Israel news summary

Israel News for 7-1-2019

Israeli Attacks
Syrian media is reporting that Israeli warplanes attacked attacked military positions in central Syria early Monday, with a missile near the capital, Damascus, killing four civilians and wounding 21. The planes fired missiles from Lebanese airspace, and Syrian missile defense fired at the aircraft.

The Syrian London based Observatory for Human Rights reported Israeli jets and naval gunships attacked at least ten Syrian government targets among them a research facility and Hezbollah bases near the Syrian-Lebanon border and that fires broke out as a result of the attack.

Lebanese Al Mayadeen television reported one of the targets hit was the town of Al-Kiswah near Damascus which had been targeted by Israel in the past and contain weapons depot.

Israel did not comment.

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Pollution Solution
Last week, the Regional Committee for Planning and Building for the Western Negev gave final approval to the laying of a sewage pipeline that will divert waste coming from Beit Lahia and Beit Hanoun in the north of the Gaza Strip. The pipeline will carry the waste directly to the Sderot sewage treatment plant.

Since the collapse of the Gazan sewage treatment plant, Gazans have been pouring the waste from the communities directly into Israeli territory via Hanoun River, next to Erez Border Crossing. The waste contaminates the soil and causes bad odors.

The cost of the new pipeline, which will run along the Gaza border, will likely be deducted from the monies transferred by Israel to the Palestinian Authority. Work on the pipeline will start in the coming days.

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Pilgrimage Road
After six years of extensive archaeological excavations led by the Israel Antiquities Authority, a 350-meter-long section of the 2,000 year old Pilgrimage Road was unveiled at a festive ceremony in the City of David. The project was funded by the City of David Foundation, who plan to open up the site to the general public in the near future. The ancient road was the one taken by millions of pilgrims who visited the Temple during the 3 Jewish festivals of Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot.

US Ambassador David Friedman and White House special envoy Jason Greenblatt both attended the ceremony. Jordan strongly criticized Israel’s opening of the road, calling it “illegal and irresponsible” and claimed that Israel is trying to change the identity of Jerusalem.

The Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization and chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat attacked Friedman and Greenblatt for taking part in the event.

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Share the Wealth
Palestinian engineers working for Israeli chip designer Mellanox Technologies are poised to share a $3.5 million payout when the company’s takeover by U.S. chip supplier Nvidia Corp is completed. Mellanox is one a few Israeli companies using Palestinian engineers, who cost about the same as engineers in India and the Ukraine (popular tech outsourcing locations).

Mellanox, a chip maker, offered stock options to more than 100 Palestinian engineers and designers based in the West Bank and Gaza, when it hired them as independent contractors as a result of a severe shortage of engineers in Israel. They will soon be able to exercise those options after Nvidia’s $6.8 billion takeover closes at the end of 2019, and stand to collectively earn as much as $3.5 million. The median daily wage in the West Bank is $28 and just $11 in Gaza, according to the Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute.

ASAL, the Palestinian company that outsources engineers from the West Bank and Gaza, also services Microsoft, Intel and Cisco. Palestinian universities produced around 3,000 engineers in 2018.

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