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The Daily TIP: Former Israeli Labor MK: UNRWA Inflated Number of Refugees by a Factor of At Least Four

Posted by Tip Staff - September 05, 2018

Former Israeli Labor MK: UNRWA Inflated Number of Refugees by a Factor of At Least Four
Report: Iran Using Civilian Aircraft to Transport Arms to Hezbollah via Lebanon
Ahead of U.S. Sanctions, Japan to Stop Importing Iranian Oil as Rial Hits New Low
Company Founded by Israeli Who Developed Tool to Save His Own Life Sold for $75 Million


Former Israeli Labor MK: UNRWA Inflated Number of Refugees by a Factor of At Least Four

The number of Palestinians registered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) as refugees is at least four times inflated, former Labor parliamentarian Dr. Einat Wilf said in an exclusive interview with The Israel Project on Tuesday, as she explained the decision by the United States to halt its funding of the U.N.’s Palestinian refugee mechanism.

Wilf observed that of the 1.8 million Palestinians living in Gaza, 1.4 million are registered by UNRWA as refugees. “Almost all of them have been born in Gaza and lived there all their lives. By now their parents have been born in Gaza. Their grandparents have been born in Gaza. And yet they claim to be refugees from Palestine,” she said. “I think we can all agree that Gaza is Palestine.”

Moreover, of the 5.3 million Palestinian refugees that UNRWA currently services, 40% live in Jordan as citizens and enjoy full access to state services, including health and education. “So 80% of Palestinians East and West of the Jordan River are not even refugees,” Wilf said.

She also charged that attempts to appease Gaza through financial investments and economic initiatives have failed because the vast majority of Gazans don’t care about the future of Gaza. They see it “as a temporary” home, before they can resettle in what is now Israel – from the river to the sea.

Wilf continued: “As a person of the Left, as a person of the Labor Party, as a person who supports two-states, I just couldn’t understand why it is that the world focuses so much on the settlements as an obstacle to peace and is saying literally nothing on this Palestinian demand to settle in Israel pre-67.”

For peace to have a chance “we need to limit Israeli maximalisim and we need to limit Arab maximalisim,” Wild affirmed.


Report: Iran Using Civilian Aircraft to Transport Arms to Hezbollah via Lebanon

Western intelligence sources said that Iran has used an ostensibly civilian airline to transport arms to Hezbollah via indirect routes to Beirut's international airport to evade detection two times during the past two months, Fox News reported Monday.

On July 9, a Boeing 747 belonging to Qeshm Fars Air left a Tehran air force base and traveled to Damascus, before continuing on an “uncharacteristic flight path” over northern Lebanon and landing in Beirut. According to a Western intelligence source with knowledge of the flight, "The Iranians are trying to come up with new ways and routes to smuggle weapons from Iran to its allies in the Middle East, testing and defying the West’s abilities to track them down.”

The cargo on board the flight was reportedly components for manufacturing precision weaponry at secret factories in Lebanon. The United States, Israel and intelligence agencies of other Western nations have provided evidence that Iran operates weapons factories in Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen.

A second flight detected left from Tehran's international airport and flew what was described as a "slightly irregular" route north of Syria, before landing in Beirut two and half hours later.

Qeshm Fars Air has ties to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its elite Quds Force, which is headed by Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

Qeshm Fars Air stopped operations in 2013 reportedly due to poor management. However, the airline was revived in March 2017. Three of its board members — Ali Naghi Gol Parsta, Hamid Reza Pahlvani and Gholamreza Qhasemi — are representatives of the IRGC.



Ahead of U.S. Sanctions, Japan to Stop Importing Iranian Oil as Rial Hits New Low

Japanese oil wholesalers have said that they will stop importing Iranian oil next month ahead of United States sanctions that will be reimposed on the sector in November, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported Monday. News of the Japanese decision comes as Iran's rial has hit a new low against the U.S. dollar.

When President Donald Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran in May, he said that the U.S. would reimpose different sets of sanctions that were suspended due to the deal in August and November. The November sanctions will target Iran's banking and oil export sectors. The administration has said that the goal of the latter sanctions is to bring Iran's oil exports down to zero.

Japan's government had sought a waiver from the U.S. to allow it to import Iranian oil. However, Japan's oil importers will now look to other Middle East markets to replace the Iranian oil.

A spokeswoman for Showa Shell Sekiyu, a Japanese crude oil wholesaler, told Agence France-Presse that the company would "observe a government decision" regarding Iranian oil.

Japan relies on oil imports and gets most of its oil — 39% — from Saudi Arabia. Iran has been Japan's sixth biggest supplier at 5%.

The news that Iran would be losing one of the biggest customers of its oil comes at a time that Iran's economy is suffering the effects of renewed U.S. sanctions. Reuters reported on Monday that Iran's rial hit a new low, trading at 128,000 to a dollar.



Company Founded by Israeli Who Developed Tool to Save His Own Life Sold for $75 Million

If you’re an Israeli entrepreneur and you’re facing a life-threatening disease with no cure, what do you do? For Avi Yaron, the choice was clear: he’d invent one.

Now, 20 years after he was diagnosed with what his doctors told him was an inoperable brain tumor, Visionsense, the company Yaron founded to make possible the kind of surgery he needed, was sold this year to US medical equipment company Medtronic for $75 million. That’s a tidy premium over the $20 million invested in the company over the past two decades.

Yaron was 26 years old when in 1993 his motorcycle crashed and he was rushed to the hospital. While in the MRI machine to check for damage, the doctors discovered something far worse: a tumor smack dab in the middle of his brain.

Yaron began learning as much as he could about his condition. He studied chemistry and anatomy. He researched what technologies were available and interviewed doctors around the world – in Israel, Europe and the United States.

His big idea: instead of the kind of opto-mechanics used in traditional endoscopes, he’d base his invention on a small silicon chip and software algorithms. His design mimicked an insect’s eyes, with each side operating independently to create the 3D vision.

Yaron launched Visionsense in 1998. It took another two years to get to a prototype and another 10 to create a commercial product. But the product has now been adopted by surgeons around the world and the company has been growing steadily.

(via Israel21c)


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