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July 30, 2014 / 3 Av, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘UNRWA’

Palestinian Authority Families Shut Down UNRWA Office

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

The families of Palestinian Authority terrorists shut down an UNRWA office in Shechem on Wednesday to protest the organization’s silence about a Palestinian hunger strike in Israeli jails, the Palestinian news website Ma’an said.

Imad Ishtewy, a local spokesman, said the UN should intervene in the hunger strike immediately, and added that activists on the outside would escalate their plans in  support of the killers in the coming days. More than 100 PA Arabs declared a hunger strike a month ago to their detention without charge or trial in Israeli jails. Most of them started their hunger strike over three weeks ago.

The current strike is not the first time PA prisoners have attacked UNRWA installations and complained that the aid organization fails to meet their needs. Residents of UNRWA camps in Judea and Samaria and Jordan say the services they receive from UNRWA are often substandard – when they exist at all. In many camps, health clinics are often open for just three to five hours a day, and even then residents say they provide little more than basic over-the-counter painkillers.

Even worse, camp residents in Gaza, Judea and Samaria and Jordan have told this reporter that UNRWA has failed to protect their interests vis-à-vis local authorities. In Gaza, this means that the Hamas government has taken control of UNRWA facilities to fire rockets at civilian targets in Israel (most notably during the 2008 Operation Cast Lead), and has refused to use international aid funds to purchase medicine for UNRWA camp facilities.

In Jordan, UNRWA failures are even more dramatic.  “Roads” in UNRWA camps are often little more than unpaved dirt paths, with bare-footed children begging on every corner. Worse, residents of some Jordanian camps have no civil rights in the country because they do not possess Jordanian social security numbers. This bars them from legally working (they are allowed to perform day labor), owning property or businesses and from moving out of the camp.

But those issues do not seem to be in UNRWA’s agenda. Camp officials in all the camps mentioned here say that UNRWA officials care more about receiving their salaries and receiving international visitors than they do about serving the needs of refugees.

“What have they done here? We have nothing, we have no rights, and they think they’re saving the world because the health clinic is open from 11-2 every day. I don’t know if we’d be better off without them, but we certainly aren’t any better off with them,” one camp resident said.

Hunger strike, or not eating?

The current hunger strike is not the first time PA prisoners have declared a hunger strike to protest Israeli policies. But if the reports are correct that 15 people have been hospitalized since the strike began on April 24, it might be the first time that incarcerated prisoners have actually stopped eating: During a similar “strike” in 2004, PA leaders in jail were humiliated after prison guards filmed them eating during the strike. The stars of that Pallywood production included Marwan Barghouti, the arch Palestinian terror mastermind who is considered by Israeli and international human rights workers as the jewel in the crown of Palestinians in Israeli jails.

The last prisoner hunger strike, in May 2012, supposedly included 2,000 prisoners and ended after 27 days after Israel agreed to release administrative detainees and to allow 400 prisoners from the Gaza Strip to receive family visits.

Will Momentary Focus on UNRWA Expose PA and Hamas Abuses?

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

How a person feels about the vast and sprawling UNRWA organization – the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East – is a kind of proxy for how open he or she is towards understanding what actually happens in this part of the world as distinct from what people wish were happening.

If you think UNRWA is just great, deserves all the support we can give it, one of the mankind’s major humanitarian achievements, then you may be part of a hugely uninformed majority. A blog with the modest title “Call to Humanity” (just as one small example among many) reflects that standpoint, calling UNRWA “the oldest, most-established and perhaps the most successful international humanitarian operation in the world“.

It’s nothing of the sort as, for instance, the Red Cross (established in 1863) might point out. As for successful, there’s room for thinking very differently.

When UNRWA got started on December 8, 1949, it defined a Palestinian refugee as someone whose “normal place of residence” had been Palestine during the 23 month period ending in May 1948. Yes, that’s 23 months, not years.

In 1965, the class was widened dramatically by an UNRWA decision to extend coverage to third-generation refugees i.e. the children of parents who were themselves born after 14 May 1948, the day Israel came into formal existence and was massively attacked by all the Arab states.

This must have gone over well in certain quarters because in 1982, eligibility was extended to all subsequent generations of descendents, without any limitation. This chain of events is described in a recent monograph, “UNRWA: Blurring the Lines between Humanitarianism and Politics“, authored for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs by Dr. Rephael Ben-Ari.

What’s more, those “refugees” remain refugees even after they become citizens of other countries.

Given UNRWA’s broad definitions, it is therefore no wonder that the current number of Palestinian refugees, according to the Agency’s figures, amounts to nearly 5 million – half of the number of refugees in the entire world - whereas the formal number of original refugees who fled Palestine in 1948 was around 700,000 – 750,000 out of whom only 8 percent are still alive. [Ben Ari]

UNRWA has evolved into one of the largest programs of the United Nations. Its 30,000 employees are part of a structure that delivers services to its beneficiaries in ways that, elsewhere, would be considered government-like. But in the Middle East, government-like can be a fairly loose and unhelpful definer. For instance, though polio has erupted in the region, the government operated by the Hamas regime in Gaza is said to be refraining from spending any of its hard-earned military-equipment budget on anti-polio vaccine.

How effective is UNRWA? A different refugee agency (the Office of UN High Commission for Refugees) set up in the same year to serve the remainder of the world’s displaced innocents

has helped tens of millions of people restart their lives. Today, a staff of some 8,600 people in more than 125 countries continues to help some 33.9 million persons [UNHCR website].

Yet people like the blogger we just mentioned keep putting UNRWA at the top of the heap.

Now, sixty-plus years after it got started, UNRWA is about to come under some brief scrutiny within the UN, though let’s quickly add that no-one expects anything good to come of it. Jonathan Tobin explains this in an article published yesterday on the Commentary Magazine website, called “Want Peace? Change UN’s Refugee Policy”:

A UN panel will discuss an effort to revise the rules under which the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) operates. The pending debate is the result of an initiative pushed by the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Judges and seeks to redefine who can be considered a Palestinian refugee and therefore a recipient of UNRWA’s largesse… This discussion not only calls attention to UNRWA’s misguided policies but also highlights an issue that is one of the chief obstacles to peace. Though UNRWA is tasked with helping the Palestinians and is, for lack of a Palestinian government or groups dedicated to providing their people with a path to a better life, their primary source of sustenance, it actually plays a central role in their continued victimization… Rather than help the refugees to adjust to reality, UNRWA’s policies have dovetailed nicely with a Palestinian political identity that regards accommodation to Israel’s existence as tantamount to treason. The Palestinian belief in a “right of return” for not just the original Arabs who totaled a few hundred thousand but for the millions who claim to be their descendants is only made possible by UNRWA’s willingness to go on counting second, third, fourth, and now even fifth generations of Palestinians as refugees. [Tobin]

UN to Tackle UNRWA Charter

Monday, May 19th, 2014

The United Nations will discuss revisions to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) today at the organization headquarters in New York.

The organization has come under criticism from left-and right-wing Jewish groups in Israel, who say UNRWA perpetrates the Palestinian “refugee” issue by granting refugee status to the children and grandchildren of Palestinians who left their homes during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. No other displaced population enjoys such a broad definition of “refugee,” and no other refugee population has a UN relief organization dedicated specifically to its needs.

In addition, the organization has been accused of refusing solutions for permanent housing for Palestinian refugees in Judea and Samaria and Jordan. Observers say UNRWA schools are a hotbed of anti-Israel incitement and encourage children to retain their allegiance to the right of “return” to the homes their grandparents abandoned as little children.

As a result, UNRWA perpetuates the refugee issue (66 years after the War of Independence it is no longer a “crisis”) and empowers a Middle East culture that encourages dictators to blame Israel for all regional troubles in order to deflect local criticism of their minority rule.

As a result of UNRWA policies and Middle East politics, Palestinians in refugee camps around the Middle East suffer some of the most squalid living conditions in the world.

Monday’s discussion will focus on an initiative by the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, specifically on a proposal to change UNRWA’s definition of refugee. According to the Israel Hayom daily, the group argues that in contrast to other relief organizations that seek to resettle refugees, UNRWA has repeatedly prevented the resettlement of Palestinians. Additionally, while in other organizations the number of refugees is limited to those who fled their countries, UNRWA inflates its numbers by including all the descendants of the original Palestinian refugees from the War of Independence in 1948.

“There is no reason for a fifth-generation descendant, living in Gaza, to be considered by an organization supported by Western countries as a refugee from Palestine,” said former MK Einat Wilf, an activist who supports UNRWA reform.

Irit Kohn, the president of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, concurred: ["UNRWA] prolongs the refugee problem and does not facilitate any solution. Had the considerable funds that have been transferred [to it] been utilized properly, the situation could be totally different,” Israel Hayom reported.

UNRWA and the Nakba

The New York discussion comes on the heels of several embarrassing revelations about UNRWA in recent weeks. Last week, the Algemeiner Journal reported that UNRWA had refused to protest Hamas refusal to purchase vaccines and medicines for health clinics and hospitals in Gaza.

And last week, UNRWA officials attended a Nakba Day celebration in Gaza City dedicated to the supposed “right” of Palestinian refugees to immigrate to Israel.  At that ceremony, Palestinian children dedicated themselves to “returning” to long-destroyed villages in Israel.

“The Right of return is not subject to any statute of limitation, as it is a personal right that stems from the sanctity of the private property of the refugee according to which Jews had restored their confiscated properties after the Second World War,” the children said at a press conference at the Ministry of Culture. 

“It is an individual and collective right that could not be waived for any reason at any agreement or convention,” they added. 

 

The Palestinian Country of Lies

Friday, April 4th, 2014

It is news to no one that throughout the negotiations with Israel, despite Islam’s ban on lying, the Palestinians have consistently lied. Surah Al-Haj (Surah 22, verse 30) and Surah Al-Ghafir (Surah 40, verse 28) of the Qur’an, as well as many hadiths (the oral tradition attributed to Muhammad), strongly condemn lying for any reason. It is specifically considered an affront to Allah and Muhammad, and the liar will burn in hell.

Despite the religious ban on lying, Islam provides a number of loopholes. For example, for an Islamist, one can lie to effect a compromise between disputing parties, to deceive an enemy, to make one’s wife happy.

LOOPHOLES AROUND LYING

Thus, it is permissible to lie to the Jewish (and American) enemy, which is what the Palestinian Arab negotiators have done time after time in the negotiations with Israel. These negotiators, even those conveniently hiding under the mantle of “secular,” employ the fundamentalist moral code that dictates their actions. They have manipulated, avoided, evaded, denied, wiggled around facts and told outright lies regarding agreements already reached and their goals for future coexistence.

For these believers in moral religious pragmatism, permission to lie in the negotiations is based on designating the Jew as the enemy of Allah and Islam, worthy only of death. For the Palestinian Arab leadership, abetted by the Palestinian Authority’s educational and religious systems, the Jew is religiously labeled not only the enemy because of the so-called “occupation of Palestine,” but because of the ancient Hadith that they invoke that states that Muslims will not be redeemed on Judgment Day unless the Jews on earth are killed. Therefore, for these radical believers, lying to the Jews if it leads to their final destruction is virtually a religious fiat.

Before he met with the American president last week, Mahmoud Abbas told Fatah’s Revolutionary Council in Ramallah that he “would not recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, would not waive the so-called ‘right of return’ of the Palestinian refugees, and would not abandon the idea of Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.”

An Abbas confidante and member of Fatah’s Central Committee, appearing on official Palestinian Authority television, revealed the true Palestinian Arab intentions for the Jews during that conference. Abbas Zaki promised that “Allah will gather all the Jews together so that the Palestinians can destroy them.”

All the Palestinian Arabs’ fabricated religious, moral and historical demands on the land of Israel and Jerusalem are based on Islam’s permission to lie to the enemy, considered “legitimate” because their ultimate objective is to destroy Israel and establish “Palestine” on its ruins. No matter the current historical revisionism, honest Palestinian Arab scholars know that there was never a Palestinian state in the land of Israel (or anywhere else); there was never a Palestinian people until Jews started populating the land; and nothing was ever promised to them in the Qur’an. When the United Nations called for a Jewish state and an adjacent Arab state in 1947, the Arabs rejected it.

THE WEST AS HANDMAIDEN TO THE LIES

Because of stunning defeats visited upon the Palestinian Arabs whenever they attempt to destroy Israel with violence and terrorism, they have decided instead to implement Arafat’s “salami plan” and destroy Israel piecemeal through fraud and deception. To that end they have recruited the gullible West to do the work, if not for them, then with them. The Palestinian Arab demand for the so-called “right of return” is one aspect of the plan: its objective is to swamp Israel demographically, thus destroying its Jewish character and making it possible to establish the Muslim “Palestine” on its ruins.

Seeking ‘Peace’ by Waging War?

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

All along this has been the modus operandi of the Palestinian-Arabs and their supporters.  They have fired thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians; committed shootings, stonings and bombings; and incited hatred and violence among the Palestinian-Arab population.  Outside of the region they seek to defame or delegitimize Israel or punish Israel economically.  This onslaught has been incessant. Hardly the ingredients for “peace.”

A major conference taking place in Philadelphia on March 28 and 29 by supporters of the Palestinian-Arabs looks to perpetuate the attacks rather than end them.

Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) is staging “The Role of the US in Israel-Palestine: Current Realities and Creative Responses” at the American Friends Service Committee (the Quakers) headquarters in Center City Philadelphia.  FOSNA is a support arm of a radical Christian Palestinian-Arab group based in Jerusalem called Sabeel.

Sabeel is a stew of Christian liberation theology and replacement theology that politicizes religion to advance a political agenda.  In this case, that agenda is an end to the Israel we know and love; an Israel that serves as a vital ally to America.

Rather than truly seeking ways to co-exist or to build up a normal Palestinian-Arab society, FOSNA has assembled a roster of Israel haters and antagonists to present discussions and workshops geared toward delegitimizing and defaming Israel, hurting the Jewish state economically and eroding support for Israel – particularly among American Christians.

Based on a conference schedule posted on its Web site, the FOSNA conference will encourage the termination of American military aid to Israel; recast “the Israel-Palestine conflict as a civil rights struggle, with parallels to South Africa and the American South;” seek to increase anti-Israel activities on campuses; and promote the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.  FOSNA believes that the mainstream media is not already biased against Israel and thus will discuss strategies to make it more unfavorable to Israel, and to turn more Christians against Israel.

According to its Web site, conference sponsors include: Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, American Friends Service Committee (Quakers), the Catholic Peace Fellowship, the Philadelphia Coalition for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Jews for a Just Peace, and the Peacemaking Committee of the Presbytery of Philadelphia.

To the Jewish community, the lack of a consistent position regarding Israel within Christianity can be confusing.  Groups including Friends of Israel (founded in 1938), Christians United For Israel (founded about a decade ago) and smaller groups such as Delaware’s Olive Tree Ministries are fervently pro-Israel, while other Christians such as the Quakers and “Main Line” Protestant denominations have been antagonistic toward Israel.  This divide is as old as the modern State of Israel itself.

When the State of Israel declared its independence in 1948, many Palestinian-Christian clergymen abandoned the Hebrew Bible because they believed it was too Zionist.  In an effort to reclaim it for their people, they replaced the Israelites with Palestinians in the narrative.  For example, instead of adhering to the biblical context of the Exodus, they supplant that with an interpretation of the Palestinian-Arabs going to the Knesset, saying: “Let my people go!”

“Palestinian Liberation Theology” takes interpretive liberties with the biblical accounts and prophecies of the Hebrew Bible in order to mold it to specific political and theological agendas.  It maintains that certain Torah passages are outdated and irrelevant, claiming they reveal a primitive way of understanding G-d’s revelation to man.  A majority of these “irrelevant” sections often involve G-d’s promise to give or return the Jewish people to their land.

“Palestinian Liberation Theology” is still considered fringe within mainstream Christianity.  Its proponents wish to advance the cause of the Palestinian Christians, who desire to create a Palestinian state.  The impetus for the movement stems from “Replacement Theology,” a faulty method of biblical interpretation that claims the church has replaced the role of Israel in the Bible.  Denominations that commonly hold to “Replacement Theology” to a degree include some Catholics, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and Methodists.

Gaza Firm Offers Private Bodyguards

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Gaza’s first personal security business has opened up, but its owner says terrorists will not be accepted as customers.

“Secure Land” director Abdul Qader al-Arbid told the Chinese news agency Xinhua that clients will; include banks, hotels, celebrities and banks but not terrorists looking for protection from rival gangs.

“We only work with the private sector,” Arbid said. “This is how security companies work across the world.”

The company’s bodyguards’ first assignment last week was to protect Mohammed Assaf, the winner of the Arab Idol singing competition. Hamas has allowed the company’s 32 security officers to use light weapons, when necessary,

Secure Land also will not provide bodyguards for international aid organizations, meaning that UNRWA, which has increasingly been confronted by Hamas, will have to find its own solution to keep its workers alive.

“We have no problems to have such companies here. We are ready to support and help them in their job,” said Islam Shawan, spokesman for the Interior Ministry of Hamas.

Arabs Block Highway South of Gush Etzion

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Palestinian Authority Arabs from the village of Al Aroob rioted and blocked the only road connecting Gush Etzion with Kiryat Arba-Hevron Thursday night and then attacked IDF soldiers with firebombs and rocks before they were dispersed with tear gas and rubber bullets.

None of the soldiers were injured, an IDF spokeswoman told The Jewish Press, but she could not confirm a report from Arab sources that the soldiers wounded one protester with a live bullet in the leg. Other rioters reportedly were hit by rubber bullets.

Al Aroob is a frequent spot villagers use to attack passing Israeli motorists with rocks, foreign objects and firebombs.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/arabs-block-highway-south-of-gush-etzion/2014/02/06/

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