The Palestinian Authority is planning to build a $13 million “Presidential Guest Palace in Ramallah with “self-financing” although the project committee states that one of its missions is make sure money flows into its coffer from foreign countries.
The European Union and the United States are two of the biggest philanthropists for the Palestinian Authority, which has pocketed billions of dollars.
PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas uses the money to pay for a bloated civil service and police force, which numbers far beyond the limit set in the once-upon-a-time Oslo Accords. The PA budget also pays terrorists who land up in Israeli jails for killing or trying to kill Jews.
The Palestinian Authority uses EU funding to pay Arabs to move the remote outposts in Judea and Samaria where they build props of tents and buildings to claim they have been living there for centuries.
It is not clear exactly where the U.S. aid goes. For example, the U.S. State Dept. has refused to comment on whether its aid will be used to guarantee the $10 million bond, along with another million bucks a month, that the Palestinian Authority must post during its appeal against a mammoth lawsuit victory by victims of terror and by their relatives.
Now comes the new palace, which is to be built in two years. The website of PECDAR, the acronym for the Palestinian Council for Development and Reconstruction, states:
The goal of this project is to establish the Presidential Guest Palace in Surda, Ramallah within an area of 4,700 square meters [1.16 acres] along with a building for the Presidential Administration and Guards with an area of 4,000 square meters.
The construction process includes also preparing the surrounding area and two helipads, the project will be constructed over a land area of 27,000 square meters [6.67 acres].
Then comes the kicker:
Source of Funding: Self Financing- Ministry of Finance
The Palestinian Authority is begging every month or so for donors to help it pay salaries, but the $13 million for the Presidential Place and Guest House is self-financed?
PECDAR might have a new definition for the term “self-financing.” Its mission, according to its site, includes:
Coordinating the flow of international assistance for the benefit of the Palestinian people.
Identifying investment projects and other activities to be financed by the donor countries.
The Palestinian Authority is trying to pull a fast one on the Vatican by sponsoring a motion in the United Nations to allow the flags of two non-member states, itself and the Vatican, to wave at the headquarters in New York.
The Vatican is anxious for its flag to be flown in honor of Pope Francis’ visit that is scheduled for next month. Although it is one of the leaders of the fan club to see the Palestinian Authority become another Arab state, it is less than thrilled at Mahmoud Abbas’ latest trick.
It asked the PA’s mission at the United Nations to drop the idea of linking the Palestinian Authority with the Vatican on the draft resolution for allowing the flags to be raised.
The Palestinian Authority resolution refers to flags of non-member observer states, specifically the Palestinian Authority and the Vatican, and states:
[They] shall be raised at the United Nations Headquarters and Offices following the flags of the member states of the United Nations.
Reuters reported that the Vatican mission at the United Nations circulated a note to some member countries stating:
The Holy See asks the Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations kindly to remove in its draft resolution any reference to the ‘Holy See’ and any generic reference ‘on behalf of the Observer States.’
If the Palestinian Authority backs down, it still could table a separate resolution that its flag fly at the United Nation, since allowing the Vatican flag to be raised would set a precedent.
The Palestinian Authority has been building symbols for statehood for years. In the Intifada in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Israeli soldiers spent much of their time chasing after Arabs who tried to raise the Palestinian Authority flag on roads.
Eventually, the IDF lost the battle, and even Hamas flags and a few ISIS flags fly everywhere today, not only in Judea and Samaria but even in some Arab cities in Israel and sometimes on the Temple Mount.
If the Palestinian Authority flag ends up flying at the United Nations, don’t get too excited.
Every time the Palestinian Authority wins another symbol for statehood, it puffs its chest even more, but in reality, Abbas has done everything to defer statehood by increasing his demands beyond the limits all but the most far-left radicals in Israel would accept.
The U.S. State Dept. clammed up Monday when asked bothersome questions concerning a federal court decision Monday to drastically lower the bond the Palestinian Authority has to put up in a $665 million lawsuit against the Ramallah-based regime.
Spokesman John Kirby also refused to say whether the judge had lowered the bond enough to satisfy the United States, which intervened in the case by arguing that a higher bond could bankrupt the Palestinian Authority and might damage the non-existent “peace process.”
The judge in a New York terrorism case that ended in a victory for the plaintiffs…imposed a $10 million bond on the defendants, the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. The defendants must also make $1 million monthly payments during the duration of any appeals of the $655 million award to the plaintiffs at the end of the jury trial back in February…
Attorneys for the plaintiffs, which included the Israeli law firm Shurat HaDin, had requested a $30 million monthly bond be paid into an account until the case is resolved.
State Dept. spokesman John Kirby, who is supposed to provide information while making every effort to avoid embarrassing the government, made the Obama administration look a bit stupid Monday by turning on the tape recorder to repeat “no comment” over and over instead of directly answering questions.
Associated Press journalist Matt Lee asked:
Is that [$10 million bond]– in the Administration’s view, is that too much to be asking? Does this place an undue – does the Administration believe it places an undue burden on the Palestinians?
Kirby reiterated the facts of the U.S. intervention and concluded:
And I’m not going to be able to comment further.
Lee then asked:
Well, is the United States concerned at all that some or any of this money will be actual money that you might have provided to the Palestinians in the past?
Guess what Kirby answered?
I’m just not going to be able to comment further, Matt.
And when Lee asked why not answer, Kirby reiterated:
I’m not going to be able to comment further on this particular case.
Well, maybe Kirby could comment on Lee; question if “the judge in making his determination today, took your statement of interest on board, or is this onerous to the Palestinians or unhelpful to U.S. foreign policy?”
And Kirby turned on the tape recorder again to say:
I mean, I understand the question, Matt. I’m just not going to be able to comment further today.
Al Quds reporter Sayeed Erekat chimed in to ask:
You being their largest contributor, giving the Palestinians close to $500 million a year, will you guarantee those, like a loan guarantee for $10 million and 1 million more a month?
And Kirby answered, of course:
I don’t have anything further to add on this today.
The no-answer session begins at 48:32 in the video below.
Israel security forces have arrested an Islamic Jihad in Samaria terror cell for plotting to plant bombs and shoot at Israeli civilians at Joseph Tomb (Kever Yosef).
The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and the IDF arrested the cell earlier this week and lifted a gag order on the operation Tuesday afternoon.
The cell received directives from Rafat Mohamed Darwish, an Islamic Jihad terrorist operating in Gaza and who is responsible for connecting the terrorist organization with operatives in Judaea and Samaria Region.
Darwish was in charge of arming the cell in order to execute the attack.
Members of the cell arrested are:
Nisim Mohammed Ramdan Rashid Damiri, 30, is of Tulkarm, located east of Netanya. Damiri has been previously arrested on multiple occasions and associated with the Tanzim terrorist group;
Mohammed Mufak Rafik Damiri, 23, also from Tulkarm (’92) and who served as a Palestinian policeman;
Yasir Gaudet Abed Zaruri, 35, a former Hamas terrorist from Shechem and who previously has been arrested; and
Aduen Padel Hassan Nazel, 24, from the village of Qabatiya, south of Jenin in northern Samaria. .
The investigation revealed that each member of the cell held a specific position, such as acquiring weapons, gathering intelligence and executing the attack.
The residents of Nablus and Qabatiya were in charge acquiring the weapons, training and logistics, while the residents of Tulkarm were responsible for executing the attack. Nisim Damiri was planning to execute the attack, and Mohammed Damiri gathered intelligence information regarding the worshipers’ activities in Joseph’s Tomb.
Zaruri admitted to agreeing to teach Nisim Damiri how to prepare an improvised explosive device (IED).
Nazel revealed he was contacted by Darwish from Gaza, who asked him to supply the cell with weapons for the attack.
The case has been transferred to the Military Court in the in the Samaria Region in order to indict the four terrorists.
IDF spokesmen added:
The investigation revealed the clear and continued intent of operatives in the Gaza Strip to recruit terrorists as well as direct and lead terror activities in the Judea and Samaria Region.
Israeli security officials cleared for publication Monday evening that they have arrested a Palestinian Authority terrorist cell that was behind several firebombing and rock-throwing attacks on Judea and Samaria.
The terrorists are from a village near Shechem, where the Palestinian Authority is committed to maintain security and tear down the terrorist infrastructure.
The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), police and the IDF participated in the investigation and arrest of the suspects.
The terrorists confessed to attacking Israeli cars with firebombs on Highway 60, the highway that connects Hebron, Jerusalem and northern Samurai communities.
The Palestinian Authority chairman insisted this week that he will visit Iran, which he referred to as a “sister and neighbor state” in comments made to Polish journalists
He declared his intentions the same day of his reported resignation from the PLO Executive Committee, an announcement that has been denounced as false and reiterated as true a dozen times.
Iran has not been particularly in love with Abbas because he removed, at least for English media, the adjective “armed” from noun “resistance,” the Arab code word for terror.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, when he was president of Iran in 2012, invited Abbas to visit but was rejected.
Since then, a lot has happened. Iran and Hamas have had an off-an-on relationship reflecting Middle East instability, particularly in Syria where Iranian Revolutionary Guards are trying to keep Basher al-Assad’s regime from falling.
Abbas, a modern Jules Verne who has circled the world several times since taking over the Palestinian Authority after Yasser Arafat’s death, has built up universal diplomatic for the Arab dream of annihilating Israel, if not by force then by simply shrinking its borders and setting off the demographic weapon called “refugees” to finish off of what would be left of the country.
Now that Iran is holding on to its uranium cake and eating it at the same time, Abbas sees political opportunity. Bringing in Iran under his international umbrella would go down well with the folks in Ramallah while showing up Hamas.
Whether or not the Iranian regime really will welcome him is a question.
Abbas sent envoys to Tehran two weeks ago to discuss “the Palestinian situation” with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Ahmad Majdalani, a member of the PLO’s executive committee, told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency:
Our relationship with Iran is an urgent necessity concerning international and regional developments.
The “developments” are nothing more and nothing less than the deal with Iran, which virtually every world leader with the exception of President Barack Obama acknowledges, implicitly or tacitly, as an exponential increase in Iran’s prestige and influence.
Abbas is not likely to get much out of any revival of relations with the paranoid Iranian regime except for more headlines, but that is the oxygen that has kept him alive politically.