A Palestinian policeman has been convicted of the murder of an Israeli man and baby after he ambushed their car; no doubt the BBC and Human Rights Watch will in future try to deceive the public into thinking this man is a political prisoner
* Israel is bracing for a “potentially crippling” cyberattack against the country’s major companies and websites on April 7, the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day. The planned assault is organized by the hacktivist group Anonymous and other anti-Israeli groups with “the intent of erasing Israel from the Internet.”
* Last week, the three groups claimed they breached the Mossad’s mainframe, accessed classified information and leaked the online personal details of over 34,000 of the intelligence agency’s officers and agents worldwide. The Mossad did not comment on the matter.
* In February, the Israel Defense Forces set up an official cyber war room, meant to improve the IDF’s ability to thwart “the constant attempts” to hack into the IDF’s computer systems. The IDF officially defined cyber warfare as the fifth arena of warfare, alongside land, sea, air and space.
* The Israeli navy is preparing to defend Israel’s new Mediterranean gas platforms from boat bombs, drones, submarine vessels, rockets and missiles. Energy-rich countries have for years been searching for the best tactics to defend their offshore assets. Oil platforms off Nigeria have been hit repeatedly, and in 2004 suicide bombers launched coordinated boat attacks on an Iraqi oil export terminal.
* Palestinian nonprofit group Miftah, founded by hardline Palestinian lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi, finally apologizes for the anti-Semitic blood libel article it ran to mark Passover. Miftah receives funding from the governments of Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Italy, Austria, Germany, Ireland, and Norway, all of whom help Miftah to spread anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic propaganda.
* Palestinian policeman convicted of murder of Israeli man and baby.
* Israeli Arab paramedic saves Jewish baby following Palestinian terror attack.
* You can comment on this dispatch here: www.facebook.com/TomGrossMedia. Please also press “Like” on that page.
1. “Israel braces for ‘potentially crippling’ cyberattack” (Israel Hayom, April 2, 2013)
2. “Israel’s navy gears up for new job of protecting gas fields” (Reuters, April 1, 2013)
3. “Palestinian nonprofit apologizes for blood libel article” (JTA, April 2, 2013)
4. “Court convicts Palestinian of murder in Asher Palmer case” (Ynet, April 2, 2013)
5. “Mimouna guest of honor: Arab paramedic who saved Jewish baby after terror attack” (Ynet, April 2, 2013)
6. “Cyprus jails Hezbollah operative for Israel attacks plot” (BBC, March 29, 2013)
I attach 6 articles connected to Israel, below.
ISRAEL BRACES FOR ‘POTENTIALLY CRIPPLING’ CYBERATTACK
Israel braces for ‘potentially crippling’ cyberattack
By Ilan Gattegno
April 2, 2013
Israel is bracing for a “potentially crippling” cyberattack against the country’s major companies and websites, Israel Hayom learned Tuesday. The attack is set to take place on April 7, which this year will be the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The planned assault is part of hacktivist group Anonymous’s ongoing #OpIsrael campaign, which was launched in March in a show of solidarity with the Palestinians. As part of the campaign, Anonymous — which has since been joined by several other hacktivist groups including Sector404 and RedHack — said that on April 7 that it would “launch a coordinated, massive cyberattack on Israeli targets with the intent of erasing Israel from the Internet.”
Last week, the three groups claimed they breached the Mossad’s mainframe, accessed classified information and leaked the personal details of over 34,000 of the intelligence agency’s officers and agents worldwide online. The Mossad did not comment on the matter.
According to Shai Blitzblau, CEO of Maglan Information Defense Technologies Research, the attack is likely to target government websites as well as major banks and credit cards companies.
Israel’s financial system was targeted in a series of cyberattacks in early 2012: Two of Israel’s major banks, Hapoalim and Leumi, as well as three major credit card companies — Isracard, Leumi Card and Visa Cal — were hacked, as was the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
Hackers are also constantly trying to target Israel’s critical infrastructure, such as its power and water grids: In September 2012, Yiftach Ron-Tal, chairman of the Israel Electric Corporation’s board of directors, revealed that IEC sees between 10,000 and 20,000 attempted cyberattacks a day. Ron-Tal was speaking at the annual cyber summit, hosted by the Israel Institute for National Security Studies.
“Cyberattacks worldwide are becoming more powerful every day, but the [coming] attack won’t be substantially different from what we’ve seen before,” Blitzblau said. “The hackers are likely to target the top 100 Israeli websites and they will probably try introducing Trojan horses into their servers, to infect as many users as possible.”
The systems used by the majority of Israel’s banks, credit card and telecommunication companies are susceptible to denial-of-service attacks that use the availability of virtual host-servers to create massive traffic backlogs, which eventually crash the websites using their services.
Meanwhile, the military is also gearing for an increase in cyberattacks: In mid-February, the Israel Defense Forces set up an official cyber war room, meant to improve the IDF’s ability to thwart what military sources called “the constant attempts” to hack into the IDF’s computer systems.
The IDF officially defined cyber warfare as the fifth arena of warfare, alongside land, sea, air and space, in 2012.
ISRAEL’S NAVY GEARS UP FOR NEW JOB OF PROTECTING GAS FIELDS
Israel’s navy gears up for new job of protecting gas fields
April 1, 2013
ASHDOD, Israel – Israel’s huge new offshore gas resource offers its enemies an obvious target and gives its navy, long overshadowed by other branches of the Israeli armed forces, a big job that will require extra spending.
On patrol boat 836, circling two gas platforms in choppy Mediterranean waters, Captain Ilan Lavi flipped through pictures of the possible threats: boat bombs, drones, submarine vessels, rockets and missiles.
“We have to build an entire new defensive envelope,” said Lavi, head of the navy’s planning department who talks as knowledgeably about the financial aspects of the gas industry as he does about security. “But you can’t have a defense system that costs more to build than the gas itself.”
The discovery of large natural gas deposits in its offshore economic zone in 2009 came as a welcome surprise to Israel, transforming the energy security outlook of a country that used to rely heavily on imports. A burst of exploration followed, and by the end of 2013 18 new wells are expected to be drilled at a cost of $1.8 billion.
The government from the outset committed to helping protect the gas fields being developed by private companies.
“The gas fields are a strategic asset and Israel will defend them,” Lavi yelled above the wind and the engine roar.
“They may not be too complicated to attack, but we are aware of the threats and are prepared for them.”
The navy says it is under-equipped, however, to defend a maritime area larger than Israel itself.
Israel estimates there are about 950 billion cubic meters of gas beneath its waters, enough to leave plenty for exports. A successful attack could threaten export revenues and harm domestic energy supply.
A suitable defense system will cost $700 million to build and $100 million annually to maintain, Lavi said. That is a tough sell in a country facing sharp spending cuts and tax rises after the government overspent in 2012, he acknowledged.
“We can do it with less, but it means the system will be less adequate,” he said.
A senior naval commander, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that simply to patrol the area Israel needed four new ships and that it had already been in touch with eight or nine foreign firms.
Amit Mor, chief executive of Eco Energy and a former World Bank consultant, said Israel need not reinvent the wheel. Lessons on security can be learned from areas such as Nigeria and the North Sea and adapted for Israel’s situation, he said.
“I trust that the Israel Defense Force has the ability to provide adequate protection for the new offshore activity and that the required funding will be allocated,” he said.
THREATS AND TARGETS
It took 40 minutes heading west from the port of Ashdod to reach the two gas platforms on patrol boat 836, a fast-attack vessel equipped with high-tech radar and carrying a dozen sailors armed with M-16 rifles.
Israel’s coastline, 15 miles (24 km) away, can be seen on clear days from the two rigs, serving the Tamar and Yam Tethys fields, which are nearer to the shore than the latest finds.
Also visible is the Gaza Strip, ruled by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which has fired thousands of rockets into southern Israel. The platforms are within range of the rockets, although these are not very accurate.
The Lebanese Shi’ite militant group Hezbollah poses a more formidable threat. Last year it sent a drone deep into Israel, covering more than enough of the distance needed to reach some of the gas fields.
The group, backed by Israel’s enemy Iran, also says its rocket arsenal has the range to hit anywhere in Israel, which indicates more sophisticated technology.
Energy-rich countries have for years been searching for the best tactics to defend their offshore assets, often isolated and vulnerable in the deep seas. Attacks have become more frequent.
Oil platforms off Nigeria have been hit repeatedly, and in 2004 suicide bombers launched coordinated boat attacks on an Iraqi oil export terminal.
“These incidents illustrate that terrorist organizations have become aware of the potential damage that may be inflicted through attacks on the offshore oil and gas industry,” Assaf Harel, a legal adviser to Israel’s Military Advocate General’s Corps, wrote last year in a Harvard security journal.
The two Israeli gas platforms visited by patrol boat 836 have private security teams, which were notified as it approached.
The bigger of the two, which was completed in December and began production on Saturday, receives gas from the Tamar field to the north via a 150 km (93 mile) pipeline. Developed by a U.S.-Israeli consortium at a cost of $3 billion, Tamar alone has enough gas to meet Israel’s needs for decades.
The smaller platform is for the older, nearly depleted Yam Tethys field and in time will become a sort of storage facility.
Most new drilling, like that at the Leviathan field, the world’s largest offshore discovery of the past decade, is happening much farther from land, increasing exponentially the area Israel’s fleet needs to patrol.
When the area is developed, companies including Russia’s Gazprom expect to send multi-billion dollar floating liquefied natural gas vessels to the area to facilitate exports, and these too will need protection.
A clash with other navies is not likely. Initial bellicose exchanges over the gas fields between Israel and Lebanon, which have never agreed upon a maritime border, quickly subsided.
Lavi would not discuss details of each individual threat but described a broad, integrated defense strategy based on intelligence, deterrence and maintaining a strong physical and technological presence.
“We have a response for every scenario,” he said.
PALESTINIAN NONPROFIT APOLOGIZES FOR BLOOD LIBEL ARTICLE
Palestinian nonprofit apologizes for blood libel article
April 2, 2013
A Palestinian nonprofit organization has removed an article from its website that accused Jews of using “the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover.”
The Miftah organization, founded by Palestinian lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi and funded by European and Western governments, reportedly apologized for publishing the article, after first refusing to apologize and condemning the Jewish bloggers who publicized the article.
The apology was first reported by Adam Kredo at the Washington Free Beacon.
The apology expressed the organization’s “sincerest regret.”
“It has become clear to us after investigating this incident that the article was accidentally and incorrectly published by a junior staff member. The said staffer has been reprimanded and all our staff has been informed as to the disgusting and repulsive phenomena of blood libel or accusation, including its use against Jews. Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, as founder, has nothing to do with the day to day management at Miftah and was no way involved in this incident,” the apology issued Monday said.
The original article in Arabic by Nawaf Al Zaru was first exposed by the Elder of Ziyon blog. It criticized President Obama for his tribute to Passover, by holding a seder in the White House.
“Does Obama in fact know the relationship, for example, between ‘Passover’ and ‘Christian blood’..?! Or ‘Passover’ and ‘Jewish blood rituals?!’” read the article posted March 27. “Much of the chatter and gossip about historical Jewish blood rituals in Europe are real and not fake as they claim; the Jews used the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover.”
Miftah on March 30 defended the publishing of the article in a statement on its website, calling it a “smear campaign.”
Miftah receives government funding from countries including Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, Austria, Germany, Ireland, and Norway, and from US-funded NGOs that receive government funding, NGO Monitor reported.
PALESTINIAN POLICEMAN CONVICTED OF MURDER OF JEWISH INFANT
Court convicts Palestinian of murder in Asher Palmer case
By Itamar Fleishman
April 4, 2013
The Ofer Base Military Court convicted Tuesday Waal al-Araja, a member of the Palestinian security forces from Halhoul, of the murder of Asher Palmer and his infant son, Yonatan, in September 2011.
Al-Araja, who was throwing stones from a moving vehicle toward Palmer’s car on Route 60, causing the father and son’s death, was also convicted in connection with a series of attempted murders of a similar nature.
His sentence will be given at a later date.
The verdict is considered unusual in relation to stone hurling incidents where the Military Prosecution seldom files indictments for murder. The judges, Justice Amir Dahan, Justice Zeev Afiq and Justice Steve Berman noted in their decision that there has been no precedent in a similar case since the 1980s.
Al-Araja admitted to the crimes ascribed to him in both the interrogation and during the trial but claimed that he did not mean to kill the victims. In their verdict the judges noted that al-Araja was convicted of murder because it was proven that he intended to kill Jews and that he understood that throwing rocks could cause their deaths.
The verdict also revealed that at the time that the Palestinian terrorist committed his crimes, he was becoming an expert at hitting his targets and noticed the serious damages that were a result of stone hurling.
The judges further noted that al-Araja’s associates boasted of their actions, called it Jihad and later claimed that they carried out the acts because “the settlers cursed the prophet Mohammad and burned mosques.”
Asher Palmer’s father who was present at the hearing, embraced those around him and cried when the verdict was read out. The family has already announced that it plans to sue Asher and Yonatan’s killers for compensation.
The family attorney said Tuesday: “The court stated today very clearly that throwing rocks is murder, the war that Asher’s father is fighting is a very big part of this and without his dedication and stubbornness we might not have gotten this result.
“We hope this case means that similar incidents will not occur, this is terror any way you look at it and it must be treated as such.”
Police initially denied that stones had caused the accident but later concluded the incident was in fact a terror attack.
GUEST OF HONOR: PARAMEDIC WHO SAVED BABY ADELE
Mimouna guest of honor: Paramedic who saved baby Adele
By Itamar Fleishman
April 4, 2013
Adele Biton, 3, critically injured in a stoning attack on her family car near Ariel in the West Bank, most likely would not have survived without the quick aid she received from a Magen David Adom paramedic who rushed to the scene. Monday her family decided to thank him by making him the guest of honor at their Mimouna celebration.
“I had been to Mimouna before, but this was the most emotional celebration ever,” said paramedic Muawiya Qabha.
Hundreds of people celebrated Mimouna on Monday in the settlement of Yakir, but Qabha was the special guest. Aharon Cohen, who blessed him, said, “We dedicate this event to the recovery of Adele, and to Muawiya, who saved her, and who we hope will save many more lives.”
Qabha was the recipient of many blessings – including one from the deputy commander of the IDF’s Judea and Samaria Division and from the head of the Shomron Regional Council, who both attended the celebration.
In keeping with tradition, Qabha was honored with mufletas. “I may be an Arab, but because of the holiday I also was without hametz. I waited an entire week to taste these (the mufletas).” After the celebration in Yakir, he continued onto the Schneider Children’s Medical Center, to visit the parents of Adele.
Adele remains in critical condition with a severe head injury, but Sunday she showed small improvements.
In addition to Qabha, honored guests, including the country’s leading politicians, were present at Mimouna celebrations nationwide: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was hosted at the Or Akiva Cultural Center, and former Knesset speaker Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin and other Likud-Beiteinu members celebrated in Ashkelon.
CYPRUS JAILS HEZBOLLAH OPERATIVE FOR ISRAEL ATTACKS PLOT
Cyprus jails Hezbollah operative for Israel attacks plot
BBC news website
March 29, 2013
A Cypriot court has jailed a member of the Lebanese militant Shia movement Hezbollah for three years for plotting to attack Israeli targets there.
Hossam Taleb Yaccoub, a Lebanese Swedish national, admitted collecting information on Israeli tourists, but denied planning to attack them.
The court heard how Hezbollah paid him to carry out six missions since 2011. Israel says Hezbollah has been behind a string of attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets around the world.
Hezbollah, which has been designated a terrorist organisation by a number of governments, has denied the accusations.
Yaccoub, 24, said he had been asked to record information about Israeli flights arriving on the island, and registration plates of buses carrying tourists from Israel. He said he did not know what the information was intended for.
In convicting Yaccoub, the court in Limassol said: “There is no doubt that these are serious offences because by committing them, at the very least it potentially jeopardised the safety Israeli citizens and targets on the territory of the Cyprus Republic.”
Yaccoub was arrested days before a bomb exploded on a bus carrying Israeli tourists at an airport in Bulgaria, killing six people. Israel and Bulgaria accused Hezbollah of carrying out the attack. Hezbollah said it was not involved.