They're almost as bad as the Knesset!

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pizza
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They're almost as bad as the Knesset!

Post by pizza » Wed Jun 14, 2006 8:23 am

The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition

Zahar stopped with millions in cash
JPost Staff and AP, THE JERUSALEM POST Jun. 14, 2006

Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar, who has been seeking to raise money for the financially strapped government, returned to the Gaza Strip on Wednesday with a suitcase full of cash, officials said.

Officials said Zahar was believed to be carrying up to $20 million (€15.92 million). The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Zahar was talking to border guards to document the money.

In Ramallah, dozens of Palestinian civil servants stormed the parliament on Wednesday to demand long-overdue salaries, pelting Hamas lawmakers with water bottles and forcing the parliament speaker to flee the building.

This second attack on the parliament this week, along with the shooting death of a Hamas gunmen in the Gaza Strip, cast doubt on renewed efforts by leaders of the rival Fatah and Hamas parties to halt their increasingly deadly infighting.

Tensions have been high since Hamas defeated Fatah in legislative elections in January. President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, who was elected separately last year, has been in a power struggle with the Islamic group, and 22 people have been killed in factional fighting in recent weeks.

Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas agreed late Tuesday to start a weeklong series of meetings to try to reach an agreement over a proposal that implicitly recognizes the Jewish state. The two men, joined by senior security commanders, continued their talks on Wednesday.

Abbas has endorsed the plan as a way to restart peace talks and lift crippling international economic sanctions that have rendered the government unable, since February, to pay salaries that support one-third of the Palestinian population. Hamas has rejected it.

In Ramallah, hundreds of government workers demonstrated outside the parliament building, chanting anti-government slogans and demanding their wages. As the chanting grew louder, several dozen protesters burst into the building and pelted Hamas lawmakers with water bottles, tissue boxes and other small items.

"We are hungry. We are hungry," the protesters screamed. "Haniyeh, go home!"

During the melee, some demonstrators climbed onto lawmakers' desks. At one point, security guards broke up a scuffle between two female lawmakers. No injuries were reported.

Parliament speaker Abdel Aziz Duaik, a top Hamas official, fled the hall under heavy guard shortly before the crowd burst in. "I'm not coming back until they leave," Duaik said as he rushed out.

Order was restored after about 45 minutes, and the parliamentary session resumed.

Most of the demonstrators were thought to be Fatah activists. Later Wednesday, several hundred Hamas supporters marched peacefully in Ramallah to condemn attacks on government buildings.

"We ask, whose interests are you serving through these actions, burning down our institutions?" Hamas leader Farhat Assad asked in a speech. "It is uglier than the practices of the Israeli occupation."

Earlier this week, hundreds of pro-Fatah security personnel went on a rampage in Ramallah, shooting and burning the parliament and Cabinet buildings in a rage against the Hamas-led government.

Abbas' power struggle with Hamas, which has spilled over into factional fighting, has centered around control of the powerful, Fatah-dominated security forces.

In the latest fighting on Wednesday, a Hamas gunman was killed in the southern Gaza Strip shortly after Hamas militants attacked the local commander of one of the Palestinian security agencies. The commander was shot in the legs seven times and moderately wounded.

After the Hamas gunman was killed, the group attacked the commander's home and set it on fire. Hamas activists pulled the commander's family out of the building before it was torched.

In their meeting in Gaza City, Abbas, Haniyeh and senior security officials discussed ways to end the violence.

"We deplore and regret these incidents," Haniyeh said. "We all are concerned and interested in stopping this deterioration. The government is going to carry out its responsibilities along with the security branches in order to maintain law and order."

Participants said Wednesday's talks focused on Hamas' controversial private militia. Hamas deployed the 3,000-member force last month, setting off weeks of bloodshed. Abbas has demanded the force be disbanded.

Haniyeh said Abbas had agreed to incorporate the militia into the regular police force in Gaza. But he declined to say when this might take place. Hamas has twice pledged to remove the militia out of public places, but it remains in position.

On Tuesday the bank accounts of Hamas ministers and legislators have been frozen by Palestinian banks in the West Bank and Gaza Strip at the request of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's office, Hamas officials disclosed.

The move followed Monday's attacks on several Hamas institutions in the West Bank by gunmen belonging to Abbas's Fatah party and members of various branches of the Fatah-dominated PA security forces.

Hamas leaders claimed on Tuesday that the attacks, which began almost simultaneously in different parts of the West Bank, were carried out on instructions from senior officials in Abbas's office. Abbas's aides denied the charges, saying the attacks were a spontaneous response to a rocket attack on the headquarters of the Preventative Security Service in Rafah by dozens of Hamas militiamen.

Ralph
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Post by Ralph » Wed Jun 14, 2006 10:01 am

I've stopped carryting a suitcase of cash when travelling. Doesn't make sense any more.
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RebLem
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Post by RebLem » Wed Jun 14, 2006 10:48 am

Ralph wrote:I've stopped carryting a suitcase of cash when travelling. Doesn't make sense any more.
A suitcase is gauche. Only a black bag has the proper gravitas.
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Jun 14, 2006 1:09 pm

Isn't this the second such incident of some Palestinian official trying to smuggle large sums of money into the country, ostensibly to pay the rightful debts of the Hamas government?
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Ralph
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Post by Ralph » Wed Jun 14, 2006 1:50 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:Isn't this the second such incident of some Palestinian official trying to smuggle large sums of money into the country, ostensibly to pay the rightful debts of the Hamas government?
*****

"Smuggle?"
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Corlyss_D
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Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Jun 14, 2006 2:14 pm

Ralph wrote:"Smuggle?"
Now cut that out, Rochester!
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