- Hamas Incited Riots Leave Dozens Dead in Deadliest Day in Gaza Since 2014
- White House Backs Israel’s Response to Gaza Riots, Blames Violence on Hamas
- British-Iranian Charity Worker Accused by Iran of Spying Faces New Charges
- Israeli scientists develop first-ever social robot that helps rehabilitation patients
Hamas Incited Riots Leave Dozens Dead in Deadliest Day in Gaza Since 2014
Over 50,000 Gazans participated in Hamas-led riots along the Israeli-Gaza border on Monday. In the chaos of events, and in response to blatant violations of Israel’s sovereignty, Israel was forced to defend her border, resulting in the deaths of dozens of Palestinian rioters. The death toll rose to 60 overnight, of which 24 so far have been confirmed as members of known terrorist organizations.
It was the deadliest day since the start of the weeks-long Palestinian riots and coincided with the inauguration of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.
During the riots, which took place on 13 different locations along the border, rioters hurled firebombs and stones at Israeli troops, set hundreds of tires ablaze, and tried to carry out bombing and shooting attacks under the cover of the riots. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) released videos and images showing rioters setting fire to the border fence, shooting at soldiers, and trying to breach the fence to infiltrate into Israeli territory.
Israel was bracing for a second day of violent riots as Palestinians commemorate “Nakba Day” to mark the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Riots, however, dwindled down on Tuesday with only 4,000 participants gathering at the border.
The full responsibility for the deaths that occurred lies solely with Hamas, the terrorist group which exercises complete control over the Gaza Strip.
At an emergency meeting at the U.N. on Tuesday, U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley said the riots at the border had nothing to do with inauguration of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem: “Rather, the violence comes from those who reject the existence of the state of Israel in any location,” Haley said.
Joshua S. Block, CEO and President of the Israel Project said: “Hamas is a cynical, murderous terror organization, bent on Israel's complete annihilation at the expense of their own civilian population. Hamas leaders are inciting the population – which deserves clean water, adequate health care, plenty of electrical energy, and a bright future – against the IDF and gets them killed.” He added: “True peace is only possible if the Palestinian leadership cedes, once and for all, its incitement and support for terrorism.”
Hamas sees the riots as an opportunity to deflect from its crushing failures in Gaza and redirect anger within the coastal enclave towards the border with Israel.
White House Backs Israel’s Response to Gaza Riots, Blames Violence on Hamas
The White House has blamed Hamas, the terrorist organization that exercises complete political and military control over the Gaza Strip, for the deadly clashes along the Israeli-Gaza border on Monday, The Times of Israel reported.
The Trump administration fully backed Israel’s response to the riots, describing the deaths of 52 Palestinian rioters as “tragic”, but said that, ultimately, the responsibility lies with Hamas. “We’re aware of the reports of continued violence in Gaza today. The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas,” said Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah.
“Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response and, as the secretary of state said, Israel has the right to defend itself,” he added. Shah insisted the increased violence would not impact the White House’s peace plan.
Jason Greenblatt, the White House’s lead negotiator, wrote in an op-ed published in The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that “Hamas continues to exploit protests to foment violence against Israel.” He charged that “Hamas has managed to bring the people of Gaza, a people with a proud history and great potential, nearly back to the Stone Age.” He added: “What an embarrassment, what a desolation, what a failure.”
Greenblatt called on the international community to “get real about this – Hamas, and its enablers, such as Iran, are squarely to blame for the desperate situation in Gaza. Hamas has consistently put its own destructive priorities above those of Gaza’s weary and increasingly desperate population.”
However, on Monday, numerous countries, including France, characterized Israel’s reaction as disproportionate or called for restraint from all sides. “Israel has the right to defend itself and to guard the fence against a violent intrusion,” the German foreign ministry said, while calling for Israel to exercise “proportionality” in its response. Saudi Arabia also condemned Israel’s response to the border clashes, but without mentioning the inauguration of the U.S. embassy.
British-Iranian Charity Worker Accused by Iran of Spying Faces New Charges
Iran is preparing fresh charge against jailed British mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, her husband has said, as he called on the British Foreign Secretary to prioritize the safety of British citizens over “commercial interests” with the Islamic Republic.
“He should not just do his utmost to protect British commercial interests. He should also commit to protecting British citizens,” Richard Ratcliff said, as Boris Johnson and European counterparts are expected to meet Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Brussels later on Tuesday to discuss the future of the nuclear accord.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 40, is serving a five-year jail sentence in Iran after being convicted of spying, after she was arrested in 2016 while on holiday with her daughter Gabriella.
The charity worker has been told by Iranian officials that further charges against her could be resurrected by authorities as early as next week, according to her husband, the BBC reported. Richard Ratcliffe said his wife is "shaken and bewildered" after learning she could face new charges.
The new developments come after members of her family visited prosecutors for an update on her case, according to her husband. “The judge is right that Nazanin’s case is a truly made up case. There isn’t anything in her file – we remain stuck as a bargaining chip,” he said.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe is held at Iran’s notorious Evin Prison in Tehran. The Iranian government has never disclosed the exact nature of the crimes it alleges the British mother has committed, and she has been denied due legal representation throughout her detainment.
Her husband called on Boris Johnson to put the plight of British citizens jailed in Iran “at the top of his priority list” during talks with Zarif. “The UK needs to do better by British Iranians – at the moment it is failing to protect them. UK policy is not making it safe for British citizens. Iranian policy is not making it safe for Iranian citizens.”
Iran’s has a long history of arresting dual nationals on suspicious charges and using them as bargaining chips in negotiations with the West.
Israeli scientists develop first-ever social robot that helps rehabilitation patients
Israeli scientists have developed the first-ever social robot that helps rehabilitation patients improve real-life task performance by playing a game – specifically tic-tac-toe.
An interdisciplinary research team at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev designed a game with a robotic arm to simulate 3D functional activities of daily living – actions people undertake daily, like drinking from a cup, which are often the focus of rehabilitation.
“Playing a game of tic-tac-toe with a set of cups (instead of X’s and O’s) is … one example of a game that can help rehabilitate the upper limb – people pick up and place many cups in the process of the game, and improve their performance on the task while enjoying the game,” said Shelly Levy-Tzedek of the BGU Department of Physical Therapy and the Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience, the study’s senior author.
To determine whether it is important for an actual physical robot to interact with the users during the game, the researchers compared the participants’ motivation to play with the robot vs. a set of computer-controlled LED lights.
The system was tested on 40 healthy young adults in their 20s (23 women and 17 men) and 22 healthy adults in their 70s (10 women and 12 men). The results showed that both groups preferred the robotic system over the LED lights system.
Both groups also chose the robotic system over the lights when asked which partner they would prefer to play two additional games with. However, when asked to play 10 additional games, the older adults still preferred the robot, while the young group preferred to play against the LED lights system.
Now that they have established the system’s feasibility to encourage the performance of repetitive 3D functional movements, and track these movements, the researchers recommend testing their system on rehabilitating stroke victims.