Posted by Albert Gersh - August 19, 2014
- Hamas rocket fire escalates into massive barrage, after State Dept blasts terror group for shattering ceasefire
The State Department on Tuesday afternoon blasted Hamas for shattering what had been an ongoing ceasefire between Gaza-based Palestinian groups and Israel, with Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf "condemn[ing]... renewed rocket fire" launched from the Gaza Strip earlier that day and calling on the terror organization to return to truce talks. Harf was immediately asked whether she was able to "independently verify that it was actually the Palestinians that fired rockets" and whether she was "certain that rocket fire was fired from Gaza," leading her to dryly note that a Hamas rocket is "not a stealth weapon... you can see it" and that the group was responsible for the attacks from the Gaza Strip. Agence France-Presse (AFP) wrote up Harf's comments under the terse headline "US blames Hamas for Gaza truce collapse." Shortly after the briefing ended Hamas escalated its rocket fire, launching a volley of at least 50 rockets and hitting both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Daniel Nisman, an Israel-based risk analyst who heads the Middle East-based Levantine Group, noted that the pace of the attacks exceeded "more than one rocket every two minutes." Hamas was explicit in claiming credit for the mass barrage, and Jerusalem-based security analyst Brooklyn Middleton conveyed boasts from the group declaring that it had been targeting Israel's Ben Gurion Airport. Business Insider cited that claim of responsibility, as well as the rocket fire itself, as "an indication that the ceasefire negotiation process in Cairo is effectively over." The Israeli military has reportedly been instructed to prepare for a renewed ground conflict inside the Gaza Strip, and is thought to have a plan in place if it is ordered to conduct the new incursion.
Free internet for tourists and Israelis alike as government cancels router restrictions. Accessing WiFi in Israel just got easier: Communications Minister Gilad Erdan recently announced that he is cancelling router restrictions on public use of WiFi, meaning anyone anywhere can now set up free Internet hotspots indoors and outdoors across Israel. Israelis are already known among the world’s top internet users. Erdan says in a press release that he signed the order to open public accessibility so that Israelis – and tourists – can “remain up to date and connected” at all times. In light of new technologies that have appeared over the past few years, the ministry has decided to remove limitations on use of Wifi, which until now had been limited to indoor venues. It will now be possible to offer Internet services anywhere in Israel,” the press release reads. The new rules stipulate that while anyone from municipalities to private companies and cafes can set up routers, no one is allowed to charge a connecting fee. Moreover, routers can be set up in public outdoor spaces now and not solely indoors. This move will benefit cities like Tel Aviv and Ariel – which already provide free WiFi – but had to do so from the inside of buildings thus making accessibility shoddy. So, get ready, because you’ll soon be able to surf in parks, at beaches, on campus and while you’re walking down the street. (via Israel21c)
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