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April 19, 2015 / 30 Nisan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘UNRWA’

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.

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/behind-the-news-in-israel-david-bedein/unrwa-at-war-unrwa-statements-and-actions-during-the-israeli-hamas-battle-of-summer-20/2014/09/14/

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