February 10, 2005
State Breaks Down Palestinian Budget
The State Department published a breakdown of how it intends to disburse $390 million in aid to the Palestinians. Water infrastructure, at $14 million, gets the biggest chunk of $40 million in "available funds" – money already approved by Congress – that will be channeled through nongovernmental organizations within 90 days, a statement said Monday, the day the Bush administration proposed its budget for the fiscal year beginning this October. The rest of the $40 million will go to higher education, job creation, youth programs, private sector development and health care. The remaining $350 million in requests to Congress almost quintuples the $75 million requests of recent years, and will go to similar but longer-term projects – with the exception of about $50 million, which will go to Israel to build high-tech transit points between Israeli and Palestinian areas. President Bush also requested $2.28 billion in military aid and $240 million in economic assistance for Israel.
Report: AIPAC-Linked Officials Hire Lawyers
At least six Bush administration officials reportedly have retained defense lawyers in connection with a probe into allegations of leaks to a pro-Israel group. David Ignatius, a Washington Post columnist, reported last Friday that an FBI investigation of classified leaks to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was still ongoing in late January.
"More than a half-dozen officials in the Bush administration who are apparently suspected of leaking classified information to AIPAC have had to retain defense lawyers," Ignatius said. The columnist also reported that a former senior government official was interviewed by the FBI in late January. FBI agents asked the official if Steve Rosen, AIPAC's foreign policy director, had ever asked for classified information; the official said Rosen never did, and told Ignatius he thought it was a "fishing expedition." AIPAC, the most powerful pro-Israel lobby, has been under FBI scrutiny since August. AIPAC officials told JTA they had no comment on the Ignatius column.
L.A. Islamic Fundraiser Deported
An immigration judge ordered a fundraiser for the Holy Land Foundation deported. A federal immigration judge determined Tuesday that Abdel Habber Hamdan of Los Angeles posed a threat to national security because he was raising money that was used to support terrorism, and ordered him deported. Federal authorities say the Holy Land Foundation funneled more than $12 million to Palestinian terrorist organizations before being closed by authorities in December 2001. It was unclear where Hamdan would be sent, because he claims he could face torture in his native Jordan because of his conviction for association with terrorist activities. He is likely to appeal the deportation.
Wisconsin Professors Support Divestment
A faculty body at a Wisconsin university demanded that the school divest from companies doing business with the Israeli army. The resolution, which passed the University of Wisconsin-Platteville's Faculty Senate by a vote of 7-6, with one abstention, on Jan. 25, is part of the University of Wisconsin Divestment from Israel Campaign, led by Al-Awda Wisconsin (The Palestine Right to Return Coalition) and the Alternative Palestinian Agenda. The resolution urges divestment from specific companies that supply the Israeli military with weapons, equipment and supporting systems. A university spokesman said the Board of Regents will review the resolution.
Two San Jose Synagogues Defaced
Two Orthodox synagogues in California were defaced. Am Echad was marked with a swastika, and Ahavas Torah, across the street in San Jose, was defaced with gang signs and slogans. Nearby stores also bore gang signs. Members of the two synagogues asked police to step up patrols in the area. Police believe the vandalism is the mark of a teenage gang but are investigating the incidents as hate crimes.
Jewish QB Is a Hall Of Famer
Benny Friedman, a Jewish quarterback who was a pioneer in developing the forward pass, was elected to pro football's Hall of Fame. Friedman starred for the University of Michigan and later played professional football from 1927-1933. He later coached football at Brandeis University. Friedman, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, was born in Cleveland. Friedman died in 1982.
Briefs courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency .