An Israeli soldier was arrested on Monday for calling on his comrades to refuse to evacuate a West Bank settlement outpost, the army said, in the first case of its kind. \nThe incident came a day after settler leaders warned the army chief of staff that hundreds, and possibly thousands, of soldiers could refuse to carry out orders to evacuate Gaza Strip settlers if the government goes ahead with a plan to withdraw from the coastal area later this year. \nThe soldier was arrested as troops battled with settlers to remove two structures from the site. The move was done in accordance with an order several months ago warning the settlers to remove the structures or face having them destroyed. \nA paramilitary border policeman was wounded, the army said. \nThe arrested soldier, a resident of the settlement outpost, was from the same unit that carried out the demolition -- but was on leave at the time, the army said. \nThe soldier, in uniform and carrying his rifle, refused to leave one of the structures and called on his comrades to refuse to carry out their orders. \nIn recent years, Jewish settlers have filled many key positions in the army's officer corps. Military and government officials have repeatedly expressed concern about the possibility of insubordination. \nThe site, named Mitzpe Yizhar, is a tiny, unauthorized satellite of the government-approved Yizhar settlement, which has a population of about 300 fiercely ultranationalist residents. \nYariv Oppenheimer, spokesman for Israeli anti-settlement group Peace Now, said there are still about 100 such outposts in place. He said the slow pace of evictions bears witness to the government's lack of will to deal with the issue. \n"If the state really wanted to, it could remove these outposts quickly, and with far less fuss," he said. \nMeanwhile, an Israeli tank fired two shells in response to Palestinian mortar attacks yesterday, killing seven Palestinians and wounding six in the deadliest single incident in the Gaza Strip in three months. \nThe shells slammed into fields as farmers were picking potatoes and strawberries, witnesses said. Several minutes earlier, masked Palestinian militants had fired mortar shells from the farming area at Israeli targets. \nMahmoud al-Asli, director of the Kamal Adwan Hospital in the northern town of Beit Lahiya, said the dead were between the ages of 11 and 17. He said six were from the one extended family, including three brothers. \nHowever, the Israeli military said it was told by Palestinian liaison officers that six of the dead were 17 and older, and that four or five of them were members of the Islamic militant group Hamas. \nSix people were wounded, including four in critical condition, doctors said. At the Beit Lahiya hospital, the floor of the emergency room was covered with blood, and several women fainted at the entrance to the morgue. \nWith Palestinian elections less than a week away, leading candidate Mahmoud Abbas took an uncompromising stance on a touchy issue -- refugees. \nAbbas was campaigning on Monday for a third straight day in Gaza. Addressing a rally, Abbas said that Palestinian refugees and their descendants from the two-year war that followed Israel's creation had the right to return to their original homes.
CAUTION: Taiwanese should be alert, even if they have just liked or shared posts that would breach Beijing’s national security legislation for Hong Kong, the council said Due to the newly implemented Hong Kong national security legislation, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has drawn up a list of what it described as “high-risk groups,” cautioning them not to travel to Hong Kong. People who support independence for Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang; those who are critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Hong Kong government and the “one country, two systems” concept; and those who donated to or voiced support for the Hong Kong anti-extradition bill movement are urged to refrain from visiting Hong Kong, the council said on its Web site. It released two posts on
NEW HONG KONG LAW: A visit to Beijing-friendly nations or those with weak judicial systems could leave people at risk of deportation to China, a former MAC official said Beijing could request countries with which it has extradition agreements to deport Taiwanese to China to face criminal charges following the implementation of national security legislation for Hong Kong, a former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official warned yesterday. Some developing countries, and those close to China because of the Belt and Road Initiative, are likely to accommodate Beijing’s requests to extradite Taiwanese to China, said former deputy MAC minister Chen Ming-chi (陳明祺), who served from July 2, 2018, until May 20, and then returned to his former post as an assistant professor of sociology at National Tsing Hua University. While Taiwanese
MORAL COURAGE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the global community to face China’s intention to subdue Taiwan and reject such irrational requests The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday strongly condemned the Chinese government for meddling with US officials’ interactions with Taiwan after FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed China’s efforts to discourage US officials from visiting Taiwan. The greatest long-term threat to the US’ information security and intellectual property, as well as its economic vitality, is China’s counterintelligence and economic espionage operations, Wray told a video event at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Beijing is engaged in a highly sophisticated and maligning foreign influence campaign, with methods that include bribery, blackmail and covert deals, he said. Giving an example, Wray said that when a US official
IN THE PIPELINE: The Ministry of National Defense said the sale, expected to take effect in one month, would be the seventh arms sale under the Trump administration The government yesterday thanked the US for approving the possible sale of a US$620 million missile repair and recertification package to Taiwan. The US Department of State has approved the sale of a package to recertify Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in Washington for an estimated US$620 million, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a news release on Thursday. The agency has delivered the required certification to the US Congress, notifying it of the possible sale, it added. The TECRO had requested to buy an upgrade package that would support an operational