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Friday, August 06, 2004

Israel is crazy

Israel is crazy #1
Arutz Sheva: Israel continues to transfer funds to P.A.

Though it is widely believed that economic agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are frozen because of the latter's refusal to fulfill its basic obligation to fight terrorism - it's not true. Only two weeks ago, on July 18, Israel transferred no less than 4.3 million shekels - almost $1 million - to the Palestinian Authority's account in Israel's Postal Bank. The source for this information? A copy of a bank transfer statement that mistakenly reached a Jewish resident of the Shomron.

The errant bank notice states that the transferred funds are for "Value Added Tax." The 1993 Oslo Accords stipulate that the PA will be exempt from paying the 17% VAT that Israelis pay for goods and services. Israel thus periodically reimburses the PA for the sums it paid in VAT.

Health Minister Danny Naveh recently said, "The situation in which the money transferred by Israel to the PA is used for terrorism is an insane situation that must be stopped."The Finance Ministry spokesman, contacted this morning for a response on the above transfer by Arutz-7's Shimon Cohen, stated, "The Ministry acts according to law, and does not transfer monies on which a confiscation order has been placed."

In July 2002, before a similar transfer of 70 million shekels, it was announced that "the clearance will be made to a PA bank account that is managed and controlled solely by [newly-appointed PA Treasurer] Salem Fayad."

Arutz-7 therefore further asked the Finance Ministry today, shortly before press time, if a mechanism is in place to ensure that the money is not used for terrorism. A response has not yet been received.
Israel is crazy #2
Jerusalem Post: Israel authorizes Palestinian Authority policemen to bear arms

On Friday Israel authorized Palestinian Authority policemen to bear arms in a number of cities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in order to control the anarchy raging in Palestinian cities.

It is the first time since fighting erupted nearly four years ago that Israel has agreed to allow Palestinian police in the West Bank to carry arms.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz approved the decision Thursday following a thorough assessment of the current situation, Israel Radio reported.

Response to Mofaz's decision to allow Palestinian policemen to bear arms has been mostly one of outrage and fury.

And speaking of crazy, it was Arafat's 75th birthday the other day. He had his cake and ate it, too.

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat offers a piece of cake to a guest, unseen, during a birthday celebration with visitors from Jerusalem at his headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah Thursday, Aug. 5, 2004. Arafat turned 75 Wednesday Aug. 4. At right is Hana Attalla, a Greek-Orthodox priest from Jerusalem . (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)