A Tragic Murder, “Pay-to-Slay” Countermeasures, and an Iranian Defector

Weekly Israel News Recap without the Rhetoric


Israel NewsFeb 14, 2019

Israel NewsFeb 14, 2019


    Thousands of Palestinians continue to protest and rioted at the Gaza border every week in what they call the March of Return.

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A young Israeli woman was brutally murdered leading to a manhunt and the capture of her Palestinian assailant who is now cooperating with investigators.

Israeli Woman Murdered, Terrorist Caught

The brutal murder and sexual assault of a young Israeli woman led to the arrest of a Palestinian man and clashes between Israeli police and civilians demanding harsh consequences for the incident.

The investigation is ongoing and a gag order has been placed on Israeli media regarding details of the investigation, but some information has been made public. It all started when Arafat al-Rifaiyeh, 29, left his home in Hebron with a knife and allegedly assaulted and murdered Ori Ansbacher, 19, in Jerusalem’s Ein Yael forest on Thursday, according to the Jerusalem Post.

After the woman’s body was found, a manhunt was swiftly launched. The Shin Bet revealed that the suspect hid in a mosque and later in a nearby abandoned building in Ramallah, where an Israeli SWAT team finally apprehended him, according to Ha’aretz.

Though official details have not been released, reports and the gag order indicate that the crime was politically motivated and that the suspect has ties to Hamas. After his apprehension, the suspect has cooperated with police going so far as to reenact the crime for investigators detailing his actions.

The Israeli government has already designated the man’s home for demolition, and no doubt will file more charges when the investigation concludes, but for many Israeli’s that is not enough. On Saturday night, a number of small demonstrations in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, called for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take stiff action against terrorists, according to Jerusalem Post. Others have called for the deportation of all his family members, the death penalty and punitive actions against the Palestinian Authority. No Palestinian factions have yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

Israel’s representative to the UN Security Council strongly condemned the attack and the silence of member states.

“The Security Council’s silence will not help in this fight against terrorism, and will only allow the waves of hatred to grow unchecked,” Danon said. “While this silence continues, the PA maintains its policy of paying salaries for terrorists and educating its youth with incitement, and a 19-year-old girl was brutally murdered in Israel.”

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin expressed sympathy and the nation’s comfort to the family and community of Ori Ansbacher.

“Tonight, too, we send our prayers of consolation to the Ansbacher family and to the whole community of Tekoa for the shining light that has been extinguished by a vile hand, and for the great void that Ori—good-hearted and generous—leaves behind.”

Israel to Implement “Pay-to-Slay” Law

In response to the long-standing Palestinian practice of paying the families of terrorists, Israel will soon begin deducting money from the tariffs and duties it collects monthly on behalf of the PA and transfers to Ramallah.

Dubbed the “pay-to-slay” law, the punitive measures spearheaded by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will withhold the same amount of money that is doled out to families of terrorists. The law is intended to dissuade and punish the practice, which is said to encourage terrorist attacks.

The payments are no secret. The PA has acknowledged that its annual budget for these payments in both 2017 and 2018 was 1.2 billion shekels, according to the Jerusalem Post. The PA said that if Israel deducts the funds, they will not accept any of the money Israel transfers to it under terms of the Oslo Accords, amounting to more than $100 million a month. In total, the law could cost the Palestinians $330 million USD a year, according to an Al Jazeera estimate.

The enactment of the legislation comes in the wake of the horrific murder of nineteen-year-old Israeli Ori Ansbacher last Thursday committed by a Palestinian man. It also follows the Taylor Force Act recently passed in the U.S. that effectively ended most U.S. aid to the Palestinians unless the PA stops the “pay-to-slay” stipends. In response, the Palestinian Authority blasted the new policy saying in a statement that any tariffs or deductions were theft.

Due to the PA’s reliance on foreign aid and Israel’s financial processing, Netanyahu said that he will enact the law but that it will also threaten to destabilize the PA, and that Israel is seeking a way to find a balance between the two elements. Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern, who proposed the bill, said he is confident the law will reduce terrorism and save lives. “The main question I have been asked since the law passed is how no one thought of this before, and how did we accept this bizarre situation for so many years,” he said.

Weekly Gaza Report

Thousands of Palestinians protested and rioted at the Gaza border this weekend in the weekly March of Return protests that have left hundreds dead and thousands wounded since they began nearly a year ago.

This week, some 8,000 Palestinians faced off against IDF troops on the other side of the border fence, according to the IDF. They threw grenades, rocks, and firebombs and were met by Israeli tear gas and live fire. Two teenage boys were shot and killed, one of them only fourteen years old according to Palestinian Health Officials.

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry reports that 220 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the protests began, according to Reuters. One IDF soldier has died and several have been wounded at the border. Earlier last week, clashes flared as IDF tanks hit targets in the Gaza Strip in response to a rocket launched at Israel. No casualties were reported.

In related news, the Netherlands officially recognized Gaza and the West Bank as official birthplaces for Palestinians living in the Netherlands. Previously, Palestinians have had two options when specifying their birthplace at the Dutch civil registry—Israel or unknown. Ha’aretz reports that the new options come even though the Netherlands does not recognize Palestine as a sovereign state, but neither do they accept Israeli sovereignty over those lands.

Mossad, MI6, CIA Smuggled Scientist from Iran

Operatives from Israeli, British, and American intelligence agencies cooperated to extricate a defecting Iranian scientist to the UK early this year via a rubber dinghy.

First reported by the Daily Mail, the joint agency operation was first planned in October and used the migrant crisis as cover to slip the forty-seven-year-old Iranian nuclear technician 3,000 miles across borders into safety. The man was reportedly involved in the assassination of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a nuclear scientist who died in a car explosion in Tehran in 2012. The Daily Mail’s source said that once he was spirited away, “his absence was noted quickly and we were informed that a special unit of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had been dispatched.”

That, in addition to the U.S. dropping the Iran Deal, complicated the plan. The man’s position as a nuclear technician gives him value given his potential insight into Iranian nuclear infrastructure and development, a point of contention and debate after Israel revealed Iran’s covert nuclear operations last year.

Read the full Daily Mail story here: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6688053/British-spies-MI6-smuggled-defecting-Iranian-nuclear-scientist-UK-dinghy.html

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