Posts Tagged ‘US’
The 24 Americans living in Israel who had sued the State Department over U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority have filed their opposition brief to the government’s motion to dismiss,” Shurat HaDin (Israel Law Center) said Wednesday
The plaintiffs allege that aid money to the PA is not being carefully scrutinized nor administered and funds terrorism. The lawsuit was originally filed last November, and attorneys for the American government filed a motion to dismiss their claims.
The plaintiffs contend that the State Department has recklessly ignored congressional safeguards and transparency requirements which govern U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority. The Americans, some of whom are victims of terror themselves, allege that as a result of White House non-compliance with federal regulations, funds have been flowing to terror groups like Hamas despite federal prohibitions against support for terrorism.
The government claims that the plaintiffs lack standing to bring this civil action and that the case raises “political questions” best left to the other branches of government. The plaintiffs in turn argue that enforcing limitations on federal foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority against State Department abuses is the judiciary’s job and that suit is far from being an “abuse of discretion,” as the defendants contend.
Shurat HaDin stated, “The government also contends that it is pure speculation that Americans can be injured by terrorism in Israel….”
It is estimated that since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the United States State Department, via USAID has given more than $4 billion to the Palestinian Authority. Under the Anti-Terrorism Act, the State Department is required to certify that the Palestinian government is committed to a peaceful co-existence with Israel before distributing funds, and ensure that no part of funding is used for terrorism.
A dozen or more Taliban terrorists in Pakistan, disguised in police uniforms, killed 10 tourists, including an American and one Pakistani citizen in a shooting attack in a relatively peaceful mountain area. The American may have been have been a Chinese American.
A local Taliban spokesman said the attack was in revenge for a May 29 U.S. drone strike that killed Taliban’s deputy leader, Waliur Rehman.
Also killed were five Ukrainians, three Chinese and one Russian. One Chinese tourist survived the massacre.
“The U.S. Embassy Islamabad expresses its deepest condolences to the family and friends of the U.S. citizen and the other innocent tourists who were killed in the Northern Areas of Pakistan,” Matt Boland, the acting spokesman at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, told reporters in a statement.
The U.S. cut $175 million from the $3.1 billion dollars of Foreign Military Financing (FMF) it supplies Israel, as part of across the board cuts in international military aid, according to a report in Ma’ariv.
Ambassador Michael Oren said Israel would not be asking for an exemption from the cuts, and that Israel would carry its share of the burden.
Most of the US military aid must actually be spent in the US, with purchases from U.S. companies recognized by the Department of Defense as authorized military contractors.
Israel is one of the largest recipient of FMF funding.
Some in Israel believe that the FMF funding is not a good thing, and in fact limits and restricts Israel’s ability to develop and sell its own military projects, by restricting development and sales to projects that don’t significantly compete with U.S. military sales.
It’s not yet clear what purchases will be cut from the budget, but it may affect the purchase of the controversial F-35 stealth plane.
The cuts in general will negatively affect U.S. military activities overseas, as well as possibly reduce joint training exercises with Israel.
An American intelligence official, speaking on the basis of anonymity, told Reuters that Israel did not notify the Obama administration before the two bombing missions last weekend that targeted Iranian missiles destined for the Hezbollah terrorist organization.
Israel informed the United States of the pre-emptive counterterrorist operation after the attacks.
Unlike many previous secret maneuvers in Lebanon and Syria, Israel has confirmed its planes flew over Lebanon and dropped the bombs that then honed in on their targets in Syria, without Israeli aircraft crossing into Syrian air space.
President Barack Obama gave Israel his full support Saturday, stating that Israel’s right to defend itself necessitates it to prevent Hezbollah getting its hands on the Iranian Fateh-110 missies that can reach deep into Israel from southern Lebanon.
Another unidentified intelligence official told Reuters, “Any sophisticated weaponry that finds its way there (Syria) that looks to be destined to fall in the hands of bad actors, I think there is a likelihood that those could be targets as well.”
President Barack Obama began chatting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as the Israeli Army band played The Star Spangled Banner at the welcoming ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport Wednesday before remembering to put his hand over his heart.
Netanyahu also turned to Obama with a few words beforehand, and it appeared that the two leaders would be gabbing with each other instead of standing quietly during the American National Anthem.
After Obama solemnly put his hand over his heart, he kept in there during the beginning of HaTikvah, a remarkable honor to a foreign country. However, after a few seconds, he remembered to remove his hand and stand at attention.
Afterwards, he shook hands with dozens of well-wishers, most of whom he probably does not even know, but his outgoing personality seemed to make everyone feel he was receiving a personal response.
The two chief Rabbis of Israel, Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger and Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar, also welcomed President Obama.
President Shimon Peres told Obama, “Welcome home.”
U.S., Canadian and Australian officials stalked out of a meeting of the U.N. nuclear watchdog when the Iranian envoy accused Israel of genocide on Wednesday.
Joseph Macmanus, the U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, stormed out of the meeting in Vienna on Wednesday after Ali Asghar Soltaneh made the accusation, Reuters reported, as did Canadian and Australian officials.
Macmanus earlier had accused Iran of “deception, defiance and delay” in its dealing with the agency.
The meeting Wednesday comes weeks ahead of a renewed effort at talks in Istanbul by major powers, led by the United States, to negotiate terms with Iran to make more transparent its nuclear program.
Western powers and Israel believe Iran is close to being able to manufacture a nuclear weapon. Iran denies this, and Soltaneh repeated these denials on Wednesday, calling the accusations “baseless.”
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan chose none other than the UN Alliance of Civilizations” on Wednesday to declare that Israel and Islamophobia both are a “crime against humanity.”
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon sat non-responsively behind Erdogan as he spoke in Vienna.
In a chilling reminder of the United Nations’ “Zionism is Racism” Resolution passed by the United Nations in 1975 and revoked 16 years later, Erdogan stated, “Just like Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism, it becomes unavoidable that Islamophobia must be regarded as a crime against humanity.”
His speech was the keynote address at the 5th Global forum sponsored by the UN.
“We witness on a frequent basis, the shutting out and despisal [sic] of the other, whereas understanding the beliefs, culture and feelings of the other is what should be done. It has become inevitable for Islamophobia to be seen as a crime against humanity, just like Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism,” he declared.
“None of the divine religions approves terror; and above all, Islam, which is a derivation of ‘silm,’ means peace. It is impossible for a religion of peace to encourage or approve of terrorism; we will never accept that. The Alliance of Civilizations is one of the most meaningful initiatives to remove prejudices and close the gap between sides.”
After his declaration that “understanding the beliefs, culture and feelings of the other” applies only to Islam and excludes Zionism, he mouthed off at the Western powers with a not-so-subtle swipe at the United States.
“We have to form an alliance between the permanent members of the UN Security Council. It is very difficult to reach a compromise at the Security Council. Whenever a member says no, the deal is done. This is something that needs to be addressed. Wasn’t the UN founded to maintain world peace? If so, the UN is in dire need of reforms.”
The United States, Britain, France, China and Russia are the five permanent members, and the United States has used its veto power, and the threat to veto, to block most anti-Israel resolutions.
His comments in Vienna came two days before he is to welcome U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to Turkey on Friday.
Without Israel, without Iran, without Syria, maybe he wants to ditch the United States, also, and declare Turkey a diplomatic island.