Auditors: Egypted Wasted €1 Billion in AidJune 19, 2013 15:18 by Pesach Benson
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Today’s Top Stories
1. With the US withdrawing from Afghanistan and global defense budgets are decreasing, Who Will Buy Israel’s Military Hardware?
But the 2013 show in Paris comes at a time of increasing concern for Israel as economic and regional changes raise the stakes for maintaining what has turned into a major engine of employment and innovation for the Israeli economy.
2. John Kerry and Gen. Martin Dempsey are at loggerheads over Syrian airstrikes. Jeffrey Goldberg reports:
At a principals meeting in the White House situation room, Secretary of State John Kerry began arguing, vociferously, for immediate U.S. airstrikes against airfields under the control of Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime — specifically, those fields it has used to launch chemical weapons raids against rebel forces.
It was at this point that the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the usually mild-mannered Army General Martin Dempsey, spoke up, loudly. According to several sources, Dempsey threw a series of brushback pitches at Kerry, demanding to know just exactly what the post-strike plan would be and pointing out that the State Department didn’t fully grasp the complexity of such an operation . . . .
Officials with knowledge of the meeting say that Kerry gave as good as he got, and that the discussion didn’t reach aneurysm-producing levels. But it was, in diplomatic parlance, a full and frank vetting of the profound differences between State and Defense on Syria.
3. European auditors determined that Egypt squandered €1 billion in EU aid over the last seven years. According to the Financial Times, the findings are damning for both the Mubarak and Morsi regimes:
The European court of auditors found that the new Egyptian government that swept to power in the wake of popular uprisings in 2011 had – if anything – demonstrated even less interest than its predecessor in EU-sponsored programmes to foster civil society and protect the rights of women and minorities.
It also warned that Brussels was unable to track about 60 per cent of the aid money after it was transferred to Egyptian government coffers, raising concerns about widespread fraud and mismanagement.
4. HonestReporting rubbed shoulders with the movers and shakers at the at the Israeli Presidential Conference.
Israel and the Palestinians
• So much for Hamas’ efforts to stop rocket fire. Three rockets — the first ones fired in two months — hit Israel. The Jerusalem Post reports that the rockets landed in open areas, causing no injuries or damage.
• Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan hosted Hamas leaders Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh in an unannounced visit. While most media reports say they apparently discussed Israeli and Erdogan’s desire to visit Gaza, Today’s Zaman reports that the visit was more about Erdogan mediating internal divisions within Hamas:
An Ankara-based Arab diplomat who spoke to Today’s Zaman recently said that Hamas needs to solidify its ranks after a growing rift in the group reportedly due to financial hardships. “Turkey is trying to hold Hamas together during this hard process,” said the diplomat.
Hamas is in a tough spot due to internal problems, with the rift growing more severe. One party within the group, which includes names from Hamas’s army wing, is insisting that the group reposition itself under the axis of Iran and Syria while another party represented by Mashaal believes that Hamas can only overcome its financial problems by approaching Gulf countries like Qatar.
• South Africa’s former ambassador objected to JNF trees planted in his honor, saying Israel planted them on land belonging to Palestinians and Bedouins. The Times of Israel had clearest coverage.
• Former ambassadors Moshe Arens and Dan Kurzer told a Knesset caucus that Israel can get by without American aid and we should begin phasing it out. The Media Line was on hand for the spirited discussion at the Knesset Caucus on Israel-US Relations:
Arens reminded the assembled parliamentarians and representatives of American Jewish organizations present that there was a time when US aid to Israel made up more than 20 percent of Israel’s GDP, while today it represents only 1.5 percent of the total budget.
• Bad news for the BDS movement: Israel and Holland are creating a joint forum to increase cooperation in the energy and technology fields.
- “Jerusalem can no longer shrug off Mr. Nasrallah’s threats to invade Israel’s Galilee region.”
- Egypt’s tourism minister resigns over new governor’s terror ties.
- World VIPs honor Shimon Peres.