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July 28, 2016 / 22 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘PA’

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

France Continues Funding PA General Budget, thereby Paying Salaries to Terrorists

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

{Originally posted to the PMW website}

Following Palestinian Media Watch‘s exposure that the Palestinian Authority general budget funds the PA hate and terror promotion and rewards terrorist prisoners with high salaries, the US, the EU, Norway, and other European donors all stopped giving money to the PA general budget so that their money would not go directly to pay salaries for Palestinian terrorists.

This is not true for France. The PA announced last week that France signed agreements to give the PA money for various projects and in addition: “financial aid directly to the public treasury in the amount of 8 million euro.”

The PA general budget that France is contributing to pays monthly salaries to terrorists like Hamas bomb maker Abdallah Barghouti, whose bombs murdered 67 people, and Abbas Al-Sayid, who planned two suicide bombings in which 35 were killed, as well as all other Palestinians imprisoned for terror crimes.

The French government should note that the PA pays more than $12 million a month in salaries to terrorist prisoners. [Official PA TV, June 11, 2014] Accordingly, France’s 8 million euro ($8.9 million) will cover approximately three weeks of terrorists’ salaries.

The PA salary payments to terrorists have been documented extensively by PMW since 2011, most recently in the report The PA’s Billion Dollar Fraud, which documents that despite having promised international donors that it had ceased rewarding terrorists with salaries, the PA still continues this practice.

Recently, Mahmoud Abbas has indirectly confirmed PMW’s charge. When the Norwegian Foreign Minister complained to Abbas about the PA paying terrorists’ salaries, Abbas did not deny it but said it is not with Norwegian money: “In the meeting, I emphasized that this support program in which financial payments are increased the [longer] the prisoners serve time [in prison], is unacceptable… Abbas responded by repeating assurances that Norwegian funds are not going to finance the program.” [Dagen (Norway), May 4, 2016]

This is not true for France, which funds the PA budget directly.

The following is the article in the PA daily about French funding of the PA’s general budget:

“[PA] Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah briefed the government members during the weekly meeting held today [May 25, 2016] in Ramallah, regarding results of the meeting he held in his office yesterday with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls… The [PA] prime minister expressed his gratitude to the French government for the ongoing support that it gives to the Palestinian people, whether directly or through the European Union. Likewise, he praised the three agreements that were signed during the visit. They are the agreement to fund the administration of a wastewater project in Hebron in the amount of 13 million euro, the agreement to carry out research and for the French Agency to give technical aid for future development of Palestine in the amount of 500,000 euro, and the agreement to give financial aid directly to the public treasury in the amount of 8 million euro.”
[Donia Al-Watan (independent Palestinian news agency), May 25, 2016]

Fatah spokesman Ahmad Assaf:
“The Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs [Today the PLO Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs, that receives the same budget from the PA, Ed.] established in the Palestinian National Authority has the third highest monthly budget in the PA, meaning it is the third largest PA government ministry. That is, over 40 million shekels [i.e., 12 million dollars] a month, which the Palestinian Authority pays the prisoners, the released prisoners and their families.”
[Official PA TV, June 11, 2014]
Palestinian Media Watch

In New US – PA Talks on Recovering Debt Ridden Economy, Fingers Point at Israel

Saturday, May 21st, 2016

Palestinian Authority Economy Minister Abeer Odeh and US Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin will meet Sunday in Ramallah for talks on developing the PA’s economy. At this point, the PA simply cannot pay its bills and is facing serious problems paying its government employees, from teachers to security forces. According to Trading Economics, in 2014 the PA recorded a Government Debt to GDP rate of 17.30% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Government Debt to GDP in the PA has averaged 18.92% from 1995 until 2014, reaching an all time high of 26.36% in 2007 and a record low of 2.93% in 1995.

The economies of the PA and Gaza strongly depend on their relationship with Israel, so that when the Israelis feel safe to permit documented (and many undocumented) Arab workers into their country, the Arab economy improves. And when there’s a war or an intifada, the Arabs go without.

The Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA) most recent report, from 2014, shows high and rising levels of unemployment, which continued to be one of the main challenges to the economy. In 2014, it rose to 26.9%, compared to 23.4% in 2013. A main contributor was an exceptionally expanding rate in Gaza Strip, where unemployment reached 43.9%, compared to 32.6 percent in 2013, while the same rate declined in the PA from 18.6% to 17.7% during the same period. This rise in unemployment did not stop nominal daily wages from rising across different regions. Yet contradictory inflation trends have created discrepancies in real wage growth, as while real average daily wage for workers in the PA, and Israel and the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria improved by 0.9% and 5.6% respectively, real wages in Gaza declined by 1.5% during 2014.

The PA Arabs’ dependence of Israel was made all too clear this past winter, when The Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) announced the PA and individual Arab municipalities have racked up a debt of close to half a billion dollars which the company could no longer absorb. The debt was split about $400 million to $80 million between the PA and the cities respectively.

In April, the IEC reached a temporary agreement with the PA to put an end to the temporary power cuts it had been imposing on a succession of municipalities, in exchange for paying off a small portion of the overall debt. Meanwhile, the Arab-run Jerusalem District Electricity Company, which owes the IEC $371 million out of the debt, sued the IEC in Israel’s High Court last April, saying the IEC’s behavior constituted “collective and disproportionate punishment” and showed “blatant and harmful disregard for a public that pays its electricity bills regularly.” It also suggested the IEC’s power cuts compromised basic consumer rights to access an essential resource.

“I don’t know of any company that would agree to do nothing about a 1.74 billion shekel ($450 million) debt owed by another company,” IEC chairman Yiftah Ron Tal said at the time. “We weren’t left with any choice. We’re limiting electricity in a proportionate way.”

But the High Court of Justice paid no attention to the complaints of the Israeli CEO, and issued an interim injunction on prohibiting service cuts to the eastern Jerusalem Arab power company.

IEC responded to the ruling with an angry statement: “The Israel Electric Corporation respects the High Court ruling but demands the issue over the growing debts of JDECO which reach 1.4 billion shekel ($360 million) be resolved quickly. JDECO debts continue to grow to an astronomic figure; like any other business, it is the legitimate right and the responsibility of IEC to take the necessary measures to resolve a problematic debt which has been a burden for all Israeli electricity consumers.”

Israel’s ambivalence about collecting the debt from the Arabs in both Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem and Gaza has produced a reluctant and ineffective method of getting the money from the taxes and VAT Israel collects on Arab wages and products. As a result, Israel was rebuked this month by the World Bank for ruining the PA economy by, essentially, withholding money Israel is rightfully due.

The new World Bank report estimates that the Palestinian Authority is losing $285 million in revenues annually under the current economic arrangements with the Government of Israel. The report states that these revenues could significantly ease the Authority’s fiscal stress. As was to be expected, there is no mention in the condemning report of the half billion dollars in free power Israel has poured into the PA.

“If revenue losses are mitigated, this can reduce the 2016 fiscal deficit to below $1 billion, and narrow the expected financing gap by more than 50 percent,” Steen Lau Jorgensen, World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza said in a press statement.

In other words, if only Israel agreed to take the half billion dollars from Israeli power consumers and let the PA Arabs continue to receive free electricity, an Arab economic miracle would be just a matter of time.

The report also cites irregularities on Israel’s part in conducting revenues clearance, which have not been systematically implemented. The revenue sharing arrangements, outlined by the 1994 Paris Protocol, through which the Government of Israel collects VAT, import taxes and other revenues on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, and shares them on a monthly basis, have not been systematically implemented.

The majority of the estimated fiscal loss results from tax leakages on bilateral trade with Israel, and undervaluation of PA imports from third countries. In other words, the Israelis have been running a messy tax and payment system, as well as a messy debt collection system.

JNi.Media

France Plans Peace Conference But the US, Israel, and the PA Are reluctant to Join

Friday, May 13th, 2016

The US does not plan to support a renewed French plan to push on the Israeli-Arab peace negotiations in a conference of close to 20 foreign ministers in Paris on May 30. According to Israeli pundits, Washington is not eager to let France lead the peace process, despite the fact that the Obama Administration has officially given up on reviving it by the end of its term.

Stae Dept. spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau said on Wednesday that the US remains “concerned about the continued violence on the ground and we welcome all ideas on moving this forward,” but “on this specific conference, on the May 30 event, no decision’s been made on participation. … We still remain in consultation with the French and other international partners on it.”

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls plans to visit Israel and the PA ahead of the May 30 conference, but so far neither side has expressed enthusiasm.

David Israel

Kibbutzniks Rescue Parrots from PA Thieves

Monday, April 25th, 2016

The staff at the Fun Jungle children’s zoo at Kibbutz Beit Zera in the Jordan Valley were stunned to discover when they came to work this week that 31 rare and valuable parrots had been stolen from their cages, Israel Hayom reported. In addition, the safe in the zoo office had been broken into and all the money and valuables stolen. Eventually, the parrots were located in the PA and a complex operation was organized to retrieve them.

“We were in shock,” Shaul Stein, a kibbutz member and the owner of the zoo, told Israel Hayom. “The burglars did a professional job but they packed the parrots cruelly into tiny cages and left behind signs of a struggle, feathers and blood. I filed a complaint with the police, which launched an investigation, but I knew that I had to act fast because my parrots were in mortal danger.”

Shaul Stein with a friend

Shaul Stein with a friend

When Stein was a boy, he was dedicated to the kibbutz’s small petting zoo, which later turned into a small, commercial zoo, with the parrots as a central featured attraction.

“They’re large parrots: Australian cockatoo, and Macaws from South America, to name two out of a large group of rare and valuable parrots,” Stein explained.

Stein’s other occupation is as the Kibbutz security coordinator, and in both his capacities he is connected with security forces, police, and bird merchants. Many of his acquaintances in the two fields volunteered to help locate and retrieve the parrots. “We were sure they were taken to the PA territories,” said Stein, “and locating them was not a small feat.”

It took 18 hours to retrieve 22 out of the 31 stolen parrots. The rest have perished in the hands of the thieves. The returning parrots are being looked after by a veterinarian, and are being surrounded with warmth and love by Stein, his staff, and the kibbutz children, “Just in time for Chol Ha’Mo’ed and the thousands of visitors we’re expecting,” Stein said.

JNi.Media

Ambassador Danny Danon Asks PA Ambassador to Condemn Terror

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

At a special UN session, Israeli Ambassador to the UN asked the PA ambassador to condemn terror attacks – which of course the PA ambassador could not and would not do.

Video of the Day

Rightwing Activists Torch PA Flag Outside Ya’alon’s Office [video]

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

Rightwing activists Michael Ben-Ari and Baruch Marzel (Jewish Power), and Bentzi Gopstein (Lehava) on Thursday set a PA flag on fire outside the Rabin Gate of the IDF command camp in midtown Tel-Aviv, near Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s office.

The torching was done in retaliation for the disciplinary punishments imposed on two Kfir brigade soldiers who confiscated and torched a PA flag at a check post near Sh’chem.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rightwing-activists-torch-pa-flag-outside-yaalons-office-video/2016/04/14/

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