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July 22, 2014 / 24 Tammuz, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘aid’

Israeli Aid to Victims of the Floods in Serbia and Bosnia

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

(Communicated by the MFA Spokesperson) In view of the unprecedented floods in Serbia and Bosnia, Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to speed humanitarian aid to the affected citizens of both countries.

At the end of last week, Israel’s ambassador to Belgrade Yossi Levy and his team dispatched emergency aid, which included medicine and basic equipment to the flood victims, as well as lighting equipment for the rescue teams who are busy evacuating residents trapped in flooded areas. The embassy also airlifted essential medicine to the hospital in the city of Bijeljina in the Republika Srpska in Bosnia, a region where roads were cut off due to heavy rainfall.

The President of the Republic and the Minister of Health were on hand personally to receive the Israeli medical aid from the helicopter ramp. In light of weather forecasts predicting that the level of the Danube and Sava rivers will reach record levels today and tomorrow, the MFA Emergency and Crisis Management Center convened this morning representatives of the various IDF branches and Israeli aid agencies to examine possibilities of sending additional emergency equipment to Belgrade, with the aim of assisting in the rescue and evacuation of civilians caught in the flood zones.

In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is ready to send sanitary assistance to the populated regions of Serbia where the water level is expected to decline. Several cities and towns in Serbia are currently submerged under up to two meters of water and mud.

Egypt Receives $700 Million in Oil Aid – Monthly

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Egypt receives an estimated $700 million of oil every month from Arab countries, according to a report in the Egyptian Independent.

Egypt’s Petroleum Minister Sherif Ismail said that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have been supplying Egypt with the needed oil and financing since Morsi was deposed in July, to the tune of $12 billion dollars.

Russia Gives Egypt Massive Bear Hug at US Expense

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Russia and Egypt are set to sign a major arms deal that is of similar value to the amount of aid the US had been sending to Egypt until it froze much of it last month, according to a report in Makor Rishon. The deal is valued at 1.2 billion Euro (1.6 billion dollars).

According to the report, unlike US aid, the Russian deal explicitly has no strings attached, and Russia says it will not get involved in local Egyptian politics.

Furthermore, at the meeting held two days ago, Russia said they would also direct Russian tourists to the visit the Egyptian pyramids, a move that would strongly bolster the local tourism economy that thrives mostly on those visits. Tourism is one of Egypt’s most important industries.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told General el-Sisi that Russia will support the Egyptian roadmap, respect the current [Egyptian] government, and have no intention of getting involved in the internal issues of another country.

He added that Russia is prepared to support Egypt in all areas to help restore the country. He described Egypt is a central partner in the Middle East with whom they have deep ties, and plan to deepen them further.

These statements are the exact opposite of those emanating from John Kerry and the US government, who have been placing conditions on continued US support for the current Egyptian government.

The Egyptian Foreign Minister was careful to point out that the new closeness between Egypt and Russia should not be viewed as coming at the expense of its relationship with the US.

Sure.

The US has tied aid to Egypt on progress towards democratic elections and a civilian government, while ignoring that democratic elections are what brought the radical Islamic Morsi government into power, that the Egyptian army was forced to overthrow.

Saudi Arabia has also pledged to match US aid to Egypt, as have some other Middle Eastern countries, making it unlikely that the US plan to reintroduce a radical Islamist democracy into Egypt unlikely.

Egyptian Christians Rally to Protest US Policy and Media

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

A group of hundreds of Egyptian Christians from around the U.S. held a series of rallies in Washington, DC, on Thursday to protest U.S. policy in Egypt and Western media coverage.

The rallies were organized by an online campaign. One of the group’s organizers, Amro A. Gadd, wrote that the rallies are “intended also to expose the clear bias for the Obama administration and the American media in support of MB (Muslim Brotherhood) and its terrorism ideology,” according to a post on his Facebook page.

The rally began at the White House before marching to the office of the Washington Post, CNN and Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), an American Muslim group which the protesters accuse of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.

“We are against the Muslim Brotherhood,” protester Ramez Mossed told the Washington Free Beacon. “He [Obama] supports the Muslim Brotherhood. He has a big hand in Egypt and the mess in Egypt. We’re trying to tell him, ‘Don’t support the terrorists. Please be fair.’”

Meanwhile, a petition started by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a Washington, DC-based public interest Christian law firm, calls on Obama to condition American aid to Egypt on the protection of Christians.

“It’s time to take sides—for religious freedom and against the Muslim Brotherhood. Comply with human rights requirements. American aid must be conditioned on the protection of Christians, and it must be used to oppose our jihadist enemy, the Muslim Brotherhood,” the petition reads.

As of Aug. 22, the petition had garnered roughly 41,000 signatures.

A Coup by Any Other Name Allows US Aid to Continue

Monday, July 8th, 2013

The fact that the White House has decided to continue providing aid to Egypt, despite what has taken place in that country over the past week, is big, big news.

The White House Spokesperson, Jay Carney, with his frequent invocation of the delay weapon known as calling a sticky situation “complicated,” made clear to reporters that the administration will take its time reviewing the matter before making any  final decision on U.S. aid to post-Morsi Egypt.

“I think it would not be in the best interest of the United States to immediately change our assistance programs,” Carney said.

Why is this big news?

Because the overthrow of the Egyptian regime headed by former President Mohamed Morsi is, technically speaking, a coup.  What happened was a coup backed and initiated by mass support for Morsi’s overthrow – technically called a “democratic coup,” but a coup is the correct term, nonetheless.

That matters, because the United States is forbidden, by law, to provide aid to governments which assume power through a coup.

And there are those who immediately pointed out the dangers of supporting any government which takes power as the result of a coup.  Most famously, perhaps, was Senator John McCain (R-AZ).

“Reluctantly, I believe that we have to suspend aid until such time as there is a new constitution and a free and fair election,” McCain said on CBS’s “Face The Nation.”

Other U.S. politicians in leadership positions refused to join McCain in his call to suspend aid, some by refusing to call the ouster of Morsi a “coup,” while others simply refused to address the pertinent legal issue and instead preferred to focus – understandably, if not responsibly – on what would most promote U.S. interests in Egypt: stability.

Egypt’s Ambassador to the U.S., Mohamed Tawfik, consistently insists that the ouster of Morsi – his own boss until just days ago – does not amount to a coup.

In a National Public Radio interview with Tawfik from July 5, the interviewer attempts to corner the ambassador, forcing him to admit that Morsi’s overthrow was a military coup that renders whatever comes next as illegitimate, Tawfik is resolute.  The interviewer paints the Muslim Brotherhood as if it were a benign political organization which has now been thwarted after dutifully following all the rules.

SIEGEL: Ambassador Tawfik, your country, Egypt, has this problem, which is how to deal with the Muslim Brotherhood, a very old and powerful institution in Egyptian life. And one reading of what’s happened this week is, if you’re an active member of the brotherhood, is, well, so much for electoral politics. You can win the presidency. You can win the parliament. You can win a referendum on the constitution that your guys drafted, and it’ll all be negated. Take other means of trying to advance your cause, not elections. Try to subvert the state instead, the way perhaps you used to do.

TAWFIK: That would be a completely wrong way to proceed. What we want to do now is we want to correct the mistakes made by President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. We want an inclusive process. We want everybody to be included. We want every single Egyptian, including Muslim Brotherhood members, to feel that they own the country. Everybody should enjoy their rights.

We cannot accept to have a situation in which the whole country is run for the interests of a particular group. This was the case with Mubarak, and this – again, unfortunately, Morsi repeated the same mistake. We have to stop making that mistake. This is the time for true democracy. The people of Egypt will accept nothing less.

So the US government is in a bit of a pickle.  Does it withhold support from a leadership backed by the masses of the Egyptian people? And does it do so despite pledging enormous support to Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood government as it giddily dispensed with freedoms and commitments of fairness and diversity so fast that millions took to the streets to boot them out?

Another significant factor the U.S. has to consider, is that the Egyptian economy is so far past being called a train wreck, there are no longer even any railroad ties with which people can make fires to warm themselves.  The only powerhouse industry in Egypt used to be tourism, and the past few years of relentless violence has crippled that industry.  Unless the US provides essential aid, what had been the most stable Arab country, the anchor of the Arab world, may disintegrate into, well, what so much of the rest of the non-oil-rich Arab world looks like.

Look Who Is Blockading Gaza Now

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

Reported in the New York Times:

U.N. Agency Suspends Food Aid After Protest in Gaza By JODI RUDOREN The United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the Gaza Strip stopped food distribution and other services for refugees indefinitely, an official said Friday.

What happened was that last Thursday, the agency’s Gaza headquarters was breached:

“What happened today was completely unacceptable: The situation could very easily have resulted in serious injuries to UNRWA staff and to the demonstrators. This escalation, apparently pre-planned, was unwarranted and unprecedented,” Robert Turner, head of the agency’s Gaza operations, said in a statement.  “All relief and distribution centers will consequently remain closed until guarantees are given by all relevant groups that UNRWA operations can continue unhindered,” he said.

So, is Israel wrong in its policy since we’re actually targeted by mortars, shootings, rockets, missiles and underground tunnels?

Cannot we demand guarantees?

P.S.   Informed that

The hardcopy has this article somewhat buried at the bottom of page A4 under two other articles. Were it Israel–my oh my, it would be on pg 1 and take up half the page.

Visit My Right Word.

Behind Salam Fayyad’s Call for ‘Economic Intifada’

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Salam Fayyad, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, this week called for an economic Intifada against Israel.

See related Cartoon

Fayyad, whose government is facing a severe financial crisis, wants Palestinians to boycott all Israeli goods in response to Israel’s decision to seize tax revenues belonging to the Palestinian Authority.

The revenues were seized and transferred to the Israel Electric Company to cover Palestinians’ debts to the firm.

Fayyad is angry because the Israel Electric Company finally collected its debts from Palestinian consumers. Speaking to Palestinian reporters in Ramallah, he denounced the transfer of the funds to the company as “illegal and immoral.”

Fayyad knows better than anyone else that, for various reasons, many Palestinians have not been paying their electricity bills.

Many Palestinians refuse to pay water, electricity and other bills because they believe the international community, primarily the Americans and Europeans, should be covering all their expenses. Others refuse to pay because they believe the money eventually falls into the hands of corrupt Palestinian Authority officials.

Earlier this year, the Palestinian Authority announced a series of measures to persuade Palestinian consumers to pay their electricity bills, but to no avail. The Palestinian Authority even announced a new law that allows it to imprison any Palestinian who is caught practicing the widespread phenomenon of “electricity theft.”

Because of the financial crisis, Fayyad’s government has also failed to pay full salaries to its employees, sparking a two-day general strike of the public sector in the West Bank.

The transfer of funds to the Israel Electric Company, and the Arab world’s failure to fulfill promises to support the Palestinian Authority financially, have created a severe financial crisis in the Palestinian Authority.

This is not the first time that Arab countries lie to Palestinians. Over the past two decades, Arab nations have promised the Palestinians billions of dollars in aid. But, according to officials in Ramallah, the Palestinians have received less than 10% of what they had been promised.

Instead of seeking ways to solve the crisis, however, Fayyad chose to call on Palestinians to boycott all Israeli goods. How does that help solve the financial crisis? Fayyad did not have an answer. He just wants to punish Israel for collecting on the debt for the electricity bills.

He is hoping that by calling for an economic intifada, he will succeed in diverting growing anger and frustration on the Palestinian street towards the Israelis. This has always been the Palestinian Authority’s way of avoiding responsibility for anything that goes wrong — by putting all the blame on Israel.

Fayyad wants Palestinians to boycott Israel, but at the same time is unable to provide them with better alternatives. Does he really think that Palestinians will stop buying Israeli-manufactured medicine, for example?

As one Palestinian public servant asked, “How can our prime minister ask us to boycott Israeli goods when we can’t even afford to purchase Palestinian goods because he’s not paying us our salaries?”

Added another Palestinian who has been working as a school teacher for 25 years: “If Fayyad wants us to boycott Israel, why doesn’t he himself set an example? Why is he living in Jerusalem, under Israeli rule, and enjoying, together with his family, most privileges offered to Israeli citizens? Today, I’m ready to go and work in an Israeli settlement to feed my children and I don’t care whether Fayyad likes it or not.”

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/khaled-abu-toameh/behind-salam-fayyads-call-for-economic-intifada/2012/12/20/

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