News Digest — 7/5/19

PA Salaries To Terrorists Up Nearly 12% In 2019, Says Israel Watchdog

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has “finally published” its monthly financial spending records for the first five months of 2019, said Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), an Israeli rsearch institute that studies Palestinian society.

According to these records, said PMW, the Palestinians have “paid no less than 234,172,000 shekels (over $65 million), or, on average, 46,834,400 shekels (over $13 million) a month in salaries to terrorist prisoners, including released prisoners, in spite of its self-imposed financial crisis.”

Salaries to terrorists have risen by 11.8% in 2019, said the watchdog.

The PA has criticized Israel for deducting the equivalent sum of the terror payments from tax revenues, which Jerusalem transfers to the Palestinians.  As a protest, it has refused to receive any of the monies from Israel but has accused the Jewish State of causing the PA’s economic collapse.

PMW said that the Palestinian Finance Ministry put its budget expenditure reports back on its website only after the institute “exposed that the PA was hiding its finances.”

The self-rule authority “decided to disregard its donor countries’ demand of full financial transparency and hid all its budgetary data,” said PMW, adding that the PA blames “legal dependencies” on Israel for the fact that “financial reports were temporarily suspended.”  The reports did not appeared for almost three months on the Palestinian Finance Ministry’s website, said the Israeli institute.

It reflects the PA’s decision to plunge the Palestinian economy into crisis and punish its public employees by cutting their salaries while guaranteeing the payment – in full – of the salaries to the terrorists,” said PMW. 



Second Son Of Hamas Co-Founder Leaves Terror Group – Exposes Corruption

It isn’t every day that a Hamas member turns his back on the terror organization, flies to southeast Asia and decides to expose the corruption and inner workings of its operations in Turkey. 

Israel’s Channel 12 broadcast an interview Wednesday (3rd) with Suheib Yousef, son of Hamas co-founder, Sheikh Hassan Yousef, and brother of Mosab Yousef, who spent a decade working for Israel to help thwart terror attacks and published an autobiography titled Son of Hamas in 2010 after seeking asylum in the U.S.

Suheib, 38, described how he worked for Hamas in Turkey.  “Hamas operates security and military operations on Turkish soil under the cover of civil society.  They have security centers from which they operate advanced listening equipment, to listen to people and (Palestinian) leaders in Ramallah.”  He said Hamas also targeted other Arab countries. “They sell the information to Iran,” he said.  

Yousef said this was just one of the areas where he became disillusioned with the Gaza-based organization – he said that Hamas was only interested in spreading its power to the West Bank.

He said the Hamas setup in Turkey was also used to conscript people, including children, in the West Bank to carry out terror attacks against Israelis.  “The point of the attacks in the West Bank is to kill civilians, not for the aim of resistance,” he said.

Suheib continued, “Hamas leaders in Turkey live in fancy hotels and luxury towers, their kids learn at private schools and they are very well paid…They have guards, swimming pools, country clubs…they eat in the best restaurants, paying $200 for a one course meal for one person, while a family in Gaza lives on $100 per month.” 

He said he had become increasingly angry at the lavish living of Hamas members while Gazans starved – he said he hated the total corruption within the group.

Suheib said, “I was raised in Hamas – I worked for Hamas, but when I was exposed to its corruption, I left – I cut off ties.”

Yousef said that while he was aware Hamas might try to kill him for leaving, he was not worried.

“If they want to make me a martyr, I’ll be a martyr” he said. 



Hamas Threatens To Expand Conflict With Israel

Khalil al-Hayya, a member of the Hamas political bureau, said on Thursday (4th) that the Palestinian “resistance organizations” had recently increased their strength and are preparing to expand the conflict with Israel.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of an Islamic Jihad summer camp in Gaza, al-Hayya said the organizations are unfazed by the threats made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and are adhering to the path of resistance that will lead to the liberation of Jerusalem.

“The attempts of the Israeli occupation to strike at the resistance organizations, threaten them, dry up their financial sources and persecute their activists will only add determination to the resistance organizations on the path of truth and liberation,” he said.

Al-Hayya praised the strong relations between the military wings of Islamic Jihad and Hamas, saying, “Shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart and rifle to rifle, on the way to liberation.”



Ahead Of U.S. Independence Day, ‘Trump Square’ Dedicated In Petah Tikva

The central Israeli city of Petah Tikva on Wednesday (3rd) dedicated a city square in honor of U.S. President, Donald Trump.

“Donald Trump Square” was inaugurated on Wednesday (3rd) to thank Trump for his support of Israel, especially the president’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the mayor said.

The square is located near the city’s municipal building and includes a fountain with an illuminated sculpture incorporating the Israeli and American flags.

“Israel never had a president who is as supportive and helpful as U.S. President Donald Trump,” Petah Tikva Mayor Rami Greenberg said at the unveiling of the small piece of real estate on Wednesday.  “It is only fitting to name a major square in the fourth-largest Israeli city after him.”

A sign at the square calls Trump “The first to acknowledge Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel.”

Last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu named a new community on the Golan Heights after the president to thank him for recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the territory.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz, who previously served as transportation minister, has said that a new elevated train-stop in the Old City of Jerusalem would be named for Trump.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman did not attend the Petah Tikva ceremony, but did send a personal message saying that “President Trump deeply cares about Israel and it is clear to him Israelis understand and value this, and know these feelings are mutual.”



Biblical-Era Mosaic Found In The Galilee

Dr. Jodi Magness, the Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism at UNC-Chapel Hill, has made a stunning discovery.  This time, Magness and her group of excavators have found a 1,600-year-old biblical mosaic right in the heart of the Galilee.

The mosaic, she believes, is the first to explain the city of Elim, which is featured in the Book of Exodus 15:27, stating, “They came to Elim, and there were twelve water fountains and seventy palms, and they encamped there by the water.”

“We’ve uncovered the first depiction of the episode of Elim ever found in ancient Jewish art,” Magness said in a UNC press release.  “The mosaic is divided into three horizontal strips, or registers. We see clusters of dates being harvested by male agricultural workers wearing loincloths, who are sliding the dates down ropes held by other men.

“The middle register shows a row of wells alternating with date palms.  On the left side of the panel, a man in a short tunic is carrying a water jar and entering the arched gate of a city flanked by towers.  An inscription above the gate reads, ‘And they came to Elim.’”

This wasn’t the only recent discovery made by the Magness group, which spends several weeks each summer researching the fifth century CE Jewish community of Huqoq in the lower Galilee and the artists who depicted biblical stories.

“Chapter 7 in the Book of Daniel describes four beasts, which represent the four kingdoms leading up to the end of days,” she explained.  “This year, our team discovered mosaics in the synagogue’s north aisle depicting these four beasts, as indicated by a fragmentary Aramaic inscription referring to the first beast: a lion with eagles wings.”

“The lion itself is not preserved, nor is the third beast,” Magness said.  “However, the second beast from Daniel 7:4 – a bear with three ribs protruding from its mouth – is preserved.  So is most of the fourth beast, which is described in Daniel 7:7 as having iron teeth.”

Shua Kisilevitz, assistant director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, assisted Magness in her work, along with students from UNC.