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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘foreign aid’

Bill Would Link Funding for Palestinians to Incitement

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

A bill introduced by the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee would link assistance to the Palestinian Authority to its efforts to stop incitement.

Under the bill presented Wednesday by California Republican Rep. Ed Royce, the president would have to determine that the Palestinian Authority “no longer engages in a pattern of incitement against the United States or Israel; and is engaged in peace preparation activities aimed at promoting peace with the Jewish State of Israel.” The president would have to re-certify compliance every six months.

“As Secretary of State John Kerry engages in negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians, Congress will make it clear to the Palestinian Authority that continuing anti-Israel incitement to violence through PA-controlled media outlets must cease,” Royce said in a statement.

The United States earmarks about $400 million annually for the Palestinian Authority.

House Spending Bill Restores Aid to Israel to $3.1 Billion

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Funding to Israel was restored to its pre-sequester level of $3.1 billion in the spending bill the U.S. House of Representatives passed on Wednesday. Aid to the Palestinian Authority was conditioned on its not running to the United Nations for recognition.

The $1.1 trillion bill passed Wednesday is the result of a deal brokered last month between Democrats and Republicans who have struggled for months to compromise on spending bills. It restores about half the cuts mandated by the sequestration, the across-the-board 8 percent cuts which by law kicked in last March when Congress failed to agree on a budget.

Also in the bill is $268.7 million in funding for U.S.-Israel cooperative anti-missile programs, not considered assistance because Israel contributes to the programs.

The bill also links the approximately $400 million the Palestinian Authority receives in annual assistance to programs against incitement, and cuts off aid to the Palestinians if the PA take further steps to secure statehood recognition at international bodies.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee praised the passage.

“These funds fully meet America’s commitment in the U.S.-Israel Memorandum of Understanding, helping our democratic ally meet critical defense needs during this period of heightened regional instability,” it said in a statement.

The Senate is due to consider the spending bill later this week.

US Shutdown Suspends Military Aid to Israel

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

The Obama administration’s $3.2 billion annual military aid has been suspended due to the U.S. government shutdown over the debt ceiling. The sum for 2104 was to be transferred to Israel on October 1, but this is not the first time budget crises in the United States have delayed aid to Israel.

“We are not talking about a specific step regarding Israel,” Israel’s Minister of Economic Affairs to the United States, Eli Groner, told Globes. “There is no budget for most government activities because there is no Budget Act or decision for a continuing resolution for ongoing financing for the coming financial year, and that includes the budget for foreign aid.

Report: Israel Seeking More US Military Aid

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Israel is seeking an increase in U.S. military aid because of increasing security needs and new US sales of advanced weapons to Arab nations in the Middle East, Defense News reported.

Israel is seeking a surge in future US Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grants not only to support its growing security requirements, but to offset the impact of increasingly advanced US arms sales to other countries in the volatile region.

“Qualitative military edge (QME), which pertains to Israel’s ability to defend itself by itself against any combination of Mideast adversaries, was always implied but never explicitly linked to long-term U.S. Foreign Military Financing (FMF) agreements or security assistance planning,” said Dov Zakheim, a former Pentagon comptroller and undersecretary of defense.

Michael Oren, outgoing Israeli ambassador to the United States, told Defense News that “very large [US] contracts to the Middle East raise the question of armies having capabilities similar to our own and how we make sure we can maintain our QME.”

Saudi King Says Muslims Ready to Fund Egypt if US Cuts Aid

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Saudi Arabia said Monday that it and other Muslim countries are ready to bankroll Egypt to make up for any financial aid that the United States might cut.

“To those who have announced they are cutting their aid to Egypt, or threatening to do that, (we say that) Arab and Muslim nations are rich with resources, and will not hesitate to help Egypt,” Foreign Minister Prince

Saud Al-Faisal said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.

As reported earlier today, The office of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), head of the Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, told The Daily Beast that military aid to Egypt has been temporarily cut off.

The downside for the United States would be that aid from the oil-rich Saudi kingdom would give it more influence on Cairo, at Washington’s expense.

Both countries share a disdain for the Muslim Brotherhood, which the new military regime ousted but has not been able to contain without the same brutal suppression exercised by Hosni Mubarak, before he was overthrown two years ago.

“Regrettably, we see that the stance of the international community toward the current events in Egypt is contrary to its stand toward the events in Syria,” Prince Saud was quoted as saying by the Saudi Gazette. “Where is its concern for human rights and the sanctity of blood in case of Syria where innocent civilians are being killed every day and where more than 100,000 people have been massacred so far?

“The international community adheres to human rights according to its interests and whims,” the foreign minister added.

He said that a cut in Western aid to Egypt would be considered a “hostile attitude against the interests of the Arab and Islamic nations and their stability.”

Why They Hate Us

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Boy, do they hate America.

I’m on a flight in Tanzania, having left Rwanda where we made a second tour of the genocide sites with the impending twentieth anniversary of the slaughter, when I meet a very fine Pakistani family going on safari.

We exchange pleasantries. They have children studying in the UK, as do many upper-class Pakistani families. My wife and I lived in the UK. We find much to talk about. I relate to them all the Pakistani students I knew at Oxford who were regulars at our events. They tell me of their trip to see the mountain gorillas and how they are enjoying Africa.

Suddenly, the father says to me, “I was in Israel recently. I enjoyed it. But I was disgusted at the treatment of the Palestinians who cannot even go from Bethlehem into Jerusalem.”

I explain to him that the checkpoints are relatively new. “They did not exist when I was a student in Jerusalem. They were set up after a wave of terror bombings killed thousands of Israeli civilians. You can hardly blame Israel from trying to stop the slaughter.”

“The slaughter?” he says, “You mean the way Israel massacres Palestinians every day. And it’s all funded by America, who is the biggest murderer in the world. Just look at the 100 people every day being killed in Iraq.”

I raise my eyebrows, trying to remain calm and provoked. “But that’s being done by Islamic terrorists. What does it have to do with America? We Americans died to liberate the Iraqis. We spent more than a trillion dollars of our national treasure on complete strangers to stop them from being slaughtered by Saddam Hussein.”

He ignores the facts and continues his diatribe. “America is now slaughtering everyone in Afghanistan, just to destabilize the region, and blaming everything on Pakistan.”

“America is trying to save Afghanistan from the Taliban,” I counter, “monsters who brutalize women, fanatics that behead those who don’t conform to their religious extremes.”

“Nonsense,” he says, “the Taliban is infinitely more humane that the Americans and their agents in the Middle East, the Israelis.”

By now I’ve had enough and I go on the offensive.

“Why was Osama bin Laden living in Abbotabad, a mile from Pakistan’s West Point? Who was sheltering a man who killed 3000 innocent Americans?”

And here he makes my jaw drop. “Three thousand Americans dead is nothing, a drop in the ocean, compared to how many Muslims America has killed.”

You may wonder why I am relating this story. It’s an isolated incident, right? But it’s not. It’s a sentiment I encountered in so many parts of Africa where I traveled to Rwanda, to again see the genocide sites and meet with government officials, and then to Arusha in Tanzania, to see the criminal courts where the Rwandan genocidaires were tried.

Readers of my columns will know that I am one of Jewry’s foremost defenders of Islam. I remind Jewish audiences constantly that we dare not de-contexualize the current frictions between Jews and Muslims. Saladin welcomed the Jews back to Jerusalem in 1187 when he captured the holy city from the crusaders who massacred every last Jew. The Ottomans took in large numbers of Jews when we were expelled from Catholic Spain and Portugal. Jews flourished in many Islamic lands where the Koran said they would have to be treated as second-class citizens but should otherwise not suffer persecution. I took Dr. Oz, during our recent visit to Israel together, to see the tomb of Maimonides in Tiberius, explaining that the greatest Muslim ruler that ever lived made the great sage his personal physician. Whenever some of my Jewish colleagues speak of Islam as an inherently violent religion, citing verses in the Koran to prove it, I remind them that there are plenty of verses of our own Torah which can be taken out of context and sound pretty violent. It all comes down to how these passages are interpreted.

But with that being said, there is no question in my mind that Islam is undergoing a modern crisis which perhaps only its clerics and lay leaders can rescue it from. Here in Tanzania there was a terrible story just a week ago when two British female Jewish teenagers were attacked with acid by Islamic assailants.

It’s not that imams and are preaching violence, although many unfortunately do. It’s rather that they preach victimhood. America is to blame for their problems. Israel is to blame for their suffering.

Where are the Islamic leaders and clerics who are prepared to say, “We are responsible for our own problems. We are taking a great world religion and turning it insular and away from secular knowledge rather than finding the balance between the holy and the mundane. We are not empowering women to be the equals of men in all spheres. We Palestinians took the largest per capita foreign aid ever given to a people and we allowed corruption and hatred of Israel to squander the funds on bombs and bullets rather than building universities and schools. We elect leaders democratically who then, like Hamas, or Muhammad Morsi, precede to dismantle democratic institutions. We see the Jews as our enemies rather than using them as an example of what we ourselves should aspire to. They returned to their land after long ago being dispersed by foreign European powers and made the desert bloom. We can surely do the same.”

GOP Jews Leave Meeting with Rand Paul with ‘Pleasant Surprises’

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul held a conciliatory meeting with the Republican Jewish Coalition in his latest bid to forge ties with the pro-Israel community and left the GOP Jews with some “pleasant surprises,” Matthew Brooks, the Republican Jewish Coalition’s director, told the Washington Post.

“While there may be areas of disagreement, he is very, very different — and certainly different with regard to his father,” Brooks said of last week’s meeting between Paul (R-Ky.) and the RJC board.

The RJC has sharply criticized Paul since his successful 2010 run for the Senate, particularly because of his opposition to defense assistance for Israel. Since then Paul, who is eyeing a 2016 presidential run, has visited Israel and taken pains to distinguish himself from his father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a perennial presidential candidate who has cast his own opposition to aid for Israel in stinging criticism of the Jewish state.

Brooks told the newspaper that Paul spoke of “putting Israel in a different category” than other nations. Paul earned a standing ovation last month at a meeting of the Zionist Organization of America on Capitol Hill.

Money Won’t Buy Moderation in the Mideast

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

Can the Obama Administration turn radicals into moderates with money?

Way back in 1979, shortly after the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini said that people in the West didn’t understand revolutionary Islamism. “They think,” he explained, “the revolution is all about the price of watermelons. It isn’t.” In other words, this is an ideological cause not a money-making attempt where people can be bribed.

Three Examples:

1. The Palestinian Case

On May 26, at the World Economic Forum in Jordan, Secretary of State John Kerry proclaimed a new plan. He wants to find $4 billion from investors. If he does this, he claims, the Palestinian economy will be doing great, people will be employed, and there will be peace.

Actually, this is a bribe to get the Palestinian Authority back to negotiations with Israel which would also mean, of course, that the Obama Administration can claim a foreign policy success. That’s $4 billion to buy a negotiations’ process that will meet a few times and break down in deadlock, as has happened over 20 years under far better potential conditions and additional billions of dollars of aid to the Palestinians. The initiative is also intended to get the Palestinian Authority to drop plans to seek statehood at the UN; file cases against Israel at the World Court; and to try to join other international institutions as an independent state.

What should the money be spent on according to Kerry? Why on tourism! No doubt tourists are just lining up to go to the West Bank (they certainly aren’t going to go to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip where the rockets’ red glare has a different meaning).

Notice incidentally that these are not productive investments. Perhaps he could have proposed investment in green energy. After all, the West Bank has much better prospects for solar power than does the United States.

The supposed uses to which the money would be put further signals that this is a political bribe. If this money is found Kerry said the result would be to:

“Increase the Palestinian GDP by as much as 50% over three years…and reduce unemployment by two-thirds…and increase the median wage by 40%.”

Should the secretary of state be talking on such a level of fantasy? Does a single one of his listeners believe this?

Tony Blair, to whom the tourism project was turned over by Kerry, has been the negotiator for the quartet for 11 years. Guess how many visits he has made to Jerusalem? Answer: 87. And basically he’s accomplished zero. Here is the short list of achievements that he even dares claim after 11 years, 87 trips, and vast amounts of money.

Kerry stated:

Experts believe that we can increase the Palestinian GDP by as much as 50% over three years. Their most optimistic estimates foresee enough new jobs to cut unemployment by nearly two-thirds – to 8%, down from 21% today – and to increase the median annual wage along with it, by as much as 40%….

How about their more pessimistic estimates or even their realistic ones? Kerry has chosen the worst possible plan, investment in an industry that is incredibly sensitive to political unrest.

Are Palestinians going to become hotel managers, waiters, lifeguards at swimming pools, and so on?

What will Hamas think about the influx of massive numbers of Western tourists?

The sale of alcohol?

Western women coming in wearing whatever they want?

What would happen to this investment if there was a single terrorist attack in the West Bank, much less one against tourists?

Might events in nearby Egypt and Syria affect Western tourism?

And while Israel is successful at tourism it is a developed country with far more to see. Remember east Jerusalem—the main tourist attraction—is controlled by Israel, not the Palestinian Authority. Once you get beyond Bethlehem which tourists can visit easily while spending a night in an Israeli hotel—what’s there to do in the West Bank?

Is this a good idea for a $4 billion investment?

Kerry continued:

The economics will never work properly or fully without the political process….President Abbas, the economic approach is not a substitute for the political approach. The political approach is essential and it is our top priority. In fact, none of this vision…will happen without the context of the two-state solution.

Question: If billions of dollars have not bought P.A. support for a two-state solution in 20 years why should anything change now?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/money-wont-buy-moderation-in-the-mideast/2013/05/29/

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