Israel news summary

Israel News for 4-1-19

Islamic Jihad
Sources in the security forces are reporting that the Gaza terror group Islamic Jihad is preparing a “significant” terror attack in the coming hours or days in order to undermine a possible ceasefire arrangement between Israel and Hamas. Security forces along the Gaza border have noticed unusual activity by Islamic Jihad forces. The terror group denied the reports.

Gaza Fishing
In an apparent move towards a ceasefire agreement with Hamas, Israel has expanded the permitted fishing zone in Gaza from 22km (12 nautical miles) to 28km (15 nautical miles). The zone has been totally closed since the first rocket attack from Gaza last Monday.

This move is part of the smaller scale ceasefire agreement reached last week following the escalation on the Gaza border, and it might potentially be a part of the broader deal currently being indirectly negotiated. In addition, the Kerem Shalom and Erez border crossings, which have also been closed since last Monday, were reopened on Sunday morning.

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PA Penalty
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) last night signed an order to deduct 42 million NIS ($11,578,350) from the taxes transferred each month to the Palestinian Authority. Under a law passed last summer, Israel can withhold PA tax funds as long as the PA continues to pay salaries to terrorists who attacked Israeli citizens.

Kahlon said, “I believe there is no place for giving prizes to terrorists. This is an important battle in our justified war against Palestinian terror. We have national honor, and there is justice in the world. It is unthinkable that we should ignore the salaries paid to terrorists, and this is why I made this decision. We are committed to terror victims.”

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Fake Social
An internet watchdog group called the Big Bots Project released a report claiming that a large network of fake social media accounts has been disseminating over 130,000 posts in support of PM Netanyahu and Likud and against Ganz and Lapid.

The report does not identify a direct link between the network and the Likud or any of its staff. It says, however, that the network’s activity raises suspicions of serious criminal offenses, including violations of the Election Law, campaign financing, privacy laws, income tax and more. Likud denies the allegations.

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Brazil Mission
During a visit by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to Israel, Brazil opened a new trade mission in Jerusalem last night. The move falls short of earlier signals that Brazil would relocate its embassy to Jerusalem. The Brazilians are apparently reluctant to damage their trade relations with Arab countries. Brazil has not officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

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