Billions of dollars in international aid granted to the Palestinian Authority (PA/PLO) may have been squandered, lost to corruption, or misspent, a new report by the European Court of Auditors, the Luxembourg-based watchdog, revealed, The Sunday Times reported.
Roughly €2.3 billion ($3 billion) made its way from Europe to the Arab-occupied territories between 2008 and 2012, but much of it is unaccounted for the report said. It's important to realize that this report only focuses on the money which came from European nations. It does not take into account the $3.5 billion given to the PA/PLO by the United States between 2008 and 2012 or other the billions given by other nations. More than 60% of the Palestinian Authority's Gross National Product comes from the United States, European Union, United Nations, World Bank, and others countries, according to a 2011 study conducted by economic analyst Eyal Ofer in cooperation with President of Financial Immunities consulting firm Adam Roiter. That study also revealed that while the PA/PLO prime minister brags in front of foreign institutions over the scope of tax collection in the PA/PLO, he forgets to mention that 77% of all taxes are collected by the Israeli Finance Ministry as part of a joint agreement between Israel and the PA/PLO. The former then transfers the latter more than NIS 5 billion (about $1.4 billion) per year, which amounts to approximately a third of the PA/PLO's annual budget.
A law enabling US citizens born in Jerusalem to list Israel as their birthplace on US passports is unconstitutional because it infringes on the president's executive power, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled on Tuesday (July 23, 2013).
In 2003, Ari and Naomi Zivotofsky, the parents of Jerusalem-born Menachem Zivotofsky, filed a lawsuit demanding that the US State Department enforce the law passed by Congress in 2002 so that Menachem could list "Jerusalem, Israel" as the birthplace on his passport. Last year, the US Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that the appeals court needed to rule on the enforcement issue.
This past Tuesday night (July 30, 2013), Police Commander Avi Bitton (who is in charge of the holy sites) announced that the Temple Mount will stay closed to Jews and to tourists at least till after Eid al-Fitr (Muslim Feast of Breaking the Fast), which is next Sunday, 5 Elul 5774 / August 11, 2013. The only "explanation" offered was a bland sign which simply read "Today the Temple Mount will be closed to visitors." Those restrictions did not, however, apply to Muslim visitors, who continue to receive unrestricted access.
This is breaking the rules. Even if they really will open it to non-Muslims (which now no longer is for sure) this current Ramadan, a dangerous precedent was set — most of the past month the Temple mount was closed or almost closed to non-Muslims. Since the beginning of Ramadan, Muslims have upped their campaign to prevent Jews from setting foot on the Temple Mount — let alone praying there.
At this very moment, it is being reported that chief Palestinian [sic] negotiator Saeb Erekat and Dr. Mohammad Shtayyeh are in Washington D.C. representing the Palestinians in renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks instigated by [United States] Secretary of State John Kerry.
But a quick glance at the official Facebook page of Dr. Shtayyeh betrays the true motives of the second most senior Palestinian negotiator, advocating the destruction of the entirety of the State of Israel.
When thinking of the reestablishment of the nation of Israel most people usually think of the Holocaust. (And although that atrocity did bring a worldwide focus on the need of a State for the Jewish people, it was not the predominant factor in its reestablishment. The regathering of the Jewish people back to their homeland had begun over 50 years earlier, in the latter part of the nineteenth century.) For those who know some of the history, stories of the British refusing Jews entry into Palestine also come to mind. But one story which stands out — and many people tend to forget — is the account of the Jewish refugee ship known as Exodus 1947.
The true story of the Exodus is largely unknown, forgotten for the most part. It's not the story told by Leon Uris in his 1958 best-selling book, Exodus, nor is it the 1960 movie produced and directed by Otto Preminger, nor is it the movie's theme music by Ernest Gold. It is a story of drama, courage, determination, tragedy, and resolution in the face of cold-hearted anti-Jewish brutality. It's the story of David (the Jewish people) and Goliath (the British, Arab and other nations).
The United States is leaking information to the media in order to avert an Israeli strike in Iran. The US Administration recently shifted into high gear in its efforts to avert an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities by the end of the year. The flood of reports in the American media in recent weeks attests not only to the genuine US fear that Israel intends to realize its threats; moreover, it indicates that the Obama Administration has decided to take its gloves off.
Indeed, in recent weeks the Administration shifted from persuasion efforts vis-à-vis decision-makers and Israel's public opinion to a practical, targeted assassination of potential Israeli operations in Iran. This "surgical strike" is undertaken via reports in the American and British media, but the campaign's aims are fully operational: To make it more difficult for Israeli decision-makers to order the IDF (Israel Defense Force) to carry out a strike, and what's even graver, to erode the IDF's capacity to launch such strike with minimal casualties.
In a press conference in Washington on April 30th U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that Egypt is not at peace with Israel.
In response to reporter's question about what is now being called the "Arab League land swap proposal" Kerry declared:
"This is literally a statement by the Arab world that they are prepared to make peace providing the Palestinians [sic] and Israelis reach a final status agreement. I don't think you can underestimate the — I don't underestimate the significance of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, [United] Arab Emirates, the Egyptians, the Jordanians, and others coming to the table and saying, 'We are prepared to make peace now in 2013' ..."
A new report published on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel noted a 30 percent increase in anti-Semitic violence and vandalism worldwide in 2012.
The report, by Tel Aviv University's Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, said the past year had seen "an alarming rise in the number of terrorist attacks and attempted attacks against Jewish targets, and an escalation in violent incidents against Jews worldwide."
The report presented an extensive review of various anti-Semitic trends, including anti-Semitic discourse in the public and political spheres and similar expressions on the Internet, especially in social media. Facebook and Twitter, the report said, have become a breeding ground for anti-Semitic and fascist groups promoting hatred against Jews.
It is a Torah axiom, first brought down in the Tanakh (Bible) and elaborated upon by the Talmud, that the final redemption will climax with the enormous battle between the Jewish people and Gog and the nations of the world who come up with him against the land of Israel.
But this entire concept is understood only superficially by the average yeshiva student and certainly the place of the State of Israel and the return of the exiles in the context of Gog is, at best, vague. And in this connection is the question that is asked by numerous Jews again including yeshiva students:
What guarantees us that the state of Israel will survive and is it not possible that, G‑d forbid, it will be destroyed?
"And Pharaoh called to Moses, saying: Go and worship the L‑rd. Only your sheep and cattle will remain — your children will also go with you. And Moses said: You will also give us offerings and sacrifices for the L‑rd our G-d, and our flocks will go with us..." (Exodus 10:24-26)
The ninth plague — darkness — has struck Egypt with a vengeance and Pharaoh breaks. Step by step he has retreated and after the eighth plague — locusts — he was prepared to allow the Jews to leave except for their children. Now he surrenders almost entirely as he agrees that all the Jews can leave. He only asks one thing, one compromise, one small victory for himself: that the Jewish cattle remain behind.
Consider: the Jews have been slaves for 210 years. They have lived in misery and persecution. They suffered decrees such as the one casting their male children into the sea. They cried out unto the L‑rd for freedom and salvation. Now, apparently the great moment has arrived! Pharaoh agrees that they shall go free! What does it matter that he asks for their cattle? Give it to him! The main thing is peace and salvation and we are willing to give up cattle for peace!