat to carry out “piracy” Hatami said that 
"The Iranian armed forces have certainly the capabilities to protect the country's shipping lines in the best way against any possible threat.”

"We never welcome any war, but we are ready to respond to any invasion. We hope the aggressors do not need to understand this point by trying it and paying a high price," Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Major General Gholamali Rashid added in remarks to Iranian media regarding the issue.

Israel’s Club Football Season Ends
The Maccabi Tel Aviv football (soccer) club finished the Premier League regular season with an undefeated record on Monday night, with 20 wins and six draws. This record puts the club in good position in the post-season as it attempts to continue its long tradition of success in Israeli football.

Today’s video shows yet another way Israel Blesses the World

Violence Flares on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City was operating under heavy security Wednesday following violent attacks by rioters against security forces Tuesday afternoon. “Abu Mazen [PA President Mahmoud Abbas] continued to lie and incite violence together with the terror organizations of Murabitoun and Hamas, in an attempt to ignite a fire and cause a religious war on the Temple Mount,” Public Safety Minister Gilad Erdan said. “We will not allow this to happen. We will continue to act to restore calm on the [Temple Mount]. Police will respond with strength and determination to any act of violence or attempt to harm Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount.”

Following a gasoline bomb (Molatov cocktail) attack against an Israeli police station on the Mount around 1 PM Tuesday, police closed access to the Old City through two gates adjacent to predominantly Arab neighborhoods, prompting demands by the Islamist terror militia Hamas and other extremist groups for Palestinians and their supporters to storm the gates and force their way through in a show of defiance. PA government spokesman Yusef al-Mahmoud responded with a statement accusing Israel of seeking “to carry out its schemes to control al-Aqsa Mosque and obliterate the Arab features of Jerusalem.”

United Nations Special Coordinator to the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov tweeted that “Places of worship are for prayer, not for provocations and violence. Restraint must be shown to avoid inflaming an already tense situation. The status quo must be fully respected by all.”

The day’s violence followed several days of tensions between Israel, Palestinian factions and Jordan over the disposition of a building near the Golden Gate on the Temple Mount which the Islamic Wafk wants to renovate for use as a mosque but which Israel insists must remain closed for security reasons. Additionally, recent days have seen a surge in violence along the border between Israel and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Here is a video about the tensions along that border

Netanyahu Given Slight Reprieve on Indictments

Israel’s Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit reportedly informed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday that his first court hearing to determine whether or not he will be indicted for fraud, breach of trust and bribery will be scheduled for no later than 10 July. He also agreed to Netanyahu’s request not to transfer the evidence in the three cases against him to the prosecuting and defense attorney’s until 10 April, the day after the election. Analysts assessed these decisions by Mandelblit  give Netanyahu time and space to concentrate on the election.

Here is a video on Israel's upcoming elections posted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Visiting US Senator Graham Takes Golan Tour
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosted US Ambassador David Friedman and Senator Lyndsey Graham [R-SC] for a tour of the Golan Heights on Monday, sharing with them about the necessity of Israel retaining control of the strategic region. The American delegation expressed their support for Israel’s position and vowed to work towards formalizing US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the territory.

Here is the GPO video from their tour

Israel Blesses the World
Israeli irrigation tech firm Netafim won a contract this week, worth over $100 million, to build infrastructure projects which will allow nearly 60,000 farmers in over 100 communities in the southern Indian states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh to increase their crop yields while reducing their use of chemical fertilizers and water. "India is a key market for Netafim in fulfillment of its commitment to help the world to grow more with less," said Netafim president and CEO Ran Maidan.

BDS Movement Suffers Defeats
The effort to Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) Israel suffered a massive defeat on Monday when US hi-tech giant Nvidia announced it is acquiring Israeli chipmaker Mellanox for $6.9 billion in the latest massive “exit” of an Israeli Start-Up company. “The success of Mellanox is another sign of respect for the Israeli economy and a source of great pride for the hi-tech industry,” said Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon. Also on Monday, Jerusalem’s YMCA hotel hosted executives from some of the world’s largest media companies for a conference aimed at expanding operations in the Jewish State. Executives from Netflix, CNN, CBS, Amazon Studios among others took part in the sixth annual Keshet INTV conference, with Cindy Holland, VP of original content at Netflix telling Keshet CEO Avi Nir during the opening panel that her company is “trying to program for audiences with such wide, inclusive and eclectic tastes…80% of our new acquisitions are coming from outside the United States (and) foreign titles were always of great interest to our members.”

Israeli Police Make Massive Drug Bust
Israelis awoke Tuesday morning to the news that Telegrass, one of the largest narcotics distribution networks in the country, had been targeted by police in a raid which resulted in the arrest of 42 suspects. The group’s name derived from its use of the encrypted Telegram app to communicate between administrators, dealers and an estimated 100,000+ users all over the country. The group, which operates semi-above ground, issued a statement on its Facebook page saying Tuesday’s raid won’t make a significant dent in its operations and predicting that recreational cannabis use will soon be legalized in Israel. 

Assad Regime Threatens to Attack Israel on Northern Border

Reports surfaced last week that the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad has threatened to attack Israel if it does not withdraw from the Golan Heights in response to rumours that the US is preparing to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the area over fifty years after Israel gained control over it in the 1967 Six Day War. Also over the weekend, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shi’ite terror militia Hezbollah, made a speech in which he said, among other things, that Israel was “afraid” of another war and ill-prepared for one.

“What the Zion-American enemy failed to obtain during the military campaigns, it wants to achieve through imposing sanctions on the Syrian people, besieging the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, causing starvation in Yemen, and blacklisting Hezbollah,” Nasrallah said during a speech whch was part of events commemorating the founding of one of Hezbollah’s subsidiaries. “Israel is scared of a new war,” he continuedd. “Every day you hear that Israel is not prepared for war in one way or another, and this week you saw Israel began using the American THAAD system. The Israelis do not believe in their defense systems and are afraid, and that is why they have set up US-made defense systems. The Israeli Army is afraid of war against us, and they know why. We’ll break them on the battlefield. No advanced missile defense systems will help.”

Iranian President in Iraq for Trade Talks
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was in Iraq on Monday to meet with senior officials and make speeches denouncing the existence of Israel and the US presence in the Middle East generally. Another area the three-day visit is expected to touch on is bi-lateral trade between Iran and Iraq, both of which are facing desperate economic, environmental and political crises.

Israel Blesses the World
IKEA, the Swedish-based retail conglomerate announced on Sunday that it is teaming up with Access Israel and Milbat, two Israeli NGOs, to launch a new project called “ThisAbles” to make IKEA merchandise more user-friendly for people with physical disabilities. "IKEA has vowed to create a better daily life for as many people as possible, and we feel it is our duty to create this initiative and allow people with disabilities to enjoy a wide range of products, furniture and household items," explained IKEA Israel CEO Shuki Koblenz.

WZO Leads Wave of Protests Against Anti-Semitism
A protest against Anti-Semitism, led by the World Zionist Organization [WZO] was held in Jerusalem and several other cities around the world on Sunday under the banner of the “No Hate Campaign” which was initiated by Chief Rabbi of Israel David Lau. "The recent events are not a warning sign at this point," Vice Chairman of WZO Yaakov Hagoel said during the event. "But a wake-up call to the rest of the world, including Jews and non-Jews."

Nazareth Illit Changing Name
Nazareth Illit, a village predominantly populated by Jews and situated in the hills above the modern-day Israeli city of Nazareth, which is almost entirely populated by Arab citizens, is changing its name to Nof Hagalil (Hebrew for “the Galilee view”). “We live in an excellent neighborhood, but we are dealing with separate authorities with a completely different identity and character,” said Nazareth Illit Mayor Ronen Plot to Yediot Aharanot. "If after 62 years, Israelis have still not grasped the difference, there is no alternative but to change the name and give it a name that distinguishes it from Nazareth.”

Israelis Among Victims of Ethiopian Airlines Crash
A team from the Israeli Emergency Response organization ZAKA was on its way to Ethiopia Monday morning to search for the remains of two Israeli citizens who were among 157 victims of a plane crash Sunday evening. Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 crashed shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa Sunday evening, en route to Nairobi Kenya.

Today's video shows some recent innovations out of Israel

Jerusalem on Alert Amidst Temple Mount Crisis

Following several days of tensions surrounding the Golden Gate on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, Jordanian King Abdullah II left Amman was in Washington on Saturday for meetings with members of the US Congress in order to enlist their support for his demands that Israel allow the Wafk Islamic trust which administers the site to open a building near the Gate which Israeli authorities have closed since 2003. Israel arrested a senior member of the Wafk leadership in response to the unilateral move and tensions have flared in and around the Old City, leading to a heightened security situation in the Israeli capital.

Talks between Israeli and Jordanian officials on Thursday failed to resolve the dispute, with the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court also getting involved by issuing a ruling allowing security services to re-close the building. Palestinian officials issued a call for their followers to show up en masse at the Temple Mount for Friday’s prayers to protest the situation and several thousand did so, leading to tense confrontations with police. However, there was little violence reported and tourists visiting the site passed crowds of protesters as the massive police presence managed to keep unrest to a minimum.

Meanwhile, there were also demonstrations Friday along the border between Israel and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took time during his weekly cabinet meeting Sunday morning to address the issue, warning Hamas by saying “Do not test us. We will do everything we need to bring about quiet. Over the last few days we have seen violence by rogue groups from the Gaza Strip, but it does not absolve Hamas [of responsibility]. We respond by attacking Hamas targets.”

In related news, the Palestinian Authority announced this week that it is cutting the paycheques of its tens of thousands of employees in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in response to massive budget shortfalls which have been exacerbated by the PA’s refusal to accept tax revenues collected by Israel on PA-sourced commerce because Israel was deducting monies from those receipts equal to the amounts the PA was paying to the families of terrorists killed or imprisoned in the act of carrying out attacks against Israelis. 


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