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Posts tagged ‘Palestinian National Authority’

Al-Qaida Terror Cell Takes Foothold in West Bank, Members Killed.


RAMALLAH, West Bank  — An al-Qaida-linked group said three militants killed in the West Bank by Israeli forces last week were its members, and that their presence there showed that the Islamist network had taken root in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Al-Qaida has struggled to build up significant support in the West Bank, analysts say, and the Palestinian Authority that administers the area last week denied an Israeli report the men were linked to the organization.

“By the will of God Almighty, the global jihadi doctrine has reached the bank of pride, the West Bank, planting its foothold after all attempts to thwart its presence,” said a statement posted by Majles Shura al-Mujahideen, or Holy Warriors’ Assembly, on an Islamist web forum.

Such groups have some grassroots support in the other Palestinian territory of Gaza, which is governed by the Islamist faction Hamas.

Israeli officials had said the three Palestinians killed on Tuesday belonged to an al-Qaida-linked cell plotting attacks.

They said the men were shot after opening fire at Israeli troops who tried to arrest them. The West Bank is policed by Israel in often close cooperation with the U.S.-backed Palestinian Authority (PA).

On Sunday, PA security forces spokesman Adnan Damiri said he had no information about the presence of al-Qaida-linked groups in the West Bank but that Palestinian investigators were looking into Tuesday’s incident.

Many Palestinians chafe at security ties between the PA and Israel given the lack of clear progress in U.S.-sponsored peace talks between the sides. Those negotiations are billed as leading to Palestinian statehood in the West Bank, a territory extensively settled by Israel, as well as in the Gaza Strip.

In its online statement, Majles Shura al-Mujahideen denounced the peacemaking efforts and threatened attacks on Israel and the PA.

“We call on every sincere person to cut off what is called ‘negotiations’, which causes one’s nose to turn away with its foul stench of collaboration,” the statement said. “We are serious about fighting the aggression against religion by the blaspheming Jews and the hypocritical collaborators.”

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

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Israel Kills Three al-Qaida-linked Militants in West Bank.


HEBRON, West Bank — Israeli security officials said their forces killed three Palestinian militants Tuesday who were part of an al-Qaida-linked network in the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority, which administers the territory, denied the three had any relation to al-Qaida and accused Israeli of setting out to kill the men.

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An official from Israeli’s Shin Bet security agency said it had learned from a number of earlier arrests that the network was planning attacks in the coming days against Israeli targets and against the Western-backed Palestinian Authority.

Two of the men were killed when they opened fire on officers trying to arrest them in the area of the city of Hebron, the official said. A number of explosive devices and two guns were found in their vehicle, the official added.

The Israeli military said a third militant was killed in a gunfight after the initial clash.

Al-Qaida-inspired groups have a small presence in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, but are less common in the occupied West Bank, which is policed by Israeli and Palestinian Authority forces.

The Shin Bet official said the militant network had set up a safe house in the territory and was stockpiling weapons

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Are We Witnessing the Death of the Jewish State?.


Kerry and Abbas
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. Picture of the Mosque of Omar symbolizes the Palestinian goal of decreeing the ancient city of Jerusalem the Muslim Arab capital of a Palestinian state. (Reuters)

The world’s most prestigious newspaper, The New York Times, recently produced an article predicting Israel’s soon-coming demise.

Written by an illustrious University of Pennsylvania professor, Ian S. Lustick, it carefully outlined the reasons Lustick believes Israel will disappear.

Lustick’s logic is impeccable. From man’s perspective, there is no way Israel will be able to forever fight off those who want to destroy her. In fact, in the 46 years I have lived in Israel, I have watched almost the entire world turn against Israel.

Yes, there are still a few friends. Very few. The U.S., Canada, Australia with its new prime minister. Then there are a few fair-weather friends—off and on as the wind blows.

But how can a nation of 7 million Jews continue to fight off the whole world?

Professor Lustick ticks off his reasons with brilliant insight. On second thought, you don’t have to be a genius to see the insurmountable obstacles to peace facing little Israel surrounded by 23 Arab states filled with jihadists.

Yet most democratic nations are in denial as to Israel’s genuine vulnerability. On the other hand, the Islamic and autocratic regimes like Iran simply believe Israel’s destruction is on its way. Time is on Islam’s side.

As Lustick sees it, for 30 years every American president has enthusiastically brought his entire might and influence to the Middle East in order to “solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Only one time was there a tiny window for a possible breakthrough—in 1993, with the Oslo agreements.

That accord provided for the creation of a Palestinian interim self-government, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). But the “insurmountable obstacles” were left for later. Nothing ever came of it.

Palestinian Demands

The obstacles are well known. Palestinians demand:

  1. Israel must hand over the Old City of Jerusalem to Muslim control, including the Western Wall—and including the surrounding “settlements” suburbs of Jerusalem.
  2. The 5 million Arab “refugees,” including children and grandchildren who have never been near Israel, must be allowed to move into Israel proper (and thus overwhelm the democratic state with several million new Muslim voters).
  3. The 500,000 Jews who live in East Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria must vacate their homes for a new Arab population to take occupancy.

Will this happen? Of course not. If only one of these hurdles existed, there would never be a negotiated peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israel’s Demands

I must quickly admit that Israel does have some non-negotiable demands also:

  1. The Palestinians must officially agree to recognize the right of the Jewish state of Israel to exist.
  2. The Palestinians must officially agree to cease all violence and terrorist attacks against Israel and to stop pressing the U.N. to take steps to destroy Israel’s economy.

Practically speaking, the Palestinians would have to agree to allow the Israel Defense Forces to be stationed along the borders of a Palestinian state to keep terrorists from crossing into a new Palestinian state in order to infiltrate Israel.

Secondly, the Palestinians would have to pledge to make peace with the Jewish state once and for all and renounce all further demands in the future.

The Injustice of It All

But that’s not all. There are numerous other issues that are equally impossible to solve to the satisfaction of both sides. Here is an incomplete list:

  1. Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab state since the city’s existence of 4,000 years. It has been the capital of the Jewish people whenever they were allowed to live in the Holy Land.Arabs never thought about Jerusalem being their capital until the Jewish people began returning in droves to the city in the early 1900s. Now the Palestinians claim their incontrovertible right to make the entire eastern part of Jerusalem their capital.
  2. There has never been an Arab democratic state. Ever! The Palestinian Authority (PA) in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) is, as expected, a dictatorship under President Mahmoud Abbas. His elected term was over in January 2009, but he still rules. An Islamic dictatorial regime on Israel’s borders would not produce “two states for two peoples living in peace and security.”
  3. The other half of the so-called future Palestinian state was supposed to be Gaza, but when Hamas leadership was democratically elected, it quickly seized absolute control of the Gaza Strip and now rules it with a rod of iron. PA officials in Gaza were either killed, jailed or are living very quietly so as not to rouse the anger of their Hamas rulers. Today there are two “Palestines” with two rulers.
  4. Every place from which Israel has withdrawn—Gaza, Southern Lebanon, the Sinai Desert—is now jam-packed with terrorists looking to attack and destroy Israel.
  5. Israel learned a very strong lesson: When Israel’s military troops and civilian settlers cleared out of Gaza, to the last Israeli, it did nothing to help Israel gain favor with the U.N., the European Union or the rest of the world. Israel gained only one thing: terrorists.
  6. The Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, claiming that Zionism is racism. (Zionism is the movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in Israel.) Arab arrogance is astonishing. There are 23 Arab Islamic states, and no one anywhere in the world labels them as racist states.
  7. The Palestinians and other Arab states continue to educate their citizens—claiming Israel illegally occupies Islamic land—through their school textbooks, music, TV and movies and through idolizing suicide bombers by naming streets and squares after them. They brainwash children from kindergarten on up to believe all of the land now occupied by Israel belongs to the Arab people and will one day be conquered and returned to the people of the Quran.
  8. A large percentage of the funding from Western states that is given to the PA goes into the pockets of its leaders. Everybody knows it. No one does a thing about it. Corruption in the PA is over the top. Predictably, it leaves the common Palestinians in poverty.
  9. The U.N. has cooperated closely with the Palestinians, the General Assembly giving them status in a first step as a nonmember observer, while other U.N. branches have embraced them wholeheartedly into their various agencies. Therefore, there is little motivation for Palestinians to make any concessions toward Israel’s security needs or to stop the fierce hostilities against Israel in the U.N.
  10. For example, from its beginning in 2006 to 2010, the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passed 48 percent of all its resolutions against Israel, the only country it has ever specifically condemned. (The UNHRC, of course, is dominated by Islamic states.) The council makes a yearly review of alleged human rights abuses of only one country in the world: Israel. Therefore, there is no motivation for Palestinians to negotiate a peace treaty with Israel; they are convinced that over time, the world will destroy Israel.
  11. The U.N. has created a special agency for Palestinians only (called UNRWA), giving hundreds of millions of dollars a year to them and hiring tens of thousands of Palestinians to work there. Why would the Palestinians give up the world’s bankrolling in exchange for renouncing its goal of destroying Israel?
  12. The world regularly blames Israel alone for the lack of progress in making peace with the Palestinians. Why would the Palestinians change their successful tactics one millimeter?
  13. Arabs have much larger families than Jews. One day they believe the Palestinians will take over Israel just through sheer demographics. (Popular saying: The Palestinians will destroy Israel through the Palestinian womb.) Why not just wait?

Conclusion: No Peace Treaty

For just some of these reasons, the professor whose article appeared in the New York Times has come to a reasonable conclusion: The time for a peace treaty creating “two states for two peoples living side by side in peace and security is past.”

He lays the responsibility for this calamity, unsurprisingly, at the feet of Israel, which because of its government’s obstinancy is producing “isolation, emigration and hopelessness.” Lustick suggests that Israel will have to give up its “Zionism dream” of being a Jewish state and just melt into the Middle East. He writes, “Israelis whose families came from Arab countries might find new reasons to think of themselves not as ‘Eastern,’ but as Arab.”

Lustick then drifts into La La Land, suggesting “masses of downtrodden and exploited Muslim and Arab refugees, in Gaza, the West Bank and in Israel itself could see democracy, not Islam, as the solution.”

Lustick forgot that earlier in his article he had explained that one of the reasons for the inability to create two peace-loving states is that “strong Islamist trends make a fundamentalist [under Shariah law] Palestine more likely than a small state under a secular [i.e., democratic] government.”

Hence the question remains: Why would both Israel and the Palestinians agree to another round of emotionally draining talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry when both sides know there is absolutely no chance of a peace agreement?

The answer is so very simple. Both Israelis and Palestinians fear the loss of financial help from the U.S. and the EU, not to speak of the world’s disapproval if they don’t enthusiastically and vigorously engage in peace talks.

But back to Professor Lustick’s warning that the Jewish state at some not-too-distant future is about to disappear.

Human Wisdom Says Israel Is Fated to Disappear

Lustick is right! According to human reasoning, Israel is on its way out. It’s one thing to have 42 million armed Arabs working toward your demise. It’s still another to have 1.6 billion Muslims whose Quran says to kill the Jews. It’s even a greater threat when the entire United Nations continuously bashes Israel by passing resolution after resolution against Israel’s “apartheid state,” designed to brand her a parasite nation.

But when almost all of the Western democratic states—Europe, Scandinavia and sadly even Great Britain—stand against Israel and launch serious sanctions to choke off her economy, the peril is undeniable.

But alas, that is not all. When Israelis watch the United States, the No. 1 world power and Israel’s most faithful ally, weakening as a nation before their very eyes, reality says hope seems lost. But God!

Why Did God Repeat Himself So Often?

I used to wonder years ago why God repeated Himself so many times through His prophets, saying in the last days He was going to bring the Jewish people back to their homeland, declaring He would save, heal and deliver them. He would open their eyes. He would forgive their sins. He would heal their backsliding. He would make them strong against their enemies.

There are literally hundreds of such Scriptures. As I heard an amazing Orthodox rabbi say last night at the Eagles Wings’ Day of Prayer in Jerusalem, “The Bible is more powerful than the New York Times!”

The reason for this repetition is obvious. God did not want us to miss His intentions for Israel. Without God’s miraculous intervention, without His protection, without His promise to preserve Israel from her enemies, there is absolutely no hope at all.

What About Israel’s Salvation?

Here in Israel we see a nation of Jewish people who are yet far away from their God and His Word. In the midst of this spiritual wasteland, the Messianic Jewish believers are giving their lives to see our people come to salvation. We don’t see it yet. Well, perhaps we see a cloud the size of a man’s hand. But you can be sure that it is entirely a walk of faith. Strong faith.

So we are greatly encouraged when we see how year after year, God protects this nation against all odds. It’s just as it was when Yeshua the Messiah told a paralyzed man that his sins were forgiven. The Pharisees didn’t believe He had authority to do that. But then Yeshua said, “Which is easier—to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?”

If God has been displaying His amazing power by preserving the modern state of Israel through countless wars, physical and verbal attacks from every side, and the determination of the world body to sanction her out of existence, then we know He will forgive Israel’s sins and the day will surely come when “all Israel shall be saved.”

This article was originally posted on the Maoz Israel Report.

Source: STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

World Bank Report on Palestinian Economy May Contain More Assumptions Than Realities.


World Bank
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) and Salam Fayyad (center), former prime minister of the Palestinian National Authority, look over a map during their visit to the West Bank‘s Area C, outside Ramallah. A new World Bank report, entitled ‘Area C and the Future of the Palestinian Economy,’ blames Israel for shortcomings within the Palestinian economy. (U.N. Photo/Mark Garten)

A new World Bank report that blames Israel for shortcomings within the Palestinian economy may be based more on assumptions for the future than on current realities.

The 70-page study, entitled “Area C and the Future of the Palestinian Economy,” was published Oct. 8. Conducted over a period of three years, it posits that Israeli restrictions on travel and access to resources in Israeli-controlled territories cost the Palestinian Authority an estimated $3.4 billion.

Yet a close look at the report reveals it makes numerous assumptions about Palestinian aspirations and behavior patterns, establishes a series of questionable multipliers, and downplays the significance of complex political factors and security realities, according to Steven Plaut, professor of economics at the University of Haifa.

“I think the World Bank doesn’t fully understand the Israeli economy or the Palestinian economy. What’s worse, they have a political agenda. They produce findings to match their political agenda,” Plaut told JNS.org.

“I think they are making it up as it goes along,” he said.

According to the report, “The total potential value added for alleviating today’s restrictions on the access to and activity and production in Area C is likely to amount to $3.4bn or thirty-five per cent of Palestinian GDP in 2011.”

Area C represents areas that are under full Israeli military and municipal jurisdiction according to the internationally recognized Oslo Accords, signed in 1993 by Israel and the Palestinians.

“Unleashing the potential from that ‘restricted land’—access to which is currently constrained by layers of restrictions—and allowing Palestinians to put these resources to work would provide whole new areas of economic activity and set the economy on the path to sustainable growth,” says Mariam Sherman, who directed operations for the World Bank in the West Bank and Gaza.

The new World Bank findings strongly suggest Israel is to blame for Palestinian economic failings. The report focuses most heavily on three areas: agriculture in land Palestinians do not have access to, allocations of water resources and exploitable resources and tourism surrounding the Dead Sea.

The report postulates the Palestinian economy would grow if Palestinians had access to invest in Dead Sea mineral works and tourism, areas that are currently controlled by Israel and could potentially remain in Israel’s possession as part of any bilateral permanent peace agreement.

“Part of the problem is the starting assumption that in the near future, the Palestinians will have their own state,” Plaut told JNS.org. “Economic reports that are meant to prepare the Palestinians for statehood, as opposed to current economic realities, are not helpful.”

The report also looks at agriculture in Israel’s Judea and Samaria communities as an indicator of loss and potential for the Palestinian economy. The report suggests that if Palestinians had access to the fertile ground of Israeli communities—no different than the adjacent grounds of Palestinian-controlled areas A and B—the Palestinians would be able to develop similar agricultural production.

Yet in 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew residents from 21 Jewish communities in Gaza and turned over greenhouses that were producing millions of dollars in agricultural exports to local Palestinians. Rather than utilizing the existing infrastructure for economic output, Palestinians destroyed the greenhouses.

Today, the former Jewish communities of Gaza are known more for their use as launching pads for rockets against Israeli cities than for Palestinian agricultural output.

Many in Israel believe that should Israel withdraw from territories it controls in Judea and Samaria, those territories would suffer the same fate as the once-vibrant communities in Gaza.

Rather than holding Palestinians accountable for nontransparent governance, misappropriation of foreign donations and the consistent promotion of terror that has led Israel to taking severe security measures, the report blames Israel for the potential effect such measures might have on a Palestinian economy.

In response to the report, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor states, “It postulates an abstract economy which is detached from all political and security aspects, unrelated to regional and global trends, and therefore totally unrealistic.”

“Pretending that all these key factors do not exist, or do not influence heavily the Palestinian economy, makes for a particularly partial rendering of the actual situation,” Palmor says.

One particular security measure that drew the attention of the report is checkpoints—barriers designed to curb the flow of terrorists and weapons from Palestinian communities into Israeli villages.

“It’s not the checkpoints, it’s the terrorism,” Plaut told JNS.org. “If somebody doesn’t like the economic damage caused by checkpoints, then the first thing that should be done is to stop the terrorism.”

In the same week the World Bank report was released, a Palestinian from the town of al-Bireh broke through security apparatus into the neighboring Jewish community of Psagot and shot a 9-year-old Israeli girl in the neck at point-blank range.

According to Plaut, Palestinians would be the first to benefit from a cessation of terror.

“If we talk strictly about economics, the policy that is best for Palestinians is free trade with Israel. Any barriers to economic trade hurt both sides. In the absence of terrorism, Israel has no reason to withhold the trading of resources or commodities,” he says.

While the World Bank report attempts to calculate the effects that Israeli security arrangements have on the Palestinian economy, it fails to consider the economic impact that expensive round-the-clock security measures have on the Israeli economy, Plaut believes.

“The costs are probably higher to Israelis, but Israel can afford it. Israel is a well-developed, prosperous country, whereas the Palestinian economy is underdeveloped,” he says.

In Plaut’s estimation, the primary recipient of blame for Palestinian economic incompetence should be the Palestinian Authority itself.

“If you would take away the foreign aid, the standard of living for Palestinians would drop down to third-world levels, similar to what we currently see in Jordan,” he says. “Palestinians in the West Bank, and particularly in Gaza, are living under a cleptocracy, governed by Fatah and Hamas. Economic prosperity for Palestinians is not necessarily an Israeli issue.”

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

ALEX TRAIMAN/JNS.ORG

Manhunt Underway After Israeli Soldier Killed in West Bank Shooting.


JERUSALEM — Israeli troops were on Monday hunting for a suspected Palestinian gunman who shot a soldier dead in Hebron, days after another Palestinian killed a soldier in a separate incident.

The killings have sparked questions over the fate of peace talks relaunched last month after a three-year hiatus, with Israeli ministers calling on the government to reconsider its involvement in negotiations with the Palestinians.

The United States condemned both attacks, which it said “undermine efforts to establish the positive atmosphere the parties need to progress in peace negotiation.”

Editor’s Note: Should ObamaCare Be Defunded? Vote in Urgent National Poll 

The Israeli military said on Sunday that a soldier died in hospital after sustaining gunshot wounds in the southern West Bank city Hebron, later identifying him as 20-year-old Sergeant Gabriel Koby from Tirat Hacarmel in northern Israel.

Israeli police had earlier said the soldier had been shot, “probably by terrorists,” although the gunman had fled the scene, sparking a massive manhunt in Hebron.

A military spokeswoman told AFP on Monday that most of the roadblocks that had been used to seal off the city the previous night were removed by the morning and the army was continuing searches in a “more specific” manner.

The spokeswoman noted the army had apprehended two Palestinians for holding hunting rifles, but said they were not connected to the Sunday incident.

The shooting took place close to the volatile Cave of the Patriarchs, which is considered holy to both Jews and Muslims, during the week-long Jewish holiday of Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles, which began on Thursday and has seen thousands of Jewish visitors to the biblical city.

On Saturday, Israel discovered the body of Tomer Hazan, a 20-year-old soldier who had been lured to a village in the northern West Bank on Friday and killed by a Palestinian man with whom he had worked in a seaside town near Tel Aviv.

Army spokesman Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai ruled out a link between the two killings and rebuffed suggestions they indicated a deterioration in Israel’s security situation.

“We see these as isolated incidents,” Mordechai said in a statement, “not as a new trend.”

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon announced he would be holding consultations Monday with members of the security establishment.

Senior Cabinet minister Naftali Bennett said the two attacks should push Israel to reconsider its involvement in peace talks with the Palestinians.

“Under the auspices of negotiation celebrations, Sukkot has turned into a festival of bloodshed and harm to Israeli soldiers,” he said in a letter sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“There is no doubt that there have been unfortunate developments since the start of the negotiations which require the government to reconsider its path,” he wrote.

And Transportation Minister Israel Katz, of Netanyahu’s Likud party, slammed the Palestinian Authority for not condemning the two killings and called for a halt to the planned release of a second batch of Palestinian prisoners, after Israel set 26 free ahead of talks last month.

“Another group [of Palestinian prisoners] is about to be released,” he said in a statement. “Now is the time to stop.”

Editor’s Note: Should ObamaCare Be Defunded? Vote in Urgent National Poll 

© AFP 2013
Source: NEWSmax.com

Just Like Israelis, Palestinians Deserve Justice.


Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (left) and former PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (left) and former PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat. (Maoz Israel)

I believe it is possible to support the human rights of both Israelis and Palestinians. I don’t think in order to be a Zionist or in order to support Israel, you have to be against the rights of Palestinians.

And I don’t think that if you appreciate Palestinian human rights, you have to condemn the state of Israel and Zionism. It is completely possible to support and advocate for human rights on both sides of the track.

In fact, there is really nobody more critical of the Israeli government than Israelis. We have a very, very intense civil debate; newspapers and journalists aggressively criticize our government.

My organization, the Jerusalem Institute for Justice, has invested the past nine years in actually calling the Israeli government to account on issues of human rights, civil rights, freedom of religion and social justice. We’re calling the Israeli government to stand on the very standards and laws that it created.

Our founding fathers determined we would be a Jewish and a democratic state and that there would be equality for all the citizens within our borders. We challenge the Israeli government on many of these issues.

We have noticed that because Israel has a high standard of democracy and because we have the rule of law and independent courts that are not ashamed to criticize and make decisions against our government, there is an avenue where our voice will be heard.

Because of that, most advocacy on behalf of Palestinian human rights is directed only against the Israeli government, which is there to listen when someone speaks out. And because of that, many of the human rights organizations in the international community working in the Middle East have basically given a carte blanche to the Palestinian Authority to abuse the human rights of the Palestinian people.

There is very, very little criticism coming against the behavior of the Palestinian Authority. Why? No one is there to listen.

I think all of us should be interested in having a stable Middle East; that is beyond question. But beyond just wanting stability in the Middle East, we should care about issues affecting the Palestinian Authority—because your tax money is currently funding much of its activities.

A Lot of Money

The Palestinian Authority receives, on average, around €500 million ($650 million) per year from the European Union. That amount is more or less matched by the United States. Also, Canada and Japan are generous donors. We’re talking about more than €1 billion per year coming into the coffers of the Palestinian Authority. That is your tax money. You should be concerned how it is being spent.

In fact, over the last 19 years, from the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1994 until today, the Palestinians have received more than 25 times more aid per capita than the amount of money donated from the United States to Europe under the Marshall Plan after World War II.

The Marshall Plan paid for the complete reconstruction and rehabilitation of the European economy. Let me put this in simple terms: With the monies donated to the Palestinian Authority over the last 19 years, we could have reconstructed the European economy 25 times!

Where Does the Money Go?

What has happened to this money? Where has all the money gone? And why are Palestinians still living in abject poverty throughout the Middle East?

I’ll tell you that much of the funds have been siphoned off to the private bank accounts of the Palestinian leaders. Other funds have been used to stockpile weapons, to build the biggest police force per capita of any nation in the world and to support education that diametrically opposes Western principles and values and supports racism, anti-Semitism and hatred. This is how your money has been used.

According to Arabic newspaper reports, Mahmoud Abbas, the current president of the Palestinian Authority, receives a salary of €1 million per month!

This is more than 30 times the salary of President Barack Obama and 90 times the salary of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. According to Arabic bloggers, Mahmoud Abbas is estimated to be worth €100 million personally; that’s his personal net worth. He is also relatively young, so probably by the time he reaches the age of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, when he passes away, he might be worth more. In Arafat’s own private bank accounts, accountants found investments of more than €1.3 billion ($1.7 billion) upon his death.

So what we have happening right now in the Palestinian Authority is that all this massive aid coming from Europe and the United States is going to make a few individual leaders at the top of the system rich, but it is not filtering down to actually build the proper institutions within the Palestinian Authority.

What Rule of Law?

Over the last year, the Palestinian Authority has made more than 1,700 arbitrary arrests that have been reported by international human rights organizations. Arbitrary arrests, degrading treatment, torture, executions without trial. Just three weeks ago, for instance, there was a 21-year-old man named Anas Awwad who received a one-and-a-half-year prison sentence for posting a joke about Mahmoud Abbas on his Facebook page.

This is very troubling to me. It is troubling to me because I live and work in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is only a few kilometers from Nablus. I live in Israeli society, where we have freedom of religion, freedom of expression, human rights, civil rights and a very active media. I can write whatever I want on my blog about the prime minister without any fear of repercussion.

This is why I am so passionate about calling upon the international community to get engaged in this issue, to start monitoring the funds going into this government and demanding human rights reforms. If anyone in the world can demand human rights reforms of the Palestinians, it is the Western democracies that are sending all this money.

A State of Their Own?

I personally believe that the right for the Palestinians to have a state should be based upon their ability to properly govern their own people. It should be based upon their ability to uphold democracy, the rule of law, human rights and individual freedoms. If their right to a state is only based upon some historical claim to land, creating a state today will only create more problems and actually complicate life and make it worse—not only for the Israelis, but also for the Palestinians.

So this process of starting to review and challenge the human rights abuses in the Palestinian Authority is a very important step to finding a solution to our region. People are more important than the land, and if you put land above the people, you’ll get a graveyard. So it is critical that we use human rights as our compass, in order to reach an equitable solution to the conflict in the Middle East.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

CALEV MYERS

Attorney Calev Myers is an Israeli human rights activist for both Jews and Arabs. This article is an excerpt from a fascinating yet critically important speech he recently gave at the University of Helsinki in Finland.

For the original article, visit maozisrael.com.

Suspicious Objects Teach Israelis Not to be ‘Stupid’.


Israeli school
Students at the Orot Etzion Girls School in Efrat began their second day of school with an evacuation due to a bomb scare. (Jonathan Feldstein)

As summer vacation drew to a close, one afternoon I found myself sitting with my eight-year-old son, watching cartoons on TV and taking a break from playing outside. I have no idea what cartoon he was watching, and admittedly was not paying much attention to it, checking emails instead, but my son was paying close attention, and I learned a lot from this.

“That kid’s stupid, right Abba?” he asked.

With him being the sixth kid, we are beyond the “stupid is not a nice word,” age. So, rather than focusing on his language, I was puzzled what he was talking about. “What kid are you talking about?” thinking he meant a real person. “Where?”

“That one, on TV,” he answered without hesitation.

For an instant, I thought he might have been suffering from too much heat, talking about a cartoon character on TV and assessing it to be stupid. “What do you mean? Why is he stupid?” I asked, curious and puzzled.

“He opened that box,’ using the Hebrew phrase for ‘suspicious object.’ If it were a bomb he could have been killed.”

Immediately I understood what my son was talking about. He learned something just by living in Israel, something I never remember teaching him. Any abandoned object could be a “suspicious object” and any “suspicious object” could be a bomb.

Israelis know this intuitively from no shortage of incidents, especially before suicide bombers began using their bodies as suspicious objects, where explosives have been left masked in things as large as duffle bags near a bus station, to as small and mundane as coke can on the street.

The response to finding an ownerless suspicious object is to call security that will arrive immediately, cordon off an area, and use various high tech robotic means to assess the nature of the object, blowing it up if needed. Certainly, what my son learned and shared with me, albeit indirectly, is that one never opens and explores a suspicious object independently. In his mind, and from his worldview, doing so was stupid. It’s hard to argue with.

Although the cartoon he was watching was dubbed in Hebrew, it was an American cartoon. I tried to explain that to him and that in America, people don’t think as much about suspicious objects as we do in Israel. I’m not sure he understood, but it seemed to satisfy him enough at the moment. Mostly, I was proud that he knows what a suspicious object is, and what to do.

This is the same son who, two years earlier, came home from school after a national earthquake drill to share with me the difference between what one does in case of an earthquake, in case of a rocket attack or in case of a terrorist in the school. I’d never thought I’d raise kids to be so “sophisticated” so young, but am glad that they know what to do, as much as one can be prepared, if any of these incidents occur.

It’s one of the mixed blessings about living in Israel. Balancing the challenges of raising children with very real threats around us, and the awareness that this is far too normal, so they need to be aware of their environment in a way much different than in most of the rest of the world.

I remember when studying in Israel in the 1980s there was no shortage of road closures, buses evacuated, and bags being checked going into grocery stores all because of, or to prevent, suspicious objects from exploding. Even toy dolls in the wrong place at the wrong time became suspect. In that era, terrorists also sabotaged Israeli exports not only to harm people, but also to terrorize countries that imported Israeli products.

While the advent of suicide terrorists changed the dynamic in untold ways, leaving more than 1,600 Israelis killed a decade ago mostly from suicide terrorists, the concern over suspicious objects still permeates Israeli society. Mostly these create an inconvenience, like the times I’ve sat in traffic for hours waiting for sappers to clear an area. We still have bags checked while walking into grocery stores, malls and the like, and cars checked driving into most public parking areas.

But sometimes these suspicious objects are actually dangerous—like the suitcase that exploded outside a crowded bus stop in Jerusalem a few years ago, killing a Christian tourist from Britain and injuring many others. I’ll never forget the story of the woman I helped to a bus in the north to come to Jerusalem. She forgot to retrieve her small suitcase from the cargo space beneath the bus, so it was treated as a suspicious object and blown up.

This year, on the second day of school, I was dropping off my kids and noticed a lot of traffic and security people leaving my neighborhood. I didn’t give it a second thought. Police often help out directing traffic and making sure that kids arrive safely the first week of school.

But coming back into my neighborhood, traffic was worse than ever before. The mayor was outside informing people in all the vehicles waiting that a suspicious object had been found in the school at the corner—my daughter’s school—the one at which I dropped her off 10 minutes earlier.

My heart skipped a beat and I knew it was one of those “Only in Israel” moments. I knew that authorities had everything in control, kids were outside waiting patiently under supervision of teachers, administrators and army and police. But still, it was unsettling to think of a school being targeted.

An hour later, an automated message went out to all the residents of our neighborhood, on our cell phones and home phones—all clear. As much as my heart skipped a beat an hour earlier, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. A neighbor witnessed and filmed the scene when the suspicious object was detonated, a very inauspicious way to start the school year.

This is the same week that Israeli security uncovered a plan by two young Palestinian Arabs connected to Hamas to use their working in a popular Jerusalem mall to plant a bomb just for such an attack.  Other than this underscoring our reality here, it is ironic because one of the reasons given for relative lack of security at this mall is that its’ stores and restaurants are popular with Arabs and Jews, and many Arab work there as well.  Surely, the thinking goes, they wouldn’t kill their own. But one doesn’t have to look too far for the plethora of examples where that’s in fact commonplace.

Part of living among neighbors who don’t accept our right to be here, and who sanctify death over life, is an ongoing apprehension that a forgotten backpack in a school yard on the second day of class could be a bomb. We are also aware that anything not even related to us in one of our neighboring countries could spill over and threaten Israeli lives, or escalate to an all-out battle.

But the alternatives, not to live here, or not to live period, are not acceptable. So, we will continue to live here, teach our kids to be aware of their environment, learn with them from these lessons, pray and be grateful for God’s continued protection, and always choose and sanctify life.

Note: This column also appeared in a recent online edition of the Jerusalem Post.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ STANDING WITH ISRAEL.

Jonathan Feldstein is the director of Heart to Heart, a unique virtual blood donation program to bless Israel and save lives in Israel. Born and educated in the U.S., Feldstein emigrated to Israel in 2004. He is married and the father of six. Throughout his life and career, he has been blessed by the calling to fellowship with Christian supporters of Israel and shares experiences of living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel. He writes a weekly column for Charisma’s Standing With Israel.

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