israel news

Israel News for 8-27-18

Aid Cut
The State Department announced that the US will cut its aid package to the Palestinians by $200 million. The decision came following a review of US aid to the Palestinian Authority, to the West Bank and to the Gaza Strip, carried out at the direction of President Trump, to examine whether the expenditure served the US national interest and gave the US taxpayer a return for his money.

Following the review, President Trump directed that more than $200 million should be channeled to high-priority projects elsewhere. The amount cut was approved in the 2017 fiscal year for “programs on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip.”

A State Department official said that the decision took into account the challenges with which the international community was contending in its efforts to provide aid in the Gaza Strip. He said that the Hamas regime endangered the lives of the citizens there and worsened a humanitarian and economic situation which was difficult in any case.

In January this year, the Trump administration suspended until further notice $65 million of the budget of UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees). At this stage, the US will transfer $60 million to the agency, but will suspend, pending further review, the frozen amount.

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Crossing Reopened
The Erez border crossing between Israel and Gaza will be reopened today, a week after it was closed because of the continued violent protesting on the strip’s border and the ongoing threat of incendiary balloons. The crossing is mainly for pedestrians, primarily patients in need of medical care outside Gaza.

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New Rockets
The Defense Ministry announced Monday it has signed a deal worth hundreds of millions shekels with IMI Systems for the development and acquisition of advanced precision rockets. The rockets will have a range of 30-150 km. and will employ advanced technologies to adapt them to the modern battlefield. The Defense Ministry said, “This precision fire capability significantly improves the IDF’s capabilities and allows for accurate hits in remote launches, at immediate availability, and at a lower cost compared to other combat systems.”

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Drought Continues
The Water Authority announced Sunday that even if the coming winter brings average precipitation, or even above average, the drought will continue.They said that the Kinneret is drying up at a rapid pace and approaching its black line (which is below the red line).

The Water Authority said that the severe drought of the past five years has mainly affected the water sources in the north of the country, but the rest of the water sources also have huge shortages. There is a deficit of about 2.5 billion cubic meters.

In a statement, the Water Authority said, “The Water Authority continues to prepare to respond to the increasing trend of dehydration in the entire region. At the same time, the Water Authority is working to increase efficiency and prevent water waste as a permanent lifestyle.”
“In addition, two additional large desalination plants are being planned, as well as other steps, to supplement the water sources for all uses. The Water Authority is also developing tools for forecasting the flow in streams over different periods of time: flood forecasting and intensity to seasonal predictions of the quantities of water expected to be received in a given year as well as over longer time periods in order to enable all elements in the economy to prepare and plan their activities and investments wisely and effectively. Climate change requires us all to carefully manage and prevent water waste as a way of life, during rainy years as well, of which we hope and are confident that there will be.”

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