israelam news

Israel News for 1-17-18

US Aid Cut
A US official has revealed that the US will give United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, $60 million in aid but will withhold a further $65 million “for future consideration.”

The US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said UNRWA needed to be fundamentally reevaluated “in the way it operates and the way it is funded.” In 2016, the USA gave $368,429,712 to UNRWA. “It is time other countries, some of them quite wealthy, step in and do their part to advance regional security and stability,” the official said.

UN Secretary General Guterres remarked that the services provided by UNRWA were “of extreme importance, not only for the wellbeing of these populations … but also in my opinion and an opinion that is shared by most international observers, including some Israeli ones, it is an important factor of stability. So if UNRWA will not be in a position to provide the vital services and the emergency forms of support that UNRWA has been providing this will create a very, very serious problem and we will do everything we can to avoid this situation,”

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon commented on the American decision saying: “It is time to end the absurdity of UNRWA. It has been exposed as an organization that takes advantage of funds by the international community for anti-Israel propaganda, eternalizing the Palestinian refugee’s status and spreading hate.”

He added, “It was revealed this last year that senior members of the organization were selected to lead Hamas in Gaza. UNRWA schools deny the existence of Israel and terror tunnels were discovered below the organization’s institutions… It is time that the humanitarian assistance funds are directed strictly towards that cause.”

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PLO Vote
The Palestinian Central Council, part of the PLO, voted this week to order the PLO to withdraw its recognition of Israel. It’s unclear whether the vote is binding. In 2015 the council voted to suspend security cooperation with Israel, but that was never implemented.

In any case, the vote expressed the Palestinian anger over Trump’s Jerusalem declaration. As he opened the meeting, PA president Mahmud Abbas called Trump’s peace efforts the “slap of the century.” Abbas also said that Trump had accused them of refusing to engage in peace negotiations, to which he responded in Arabic, “May God demolish your house. When did we refuse?”

The PLO is considered the official representative of the Palestinians internationally and formalized its recognition of Israel in 1993.

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Embassy Move
Speaking to reporters during his India trip regarding the US embassy move, PM Netanyahu said, “My assessment is that the embassy will be moved much faster than you think, certainly within a year.” He also praised US President Trump for cutting funding to UNRWA and for moving to reevaluate the Iran nuclear deal.

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Female Commander
The Israeli Air Force has appointed its first female squadron commander. The woman, a transport pilot, was promoted from the rank of Major to Lieutenant Colonel.

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Women Drivers
The Rebbe of the Belz Hassidic sect, one of the largest in Israel with branches in several major cities throughout the world, reiterated his position that female members of the sect are prohibited from driving. The question was asked recently by the Belz community in London. Women in other Hassidic sects do drive.

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