A Palestinian gambit that saw Ramallah apply for membership in the International Criminal Court was met with swift criticism from U.S. lawmakers, who threatened repercussions for the Palestinian Authority (PA) following President Mahmoud Abbas’s Wednesday announcement. The bid puts the PA in violation of U.S. legislation that conditions aid – which amounts to some $400 million per year – on the Palestinians meeting long-standing treaty requirements forbidding unilateral moves that upgrade their international status outside of negotiations with Israel. Veteran Associated Press diplomatic correspondent Matt Lee on Friday afternoon quoted a U.S. official saying that “[i]t should come as no surprise that there will be implications” as a result of the Palestinian bid. State Department spokesperson Jeff Rathke on Wednesday released a statement calling the Palestinians’ move “entirely counter-productive” and one that “does nothing to further the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a sovereign and independent state.” Foreign Policy noted that the statement from Foggy Bottom was “likely to pale in comparison to the reaction from Congress, which has long threatened to impose sanctions on the Palestinian Authority if it pursues membership in the court.” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said in a statement Wednesday that she was “deeply frustrated” by the gambit, and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) vowed that Congress would “do everything in its power to block funds to the PA.” The Times of Israel characterized the mood on Capitol Hill as one of “bipartisan frustration with Abbas’s decision to put a Palestinian statehood resolution before the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, and, after the resolution was defeated, to sign on to the ICC on Wednesday.”
End-of-year reports show 52 Israeli companies were acquired for some $15 billion, nearly double 2013′s exits worth $7.6 billion. Israeli high-tech and biotech startups witnessed a record year of acquisitions and initial public offerings (IPOs), according to end-of-year reports by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Ethosia Human Resources. The reports show that 52 Israeli startups exited to the tune of some $15 billion this year, while 18 IPOs racked up $9.8 billion. Kontera ($150 million), Cyvera ($200 million), SuperDerivatives ($350 million), Simbionix ($120 million), Green Smoke ($110 million) and Wilocity ($300 million) were among the top blue-and-white acquisitions of 2014. Jonathan Medved, CEO of OurCrowd equity crowdfunding, tells ISRAEL21c that the pace of investment in Israel is surprisingly swift. “2013 was already a good year by Israeli standards. The fact that 2014 is up 30 to 40 percent is shocking,” he says. “This year, 2014, will be known as a revolutionary year,” writes Eyal Solomon, CEO of Ethosia, in the introduction to his firm’s annual report on Israeli high-tech and biotech. “It is revolutionary in raising funds, in the rate startups were launched, in the speed of raising funds and the pace of exits, which broke every record possible.” But whereas years past were all about Israeli companies scoring big exits, 2014 showed a transition to successful IPOs and globalization. “Companies that in the past were able to sell themselves and earn big returns for investors are going to the end with a share offering and building big companies,” Rubi Suliman, head of PriceWaterhouseCoopers Israel’s high-tech practice, told Ha’aretz (via Israel21c)
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