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August 26, 2016 / 22 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Palestine Liberation Organization’

Catch 22: Letting Hamas Partake in PA Free Elections Could Topple the PA

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

According to Israeli security apparatus estimates, there’s a significant chance that Hamas will win the municipal elections in Judea and Samaria and in Gaza by a landslide, severely weakening the PLO dominated Palestinian Authority and compromising Israeli security. The municipal elections are set to take place on October 8, in close proximity to the international peace conference in Europe, which means Israel is less likely to step in to block the vote, even if it wanted to. Also, doing so would thwart the only back to back democratic event to have ever existed in the territories Israel conceded in the Oslo Accord — that the 2012 municipal elections be followed in an orderly and legal fashion by the 2016 municipal elections.

However, according to Israeli media, many in the PLO leadership are leaning on PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to postpone or cancel the municipal elections, fearing a repeat of the 2006 parliamentary elections in which Hamas defeated the PLO and a year later forcibly exiled Abbas and his PA from Gaza.

It should be noted that the Oslo Accords forbid the participation of terror organizations in PA elections, but Hamas has already set a precedence in 2006, and today’s PA is even weaker and less popular than it was ten years ago. Abbas may not be able to push the date, much less cancel the vote, because such a move could result in riots across the PA.

The city of Shechem is a clear example of the PA Chairman’s loss of control over the security situation in much of the area under his authority. According to Israeli media, the PA no longer rules in Shechem, which is mired in anarchy that could spread to other cities, most likely to Hebron, already considered a bastion of Hamas. Shechem today is being ruled by about 100 armed gangsters, belonging to both political and criminal groups. This month there have been bloody confrontations between PA security forces and the armed locals, resulting in four dead, two of them police.

Senior PLO sources have told Israeli media that Mahmoud Abbas has lost interest in local security issues under his care, and the man in charge is his chief aide, Tayeb Abdel-Rahim, who also controls the intelligence reports reaching Abbas’ desk.

Hamas has recently published a propaganda video showing the Gaza Strip as a kind of Paradise, with large parks, luxury buildings, a sassy nightlife, and shopping areas. It also features Gaza residents holding up signs saying, “Thank you, Hamas.” Will PA voters fall for this propaganda? Probably not. They will not vote for Hamas because they are unaware of the poverty and destruction that permeate the Gaza Strip, they’ll vote for Hamas because they perceive it as more anti-Israel and less corrupt than the PLO.

Israeli pundits believe the big winners from a Hamas win in the PA would be Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) and Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi), who would benefit from the decisions of alarmed Israeli voters. Which is why Prime Minister Netanyahu should be invested in making it harder for Hamas candidates to win in the PA. Mass arrests of Hamas activists could be the way to go — risking international condemnation, naturally, but too much might be at stake for the Israeli PM to care.

JNi.Media

PA Senior: Israel Refusing Meeting Ahead of Possible Cairo Summit

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

A senior official at the Palestinian Authority told Israel Radio Sunday that Israel has refused an offer for a preparatory meeting with the PA side ahead of a possible summit meeting in Cairo between Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

According to the official, the Cairo meeting is intended to prepare for the international peace conference which is being planned in Paris by the end of the year, possibly with representatives from both France and the US. Apparently, various sources have advised Netanyahu to send an envoy to meet with a PA representative to prepare the Cairo meeting, but Netanyahu refused.

“Netanyahu does not want negotiations for a permanent settlement, and as long as he is at the helm there will not be a Palestinian State,” the PA senior said.

The same official also told Israel Radio that the PA does not demand that Israel freeze settlement construction as a prerequisite to the Paris conference, but rather the freeze should coincide with the start of negotiations. He threatened that “should Netanyahu not arrive at the Paris conference, we expect France and the other participating states to recognize the Palestinian State, open Palestinian embassies in their own capitals and boycott the settlements.”

Regarding Defense Minister Liberman’s plan to bypass Abbas in developing communication channels with key people in the PA society, the senior official said Liberman has yet to learn the lesson of the Village Associations that were set up by the late Ariel Sharon as a bulwark against the PLO in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, which eventually became the Hamas movement.

“[Liberman] is treating the Palestinians as if they were animals: if they follow the rules they’ll get food, if not — a kick in the behind. The Village Associations failed then and will fail today. No one will work with Liberman, people here are not traitors,” the official said, adding, “Israel can’t run the same experiment, change nothing and expect different results.”

JNi.Media

Liberman Plans to Bypass Chairman Abbas, Forge Direct Relationships with PA Arabs

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told military correspondents in his Kirya office in Tel Aviv on Wednesday that he intends to seek out Arab leaders living in the Palestinian Authority and bypass the PLO-run authority government. He wants a personal dialogue with academics, business people and intellectuals. In fact, according to Liberman, his staff has already put together a list of these people whom he now intends to pursue.

There’s also going to be a new website in Arabic, reporting the news of the day from the Defense Ministry’s perspective. It will cost about $2.5 million.

“I want to connect with them directly, not through the [PA headquarters in Ramallah] Muqata,” Liberman reiterated, saying he expects the new website to hit the Internet by the end of January. He admits it’s an ambitious and challenging project, but he’s going for it nonetheless, budgets, regulatory standards and all.

According to Liberman, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has been an obstacle to a working solution for the area. Indeed, he asked, “if there are intellectuals, academics, those who stand out on the municipal level — why should they talk to us through Abbas?” Also, if “[Abbas] is talking directly to the Israeli society, why can’t we speak directly to the Palestinian society?”

When asked why, then, if he is seeking out PA Arabs for a dialogue, did he bar the entry into Israel of Muhammad al-Madani, chairman of the Committee for Interaction with Israeli Society, Liberman said al-Madani, a senior PLO official, was not coming to have a dialogue and seek co-existence, but the opposite.

Liberman also told the military correspondents about a rift between himself and the Attorney General Avihay Mandelblitt, who objects to the Defense Minister’s policy of holding on to the bodies of terrorists killed while carrying out attacks against Israelis and has gone so far as to state that he would refuse to defend the new policy before the Supreme Court. Liberman said that’s fine, if need be he would defend the policy before the court. Liberman said he asked Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss the issue in the cabinet, because “it looks a little grotesque that the two ministries (Internal Security and Defense) maintain contradictory policies on this matter.”

The Justice Ministry also objects to Liberman’s new policy on terrorist bodies, because it contradicts fundamental Supreme Court rulings. They do support conditioning the release on the families’ committing to small funerals that won’t erupt into riots.

JNi.Media

San Francisco Bus Ad Defends BDS

Monday, August 15th, 2016

The Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign (SeaMAC) has launched a new ad on buses in San Francisco with the slogan “Boycott Israel Until Palestinians Have Equal Rights.” The ad is not clear as to which Palestinians are bereft of those equal rights: are they the ones being repressed by Hamas that steals their charity funds, diverting them to luxury homes for Hamas bigwigs and to terror tunnels aimed at kidnapping and murdering Israeli civilians? Are they the ones struggling to make it under an incompetent, corrupt PLO-run Palestinian Authority, that hasn’t run a national election in almost ten years? Or are they Israeli Arabs, with a representation in the Knesset that matches their 20% of the population, democratic freedoms and access to higher education? Or is it too much to ask a bus ad for specifics?

The ambiguous bus ad will run for four weeks, according to a SeaMAC press release. The ad includes the slogan “Stop Anti-Boycott Legislation” and features a list of historic boycotts, including the Boston Tea Party, segregated buses in Montgomery in 1956, and South Africa’s apartheid regime.

“Advocates for Israel’s apartheid are trying to persuade state and national legislatures to outlaw the right to boycott against social injustice in Israel,” said Edward Mast, volunteer board member of SeaMAC. Of course, Israel does not have an apartheid system — the Arab member of the Supreme Court would never approve of it, nor would the thousands of Arab students in Israel’s universities, thousands of Arab doctors and lawyers, and Israeli Arabs from all walks of life who participate in a free Israeli society. It’s not a problem-free society, but compared to the neighborhood it is pretty impressive.

Mast, however, sees attempts to seek legal means of stopping his campaign of lies as an “attack on free speech … one more example of demanding special treatment for the State of Israel.”

SeaMAC ran the slogan “Boycott Israel Until Palestinians Have Equal Rights” on buses in Washington, D.C. and three other cities in 2015, but the same ad was taken off a billboard in Chicago. in early 2016. SeaMAC has also been blocked from running anti-Israel bus ads in Seattle, Washington.

David Israel

Ahmad Tibi, Yisrael Beiteinu, Cooperating to Protect Arab Workers from Unjust Taxation

Monday, August 15th, 2016

Joint Arab List MK Ahmad Tibi, political advisor to Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat from 1993 to 1999, and PLO representative at the 1998 Wye River negotiations, is not a politician one easily imagines in cahoots with MK and former Navy officer Oded Forer (Yisrael Beiteinu). But last week, at a meeting of the Knesset Finance Committee, the two legislators supported each other’s arguments, even though those arguments were diametrically opposed.

At the meeting, the Finance Ministry requested the Knesset’s approval for a rule that was described as aimed at strengthening economic cooperation with the Palestinian Authority regarding the employment of PA Arab workers. As reporter Zeev Kam of Makor Rishon put it, the rule sounds innocent enough. But, of course, the devil is always in the details.

There are three categories of PA Arab employees: those who work in the PA, those in the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, and those who work inside “greenline” Israel. Workers in the latter two categories earn on average three times what their brethren working inside the PA do. This has to do with the fact that Israelis in and out of the greenline just pay more reasonable salaries, but also with the fact that Israel endows these workers with certain tax benefits.

And those tax benefits are what the Israeli Finance Ministry is after, seeking to match the tax rates of PA Arabs working inside and outside the PA. The estimate is that by cutting the tax benefits, the PA stands to earn about $45 million a year — taken from the PA Arabs who are lucky enough to qualify for work for Israeli employers.

Why would Israel be so invested in taking money away from the only PA Arabs who still have something good to say about it, and give it to the PLO, who will spend this money dragging Israel through the mud in international forums? The two representatives of the Finance Ministry at the Knesset Finance Committee explained that the World Bank has recommended the move to impose the same tax rate on all PA Arab workers, regardless of where they work.

Mind you, it took the MKs some time to decipher the financial mumbo jumbo heaped on them by the two civil servants, but in the end, both Tibi and Forer were equally outraged, each for his own reason, and both supporting each other in the strangest example of political bedfellowship.

MK Tibi was annoyed that instead of forcing Israel to pay up the PA tax money it has frozen for a variety of reasons (the PA’s awarding stipends to terrorists’ families, the PA owing the electric company half a billion dollars), the Finance Ministry would simply charge the most vulnerable workers. He was also upset at the fact that when seeking to equate the pay of PA Arabs making $400 a month and those making $1,300 a month, the financiers decided to cut everybody down closer to $400.

Tibi, an obstetrician, suggested bitterly that since there are hospitals in the PA that provide inadequate treatment, “using the same principle a Palestinian patient being treated in an Israeli hospital, instead of receiving two infusion bags should receive only one, to make it even.”

MK Forer said he was at his wits’ end trying to understand the Israeli concern for the welfare of the Palestinian Authority. “There are about 70 thousand Palestinian workers with permits in Israel,” he said. “Out of those only one was involved in a terror attack. Which points to the fact that these people really come here to earn their bread. And you now wish to take more taxes from them, not to fund positive activities, but so the money would go to the Palestinian Authority. And what does the PA do with these monies? Pay those who are in prison for security violations.”

“Finally,” Forer said, “taking the example of a plant in [the Samaria Jewish community of] Barkan, a Palestinian who would sell the Israeli merchandize produced in Barkan would suffer severe punishment according to Palestinian law, imprisonment and fines.” In other words, Israel sets out to cut the income of a PA Arab who supports Israeli products, and give the money to the PA which boycotts the same products.

According to Kam’s report, the attempt on the part of the Finance Ministry to sabotage Israeli relations with PA Arabs to support a hostile PA died in committee.

JNi.Media

10 Years after Takeover Hamas Promises New Elections

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

January 25, 2006 was the last time Gazans voted for their ruling government, and the Hamas movement won it, with Ismail Haniyeh nominated for Prime Minister. Hamas then established a national unity government with the PLO, which collapsed shortly thereafter when Hamas violently removed the PLO from the Strip. Things remained the same for a decade, through three violent confrontations with Israel, until, last week, Hamas surprised everyone by declaring free municipal elections in the Gaza Strip, to coincide with the next round of municipal elections in the PA, scheduled for October 8.

Hamas says it is planning to run a national slate made up of technocrats (who just happen to all be Hamas members). Representatives of different parties in Gaza swore an oath last week, to abide by the elections rules and to respect the candidates and the deals that they make, and, most important, abide by the election results and by the decisions of the central elections committee.

The last time the Palestinian Authority held municipal elections was in 2012. Now a PA delegation has met with Haniyeh to discuss extending the municipal vote to the Gaza Strip as well.

According to Ynet, the reason Hamas may be prepared to open up the Gaza municipalities to PLO representatives is that Hamas is hoping to capitalize on its popularity in the PA, where the public has had enough of the corrupt PLO leadership. Hamas has won the student union elections in key PA universities such as Bir Zeit and the Hebron Politechnic. The Hamas leadership is convinced they have the momentum in the PA, and the municipal elections could serve as their trial balloon. Their aim, is, of course, for the PA to be forced to declare national elections, where the chances would be high that a Hamas candidate, most likely Ismail Haniyeh, would win the Chairmanship.

Voter registration opened on Saturday, including registration online. Eligible voters will have five days to join the reported 2 million voters who have already registered, constituting, according to the Palestinian Authority Central Elections Commission, 78.5% of the eligible voters in Judea and Samaria (including eastern Jerusalem) and in Gaza.

In 2006, there were 1,341,671 registered voters and 1,042,424 votes cast, according the Palestinian Authority Central Elections Commission.

In 2013, voter registration the Palestinian Authority suddenly jumped by 300,000 voters in the span of around 6 months. That massive influx of newly registered voters primarily originated from Gaza.

For comparison’s sake, in Israel’s 2015 elections, there were 5,881,696 registered Israeli voters and 4,254,738 votes case.

While back in 2006, Israel had 5,014,622 registered voters.

JNi.Media

Livni to British Police: ‘Absurd Arrest Warrants Have to Stop’

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

Zionist Union leader Tzipi Livni has come out with guns blazing following an attempt by British police to present her with an arrest warrant and summon her for questioning over suspected “war crimes” committed in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead in 2009.

“What I have to say to British police I will say in every place: Israel will continue to fight terror and the absurdity of arrest warrants has to stop,” the Israeli Knesset member tweeted in response to the incident, which took place this weekend during her attendance at a Haaretz Israel conference held in the UK.

Livni, who was serving as Israel’s foreign minister during Operation Cast Lead, has also served as a justice minister.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Palestinian Authority (PA) and pro-PA NGO groups have been waging international lawfare campaigns against Israel for more than a decade by filing criminal complaints via local the courts against senior Israeli officials and military personnel whenever they travel abroad.

The main NGOs behind the campaigns in the UK and beyond — including at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, are the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Al Haq and Al Mezan, according to the NGO Monitor. All are funded by European governments.

Last year the legal codes were revised in Britain to prevent such tactics, but this weekend’s incident highlighted loopholes in the legislation.

At least Livni did not lose her sense of humor over the matter, tweeting her take on a recent anti-Israel comment by British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn:

The summons against Livni was ultimately cancelled after intervention by the Israeli Embassy in London and action by senior officials in the ministries of foreign affairs and justice, which required granting Livni diplomatic immunity.

It has become particularly enticing for these bodies to use the European Union nations for this purpose, since the EU has been especially supportive of the PA activities.

The European Union has financially supported and even participated in illegal PA construction in Area C territories where under the internationally-recognized Oslo Accords, where Israel is supposed to have full legal, administrative and security control.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/uk-police-attempt-to-arrest-mk-tzipi-livni/2016/07/03/

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