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March 26, 2015 / 6 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘UNRWA’

UNRWA Runs Out of Money that Israel Says Being Used for Terror Tunnels

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

UNRWA said Tuesday it has suspended it program  rehabilitate Gaza, which may be good news for Israel since it says material shipped to Gaza are also being used to rehabilitate terror tunnels.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told President Reuven Rivlin in New York Monday night that the United Nations has sent a team to Gaza to investigate assertions by Israel that metal and cement shipped into Gaza are being used for tunnels as well as homes.

UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness told The Jewish Press he is not aware of any money being used for the tunnels, some of which have been identified by the IDF as newly constructed.

The UNRWA program to help Gazans, whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hamas rockets as well as Israeli fire in last summer’s war, is dependent on pledges of $5.4 billion, including $720 million for UNRWA, made by foreign donors at a conference in Cairo last October..

“The gap between expectations after the October Cairo conference and present reality is widening. There are genuine fears that if UNRWA halts this program, the consequences could be dramatic,” said Gunness.

He added, “All of the money that we can dispense has been spent. There is no more money.” He also stated that no money is missing.

There are two UNRWA aid plans, one for rental subsidies and the other for cash payments for Gazans to buy materials.

The Jewish Press has learned that most of the money that actually was turned over to UNRWA came from Saudi Arabia, followed by the European Union.

The constant threat of violence from Gaza is often fueled by great expectations, and the halt to work for homes in Gazans could stir up the locals again.

And what happened to all of the pledges?

Par for the course, most Arab countries have not lived up to their promises.

For example, Qatar pledged $1 billion.

With the price of oil having caved in since October, perhaps the richest country in the world, which has investments of more than $100 billion, cannot find the shekels for its poor brethren in Gaza.

Qatar’s Sheikh Hamad may need the small change for the maid to clean his home in London, for which he paid $62 million and then spent another $110 million to refurbish, complete with marble bathrooms.

Israeli Paper Responds to UNRWA’s Shocking Boycott Call

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

Last week Chris Gunness, a spokesperson for the United Nations Refugee and Works Agency, had a lengthy temper tantrum on twitter.

The object of that tantrum, the Jerusalem Post‘s editor-in-chief, Steve Linde, responded publicly today.

Linde issued a press release in which he, on behalf of his paper, calmly and soundly rejected the assault by UNRWA’s Gunness.

Gunness was enraged that the Jerusalem Post ran an opinion piece criticizing UNRWA and suggesting numerous conditions be placed on the UN agency by donor nations as a means of ensuring the agency put the needs of the Palestinian Arabs ahead of the agency’s desire for increasing its own girth and coffers.

The Post‘s op-ed was written by a Palestinian Arab, Bassem Eid, the founder and director of the Jerusalem-based Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group.

As described fully in Friday’s UNRWA Spokesman Calls for Boycott of Israeli Paper, Gunness attacked the Post and Linde. Gunness called Eid’s piece “garbage,” referred to the Post as “far right” (a much greater insult than internationally-condemned terrorist group as far as Gunness is apparently concerned) and calling for a complete boycott – “Boycott the JPost! Don’t read their lies” of the Jerusalem Post and calling out Linde. Gunness issued this call to his more than 35,000 Twitter followers.

The UNRWA spokesman falsely claimed the Post had boycotted him, “boycotting me ie no quote.”

In a response which is now posted on his Facebook page, Linde wrote that Gunness’s campaign against the Post “represents an unacceptable breach of protocol and neutrality he is supposed to uphold.”

“An attack of this kind by a senior staff member of a UN body that employs as many as 30,000 people and provides aid to millions of Palestinians is unbecoming,” Linde said.

An op-ed is not a news article. It is an opinion piece written by someone with either expertise or other first-hand knowledge or is credible and has a view not widely covered elsewhere in the media.

The Post‘s op-ed editor, Seth Frantzman, shot back at the petulant claim that Gunness was boycotted simply because he was not quoted – in an op-ed.

“We have a long track record of publishing op-eds from diverse voices on a wide range of issues and will continue to subject all groups to robust critique, despite this intimidation,” Frantzman wrote. “UNRWA’s call for a boycott over an article published by a Palestinian activist who critiqued UNRWA contravenes the concept of open debate and has a chilling effect on free speech.”

The full press release from the Jerusalem Post can be found here, on Linde’s Facebook page.

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.

Rachel’s Tomb Hijacked

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

On the 11th of Heshvan, which this year falls on November 4, Jews observe the “yaarzeit” memorial for Rachel, the Biblical matriarch who bore Joseph and died in child birth as Benjamin was born.

As part of our agency’s continuing reportage of the PA school books now used in the UNRWA educational facilities, funded by the US, the EU and other western nations, we have come across a newsworthy phenomenon: UNRWA schools now teach that Rachel’s tomb is a shrine to a Muslim.

This is consistent with PA educational policy, which does not recognize any area in any part of Palestine, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, as Holy to Jews. UNRWA students learn that the Western Wall, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron are exclusively holy and special to Moslems, and devoid of anything Jewish.

However, after the founding of the PA in 1994, the initial Palestinian Authority textbook recognized Rachel’s tomb, described as “Qabr Rahil” in a chapter about Bethlehem (pp. 87-90) in a paragraph titled “the most important historical and religious sites” (pp. 88-89), second to the Church of the Nativity. That text, on top of p. 89 is translated as: “Rachel’s Tomb: The mother of our lord Joseph and the wife of Jacob, peace be upon them both”. The textbook in which this sentence appears is titled “Palestinian National Education” for grade 6 and it was published by the Ministry of Education of the Palestinian National Authority in 1996.

However, The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education has now transformed the “Tomb of Rachel” into “The Mosque of Bilal bin Rabbah” in the “National Education” textbook which is used by the 492,000 students in the UNRWA camps for grade 7.

In the chapter titled “Attempts at Obliterating the Palestinian Heritage” (pp. 54-57) there are features on p. 54 – photos of four places of which one is Rachel’s Tomb which the PA subtitled as “the Mosque of Bill bin Raba (Bethlehem)”. On p. 55, in a sub-chapter titled “The attempts at obliterating the Palestinian heritage include the following manifestations:” one can find the following: “The attempt to Judaize [tahwid] some of the Muslim religious places such as the Ibrahimi Mosque [the Cave of the Patriarchs] and the Mosque of Bilal bin Rabbah (near Bethlehem)”.

On p. 56, there is a tendentious paragraph which declares that: “Several Palestinian, Arab and Islamic centers and associations were established and they work to revive the Arab-Palestinian heritage in order to keep Palestine, and Jerusalem specifically, Arab”.

The Palestinian Ministry of Education has also issued educational pamphlets about Palestine and its “heritage”, such as: the Al-Buraq Wall – the Western Wall, the Mosque of Bilal bin Rabbah – Rachel’s Dome [Qubbat Rahil]”. At the bottom of the same page there are four questions for all students to answer. No. 2 reads: “Give the names of mosques and [other] Muslim and Christian religious sites of which the features the Israelis have tried to change”.

On p. 57 there is an assignment in which the student is requested to write “Yes” or “No” next to various statements.

No. 3 in this assignment reads: “The holy site of Bilal bin Rabbah is located near Bethlehem”.

As for Bilal bin Rabbah, he was an Ethiopian (male, not a female) slave in Mecca who heard Muhammad preaching there and became a Muslim. He was then severely tortured by his master but stayed a devoted Muslim. One of Muhammad’s companions, Abu Bakr, bought and freed him and Muhammad made him the first muadhin (caller to prayer).

Some sources say that he accompanied Caliph Omar on the latter’s trip to Jerusalem following its conquest in 636 and on their way back the time of prayer came and he called to prayer at the place that was always known as Rachel’s Tomb – until the Palestinian Authority arrived on the scene.

Malala Donates $50K to Rebuild UNRWA Gazan Schools

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai has announced she is donating all of the $50,000 she received as the recipient of the World’s Children’s Prize. The money is being donated to help rebuild United Nations Refugee and Works Agency schools damaged during this past summer’s fighting in Gaza.

No mention was made during the ceremony about whether the Gazan schools to be rebuilt with Malala’s money include ones in which Hamas rockets were stored, or whether any special efforts will be made to ensure that Hamas does not use the schools from which to launch rockets at Israel.

Malala is known the world over for her courageous stand in favor of the education of girls even in the dark areas of the world where extremist Islamists have pledged to prevent girls from attending school.

This is what Malala said in Stockholm, upon receiving the World’s Children’s Prize.

I am honored to announce all my World’s Children’s Prize money will go to help students and schools in an especially difficult place – in Gaza.

I am donating these funds to The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, which is performing heroic work to serve children in Gaza, in very difficult circumstances.

The needs are overwhelming – more than half of Gaza’s population is under 18 years of age. They want and deserve quality education, hope and real opportunities to build a future.

This funding will help rebuild the 65 schools damaged during the recent conflict. Innocent Palestinian children have suffered terribly and for too long. We must all work to ensure Palestinian boys and girls, and all children everywhere, receive a quality education in a safe environment. Because without education, there will never be peace. Let us stand together for peace and education because together we are more powerful.

UNRWA was created in 1949 and is devoted exclusively to “assisting and protecting” what it claims are approximately “five million registered Palestine refugees.” These hapless people, of course, are the Arabs and their descendants who were displaced or chose to leave their homes due to the Arab war against the Jewish State when Israel was reborn in 1948.

Despite the billions of dollars which have been poured into this UN agency serving a single ethnic group, the agency’s deficit currently stands at $56 million.

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ban-says-un-will-investigate-weaponry-in-its-gaza-agencies/2014/10/22/

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