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Tuesday, May. 21 '19, ט"ז באייר תשע"ט


by Maurice Hirsch, N.J. Zilberdik

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is currently facing a financial crisis, the World Bank reported.

The crisis, however, is self-induced and caused as a direct result of a decision by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to drag the Palestinian economy into an abyss, in order to preserve the PA's policy of encouraging terror and rewarding terrorists with generous salaries.

The sole reason for the economic crisis is the refusal of the PA to accept the tax revenues that Israel collects and transfers to the PA. These tax revenues - over 8 billion shekels in 2018 - account for, on average over the last five years, 50% of the PA's annual operating budget.

The PA is refusing to accept the taxes due to the decision of the Israeli Security Cabinet, taken in February this year after the rape and murder of Ori Ansbacher, to deduct 502 million shekels (in twelve equal deductions each in the sum of approximately 42 million shekels) from them. The amount the government decided to deduct is the amount that the PA publicly admitted that it paid in salaries and various benefits to imprisoned terrorists and released terrorists in 2018.

The refusal of the PA to receive the remaining amount of tax money was made clear immediately after Israel's decision to deduct the funds, as explained by Riad al-Maliki, Palestinian Authority (PA) official in charge of foreign affairs:

 📹 To watch the video:

In the video, al-Maliki can be heard saying, "It was agreed yesterday in a meeting with His Honor the President [Abbas] to send an official message to the Israeli side, according to which we will not agree to accept any partial amount of the tax money that is to be officially transferred to the Palestinian side. This message has been conveyed to the Israeli side in a clear manner." [Official PA TV, Feb. 21, 2019]

Even if it were possible to argue that specifically the deducted funds caused the economic crisis, figures obtained by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) following a request to the Ministry of Finance under the Freedom of Information Law prove that even after Israel deducted from tax transfers the amount the PA spends on salaries to terrorist prisoners, the PA would have still received more money in the first two months of 2019 than it received on average per month in 2018. Tax revenues in the first two months of 2019 increased by a total of 109 million shekels, while the amount of the deduction was only 42 million shekels - a positive difference in favor of the PA of 67 million shekels.

In January 2019, before the Cabinet's decision to make the deduction, the taxes collected for the PA amounted to more than 743 million shekels, and in February, the taxes collected amounted to more than 728 million shekels.

In 2018, the tax revenues amounted to an average of 670 million shekels per month. In other words, even after deducting the 42 million shekels, the tax revenues in February totaled more than 686 million shekels, 16 million shekels more than the monthly average in 2018.
Credit: Palestinian Media Watch

Abbas' decision to refuse the tax revenues from Israel is based on the PA's basic principle that the terrorists - all of them, without distinction between stone throwers and murderers, between members of Fatah or Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad or the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, etc. - did not carry out acts of terror but only did what the PA "ordered them to do":

 📹 To watch the video:

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: "I demand [the release of] prisoners because they are human beings, who did what we, we, ordered them to do. We - the [Palestinian] Authority. They should not be punished while we sit at one table negotiating. Besides, they spent many years in prison. How much longer? Do they have to spend all their life in prison and even die there?" [Official PA TV, Feb. 14, 2005]

The PA goes even further when it sees the terrorists - all of them - as their "soldiers." Nabil Abu Rudeina, Deputy Chairman and the PA official in charge of information, recently reiterated this position in a meeting with Israeli journalists. Referring to the financial crisis and the demand that the PA stop paying the salaries of the terrorists Abu Rudeina said:

"This is a red line and Israel needs to understand this. It is impossible to send a soldier to war and then not take care of his family. We are talking about someone who acts on our behalf and receives orders from us." [Kan (Israeli TV), April 16, 2019]

Recently, Abbas himself defended the policy of paying salaries and explained:

 📹 To watch the video:

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: "We have been paying salaries to the families of the Martyrs, to the prisoners, and to the wounded since 1965. This is because they were killed, imprisoned, or wounded because of a national interest and for the sake of a national interest, and not for personal reasons." [Official PA TV, April 21, 2019; speech at the Arab League conference in Cairo]

It was this dogma - to see murderers and other terrorists as soldiers of the PA - that brought the PA to institutionalize and establish, even in legislation, the entitlement of imprisoned and released terrorists to receive a monthly salary. It is this dogma that is behind the PA terrorist pay scale according to which the longer the terrorist is held in prison (similar to the worker who accumulates seniority in his workplace), the higher his salary.

It is now being argued that the PA is in danger of economic collapse only because of Israel's implementation of the law to deduct from the tax revenues. This claim is baseless. The PA's financial crisis is not the result of the deduction of the funds by the Israeli government. The financial crisis is a direct result of the decision of the PA to insist not only to continue to encourage terror and reward terrorists but also to demand that the State of Israel be a partner to this pugnacious policy and allow the PA to make the payments out of the tax revenues that Israel collects and transfers to it. It is also the result of the PA leadership's own decision to cripple the Palestinian economy - all in order to continue to paying generous salaries to terrorists.

It is important to remember, that while there were various proposals during the legislative process what to do with funds that were deducted from the PA taxes, the final decision was that the funds would be temporarily "frozen" and returned to the PA if it abolishes its policy and stops paying salaries to the terrorists.

The law that authorizes the deduction is the "Law to freeze money that the Palestinian Authority has paid in connection with terrorism from the money transferred to it by the government of Israel, 2018." The law was widely supported by the coalition and the opposition.

According to the law, the defense minister is supposed to prepare an annual report on PA payments transferred to imprisoned terrorists, released terrorists, wounded terrorists and families of killed terrorists (so-called "Martyrs"). After the approval of the report by the security cabinet, the Israeli government will deduct the amount the PA spent on payments to terrorists in the previous year from the taxes that Israel collects and transfers to the PA in the current year.

It is also important to note that the new law allows for the deduction not only the funds paid by the PA to imprisoned terrorists and released terrorists, but also the deduction of funds paid by the PA to wounded terrorists and families of dead terrorists. However, since the amount of the PA payments of this group has not yet been ascertained, the Cabinet has not yet decided to deduct them from tax revenues.

by Arutz Sheva Staff

A man roughly 60 years of age was found stabbed to death Tuesday morning in Jerusalem, police reported.

The victim was found in an apartment on Bar Yohai Street in the capital in an apparent murder.

Police have taken one male suspect into custody. Authorities are investigating the circumstances of the killing, but say the incident appears to be criminal, rather than terror-related.

MDA emergency first responders arrived at the scene, but were forced to declare the victim dead at the scene.

“When we arrived at the scene,” said MDA paramedic Yehonatan Pindrus, “we saw a man about 60 years of age lying at the entrance to an apartment. He was unconscious, had no heartbeat and was not breathing, and had a wound in his upper torso. We performing medical checks on him, but there were no vital signs, and we were forced to declare his death.”

by Chana Roberts

Tuesday will be clear or partly cloudy, with a significant rise in temperatures. Inland and mountainous areas will be warmer than seasonal average and may suffer a heat wave.

From Wednesday until Friday Israel's weather is expected to be extremely hot and dry, with the heat reaching its peak on Thursday and Friday and temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) across most of Israel. Humidity will be low and strong winds are expected to blow.

Israel's Health Ministry called on the public, elderly, and chronically ill to avoid exposure to heat and the sun, avoid unnecessary physical exertion, drink enough water, and stay in air conditioned places.

On Sunday, the National Fire and Rescue Authority warned Israelis to refrain from lighting bonfires on Lag B'Omer in potentially dangerous areas due to the expected heat wave.

On Monday evening, Fire Commissioner Dadi Simchi issued a statement banning bonfires in most of Israel.

"Due to the extreme weather conditions, which raise the change of fires, I forbid the lighting of bonfires, including lighting fires in open areas," Simchi wrote. The statement added that bonfires may be built only in areas pre-approved by local authorities, and in the Negev south of Route 25.

by Arutz Sheva Staff

After an ongoing campaign by “LGBT” organizations, the IDF has decided to make a revolutionary change and relinquish the definitions of "Mother" and "Father" in favor of "Parent 1" and "Parent 2", so as to prevent embarrassment during the stages of recruitment.

Galei Tzahal Army Radio reported that for years the army refrained from changing documentation so as not to get involved in political disagreements: In doing so now, the IDF is essentially giving official recognition to the existence of "LGBT” families.

The IDF Spokesperson stated that "The IDF updates and changes the questionnaires from time to time in accordance with the comments received and the needs that arise during the screening process."

The “Torat Lehima” group, which works to strengthen the Jewish character of the State and the IDF, said in response, "It is shocking to see how the IDF has succumbed to the progressive dictates and constructs of the LGBT organizations. Will Galei Tzahal now change its Friday program to ‘The Voice of Parent 2’? [Galei Tzahal currently runs a program called ‘The Voice of Mother.’] The IDF must stop dealing with constructs. It is inconceivable for Israeli culture to be shaped by the army without public debate - this is not its role."

by Elad Benari

Jason Greenblatt, the US Representative for International Negotiations, on Monday rejected reports claiming that the Trump administration’s peace plan for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) would only be economic in nature.

“To those falsely claiming our vision is just economic peace: we've been clear that the economic vision we present can't exist without the political component, and the political component can't succeed without the economic. Don't believe rumors the plan is only economic. It's not,” he wrote on Twitter.

 📹 To watch the video:

Senior White House officials said on Sunday that the Trump administration is planning to release the economic component of its upcoming Middle East peace plan in late June, adding that it would break up the release of the much-anticipated plan.

The first half of the plan, dubbed the “Deal of the Century” by President Donald Trump, will be released at an international summit in Manama, Bahrain on June 25 to 26. The US is playing down the summit, however, and is calling the event a "workshop".

The announcement that the plan would be released in two stages had led to speculation that it was solely economic in nature.

Meanwhile on Monday, the PA announced that it would boycott the economic conference.

PA “information minister” Nabil Abu Rudeineh said that the conference would be a meaningless meeting that was part of a meaningless plan.

"An economic agreement, with no political discussion on its side, will fail miserably, and we will not accept any proposal that does not include the basis for the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital," he declared.

Talks continue regarding the details of the political portion of the peace plan, which is widely rumored not to include provision for the establishment of a Palestinian state – a massive departure from previous American-led peace efforts.

While the Trump administration has largely remained mum on the details of the upcoming Middle East peace plan, some senior officials have hinted that the plan indeed will not provide for the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Last month, senior Trump adviser Jared Kushner emphasized that the new peace plan would be try something “different” with regards to the two-state solution.

"If people focus on the old traditional talking points we will never make progress. What we will put out is different.”

Last week, Greenblatt said that the peace plan would be released after the Ramadan and Shavuot holidays, which end on June 4 and 9 respectively. No prior mention was made of splitting the plan’s release.

by Arutz Sheva Staff

 📹 To watch the video:

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre and UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) called for Eurovision to disqualify Iceland’s Eurovision entry.

"Icelandic Hatari (Hate) singers did not keep their commitment. Reykjavik must be disqualified from 2020 contest," they said in a statement.

On 17 April, the Wiesenthal Centre had joined with UKLFI in writing to Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) executive supervisor, Jon Ola Sand, to demand depoliticization of this year's contest in Tel Aviv, which concluded this week-end.

This request specifically applied to Iceland’s Hatari band, which had been proclaiming its anti-Israeli prejudices and threats "in contravention of both the spirit and the rules of Eurovision."

The Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, noted that “the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) umbrella body for Eurovision had responded that Iceland’s Broadcaster would keep its commitments under Eurovision Song Contest Rule 2.6... "No lyrics, speeches, gestures of a political, commercial or similar nature shall be permitted during the ESC."

"This commitment was offensively violated by Hatari (meaning 'Hate' in English), which lived up to its name in inciting to anti-Israel hatred by unfurling Palestinian banners during the vote for winner of the event," the Centre said.

Samuels added that "responsibility be addressed to the Icelandic Broadcaster, which must accordingly be disqualified by the EBU from the 2020 Eurovision Contest in Amsterdam."

"We will be monitoring the situation in the context of campaign against BDS, the anti-Semitic Boycott,Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel."

In a statement, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said, "In the live broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final, Hatari, the Icelandic act, briefly displayed small Palestinian banners whilst [they] sat in the Green Room."

"The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political event and this directly contradicts the contest’s rules. The banners were quickly removed and the consequences of this action will be discussed by the Reference Group (the contest’s executive board) after the contest."

by Arutz Sheva Staff

Supreme Court Justices Noam Solberg, Yael Vilner and Ofer Grosskopf rejected Sunday the petition filed by Ir Amim and a number of academics and Jewish intellectuals against the Jerusalem Day Flag March.

In an exceptional move, the justices decided to require the petitioners to pay the respondents NIS 10,000 in sums to be divided between the police, the Jerusalem municipality and the "Am Kalavi" organization, which has been organizing the event for years.

In the judgment, the justices noted that it may have been possible to reject the petition without having to deal with the petitioners' arguments at all, since they lack standing.

"We argued over the issue of the petitioners' right of standing in the petition, claiming that tens of thousands of residents of the Muslim Quarter in the Old City were damaged by the flag dance parade, but none of them saw fit to file a petition with the court. The petitioners, seeking their welfare, did so in their stead. The petitioners' attorney claimed that Muslims in the Old City were afraid of petitioning. It is difficult to accept this argument while we are hearing the petitions of the residents of the Old City of Jerusalem every day," said the head of the panel, Judge Solberg.

Later on, the justices held that the merits of the petition should also be rejected, in light of the fact that the police are properly preparing for the incident and are giving their opinion about all consequences.

"The state of things properly balances between the freedom of speech and the rights of those marching in the flag parade on the one hand, and the public and private interests of the residents of the Old City on the other," Solberg said.

According to him, "The police are preparing with large amounts of forces for the flag parade, in what pertains to the maintenance of public order, the safety and security of the marchers, while preserving the fabric of life of the residents of the Muslim Quarter."

The petitioners will pay the organization 10,000 NIS in compensation for their legal fees.

Adv. Nati Rom, representing the Am K'Lavie association that organized the flag parade said: "We congratulate the Jewish People on the rejection of petition by the extreme-Left organization Ir Amim to cancel the flag dance on Jerusalem Day.

"The court accepted our position in its entirety and even charged Ir Amim with expenses, testify to the vindication of our path.

"We hope the Petitioners will also join us and the more than 100,000 celebrants who will participate in the march," said Rom, who represented the association together with Adv. Hillel Barak.

Atty. Nati Rom
Lev HaOlam

by Arutz Sheva Staff

 📹 To watch the video:

Billionaire Robert Smith stunned Morehouse College graduates during his commencement address: He pledged millions of dollars to pay off every penny of student debt for the class of 2019.

“This is my class,” he said, “and I know my class will pay this forward.”

The announcement came as a surprise to Smith’s staff and to the staff at Morehouse, and elicited the biggest cheers of the morning.