By Yosef Kuperwasser
May 29, 2017
The Palestinian Authority has paid out some NIS 4 billion—or $1.12 billion—over the past four years to terrorists and the families of terrorists who were killed while carrying out terror attacks. Anyone who has sat in prison for more than 30 years gets NIS 12,000 ($3,360) per month, nearly 10 times the average salary the PA pays employees. The Palestinians’ own budgetary documents clearly state that these payments to the Terrorists are salaries and not welfare payments. When terrorists are released, they get a grant and are promised a job at the Palestinian Authority. They also receive a military rank that’s determined according to the number of years they’ve served in jail.
People say, “Okay, we know that they pay salaries to terrorists,” but we have not properly understood the scale or significance of this practice. The money that the Palestinian Authority pays to reward terrorists now amounts to seven percent of the PA’s approximately annual $4 billion dollar budget. Over 20 percent of the annual foreign financial aid that the PA receives is now dedicated to the salaries of imprisoned terrorists as well as to the salaries of prisoners who are released from prison. Released Palestinian terrorists continue to receive salaries for terrorism, as do the families of those who died in their “struggle against Zionism.” The total payment was roughly 1.5 billion shekels for fiscal year of 2016.
This is hardly a unique occurrence. Every year, the PA has released a similar sum, roughly over one billion shekels (approx. $320 million dollars) per year for the past four years. I’m only providing the past four years as an example, but if we went back further, we would see that the number has also been higher than one billion. Due to international pressure, the Palestinian Authority decided that it was unable to directly pay the money, and so from its budget, through a trick that satisfied many international entities, they transferred the money, not directly to a ministry responsible for payments to prisoners, but to the PLO so that the terrorists’ salaries could be formally paid through Palestinian National Fund, which was declared afterward by the Israeli Ministry of Defense to be a terror-supporting organization. But this money all comes from the Palestinian Authority’s own budget.
The PA’s official support of terror is a deliberate and official act of state: It occurs on the basis of PA laws that have been passed since 2004, and provide legal grounds for payments to incarcerated terrorists and the families of Terrorist killed carrying out terror attacks against Israel. These are explicit PA laws, which mandate payments to prisoners of war, or as they call them “al-asra”; a normal prisoner is “sijir” in Arabic. “Prisoners of war and released prisoners of war,” says the second clause of the law, “are an inseparable part from the fighting sector of Palestinian society.” On that basis, the PA has determines that Palestinian terrorists are entitled to “heroic treatment and recognition.”
Texas’s “bathroom bill” hasn’t become law yet, but it’s already costing the state—to the tune of more than $200 million in bad publicity—according to a new report.
Texas Competes, a group of business leaders that support LGBT rights in the state, reviewed press coverage of Texas’s bathroom bill between January 10, 2016 and May 22, 2017. The bill made headlines again on Monday after the Texas House passed an amendment to an unrelated education bill that prohibits transgender students from using bathrooms that correspond with their gender identities. Texas legislators who support the amendment say it protects the privacy and safety of students. Another possible black eye for the state came on Sunday, when the Texas Senate passed a bill that would allow state-funded adoption agencies to discriminate against prospective adopters on the basis of religion.
The state’s legislative session ends on May 29, meaning the “bathroom bill” would have to pass by that date to become law.
While not as far-reaching as its North Carolina counterpart, Texas’s bathroom bill is reminiscent of that partially repealed piece of legislation. When former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed HB2 in March 2016, outrage was swift and resulted in huge economic losses. The total economic cost of the bill for North Carolina is said to be nearly $4 billion.
Press coverage of the Texas bill has generated $216 million in bad publicity for the state, according to the report. More than 25,000 news articles were published about the legislation in the U.S. during the period studied, with the vast majority of them—20,000—published outside of Texas. Texas Competes used a media tracking algorithm to determine what portions of the coverage was positive, negative or neutral. Nearly three-quarters of the coverage was neutral and 25 percent was negative, according to the report.
The two percent of the “positive” coverage “largely described efforts by performing artists, businesses and sports organizations and others to protest ‘bathroom bills,’” said Texas Competes. The Associated Press published the largest number of articles about the bill, followed by the San Antonio Express-News; MyStatesman.com; and the Laredo Morning Times.
Continue reading at: http://www.newsweek.com/texas-bathroom-bill-216-million-bad-publicity-615019
Lauren McGaughy, Austin bureau
May 26, 2017
AUSTIN — Transgender student athletes like Euless Trinity wrestler Mack Beggs don’t have to worry about being disqualified for steroid use after a newly proposed law died this week in the Texas House.
The legislation would have let the University Interscholastic League, the state’s high school sports organization, declare athletes unfit to play if they’re taking the hormone. Athletes with a doctor’s prescription for a medical condition like gender dysphoria would still be at risk of disqualification under the bill.
The bill passed easily in the Senate but died unceremoniously in the House Public Education Committee after failing to be voted out before a key bill passage deadline. Committee Chairman Dan Huberty, R-Houston, said it failed because the House received the bill too late in the process.
“We got it late in the session,” Huberty said. “It was a timing issue.”
The bill’s author, Edgewood Republican Rep. Bob Hall, said Thursday he was “very disappointed” his proposal died.
Currently, UIL rules bar transgender athletes from competing against the gender with which they identify. So although Beggs identifies as male and is taking testosterone to aid his transition, he must continue to wrestle girls under state rules.