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August 27, 2016 / 23 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Ramallah’

Three Arabs Captured with M-16 Near Tapuach Junction

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

Border Police captured three Arabs on Saturday night near the Tapuach Junction in the Shomron, according to a TPS report.

Following an intelligence lead from the army, Border Police began looking for the three Arab men who were trying to sell the rifle.

At around 10 PM, police spotted and stopped the suspect’s vehicle. Upon inspection, they found the M-16. The rifle had been disassembled, with the parts hidden throughout the vehicle.

The three illegal arms dealers, in their twenties, are from Ramallah and Shechem (Nablus).

Jewish Press News Briefs

Abbas: If Liberman Supports 2-State Solution We’ll Talk to Him

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday responded for the first time to the appointment of Avigdor Liberman as Israel’s Defense Minister and stated that he does not judge people based on their party affiliation nor even what they say, but only based on their action to promote peace, Israel Radio reported Tuesday evening.

Abbas, who spoke at the Mukataa, the PLO headquarters compound in Ramallah, to Israeli Arab regional council heads from Galilee, added that if Liberman is saying he supports the two-state solution, nothing will stop the Palestinians Authority from opening a dialog with him.

“If Liberman really means it, the Palestinian will forget that he accused them of being terrorist diplomats, and will judge him only based on his future action,” Abbas concluded.

But as JoeSettler reported on JewishPress.com Tuesday, Liberman has always supported a 2-State solution, and would evacuate his home in the settlement of Nokdim for peace, however, Liberman envisions a Palestinian State consisting of all the Arabs on this side of the Jordan River – with no Jews, and an Israeli state on this side of the Jordan River – with a lot less Arabs citizens.

David Israel

Palestinian Authority Rejects Direct Talks

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

The Palestinian Authority has rejected an Israeli proposal for direct talks in Paris.

“Time is short,” PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said, at his meeting with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls in Ramallah on Monday.

“[Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is trying to buy time … but this time he will not escape the international community.”

Valls told Netanyahu, however, that he would welcome the idea of direct negotiations and would discuss the matter with French President Francois Hollande.

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu Tells French Counterpart ‘Direct Talks Only Way to Peace’

Monday, May 23rd, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his French counterpart in a meeting Monday in Jerusalem the only way to reach peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is through direct talks. Israel is through with multilateral negotiations, he said.

“Though we have some disagreements on the best way to achieve peace, I deeply appreciate your commitment to pursue it,” he told French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

“I know how much you care about ending the terrible violence that has plagued our region for far too long, and I want to thank you and President Hollande for your commitment to peace.

“We share the same goals: peace, two states for two peoples, an end to war,” he added, but emphasized his position that the only way to end the conflict is via direct talks, without preconditions.

“This weekend you said that direct talks are very difficult right now,” he told Valls in a reference to comments by Valls explaining the rationale behind a “peace summit” to which neither Israelis nor Palestinians were invited.

“You’re right. They (direct talks) are (difficult), but they’re the only way to proceed towards peace.

“Peace just does not get achieved through international conferences, UN-style,” Netanyahu went on. “It doesn’t get to fruition through international dictats or committees from countries around the world who are sitting and seeking to decide our fate and our security when they have no direct stake in it.

“Peace is achieved through direct negotiations between the parties and in direct negotiations, the Palestinian leadership must face a stark choice and this choice is simple: recognize the Jewish state or continue educating your people that one day Israel will be gone.

The PA, he said, seeks to “create a Palestinian state not to live side-by-side next to Israel, but to eliminate Israel.”

“The Palestinian leadership doesn’t see the French initiative as an inducement to compromise, but rather as a way to avoid it,” Netanyahu insisted. “In fact, the Palestinian Prime Minister, Hamdallah, let slip the other day his hope for an imposed timetable, rather than a negotiated peace,” Netanyahu pointed out, adding that Israel had made peace via direct talks with Jordan and Egypt.

Instead, Netanyahu made a counter offer to Prime Minister Manuel Valls, suggesting a “different French initiative” in Paris: face-to-face talks with PA leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Paris, he said, “is a marvelous place anyway. It can still be called the French initiative, because you would host this genuine effort for peace, but here’s the difference: I will sit alone directly with President Abbas in the Élysée Palace, or anywhere else that you choose. Every difficult issue will be on the table: mutual recognition, incitement, borders, refugees and yes, settlements – everything.

“There is no issue too complex to solve if both sides are willing to talk to each other. And I am more than willing; I am eager. I was injured in battle; I lost a brother; I lost many friends in battle. Israel wants nothing more than peace. And I hope you encourage President Abbas to accept this French initiative: direct negotiations without preconditions, between the Israeli prime minister, the Palestinian president in Paris.”

“I’m ready to clear my schedule and fly to Paris tomorrow,” he added, before quipping: “well, I think tomorrow we’re expanding the government, but the day after tomorrow.”

Valls arrived for a visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority as part of his mandate to promote the multilateral French initiate. He also met with Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin.

The “French initiative” calls for a first meeting in Paris for foreign ministers from 20 to 30 nations on June 3 without Israel and the Palestinian Authority. A second meeting would follow after the summer, with Israel and Palestinian Authority officials in attendance. Palestinian Authority leaders agreed to the initiative.

But neither meeting would involve direct talks between the two parties, which Israel insists is an essential component to reach a decision on the thorny issues in any final status deal.

Hana Levi Julian

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

Israel, Austria Celebrate 60 years of Diplomacy

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

Austrian Ambassador to Israel Martin Weiss tweeted his thanks for an evening at the Israel Museum celebrating 60 years of Austrian-Israeli relations. The evening event featured a speech by Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, who began the week in Jerusalem, meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel Ambassador to Austria Talya Lador was present Sunday to greet the foreign minister upon his arrival in the country. For his part, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met this week with a group of young Austrians. “We really appreciate that you took the time!” tweeted Ambassador Weiss.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with a delegation of young Austrians.

Kurz took time Monday to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum, and spoke with Austrian Holocaust survivors in Jerusalem. He tied up the day by laying a wreath in a memorial ceremony at the Mount Herzl military ceremony in the capital.

Netanyahu and Kurz also met to sign a “working-holiday agreement” that provides easy access for the young to work in each others’ country,” Weiss said.

Kurz also met with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah during the day on Monday as well.

Hana Levi Julian

Those Poor, Confused Palestinians

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

Those poor, confused Palestinians!

A new poll shows that most Palestinian Arabs say the Palestinian Authority (which rules over them) is to blame for their troubles, and not Israel (which stopped occupying them more than twenty years ago).

For some reason, the Palestinians refuse to toe the party line that New York Times reporters and American Jewish radicals keep feeding them.

Those reporters and radicals seem to have swallowed the myth that the Palestinians are still “occupied” by Israel, and that the Israeli “occupation” is the source of all their problems.

But those poor, confused Palestinians look around and don’t see any Israeli soldiers and therefore refuse to go along with everyone else and pretend the Israelis are still there.

The new poll was conducted by the Palestinian organization AWRAD among 1,200 Palestinian Arabs in late April. It has a margin of error of three percent.

Residents of Judea/Samaria were asked: “How do you view the overall situation in the West Bank since the appointment of the Hamdallah government in 2013?” That’s Rami Hamdallah, who became prime minister of the Palestinian Authority under chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Some 44 percent responded that things have “worsened.” So they were asked a follow-up question: “If worsened, who do you believe is responsible?”

The possible answers were “Israel,” “the Palestinian Authority,” “Hamas,” “International donors,” or “Don’t know.”

Now, if these Palestinians had been paying close attention to what their American supporters were telling them, they would have known that the “correct” answer is Israel.

Diaa Haddid, the Times’s new correspondent in Jerusalem, and Thomas Friedman, its longtime foreign affairs columnist, are constantly claiming that Israel is “occupying the Palestinians” and that Israel is responsible for whatever goes wrong in the territories.

J Street and the S. Daniel Abraham Center push the same line. And just last week, a group of American novelists, led by Michael Chabon, an outspoken Jewish critic of Israel, toured parts of Judea/Samaria in preparation for their forthcoming book on the “50th anniversary of the Israeli occupation” – you know, the occupation that Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin ended in 1995.

These American advocates of Palestinian statehood don’t seem to know that the Israelis withdrew in 1995 from the cities where 98 percent of the Palestinians live. But the Palestinians know it because they actually live there, and they know the Israelis are gone. They know there are no Israelis left in Ramallah. Or Bethlehem. Or Nablus (Shechem). The list goes on and on.

And because the Palestinians know they are occupied by the Palestinian Authority, most of them find it impossible to rail (to the pollster) against Israel’s nonexistent occupation.

Only 28 percent of the poll’s respondents answered that Israel is mostly to blame for their troubles. Fully 59 percent said the PA is to blame. (Five percent blamed the donors; 7 percent had no opinion.)

Oops!

Those politically incorrect poll results were particularly inconvenient for the Chabon-led gang of traveling novelists. Just last week, Chabon, a self-appointed “expert” on the situation after returning from a few days in the territories, was telling anyone who would listen about that awful Israeli “occupation” which he imagines he saw.

“The occupation [is] the most grievous injustice I have ever seen in my life,” he announced.

AWRAD, the aforementioned pollsters responsible for the survey, should be receiving an angry letter from Chabon’s publicist any day now. After all, if AWRAD keeps asking Palestinians simple, logical questions, there is a real danger the respondents might continue telling the truth about the Palestinian Authority occupation regime. And if they do that, sales of Chabon’s “Israeli occupation” book are likely to be meager indeed.

Michael Chabon might even be compelled to return to writing fiction – although some might say he never stopped.

Stephen M. Flatow

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/those-poor-confused-palestinians/2016/05/15/

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