From the Algemeiner:
Switzerland has put together a plan to reconstruct the Gaza Strip which includes paying the salaries of Hamas operatives, according to Palestinian officials interviewed by Israel’s NRG website. The plan would also reestablish the status of the Hamas terrorist organization as the only authority in the Gaza Strip.
In recent months, according to the report, Hamas has been faced with the danger of collapsing in Gaza, and turned to Swiss officials for help. Its relations with Egypt are at their worst ever, and funds intended to rehabilitate the coastal enclave after Israel’s Operation Protective Edge last summer have run out. Thousands of Hamas officials have not received their salaries for months, leading to weakening of Hamas’ legitimacy in Gaza, and raising the specter of protests against Hamas’ rule.
The Palestinian sources told NRG that the Swiss jumped into the fray and promised to pay the salaries of thousands of Hamas officials.
The issue of salary payments for Gaza based government employees has been the source of tensions between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas for some time.
The terms of the new Swiss program also reportedly include a resolution to this long-standing crisis between Hamas and the PA. Just last Sunday, a Swiss delegation arrived in the Gaza Strip with the goal of reconciling the parties.
Switzerland’s relations with Hamas have been warming for a number of years. In 2009, the Swiss government initiated an Israeli-Palestinian conference, which was attended by former Israeli parliamentarian Yossi Beilin and members of Hamas, in order to discuss the possibility of renewing the peace process. That same year, Switzerland hosted a Hamas delegation lead by co-founder Mahmoud Al-Zahar on its own territory. Micheline Calmy-Rey, the Swiss Foreign Minister at the time, explained her country’s decision, saying “Hamas is an important player in the Middle East conflict, and cannot be ignored.”
Diplomatic sources have noted that Switzerland’s policy towards Hamas is very forgiving, unlike the much sterner policy of EU-member States which consider it a terrorist organization and are forbidden from maintaining contacts with Hamas.
From the Australian:
SYDNEY University academic Jake Lynch is under renewed pressure over his support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel, with calls for his sacking following a BDS protest last week.
University vice-chancellor Michael Spence has launched an investigation into a fracas that broke out on Wednesday when students stormed a public meeting on campus and disrupted an address by former British army colonel Richard Kemp. When security guards tried to remove the protesters, Professor Lynch criticised the guards; he says he was then attacked by a elderly woman.
While Professor Lynch has written a letter to Dr Spence asking him to discipline the security guards, Mr Kemp wrote to the vice-chancellor claiming that Professor Lynch and another pro-BDS academic “were both apparently leading and encouraging the protesters”.
“At one point I observed Associate Professor Lynch waving money in the face of a Jewish student, a clearly aggressive and insulting act that seemed to invoke the stereotype of the ‘greedy Jew’,” Mr Kemp wrote.
The Australasian Union of Jewish Students has called on Dr Spence to sack Professor Lynch.
“Waving money in the face of Jewish people screams of the classical anti-Semitic falsehood that Jews are obsessed with money,” AUJS national chairman Dean Sherr said.
Professor Lynch, who is the director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, said he held up the bank notes to warn a woman who he said kicked him in the groin that he would sue her if she didn’t desist. He denied the action was anti-Semitic.
He said he had shown “almost heroic restraint” against the woman, while the security guards had, he said, shown no interest in curbing her actions.
Shurat HaDin director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner was recently profiled in The Jerusalem Report, an independent biweekly news magazine.
Here are a few highlights from the interview:
- Nitsana originally planned on becoming a pianist. She took 12 years of lessons and played professionally in classical concerts.
- She is profoundly frustrated with the State of Israel’s refusal to provide key witness testimony in the Bank of China case, and believes this decision puts a major stumbling block in the fight against terror financing. Worse, despite being exposed as having earlier knowingly sent money to Islamist terrorist groups, in 2012, a money changer from the West Bank was indicted for wiring money to Gaza through the Bank of China. “They clearly had not learned their lesson,” she says.
- Nitsana discusses the Harpoon special counter-terror finance intelligence unit that was created by former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, which is currently not operating. The unit did things that neither the IDF nor the security services could do, using lawsuits and the threat of lawsuits to achieve their goals.
- Nitsana believes Abbas’s move to join the ICC is a huge tactical error.
“[Abbas] knows he will be going down if he joins the court, but he doesn’t care as long as everyone goes down with him. He believes he can achieve more by joining the court and indicting Israel for war crimes than he can by negotiation. It’s a fatal mistake.”
- Nitsana thinks that Europe still has not begun facing reality of the fight against terror. She cites as an example the fact that it is impossible to enforce legal judgments against Iran or Syria in Europe.
Read the full interview here.