Israeli Army destroys home of Palestinian suspect in shooting attack
Israeli forces killed the suspect, Laila, two days after a soldier and rabbi were killed in the attack near the Israeli settlement of Ariel.
Israel’s security agency, the Shin Bet, said that Laila was shot dead after he opened fire when Israeli forces tried to apprehend him in a village near Ramallah.
His home in the village of Az-Zawiya, south-east of Qalqilya, was blown up in accordance with an Israeli army policy of deterrence against additional Palestinian attacks.
The practice of destroying homes is controversial under international law and some human rights groups call it a war crime.
Palestinians rally against Israeli plan to annex West Bank lands
The protesters called for “consolidation of the people’s resilience in their lands and escalation of popular resistance,” while raising Palestinian flags and slogans against the annexation of Palestinian lands.
“The escalation of popular resistance by all means on all fronts is the proper response to Israel’s plans,” said Jihad Ramadan, Fatah party’s secretary in Nablus, urging Hamas to end the internal division.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday night chaired a meeting for the crisis committee in charge of following up on Israel’s possible annexation plans and United States President Donald Trump‘s peace plan for the Middle East, better known as the Deal of the Century.
Following the meeting, Mahmoud al-Aloul, vice chairperson of the Fatah, told reporters that the leadership’s decision to disengage from all agreements and understandings with Israel and the United States “is final and will not be retracted as long as Israel is pressing ahead with the implementation of the Deal of the Century.”
Observers said the possible declaration by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of applying Israeli law on West Bank settlements and annexing large areas of the occupied territory in July would lead to violence and unrest.
Spotlight: Israeli experts call for change as COVID-19 crisis exposes lack of int’l cooperation
To better cope with the COVID-19 crisis, they have urged all countries to come together to form cohesive policies on such issues as vaccine research and international travel.
Many previous crises in history, such as the financial crisis of 2007-08, have witnessed countries making joint efforts to tackle problems, yet the current COVID-19 crisis, which has so far recorded over 6 million infections worldwide and more than 380,000 deaths, has seen a lack of coordinated response across the world with some countries shirking responsibilities expected of them, experts said.
For example, international flights were canceled and airports shutdown following the outbreak. The United States, the sole superpower which should have taken the lead in promoting global cooperation, halted exports of masks and respiratory machines to neighboring Canada, as well as Latin American countries.
Amnon Lahad, chairman of Family Medicine at the Hebrew University, found the real situation quite contrary to such expectations “that the United States would lead and that there would be a global response.”
“Medicine mixed with politics, which made decision-making difficult,” he said.
“What we witnessed is not a global world,” Ronni Gamzu, CEO of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, told Xinhua, adding that the lack of cooperation against the epidemic has also darkened the global economic outlook.
In the face of the deadly virus, experts have urged countries to make changes as soon as possible, such as by forming cohesive policies on developing vaccines.
The international community should coordinate a push for progress in research for vaccines and treatment, they said.
Lahad warned that under the current circumstances, “vaccines will be distributed unevenly, not according to morbidity but according to financial or manufacturing abilities.”
Still, he said the above-mentioned situation could be avoided with firm international resolve, adding that global leaders must not be shortsighted when dealing with this global issue.
The experts also called on countries to set the same standard on pre-travel testing, and to form a common policy on how to compensate people who were and may still be hit by travel bans and flight cancellations.
“Now is the time to begin working,” Lahad said, adding, “there should be an international summit with experts from all countries that will manage the crisis before a second wave.”
“The WHO needs to improve its operative multi-national arm,” suggested Gamzu, calling for solidarity among the members of the global agency.
Interview: We learn much from China in fighting COVID-19 pandemic, says Israeli expert
“If I have to make a list of why we had such good results in Israel, part of it is because we were able to learn from China,” Dina Ben-Yehuda, dean of School of Medicine at Hebrew University, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
Commenting on China‘s performance in its fight against the pandemic, she said Chinese physicians and scientists were “wise enough and responsible enough” to publish information, which helped the world save lives.
To her, it’s really important that everybody looks at what happened in China because China is the first country in the world to fight against the pandemic and has a lot of knowledge that “we don’t have yet.”
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the School of Medicine of Hebrew University has applied full scientific and medical expertise and resources to combating the novel coronavirus, such as designing rapid diagnostic kits, developing vaccine, conducting molecular epidemiology studies to identify susceptible and resistant populations, Ben-Yehuda said.
“Humans now have the first signs of solutions, but we are not there yet,” she said, adding that humans have to be modest since “the virus is stronger than us and the battle is not over.”
While the pandemic has brought adverse effects, good things have also emerged, she said, referring to collaboration.
She stressed the pandemic is a battlefield that leaves no place for competition and everybody has to work together to make changes.
On Israel-China cooperation in COVID-19 research, Ben-Yehuda noticed that through the pandemic the world understands the strength of China‘s medicine and researches. “We really feel that China today is at the top of the world in research,” she said.
“Also, we plan to cooperate with Zhejiang University in China to collect big data from both countries to fight diseases, because understanding the differences between patients is the base of precision medicine.”
Ben-Yehuda said her school has started several PHD exchange programs with some Chinese universities, which provide more opportunities for the cooperation between young scientists from Israel and China.
“We will raise generations for whom doing research with China will be part of their day-to-day life.”
It’s not only a biological and medical issue, but also a social, psychological and economic one, she stressed.
Bacteria live inside all cancer cells: Israeli research
JERUSALEM, June 2 (Xinhua) – Israeli researchers have found that all types of cancer cells are a comfortable haven for bacteria, the Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS) in central Israel reported Tuesday.
This finding, part of a WIS study published in the journal Science, may help predict the potential effectiveness of certain treatments, as a result of understanding the relationship between a cancer cell and its “mini-microbiome.”
It also may point to ways of manipulating those bacteria to enhance the actions of anticancer treatments.
The study, of over 1,000 tumor samples of different human cancers, found bacteria living inside the cells of all cancer types.
Thus, the team described in high resolution the bacteria living in brain, bone, breast, lung, ovary, pancreas, colorectal and melanoma cancers.
They also discovered that different cancer types harbor different bacteria species, as breast cancers had the largest number and diversity of bacteria.
Electron microscopy visualization of these bacteria demonstrated that they prefer to nestle up in a specific location inside the cancer cell, close to the cell nucleus.
The team also reported that bacteria can be found not only in cancer cells, but also in immune cells that reside inside tumors.
“Some of these bacteria could be enhancing the anticancer immune response, while others could be suppressing it. This may be especially relevant to understanding the effectiveness of certain immunotherapies,” the researchers said.
“We hope that by finding out how exactly bacteria fit into the general tumor ecology, we can figure out novel ways of treating cancer,” they concluded.
Israeli PM says discussing West Bank annexation plan with United States
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that he is in talks with the U.S. administration over pushing forward his controversial plan to annex a portion of the occupied West Bank.
Netanyahu made the remarks during a meeting with heads of the “Yesha Council,” an umbrella group of Jewish municipal councils of West Bank settlements. The meeting was also attended by speaker of the parliament Yariv Levin, who is also a lawmaker with Netanyahu’s Likud party.
He reiterated his commitment to negotiate on the basis of United States President Donald Trump‘s “peace plan,” which the Palestinians have rejected as biased and unfair.
Netanyahu made the annexation a main promise during his re-election campaign in March.
The Palestinians consider the annexation as illegal and the European Union warned that the move will harm chances for peace. Several European states have called for sanctions on Israel, should it move ahead with the plan.
Israel seized the West Bank, along with the Gaza Strip, in the 1967 war and kept controlling it ever since despite international criticism.
Police arrest suspect over threats against Israeli prime minister
“Today, to my regret, I was forced to file another complaint against a despicable person who detailed how he plans to kill me and my family,” he added, attaching a screenshot of a threat against him.
The screenshot included a suggestion to behead the Netanyahu family and hang their bodies from the balcony of the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem.
In May, police said Yair Netanyahu, the prime minister’s son, had filed complaints over threats and incitement against him.
In recent weeks, Netanyahu has been the subject of protests both for and against him, as his corruption trial began last week, making him the first sitting prime minister in the country’s history to stand trial.
Israel’s longest-serving prime minister was officially indicted on bribery, fraud and breach of trust in January.
Following three general elections in less than a year, Netanyahu was sworn in last month as the head of an emergency unity government including his Likud party and the centrist Blue and White Alliance of his former main rival Benny Gantz.
Israeli defense minister apologizes over Palestinian’s death
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz apologized on Sunday for Israeli police’s shooting to death an unarmed, autistic Palestinian man in East Jerusalem on Saturday.
Gantz, who is also the leader of the centrist Blue and White party and Israel’s “alternate” prime minister under a unity government deal, made the remark during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.
Video footage showed him seating alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who made no remarks related to the deadly shooting.
“We are really sorry about the incident in which Iyad Halak was shot dead and we share in the family’s grief,” Gantz said, adding that “this matter will be investigated quickly and conclusions will be reached.”
The incident took place near the Lions’ Gate in East Jerusalem‘s Old City.
The police issued a statement, saying that Halak carried “a suspicious object that looked like a pistol.” Police officers on patrol “called upon him to stop and begun to chase after him on foot, during which they also opened fire at him.”
The object was Halak’s mobile phone, according to the Hebrew-language Ha’aretz newspaper.
Halak, 32, lived in the neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz in East Jerusalem. His family said that Halak, diagnosed with autism, was on his way to an institution for people with special needs when the incident happened.
His funeral is scheduled to take place later on Sunday.
Following the shooting, police officers involved were questioned by the Department of Internal Police Investigation.
Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said in a statement that a gag order has been issued on the incident, banning the publishing of information on the identity of the policemen involved and further details of the case.
Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups condemned the shooting. On Saturday night, dozens of Israelis and Palestinians rallied in Jerusalem in a joint call against police violence.
Israeli PM warns new restrictions amid fresh coronavirus outbreak
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday that new restrictions will be re-imposed if the coronavirus spread in the country continues, after most of the lockdown rules had been lifted.
Speaking during Israel‘s weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu told his ministers that recent days showed a steep increase in the number of the confirmed cases of coronavirus.
“The coronavirus is not behind us,” said Netanyahu. “In order to know if there is a real trend change, we will review our next steps over the next few days and if needed we will change the policy accordingly,” he said.
On Saturday, Netanyahu addressed the nation and warned that “there has been a general loosening in discipline.” He urged people to wear masks and keep social distancing.
On Friday, Israel recorded 115 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, the highest daily increase since the beginning of May, according to official figures by the Health Ministry.
At least 78 of them are students and staff members at the Hebrew Gymnasium, a prestigious high school in Jerusalem. The outbreak was diagnosed some ten days after the school was re-opened.
Overall, there were on Sunday 1,917 people infected with the coronavirus in Israel, 36 of them in a serious condition.
Israel has lifted over the past two weeks most of the lockdown rules, including re-opening of schools, kindergartens, shops, swimming pools, restaurants and cafes.
Over 90 pct of Israeli startup companies face funding slowdown: survey
Over 90 percent of Israeli startup companies face a funding slowdown, even though the Israeli economy has returned to almost full activity, according to a new survey released by the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) on Sunday.
The survey, conducted by the IIA and Israel Advanced Technologies Industries (IATI) organization, shows that even after returning to normalcy following the decline in COVID-19 morbidity, Israeli startups still experience complex difficulties.
In the survey, about 40 percent of hi-tech companies in the process of raising funds have been notified by investors that they are halting the process, while over 50 percent noted that the process is progressing slowly.
Also, 51 percent of the companies requested additional funds from current investors, and of these, only 19 percent reported receiving the extra support.
According to the survey, 42 percent of the companies have applied or consider requesting a loan from a financial entity because of the crisis.
Half of companies already asked for a loan reported that their banks denied their requests, while 30 percent have yet to receive an answer.
About 54 percent of the companies reported that if the current conditions continue, their operations will be discontinued within six months.
Also, about one quarter of the companies reported laying off employees, with 14 percent of all companies reported wide-scale layoffs of over 15 percent of workforce.
This trend is especially apparent in software and communications companies, with about 19 percent of businesses in the field have announced wide-scale layoffs.
About 57 percent of the companies have reported plans for extensive layoffs in the next six months if current situation continues, while 71 percent reported having frozen hiring processes.
In addition, more than a third of companies reported putting employees on leave of absence, while one-third of companies confirmed extensive wage cuts of more than 15 percent of salary.
As many as 60 percent of survey respondents noted that they are considering applying for the assistance offered by the IIA.
The survey was conducted among 414 hi-tech Israeli companies, of which most employ no more than 50 employees.
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