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October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘AP’

Palestinian Economy in Downfall Born by ‘Reluctance’ to Accept Israel

Saturday, August 18th, 2012

A cash crunch due to a severe drop in foreign aid since 2011 may be ushering in business failures and layoffs in the area under Palestinian Authority rule, leading to the worst crisis in the PA’s 18-year existence, according to AP.

It appears that the Palestinian Authority will not survive this crisis without a major infusion of cash.

In recent months, the PA has been unable to meet all its obligations, most notably the salaries paid out to some 150,000 civil servants and security personnel, which account for about half of the Palestinian government’s $4 billion budget.

For comparison, Israel’s annual government expenditures in 2011 were estimated at $74.8 billion, with estimated revenues at $66.68 billion, for a population roughly three times that of the PA.

Arab citizens constitute close to 25% of “green line” Israel.

One of the reasons this coming crisis may last longer and hurt worse is the fact that the PA can no longer borrow money to fill its gaping deficits. Economist Samir Abdullah told the AP that the PA owes more than $2 billion to local banks, private companies and the public pension fund.

“If there is no reversal in the current trend, the Palestinian Authority will not survive this year,” said Abdullah, who used to serve as a PA government minister.

And the PA has received only half the needed foreign aid to close its 2012 budget deficit of $1.2 billion, according to its Finance Ministry.

Palestinian officials blame the U.S. for withholding aid as a means of applying political pressure. The PA was counting on $200 million from the U.S. in budget support in June, but the payment was held up by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The U.S. 2011 payment was delayed by a congressional hold, in response to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ appeal to the UN to recognize a Palestinian state in the disputed territories.

The United Arab Emirates cut aid from $174 million in 2009 to $42.5 million since the beginning of 2011.

Qatar refuses to send money as long as there’s no reconciliation between Abbas and the Hamas.

Israel has been blamed for the inability of the Palestinian economy to be self-sustaining, because of the security-related restrictions it places on movement of goods, and the 5-year blockade on Gaza.

According to the AP, Palestinian officials, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, say the PA government can only become self-sufficient if Israel removes a network of restrictions on trade and access to resources that discourage investment, drive up costs and limit business opportunities.

But despite some loosening of restrictions, the Israeli government is reluctant to open up new opportunities for Palestinian terrorists to squeeze through the protective fences it has erected over the past ten years.

And so it appears the Palestinians are trapped by their own reluctance to accept Israel’s right to exist, coupled with their continued efforts to inflict terrorist attacks on Israel, and this time no one out there seems eager to spare them a dime.

Romney Lays It Out: Progress and Success Versus Name-Calling And Bragging About Being Victims

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.co.il/2012/08/romney-lays-it-out-choose-between.html

There are some broad and important political issues raised by a minor flap concerning presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s visit to Israel. To look at these questions in a detached and honest way can tell us a lot about the future of the world and of U.S. policy.

The controversy began when Romney said at a meeting with donors:

“As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 dollars, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality.” Romney said the economic history of the world has shown that “culture makes all the difference.”

Palestinian leaders complained, saying that this showed Romney was racist and out of touch with the realities of the Middle East. Actually, their reaction showed that they are counterproductive leaders who are out of touch with the realities of the Middle East and human history.

The basis of the complaint is two-fold:

First, is a reference to culture in some way “racist”, and why is Israel so far ahead of the Palestinians?

Racism refers to a belief that some people are inherently and biologically inferior. Consequently, nothing that they do can alter their inevitable backwardness.

This has nothing to do with culture, which is an alterable state of being. Indeed, racism has been disproven precisely because of the abilities of society to change their culture. Once, the Britons were a bunch of barbarian tribes who endlessly warred on each other and painted themselves blue. They have progressed considerably since then.

Countries like China, Japan, South Korea, India, and Singapore—to restrict oneself to Asia alone—have dramatically developed in the last half-century. They kept many aspects of their culture and society while altering others. In America, the descendants of slaves brought unwillingly from Africa have proven able to accomplish a full range of technological, cultural, professional, and other things.

So it is never racist to state the reality that some societies at any given time are in advance of others, you are only racist if you say that this can never change. In other words, if Arabs decided to do certain things they could be just as prosperous and developed as Israel or America or anyone else.

Unfortunately, though and with some exceptions—particularly in the smaller Persian Gulf, oil-rich sheikdoms—Arab polities and societies are changing in the wrong way. Both Romney and President Barack Obama have spoken of being on the “right side of history” but the phrase would better be on the right direction of history.

But since Palestinian Authority leaders want to discuss culture, here’s one out of thousands of examples. Recently, at a cultural performance whose audience included the PA minister of culture, the songs and poetry spoke of how the main priority of raising children is to make sure they were ready to use guns—not computers—against you-know-who. And Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, holds summer camps where thousands of young people are encouraged to grow up to be suicide bombers and terrorists.

By heading toward Islamism, increased ethnic strife, and Sunni-Shia conflict, most of the Arab polities are either going backwards in time or being threatened by neighbors who are doing so. This ensures that the gap will not only remain but become larger. Arab and Iranian liberal dissidents have the right ideas but are losing the battle.

Now here’s the problem: If Palestinians deny that there’s a problem they cannot resolve the problem. Failure to acknowledge that there is a real difference is disastrous for the Palestinians. Clinging to the very ideas responsible for that difference is catastrophic.

When Romney refers to “culture” he’s not referring to literature and music but to what is usually called “political culture.” And Romney uses the precise same criteria when he’s talking about America. Democracy, individual liberty, free enterprise, and the rule of law are among the ingredients necessary for success of any society.

Ironically, Romney actually understated the economic differences. In 2011, Israel’s per capita gross domestic product was about $31,000 while that of the West Bank and Gaza Strip was just over $1,500. If he was being so nasty why did he underestimate the Israeli figure by 33 percent and overestimate the Palestinian number by about 700 percent! What would they have said if he had given the real numbers?

Why Israel spies on the US

Monday, July 30th, 2012

http://fresnozionism.org/2012/07/why-israel-spys-on-the-us/

A recent AP piece tells us that the CIA considers Israel its “number one counterintelligence threat” in the Middle East.

The CIA considers Israel its No. 1 counterintelligence threat in the agency’s Near East Division, the group that oversees spying across the Middle East, according to current and former officials. Counterintelligence is the art of protecting national secrets from spies. This means the CIA believes that U.S. national secrets are safer from other Middle Eastern governments than from Israel.

The article describes several incidents illustrative of the mistrust between the intelligence agencies of the two nations, including of course the cases of Jonathan Pollard and Ben-Ami Kadish.

One wonders why this article appears now. Did the story idea suddenly pop into the heads of the AP writers? I don’t think so. Someone at the CIA decided to stick it to Israel today, when Mitt Romney is going around (correctly, in my opinion) criticizing the Obama Administration for tilting against Israel.

The piece strains mightily to find an example of a case in which Israeli spying actually damaged US interests (at least, interests that the CIA is willing to publicly admit). The best it can do is point to a Syrian scientist who was working for the CIA who might have been caught because of an Israeli leak.

It’s very probable that the massive damage to US spy networks in the USSR that Jonathan Pollard was accused of causing was actually attributable to spies Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen:

[US Defense Secretary Caspar] Weinberger publicly stated that Pollard was the worst spy in American history: “It is difficult for me, even in the so-called year of the spy, to conceive of a greater harm to national security than that caused by the defendant.” Despite his plea agreement to the contrary with the government, Pollard was given the maximum sentence, life in prison. Weinberger later said that he wished Pollard had been shot.

A week after the sentencing, the Washington Times reported that the United States had identified Shabtai Kalmanovich as the Soviet spy in Israel who supposedly worked for the Mossad but was actually working for the KGB; he had betrayed American secrets to Moscow. Kalmanovich had been flying under a false flag. Washington insiders winked knowingly at one another: Pollard’s contact in Israel had been caught.

Just to make sure that Pollard was blamed, U.S. intelligence sources, several months later, leaked word to the press of the Kalmanovich connection. “A Russian mole has infiltrated the Mossad and is transmitting highly sensitive American intelligence information to the Russians,” was the report flashed around the world by United Press International on Dec. 14, 1987. Citing “American intelligence sources,” the UPI announced that the “sensitive intelligence material relayed to Israel by Jonathan Pollard had reached the KGB.”

But it was all untrue. Every bit of it. Pollard wasn’t the serial killer. The Jew didn’t do it. It was one of their own WASPs-Aldrich Ames, a drunken senior CIA official who sold the names of America’s agents to the Russians for cash. Pollard was framed for Ames’s crime, while Ames kept on drinking and spying for the Soviets for several more years. In fact, Israeli intelligence later suspected that Ames played a direct role in framing Pollard. But no one in America then knew the truth.

Ames was arrested in February 1994, and confessed to selling out American agents in the Soviet Union, but not all of them. It was only logical to assume that Pollard had betrayed the rest of them, as one former CIA official admitted shortly after Ames’s arrest. Even one life lost was too many. So Pollard continued to rot in jail. No one dreamed that yet another high-level Washington insider had sold us out to Soviet intelligence. Years passed, and eventually a Russian defector told the truth. A senior FBI official-Special Agent Robert Hanssen-had betrayed the rest of our agents. Hanssen was arrested in February 2001, and soon confessed in order to avoid the death penalty. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

One must ask what, exactly, is the aim of Israeli spying against the US? It is certainly not — as  with Soviet and contemporary Russian espionage — to weaken us diplomatically and gain a military advantage in a possible conflict. Nor does it, as is the case with Chinese spying, also include a massive component of industrial espionage to erode America’s competitive advantage in world markets.

The World Is Aghast as 500 Jewish Families Are Promised Homes

Monday, July 16th, 2012

The AP has apparently caught the Israeli government red handed on the eve of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to the Jewish state, as said government has “quietly agreed to grant subsidies to build more than 500 new homes in the West Bank, backtracking from a promise earlier this year to deny these incentives to the settlements.”

It’s our habit at the Jewish Press to scrub the “west bank” thing and replace it with the more biblical “Judea and Samaria,” despite the inherent reference within that name to a period in the life of the nation in which it was split into two kingdoms, both of which were eventually scrapped by enemies from without and corruption from within. But in this case it makes sense to keep the WB in place, to retain the brazen cold heartedness of the AP report.

The AP reports that the planned construction has enraged Palestinians, although it is difficult to tell at this point what doesn’t enrage Palestinians. But in this case, the move – imagine, housing for 500 Jewish families – would likely also enrage Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is determined to “re-energize” the Mideast peace efforts.

Back in January, Netanyahu’s Cabinet identified more than 550 communities, “including 70 West Bank settlements,” as national priority areas, the AP reminds us. The list drew immediate protests from… you guessed it, the Palestinians. And so, shortly thereafter, Netanyahu quietly held a second vote in a phone meeting to exclude the settlements from the measure.

That figure of 500 housing units has been bandied about a lot lately, including as compensation for the court ordered demolition of a section of Beit El’s Ulpana Hill neighborhood.

The AP cites Israel’s Housing Ministry, saying that the government has approved subsidies for 24 homes in Efrat, south of Jerusalem, as well as “nearly 500 other homes” in Efrat, Beitar Illit and Ariel.

A Housing Ministry spokesman told the AP that construction bids for the 500 homes have not closed yet.

The AP story mentions the Levy committee’s ruling on the legality of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, but it suggests that with more than 500,000 Jewish settlers now living in “the West Bank and east Jerusalem,” the Palestinians say their dream of an independent state is fading as it grows tougher to partition the land between Israelis and Palestinians.

And who among us is heartless enough to want to see a dream fading away?

Of course, each time Israel as much as hints that it is serious about facilitating this dream of binational coexistence based on mutual recognition, it somehow ends in rivers of blood, as the Palestinians are still unwilling to embrace the concept.

Some dreams are better defined as nightmares.

Reporters, Dog, Irate as PA Won’t Share Supermodel

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

The entire planet has been following with bated breath Supermodel Naomi Campbell’s 42nd birthday’s visit to the land where Jesus did stuff (except, apparently, for celebrating his 42nd birthday).

It started well, with Campbell arriving late Monday night with her billionaire boyfriend Vladislav Doronin and an entourage of 21. They drove straight to the Wailing Wall, then retired to the King David hotel.

Day two was different. The beautiful Ms. Campbell has, according to Palestinian security officials speaking to the AP, “lit candles in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem,” which is “built on the spot where Christians believe Jesus was born.”

Why, you might ask, does a supermodel require representation by PA security officials? This, as Fido might say, is where the best bones are buried.

An irate Palestinian Journalists Syndicate condemned the Palestinian Authority’s “heavy-handed treatment of reporters on Tuesday covering a supermodel’s visit to Bethlehem.”

According to Palestinian news agency Ma’an, The PA’s official Palestine TV recorded an exclusive interview with Naomi Campbell at a restaurant outside the Church of the Nativity, but other reporters “weren’t allowed as much as a photograph.”

Can you imagine how frustrating it must be for reporters who normally cover nothing but folks beating up other folks over stuff, when a striking visitor like Naomi walks into their midst – and they’re all pushed off the story? Man, that burns.

Security guards accompanying the model harassed reporters and even threatened to break their cameras if they got near, according to the syndicate, which said its members were “furious.”

No kidding. Who wouldn’t be furious when they can see from afar Campbell celebrating her birthday at the Casa Nova Palace Restaurant, over “a traditional Palestinian meal of lamb and rice,” but no scraps for the Paparazzi.

In fact, according to AP, “Campbell requested anonymity because Palestinian officials threatened to punish people speaking to reporters.”

Did she fear the PA goons would throw her in their dungeon if she dared talk to the press? Seiously?

Unlike the Palestinian reporters who couldn’t do anything except make very angry faces, AP reports that a small, shaggy black dog whom the employees called “shekel,” the name of Israel’s currency, barked at mustachioed plainclothes Palestinian security officials sitting at tables.

You go, Shekel!

Ma’an commented that the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, which has protested a series of arrests of journalists in recent weeks, noted that the Palestinian leadership has expressed its commitment to free speech “on more than one occasion,” while they are nevertheless routinely subjected to restrictions on their work.

Very un-Jesus like…

Israeli Football Team Loses First International Match

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

Israel’s American football team took the field last Thursday in Petah Tikva, and lost its first international match by a score of 49-6 to Maranatha Baptist Bible College Crusaders from Watertown, Wis.

According to AP, Israel’s 10-team amateur league is gaining audience interest. Last year’s Israel Bowl attracted more than 1,000 fans and was broadcast live on an Israeli sports channel.

The Israeli league normally plays 8-a-side on a 60-yard field, but Thursday’s game was a regulation 11 versus 11 on a 100-yard field, which proved to be a challenge for the Israeli players.

Maranatha’s first touchdown came only 2 minutes after the opening whistle. Israel scored one touchdown, off a 76-yard pass in the second quarter.

French Muslim Vote May Bring Down President

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Imams and Islamic associations are encouraging French Muslims to go to the polls in Sunday’s presidential race, and make a difference. One million strong, they are likely to make enough of a difference to unseat President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Muslim officials are careful not to officially endorse either of the runners in the second election round, but AP explained that “the call itself is a bold move in a country where statistics on religious affiliation are formally banned and where secularism is enshrined in the constitution.”

Socialist Francois Hollande, who is the favorite to win on Sunday, is the likely beneficiary from the Muslim get-out-the-vote drive. His opponent has spoken out against Muslim practices, and his conservative police is not favored by Muslims in poor neighborhoods. Still, according to AP, there’s no guarantee that the drive will indeed result in an increased turnout of Muslim voters, because Muslims have traditionally avoided political involvement.

Still, the fact that French Muslims have been attacked by the right about their halal meat, street prayer and their preference for the full-body burka dress, may convince them to contribute to the removal of a right wing president.

Attacks on Muslim in the popular media have become even more acute following the massacre of Jewish schoolchildren and French paratroopers in March by an Islamic extremist.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/french-muslim-vote-may-bring-down-president/2012/05/01/

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