❶ US freezes $125 million grant to UNRWA
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Bennett slams reported Israeli call on US not to cut aid to Palestinians
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) What would happen if Trump cuts UNRWA funding?
BACKGROUND: Congress removes Israeli missile defense funds from US wartime budget (2017)
❷ Tzachi Hanegbi: Two-state solution is not dead
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Peace Now: Israel to approve more than 1,329 illegal settlement units
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) Palestinians protest visit of Greek Orthodox patriarch accused of selling land to Israel
❸ POETRY by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ US FREEZES $125 MILLION GRANT TO UNRWA
The Palestinian Information Center
Jan. 6, 2018 ― The United States has frozen $125 million of its funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA).
___Quoting three US officials, Reuters news agency reported that the administration of the US president, Donald Trump, informed the United Nations that it had frozen a $125 million grant that was due to be paid on 1st January.
___According to the three officials who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, Trump’s administration is considering cutting $180 million from its aid payments to the UNRWA in an effort to pressure the Palestinian Authority to resume negotiations with Israel. MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) BENNETT SLAMS REPORTED ISRAELI CALL ON US NOT TO CUT AID TO PALESTINIANS: Israeli officials call on US and all world countries to cut all aid to Palestinians.
Days of Palestine
Jan. 6, 2018 ― Israeli Education Minister and head of the right-wing Jewish Home party, Naftali Bennett, slammed reports on Friday reported Israeli call on US not to cut UN support for Palestinian refugees.
___Earlier this week, Donald Trump warned that his country would cut aid for Palestinians who he believes receive millions of US dollars without respecting America.
___According to Israeli Hadashot TV, though, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also serves as Foreign Minister, is opposed to any cut in such aid.
___ “UNRWA,” claims, Bennett, “is a terror-supporting organisation. Its very existence perpetuates the dire situation of Gaza’s population, who suffer under the rule of Hamas.” He insisted that the US decision to cut aid is the right choice. MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF TRUMP CUTS UNRWA FUNDING?
The Palestinian Information Center
By Yara Hawari
Jan. 5, 2018 ― The Palestinian Information Center On Tuesday, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, delivered a rather ambiguous threat in response to a question on the maintenance of the US level of funding to the UN Palestinian refugee programme. She replied: “The president has said that he doesn’t want to give any additional funding or stop funding until the Palestinians are agreeing (sic) to come back to the negotiating table.”
___President Trump himself tweeted the following threat to UNRWA: “But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”
[. . . .] However, a total US funding cut would mean a serious reduction in services and the complete halt of many of the education and health programmes.
___In other words, schools and health clinics would close leaving hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees across the region without schooling, health care, jobs, making their situation even more dire. MORE . . .
- BACKGROUND: Congress removes Israeli missile defense funds from US wartime budget
The Jerusalem Post
By Michael Wilner
Nov. 17, 2017 ― On Thursday Congress approved the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act to include $705 million for US-Israel missile defense cooperation.
___Congress has resolved a budgeting dispute with the Trump administration by sourcing hundreds of millions of dollars in missile defense aid for Israel from its base budget– and not from a fund typically reserved for US wartime operations, as was initially proposed.
___The White House made clear over the summer that it was not opposed to adding hundreds of millions of dollars above its own budget for missile defense to Israel, but rather the vehicle for its delivery– an unprecedented use of dollars typically saved for US military readiness. Earlier this month, Congress approved the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act to include $705 million for US-Israel missile defense cooperation, including $588 million over President Donald Trump’s proposed budget. MORE . . .
❷ TZACHI HANEGBI: TWO-STATE SOLUTION IS NOT DEAD
Al Jazeera English
by Ali Younes
Jan. 6, 2018 ― An Israeli minister has said US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital does not signal the end of the two-state solution, with Israel willing to grant Palestinians their own independent state but with limited sovereignty.
___Tzachi Hanegbi, minister of regional cooperation, said Trump’s controversial decision on December 6 should not hinder Palestinian claims to have occupied East Jerusalem as their capital.
___”We claim that Jerusalem is our capital and should not be divided, but that’s only a claim, not a diktat,” Hanegbi, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, told Al Jazeera at his office in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset.
___Jerusalem remains at the core of the perennial Israel-Palestine conflict. MORE . . .
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) PEACE NOW: ISRAEL TO APPROVE MORE THAN 1,329 ILLEGAL SETTLEMENT UNITS
Ma’an News Agency
Jan. 6, 2018 ― The Israeli Civil Administration’s High Planning Committee is expected to approve the promotion of at least 1,329 housing units in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, according to settlement watchdog Peace Now.
___In a statement released on Friday, Peace Now said that the committee published its agenda, and is expected to approve the new settlement units next Wednesday, January 10.
___According to the group, two-thirds of the 1,329 units (883 housing units) “will be located in isolated settlements that Israel would probably have to evacuate under any two-state agreement.” MORE . . .
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) PALESTINIANS PROTEST VISIT OF GREEK ORTHODOX PATRIARCH ACCUSED OF SELLING LAND TO ISRAEL
Ma’an News Agency
Jan. 6, 2018 ― Palestinian Christians from around the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Israel came out in harsh opposition on Saturday to a visit by Greek Orthodox Church Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, to the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem.
___Theophilos III, along with several other religious and political figures, were visiting Bethlehem as part of celebrations for Greek Orthodox Christmas Eve.
___Despite an intense presence of Palestinian security forces who attempted to open roads near Bethlehem’s Manger Square for the patriarch’s car, angry citizens swarmed around his procession, holding signs, Palestinian flags, and chanting slogans against Theophilus III. MORE . . .
“BUCHENWALD,” BY SAMIH AL-QASIM
Have you forgotten your shame at Buchenwald?
Do you remember your flames at Buchenwald?
Have you forgotten your love in the lexicon
of silence? Do you remember your panic―
at the reign of death, in the nightmare of time―
that the whole world
would become a Buchenwald?
Whether you’ve forgotten or not,
the dead’s images linger
among the wreaths of flowers,
and from the dismembered corpses
a hand emerges,
a nail in the palm and tattoo on the wrist―
a sign for the planet.
Do you remember? Or not?
Buchenwald― whether or not you’ve forgotten,
the images of the murdered
remain among the wreaths of flowers . . .
From Al-Qasim, Samih. SADDER THAN WATER. New and Selected Poems. Trans. Nazih Kasis and Adina Hoffman. Jerusalem: Ibis Editions, 2008.
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About Samih Al-Qasim. Obituary, August 20, 2014.