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September 2, 2015 / 18 Elul, 5775
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Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Aaron Klein

Aaron Klein

Palestinian Authority To Dismantle Itself?

The governing body that created the Palestinian Authority is studying the possibility of the PA’s dismantlement if a major breakthrough in Israeli-Palestinian talks is not achieved in the near future, senior PA officials told this reporter.

The seriousness of such an initiative was not immediately clear as such a campaign could simply be a tactic to pressure Israel into a quicker agreement.

Still, the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, or PLO, quietly put in place a team of experts to draw up scenarios for the day after the PA is dismantled, the PA officials said.

The officials said major member factions of the PLO, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and some Fatah members, are dissatisfied with the PA’s failure to create a state and favor the PA’s dismantlement.

The PA, led by President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, is the main governing body of the Palestinians in the West Bank. It previously controlled the Gaza Strip until Hamas took over that territory in 2007.

The PA was created by the PLO following the 1993 Oslo Accords that first granted the Palestinians some sovereignty in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The PA’s dismantlement is unlikely if for no other reason than the rank corruption in its midst. Companies controlled by Abbas’s sons have been accused of siphoning over $1.5 billion in international aid to the PA through various offshoot companies.

Abbas has threatened to dismantle the PA in the past. In 2010 he told Palestinian TV if a deal isn’t reached with Israel he may dissolve the PA and ask Israel to assume control of the West Bank.  In 2012, Abbas made a similar declaration at the opening session of the Fatah Advisory Council.

Last January, Abbas again threatened to dismantle the PA amid strikes by Palestinian employees.

The latest move comes as a research center close to the PA, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, released an extensive study last week warning that the breakdown of the PA would lead to mass chaos, violence and anarchy in the West Bank. The study further reported Hamas would assume control if the PA breaks down.

 

Arabs Countries Expect Assad To Win

Arab countries in the Middle East widely expect Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to win the rebel-led insurgency that has been targeting his regime for the last three years, thereby strengthening Russia’s presence in the region.

The anticipated victory will further solidify the position of the large Russian Navy fleet docked at Syria’s Tartus port. That position is more strategic now that Russia has seized the Ukrainian naval headquarters located in Sevastopol, where Moscow stationed its Black Sea Fleet.

Control of both the Tartus and Sevastopol ports provides Russia, under President Vladimir Putin, with open access to the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and beyond for both military and energy needs.

Russia and Iran have been the biggest state backers of Assad, while the U.S. and moderate Arab countries have worked to aid the rebels fighting to topple the Syrian president.

Ahead of the Arab summit in Kuwait this week, Sunni Arab countries are operating under the working assumption that Assad’s regime is no longer in danger and that the Syrian president will be able to quell the rebellion, Egyptian security officials told this column.

In a major blow to the rebels, the security officials said Qatar has made a dramatic about face and is now ready to help Assad with finances to reconstruct Syria. Qatar previously worked with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates to arm and aid the Syrian rebels.

 

Soros Funds Behind Yet Another Government Project

A George Soros-funded radical economic institute has been one of the main advocates for requiring companies to pay more overtime to workers.

The long-term pet project of the Economic Policy Institute, or EPI, now may be put into action following President Obama’s executive order last week instructing the Labor Department to consider revising overtime pay regulations affecting millions of Americans.

In January, the EPI recommended that Obama use the Labor Department to change overtime rules. Soros’s Open Society Institute is a major donor to EPI.

Apparently in fulfillment of EPI’s proposal, Obama signed an executive order March 13 directing the Labor Department to propose rules aimed at salaried workers who make more than $455 a week. Obama wants overtime pay for workers who currently are ineligible because they are designated as management even though their supervisory duties are minimal.

The executive order instructs the Labor Department to consider revising the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which governs labor regulations such as overtime pay.

The plan has been attacked by critics as government overreach and income redistribution while the White House defends the overtime initiative as protecting workers’ rights.

Earlier this year, the Economic Policy Institute released a paper recommending the Labor Department increase to $970 a week the salary threshold that helps determine which workers can receive overtime pay.

The EPI paper estimated raising the threshold to that amount for those who make $50,440 or less a year would affect “10 million salaried workers” who “would get overtime pay for going over 40 weekly hours.”

The study specifically suggested Obama instruct the Labor Department to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The EPI paper states, “Fortunately, the law gives President Obama the authority to change the salary level through Department of Labor regulation.”

The paper argues the secretary of labor “should exercise his authority to raise the salary threshold that helps determine which workers can receive overtime pay.”

EPI has been pushing the overtime increase plan since at least 2003, issuing numerous studies, reports, and opinion pieces advocating the plan.

About the Author: Aaron Klein is a New York Times bestselling author and senior reporter for WND.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York's 970 AM Radio on Sundays from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern. His website is KleinOnline.com.


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