Channel 2 reported Tuesday that US President Barack Obama supports Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas missile attacks, but added that Washington is opposed to a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip by IDF forces.
Posts Tagged ‘United States’
The IDF escorted 670 Arabs with dual nationality from foreign countries out of Gaza and away from the Hamas war front and safely in to Israel Sunday morning.
The dual citizens left through the Erez Crossing, the northern border of Gaza, and include those with citizenship form the United States, Sweden, Norway, Belgium and other European countries.
Their home embassies assisted in the evacuation, which may have been connected with the possibility of an IDF ground incursion and the army’s warning to northern Gaza to leave their homes in advance of a massive round of bombing of terrorist targets.
Israeli civilians, rest assured: Hamas has promised the United States the organization would honor a 2009 “ceasefire” following Operation Cast Lead, in exchange for US recognition of the freedom fighters’ participation in the Palestinian Authority government. As such, Hamas has pledged not to fire rockets at Israeli civilians from its base in the Gaza Strip.
According to a report published Thursday on the BuzzFeed website, US officials extracted the far-reaching commitment during six months of secret talks between US and Hamas officials in Jordan, Egypt and Qatar. US Secretary of State John Kerry also warned the radical Islamic group that President Obama has his eye on the group and would be “monitor(ing)” the group over the next several months.
Since the end of Operation Cast Lead, more than 1,000 rockets and mortars have been fired at civilian targets in southern Israel from the Gaza Strip. The group made no commitment to refrain from drive-by shootings, suicide bombs, rocket attacks from Judea and Samaria, stoning Israeli cars, or anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incitement.
It is unclear from reports whether the freedom fighters were required to give promises to curb honor killings, to grant freedom of assembly to opposition groups or whether or not Hamas had pledged to distribute international aid to hospitals and refugee camps in the Gaza Strip.
There is also no indication that Hamas was required to comply with long-standing US policy – recognise Israel’s right to exist, renounce terror, abide by previous agreements – in order to obtain Washington’s stamp of approval.
State Department officials claimed to have no knowledge of the secret negotiations and said that assertions of back channel talks were “completely untrue.” But BuzzFeed quoted at least one US official who said it was important to “have that line of communication” with yet another Islamist group in the Middle East.
“Our administration needed to hear from them that this unity government would move toward democratic elections, and toward a more peaceful resolution with the entire region,” said the US official.
In addition to a recognition and legitimacy, US sources said Wednesday that the Obama administration would continue to fund the Palestinian Authority, despite American law that bans funding terror groups.
Americans living in Israel, watch out for this year’s June 30 tax deadline.
The Israel Tax Authority has formally reached an agreement with the U.S. regarding the Model 1 FATCA agreement with the IRS, according to attorney Dave Wolf, of the firm Hacohen and Wolf.
The full details of the FATCA Agreement are yet to be published upon the signing of the FATCA Agreement, but according to the Israel Tax Authority’s spokesman, the agreement contains certain restrictions on the use of information passed to the IRS and relief of reporting for certain institutions.
According to U.S. law, all U.S. citizens — regardless where they live — have an obligation to pay taxes on their worldwide income. In addition, in cases where the aggregate value of all foreign accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year, they also have to report this information on a special form commonly known as the FBAR.
Since July 1, 2013, the FBAR needs to be e-filed before June 30 of the following tax year.
Under FATCA, foreign financial institutions (banks, hedge funds, pension funds, insurance companies etc.) are required to report information to the U.S. tax authorities (the IRS) information about foreign accounts held by U.S. taxpayers, or by foreign entities in which U.S. taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest.
This means the Israeli financial institutions will have to report to the U.S. government all their clients who are U.S. citizens and/or green card holders, disclosing all these accounts.
This has huge implications for any American living in Israel or abroad who has never reported his foreign accounts or paid taxes on its income to the IRS, and also to some states if applicable (such as NY and NJ).
Individuals have four options with which to comply, according to Wolf, who can be reached at this link for more information.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov turned the tables on Thursday and accused the United States and the European Union of starting the crisis in Ukraine.
Last week a deal was signed in Geneva between Russia, Ukraine, the U.S. and the EU to resolve the crisis – one of the worst since the end of the Cold War. It has yet to be carried out.
But Lavrov told the Interfax news agency, “In Ukraine, the United States and the European Union tried to stage – let’s call things what they are – another ‘color revolution,’ an operation to unconstitutionally change regime.”
The ‘color revolution’ remark refers to the 2004-2005 Ukrainian ‘Orange Revolution’ that occurred when the country’s presidential run-off election was seized by pro-Kremlin leaders.
Months-long anti-government protests in Ukraine resulted in the ouster of the country’s President Viktor Yanukovich, who fled to Russia several weeks ago. The eastern part of the country has been seized by separatists, and Crimea altogether seceded from Ukraine and was formally annexed by Russia. Journalists have been kidnapped, and an Israeli-American reporter is still being held hostage in the separatist city of Slaviansk.
Next time you drink a can of Coca Cola in Israel at a kiosk or tourist spot, take into consideration you are swallowing six times more money than you would if you had bought it at an American outlet, such as Walmart, according to a survey conducted by the Globes newspaper.
Americans pay on average 4.5-5.5 shekels for a 1.5 bottle of the carbonated stuff, which works out to about 1.28-$1.56 in the United States. Israelis pay about 40 percent more on average, forking out 6.3-5.4 shekels for the same amount.
The difference in prices for Diet Coke is even higher.
According to Globes, a six-pack of Coca-Cola costs one-third more in Israel than in the United States, and c can costs on average 230% more.
Private sources have reported that the Israeli franchise of Coca-Cola has a profit margin of approximately 70 percent.
Official statistics on aliyah to Israel from the United States have been corrected to show that there was only a tiny change for the worse in the past year from the number of new immigrants in 2012.
The Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and the Jewish Agency issued a report in late December that aliyah from the United States and Canada was 11 percent less than in the previous year. Figures for the United States include new immigrants from Mexico as well as Canada.
“Empirical data actually shows that the aliyah figures from North America in 2013 remained almost the same as 2012,” according to an official statement.
There were 3,504 immigrants to Israel from North America in 2013, 53 less than in 2012.