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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘PLO’

Report: Mossad Wiretapped Abbas’ Tunis Office in 1993

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

The Mossad wiretapped the Tunis office of Mahmoud Abbas, now chairman of the Palestinian Authority, shortly before the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, Yediot Acharonot reported.

Shabtai Shavir, who headed the Mossad at the time, reportedly told officials at an emergency meting that  ”a Fatah-affiliated man within the PLO leadership”  placed  wiretapping equipment in Abbas’ office to gather information on the relationship between him and PLO boss Yasser Arafat.

The agent was known to the Mossad as “Golden Fleece.”

One month later, PLO personnel discovered the equipment and destroyed the devices.

World Bank Distorting Truth, Blaming Palestinian Failures on Israel

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

It’s that time of the year again, when the World Bank’s latest Economic Monitoring Report is being issued, and it includes a special segment on how things are in the Palestinian Authority.

The bank’s press release says that this year’s report stresses that “while the donor community’s efforts are directed towards short-term relief for Palestinian fiscal stress, it is important to recognize that the prolonged system of closures and restrictions is causing lasting damage to the competitiveness of the Palestinian economy.”

So, there’s a narrative in place, which is: Palestinians are poor, wealthy countries are sending in the funds, but Israel is limiting movement within the Palestinian Authority so badly, what with checking if their cars are carrying weapons, bombs, or suicide bombers, and what with the security wall that physically bars terrorists from sneaking into Israel – those things are ruining the Palestinian economy.

The problem with press releases of this kind is that one occasionally gets the feeling that their authors haven’t read their own text all the way through.

For instance, take a look at the following two paragraphs:

The economy is in danger of losing its capacity to compete in the global market, according to the report. It shows that the structure of the economy has deteriorated since the late 90’s as the value-added of the tradable sectors has declined, illustrated by the productivity of the agriculture sector having roughly halved and the manufacturing sector having largely stagnated.

The share of exports in the Palestinian economy has also been in steady decline since 1994, dropping to 7 percent in 2011, one of the lowest in the world. Moreover, Palestinian exports are concentrated in low value-added goods and services, the majority of which is exported to Israel.

So, starting in 1994, Palestinian poverty has been increasing steadily, until it really started revving down, so to speak, in more recent years.

And what magical event started in 1994? You guessed, the Paris Economic Protocol happened, which followed the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords, creating the Palestinian Authority and handing over the keys to the terrorist organization PLO, and its leader, the late Yassir Arafat.

Let’s consult Wikipedia for a somewhat different narrative than the one offered by the World Bank:

GDP per capita in the Palestinian territories rose by 7% per year from 1968-1980 (correlating with the “occupation”), but slowed during the 1980s. Between 1970 and 1991 life expectancy rose from 56 to 66 years, infant mortality per 1,000 fell from 95 to 42, the percentage of households with electricity rose from 30% to 85%, the percentage of households with safe water rose from 15% to 90%, the percentage of households with a refrigerator rose from 11% to 85%, and the percentage of households with a washing machine rose from 23% in 1980 to 61% in 1991.

You’re with me so far? After 19 years as a proud and free people under the loving rule of the Kingdom of Jordan, the Israeli takeover spelled a stunning prosperity for the occupation victims. But then the geniuses from Labor—Shimon Peres, Yossi Beilin, and Yitzhak Rabin—liberated the suffering Palestinian by imposing a gang of ruffians on them, complete with street executions and the exacting of protection money from every businessman and every productive person. The fruits of liberty ripened fast:

Economic conditions in the West Bank and Gaza, where economic activity was governed by the Paris Economic Protocol of April 1994 between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, deteriorated in the early 1990s. Real per capita GDP for the West Bank and Gaza Strip (WBGS) declined 36.1% between 1992 and 1996 owing to the combined effect of falling aggregate incomes and robust population growth. The downturn in economic activity was due to extensive corruption in the newly governing Palestinian Authority, and to Israeli closure policies in response to security incidents in Israel, which disrupted previously established labor and commodity market relationships.

This is years before the security wall, years before the complex system of checkposts, this is in a mere four years of Palestinian self rule.

“Continued financial support by the donor community, and increased reform efforts by the Palestinian Authority to manage the current fiscal challenges must remain a high priority,” said Mariam Sherman, World Bank Country Director for the West Bank and Gaza. “However, much bolder efforts to create the basis for a viable economy need to be made to prevent the continued deterioration that will have lasting and costly implications for economic competiveness and social cohesion.”

Not going to happen. You can’t run a competitive economy with armed thugs at the helm. For real prosperity, you must first kill all the gangsters. I say “kill” because throughout history we haven’t come up with a better, softer method of asking gangsters to leave.

Everyone’s Angry at Hamas

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

The Global Jihad movement in Gaza, linked to Al Qaida, is threatening Hamas. The Jihad group has threatened to begin launching missiles against Israel and end the Hamas-Israel cease-fire, if Hamas doesn’t stop arresting their members, according to a report on the Yoni Alper Terror Watch site.

Over the past week, Hamas has been arresting members from various competing terrorist groups in Gaza.

Fatah officials are also upset with Hamas, claiming that Hamas and Israel are negotiating indirectly via Egypt on the terms of the cease-fire and on the transport of goods into Gaza.

Despite being part of the rumored indirect negotiations, Egypt too has entered the fray against Hamas, destroying many of the smuggling tunnels into Gaza, mostly by flooding them.

Head of UN Rights Panel: Report Is ‘Weapon’ against Israel

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

The head of the UN panel that issued a one-sided report attacking Israel, has said publicly that the document could be “a kind of weapon for the Palestinians.”

French judge Christine Chanet said at a news conference that the Palestinians could use the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) report, if they wanted to, take their grievances before The Hague-based International Criminal Court.

The Palestine Liberation Organization has already announced it is planning such action and said the report, describing Israel’s settlements as “creeping annexation,” was “proof of Israel’s policy of ethnic cleansing” and its desire to undermine the possibility of a Palestinian state.

Israel has said the report is biased and UN Watch, a watchdog group based in Geneva, also denounced it saying, “The council report is categorically one-sided, casting Palestinians as the sole victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict, while denying the slightest consideration to any basic human rights for Israelis.”

The HRC report says Israel is violating international humanitarian law under the Fourth Geneva Convention, since the Israeli government is persisting in building settlements in territories claimed by Palestinians for a future state, including east Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, “despite all the pertinent United Nations resolutions declaring that the existence of the settlements is illegal and calling for their cessation.”

The settlements are “a mesh of construction and infrastructure leading to a creeping annexation that prevents the establishment of a contiguous and viable Palestinian State and undermines the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination,” the report concludes.

The report’s conclusions are not legally binding and Chanet complained that Israel did not cooperate with her investigation.

The panel went to Jordan to interview more than 50 people on the impact of the settlements, reporting violence by Jewish settlers, confiscation of land and damage to olive groves.

Pakistani attorney Asma Jahangir, a mwember of the panel, said the settlements “seriously impinge on the self-determination of the Palestinian people.”

More than 500,000 Israelis live in settlements in Judea and Samaria and in east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians wish to make their capital. “All the Israeli settlement activities are illegal and considered to be war crimes according to the International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute as well as the Fourth Geneva Convention. This means that Israel is liable to prosecution,” said PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi. The settlements, according to her, are “clearly a form of forced transfer and a proof of Israel’s policy of ethnic cleansing.”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry accused the council of taking a systematically one-sided and biased approach toward Israel, with the report being merely “another unfortunate reminder” of that bias.

In a statement, Hillel Neuer, UN Watch executive director, said he was astonished that the report members had decided to ignore a 54-page document with 257 footnotes sent to them by his organization.

“The report disregards the thousands of suicide bombings, knifings, and other terrorist attacks committed by Palestinian Arab groups, failing to acknowledge how this violence brought about Israeli security measures in the territories that did not previously exist,” he said.

“The reality is that the HRC’s fact-finding enterprise is dedicated chiefly to attacking but one country: Israel. In the entire history of the HRC, there have been seven one-sided inquiry missions on Israel, and only five on the rest of the world combined. Mass atrocities committed by Iran, China, or Sri Lanka, for example, have never been subjected to a single HRC inquiry.

“In a week when the UN legitimized genocidal Sudan, by electing the regime as vice-president of a top human rights body, it is now focusing its scarce time, resources and moral outrage on yet another biased, politicized and one-sided report against Israel.”

AP’s Obama, Netanyahu ‘Bad Blood’ Hardly Supported by Facts

Monday, January 14th, 2013

If you plug the names “Obama” or “Netanyahu” or even the words “Jewish” or “Israel” in Google News today, you’ll get a hundred versions of the same Associated Press story: “Obama, Netanyahu: Bad blood between key allies.” It’s a pre-inauguration, pre-election special, intended to forge a consensus in the U.S. public opinion about President Obama’s next four years: he’s going to have trouble from the Republican Congress and he’s going to clash with the Israeli prime minister to be:

“President Barack Obama heads into his second term weighed down by an American government snarled in partisan gridlock, but also by an unproductive relationship with the leader of Israel, the bedrock U.S. ally in the tumultuous Middle East.”

“It’s the greatest dysfunction between leaders that I’ve seen in my 40 years in watching and participating,” Aaron David Miller, who served under six secretaries of state in both Republican and Democratic administrations, and was “deeply involved in negotiations involving Israel, Jordan, Syria and the Palestinians,” told the AP.

“I don’t think we are headed for a showdown,” Miller added, “but the relationship will continue to be dysfunctional.”

Just the other day, writing for the LA Times, Miller said the Jewish attacks on Sen. Chuck Hagel, Obama’s man for Defense, lacked credibility. He wrote:

“Jews worry for a living. Their dark history and, in the case of American Jews, their legitimate concerns about the security of the State of Israel impel them to do so. But sometimes those concerns are overblown and reflect a kind of collective cosmic oy vey that gets in the way of sound and rational judgment.”

Then he says that, despite serious disagreements between the White House and Israel on the Palestinians and on Iran, “chances are if the Obama administration wants to manage the Iranian nuclear issue and the peace process too, it’s going to find a way to work with — not run over — the next Israeli government.”

He’s right, of course, and what he describes is anything but the dysfunctional relationship he talked about to the AP. In his own op-ed, Miller describes two heads of state who strongly disagree on two key points, but he, Miller, has no doubt they would find a modus vivendi.

So where’s the “bad blood”?

Netanyahu likely will win re-election on Jan. 22, two days after Obama is sworn in for a second term, goes the AP story.

Then: “Netanyahu is a hardliner on making peace with the Palestinians, a goal that Obama said was foremost on his foreign policy agenda at the beginning of his first term.”

With which Palestinians? President Abbas who has been refusing to attend negotiations with Israel even during the period of settlement freeze, early in the Netanyahu term? Or the Hamas, which has been actively murdering Israelis, and swearing to some day take back the entire country?

How, out of everyone involved, did Netanyahu end up with the “hardliner” branding?

Then there’s that annoying thing Netanyahu has been doing, “pressing Washington to adopt policy specifics that would trigger a military strike if Iran does not pull back on its nuclear program – widely believed to be aimed at building an atomic bomb.”

And Sen. Chuck Hagel. Although Netanyahu’s office refused comment on Hagel when contacted by The Associated Press in Jerusalem. But Reuven Rivlin, parliament speaker and member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, told AP that Israelis are worried because of Hagel’s “statements in the past, and his stance toward Israel.”

And that constitutes “bad blood”?

When in doubt, Ori Nir, a spokesman for Americans for Peace Now, was at the ready to refute the “talk of anti-Semitism,” which in Hagel’s case, he said, “is unjust and over-the-top.”

Possibly. And a long lineup of mainstream Jewish leaders have said just that throughout last week. Didn’t need to bring Peace Now in as an authority on these things…

The bad blood between Obama and Netanyahu began early, continues the AP story:

“In their first public appearance together at the White House in 2009, Netanyahu pointedly rebuffed Obama’s call for Israel to stop building Jewish housing on land the Palestinians want in a future state.” Obama dropped the issue after it became obvious that it was a waste of political capital at home and that Netanyahu would not budge.

Here’s a link to the Obama/Netanyahu press conference of May 18, 2009. Do find the part where Netanyahu pointedly rebuffs the president. It’s a very long and, generally friendly discourse, so take your time. Somewhere in the middle, Netanyahu says:

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: We’ve had extraordinarily friendly and constructive talks here today, and I’m very grateful to the President for that. We want to move peace forward, and we want to ward off the great threats.

But the AP is still searching for bad blood, and so they extended the paragraph above with: “Netanyahu’s government has continued to announce plans for new settlements in the Palestinian West Bank.”

White House: PLO’s UN Upgrade Did Not Violate US Law

Friday, January 11th, 2013

The Obama administration said the Palestinians’ ascension in U.N. membership status did not violate U.S. law.

William Burns, the deputy secretary of state, in a Jan. 8 determination, said the Palestinians did not break the U.S. law which states that shutting down the Palestinian Liberation Organization office in Washington in the event that the Palestinians declare statehood.

The Palestinians have not “obtained in the U.N. or any specialized agency thereof the same standing as member states or full membership as a state outside an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians,” Burns said.

In late December, more than half the members of the U.S. House of Representatives called on President Obama to shut down the PLO office in Washington as punishment for its ascension in U.N. status.

“One important way of expressing U.S. disapproval would be to send the message that such actions are not cost-free and that, at a minimum, they result in setbacks to U.S.-Palestinian relations,” said the letter sent Dec. 21, 2012 initiated by the incoming and outgoing leaders of both parties on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The letter was signed by 239 members, including leaders such as Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the majority leader, and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the minority whip. “We can do this by closing the PLO office in Washington, D.C. We can also call our Consul-General in Jerusalem home for consultations,” the letter said.

The letter was initiated by Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Ed Royce (R-Calif.), respectively the outgoing and incoming chairs, and Reps. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), respectively the outgoing and incoming ranking Democrats.

PLO U.S. Ambassador Maen Rashid Areikat

PLO U.S. Ambassador Maen Rashid Areikat

The Palestine Information Office was registered with the Justice Department of the United States as a foreign agent until 1968, when it was closed down. It was reopened in 1989 as the Palestine Affairs Center. The PLO Mission office in Washington D.C was established in 1994, to represent the PLO in the United States.

In July of 2010, the State Dept. upgraded the status of the PLO Mission in the United States to “General Delegation of the PLO.”

Although it did not constitute diplomatic recognition, the upgrade two years ago raised the status of Palestinian representation in the U.S. to the same level as the PLO representation in many European countries and in Canada.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee has backed the initiatives, while the Reform movement and a number of smaller liberal Jewish groups have opposed them.

JTA content was used in this report.

The Palestinian Authority’s Inconvenient Truths

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

The truth sometimes hurts; that is why the Palestinian Authority has been working hard to prevent the outside world from hearing about many occurrences that reflect negatively on its leaders or people.

In recent years, the Palestinian Authority leadership, often with the help of the mainstream media in the US and EU, has been successful in its effort to divert all attention only toward Israel.

Following are examples of some of the inconvenient truths that the Palestinian leadership in Judea and Samaria do not want others to know about:

- Over 100 senior PLO and Fatah officials hold Israeli-issued VIP cards that grant them various privileges denied to most Palestinians. Among these privileges is the freedom to enter Israel and travel abroad at any time they wish. This privilege system has existed since the signing of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO in 1993.

- Out of the 600 Christians from the Gaza Strip who arrived in Judea and Samaria in the past two weeks to celebrate Christmas, dozens have asked to move to Israel because they no longer feel comfortable living under the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

- Dozens of Christian families from east Jerusalem have moved to Jewish neighborhoods in the the city because they too no longer feel comfortable living among Muslims.

- Palestinian Authority security forces in Judea and Samaria continue to summon and arrest political opponents, journalists and bloggers who dare to criticize the Palestinian leadership.

- The Palestinian Authority government, which has been complaining about a severe financial crisis for the past few months, just cancelled outstanding electricity debts for Palestinians in Judea and Samaria. Palestinians pay their bills to the Arab Jerusalem Electric Company, which buys electricity from the Israeli Electric Company; the Palestinians have not been paying their electricity bills and many have been stealing electricity from their Arab company.

- Tens of thousands of Palestinian Authority civil servants in the Gaza Strip receive salaries to stay at home and not work. The practice has been in effect since Hamas seized control over the Gaza Strip in 2007. According to Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf, the Palestinian Authority, which is funded mostly by American and European taxpayer money, spends around $120 million each month on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

- Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction has allocated more than one million dollars for celebrations marking the 48th anniversary of the “launching of the revolution” — a reference to the first armed attack carried out by Fatah against Israel.

- Despite the calls for an economic boycott of Israel, more than 40,000 Palestinians have received permits to work in Israel. Moreover, another 15,000 Palestinians continue to work in Jewish settlements in spite of an official ban.

- Top PLO and Fatah officials continue to do their shopping in Israeli-owned businesses both in Judea and Samaria and Israel proper. Last week, for example, a member of the PLO Executive Committee and his family were spotted shopping in Jerusalem’s Malha mall. Of course, the PLO official did not forget to bring along his private driver and maid.

- The wife of a senior PLO official recently spent $20,000 for dental treatment in Tel Aviv at a time when there is no shortage of renowned Palestinian dentists in Ramallah, Bethlehem and Nablus.

These are only some of the inconvenient truths that the Palestinian Authority does not want the outside world to know. Palestinian journalists often avoid reporting about such issues out of concern for their safety or for “ideological” reasons. These journalists have been taught that it is forbidden to hang out the dirty laundry.

Western journalists, donors and decision-makers who deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict need to know that there are many truths being completely ignored or hidden from their eyes and ears.

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

Congress to Obama: Time to Punish Arabs for Blowing Up Oslo and Blowing Off the US

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

A bi-partisan majority of congressional members sent a letter to U.S. President Barak Obama late last week.  In the letter, the members insist that the time has come for this U.S. government to hold the Arab Palestinian leadership responsible for their bald refusal to comply with repeated requests from the United States government to refrain from seeking an enhanced status at the United Nations General Assembly, as is required of the Arabs under the Oslo Agreements under which it is bound.

The PLO pledged in the Oslo Agreements that it would take no unilateral actions to change the status of the disputed territories and Gaza.

Congressional leadership that has long been involved in working with Israel and the Arab Palestinians in attempts to resolve the Middle East conflict, such as U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee, U.S. Reps. Edward R. Royce (R-CA) and Eliot L. Engel (D-NY, Chairman-designate and Ranking Member-designate, respectively, of the Committee, along with more than 230 other members of  Congress, signed and sent the letter to the President on Friday, December 21.

The letter informed the President that “we believe the United States must react strongly to the ‘Palestinian’ leadership’s failure to uphold its obligations,” and explained that in order to send a clear message of U.S. disapproval, the Arab leaders must learn that their actions are not “cost-free,” and, “at a minimum, they result in setbacks to U.S.-’Palestinian’ relations.”

Congressional members suggested that the minimal steps the U.S. should take at this time would be to close the PLO office in Washington, D.C. and to call on the U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem – who is, illogically, responsible for relations with the Arab Palestinians but not Jewish or Arab Israelis – back to Washington for consultations.

The congressional letter to President Obama points out the necessity for the U.S. government to ensure that the UNGA vote on November 29 “does not serve as a precedent for elevating the status of the PLO in other UN bodies or international forums.”

Should the PLO attempt to force its hand by seeking membership in those other UN institutions, the congressional members told President Obama that, “we should do everything possible to make sure that does not happen, including by reaffirming our commitment to maintaining and enforcing U.S. laws that require withholding U.S. contributions from any international forum that grants membership to the PLO.”

The PLO envoy in Washington, Maen Aerikat, told the Palestinian News Agency Ma’an, that the congressional letter “is an attempt by Congress to undermine the U.S. administration in any possible role it is planning to play in Palestinian affairs.”

In addition to pointing out that “punitive measures won’t pay off.  If they were effective we would have already changed our mind,” Aerikat railed at Israel, suggesting it was behind the congressional effort.  He said, “It is a political decision, a decision on the part of the Israeli government to escalate things against the Palestinian people at home and here…the U.S. is their other front.”

In a letter circulated to members of Congress by the PLO Envoy on December 14, Aerikat sought to dissuade Congress from responding to the PA provocation.  Aerikat makes several points in his letter, one of which should qualify for the Chutzpah Hall of Fame.  Perhaps he forgot that the action taken by Congress was in response to the decision by his colleagues to spurn dialogue and negotation, and instead to take unilateral action by introducing a one-sided resolution at the U.N.  This is what Aerikat wrote:

Engagement and dialogue is the only way to express the views of Congress.  Biased and one-sided resolutions cannot contribute to an atmosphere that is conducive for a political resolution to the conflict.

Not all Jews supported the congressional effort.  In the interview with Ma’an, Aerikat appreciatively listed both J Street and Americans for Peace Now as organizations that oppose the initiative to punish the Arab Palestinians for violating the Oslo Accords by seeking unilateral changes through the UN vote.  Although not mentioned by the PLO Envoy, the Union for Reform Judaism has also actively lobbied against congressional efforts to shutter the PLO Office.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/congress-to-obama-time-to-punish-arabs-for-blowing-up-oslo-and-blowing-off-the-us/2012/12/25/

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