Posted by Tip Staff - January 12, 2017
- US blacklists senior Syrian officials for gassing civilians; Syrian activists call for investigating Russian, Iranian war crimes
The Palestinian Authority has hailed a terrorist who killed four Israeli soldiers on Sunday as a “martyr,” signalling not only its approval of the fatal attack but that his widow will be eligible to receive a monthly stipend, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported on Tuesday. The official PA daily reported that the attack was “a car ramming operation” and that the killer, Fadi al-Qunbar from eastern Jerusalem, “died as a Shahid,” which PMW explained is used to describe “a Martyr who died for Allah.” By referring to al-Qunbar as a martyr, “the PA is telling its people that murdering the Israeli youths was sanctioned by Islam and seen as positive Islamic behavior.” Official PA television also called al-Qunbar, who Israeli officials believe may have been a supporter of the Islamic State, a “Shahid” seven times. Under Palestinian Authority law, the widows of “Shahids” are entitled to receive monthly stipends for the rest of their lives. The family of a martyr is eligible to receive a minimum of 1,400 shekels each month, while the wife receives an additional 400 shekels. She also receives 200 shekels monthly per child, as well as an additional 300 shekels if she is a resident of Jerusalem. In total, al-Qunbar’s wife is set to receive 2,900 shekels ($760) per month for the rest of her life from the attack. Within the next several months, she will also receive a one-time payment of 6,000 shekels ($1,580). PMW also observed that PA President Mahmoud Abbas failed to condemn Sunday’s attack, in contrast to his response to car-ramming attacks in France and Germany. Following last summer’s truck ramming attack in Nice, which killed 84 people, Abbas told French President Francois Hollande that he “condemned this cowardly act in the strongest terms.” Similarly, following the attack at a Berlin Christmas market last month, which left 12 people dead, Abbas again said that he “condemned this cowardly act in the strongest terms.” Meanwhile, Palestinian factions including Fatah, the political party headed by Abbas, and Hamas, the terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip, praised Sunday’s attack — a response that stood in marked contrast to much of the rest of the world.
Hamas can’t take a joke. The terrorist organization arrested a comedian Wednesday for making a one-minute video about power outages in Gaza; the clip has thus far garnered more than a quarter million views. “(Take) everything, but electricity, Hamas,” entertainer Adel al-Mashwakhi said in the video, which highlighted ongoing outages that have severely affected the amount of power afforded to Gazan homes. Gaza residents have taken to the streets to protest the power cuts, leading to a number of arrests, according to the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network. Al-Mashwakhi was arrested just hours after his video went live. In August, Hamas announced that one of its operatives was electrocuted to death while working on a tunnel in Gaza, indicating that the Islamist group was diverting power meant for civilian use to bolster its terror infrastructure. Israel was forced to increase the amount of electricity it sends to Gaza in June after repeated shutdowns at Gaza’s only power plant due to a payment dispute between Hamas and Fatah.
The United States blacklisted 18 senior Syrian officials on Thursday after determining that the Bashar al-Assad regime was responsible for carrying out gas attacks on civilians by weaponizing chlorine. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons,” said Ned Price, spokesman for the National Security Council. “The Assad regime’s barbaric continued attacks demonstrate its willingness to defy basic standard of human decency, its international obligations, and longstanding global norms.” Also Thursday, Syrian human rights activists urged the United Nations to bring Iranian-backed militias and Russia to justice for war crimes committed in their country, Reuters reported. The Syrian Network for Human Rights and the Violations Documentation Center cited specific incidents of Russian criminality and also said, “We…urge the Commission to explore fully all credible accounts of Iran’s complicity in war crimes in Aleppo” due to the “central role” of Iranian-backed militias in besieging Aleppo before that city’s fall.
Elli is the Norse goddess of old age. Elli•Q, named in her honor but with an original twist, is a robotic companion who emerged from stealth mode today on a quest to alleviate loneliness and social isolation for older adults living alone. Elli•Q is the brainchild of Intuition Robotics, a Ramat Gan startup pioneering social companion technologies. The robot’s mission is to be an “active aging companion,” keeping older adults engaged by helping them access and connect to today’s technologies, including video chats, online games, social media and other ways to stay in touch. “We set out to create this company to have a positive social impact,” Dor Skuler, CEO and founder of Intuition Robotics, says. “While we don’t expect a robot or technology to be people’s friends or solve the problem of loneliness, we do think that technology can overcome barriers and bring people together in a way that’s not happening today.” (via Israel21c)
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