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July 25, 2016 / 19 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Knesset’

Despite Pressure, Ethics Committee Votes to Keep MKs Off Temple Mount

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

The Ethics Committee on Tuesday voted to uphold its decision from seven months ago, banning Knesset Members from entering the Temple Mount compound. In its November 2015 decision the committee said it had been told by senior Israel Police officials that visits by MKs to the holy site in eastern Jerusalem would significantly deteriorate the security situation throughout the country.

The Ethics Committee stated that, until further notice, visiting the Temple Mount, which is holy to both Jews and Muslims, may be considered an ethics violation that carries sanctions. It cited the ethics rule that MKs are supposed to act for the good of the country.

The Ethics Committee said it discussed the matter again on Tuesday following pleas by committee member MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint Arab List) and Jewish MKs. Jerusalem District Police Commander Major-General Yoram Halevy briefed the committee and said that for the time being Police position on the ban remains unchanged.

The committee said it was further informed that in light of the relatively calm situation, Israel Police is considering allowing Arab MKs to visit the Temple Mount towards the end of the month of Ramadan, and allowing Jewish lawmakers to visit the site as well after the Ramadan and the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

“In light of what the committee has heard, it has reached a majority decision to uphold its previous decision for the time being,” the Ethics Committee said in statement, adding that it would change the decision should the security forces decide that MKs may be allowed to visit the Temple Mount once again.

David Israel

Knesset Extends Law Limiting Arab Family Reunification in Israel

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

The Knesset plenum on Monday extended by a year an emergency provision that restricts the ability of residents of Iran, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip to automatically gain legal status in Israel under the Family Reunification Law.

The Family Reunification Law grants automatic legal status to foreign nationals who marry Israeli citizens. The provision to the law, the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, was first enacted in 2003 at the height of the Second Intifada. While the Supreme Court banned the provision from being permanently added, the Knesset has voted to extend the temporary act as an emergency measure every year since 2004.

Sixty-five MKs voted in favor of extending the provision until June 20, 2017, while 14 opposed.

“In the war against terror there is no one switch that stops all the attacks; there are a number of switches, and one of them is the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, which was enacted in 2003 during the Second Intifada, when hundreds of Israelis were murdered and thousands more were injured in terror attacks,” said MK Avi Dichter (Likud), chairman of the joint committee of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the Internal Affairs Committee, which discussed the various aspects of the provision.

“One way of dealing with this is self-flagellation, which has become popular as of late,” Dichter continued. “There are those who say we treat the Arabs as an inferior race and compare us to Nazi Germany. A mayor became a star on Al-Jazeera when he said the terror attack in Tel Aviv was the result of the occupation. A ‘we apologize for winning’ attitude has been created here. The other way is to understand that the barrel of terror has a bottom. There are ways to fight terror, and this law is one of them.”

Ahead of this year’s vote to extend the act, the joint committee heard testimony from experts and security officials on the effects of the provision.

A representative of the Shin Bet internal security service said those seeking reunification with family members in Israel pose a security risk due to the possibility that they will be used to carry out terror attacks or engage in espionage. According to the Shin Bet, 104 citizens or legal residents who had been brought into Israel under the Family Reunification Law had committed acts of terrorism from 2001 to 2016. Of those 104, 17 had married Israeli citizens, while 87 were relatives of those who had married Israelis.

The Shin Bet official also noted that residents brought into Israel under the Family Reunification Law were playing an increasing role in terrorism. He noted that 73% of terrorists with Israeli citizenship who had committed acts of terror against Israelis since the beginning of the terror wave last September were brought in as part of family reunification.

Of the 104 terrorists who entered Israel in this manner, 30 had committed terror attacks over the past nine months. He also noted they were responsible for 13% of all terror attacks in the recent terror wave.

During Monday’s plenary debate, MK Osama Sa’adi (Joint Arab List) called the law “the most racist in the Israeli book of laws,” and said the statistics presented to the joint committee were misleading because residents of eastern Jerusalem who took part in terror attacks over the past year have nothing to do with family reunification. “In practice, barely one out of every 1,000 people who carried out terror attacks since 2003 are living here by virtue of family reunification,” Sa’adi told the plenum.

JNi.Media

After Orlando Bloodbath, Israeli Leaders ‘Stand Shoulder to Shoulder’ With US

Monday, June 13th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein expressed his condolences to US Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Paul Ryan over the deadly shooting at a gay bar in Orlando, Florida on Saturday night.

“On behalf of all the members of the Israeli Knesset, I would like to express our condolences and to join in the great sorrow of the tragedy that befell you and the deaths of innocent people from this crime,” said Edelstein to his US counterpart Speaker Ryan.

“Terrorism strikes everywhere and it does not differentiate between Orlando to Tel Aviv,” Edelstein continued. Only a few days earlier, two Arab terrorists murdered 3 Israeli civilians in a shooting in Tel Aviv.

“To my great dismay, the Israeli public is very familiar with the feelings of grief and anger caused by these events, and all we can do is to join hands in the fight against global terrorism,” added Edelstein.

Prime Minister Netanyahu conveyed similar condolences to the US earlier today during his weekly cabinet meeting.

“On behalf of the government and people of Israel, I would like to again express our condolences to the American people and the families at this especially difficult hour,” said Netanyahu. “We stand shoulder to shoulder with the American people.”

Like Edelstein, Netanyahu had also called for unity against global terrorism.

“This terror threatens the entire world and it is necessary above all that the enlightened countries urgently unite to fight against it.”

President Rivlin shared his sympathies with US President Barack Obama on Sunday night, writing that “the Israeli people stand shoulder to shoulder with our American brothers and sisters in the moral and just fight against all forms of violence and hatred. On behalf of all of Israel, I send my condolences to the families of the victims, and prayers for a speedy recovery of the injured.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

MK Ayman Odeh Slammed by Danny Danon over Request to UN via Palestinian Authority

Friday, June 10th, 2016

In a letter to Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstien, Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon accused Knesset Member Ayman Odeh of “crossing a red line”. The allegation followed a letter by Odeh, Chairman of the Joint List faction, to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calling for an investigation into land disputes in the Negev.

The application for the probe was submitted by Odeh through UN Palestinian Authority Representative Riyad Mansour. In it Odeh asked for a “UN fact-finding mission to the Negev to examine the dire situation of the land’s indigenous Arab population, and work to secure their rights as guaranteed by international law and conventions.”

Danon reacted harshly to Odeh’s actions in a letter to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, “I find it appalling that MK Odeh decided to work together with the Palestinian representative who regularly spreads Antisemitic lies against the State of Israel.  A red line has been crossed.”

Mansour is known for particularly vehement rhetoric towards Israel. In November he accused Israel of harvesting organs from Arab bodies, and last month he compared Israel to Nazis in the Warsaw uprising.

UN Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman denied Odeh’s request in a response to the Israel’s Mission to the UN, and not via the Palestinian Authority Representative.

Stephanie Granot

Knesset Committee Wants Less War on Cannabis, More War on Alcohol

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz), Chair of the Knesstet Committee to Combat Drug and Alcohol Abuse, was highly critical this week of the new campaign of the Israel Anti-Drug Authority. She suggested the campaign was “based on false information, outdated, archaic, irrelevant, and most important — disappointing.” She added: “After all this time that we’ve been sitting here, exposed to the real danger of youth addiction, I for one am disappointed.”

It should be noted that MK Zandberg is a known supporter of the legalization of cannabis, and in 2013 submitted a bill decriminalizing personal use of Marijuana. She has been a supporter of the fight of medical cannabis patients against the Health Ministry, and was a guest speaker at a 2013 rally for legalization at Rabin Square. She said in a television interview that she smokes cannabis and views this as “normative behavior.”

Acting Director General of the Authority, Eitan Gorni, told the committee that “we think cannabis is dangerous. After a long time during which we haven’t dealt with cannabis, and in light of the great outcry and the attempt to say that cannabis is not dangerous it was decided to launch a broad advertising campaign. In light of the numerous attempts on the part of the side that supports Marijuana to deliver messages, we believe there should be counter messages, which is why we launched the campaign.”

One 15-second radio ad in the new campaign features a mother who says her daughter was destroyed by using Marijuana, followed by an anchor saying there’s no such thing as light drugs.

Meanwhile, the committee was informed that the Israel Anti-Drug Authority CEO, Yair Geller, has resigned last May, about a year and a half after being suspended for his role in the bribery scandal involving Yisrael Beiteinu, and eight months after police recommended his indictment for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. During his 17 months of suspension, Geller grossed close to $208,000 in salary and bonuses, according to media reports.

Eitan Eckstein, director of a rehab center, also warned the committee against taking cannabis use lightly. “Go to the beaches and see for yourselves what joints are doing to people. Most of the girls started with grass and it led them to prostitution. On the eve of summer vacation it’s a time to invest a lot in telling parents to set limits, and that if they suspect something untoward they should seek advice.”

Chair Zandberg suggested that “alcohol is much more dangerous, which is why I’m disappointed that you invest in a campaign against a future [cannabis] legislation [instead of fighting youth alcohol use].”

MK Merav Ben Ari (Kulanu) told the committee, “When I was working with youths I had a much tougher time with alcohol than with cannabis.” Turning to the You have to the Israel Anti-Drug Authority officials, she added, “You must understand that you can’t keep devoting your budgets to cannabis. I get the feeling that all you’re campaigning against is cannabis.”

David Israel

New Legislation Would Free Up $1.5 Billion in Credit for Israeli Housing Starts

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Construction companies are no longer allowed to charge their customers fees for their own legal services, according to a key item in a new amendment to the Sales Law being promoted by the Ministry of Housing and Construction, Calcalist reported Thursday. Another significant change in the law would remove the requirement that contractors post a bank guarantee for the VAT portion of the cost of the apartment, and instead the state would set up a special fund to cover the buyers’ outlay. This would save contractors millions of dollars, releasing more than $1.5 billion in bank credit to the real estate market. The construction firm would still have to insure the rest of the buyer’s investment, in case said firm goes out of business.

The Housing Ministry, which began the move to amend the law nine months ago, is hoping the changes would pass by the end of the Knesset summer session in August. The move was spurred by the common understanding that the construction section of the current Sales Law is outdated, and has led real estate companies to develop their own ways of bypassing it, at the expense of their customers. The amendments were forged by an inter-office team that included Deputy Attorney General Erez Kamenetz, the Consumer Protection Authority, the Finance Ministry, and the Tax Authority.

“It is our responsibility to help the Israeli public get accessible housing, while legally protecting the buyers and maintaining fairness in all processes,” Minister of Housing Yoav Galant told Calcalist. One of the problems in the way housing business is done in Israel has to do with the buyer paying the contractor’s attorney for processing the new apartment at the Land Registry Office (the local word for the office is Tabu — no relation to taboos, the word is simply the Arabic mispronunciation of the Turkish word Tapu, or title-deed). A recent legislation limited the fees paid to said attorney to about $1,300, but even so, the clients may believe that by paying his fees the attorney is now working for them, which he certainly isn’t — he remains in the service of the contractor.

The Housing Ministry believes that registering the apartment and providing a legal deed is part of the overall product the contractor is expected to provide, and so they now want to go one step further and eliminate altogether the requirement for buyers to pay for this service.

There are other amendments which are not as crucial economically, but certainly add transparency to the process of buying an apartment in Israel. Companies would have to inform buyers of every change they intend to make in the original construction plan, for instance, if they want to add apartments. They also must inform buyers of changes in nearby lots, so that, if, for instance, their magical view of the Mediterranean would now be blocked by a 48-story tower, buyers would have the opportunity to get out of the deal and look elsewhere.

Contractors may no longer be permitted to sell apartments on land that is yet to be re-zoned for construction. If a plan for a new housing construction exists but the permit for building has yet to be issued, firms may sell units to buyers, but only with the proviso that the project is not yet legally authorized, providing the date for the expected authorization, and that buyers can get their money back in its entirety should the permit not be issued.

Also, any significant change in a purchased apartment’s layout, including in common areas such as storage spaces and lobbies, would be considered legally as failure to fulfill the contractor’s commitment and buyers may recoup their investment.

JNi.Media

Reports Show 1 Million Gap Between Estimates on Number of ‘Palestinians’

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s Subcommittee on Civil Affairs and Security in Judea and Samaria on Tuesday took a stab at figuring out just how many Arabs live in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, where in the latter two no one has taken a scientific census in ages, and the numbers appear to be skewed according to the political leanings of the different sources.

Lies, Damned Lies, and PA Census Data

The CIA World Factbook, updated July 2015, estimates there are 2,785,366 “Palestinians” living in those three areas, a.k.a. the “West Bank.” The Knesset subcommittee’s discussion suggested this figure is more than a little inflated.

Subcommittee Chairman MK Mordhay Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi) opened the debate saying “this is our second discussion of this issue, and we’d like to focus on data regarding Area C which is our responsibility. When I served as Ephraim Brigade Commander, over a period of one year, we executed an accurate count of all the residents in the sector, including Tulkarm and Qalqilya. The State of Israel possesses the needed means to find out, and the State of Israel must find out what is the number of residents for whom it is responsible, and about whom it would have to reach future decisions.”

Head of the Operations Directorate of the Civil Administration Lt. Col. Eyal Zeevi began his part by stressing that the civil administration does not engage in demographic studies, and that the responsibility for that in all of Judea and Samaria belongs to the Palestinian Authority, according to the 1995 interim agreement between Israel and the PA. In that context Zeevi explained that the PA demographic data does not offer specific Area C-related figures. However, Avi Gur-Ari, Population Administration officer in the Civil Administration clarified that he does maintain reliable testing of the data received from the PA.

This came as a surprise to the chairman, who requested that the entire PA census, including the data for Area C, be given to his subcommittee, noting that since the data includes the names of individual communities it should be feasible to discern those communities that are included in Area C.

Zeevi said it wasn’t as simple as that, because some of the Arab villages are split between Area C and neighboring, PA-governed Areas A and B. Other villages border the Jerusalem municipality. “With all due respect for the chairman, I don’t think it can be done in the suggested schedule. To do this professionally would require time and resources, which the political echelon has not yet decided to allocate.”

Once in the Roll, Always on the Roll

Zeevi shared some of the most common problems with the Palestinian Authority census: for one thing, a resident who leaves the PA remains listed as a resident; and these residents are able to visit, register their children and return abroad. Zeevi estimates that as many as 15,000 residents are added to the PA census this way annually.

“The immigration data presented today is partial and pertains only to the Allenby bridge border crossing into Jordan,” Zeevi added, estimating that “over the past 15 years more than 175 thousand have left through the crossing and never returned.”

According to Zeevi, the registered Arab population who carry Palestinian ID cards in Judea and Samaria, not including eastern Jerusalem, is 2.63 million. He believes that with the current growth rate coefficient in 2020 there will be 3.28 million and by 2030 there will be more than 4 million Arabs in all of Judea and Samaria.

According to Avi Lekach from the Population and Immigration Authority, in eastern Jerusalem there are at least 300 thousand Arab residents. David Koren, a consultant to the Jerusalem Mayor, noted that while there are 316 thousand registered Arab residents in Jerusalem, there may be as many as 60 thousand Arabs from the PA who are seeking residency in Jerusalem as part of family reunions.

Italian-born Israeli demographer and statistician Prof. Sergio Della Pergola told the subcommittee that he believes there are some 2.4 Arab residents in Judea and Samaria today, and that the Jewish majority in all of Eretz Israel is only about 52% — which includes people who identify as Jewish but halakhically are not. In his opinion, the halakhically Jewish majority is long gone.

But former Ambassador Yoram Ettinger cited his own research which found that the birthrate balance has switched and that today’s Jewish birthrate is higher than the Arab. Ettinger also said that his research showed that by the end of 2015 there were only 1.75 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria.

Analyzing PA Eligible Voter Data Implies Even Lower Numbers

Back in 2013, Middle East analyst Dr. Guy Bechor cited the number of eligible PA voters in the 2012 local elections — 515 thousand — setting it as the number of adults 18 and older. If we add to it an identical number of people ages 0-18, we’ll get a little more than one million. Add the maximum figure of eastern Jerusalem Arabs and you’ll get a generous estimate of only 1.4 million Arabs. The number of Jews, incidentally, is comprised of 385 thousand in Judea and Samaria and 300 thousand in eastern Jerusalem, or close to 700 thousand in total.

MK Hilik Bar (Zionist Camp-Labor) said it was shameful that Israel does not know how many Arabs actually live in Area C. “We know how many Syrian tanks there are, but not how many civilians are living under our care,” he said, suggesting that whether Area C becomes part of Israel or is handed over to the PA, “we should know how many potential Arab citizens we’ll have in the state.”

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/reports-show-1-million-gap-between-estimates-on-number-of-palestinians/2016/06/08/

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