web analytics
August 20, 2014 / 24 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘corruption’

What the West is Funding: Palestinian Suppression of Free Speech

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

The Palestinian Authority leadership in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria -ed.] has come up with a new method to silence its Palestinian critics.

From now on, any Palestinian writer or journalist who dares to criticize Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his policies or demand an end to corruption will be accused of “belittling the dignity of the state.”

Since the beginning of this year, at least 10 Palestinian journalists, bloggers and political opponents have been detained by various Palestinian Authority security services for writing about corruption and criticizing the Palestinian leadership.

Until recently, the Palestinian Authority, which is funded by the U.S. and E.U., used to throw its critics into prison.

But following condemnations from Palestinian and international human rights organizations, the Palestinian Authority decided to resort to a new method to silence its critics – this time by accusing them of “belittling the dignity” of a non-existent Palestinian state.

This charge is based on a 1960 Jordanian law still effective in the West Bank. Although the Palestinian Authority has its own laws, to achieve its goals it does not hesitate every now and then to resort to Jordanian laws.

But as the case of Jihad Harb shows, Abbas and his aides are more concerned about their own dignity than that of the imaginary state.

Harb, a Palestinian writer and political analyst, was summoned this week for interrogation by the Palestinian security forces in Ramallah and charged, on the basis of the Jordanian law, with “belittling the dignity of the state.”

Harb was told that the director of Abbas’s office had lodged a complaint against him for libel and slander because of an article criticizing Abbas’s policy of promoting public employees.

Entitled “Presidential Decisions Are Made In A Coffee Shop,” Harb’s article criticized Abbas’s decision to promote more than 500 civil servants over the past five years — noting that many of them were unfit to serve in their jobs.

Before he was summoned for interrogation, Harb received threats from from top Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah that he would be punished for hanging the dirty laundry in public.

The officials told the writer that he may would face trial for criticizing Abbas at a time when the US and Israel are “waging a fierce campaign” against the Palestinian Authority president because of his insistence on pursuing his request for membership in the UN.

Harb said that the decision to summon him for questioning was in the context of the Palestinian Authority leadership’s campaign to intimidate Palestinian writers and journalists and stop them from discussing internal issues.

Harb added that the decision was also in violation of Abbas’s recent statement that the “sky was the limit for freedom of expression” in the West Bank.

Palestinian writers and human rights groups have, meanwhile, expressed deep concern over the Palestinian Authority’s crackdown on freedom of expression in the West Bank.

International human rights groups, however, and countries that fund and support Abbas’s authority have yet to sound their voices.

Many Palestinian writers and journalists in the West Bank today live in fear of being harassed by the Palestinian Authority because of their views and writings. Some practice self-censorship, while others are writing under different names or have found themselves new and less dangerous professions.

There is no reason why those who are pouring millions of dollars on the Palestinian Authority should not demand an end to suppression of freedom of expression and the growing clampdown on writers and journalists in the West Bank.

Failing to hold the Palestinian Authority accountable for its actions will only drive more Palestinians into the arms of Hamas and the other radical forces.

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Gaddafi’s Son’s Israeli Lover Pleads For His Life

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Israeli actress Orly Weinerman reportedly has urged Tony Blair to help save the life of her “discreet” lover, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi. On Monday, Weinerman posted on her Facebook page in Hebrew, “for a long time I have had trouble falling asleep at night, revealing my anxiety among good friends and between the living room walls. But now, with injustice displayed proudly on the world stage, I call for you to lend me a hand and prevent another victim of hatred, prejudice and moral corruption. Orly.”

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of the late ruler of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, is facing the death penalty in Libya, where he is on trial for his role in the killing of protesters during last year’s uprising against his father. Weinerman’s parents were opposed to her converting to Islam, she said. But apparently that didn’t stop Orly and Saif from pursuing love: “The fact that Saif was prepared to involve himself in a loving relationship with a Jew is a measure of how open and civilized he is,” she told one tabloid. “He judged people for what they are, not what people perceive them to be. Saif never made an issue of my religion or the country I came from.”

BBC quoted Libyan officials Monday that Gaddafi’s trial was being postponed to a date still unknown.

Surrender Corrupts the Soul of Israel

Friday, September 7th, 2012

This morning, a friend sent me an article by Leonard Fein called “Occupation Corrupts Soul of Israel.”

Fein writes,

Hakibush mashchit — The occupation corrupts.

And so, plainly, it does. But so what? However inadvertent the origins, the poison fruit is today fully ripe. To understand that, it is not sufficient to call attention to the horrific attack in Zion Square the other night, the attack by a mob that threatened the life of Jamal Julani, or even to add to it the firebombing hours earlier of a taxi near Gush Etzion in which six Palestinians, two of them children, were wounded.

He goes on to talk about “settler violence,” the complicity of the authorities (if you ask the ‘settlers’, they will tell you that the authorities in fact protect the Arabs), price tag vandalism, etc.

Is this the “poison fruit” of ‘occupation’?

Or is it simply that some Jews have — after decades of murder, vandalism, no-go zones in Israel’s capital and other places, stonings, lynchings, etc. — learned to act like Arabs?

Did the poison come from Jews living in their historic homeland, or from the Arabs who hate them?

The Left’s solution is to end the ‘occupation’, to withdraw from Judea, Samaria, the Golan, and eastern Jerusalem. In short, give them what they want and everything will be fine. Of course “what they want” is not limited to the territories, and surrendering them will just send the message that we are too weak to resist, and they will redouble their efforts to obtain the rest.

I responded to my friend that if ‘occupation’ corrupts the soul, then withdrawal, with its concomitant rocket attacks and terrorism might well corrupt the body in a very physical way.

But in addition to the security issues, there is something still more important, which is well-understood by the Arabs, if not by the Leonard Feins. Here is a 2009 remark by PLO official Abbas Zaki, which explains it well:

With the two-state solution, in my opinion, Israel will collapse, because if they get out of Jerusalem, what will become of all the talk about the Promised Land and the Chosen People? What will become of all the sacrifices they made – just to be told to leave? They consider Jerusalem to have a spiritual status. The Jews consider Judea and Samaria to be their historic dream. If the Jews leave those places, the Zionist idea will begin to collapse. It will regress of its own accord. Then we will move forward.

Fein is wrong. The corruption of the Jewish soul did not begin in 1967. It began with the adoption of the idea that surrender is pro-Israel, with — as Fein mentions — the birth of Peace Now and the national self-flagellation that followed the Sabra and Shatilla massacres (in which Arabs behaved like Arabs), and culminated in the suicidal decision to allow Arafat and the PLO to return from exile in 1993. Today, it’s fed by a huge influx of money from the European antisemites who support the anti-state NGOs in Israel that are all that’s left of the Left.

It isn’t ‘occupation’ that corrupts — it’s surrender.

Visit FresnoZionism.org.

Olmert Acquitted Of Major Charges

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

JERUSALEM – A panel of three Jerusalem regional court judges acquitted former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert on Tuesday of all corruption charges in the Rishon Tours and Moshe Talansky matters. The judges, though, found him guilty of breach of trust in the Investment Center affair, which took place during Olmert’s tenure as minister of industry, trade and labor nearly a decade ago.

The state prosecutor had charged Olmert with fraud, breach of trust, falsifying corporate records, double billing, tax evasion and accepting bribes in the Rishon Tours and Talansky affairs nearly four years ago. During the course of the long legal battle, Talansky, a Long Island financier who co-founded the New Jerusalem Fund with Olmert, alleged in court that Olmert requested cash for various purposes. If the court had rendered a guilty verdict on the fraud charges, each charge would have carried a minimum jail term of three years. The breach of trust guilty verdict does not carry an automatic jail sentence, as the penalty is determined by judicial discretion.

Despite Olmert’s acquittals, the judges declared that the former prime minister’s former bureau chief, Shula Zaken, was guilty of two counts of fraud and breach of trust in the Rishon Tours case. Her conviction, which will almost certainly be challenged by her legal team, carries a minimum prison term of three years.

A cadre of legal experts and media commentators expressed surprise at the verdict on Olmert, especially in the Rishon Tours double-billing case whereby several witnesses maintained that both Olmert and Zaken were aware of double billing major Jewish organizations – and even orchestrated the action.

After the verdicts were handed down, the legal experts publicly questioned how Zaken, who was in constant daily contact with Olmert throughout most of his political career and updated him on all matters, could be found guilty while Olmert could emerge virtually unscathed.

Other legal pundits are arguing that Zaken is taking the fall for Olmert, despite the fact that she was allegedly offered immunity from prosecution had she turned state’s witness against her former boss. MK Dalia Itzik, a former political ally of Olmert’s during his tenure as prime minister and head of the Kadima Party, blasted State Attorney Moshe Lador. “This is one of the most severe legal earthquakes to ever hit Israel. It’s difficult to understand how supposedly rock-solid cases, which forced Olmert from office, collapsed. It’s absurd,” she said.

While expressing dismay with Zaken’s conviction, Olmert was ecstatic with his not guilty verdict on the corruption charges. “I knew I would be vindicated. There was no corruption or envelopes with money,” he told a horde of Israeli and foreign reporters at the Jerusalem courthouse. “This won’t be the last time you will be hearing from me.”

Olmert and Zaken’s legal battles, however, are far from over. Tuesday’s legal drama comes at the same time that Olmert, Zaken and former Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski are being accused by the state prosecution’s main witness, a controversial businessman with a checkered reputation, as being central players in the so-called Holyland Affair. The Holyland trial is expected to last several months, with a verdict not expected until either later this year or early next year.

PA Arrests 150

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Israel is praising the Palestinian Authority for cracking down on crime and corruption in Arab territories in Judea and Samaria, following the arrest of 150 suspects.

The crackdown began in mid-May and has included the arrest of senior security officers, some of whom were trained by the United States.

The suspects, being held in a PA prison in Jericho, were rounded up by the Presidential Guard, a force loyal to PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Many of the detainees are former members of Fatah’s Al-Aksa martyrs Brigade and the Palestinian National Security Forces, the PA’s US-trained counter-terror wing.

The PA expects to receive a shipment of 4,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles from Jordan, pending Israeli approval.

Losing Candidate Shafiq Fleeing Egypt Ahead of Corruption Charges

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Ahmed Mohamed Shafik Zaki, who came second in Egypt’s presidential runoff election last week, is reported to have boarded a flight to Abu Dhabi Early Tuesday morning. He was seen off along with his three daughters to the Cairo airport VIP section by two employees of his campaign, then took a bus to the old terminal.

According to Al Ahram, several corruption complaints have been filed with the Office of the Prosecutor against Shafiq, who served as Mubarak’s last prime minister.

A high-level judicial source told Al Ahram that a Justice Ministry investigator, will receive this week the report prepared by experts in the Illicit Profiteering and Real Estate Agency who have examined procedures for the allocation of land sold by the Cooperative for Construction and Housing for Pilots, which was headed by Ahmed Shafiq in the 1990′s.

Former MP Essam Sultan of Al-Wasat Party issued a complaint against Shafiq as the former head of the cooperative, accusing him of selling a large piece of land to Alaa and Gamal Mubarak in 1993, at an extremely low price of only 75 piasters (about 12.5 cents) per square meter (about 10.5 sq. ft.).

The office of the prosecutor general Abdel Meguid Mahmoud has also transferred a complaint to El-Seidi against former president Hosni Mubarak Ahmed Shafiq, and former agriculture minister Youssef Wally, for illegally seizing 119 feddans of land (about 125 acres).

According to the complaint, the defendants seized land that belongs to fish farms, and illegally allocated it to the Pilots’ Association for Land Development, which was headed by Shafiq.

In the months following the ousting of Mubarak, more than 30 separate lawsuits of corruption were filed against Shafiq.

Bon voyage.

The Silence Abbas and the PA Want You to Hear

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

The Middle East is becoming quieter. No, the swords are not turning into plowshares, it’s not that kind of quiet. Instead, it is the sound of truth that’s slowly being silenced. And it’s happening not only because the PA grows stronger, but also because the West grows weaker.

Thirty years ago the young Arab journalist Khaled abu Toameh quit working for PLO media outlets. They did not allow reporting on what abu Toameh saw as the news people needed to know. Instead, he was told to take the words dictated by the Arab leadership, and cut and paste them into the stories they then published, but under his byline. They weren’t his words and it wasn’t the news, so he turned to western media for outlets that allowed him to write and speak about what people needed to know.

In those thirty years the PA media has not become more open. Instead, the PA leadership has become more emboldened and the western media – either because of physical or moral exhaustion – is allowing the PA’s censorship to seep into and rot away at core freedoms, both of speech and of the press.

Under the Palestinian Authority’s Penal Code, a holdover from when Jordan illegally occupied the territories, defamation suspects can be arrested and held in detention for up to six months before they are charged with a crime. Esmat Abdul-Khalik, an al Quds University lecturer and single mother of two, was arrested in late March and held in solitary confinement and denied the possibility of any visits because someone else criticized PA President Mahmoud Abbas on her Facebook page, calling him a traitor and suggesting he resign. Abdul-Khalik is not the only Arab arrested recently for Facebook page activity, at least three others have recently been picked up for daring to criticize members of the government.

In September, the director of Radio Bethlehem 2000, George Canawati, was arrested for posting on his Facebook page criticism of the Bethlehem Health Department. Last month the PA judicial and executive authorities determined Canawati will be tried for defamation – a crime punishable by up to two years in prison – in the Magistrate Court of Bethlehem City. The trial was recently adjourned until September.

Altogether, nine journalists have been arrested in recent weeks for exposing corruption or making critical remarks about the PA leadership on Facebook, and many others have been summoned for interrogation. When Facebook postings expose government critics to censure, you can be sure that no one will risk filing bona fide media reports about the topic.

But just as frightening as Arab Palestinian bloggers and journalists being arrested for posting on their Facebook pages is the steady drumbeat of pressure that is leading to a decrease in coverage by western journalists who, presumably, are not as vulnerable to the capricious selections for punishment designed to suppress criticism of the ruling regime.

In addition to whispered discussions being heard in Ramallah about the “Facebook Police” are the directives issued to western journalists to focus their reporting on “Israel’s ‘occupation’” and refrain from prying into alleged corruption committed by PA officials, because “nothing else is newsworthy and nothing else should be reported.”

Some western journalists have been warned not to work with Arabic speaking reporters who fail to toe the “All-Occupation, All The Time” reporting. This is how the PA controls not only their own media outlets, but those western outlets. All too many simply play along rather than stand up for press and speech freedoms and possibly risk losing access. For those journalists who behave and report primarily about the occupation, the rewards are access to senior officials. Senior PA officials told Arab Israeli journalist abu Toameh, “Even the Jews at Haaretz behave themselves and for that they are rewarded with interviews of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.”

It is not only individual journalists who are being intimidated, but entire news sites critical of the PA have been blocked on the internet. A report in late April revealed that several websites which had reported on corruption within the PA were blocked, including Inlight Press, which had revealed that the PA had been monitoring the phones of Mahmoud Abbas’s opponents.

What’s more, in May, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, a vehicle that is supposed to act as a union to defend the rights of its members, actually began punishing Arab Palestinian journalists for meeting and cooperating with Israeli colleagues in a series of joint seminars that were held in Europe. The goal of those seminars was to promote freedom of expression and increase cooperation. The PJS is affiliated with the PA and is dominated by Fatah, the party of Abbas, and reports directly to the President’s office in Ramallah. Those who violate the will of the Syndicate, which is to sing from the hymnal of PA devotion and praise for Abbas, are threatened with expulsion from the Syndicate and a concomitant boycott by all PA newspapers and other Palestinian media outlets.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-silence-abbas-and-the-pa-want-you-to-hear/2012/06/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: