Zio-Watch News Round-up

Dr. Patrick Slattery’s News Roundup, January 9, 2015



From the Jewish Telegrapic Agency

Rand Paul bill cuts U.S. funding to Palestinians until ICC bid is dropped

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Sen. Rand Paul introduced a bill that would cut U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority until it withdraws its request to join the International Criminal Court.

The bill introduced this week would close a loophole in legislation rushed through last month at the tail end of the previous congressional session. That legislation, packed into an omnibus spending bill, suspended aid to the Palestinians only after the launch of any investigation targeting Israelis.

The United States provides approximately $500 million in an annual assistance to the Palestinian Authority.

Paul’s legislation addresses the Dec. 31 Palestinian application to join the ICC. The Kentucky Republican is likely to seek his party’s nomination for the presidency.
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From PressTV

Palestine’s Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour

The International Criminal Court (ICC) can immediately start examining Israeli war crimes against Palestinians should it choose to conduct the probe, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations says.

Riyadh Mansour said on Thursday that Fatou Bensouda, the prosecutor of the ICC, does not need to wait for Palestine’s formal membership in the ICC on April 1.

He said Palestine’s formal acceptance of the court’s jurisdiction authorizes the prosecutor to take required measures to examine Israel’s war crimes.
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From PressTV

This screengrab shows a homeless man warming his hand amid brutal cold in the war-hit Gaza Strip.

The survivors of the latest Israeli war on the Gaza Strip are left without proper shelter and electricity as a brutal winter storm hits the blockaded Palestinian enclave.

The harsh winter weather has aggravated the sufferings of war-ravaged Gazans, who are now living by candlelight and relying on sandbags to protect their already damaged homes against heavy downpours and flooding.

On Wednesday, freezing rain and gale-force winds battered Gaza, where tens of thousands of homes were destroyed or damaged in the Israeli regime’s military offensive last summer.

Hundreds of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been forced to leave their homes which were heavily flooded by the storm called “Huda.”

Raed al-Dahshan, the head of Gaza’s civil defense, said his staff is dealing with “a difficult situation which was compounded by a lack of infrastructure” to provide aid to the Gazans suffering from the storm.
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From PressTV

A Palestinian Child fills plastic bottles and containers with water in Gaza on  April 5, 2014.

Water contamination levels in the Gaza Strip have risen to an alarming stage due to the Israeli blockade and frequent attacks, Press TV reports.

According to a report released by the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA), over 95 percent of the Palestinian territory’s aquifer is polluted with high levels of nitrates and chloride.

The surface of Gaza’s aquifer has been targeted hundreds of times by the Israeli military in recent years.

Attacks on sewage treatment plants during the Israeli military aggression have resulted in raw sewage leakage into the ground, further contaminating the water resources.

This situation has forced Gazans to buy treated water from filtration stations.
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From PressTV

The file photo shows a street in Gaza flooded by a storm.

Hundreds of Palestinians have evacuated their homes in the besieged Gaza Strip following the outset of a heavy winter storm.

According to Palestinian sources on Wednesday, hundreds of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were forced to leave their homes which were heavily flooded by the storm called “Huda.”

Meanwhile, Gaza Municipality warned that the storm can further destroy the infrastructure in the besieged strip which was considerably devastated during the Israeli attack last summer.

The winter storm can bring about a humanitarian crisis as Gaza is still beset with various problems including power shortage, added the municipality.

Reports say that Huda has also hit Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt.
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From the Jewish Daily Forward

Israel’s Top General Says No Worries on War Crimes After Palestinians Join ICC

Benjamin Gantz More Concerned About Budget

Published January 08, 2015.
Israel’s top military officer said on Thursday he was disappointed rather than worried about a Palestinian move to join the International Criminal Court, calling it unnecessary because Israel could investigate complaints itself.

Lieutenant General Benjamin Gantz, the chief of the Israel Defense Forces general staff, also said he was convinced the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was the warplane of the future for the IDF, despite criticism of its costs and capabilities.

“It’s true it is very expensive,” Gantz said. “I hope that, as far as budget constraints, we’ll be able to continue with this program because I believe it’s very important for us.”
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From the Jewish Telegrapic Agency

U.S. Jews still mostly Democrats, but GOP sees gains

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Twice as many Jewish-Americans identify as Democrats over Republicans, but the GOP has made strides, according to the latest Gallup polling.

The poll published this week showed 61 percent Jewish support for Democrats and 29 percent for Republicans — marked gains for the GOP since 2008, when Barack Obama was elected president and garnered significant Jewish support.

In that year, 71 percent of Jewish respondents leaned Democrat and 22 percent Republican.

Gallup said that the 7 percent hike corresponded with similar gains for the GOP in the general public, although to a slightly greater degree among Jews.
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From PressTV

Muslim scholars from 60 countries attend a session of the 28th International Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran on January 7, 2015.

Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has warned against attempts to create division among Muslims, calling on all Islamic states to stand by the Palestinian nation in its struggles against Israeli atrocities.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 28th International Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran, Khaled al-Qaddumi, the representative of Hamas in Iran, highlighted the cultural and religious commonalities among Muslim countries and stressed the need for them to set aside their differences.

The Hamas official described resistance as the only way for Palestinians to end the Israeli regime’s occupation of their lands, urging the Islamic states to throw their weight behind the Palestinian nation.

Qaddumi further criticized the UN Security Council for failing to adopt a resolution on the Palestinian statehood last December, saying the international community must adopt practical measures in support of the Palestinians.

Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds (Jerusalem), and the besieged Gaza Strip and are demanding that Israel withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories.
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From the Jewish Telegrapic Agency

Boxer won’t run for Senate in 2016

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Barbara Boxer will not run for a fifth U.S. Senate term in 2016.

Boxer, 74, a California Democrat, made the announcement Thursday in a video interview with her grandson, Zach Rodham, posted on YouTube.

“I will not be running for the Senate in 2016,” said Boxer, who was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976 and then to the Senate in 1992. “I want to come home to the state that I love so much, California.”

Boxer’s announcement gives the state Democratic Party almost two years to select a candidate. The veteran lawmaker said she would campaign for a progressive as her successor as well as for the next Democratic presidential hopeful.
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From the Jewish Telegrapic Agency

Police detonate explosive device near Israeli Embassy in Uruguay

(JTA) — The offices of Israel’s embassy in Uruguay were evacuated after what was believed to be an explosive device was found near the building.

The device, found by police dogs in a shopping bag, was detonated safely by police sappers after the Montevideo building, called the World Trade Center, was evacuated, The Associated Press reported. Wires and cables were protruding from the device, according to a local media report.

The head of the local bomb squad, Alfredo Larramendi, told the local El Pais newspaper that the device was placed there to “measure police response and times of evacuation.” The device lacked a starter, however, and therefore could not have been detonated, Larramendi said. It contained enough explosives, however, to blow off someone’s hand, he told the newspaper.

It was not clear if the embassy was the target, however, the Uruguayan interior ministry said, according to AP.
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From the Jewish Telegrapic Agency

Kardashians buying Tel Aviv beachfront property

First Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden have a traditional Jewish wedding even though neither is believed to be Jewish.

Now the non-Jewish Kardashian sisters are buying up luxury property in Israel. Clearly Judaism has taken on a star (and not just Star of David) quality.

According to Globes and the Times of Israel, reality TV stars Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian are in talks to jointly purchase two apartments — reportedly costing a total of $30 million — inside an exclusive beachfront Tel Aviv building, 96 Hayarkon.

The Tel Aviv pad would not be the only overseas real estate the Kardashians, who also have a home in Paris (in addition to their various American digs), own.
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From the Jewish Telegrapic Agency

Meet the three American families bankrolling Netanyahu’s reelection bid

As Benjamin Netanyahu kicked off his re-election campaign Monday night in Tel Aviv, JTA reported that over 90 percent of the prime minister’s campaign funds have come from American donors. And of these American donors, the donations from just three families make up over half of Netanyahu’s total campaign funds.

More information on these three families is below. Israel restricts the amount of money that can come from individual foreign donors, so these families split their donations among several members.

The Falics
• Four members, close to the maximum of $11,500 each

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