December 20, 2007
Briefs: ‘Christian Nation’ vote; Aid to P.A.
(Page 2 - Previous Page)Hamas, languishing in international isolation since it routed Abbas' Fatah in Gaza in June, described the Paris fundraising drive as a "declaration of war."
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who pledged $555 million for 2008 on behalf of the Bush administration, described the donor meeting as a sequel to last month's Annapolis peace conference led by Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Abbas used the Paris forum to repeat his call on Israel to stop building West Bank settlements and remove military checkpoints so Palestinians can move about more freely. Israel's representative at the meeting, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, repeated Jerusalem's statement that concessions cannot come at the cost of security.
Bush Delays Embassy Move
President Bush extended a delay on moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem for another six months.
"I hereby determine that it is necessary to protect the national security interests of the United States to suspend for a period of six months" the embassy move mandated in a 1995 law, Bush said Wednesday in a memorandum to Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. secretary of state. "My administration remains committed to beginning the process of moving our embassy to Jerusalem."
Bush and his predecessor, President Clinton, have often delayed the move, citing difficulties such an action would impose on Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking.
Claims Conference to Support Survivors in Sderot
The Claims Conference will give $550,000 to help assist Holocaust survivors living in and near Sderot, the organization announced this week. The money will help physically reinforce two day centers that the Claims Conference, the clearinghouse for Holocaust reparation funds, built for the elderly in the area, a frequent target for short-range rudimentary rockets launched by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip.
Some $250,000 will go to help Nazi victims join supportive communities in nearby Otef Shalom, and $50,000 will help establish a Sderot branch of AMCHA, the National Israeli Center for Psychological Support of Nazi Victims.
Hamas marks 20th Anniversary
As many as 300,000 Palestinians rallied in Gaza City on Saturday, the 20th anniversary of Hamas' founding, in a show of support for the Islamist movement's refusal to soften its stand against Israel. Hamas began during the first Palestinian uprising as a grassroots charity with an armed wing whose members mostly dedicated themselves to killing those suspected of "collaborating" with the Jewish state. After earning international notoriety for suicide bombings launched in the 1990s, Hamas built up its political influence until it crushed the long dominant Palestinian faction, Fatah, in 2006 elections. It now controls the Gaza Strip after ousting Fatah in a June civil war and shows little sign of yielding to a Western aid boycott. Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister in the previous Palestinian Authority government, told Saturday's demonstration that anyone who expects the faction to give up on its dream of destroying Israel "can go to hell."
Briefs courtesy of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
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