Israel Political Brief February 12, 2012: US Threats to cut Egypt assistance could impact Israel, US Mideast influence

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Threats to cut Egypt assistance could impact Israel, U.S. influence in Mideast

Source: JTA, 2-12-12

If U.S. aid to Egypt is cut amid deteriorating relations between Washington and Cairo, a crucial lever of U.S. influence in the region would be gone, with implications not just for Israel-Egypt relations but for America’s ability to contain Iran….Read more »

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Israel Political Brief October 27, 2011: Turkey Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu Says Accepting Israeli Aid Changes Nothing in Countrys’ Relationships

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, 10-27-11

The fact that Turkey agreed to accept aid from Israel to assist in rescue efforts of the thousands who were injured or killed has no political meaning, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Thursday. Speaking at a news conference in Amman with Jordanian leader King Abdullah II and his Jordanian counterpart Nasser Judeh, Davutoglu said that “political conditions between the two countries remain as they were”, and that Turkey’s views on the Middle East remained “principled.”

On Monday, after a lengthy period in which they did not communicate, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan to offer Israel’s assistance in the aftermath of the earthquake that hit eastern Turkey. Erdogan initially turned down the offer, but on Tuesday, Ankara changed its mind. turkey earthquakeAn Israeli plane with prefabricated mobile homes and other aid for quake victims arrived in Turkey Thursday. At least three more planes will arrive in the next few days, Israeli officials said.

Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak both stressed that Israel was appreciative of Turkey’s assistance in battling the Carmel forest last year, and that Jerusalem saw aiding in regional crises as part of its responsibility to the international community. Defense Ministry spokesperson Josh Hantman said that Israel did not see the aid as “a diplomatic matter, but a humanitarian one aimed at keeping men, women and children safe and warm.”

Speaking about the Israel-PA negotiating process, Judeh said that both Jordan and Turkey agreed on the need for the establishment of an Arab state in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem – the “two state solution” – as the basis of Middle East peace. “We do not want peace negotiations to start from scratch. There are agreements already signed and we want any future negotiations to be based on them,” he said.

Davutoglu added that the need to resolve the conflict was “crucial,” and that international pressure was key to pushing Israel to make a deal.

via israelnn.com

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Israel Political Brief October 3, 2011: US House committee chair places hold on Palestinian aid

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

House committee chair places hold on Palestinian aid

Source: JTA, 10-3-11

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is holding back nearly $200 million in humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.

Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) is keeping her House of Representatives committee from considering approval of $192 million in humanitarian program assistance, two Capitol Hill sources said.

The money is separate from assistance to the Palestinian Authority, $200 million of which has already been distributed, and instead is earmarked for nongovernmental groups.

Such holds on NGO money have been held in the past pending oversight to show that the NGOs are not working with terrorist groups. Ros-Lehtinen in recent weeks has expressed concern that a tentative agreement to unite the Palestinian Authority with Hamas is already in effect. Hamas is the U.S.-designated terrorist group that controls the Gaza Strip.

The Americans for Peace Now website is reporting that other House Republicans also are holding the money, and that Republicans in the House and Senate are holding $150 million in security assistance to the Palestinian Authority.

Republicans and Democrats have warned that such money may be withheld if the Palestinians do not pull back from their attempt to gain statehood recognition through the United Nations and absent peace talks with Israel.

The Arab League on Sunday called on the Arab states in the region to replace that missing aid with their own donations.

“The Arabs will assist the Palestinian Authority,” Arab League head Nabil al-Arabi said Sunday in Cairo after a meeting with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. “This will be the strongest answer” to the U.S. cuts.

Erekat said that “The Palestinian people refuse to allow economic aid to become an instrument of blackmail regarding its rights to membership of the United Nations.”

The U.N.’s Security Council is now considering the PA’s statehood bid, which the United States has said it will veto.

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