Entries in Palestinian (15)


Latest Arab-Israeli Conflict Is Growing Cyberwar

Antenna Audio, Inc./Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- It is a conflict that is growing bigger by the day -- on the digital frontlines -- as Israeli and Arab hackers attack national websites across the Middle East and release thousands of items of personal data.

The hacking appears to be the work of civilians rather than governments, and there has been little economic damage, but all sides are threatening widen the scope of their attacks in the coming days.

On Wednesday night, pro-Palestinian hackers attacked the website of Israel’s anti-drug authority. They redirected visitors to a page showing masked gunmen next to the phrases “Death to Israel” and “Gaza hackers were here,” according to the Jerusalem Post. The site has since been restored.

Thursday morning, denial-of-service attacks were launched against the websites of the Arab Bank of Palestine and the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates. An Israeli group calling itself “IDF Team” claimed responsibility.

“We are operating in the name of the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces],” they wrote on Wednesday after attacking the websites of the Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi stock exchanges. “If you don’t stop attacking us, we will paralyze your economy.” (Saudi authorities later denied the hackers had managed to take down their site.)

These episodes are the latest in a back-and-forth that has been going on for two weeks. It started when a hacker called “0xOmar,” claiming to be from Saudi Arabia, published online hundreds of thousands of credit cards numbers belonging to Israelis. Israeli authorities said that due to repetition, the actual number was around 15,000 or so but banks scrambled to shut down the accounts.

“Israel attacks and kills innocent Palestinian people, they (commit) genocide, they even break legal international rules,” 0xOmar told the Israeli news site YNet. “I want to harm Israel financially and socially.”

He banded together with a group calling itself “Nightmare” to hamper the sites of the Israeli national airline El Al and the Tel Aviv stock exchange on Monday.

Hackers from Israel, a country known for its technological prowess, joined in the retaliation calling themselves names like “Hannibal,” “Anonymous972″ (Israeli’s country code), and “Team IDF.”

“We are doing this out of a sense of concern and caring,” members of Team IDF told newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. They claimed to have thousands of Saudi credit card numbers as well as the holders’ details.

“We don’t believe in hurting innocent civilians. There is no reason to publicize the data at this stage,” they said. “If there isn’t any choice, we’ll have to do that as well. We are only trying to prevent further attacks in the future on the State of Israel.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


UNESCO Votes in Palestinians, US Cuts Funding

MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images(PARIS) -- The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) voted Monday to give the Palestinian Authority full membership into the cultural organization. The vote was 107 in favor, 14 opposed and 52 abstentions.

Calling Monday’s vote "regrettable" and “premature,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland announced that the U.S. would immediately cease providing funds to UNESCO.  Citing "legislative restrictions," Nuland said the U.S. will withhold a $60 million funding payment that was to have occurred in November -- a portion of the $77-80 million that the U.S. contributes annually.  

The legislative restriction Nuland cited refers to a 1990 law that prevents the U.S. from funding U.N. organizations that recognize Palestine as a member.

"We disagree with that vote and we disagree with the implications...not only for the environment for the negotiations, but the implications for UNESCO, which is an organization that we support," Nuland said.

The symbolic vote sets the stage for the Palestinian Authority doing the same at other U.N. agencies. The U.S. has staunchly opposed such a move, saying the best path for the Palestinians for statehood is through direct engagement with Israel.

The U.N. Security Council is to meet on Nov. 11 to determine if the U.N. General Assembly should hold a vote on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' request for membership to the U.N.

Israel said Monday's action was a "unilateral Palestinian maneuver" that is "tantamount to a rejection of the international community’s efforts to advance the peace process."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Israel Targets iTunes App that Calls for 'Armed Uprising'

PRNewsFoto/Apple(JERUSALEM) -- Israel recently won a fight with Facebook to remove a pro-Palestinian group that preached violence, and now the country is asking Apple to make some changes to its iTunes store.

Israel is going after the computer giant for an application called "Third Intifada." The country's information minister sent an email directly to Apple CEO Steve Jobs urging him to immediately remove the free application, which he says calls for an intifada -- or armed uprising -- against Israel. The Israeli official said that the articles, opinions, and photos on the application convinced him that it was being used as an instrument to incite violence.

Apple has not responded to the Israeli request.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


White House Condemns Syrian Role in Israeli Border Clashes

Jalaa Marey/JINI/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With more than a dozen dead in Palestinian protests along the Israeli border over the weekend, White Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One that administration officials “regret the loss of life, and our thoughts are with the families of loved ones of those killed and wounded. Israel like all countries has the right to prevent unauthorized crossings at its borders. Its neighbors have a responsibility to prevent such activity.”

Carney also said the administration is “strongly opposed to the Syrian government's involvement in inciting yesterday's protests in the Golan Heights.

“Such behavior is unacceptable and does not serve as a distraction from the Syrian government's ongoing repression of demonstrators in its own country," Carney said, adding that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was inciting the protests to deflect attention from his own internal crackdown on demonstrations.

"We certainly think that there's a history of that and it seems apparent to us that that is an effort to distract attention from the legitimate expressions of protest by the Syrian people and from the harsh crackdown that the Syrian government has perpetrated against its own people," Carney said.

Carney reminded the press that the president will be speaking about the progress and change in the region in a speech Thursday, though he declined to talk about specifics of the speech.

“(The speech) will address where we are in this remarkable period. It will also address how he approaches the kind of historic change we’ve seen in the region and where he thinks we’re terms of our policy in the region and the region itself,” Carney said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Palestinian Pact a Blow to Mideast Peace Process?

Antenna Audio, Inc./Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- Fatah and Hamas have signed a Palestinian reconciliation pact, a unity deal that will pose a new challenge for Israel and the U.S., given that Hamas opposes the peace process.

The two sides made their political union official, signing an agreement in Cairo that calls for an interim government and national elections within a year. Palestinian leaders say it's the beginning of a new era in Palestinian politics, a chance, as one official said, to put their house in order.

But the unity deal is expected to set back, if not stop, the peace process. Israel says it won't negotiate with Hamas until it recognizes the Jewish state and renounces violence. The U.S. has demanded the same.  A top Palestinian official said those demands are unfair and unworkable.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hamas: Didn't Mean to Fire on Israeli School Bus

Uriel Sinai / Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- Hamas said Saturday that militants did not intend to target an Israeli school bus that was hit two days ago by a Hamas-fired rocket. A 16-year-old boy was critically wounded in the attack and the bus driver was moderately wounded.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused the Islamic group Hamas, which rules Gaza, for crossing the line. Israeli officials said that because the bus was yellow, it should have been easily identifiable to anyone firing a rocket. They said they did not think it was likely that the bus would have been hit by accident.

Since then, Israel has engaged in a series of retaliation strikes on various Hamas targets.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


British Woman Killed in Jerusalem Bombing

ABC News(JERUSALEM) -- A British woman was killed, and at least 25 others injured, when a ball bearing-packed four-pound bomb planted at a Jerusalem bus stop exploded Wednesday -- an attack investigators believe was orchestrated by Palestinian terrorists, officials told ABC News Thursday. It was the first such bombing in Jerusalem in about seven years.

"We believe the terrorist attack was carried out by Palestinians with the intent to kill as many Israelis as was possible near the central bus station in Jerusalem," said Mickey Rosenfeld, foreign press spokesman for the Israeli Police.

He said police officials don't know of anyone who has claimed responsibility for the attack. However, police officials said they are looking at the possibility of an organized cell, possibly in the Jerusalem area.

Mary Jean Gardner, a 59-year-old woman identified in media accounts as a Scottish born Bible translator, was traveling with her family when she was mortally wounded by the suitcase bomb. It had been planted beside a pay phone on sidewalk near the bus stop. All of the injured were taken to local hospitals, but Gardner, one of three rushed to hospitals in critical condition, did not survive.

The bombing came in the midst of a wave of rocket attacks launched out of the Gaza Strip, some of which were claimed by a Palestinian terror group known as the Al Quds Brigade, an armed wing of the terrorist-designated Palestinian Islamic Jihad, according to media reports.

The bomb was thought to be either remotely triggered to go off just as the bus arrived or was on a timer, officials told ABC News Wednesday. Using a planted device is a significant change in tactics from the suicide bombing campaign that left a trail of blood across Israel during the second Palestinian uprising that targeted buses, clubs and restaurants during the last decade. The Israeli town of Dimona was struck by a suicide bombing attack in 2008, but it's been almost seven years since Jerusalem was the target of a bombing attack.

The bombing, along with the rocket attacks from Gaza, prompted Israeli officials to draft a letter to the United Nations complaining of a "very serious escalation of Palestinian terrorist attacks targeting innocent civilians."

Before Gardner was named as the attack's sole casualty, British Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned the bombing as a "callous and disgusting act of terrorism."

After learning of the bombing, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that Israel, "like all nations, of course, has to respond when this occurs."

Thursday Israeli Defense Forces launched a wave of air attacks in the northern region of the Gaza strip, targeting a "terrorist center" of Hamas that the IDF said had launched several rockets into southern Israel in recent days.

"We will not tolerate attacks on Israel's civilians, not in communities in the South and not in Jerusalem," Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak said Wednesday. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Palestinians Take to Gaza, West Bank to Protest for Change

Antenna Audio, Inc./Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- Inspired by the protests sweeping the Middle East, Palestinians on Tuesday are demonstrating across Gaza and the West Bank. Nearly 10,000 people have come out in Gaza; thousands more in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Organized on Facebook by activists that call themselves the "March 15 Youth Movement," protesters are demanding political change from their divided government. The people are demanding the rival Palestinian Authority and Hamas reconcile and form a unity government. They say it's the best way to confront Israel in the people’s bid for independence. They're also demanding new elections for the Palestinian National Council.

Police are staying out of the way and there have been no clashes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Palestinians Host their First International Soccer Match

ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- The Palestinian national soccer team was accepted into the international FIFA soccer league more than 10 years ago, but due to the Mideast conflict it was never able to host a game in the West Bank. Political changes, better security, and a stronger economy has changed that.

They played a historic game at the Faisal al-Husseini stadium in the West Bank on Wednesday -- not just for soccer fans but for many Palestinians. Their national soccer team hosted an international-level match on its home turf for the very first time, taking on Thailand. Nearly 20,000 fans came out, braving the bitter cold and hail.  Many saw this first home game as another hard-won step in the struggle for an independent Palestinian state.  The soccer team lost to Thailand, but for many it was a political win.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Israel P.M. Working on New Peace Initiative

Jim Hollander - pool/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- After months of no movement on Mideast peace talks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he's working on a new peace initiative to break the deadlock. Among other incentives, Netanyahu is expected to recognize a Palestinian state within temporary borders. And now a new detail has emerged about his ideas for security along those borders. 

On a visit to the Jordan valley, Prime Minister Netanyahu said the Israeli army must maintain its presence along the border with Jordan under any future peace deal -- that would mean Israeli soldiers along the eastern front of a future Palestinian state. Calling the border a key line of defense, Netanyahu said soldiers must prevent the smuggling of arms and militants. Palestinian leaders swiftly rejected the idea.  "We are not going to allow the Israeli army to stay in the Jordan valley or in a centimeter of Palestinian territory," says spokesman Nabil Shaath.

The current borders were drawn in 1967. Palestinian leaders do not want the Israeli army -- which they see as an occupying power -- playing any role in their future state. Palestinian leaders have publicly hinted that a United Nations peacekeeping force may be acceptable on the Jordanian border, but Israeli officials don't believe such a force would be effective.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio