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December 19, 2014 / 27 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Operation Protective Edge’

UNRWA Spokesman Calls for Boycott of Israeli Paper

Friday, December 5th, 2014

In an amazing breach of sworn neutrality, to say nothing of civility, a UN spokesperson on social media attacked the Jerusalem Post and its editor and called for a boycott of the paper.

Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Arab refugees posted the following on his UNRWA Twitter account:

Gunnesstweet.jpg

Gunness lost his cool over an op-ed written by a Palestinian Arab and published in the Jerusalem Post which blamed UNRWA for prolonging the suffering of his people in order to justify its existence and deepen its coffers.

Bassem Eid, the author of that op-ed, is the founder and director of the Jerusalem-based Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group. His piece in the Post criticized UNRWA:

UNRWA, to continue its operation, depends on death and the visual suffering of five million Palestinians who continue to wallow in and around UNRWA facilities.

The more Palestinians suffer, the more power goes to UNRWA, which allows it to raise unchecked humanitarian funds and purchase munitions. People ask: Why not abolish UNRWA? Well, this cannot be done.

The only agency that can abolish UNRWA is the UN General Assembly, which has never had the interests of the Palestinian people at heart. After all, the UN rakes in more than $1.2 billion a year as an “incentive” to continue our status as refugees.

Eid included in his opinion piece a series of conditions he believes the UN donor nations should put in place in order to reform UNRWA.

These conditions, Eid suggested, are essential to ensure that UNRWA ends its perpetuation of his people’s refugee status and instead help his “people strive for a better future.”  It is the responsibility of the Palestinian Arab people to insist on these conditions, to rebel against the “arbitrary administration of UNRWA.

Those recommended conditions included auditing all UNRWA funds, encouraging permanent refugee settlement, dismiss Hamas-affiliated UNRWA employees, and cancel what Eid described as “the UNRWA war curriculum, based on principles of jihad, martyrdom and right of return by force of arms.”

The editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, Steve Linde, gently responded to Gunness:

Lindetweet.jpg

Perhaps Gunness does not understand the difference between an opinion piece and a news article. An opinion piece – which is what Eid’s is – is a column submitted by a non-employee, someone with expertise in a particular subject and which expresses that individual’s opinions or particular views on a subject.

Opinion pieces, in contrast to many news articles, are not intended to contain opposing views. An editor would never inject the comments of the subject being criticized into an opinion writer’s piece.

What Gunness could have done was submit his own op-ed for consideration to the Jerusalem Post.

But that isn’t what Gunness did.

Instead, the UNRWA spokesperson continued lobbing spitballs at Linde and the Jerusalem Post.

GUNNESS CONTINUES ASSAULT

Gunness then sinks even deeper into the sludge of trash talk by repeatedly posting what he claimed was a picture of a Jerusalem Post reporter. In the photo a man wearing a college t-shirt with a gun slung over his shoulders stands in front of a “Kahane was right” poster.

Gunness seemed to believe that distributing this photo (which comes from the blog of an Israeli anti-Zionist Arab rights activist, Didi Remez), proved his attack on Linde and the Jerusalem Post was justified. Gunness is supportive and protective of Hamas, a currently active terrorist organization, but apparently that does not strike him as problematic.

Hamas Claims Victory, Says Elections are Proof

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Hamas claimed yesterday that Israel’s decision to hold early elections was proof that Hamas defeated Israel this past summer in Operation Protective Edge, according to Khaled Abu Toameh.

The Palestinian Authority last held elections in 2005, and have chosen to not hold elections since then.

Hamas violently took over Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in 2007, despite Hamas’s strong showing in the 2005 elections.

After all, they believe elections are for losers.

Learning from Operation Protective Edge

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

For many, Operation Protective Edge served to highlight the security, the social resilience and the international media coverage issues Israel faces on a daily basis. This week (November 23, 2014) two conferences bravely took it on: Bar Ilan University’s School of Communication in conjunction with the Center for International Communication hosted “The Scholarly & Professional Convention on International Media Coverage of Operation Protective Edge” and The Institute for National Security Strategies (INSS) in conjunction with The Gush Katif Heritage Center hosted “Between Gush Katif and Operation Protective Edge.”

With an impressive array of high profile guest speakers and compelling topics of discussion, these conferences were well worth attending. The Bar Ilan convention focused on Israeli Public Diplomacy and the International Media during Operation Protective Edge. Since I’m convinced most of us consider Economy Minister Naftali Bennett to be the guy scoring the most points for Israel when it comes to the international media, it’s a pity he wasn’t one of the guest speakers. Bennett stands out so much because the international media coverage stinks so badly. However, as Prof. Eytan Gilboa rightly points out, this anti-Israel attitude has been going on for years. Gilboa’s solution is for Israel’s spokesmen to demand the journalists be professional and take responsibility for their utterances. Israel must continuously point out to the western world how biased their media coverage is.

We might all agree regarding the above issue, but there’s a variety of opinions when it comes to “Between Gush Katif and Operation Protective Edge.” In one interesting discussion, former Gush Katif Regional Council head Zvi Hendel pointed out that during Oslo, in the days of the armed Arab police force and the joint security training, the expectation had been for the Gush Katif population to dwindle; they thought people would leave. Instead, the population grew by 20% due to a happy combination of natural increase and new families coming to reside in Gush Katif. Eshkol Regional Council head Haim Yellin responded that during Operation Protective Edge his region also continued to grow. The few families that left, he claimed, were those that had been renting for a year or two, and hadn’t become truly absorbed into the community. Additionally, Eshkol has received a major boost from the Gush Katif expellees who have founded new communities in the region.

Another fascinating discussion arose when an audience member asked the speakers their opinion about the Disengagement, and whether their opinion had changed following Operation Protective Edge. Earlier in the conference, Interior Minister Gilad Erdan had stated where he stood. This staunch Likudnik spoke feelingly of the door-to-door effort before the Likud referendum, and his disgust that PM Sharon had carried out a plan his party had voted against. Whereas, Haim Yellin’s didn’t like the Disengagement Plan due to its unilateral nature; he wished for an agreement, not to give away something and get nothing in return. Prefacing his answer by admitting that his views weren’t going to be very popular with the audience, Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council head Alon Shuster revealed that he’d been in favor of the Disengagement Plan and remained so today. He considers that Israel has the right to decide where to draw the borders, and that for moral reasons Israel shouldn’t be in Gaza.

And yet, if there’s no moral reason for Gush Katif, then there is no moral reason for the rest of Israel. Or as former PM Ariel Sharon succinctly put it, “the fate of Netzarim is the fate of Tel-Aviv.”

Having destroyed Netzarim, we now need to work doubly hard to reclaim the Israeli narrative. I’m convinced we can do it, and the first step has already been achieved: realizing there’s a problem. Now let’s take steps to fix it.

Israel Okays Ban’s UN Commission on ‘UNRWA Incidents’

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

The Israeli government has decided to cooperate with a United Nations commission set up by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to investigate events this summer near facilities in Gaza owned by the UN Relief and Works Agency. The commission is to be headed by Patrick Cammaert, the former commander of the UN peacekeeping mission to the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and a retired Dutch general.

Hamas has yet to confirm whether it will cooperate with the panel in its investigation.

International inspectors discovered during the war that missiles were being stored in at least three UNRWA buildings by local terrorists. In each case, the agency immediately “ordered them removed” but it was never made public where they went, or to whom they were sent. At least six UNRWA facilities were hit by mortar shells or other types of fire during Operation Protective Edge; but the IDF identified concealed rocket launchers around all of them and even within several of the buildings themselves.

Israel intends to share its intelligence materials with the commission established by the UN secretary-general, believing its composition to be more professional than that established by the UN Human Rights Council at the outset of the war.

UNHRC High Commission Navi Pillay announced the need for a board of inquiry in a statement of outrage at the start of the conflict, accusing Israel of committing “possible war crimes” and crimes “against humanity” in Gaza.

That three-member panel, which is led by anti-Israel Canadian law professor William Schabas, is to be boycotted by the Jewish State. It was intended solely to probe events that occurred after July 17 and has not defined Gaza’s ruling Hamas organization as a terrorist group, though it is classified as such by the United States as well as Israel.

Schabas’s ‘Goldstone 2′ Investigation Team Denied Entry Into Israel

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

The three members of William Schabas’s UN team, mandated to investigate Israel for daring to defend itself against Hamas terrorism this past summer have not been allowed into Israel. Their entry visas have been denied, and they are currently sitting on their thumbs in Jordan since the beginning of the week.

Furthermore, Israel has declared it will not cooperate with their openly hostile UN investigation against Israel.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry officials believe the conclusions of the report have already been decided.

Schabas’s investigative committee is being likened to its predecessor, the Goldstone report, which resulted in such a skewed, factually incorrect, and anti-Israel report that even Richard Goldstone, the fact-finding mission’s head eventually renounced it, and admitted the “original mandate [for the investigation] adopted by the Human Rights Council… was skewed against Israel”.

The Schabas team needs to enter Israel if it is to get into Gaza.

Due to Hamas and Gaza’s alleged connections to the string of Sinai terror attacks against Egypt, Egypt has shut down all passage into Gaza from the Sinai.

Perhaps they’ll blame that on Israel too.

Gen. Dempsey: Israel Did Utmost to Limit Civilian Harm [video]

Friday, November 7th, 2014

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, told an audience in New York that he believed the Israel Defense Force went to “extraordinary lengths” to limit civilian casualties in this past summer’s military conflict in Gaza.

The military leader was speaking to the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.

In addition to praising the IDF’s efforts to limit civilian casualties, Dempsey also said that the Pentagon sent a team to Israel to see what lessons could be learned from the IDF’s expertise during Operation Protective Edge. This included observing the measures taken by the IDF to prevent civilian casualties and the way in which the Israeli military dealt with the terror tunnels.

The reason this is such extraordinary news is that Israel was criticized harshly and repeatedly for failing to prevent the heavy loss of civilian life during the conflict, which saw more than a thousand Gazans die, including many civilians and children. Various human rights entities accused and continue to accuse Israel of committing war crimes. Even the White House and State Department repeatedly claimed Israel failed to do enough to prevent civilian casualties.

But when asked to address the alleged “callous indifference” by Israel to the extensive damage and civilian deaths, Dempsey told the audience that he though the IDF “did what they could” to avoid civilian casualties.

“I actually do think that Israel went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties,” Dempsey told the group. “In this kind of conflict, where you are held to a standard that your enemy is not held to, you’re going to be criticized for civilian casualties,” he added.

Dempsey said Hamas had turned Gaza into “very nearly a subterranean society” with tunneling throughout the coastal enclave.

“That caused the IDF some significant challenges. But they did some extraordinary things to try and limit civilian casualties,” Dempsey said, which included “making it known that they were going to destroy a particular structure,” Dempsey said.

In addition to dropping warning leaflets, Dempsey said, the IDF developed a technique called “roof-knocking.” This involves dropping a low-yield explosive or non-explosive device on a rooftop. This “knocking” is a warning to residents to leave the building before it is shelled. Of course, even this effort to limit civilian casualties was criticized for not being gentle enough.

Dempsey said civilian casualties during the summer’s conflict were “tragic, but I think the IDF did what they could” to avoid them.

“The IDF is not interested in creating civilian casualties. They’re interested in stopping the shooting of rockets and missiles out of the Gaza Strip and into Israel,” Dempsey said.

Jewish Diaspora Donors Infuse NIS 50M Into Southern Israel

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Jewish donors have injected an infusion of some NIS 50 million ($13.22 million) into rocket-battered communities in southern Israel.

The package was organized by the Jewish Agency for Israel, whose Board of Governors is meeting this week in the coastal city of Ashkelon and surrounds.

Ashkelon was one of the primary targets of rocket and missile attacks launched by Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization before and during the IDF’s counter terror Operation Protective Edge this summer.

The funds are being used to help the south recover from the damage inflicted by Gaza terrorists during the 50-day war, which ended on the eve of Tisha B’Av.

Comprised of donations from the Jewish Federations of North America, Keren HaYesod-UIA and others, some of the money is aimed at programs to expand the population of communities closest to the border with Gaza.

Approximately 1,300 scholarships of more than NIS 5,700 each ($1,500) will be offered to students living within four kilometers of Gaza (2.5 miles) for help with rent, in a move designed to draw young adults to the area.

In addition, there will be funding for special loans to local businesses located within the “40-kilometer (25 miles) zone” whose operations was affected by the war. There will also be grants for victims of rocket attacks, financing to pay for refurbishing private bomb shelters via the Amigur housing subsidiary, coordinated between the Jewish Agency, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Defense. In addition, the Jewish Agency will provide support for new immigrants in local absorption centers in southern Israel and IDF lone soldiers wounded during the war.

The Jewish Agency Fund for Victims of Terror also provides a grant of NIS 4,000 ($1,060) to famkilies immediately after an attack if they have experienced an injury or loss or their homes were damaged by rocket fire during a war. Subsequently, if the government of Israel recognizes a family as a “victim of terror” the Fund provides additional aid of up to NIS 25,000 ($6,600) to the family as well.

Yet, world Jewry has responded magnificently with compassion and grace to help provide the massive amount of money required to address the needs of Israel’s war-torn southern population, so badly traumatized following the summer’s events.

Opening this week’s gathering, Jewish Agency chairman Natan Scharansky thanked the agency’s partners in the Jewish world.

“This is a continuation of the Jewish world’s massive outpouring of solidarity with the people of Israel and the residents of the South over the course of the summer,” Scharansky noted. “During the war, we stood with the residents and channeled the solidarity and support of world Jewry. Today, we are partnering with the government of Israel to ensure that [their] pioneering spirit endures well into the future, drawing ever more people to this area and keeping it strong and vibrant for many years to come.

“This is the Zionist response to this summer’s events, and it is an expression of our commitment to the residents of southern Israel.”

The agency’s Board of Governors also toured Kibbutz Nahal Oz, one of the Gaza Belt communities that was held under siege with rocket and mortar fire by Hamas and allied terrorists prior to and during the war.

IDF Southern Command GOC Maj. Gen. Shlomo Turgeman told the governors, “We are fighting for our homes here. Your decision to hold the Jewish Agency Board of Governors’ meetings in southern Israel after Operation Protective Edge is a massive source of strength for me personally, and for the soldiers under my command.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/jewish-diaspora-donors-infuse-nis-50m-into-southern-israel/2014/10/27/

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