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UK suspends $30 million in aid to Palestinian Authority over payment of terrorists' salaries

Posted by Tip Staff - October 07, 2016


 

The United Kingdom has frozen roughly $30 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) over concerns that taxpayer money is being used to pay the salaries of Palestinian terrorists, The Sun reported Friday. The frozen funds amount to around one-third of the UK’s yearly aid to the PA.
While the Palestinian Authority does not deny that it pays salaries to terrorists and their families, it claims that the funds come from the Palestine Liberation Organization, not the PA’s budget. However, Yigal Carmon, president and founder of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), told Congress in July that in order to mislead donor countries who were pressuring the PA to stop rewarding terrorism, the PA transferred the role of distribution of money in 2014 from a ministry in the PA to a commission in the PLO. He added that the PA is still the source of the funding, and that the official overseeing the payments remains the same. (Palestinian Media Watch has also reported that the money is still controlled by the same officials and comes from the PA’s budget, albeit indirectly.)
In August, the UK suspended donations to the charity World Vision after Israel arrested the director of the group’s Gaza branch, who confessed to funneling millions of dollars to the terrorist group Hamas. (Similarly, Australia and Germany have suspended their donations to World Vision in the wake of the revelations, while Germany’s Foreign Ministry acknowledged last month that its aid money to the PA is likely being used to provide funds to terrorists and their families.)
Critics have long called for greater transparency in the distribution of foreign aid payment to Palestinians, who are the largest per capita recipients of international development aid in the world. A Global Humanitarian Assistance report cited by Israeli MK Tzipi Hotovely in The Wall Street Journal in January found that Palestinians received $793 million in international aid in 2013, amounting to $176 for each Palestinian. That same year, Syrians were given $106 in development assistance per capita, while eight of the remaining top ten recipients — Sudan, South Sudan, Jordan, Lebanon, Somalia, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo — received, on average, $15.30 per capita. Foreign aid amounted to about a quarter of the PA’s entire budget in 2012, Hotovely noted.

 

Antonio Guterres will take the helm as United Nation Secretary-General in January 2017, an appointment welcomed by the pro-Israel community. Former Israeli officials (particularly those on the left) familiar with Guterres expressed their support for the incoming UN chief, who visited Israel in 1993 as secretary-general of the Portuguese Socialist Party. His tour included the Western Wall, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, and kibbutzim in the Galilee under the guidance of his interpreter Avraham “Moshka” Hatzamri, a Labor Party head who described Guterres as “a true friend of Israel” in his memoirs.
Guterres also established close relationships with former prime ministers Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak, both of whom visited him during their respective terms. Barak told Army Radio in an interview on Thursday, “I am sure he will be fair,” and posted a picture of himself with Guterres on Twitter, paying tribute to their 20 years of friendship.
Netanyahu’s UN envoy appointee Danny Danon also remained optimistic about the selection: “I hope that this change in leadership will bring an end to the [United Nations’] hostility towards the Jewish state.” The UN has a history of anti-Israel bias, routinely singling out Israel for condemnation and ridicule.

 
Israeli lawmaker Meirav Ben-Ami, who announced before Rosh Hashanah that she was pregnant through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and is having the baby with her gay friend, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Ben-Ami, who is 40 and an MK from the centrist Kulanu party, said that she has received a large number of congratulatory messages and phone calls, as well as congratulations from fellow MKs, including Haredim and Arabs. On her way to the interview, she was approached by an Orthodox Jewish woman who offered her congratulations; Ben-Ami said, “[T]hat woman [who approached me] is not the first, even today. I got really, really good comments about the article, from politicians, from people I know, from people I don’t know.”
Alexandra Kalev, a sociology professor at Tel Aviv University, explained, “She is sending an important message that women have the right to a family however they want it, even if that means breaking the traditional categories.”According to JTA, “Israel is the only country that pays for infertile couples to have two babies with IVF, and mothers are entitled to 14 weeks paid maternity leave. Fathers can take the time in place of their wives, or take five paid days along with them.”Ben-Ami said, “From a Jewish point of view, the baby is the important thing, even if it’s from a gay man, even if you’re 40. Of course we’d prefer this or that, but yalla, we can’t wait forever.”
 

Israel’s contender for the best foreign-language film for the Oscars is Sand Storm, a family drama based in a Bedouin community in the Negev Desert. In January, the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce its 2017 shortlist of foreign-language film nominees. Israel hopes its first-ever Arabic-language submission will be on that list. The film tells the story of two Bedouin women struggling to change the patriarchal rules of their society. “This emotionally intelligent first feature offers a sympathetic but clear-eyed look at the tangled skein of inequalities that entrap women (and the men they love and resent) in a Bedouin village stranded between modernization and anachronistic patriarchy,” reads a Variety review. Sand Storm recently won six Ophir Awards – the Oscars equivalent in Israel – from the Israeli Academy of Film and Television. Honors included best director for Elite Zexer and best film. Sand Storm is Israel’s 49th submission for the best foreign-language film category at the Oscars. Ten of these films have made the shortlist – the last in 2012, Footnote by Joseph Cedar.(via Israel21c)


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