Islamic movement morally corrupt, a cancer in Palestinian dream
East Jerusalem - Occupation of the Gaza Strip by the Hamas terrorist
organization and the destruction there of the democratically elected
government system should make it clear to all that there is no
compromise with Islamic fundamentalism.
Hamas is and always has been an organization premised on Islamic
superiority, not on the goal of achieving nationalism for the
But if there is a silver lining in the Hamas-led civil war there, it
is that the conflict could serve as the basis for secular Palestinian
leaders in the remaining government institutions in the West Bank to
re-engage in the peace process with Israel.
A coalition can be formed that would re-energize a new peace
initiative with Israel while destroying Hamas and the Islamicist
movement that threatens not only the West but all Palestinians who
believe in an independent state based on secular nationalism and true
Since it was founded during the first Intifada as an armed Islamic
movement, Hamas has never compromised on its two main goals,
destroying the Jewish State and undermining the Palestinian secular
In their extremist religious eyes, there is no difference between
Israel and the Israeli people, and a secular Palestine and its
That Hamas was able to take control of the Gaza Strip, a hell hole of
economic disaster and political turmoil where more than 1.35 million
Palestinians live, should not be a surprise.
Although Hamas fronted representatives to participate in the
democratic elections held in January 2006, their organization has
been neither democratic nor driven by the goal of creating a democratic
They took over control of the Palestinian National Authority only
because the larger, more popular secular Palestinians split their
votes. Although Hamas won the January 2006 elections, the
organization never won a majority mandate from Palestinians.
Yet Hamas used its power not to build on the democracy and to pursue
peace, but as an opportunity to undermine the secular lifestyles of
the majority Palestinians through intimidation, militant
confrontation and by using violence designed to provoke the Israeli
military occupation to create greater Palestinian hardship that plays
into Hamas' long term goals.
As long as there is no hope for peace, no movement towards compromise
and continued suffering and frustration for Palestinians living under
an oppressive Israeli military occupation, Hamas militancy, not their
religious fanaticism, will remain an attractive choice to the
emotionally racked Palestinian people.
Ismail Haniyeh, who was ousted as prime minister of the Palestinian
Authority that his organization intentionally destroyed in the Gaza
Strip, is frank in declaring that his goal is to transform the
Palestinian movement into a religiously-governed movement, not a
secular democratic state.
Haniyeh is disingenuous when he claims that the conflict is the
result of the corruption of his secular rival party, the Fatah
organization founded by the late Yasir Arafat.
In truth, while the Fatah-dominated government had serious corruption
problems, the Hamas organization is morally corrupt. It used violence
not as a weapon of resistance, although that is what they claimed,
but as an immoral tool to block the very peace process that gave
legitimacy to the election system that allowed Hamas to rise to
"minority control" of the PA.
It is so important to understand that the peace process failed not
solely because of the difficult hurdles on the Palestinian refugees
and the City of Jerusalem that both Israeli and Palestinian
negotiators failed to overcome, but because Hamas intentionally used
suicide bombings at each and every junction where peace talks were
poised to make headway.
Hamas is as much responsible for the collapse of the peace process
and the return to violence as was Ariel Sharon, the extremist Israeli
prime minister who rose to power in the five years after one of his
followers assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin who launched the
peace process with Arafat.
Hamas does not want peace. It is a cancer in the Palestinian dream
for statehood. They will trade off anything to survive as a movement
driven by blind faith, not reasoned and free public choice.
Mahmoud Abbas is not only the successor to Arafat, he is the symbol
of the secular political movement that places individual choice and
real democracy above religious fanaticism.
For the sake of Palestinian unity, he has stood by while Hamas
government leaders have violated the fundamental basis upon which
they were elected, asserting undemocratic policies such as Sharia Law
on the Palestinian populations where they have rule.
They have sat back while Islamic terrorists have threatened to "slit
the throats of women from ear to ear" who appear on Palestinian TV
without wearing the "Hijab," or Islamic religious head covering.
But their real goal is not the imposition of the Hijab on women, but
the subjugation of women, Christian Palestinians and secular Muslims
by denying them an equal voice in Palestinian society. Hamas
terrorists firebombed symbols of secular lifestyle, including
restaurants that have served alcohol, nightclubs that have permitted
intermingling of young men with women and dancing.
Worse, though, Hamas has allowed their armed factions to act outside
of the authority of the PA, firing Qassam rockets into Israel not as
acts of defensive resistance but as a provocation to create increased
conflict that allows their political counterparts to exploit the
Palestinians who are then the victims of Israeli retaliation.
Hamas cannot claim they are both a resistance movement and the
majority leadership of the secular Palestinian Democratic government.
They have played both sides not for the sake of achieving Palestinian
goals of democratic statehood, but to strengthen their base as an
Islamicist power that has exploded into a mini-Hamastan State.
Abbas and the true democratic representatives of Palestinian hope in
the PA have a choice. Either they can continue to try to appease the
unappeasable Hamas cancer, or they can act forcefully to destroy
Hamas and remove it from all aspects of Palestinian leadership and society.
The fear of a civil war is long past. This is a civil war that Hamas
has begun by its actions in the Gaza Strip where dozens of
Palestinians from rival political groups have been murdered in cold
blood and their buildings, homes and offices burned to the ground.
If the secular Palestinians do not take a stand today to stop Hamas,
Hamas will eventually bring its religious fanaticism to the West Bank
where a final civil war will be fought.
In the battle against religious fanaticism, secular forces always
seek to compromise while the religious extremists, driven by faith,
cannot compromise on their faith and continue to seek the destruction
of the other side.
At stake today is the survival of Palestinian secular society and the
hope for a negotiated peace with Israel.
Ray Hanania is an Award Winning Palestinian American columnist,
author and standup comedian. Writing from East Jerusalem, Hanania
can be reached at www.hanania.com.
Radical Islam's 'End-Game'
A friend of mine said recently, "We shouldn't even be there. Let them kill each other. I mean, that would solve the problem. Right?"I thought about that statement as I read the news coming out of the Gaza Strip. As Hamas and al-Fatah literally battle to the death for supremacy in their region, it is crucial that we take the time - right now - to understand what it is they're fighting about. The truth is our lives depend on it.
To look at the situations in Iraq and Gaza as separate conflicts is to view them in a naive and overly simplistic way. True, the battles taking place in Gaza are more akin to a civil war, if in fact a civil war can take place without a recognized country to govern. And the battles taking place in Iraq are almost completely instigated at the hands of al Qaeda terrorists hell-bent on creating chaos with violence while destroying any chance of democracy in that nation. But what the less visionary among us are deficient in understanding and neglectful or deceitful in not addressing is the reason they are fighting, their goal, their end-game.
Many anti-war activists and members of the American Fifth Column insist that the reason radical Islamist terrorists -- insurgents or militants as they like to call them -- have taken to jihad against the United States and the West is because of the encroachment of our culture into the 7th Century Middle Eastern culture in which they exist. They point to Osama bin Laden's 1996 fatwa against the US and the West citing the presence of Western military personnel and installations as the catalyst for al Qaeda's Islamofascist aggression.
While these points may very well be the justification used by the cadre of terrorist organizations originating throughout the Middle East for attacks against the West, it doesn't explain their propensity for Arab on Arab, Muslim on Muslim violence. It doesn't explain the original catalyst for the conflict between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims and it certainly doesn't address the Islamofascists' goals.
The specifics surrounding the original cause for conflict between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims are disputed by both camps. But both factions concede that it stems from a disagreement over the direct succession to Mohammed, to the Caliph. This subject requires more space than can be afforded here. What can be addressed here is the "end-game."
That Islamofascist aggression advanced through the use of terrorism is taking place around the world against members of every faith other than Islam is a testimony to the fact that radical fundamentalist Islamists are engaged in an intentional conflict of global conquest. Terrorist attacks in the name of Islam have taken place in Israel, Iraq, Lebanon, Spain, Britain, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Somalia, Algeria, Sudan, South America and the United States - to cite a short list - against, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and even conformist and non-fundamentalist Islamists.
When one examines the facts and logistics of Islamofascist aggression - both in history and modern times - it is hard to argue that the basis for this aggression is Western influence on the Islamic culture. If this were the sole reason for Islamofascist aggression there would be no excuse for attacks in the name of Islam on the Hindus or Buddhists or in any nation that doesn't embrace Western values such as Thailand, Somalia or most of Indonesia. Yet, the slaughter of innocents in the name of Islam does take place against these people and in these non-Westernized regions.
By acknowledging these facts - and they are indisputable - we can dismiss the argument that the US and the West have brought the wrath of Islamofascism upon ourselves, which is the basis for the argument used by the anti-war movement, the American Fifth Column and disingenuous and opportunistic politicians.
What, then, is the catalyst for Islamofascist aggression and what could be so powerful as to produce legions of suicide bombers and those willing to die, without reservation, for their cause?
While the many elements of this subject are complex, together they indicate an overall agenda that is not.
In almost every declaration and action of the Islamofascist, from Osama bin Laden to Hassan Nasrallah, Ayman al Zawahri to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the goal is the same: the successful establishment of a global Islamic state - or caliphate - ruled under sharia law. This notion is not a supposition on my part. Rather, it is an accurate observation, based on understanding and acknowledging the actions taken and the words used by each of these fascist leaders (note the correct usage of the word fascist).
In his 1996 fatwa, Osama bin Laden proclaimed, "...O you horses (soldiers) of Allah ride and march on. This is the time of hardship so be tough. And know that your gathering and co-operation in order to liberate the sanctities of Islam is the right step toward unifying the word of the Ummah under the banner of 'No God but Allah'...Our Lord, shatter their gathering, divide them among themselves, shaken the earth under their feet and give us control over them..."
It should be noted that to bin Laden, the Ummah is considered a figurative nation comprised of all Muslims and all Islamic nations.
In 2000 bin Laden declared, "...Afghanistan is the only country in the world that has the Shari'ah. Therefore, it is compulsory upon Muslims all over the world to help Afghanistan. And to make hijra to this land, because it is from this land that we will dispatch our armies to smash all kuffar all over the world."
In October of 2005, during his address to the United Nations, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, "From the beginning of time, humanity has longed for the day when justice, peace, equality and compassion envelop the world."
And in a speech to Friday prayer leaders he said, "Our revolution's main mission is to pave the way for the reappearance of the 12th Imam, the Mahdi."
It should be noted here that Ahmadinejad believes - as do most Shi'ites - that the 12th Imam (or Muhammad al-Mahdi), according to their interpretation of the Quran, will bring "peace and justice on earth" by establishing Islam throughout the world. This equivalent of the "second coming" would take place when the world has fallen into chaos and civil war emerges between the human race for no reason.
If we are to take the leaders of the Islamofascist movement at their word - and the leaders of the United States and the West have been delinquent in accepting the declarations of fascists in the past, so much so that world war has ensued - we can only surmise that the battles taking place between Sunni and Shi'ite factions in Iraq, Gaza and elsewhere in the world are for dominance in what they perceive as an inevitable global Islamic Caliphate.
It is crucial that the United States government - and all the governments of the West - dispense with the political infighting that currently holds hostage national unity and the collective will, so we can defend ourselves from the inevitable full-scale confrontation with an emboldened and strengthening Islamofascist movement. The first step to achieving this unity is an honest, comprehensive understanding of the enemy. The education to achieve that end must begin immediately.
Make no mistake. We are essentially re-visiting the ominous days of 1938. It took everything that the freedom loving people of the world could muster to vanquish evil then. This time we may not be so lucky. This time the forces of evil will have nuclear capability.By Frank Salvatocnsnews.com
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------American Congress for Truth (ACT) is a 501c3 non profit organization. Everyday ACT is on the front lines fighting for you in meeting with politicians, decision makers, speaking on college campuses and planning events to educate and inform the public about the threat of radical Muslim fundamentalists to world peace. We are committed to combating the global upsurge of hate and intolerance.
SOWING SEEDS FOR THE NEXT HOLOCAUST - (Print)
During the Second World War the Nazi regime lead by Adolf Hitler massacred approximately six million Jews. This brutal atrocity - known as the Holocaust - is perhaps one of the darkest periods of human history. It is also one of the most well-documented events in history. However despite overwhelming evidence and countless eyewitness and survivor testimonies, there are some who claim that the Holocaust never happened (or that the extent of the bloodshed was exaggerated for political purposes).
It used to be that Holocaust denial was limited primarily to a handful of neo-Nazis and radical anti-Semites. However in recent years the seeds of Holocaust denial have found fertile ground in the Muslim world - where it has become a propaganda tool for Islamic extremists.
The spread of Holocaust denial in the Middle East has even begun to impact other parts of the world. A disturbing report by the UK's Department of Education indicates that some teachers in the UK are dropping controversial subjects such as the Holocaust and the Crusades from history lessons because they do not want to offend Muslims. (There are more than 1.5 million Muslims in the UK, making Islam the nation's largest religious minority.)
Embracing Holocaust denial seems to be a recent trend in the Middle East. Kenneth Jacobson, assistant national director of the Anti-Defamation League, made the observation that "adopting the theories of Holocaust denial of Western scholars is a relatively new phenomenon in the Muslim world. The accepted attitude had been to say that whereas it was true the Holocaust had taken place, the Palestinians should not have to pay the price."
A few Muslim leaders, most notably Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have combined these two approaches - simultaneously claiming that the holocaust is a "hoax" and a "myth" while saying it is also not the fault of the Palestinians. Ahmadinejad once told reporters: "Some European countries insist on saying that Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews in furnaces. Although we don't accept this claim, if we suppose it is true, our question for the Europeans is: Is the killing of innocent Jewish people by Hitler the reason for their support to the occupiers of Jerusalem? If the Europeans are honest they should give some of their provinces in Europe - like in Germany, Austria or other countries - to the Zionists and the Zionists can establish their state in Europe."
In December of 2006 Iran hosted a conference on the Holocaust which called into question the historical facts surrounding the atrocities - the US State Department condemned the conference, calling it a "platform for hatred" and an "affront to the entire civilized world."
Many people today do not take the Word of God seriously. Some ignore it, many disbelieve or deny it, and others dilute its meaning with conjectures, allegories, and redefinitions. But God says what He means, and means what He says. God delights in making and keeping His promises. A disturbing aspect of many modern churches is their failure to appreciate the seriousness of God's covenant with Israel. Some believe that Israel "forfeited her promises" by rejecting her Messiah, and that these promises now devolve somehow symbolically, or allegorically, upon the Church. This false doctrine has been taught for centuries.
Under the influences of Martin Luther and others, the Protestant Reformation brought an intensive return to the authority of the Scriptures which, in turn, resulted in the subsequent reform in soteriology (the study of salvation) with its emphasis on salvation by faith alone. Many were willingly burned at the stake for their commitment to a Biblical perspective. However, one of the unfortunate shortcomings of the Reformation was that it failed to also reexamine the eschatology of the Medieval Church in the light of Scripture. As a result, most Protestant denominations today are amillennial and post-tribulational.
There are two basic views in eschatology (study of End Times) which concern the promises to Israel and the millennium: amillennialianism, which says they are symbolic, and premillennialism, which says they are literal. One of the derivative aspects of an amillennial perspective is that it denies Israel's future role in God's plans. This also leads to a "replacement theology" in which the Church is viewed as replacing Israel in God's program for mankind. In addition to forcing the allegorization of many key passages of Scripture, this heretical eschatology promotes anti-Semitism and was a contributing factor to the tragedy of the Holocaust in Europe. Unfortunately this "replacement theology" still continues to pervade the doctrines of most Protestant denominations today.
Anti-Semitic violence has become a serious problem throughout the world. Some may blame the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict for fostering anti-Semitism. Others may say that such racially motivated hatred is limited to neo-Nazi groups and radical Islamic sects. Yet hatred of the Jews goes back long before even the existence of the Islamic faith, before the Nazi party took power in Germany, and before the advent of television and modern media. The real root of anti-Semitism is Satan's desire to thwart God's plan for the redemption of mankind. Anti-Semitism exists in many places and many forms. It may be displayed in blatant aggression or in more subtle and subversive ways, but all are aimed at the destruction of God's chosen people.
For a more detailed examination of this topic, listen to our briefing titled The Next Holocaust (see link above for discounted prices).
Related Links:• Teachers drop the Holocaust to avoid offending Muslims - Daily Mail
• Anti-Semitism Report Chides Governments - JTA
• Report on Holocaust Denial in the Middle East - ADL
• Strategic Trends: The Struggle for Jerusalem - Koinonia House
• Strategic Trends: The Rise of Islam - Koinonia House
• The Next Holocaust - DVD - Special Offer!
• The Next Holocaust - MP3 Download - Special Offer!
HAMASISTAN VS. FATAHLAND - (Print)
In recent weeks the Palestinian territories have spiraled deeper and deeper into chaos. Hamas has driven Fatah from Gaza and the Palestinian territories are now effectively divided - with Hamas in control of Gaza and Fatah in control of the West Bank. The Palestinian unity government has crumbled and the two groups are now battling for power. While the press has resisted using the term "civil war" to describe this latest surge of violence, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is calling it a coup.
In January of 2006 Hamas won a landslide victory in the Palestinians parliamentary elections - their victory completely transformed the dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The militant group won 76 of 132 seats in parliament. Fatah, which prior to the elections had controlled the Palestinian Authority for nearly 40 years, won only 43 seats. Following the elections the Palestinian Prime Minister and his Cabinet were forced to resign. Mahmoud Abbas still holds the office of President, but he has been stripped of most of his power. Even before the elections Abbas was a weak and ineffective ruler, however the Hamas victory reduced him to little more than a figurehead.
When Abbas came to power after Yasser Arafat's death he inherited the remnants of a regime that was plagued with problems and was growing in unpopularity. During the decades of Yasser Arafat's corrupt and incompetent leadership, crooked government officials had stashed away billions of dollars that should have gone to help the Palestinian people. While Arafat grew rich, the Palestinian people suffered, and Israel was blamed for it all.
The PLO and Fatah-controlled government was often criticized for neglecting to provide Palestinians with basic social services. Meanwhile, Hamas operated a network of schools, clinics, and mosques which helped it gain the support of the people - effectively paving the way for the Hamas victory in last year's pivotal parliamentary elections.
The rivalry between Hamas and Fatah has ignited a frantic arms race. According to Israeli intelligence sources Hamas has been able to smuggle weapons through the Egyptian border with Gaza. Israeli forces say militants have also acquired hundreds of new anti-tank missiles. Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been arming himself against his rivals. Although Abbas' power base has eroded since Fatah lost the parliamentary elections, both Israel and the United States support Abbas' limited efforts to bring peace. Being the lesser of two evils, Israel has agreed to let Egypt and Jordan supply Abbas' presidential guard with small arms and ammunition.
As the fighting escalates, the international community is divided over what must be done to stop the bloodshed. There has been talk of placing a UN peace-keeping force on the Israel-Gaza border, however many suspect that the UN's presence in the region would do little to stem the tide of violence that has engulfed the territories.
Related Links:• Strategic Trends: The Struggle for Jerusalem - Koinonia House
• Iran 'played role' in Gaza Takeover - Aljazeera
• Gaza Christians in peril after takeover by Hamas - Washington Times
• Olmert, Abbas to Meet Arab Leaders - Washington Post
• The Sword of Allah - MP3 Download - Koinonia House
Past Week Breaking News
Every day, our editors scour the web for news items of interest in the areas of world events, religion, and technology. Here are some choice news that we found this past week: more interesting news...
1. Photo Feature: Arutz-7 Stands With Sderot, Broadcasts Live
by Ezra HaLevi
The city of Sderot has fallen from the headlines – but rockets continue to fall as well. Though fewer in recent days, the tension from the impacts and from the Color Red alert system has actually thickened.
Israel National Radio's live 6-hour broadcast raising funds for the Sderot Hesder Yeshiva, featuring Yishai and Malkah Fleisher, Tamar Yonah, Walter Bingham, Avi Mechanic, Ze'ev Orenstein and Alex Traiman, as well as interviews with Sderot residents young and old, as well as your phone calls, can be heard by clicking here:
“The reality here is one of Russian Roulette,” says Noam Bedein, a college student in Sderot who started SderotMedia.com, a web site dedicated to telling Sderot’s story and facilitating visits by journalists, tour groups or individuals that decide they want to stand with Sderot in the face of rockets and abandonment.
SderotMedia.com's Noam Bedein shows the Arutz-7 groups the piles of hundreds of Kassam rockets at the local police station
Kassam rockets labeled with the date and site of impact
A school, one-third of which is protected from rockets
Store front near Kassam impact
Holes in a metal door from the shrapnel of a Kassam rocket that detonated nearby
Residents of a building hit several times by Kassam rockets adorned it with a Hamsa
The 'Ohel Yitzchak' synagogue
The study hall of the synagogue
The roof of the synagogue
The synagogue's shattered sign
Damage from the impact in the hall outside the study hall
Photos of Rabbis Yaakov Abuhatzeira and Mordechai Eliyah were unharmed despite the blast, which almost led to the building's collapse
The Red Alert system sounded and...
Click here to read the continuation of this story and see tens of more pictures from Sderot.
2. Civil War in Gaza
With 19 Arabs killed by Arabs in 24 hours, mortar shells at Abu Mazen's office, and a rocket at Hamas PM Haniye's home, what has until now been known as "violence" is now widely being called, even in Gaza, all-out civil war.
The fighting in Gaza is now in its latest and most severe round since it broke out well over a year ago. On Tuesday morning, Fatah gunmen fired an RPG rocket at the home of the head of the Fatah-Hamas unity government, prime minister Ismail Haniye. Haniye, who was home at the time but was not hurt, lives in the Shati section of Gaza City.
Tuesday at noon, exchanges of fire were reported at the hospital in Khan Yunis (near the site of what was N'vei Dekalim). Hamas men have taken up positions on the hospital's roof, and Fatah men are firing at them from an adjacent building.
The Hamas military faction has warned Fatah security personnel not to show up for work. "Every security force agent who comes to work will be suspected of taking part in the struggle against the Palestinian people and is liable to be hurt," Hamas warned. Fatah accuses Iran of encouraging Hamas in its attacks, particularly against innocent civilians for "shock value." Three women and a boy in a Fatah family were murdered in their Monday night.
Related article: PA Militia War Continues Despite Truce
3. Labor Party Primaries Get Underway
by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
The vote for leadership of the Labor Party is taking place Tuesday with polling stations around the country opening at 8:30 a.m. The balloting is the second round in the party's primaries, and it will end the contest between freshman Knesset Member Ami Ayalon and former Prime Minister Ehud Barak.Comment on This Story
In the first round of voting, Barak won the largest number of votes (35.6%); however, much of the support and campaign infrastructure of defeated incumbent and Defense Minister Amir Peretz has been formally thrown behind Ayalon, which may well shift the second round outcome in Ayalon's favor. The voters who supported another defeated primaries candidate, MK Ophir Paz-Pines, are likely to be split evenly between the Barak and Ayalon camps, although Paz-Pines formally gave his endorsement to Ehud Barak. Paz-Pines won only 8% of the vote in the first round, while Peretz and Ayalon won 22.4% and 30.6%, respectively.
On the other hand, there has been criticism in the kibbutz movement, a traditional core base of Labor voters, of the Ayalon-Peretz collaboration. Many kibbutz voters cast their ballots in the last national elections for the Kadima party out of a rejection of outgoing party chairman Peretz. It has also often been the case that kibbutz voters support the candidate who was himself a former member of a kibbutz - in this case, Ehud Barak.
Most polls have indicated that former Prime Minister Barak will pull slightly ahead of MK Ayalon.
Former Prime Minister Barak has also received the endorsement of influential MK and former radio talk show personality Shelly Yechimovitch. The impact of MK Yechimovitch's support for Barak is amplified by the fact that she was among the chief supporters of Peretz in the previous round of voting. She explained her support for what has developed into the rival camp by saying that her concern in the first round was to support Peretz's socio-economic positions; however, the economic policies advocated by Barak and Ayalon are nearly identical, Yechimovitch claims, and therefore she prefers Barak's leadership experience.
Most polls have indicated that former Prime Minister Barak will pull slightly ahead of MK Ayalon, who has emphasized the need for social welfare programs. Barak ran a "race of silence," leaning on his previous experience and declining to make major policy statements, except to say that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert must be replaced. A poll carried out for television's Channel 10 and released Monday night gave Barak 46% of the vote and Ayalon, 39%. Undecideds were listed at 7%.
Tuesday's contest is the seventh time in seven years that Labor voters have had to elect a party leader.
4. Votes Lining Up in Presidential Race
by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
As Israel's June 13th Presidential election approaches, Knesset blocs are making their favorites known. Candidate Reuven Rivlin has written a last-minute appeal to all the MKs.
5. EU Breaks Freeze on Funding PA
by Hana Levi Julian
The European Union has agreed to transfer 4 million euros (approximately $5 million) to the coffers of the Palestinian Authority government, effectively ending a freeze by Western nations on funding the Hamas terrorist-led entity.
“The EU is resuming its support of the Palestinian Authority in a direct manner through the finance ministry,” announced PA Finance Minister Dr. Salem Fayyad at a news conference Monday.
The money is to be used for a project “to assist the Minister of Finance in ensuring the proper use of Palestinian taxpayers’ money” and that expenditures are accounted for, said EU representative John Kjaer.
Mr. Kjaer signed the memorandum of understanding with Dr. Fayyad, clearing the way for a new flow of funds to the PA government.
"The European Union's first step will be a €4 million project to help the minister of finance in ensuring that Palestinian taxpayers' money is spent efficiently and that all expenditures are accounted for to the highest international standards," read a statement by the EU.
Training for the financial management project will reportedly begin in the PA Finance Ministry’s offices in Ramallah and
The Quartet, of which the European Union is a member as well as the
The Quartet members had also said they would not acknowledge the Fatah-Hamas unity government until it fulfilled the conditions.
The freeze went into effect in January 2006, immediately after the Hamas terrorist organization, whose charter plainly states its intent to destroy the State of Israel, took control of the PA government in a landslide victory.
“The European Union has always played a leading role working with the Palestinian Authority to help it achieve its objective of managing public money efficiently and transparently,” said Dr. Fayyad in a statement.
The financial move raises the status of the PA without formal acceptance. It is also likely to result in increased pressure on
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has recently returned to pressuring
In explaining her actions, she told The Associated Press, "I understand the Israelis' concerns about what might happen to tax revenue, but we think that there are mechanisms that they could use in the ways that they have in the recent past to support important activities."
6. FICC Praises Partial Tax Relief, Calls for Lower Income Tax
by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
The Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce (FICC) issued a statement Monday in praise of Prime Minister and Acting Finance Minister Ehud Olmert for his decision to eliminate the purchase tax on a wide range of consumer items. The next step, in the view of the FICC, is lowering income tax levels.Comment on This Story
On Sunday night, Prime Minister Olmert signed an order directing the Finance Ministry to lift purchase taxes from dozens of durable goods and cosmetics, including major household appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners. The cuts, expected to total 400 million shekels in lost taxes, were meant to "encourage growth" and give consumers greater freedom of choice, according to the Prime Minister.
Uriel Lynn, President of the FICC, said, "Eliminating the purchase tax is a move in the right direction, which will give an additional push to the economy's growth and increase purchasing power in the local market. This move also has significant social import, for by this measure products are made more available to the low-income population."
The FICC, the nation's largest employers' association, noted that the current annual economic growth of 5% will be bolstered by the new tax cuts.
"Eliminating the purchase tax is a move in the right direction." - FICC President Uriel Lynn
The next step, Lynn recommends, is to cut direct taxes at the lower income levels. With an average Israeli salary currently estimated to be 7,383 shekels per month, Lynn proposes cutting taxation such that those who earn between 4,170 shekels and 11,140 shekels per month will not pay more than 25% in income tax. About 30% of the working population in Israel falls in that category, according to the FICC.
Lynn explained, "At the conclusion of the tax reform measures in 2010, the direct tax burden of 30% will still be high, disproportionate to [the average] income level and relative to higher tax brackets. Lowering the direct tax will constitute a real incentive for seeking employment.... It will increase motivation to move ahead in terms of level of income."
The FICC is the non-profit, autonomous umbrella organization of six regional Chambers of Commerce, in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Beer Sheva and Nazareth.
7. Two-Thirds of Israelis Dissatisfied with the Democracy
by Hillel Fendel
An Israeli Institute for Democracy survey shows that 66% of Israelis are unhappy with the way Israeli democracy functions - but they're not leaving.Comment on This Story
The latest annual survey, entitled "2007 Israeli Democracy Index: Cohesiveness in a Divided Society", finds that the proportion of those who are unhappy with Israel's democracy jumped by 12 percentage points over last year.
In general, the survey finds that Israelis are not proud of the way their country works - but do not want to leave, and are willing to fight for it if necessary.
Among the findings:
Regarding Jewish-Arab relations, 87% rated Jewish-Arab relations in Israel as poor or very poor. Both Jewish and Arab respondents stated that they find it difficult to trust each other; 73% expressed the belief that the other side tends to behave violently.
Trust in Government - Down
8. Thousands Expected to March to Homesh
by Hillel Fendel
For the first time, a visit to the ruins of a Disengagement-destroyed town is sanctioned by the government - and that's precisely what worries some supporters.
The police have announced that they will begin an investigation into the organizers of some of the Homesh marches - prompting MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) to complain of "selective law enforcement." "Why are the organizers of the weekly left-wing protests at Bil'in not being investigated?" Eldad asked. The anti-partition wall protests at Bil'in often turn violent.
9. Audio: Sderot Solidarity Broadcast
Special Broadcast with Arutz Sheva Staff
Tuesday, Jun. 12 '07
26 Sivan 5767
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