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October 31, 2014 / 7 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘UNRWA’

UNRWA Goes to War

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Ban Says UN Will Investigate Weaponry in Its Gaza Agencies

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

A supposed independent Board of Inquiry will look into the cases of U.N. agencies hit by artillery during the Gaza conflict, as well as instances in which weaponry was found on United Nations premises, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday at the Security Council.

He also questioned the “proportionality” of Israel’s response to rockets fired from Gaza.

He ran through the standard routine of understanding Israel’s need to defend itself “from rockets above and tunnels below” but “the scale of the destruction in Gaza has left deep questions about proportionality,” he said.

He is correct.

Any normal country would have flattened an enemy for shooting missiles into its territory and threatening to fire on planes at a country’s international airport.

Ban also called for “long-term stability in Gaza,” which is a good move except that he thinks it requires “addressing the underlying causes of the conflict” an end to the occupation that has grinded on for nearly half a century, a full lifting of the blockade on the Gaza Strip and effectively addressing Israel’s legitimate security concerns.”

“Long-term stability” in Gaza existed since the Six-Day War in 1967, when Egypt was delighted to get of the impoverished hell-hole. Gaza Arabs experienced two decades of unprecedented economic growth with the freedom to travel back and forth from Israel.

JTA contributed to this report.

Update: UN Forgot to Announce Ban Ki-Moon to Visit Negev Rocket Victims

Monday, October 13th, 2014

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will visit communities battered by Hamas missiles and meet with relatives of victims after his visit to Gaza, his press secretary told The Jewish Press Tuesday evening.

An earlier story entitled “Ban Ki-Moon Skips Sderot on Way to ‘Stand with the People of Gaza’ was based on official United Nations press releases that Ban said he will “listen directly to the people of Gaza.” A visit to southern Israel was not mentioned.

The omission of any reference to his itinerary in southern Israel was an “unfortunate error” that will be investigated, his press secretary Stefan Dujarric said.

Fresh from a visit to Libya, another hotspot where the United Nations has been a colossal failure, Ban’s speech at the “Donors Conference” in Cairo to make Hamas safe from the world marked another step towards the international body’s becoming an instrument for insanity.

It turns out, according to Ban, the “root causes” of the war are not Hamas’ stated aim of destroying Israel. “We must not lose sight of the root causes of the recent hostilities: a restrictive occupation that has lasted almost half a century, the continued denial of Palestinian rights, and the lack of tangible progress in peace negotiations,” Ban said.

It’s all because of the “occupation,” meaning the Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria following the Jordanian army’s retreat in 1967 after joining half a dozen other Arab countries that tried and failed to annihilate Israel.

It’s because of the “occupation” – not the occupation by Jordan of Judea and Samaria after it and the Arab world refused to accept the U.N. recognition of Israel and the partition plan that would have left Israel a defenseless nation and without Jerusalem.

It’s because of the “occupation” when Israel took over Gaza from Egypt, which was happy to get rid of it in the war and allow Israel to breathe life into that had been a hapless and hopeless society.

It’s because of the occupation – but not the occupation of the political vacuum by Yasser Arafat, who led the destruction of the Arab economy and religious and social freedoms.

Not only is the “occupation” the reason that Hamas attacked Israel again and again and again.

One of the root causes also is the “denial of Palestinian rights,” rights they never had under Jordanian and Egyptian role. Ban did not refer to other rights, such as free speech, a fair trial and the freedom to be a Christian. It would be too much to suggest that Jews be free to be Jews because that is what the Hamas attacks were about.

Ban says otherwise.

The war was because of “the lack of tangible progress in peace negotiations,” the euphemism for creating a Palestinian Authority state according to its own definitions, including ridding the United Nations of the burden of “refugees,” who would flood Israel to rid the world of a Jewish nation.

Ban is to meet with Israeli leaders Monday. The earlier Jewish Press article, based on U.N. press releases, stated that “Ban will reserve for Arabs in Gaza the privilege of talking with him.”

“I believe it is important to be on the ground,” he told journalists in Cairo. “That is why I am announcing today that I will visit Gaza on Tuesday to listen directly to the people of Gaza, survey the situation for myself.”

The official UN News Center removed any doubt that the United Nations is a front for the United Anti-Israel Nations.

Press Secretary Dujarric phoned The Jewish Press to correct the official press releases’ omissions and said, Ban “will go to Kibbutz HaShlosha near and will meet with inhabitants of the kibbutz and with families impacted by the rockets and relatives of people who lost loved ones, and he will meet with them privately.”

However, Ban’s speech in Cairo and the official U.N. News Center hardly mentioned Hamas attacks on Israel.

“During the recent 51-day conflict, dozens of schools, hospitals and clinics were destroyed or damaged in Gaza. UN facilities sheltering women and children were hit, resulting in many casualties. Eleven staff members of the UN were killed in the course of the conflict,” the U.N. News Center stated.

No mention was made of Israeli casualties, No mention was made of damage in Israel. No mention was made that Israel did not raise a finger at Gaza until Hamas attacked.

The United Nations continues to act as a propaganda organ for the Palestinian Authority, which now officially includes Hamas, and the “unfortunate error” only highlights its agenda.

“Given that 70 percent of Gazans are refugees, we have a huge responsibility to rebuild homes and improve the situation in the refugee camps,” said UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness speaking with UN radio from Jerusalem this afternoon.

Helping Refugees: Shutting the UNRWA, Funding the UNHCR

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

The Fleeing Refugees

There is a mass migration occurring in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa). People are fleeing their home countries due to turmoil and are crossing land and sea to escape to more stable societies.

Fleeing Syria: Over 3 million people have poured into Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt; Fleeing Libya: 100,000 have crossed the Mediterranean towards Italy and southern Europe; Fleeing Iraq: Iraq is now hosting people fleeing Syria, while simultaneously, watching thousands of its own citizens flee from ISIS

The new host countries are attempting to find solutions for the flood of new people, many which do not speak the language and lack professional skills. The United Nations is working to assist these countries handle the millions of new people who need shelter, food, clothing and education for an indeterminate amount of time.

The UNHCR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, is currently staffed with 8600 people handling 34 million refugees from 125 countries. The number of refugees continues to swell each day and hundreds of others die before they even reach safety. In 2014 alone, an estimated 2900 refugees died in transit. In 2014, UNHCR estimates that it will assist over 41 million people. Its biennial budget is $5.3 billion.

The Swell and Permanence of UNRWA

Meanwhile, the UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, has continued to stretch its “temporary” existence for 66 years. This distinct refugee agency for Palestinians manages virtually no refugees anymore, but instead handles services for 5.4 million children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of people who left Palestine in 1948.

The UNRWA staff stands at 30,000, or 3.5 times the staff that the rest of the world gets for actual refugees. It services only 13% of the people that UNHCR assists.

Unlike the refugees serviced by UNHCR, the Palestinians speak the language and have skills. The UNRWA infrastructure and systems have been established for decades. Yet, the UNRWA biennial budget is over $2 billion, or $370 per person serviced compared to $130 for each UNHCR refugee who needs real and immediate services and infrastructure such as shelters, medical facilities and schools.

Almost every UNRWA worker is a Palestinian. The few Europeans that occupy the senior positions and act as the face of the organization mask the reality that the organization is simply an employment agency for Palestinians that runs schools and medical facilities in Gaza, West Bank, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. As UNRWA writes: “Staff costs constitute the bulk of UNRWA’s budget. This is because the day to day direct delivery of services requires a large number of staff (some 29,000). Efforts to maintain parity with host authorities’ public sector salaries render the Agency’s financial sustainability susceptible to economic volatility”. (In other words, when Jordan gives its public sector unions a 5% raise, the entire world gives the Palestinian UNRWA workers a raise too.)

UNRWA continues to extend its life and grow its mission. Per the UNRWA documents, the agency “has evolved over time in response to developments in the operational context, extends at present to providing education; health; relief and social services; microfinance and emergency assistance to refugees; infrastructure and camp improvement within refugee camps; and protection.”

The mission of the agency, in short, is no longer to have temporary workers in temporary hospitals assist a defined number of people for a temporary period of time. It has become a conduit for the global community to pay generations of Palestinians to care for themselves. As Queen Rania of Jordan put it elegantly “UNRWA is a way of living.”

The Abuse of UNRWA

UNRWA at WAR: UNRWA statements and actions during the Israeli-Hamas battle of Summer 20

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

{*Edited and researched by Arlene Kushner} At a time when nations of the world seek a neutral entity that can manage the funds for the rehab of Gaza, some people have suggested that UNRWA be considered as that entity.

However, before appointing UNRWA it would be best to examine UNRWA statements and actions during the Israeli-Hamas conflict of 2014

June 27 through August 23

As UNRWA statements and actions are reviewed, certain factors become readily evident:

• UNRWA, which has a mandate to function as a humanitarian relief organization, consistently and inappropriately politicizes its positions.

• That politicization is expressed via a virulently anti-Israel stance.

• UNRWA is controlled by or allows itself to be used by Hamas. Its representatives studiously avoid mention of Hamas behavior that is egregiously destructive to the civilians of Gaza.

• UNRWA statements are frequently tendentious. They include distortions of fact, and blatant misrepresentations.

Hamas

UNRWA’s relationship to Hamas is at the core of this review.

An examination of UNRWA press releases and public statements by UNRWA representatives for the time period of this report reveals that Hamas is almost never mentioned by name.

On July 11, for example, Robert Turner, Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, exhibiting a rare attempt to be (to seem) even-handed, said:

“The United Nations has condemned indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza on civilian areas in Israel and I do so again now.”

“Rocket fire from Gaza…” Perhaps the rockets fire themselves. There is no mention that Hamas is doing the bulk of the launching. And as to the fire being “indiscriminate… Does he suggest that there is a discriminating way to fire rockets at civilians?

►Not once during this time period was there a complaint or accusation voiced publicly by an UNRWA representative with regard to the Hamas practice of launching rockets and firing mortars from or near civilian sites — most particularly in this context, UNRWA installations.

Were one to form an impression of the war based solely on statements emanating from UNRWA, one would not know that such a practice – involving extensive utilization of civilians as human shields, which is blatantly in defiance of international law – had been taking place.

The failure of UNRWA personnel to refer to Hamas’s use of human shields is particularly disturbing because UNRWA’s mandate is humanitarian: the agency’s first obligation is to the wellbeing of the Palestinian Arabs, referred to as refugees, for whom it maintains responsibility.

An UNRWA document declares explicitly that:

“UNRWA has a very clear mandate for protection…[which includes] obtaining full respect for the rights of the individual in accordance with the letter and spirit of the relevant bodies of law (that is, human rights law, international humanitarian law…)”

http://www.unrwa.org/userfiles/201006109246.pdf

At the very same time, article 28 of the Forth Geneva Convention states that:

“The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.”

Similarly the 1998 ICC Statute declares that:

“Utilizing the presence of a civilian or other protected person to render certain points, areas or military forces immune from military operations” constitutes a war crime.

It is not remotely within the realm of the possible that UNRWA, an international humanitarian agency, is unaware of these legal prohibitions.

Nor does it withstand the test of credibility that UNRWA staff might have been unaware of Hamas’s practice in this regard. Hamas even put out a video encouraging it:

http://www.idfblog.com/blog/2014/07/08/hamas-uses-human-shields/

What we are seeing is a willful readiness to ignore these Hamas practices – in spite of the obligation of UNRWA to respond to them. In this sense, UNRWA has most grievously failed those individuals for whom it has responsibility.

US State Dept Attacks Its Ally, Israel Over UNRWA Human Shields

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

The U.S. State Department has attacked its ally, Israel, for returning fire in combat when Hamas and allied terrorists shelled its soldiers or fired rockets at Israeli civilians from within and around UNWRA facilities.

It is standard military practice that American own troops have carried out thousands of times in Afghanistan, Mosul and elsewhere around the world without ever issuing even one leaflet of warning to the population, let alone a phone call requesting residents to leave.

The buildings under discussion are owned by the United Nations Works and Relief Agency (UNRWA) and were sheltering Gazans who were displaced by the combat initiated by Hamas. The situation made a very juicy, deliberate photo op for the terrorists, as noted in the terrorist training manual captured earlier in the summer by the IDF.

The terrorists were exploiting the United Nations facilities as rocket launching sites and in some cases, as weapons storage facilities, and were operating very close to the buildings where the Gaza civilians were staying, in a deliberate and cynical use of human shields. All this has been documented.

An UNRWA health center and attached distribution center in Jabaliya were exploited by Hamas terrorists for use as a rocket firing site from which to launch attacks against Israeli civilians. Satellite imagery documented the evidence.

An UNRWA health center and attached distribution center in Jabaliya were exploited by Hamas terrorists for use as a rocket firing site from which to launch attacks against Israeli civilians. Satellite imagery documented the evidence.

And all of which seemingly has been ignored by the State Department, which scored Israel for returning fire to the source of attacks on its civilians and soldiers.

State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters at a briefing this past Thursday, “We were horrified by the strikes that hit UNWRA facilities.”

As a matter of fact, it is not at all clear that any Israeli shells actually hit UNRWA facilities while they were occupied. There is satellite imagery and video documentation that the buildings were empty at the time that a single Israeli shell struck an UNWRA building.

Other shells that struck around UNRWA buildings and in a courtyard and were aimed directly with surgical precision at the terrorists who were being targeted precisely because they were firing rockets at Israeli civilians, and at Israeli soldiers.

Synagogue in Ashdod destroyed by Hamas rocket fire launched from Gaza.

Synagogue in Ashdod destroyed by Hamas rocket fire launched from Gaza.

None of which apparently mattered to the United States, even though the use of human shields does not preclude the legal right to wage war against a legitimate military target in international law.

“The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians,” Harf said. “Israeli authorities say they’re investigating. We expect these to be investigated thoroughly and promptly, and we’ll continue pushing them to do so.”

A bit hostile for a representative of a nation that bills itself as Israel’s “greatest friend in the world,” no? She’s starting to sound a lot more like a few other leaders we could name, none of whom are friends of Israel these days.

Harf’s remarks followed a report issued earlier in the day by the Human Rights Watch organization, which has accused Israel of committing war crimes with “indiscriminate targeting of civilians” at three UNRWA schools — without offering evidence to back up its claims, of course.

IDF, Independent UN Commission to Probe Events at UNRWA Schools

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

The IDF and the United Nations are both investigating the events that took place in Gaza this summer during Israel’s counter terror Operation Protective Edge, particularly at United Nations-run facilities.

The Chief Military Prosecutor of the Israel Defense Forces, Maj.-Gen. Dani Efroni has opened two criminal investigations: one into the July 16 air strike on a Gaza beach that left four Arab boys dead, and another into an attack at a United Nations school on July 24 in which 14 Gaza residents were killed.

Six teams of military experts who underwent specialized legal training and who are reserve officers have been assigned the task of investigating the incidents. A senior IDF officer was quoted by The Jerusalem Post as saying the teams would be able to render detailed decisions in a reasonable amount of time, inasmuch as they are not part of the chain of command due to their reserve status.

All told, the IDF MAG (Military Advocate General) Corps has opened reviews into 44 events that took place during this summer’s 50-day counter terror Operation Protective Edge. In addition, another 55 cases are to be investigated in the coming weeks, military sources told journalists on Wednesday. Two cases have already been referred for criminal investigation. Seven were closed, three are pending but may go to criminal investigations, and 12 others are being scrutinized.

One of the three pending cases involves a claim by a 17-year-old Gaza youth who said he was detained and held for five days by IDF soldiers. The youth said the soldiers beat him while moving him from place to place. The second incident involves alleged looting by an IDF soldier in Gaza City. The third investigation revolves around the death of a Gaza woman who coordinated an exit from her home, but ended up shot and killed.

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is also setting up a separate, independent commission of inquiry to look into the events that took place at UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency) facilities in Gaza during the war. The separate commission, said Ban, will investigate attacks on UNWRA schools, and destruction of UNRWA facilities, the injuries and deaths of UNRWA employees in Gaza, as well as the use of UNRWA facilities as weapons storage areas by Hamas and allied terrorist organizations, “no matter what.”

The IDF has amassed a myriad of satellite photos and other concrete evidence documenting the exploitation of UNRWA facilities by Hamas and other terrorists.

Ban told the Arabic-language Al Hayat newspaper on Wednesday the special commission would operate independently from that established by the UN Human Rights Council, headed by anti-Israel Canadian law professor William Schabas. The UNHRC investigating committee was set up solely to investigate alleged human rights violations and suspected war crimes committed by the IDF during the operation.

The IDF still has a list of incidents to be checked out, military sources said. A few were closed after it was ascertained no criminal wrongdoing had occurred — for example, a strike on a journalist in Gaza who was later discovered to have actually been a terrorist. He was suspected of transporting a missile in his car.

In another incident, on July 8, eight members of the Kaware family were killed in an IDF air strike on a home in Gaza. Israeli fighter pilots had first fired a small ‘knock on roof’ dud missile to warn the family of an impending attack and the family members did indeed leave the home. But then, inexplicably, they ran back into the house after a second, armed missile had already been fired at the target. All were killed.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/idf-independent-un-commission-to-probe-attacks-weapons-storage-at-un-schools/2014/09/10/

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