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January 23, 2017 / 25 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘camp’

A Message in Refugee Camp Unrest

Monday, November 7th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Commentary Magazine website}

Reuters has finally noticed what Israeli papers have been reporting for a while: West Bank refugee camps are seething. And unlike in the past, when most of the anger was aimed at Israel, “These days most of the wrath is aimed at [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas himself and his failure to keep his promises.” Western observers are watching anxiously, Reuters says, because they fear an eruption of violence. But they ought to be watching for another reason: Nothing casts more doubt on the wisdom of the West’s drive for Palestinian statehood now than the PA’s treatment of the refugee camps over its 22 years of existence.

The case for Palestinian statehood makes obvious sense in the abstract: Palestinians need a state where they can promote their people’s welfare, just as Jews need a state where they can promote their people’s welfare. It’s not that Israel did nothing for the Palestinians during its decades of governing the territories. Palestinian life expectancy jumped by 50 percent under Israeli rule, infant mortality plummeted by more than two-thirds, literacy rates and living standards skyrocketed, and so forth. Indeed, every hospital and university in the West Bank was built by Israel, as were most of those in Gaza. Nevertheless, there are many things Israel didn’t do, and the refugee camps are Exhibit A. Granted, Israel left the camps intact mainly because its one attempt to provide refugees with better housing back in the 1970s elicited such brutal opposition from the PLO–which threatened to kill refugees who accepted the offer–that it backed down. But regardless of the reason, the refugee camps are precisely the kind of open sore that Palestinian statehood is theoretically supposed to solve.

In reality, however, the PA has done nothing for the refugees. More than two decades after the PA’s establishment, the refugees’ schooling, healthcare and welfare allowances are still provided and funded wholly by UNRWA, the UN agency created especially for this purpose. Or, to be more precise, by the Western countries that fund most of UNRWA’s budget. Nor has the PA moved a single refugee into better housing. And this isn’t because Israel has somehow prevented it from doing so; most of the refugee camps are located in Area A, the part of the West Bank under full Palestinian control. It’s because the PA has no interest in doing so. As one resident of Balata, a refugee camp near Nablus, complained to Reuters, “The president [Abbas] hasn’t visited even once”–despite being in the 11th year of his four-year term.

Moreover, this neglect is quite deliberate: The PA doesn’t see the refugees as citizens to be served, but as a weapon aimed at Israel. They are kept in miserable conditions for the express purpose of creating sympathy for the Palestinian demand that they all be relocated to Israel, thereby eradicating its Jewish majority. And you needn’t take my word for that; as I’ve noted before, Palestinian officials have said quite openly that the refugees will never be granted citizenship in a Palestinian state–not even those already living in the West Bank and Gaza, the putative territory of this state.

Most of the arguments for creating a Palestinian state have long since proven false. The idea that such a state would bring peace to Israel, for instance, has been disproven not only by the upsurge in terror from every bit of territory Israel has handed over to Palestinian control to date, but also by the PA’s utter unwillingness to recognize that Jews have any right to a state even within the 1967 lines.

Similarly, the idea that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the main source of Mideast instability has been amply disproved by the meltdown of several Arab countries over the last few years, none of which had anything to do with Israel or the Palestinians.

But even with all those theories disproven, the basic desire one Balata resident expressed to Reuters–“We want dignity, we want better lives”–understandably resonates with most Westerners. And many believe this alone is sufficient justification for demanding Palestinian statehood now.

Except that a Palestinian state won’t provide that either, as the past 22 years have shown. The refugees will still be deprived of better lives, ignored by their own government, stuck in squalid refugee camps, dependent on Western charity for their healthcare, welfare and schooling, and subject to all the abuses of Abbas’s dictatorial government. As one Balata resident commented, “We don’t let the Palestinian Authority in because they will take us, torture us.”

In other words, Palestinian statehood now won’t solve a single problem, but assuredly will create a lot of new ones. If you doubt that, just consider the three wars Israel has fought with Hamas-run Gaza in the 11 years since it unilaterally withdrew from that territory. As long as Palestinians refuse to accept the Jewish state’s right to exist, an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank would almost certainly produce constant warfare just as the Gaza withdrawal has. And a Palestinian state at war with Israel will inevitably be a failed state, given the combination of Israeli military strength and Palestinian economic dependence on their larger, wealthier neighbor.

Thus, instead of continuing to push for the imminent creation of a Palestinian state, the West would do better to focus on the hard, slow work of educating Palestinians to come to terms with Israel’s existence. Demanding that the PA finally dismantle those refugee camps and take responsibility for their residents off UNRWA’s hands would be an excellent place to start.

Evelyn Gordon

IDF Soldier Injured in Refugee Camp Gunfire

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

An IDF soldier was lightly injured Wednesday from terrorist fire during security forces action in the Balata refugee camp near Shechem. The soldier received medical care at the site.

Overnight IDF forces in cooperation with GSS forces shut down an illegal weapons workshop in Balata.

Also overnight, IDF and police forces captured a gun and hundreds of 9mm bullets.

David Israel

Weapons, Bomb Making Equipment Found in Refugee Camp

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

Weapons and bomb making equipment were found overnight in a raid conducted by the Israel Police Border Guard, in collaboration with the IDF and Shabak, at the Nur al-Shams refugee camp east of Tulkarm in Samaria, the police spokesperson’s office reported Sunday.

The raid, conducted in the home and the car of a suspect as part of security forces’ operations in Nur al-Shams, yielded two homemade firearms, as well as a large stash of bomb making supplies. The suspect, 18, was detained for further interrogation.

David Israel

Camp Machane Miami Wraps Another Successful Summer

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Machane Miami Day Camp, located in North Miami Beach, wrapped up its fourth successful summer on August 5. Directed by Chaim and Yael Homnick, Machane Miami has grown into a South Florida powerhouse in the day camp market while also expanding to attract and accommodate an international clientele.

Featuring boys, girls, and preschool divisions, Machane Miami serves 500 campers each summer from nearly every South Florida community and nearly every South Florida yeshiva. Machane Miami also serves nearly 80 campers from New York and 50 more from Toronto, Montreal, Brazil, and Belgium.

Camp Machine Miami Girls Division 2016

Camp Machine Miami Girls Division 2016

“We have a professional, polished product with all of the amenities of a top-notch camp, but we keep the prices affordable for parents,” says Homnick. Local families and families from out-of-town enjoy knowing that their children can attend a thoroughly enjoyable camp with an authentic Jewish atmosphere and door-to-door busing from Collins Avenue.

The camp is based out of Toras Emes Academy of Miami so it enjoys superb grounds and the camp sets up a water park, game room and gymnasium room on campus each summer. Campers from across South Florida enjoy a dynamic summer schedule that includes weekly trips, entertainment, and workshops such as karate for boys and art, gymnastics, and dance for the girls and preschool divisions.

Shelley Benveniste

Helping Jewish Children Of Incarcerated Parents Have A Summer Camp Experience

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Having a loved one in prison is a transformative and painful journey for an entire family. Spouses, children, parents, and siblings are affected by the experience. Often there is sorrow and shame, anger and depression. Children are especially impacted. They want their dad (or mom) to come home. They feel deserted and afraid. Wives (or husbands) also suffer. They are alone with all responsibilities and often have less money coming in to cover expenses.

It was already June and Anna Katz, the mother of three from northern California, didn’t know how she would keep her kids busy all summer. After her husband made a bad business decision that landed him in prison in February 2014, life as she knew it came to an abrupt end. With her meager income, and no longer able to rely on a steady paycheck from her husband, Katz could barely afford the basics. Paying for summer camp for her children seemed out of the question.

“I was worried about my daughter,” she said. “It’s so easy for kids to make the wrong choices and take a darker path. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be able to afford camp.”

The Aleph Institute stepped in. A nonprofit based in Florida, with additional offices in New York and Los Angeles, Aleph works to serve the needs of Jewish prisoners and their families throughout the U.S. prison system.

In 2011, Aleph launched the Summer Camp Placement and Scholarship Initiative, since renamed “The Aleph Institute Jonathan Stampler Camp Fund.” The endowment enables hundreds of children with parents in correctional facilities to attend Jewish summer camp by arranging all the logistics from beginning to end, while offering generous subsidies and scholarships to make camp a reality.

Aleph’s family services director Rabbi Shua Brook had been in touch with the family since shortly after the husband’s incarceration. The worried mother said, “The rabbis at Aleph were and still are my human angels here on earth. They became my extended family, helping in every detail of our life.”

Realizing the children had no summer plans and had never attended a Jewish camp, Rabbi Brook offered a full camp scholarship for all three kids, and found donors willing to cover the cost. The 13- and 11-year-old boys flew to overnight camps in the northeast while the youngest stayed in a local Jewish day camp. This summer, all three children have returned to those overnight camps and are having a blast.

Although Aleph helps hundreds of families with their urgent necessities – covering costs of housing, food, utility bills, etc. – and advocates for a long term solution of the family’s financial and emotional needs, Brook feels that certain “luxury” items, like camp can have an incredible impact on a child’s life.

“The benefits of camp are many,” he says. “First, it provides the parent at home going through the torture of having a spouse in prison a much needed respite. Also, it creates a fun and meaningful experience for the kids, in which they can make new friends and explore essential Jewish values. It helps the entire family have a positive Jewish experience and become more involved with their local Jewish community.”

This summer alone, Aleph sent 96 children to Jewish camps across the country. Forty-One children are attending overnight camps such as CTeen Heritage Quest, CTeen Xtreme, Camp L’man Achai, and CGI Poconos among others.

To reach out to Aleph for someone in need or to donate, e-mail family@aleph-institute.org.

The Aleph Institute, founded in 1981 at the direction of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and headed by Rabbis Sholom and Aaron Lipskar, provides crucial financial, emotional, and spiritual assistance to thousands of shattered families – helping them persevere through extraordinary crises – while providing support for their loved ones in prison and mental institutions. Aleph’s benevolent mandate also encompasses spiritual assistance to thousands of soldiers in the United States Armed Forces across the globe.

Shelley Benveniste

Report: Muslim Brotherhood Running ISIS Children’s Training Camp in Jordan

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

Officially, the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS are critical of each other and have not been known to collaborate. But Majid al-Dabbas, reporting for Ammon News Wednesday, claims the Brotherhood is involved in running a training camp for “underage children” that teaches them “semi-ISIS” activities in Jordan.

The camp is allegedly located on the outskirts of Amman, and photographs on Ammon News show a group of young boys in the camp jumping over fire, doing pushups and crawling on the ground. Apparently the term “Semi-ISIS training” refers to combat training inspired by ISIS’ YouTube videos.

Photo credit: Ammon News

Photo credit: Ammon News

A Muslim Brotherhood leader named Zaki Bani Rushaid has denied the report affiliating his organization with the camp. He told Saraya News, “We stand to gain nothing from establishing such camps and it’s impossible that our group would carry out such actions.”

The Muslim Brotherhood is illegal in Jordan, having failed to renew their operating license as a party in keeping with a 2014 law regulating political parties in the kingdom. Earlier this year, the Jordanian government closed down the Brotherhood’s Amman offices. But the movement continues to enjoy a wide support in the dense refugee camps in the cities, and the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the Brotherhood’s political wing, is still legal and constitutes Jordan’s largest opposition party. In fact, after a six-year absence from parliamentary politics, the IAF plans to run in the country’s September elections.

Photo credit: Ammon News

Photo credit: Ammon News

Jordanian security forces have been employing harsh measures to locate and arrest what they believe are sleeper ISIS cells in the country’s refugee camps. Jordan is also engaged in ongoing monitoring and confronting ISIS forces across the Syrian border.

Blogger Eman Nabih points out that the link between the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS is no longer a speculation, as different Arab and Egyptian sources have revealed that the link between MB and ISIS is a reality. The two groups may focus on different Arab countries for the time being, but the ideological connection between them is clear, and, apparently, the operational ties are starting to be revealed.

David Israel

Rioting Arab Shot Dead, 45 Injured in Refugee Camp Riot

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

An Arab teenager who was rioting and posing a threat to the lives of IDF soldiers from the Egoz Reconnaissance Unit carrying out an operation in the Al Fawwar refugee camp southwest of Hebron was shot and killed, according to Arab media reports.

Muhammad Abu Hashhash, 17, was shot by the Israeli force during clashes inside the camp. At least 45 other rioting Arabs were injured, one seriously.

Israeli forces stormed al-Fawwar at dawn on Tuesday, raiding homes and interrogating suspects. Clashes broke out between local youth and Israeli soldiers, who defended themselves using tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and low impact live bullets.

The Egoz Reconnaissance Unit operation is expected to last 24 hours. The IDF Spokesperson said Tuesday that the purpose of the operation is arrests of suspects, searching for weapons and issuing subpoenas for security interrogations.

The IDF Spokesperson added that the force ran into a mob that threw stones, firebombs and improvised explosives. At least four rioters were shot after the hurled cinder blocks at the soldiers.

Israeli army soldiers carry on a house-to-house searching raid from  in Al-Fawwar refugee camp south of Hebron August 16 2016.

Israeli army soldiers carry a searching raid from house to house in Al-Fawwar refugee camp south of Hebron August 16 2016.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rioting-arab-shot-dead-45-injured-in-refugee-camp-riot/2016/08/16/

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