Daily TIP

The Daily TIP: Lebanese Military Court Sentences Journalist to Prison, Underlining Army’s Ties to Hezbollah

Posted by Tip Staff - January 19, 2018

Lebanese Military Court Sentences Journalist to Prison, Underlining Army’s Ties to Hezbollah
IDF Releases New Details About Recently Destroyed Hamas Terror Tunnels
Sanctions Expert: Proposed House Iran Legislation "Gold Standard" for Fixing Nuke Deal
Israeli Hospital Chosen for Hemophilia Therapy Trials

Lebanese Military Court Sentences Journalist to Prison, Underlining Army’s Ties to Hezbollah

A Lebanese military court has handed down a six-month prison sentence to a journalist for comments critical of the Lebanese army, highlighting the close ties the army has with Hezbollah, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

Hanin Ghaddar, a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy known for her vocal criticism of the Iranian-backed terrorist organization Hezbollah, as well as Iran's efforts to spread its Islamic revolution across the Middle East, stands accused of “undermining the Lebanese army.”

The court ruled that Ghaddar, a U.S. resident, was guilty of “defaming the Lebanese army, harming its reputation and accusing it of distinguishing between Lebanese citizens,” because of an expose she delivered at a conference held by the Washington Institute in May 2014.

Robert Satloff, the Institute’s executive director, tweeted that the verdict was “outrageous.”

At the event, the researcher described the situation in Lebanon, which is under political and military control of Hezbollah, as “Sunnis being clamped down by Hezbollah and the Lebanese army versus Hezbollah militia being the untouchables.”

Critics, including high-ranking government officials, have long suggested that the Lebanese army has been fully integrated with Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah and follows Hezbollah’s orders.

In October 2017, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman stated that “The Lebanese army has turned into an integral part of Hezbollah’s command structure.”

Gaddar reacted to the verdict with a comment on her Facebook page, saying “I am going to prison because I voiced my opinion while criminals and terrorists freely roam the country.”

IDF Releases New Details About Recently Destroyed Hamas Terror Tunnels

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) offered reporters more details of the recently discovered and destroyed terror tunnels built from Gaza into Israel, The Times of Israel reported Thursday.

The IDF dug the Palestinian Islamic Jihad tunnel that was destroyed in late October, working in shifts around the clock except on Fridays, to build the tunnels. They dug an estimated ten to twenty meters (eleven to twenty-two yards) a day. The diggers didn’t hide the sand they displaced and created dunes at the Gaza openings to the tunnels.

Following the destruction of the tunnel, PIJ vowed revenge and launched a number of rocket attacks into Israel.

The IDF said that while neither Israel nor Hamas wants a conflict at this time, the possibility of escalation is high. The economic situation in Gaza is bad with unemployment about 50% and low wages for jobs that are available. In addition, trucks bringing commercial goods into Gaza have decreased by 50% recently. This is because Hamas spends its resources on building up its arsenal, an IDF officer explained. “A lack of money is not the problem in Gaza,” he observed.

In addition, Israel is continuing to build a 65 kilometer (40 mile) underground wall around Gaza, called “the barrier,” to prevent the construction of terror tunnels into Israel. The IDF is concerned that Hamas, realizing that its most potent weapon may soon be cut off, will try to launch an attack into Israel through one of its remaining tunnels.

Sanctions Expert: Proposed House Iran Legislation "Gold Standard" for Fixing Nuke Deal

A leading legislative architect of previous sanctions against Iran has described proposed Congressional legislation as the "gold standard" in fixing weaknesses in the nuclear deal with Iran that President Donald Trump demanded last week, Axios reported on Thursday.

Richard Goldberg, a onetime aide to former Sen. Mark Kirk (R - Ill.), said of the proposed legislation authored by Rep. Peter Roskam (R - Ill.), "The Roskam legislation is the gold standard for how to fix the Iran deal when it comes to ballistic missiles."

While it is expected that most Democrats and some Republican will object to the proposed legislation, Axios described the Roskam bill as the "last chance" for Congress to prevent Trump from leaving the deal unilaterally.

The proposed legislation addressed a number of weaknesses that Trump identified last week as needing to be strengthened: a complete ban on Iran's ballistic missile development, permanently keeping Iran's breakout time for a nuclear weapon at a year or more, insisting on "anytime, anywhere" inspections, as Iran has been blocking access to its military sites, and imposing more sanctions on Iran for its terror support and human rights abuses.

Keeping Iran's breakout time to being at least a year addresses the problem of "sunset clauses," which would allow Iran to legally have an industrial nuclear enrichment program by the end of the deal. In April 2015, President Barack Obama acknowledged that according to its terms Iran's breakout time would be "near zero" by the end of the deal.

Israeli Hospital Chosen for Hemophilia Therapy Trials

Is a cure for hemophilia on the horizon? American biotechnology company BioMarin aims to find out with the help of Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Israel.

BioMarin has chosen Sheba to take part in the next phase of international trials for what’s being touted as a “magic bullet” cure for hemophilia A, a genetic blood-clotting deficiency that results in patients bleeding longer after an injury and more easily bruising. Hemophilia A, which affects mostly men, can be life-threatening.

BioMarin has developed a treatment using viruses to implant new genes into a patient’s cells; a single dose seems to be enough to stop or even cure the disease.

BioMarin has conducted an initial trial on nine patients – all stopped using clotting factor drugs to treat their hemophilia and their annualized bleeding rate fell from some 16 episodes a year to just one.

Prof. Gili Kenet will run the project in Israel. Kenet, the director of the National Hemophilia Center and Institute of Thrombosis and Hemostasis at Sheba Medical Center, is impressed by what she’s seen so far.

“People in the medical community are beginning to speak about curing hemophilia after a one-time treatment with this new drug,” she said.

Sheba’s National Hemophilia Center treats more than 700 hemophiliacs a year and has about 50 patients currently participating in clinical studies.

Pending approval by the Israeli Ministry of Health, Sheba expects to begin enrolling patients shortly. (via Israel21c)

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