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Aid No More, Gantz Do It Alone, Intel Israel


US Aid to Palestinian Security Services to End Friday, at Abbas’s Request

Times of Israel, January 30th, 2019

Recap:

The Palestinian Authority (PA) demanded US funding stop at the end of January for fear it could expose the PA to costly lawsuits under the US Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA), which comes into force on February 1st.

The Context:

  • The ATCA empowers Americans to sue US foreign aid recipients in US courts over alleged complicity in “acts of war.” Abbas’s administration, long accused by Israel of stoking Palestinian militant attacks, worries about its legal exposure [1].

  • Hundreds of millions of US aid dollars have already been cut to Palestinians in the past year. The most recent cut of $60 million supported Palestinian security forces in the West Bank. Israeli officials expressed concern since PA forces affected cooperate closely with their Israeli counterparts against Hamas and other terror groups.

  • Critics of America’s pullback in the Palestinian territories claim working class Palestinians, not government officials, are most affected by the US cuts. The US government's Agency for International Development has provided more than $5.5 billion to Palestinians since 1994 for infrastructure, health, education, governance and humanitarian aid programs [2].

  • The PA is an interim self-governing body set up following the 1993 Oslo peace accords. The peace process, aimed at finding a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has stalled. Palestinians have been boycotting the US since it recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017.

Conversation Points:

  • Will cutting aid further diminish Washington's ability to influence the PA?

  • Who might fill the vacuum America’s absence will create?

  • What does America have to show for its $5.5 billion spent on Palestinian aid since 1994?

Latest Israeli Polls Show a United Gantz-Lapid Party Would Oust Netanyahu From Office

Benjamin Kerstein, Algemeiner, January 30th, 2019

Recap:

Polls show that a merger between former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid could oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from office.

The Context:

  • Polls indicate a Gantz-Lapid ticket would win 33 seats in the April 9th Knesset elections, while Netanyahu’s Likud would win only 27. Other major parties include the New Right (7), Labor (6), Kulanu (5), and Yisrael Beiteinu (5). Arab parties would win 13 seats, while Haredi parties would take 11. Netanyahu would likely continue on as Prime Minister if Gantz and Lapid did not unite.

  • Former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi is being enthusiastically courted by both candidates but he has said he will only enter the political fray on a Gantz-Lapid ticket [3].

  • Gantz played down the media enthusiasm surrounding his campaign saying he is "not ecstatic over upturns and not worried about downturns," predicted by the polls.

Conversation Points:

  • Will Gantz and Lapid put aside their egos and unite to give Netanyahu a run for his money?

  • Who will head the Gantz-Lapid ticket?

  • Can Netanyahu lead such a fractured Knesset even with a fresh mandate?

Intel Plans an $11 Billion Expansion in Israel

Erik Sherman, Fortune, January 29th, 2019

Recap:

Intel plans to invest $11 billion in a new Israeli facility. The company will shell out $10 billion, with a $1 billion incentive from the Israeli government. The plant will be completed within five years [5].

The Context:

  • Since setting up its Israeli operations in 1974, Intel has invested $35 billion in Israel and grown into the country’s largest private sector high tech employer [6]. The new Israeli facility will add 1,000 jobs to the 13,000 already employed by Intel Israel.

  • Intel will expand its product offering to include automobile safety and mobile phone wireless communications. One of its existing Israeli facilities, Mobileye, develops autonomous vehicle and advanced driving assistance systems.

  • Intel, along with Israel Chemicals and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, accounts for close to half of Israel’s industrial exports [7].

Conversation Points:

  • What type of incentives should governments offer to keep opportunity and talent within its borders?

Notes:

  1. US Security Aid to Palestinians Ends Today; Envoys Seek Workaround, Arab News, 30 January 2019

  2. 'It Really Hurts': US Aid Cuts Hit Most Vulnerable Palestinians, Al Jazeera, January 22nd, 2019

  3. Gantz, Lapid Both Said Courting Ashkenazi, But He’ll Only Join If They Unite, Times of Israel, January 25th, 2019

  4. POLLS PREDICT DEFEAT FOR LIKUD IF GANTZ AND LAPID JOIN FORCES, Jerusalem Post, January 30th, 2019

  5. Intel to Invest $11b In Israel And Add Thousands of Jobs, Finance Chief Says, Ora Coren, Haaretz, January 29th, 2019

  6. PM Meets Intel’s Israeli Leaders, Fetes Decision to Invest $11b In New Plant, Times of Israel, January 30th, 2019

  7. Intel to Get $1 Billion State Grant For $11 Billion Israel Chip Plant Expansion, Steven Scheer & Ari Rabinovitch, Reuters, January 30th, 2019


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