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September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘UNRWA’

Both UN and Hamas Need Better Ceasefire Commitments

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

The current agreement is not an unmitigated disaster, but it is a busha (embarrassment), that only serves to encourage Hamas, Islamism in general, and will no doubt be pointed to during the next war with Hamas as a failure in diplomacy. I’m specifically disappointed by the fact that Hamas got tangible if retractable gains (double the fishing zone, 200 out of 300 meters of the inner-border security strip, and more open borders), while Israel got absolutely nothing in return.

The halting of rockets doesn’t count, because we also have to hold our fire, and anyway, at issue is what is gained from a ceasefire agreement. What Israel should have demanded in exchange is a tandem of commitments from Hamas and the UN, as follows: Hamas: In lieu of disarming (which is probably futile anyway at this point), Hamas should have had to sign a declaration that it will never again fire rockets towards civilian areas (with a hard list of Israeli cities and communities), that it will neither store nor use rockets in civilian areas (also based on a predefined list), and that it will cease to dig tunnels that invade Israeli territory. UN: The UN should have to issue a declaration (or agreed to pass a resolution) that it will provide a team of inspectors (agreed upon number like 500) to make sure that Hamas is keeping its word, and that if the inspectors discover violations at UN sites, those sites will be closed down to the detriment of the Gazan population.

Violations in general would lead to UN condemnations and withdrawing of financial support from the US and the EU members, as well as funding of UNRWA. A separate team of UN inspectors would have the job of monitoring Palestinian media and school books for gross incitement (i.e. not maps of Greater Palestine and the like, but overt calls for genocide and terrorism), with similar repercussions as listed above for serious violations.

Israeli Right to Self Defense: Moreover, the UN declaration/resolution should specify that Israel has the right to fire at all active missile launchers (using up to a pre-specified weight and type of munitions) regardless of the location, and that if there is civilian collateral damage within a pre-specified distance to the launcher, those casualties will be deemed acceptable and no reason for any accusation of war crimes in the Hague.

Remuneration for Israel: Finally, the UN should declare that any funding given to Gaza for rebuilding will be matched by funding for Israel to remunerate merchants who depend on tourism for their livelihood, and of course for rebuilding damage caused by Gazan rockets. That would send an important message to Gaza’s terrorists that they cannot cause permanent economic damage to Israel with their rockets, and conversely, the Gazan population will understand that supporting rocket launchings and tunneling may jeopardize the amount of funding that they will receive to rebuild their homes.

I think all of the above suggestions are realistic and would enjoy broad support from most countries, no?

Less realistic, but crucial in my opinion, would be Hamas having to issue a new charter that removes the openly antisemitic sections of the current charter, and even better, replaces them with the Zionist quotes from the Quran and Hadith. This would then have to be taught in Gazan schools and published in the media. OK, with this I’m dreaming, but it’s a worthy dream.

Human Rights NGO Informs UN’s Ban: Hamas is the Bad Guy in Gaza

Friday, August 15th, 2014

For an entity that maintains access to a lot of important addresses, the Simon Wiesenthal Center sets the mold for firm but polite.

The leadership of the Jewish, pro-Israel Human Rights non-governmental organization met with the secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, on Tuesday, August 13.

Sometimes even people who value diplomacy and access feel compelled to inform a gracious (at least outwardly) host that he’s chosen the wrong party to back. And the SWC leadership was unequivocal in the message they delivered, even while coaching the verbiage in friend-to-friend terms.

After the United Nations meeting yesterday, the SWC presented Ban with a letter detailing the ways in which Hamas is the evildoer in the Gaza conflict, and gently reminding him that the U.N. has been hammering the wrong party – Israel – repeatedly.

After thanking the secretary general for meeting with them, the authors of the letter immediately launch into a bold, unequivocal statement:

we must frankly ask you how many times will the world allow itself to be held hostage to Hamas? This is the third time since 2005 when Israel unilaterally left Gaza that Hamas has brought death and destruction to the people of Gaza. Once again they are using the people of Gaza, the civilian infrastructure and UN facilities in its non-stop campaign to terrorize the Jewish state.

After asking the million dollar rhetorical question and plainly stating the general point, the SWC proceeds with what it calls, “a number of truths that must not be ignored.”

Among those truths are: Israel never willfully targeted any Palestinian civilians; the U.N. must act quickly to repair its “tarnished integrity” caused by UNRWA having allowed itself to become an instrument of Hamas.

NO MORE UNRWA IN GAZA

The SWC states plainly that UNRWA must not be permitted to continue in its role of funds distributor or auditor, as it has failed at both. Again, the rhetoric soars:

The systemic hijacking of previous aid, cement and building materials by Hamas to build an underground superhighway of terror is scandalous and a violation of the wishes of the donors who did not contribute funds for rockets or tunnels. Those who failed to stop such theft and serial abuse of humanitarian aid must be held accountable and should not have any involvement in supervising or dispersing of future funds.

NAVI PILLAY SHOULD BE CENSURED

The Jewish pro-Israel NGO then comments on the eruption of “anti-Semitism and genocidal hatred against Israel from Europe to Australia,” while the UN’s own High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has actually contributed to it, rather than attempted to disarm it, “by being so rabidly one-sided in her criticisms of Israel.” The SWC calls on Ban to issue a public censure of Pillay:

During her tenure there was no effort to investigate previous crimes against humanity by Hamas, including its own admission that 160 Palestinian children died building their terrorism tunnels.

TAKE SPOTLIGHT OFF ISRAEL, ESPECIALLY GIVEN GLOBAL DISASTERS

And the U.N. secretary general must also help “ensure that the upcoming U.N. General Assembly, which is confronted with a human rights disaster of epic proportions in Syria, with ethnic cleansing in Iraq, with a difficult situation in Ukraine and with continuing human rights outrages in North Korea, not be allowed to degenerate into an anti-Israel hate fest.”

19 VIOLATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW BY HAMAS

The letter concludes with eight additional pages in which 19 separate violations of international law are laid out. These include rocket attacks directed at Israel’s civilian population centers; staging attacks from residential areas and protected sites (such as schools, medical facilities and places of worship); booby-trapping civilian areas; using human shields;  exploiting children; interfering with humanitarian relief efforts; using the uniform of the enemy; targeting civilian objects; mistreating the dead.

Bi-Partisan Senate Trio Demand Answers From Kerry on UNRWA Conduct in Gaza

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

At least some members of the U.S. congress finally realized that if weapons belonging to Hamas were found in UNRWA facilities, questions need to be asked of UNRWA employees as to how those weapons got there, who put them there, who observed them, what – if anything – was done to remove them (or to keep them there), along with other pertinent and essential lines of inquiry.

U.S. senators Mark Kirk (R-IL), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), sent a letter last week to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, demanding an investigation into the actions of  the United Nations Refugee and Works Agency (UNRWA) during the fighting in Gaza.

The senators used very strong language to condemn the agency on several different bases.

First, the discovery, on three different occasions, of Hamas weapons in UNRWA facilities, whereupon the weapons were returned to the terrorist organization, Hamas.

Second, UNRWA has repeatedly issued statements condemning Israel and ignoring the wrongdoing of Hamas.

And third, the senators pointed out the very troubling close affiliation between Hamas and UNRWA, the irrefutable proof of which was the election of 25 Hamas candidates were voted onto the 27 member UNRWA ‘s workers’  union board in 2012.

Next, the senators explained why they are convinced it is appropriate for them to demand such an investigation into UNRWA: we pay for it! The United States contributed $294 million in 2013. It is the single largest donor to UNRWA. Since 1950, more than $5 billion U.S. taxpayers’ dollars were funneled into UNRWA.

Senator Mark Kirk is a member of the Senate Appropriations sub-committee which has jurisdiction over the Department of State, as well as U.S. contributions to U.N. activities. Kirk said in a statement posted on his website:

I am demanding a credible and independent assessment of UNRWA’s actions during this crisis. Given UNRWA’s ties to terrorism in the past, U.S. taxpayers deserve immediate answers and full transparency regarding their intentions and actions. The State Department must make clear to the U.N. that it need to take all necessary steps to prevent Hamas from using taxpayer-funded property to launch attacks against our allies.

Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, added:

When leaders and organizations of the United Nations blur the clear distinction between a nation-state defending itself and a terrorist organization attempting to murder civilians, Americans take note. When an organization funded in part by the U.S. suggests that the two are morally equivalent, U.S. taxpayers take note. Israel is undertaking extraordinary efforts to avoid civilian casualties while Hamas cynically uses other Palestinians as human shields and deliberately attempts to kill Israeli civilians. U.N. resources and personnel cannot be complicit in Hamas’ violent terrorist actions.

Senator Marco Rubio is also a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Rubio had the following to say:

As the U.N.’s leading source of funding, American taxpayers will not tolerate the use of U.N. facilities by terrorists to stage attacks against our allies. We know Hamas has been using civilians as human shields and stores its weapons and fighters in civilian buildings, but for the U.N. to stand idly by while Hamas attacks Israel from its facilities is an outrage. This is the latest example of why the U.S. needs to bring greater transparency and accountability to the U.N. by pursuing reform of its programs and institutions.

The text of the letter the senators sent to Secretary of State Kerry:

Dear Secretary Kerry,

We write to express our profound concern with the troubling role the United Nations Refugee and Work Agency  (UNRWA) has played during the ongoing crisis in Gaza, including multiple instances of weapons found at UNRWA schools as well as one-sided statements from UNRWA leadership that unjustly condemn Israel. For instance, on July 14, UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl stated that Israeli security forces are acting “contrary to international humanitarian law” and also called Israel’s Gaza blockade “illegal.”

As you know, UNRWA admitted on July 17, July 22nd, and July 30th that it found rockets belonging to Hamas on its property. We commend UNRWA’s quick condemnation of these incidents, but are concerned with the ultimate fate of these rockets, which UNRWA claimed to have turned over to the “local authorities” or have gone missing. We fear that this means these rockets may have found their way back into Hamas’ hands.

We urge the State Department to launch an independent investigation into these incidents and to call on the United Nations leadership to hold UNRWA accountable, including by reprimanding or dismissing the UNRWA staff responsible as appropriate, as well as asking the U.N. to ensure that these incidents never take place again.

In the course of your investigation, we ask you to examine the fate of these rockets, what measures the U.N. took to secure UNRWA property, and how the U.S. intends to work with the U.N. to make sure incidents like these are never repeated.

As you know, the United States is the largest donor to UNRWA and has contributed almost $5 billion to the organization since 1950. The United States taxpayers deserve to know if UNRWA is fulfilling its mission or taking sides in this tragic conflict.

We look forward to your reply,

Sincerely,
Now that the strong statements have been made and a letter from three members of senate committees with jurisdiction over the State Department and the U.N. has been sent to the secretary of state, it behooves Israel’s supporters to demand follow-through.

The UNRWA is HAMAS

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

 

The UNRWA is on the front lines of the Hamas War in Gaza. In the headlines, its schools are forever being fired on or found to be stockpiling rockets. If individual Gazans are being used as human shields, the UNRWA often seems as if it is one big organizational human shield.

But the UNRWA isn’t Hamas’ human shield. The UNRWA is Hamas.

The “UN” part of the UNRWA, the blue logos and symbols, fool us into thinking of it as an international humanitarian organization. But the UNRWA in Gaza functions as a large Palestinian Arab organization with a smattering of foreign supervisory staff.

And those foreign staffers often tend to leave during a conflict.

The UNRWA is not an international organization operating in the Middle East. Effectively it’s a local Arab Muslim organization funded and regulated internationally. Since the UNRWA classifies 80% of Gazans as “refugees”, it administers the biggest welfare state in the world on their behalf.

The UNRWA is the biggest employer in the West Bank and Gaza after the Palestinian Authority and the vast majority of its employees are “locally recruited”. Varying figures place the share of local employees at between 90 and 99 percent.

Even though there are more Arab Muslims living in the West Bank than in Gaza, there are more “official” refugees in Gaza, which means that more UNRWA funding and efforts are directed there. The UNRWA only runs 96 schools in the West Bank, but it runs 245 schools in Gaza. It employs less than 3,000 education staffers in the West Bank, but over 10,000 in Gaza.

Why does Hamas, which is obsessed with brainwashing the next generation into martyrdom, allow a foreign organization to run an educational system for 232,000 pupils?

It’s because in Gaza, Hamas and the UNRWA are the same thing.

The UNRWA’s Gaza staff has its own union. In the 2012 election, a pro-Hamas bloc won the support of most of the union with 25 out of 27 seats on a union board.

When there was talk of reforming the UNRWA by removing Hamas members from its ranks, the editor of a Hamas paper wrote that, “Laying off the agency employees because of their political affiliation means laying off all the employees of the aid agency, because…they are all members of the ‘resistance,’ in its various forms.”

The official word from Hamas was that it and the UNRWA are the same thing. The UNRWA’s vast majority of locally sourced Gazans are part of Hamas.

The UNRWA does not see that as a problem.

“I am sure that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll,” a former UNRWA Commissioner General said, “and I don’t see that as a crime.”

“Hamas as a political organization does not mean that every member is a militant, and we do not do political vetting and exclude people from one persuasion as against another,” he added.

Also if the UNRWA fired Hamas members from its Gaza staff, it would have no one left.

Hamas control over the UNRWA in Gaza is reflected in the schools which promote Islamic terrorism. UNRWA schools have become flashpoints in conflicts between Israel and Hamas because the UNRWA schools are Hamas bases of recruitment and operation.

The current accusations and counter-accusations over attacks on and from UNRWA schools are a reenactment of the same set of events taking place in 2009. Only the locations and the names have changed. The same headlines, “Israeli shelling kills dozens at UN school in Gaza,” and “Massacre of Innocents as UN school is shelled” are repeating all over again.

Then, as now, Hamas launched attacks on Israeli forces from around a UNRWA school. Then it turned out that the attack had happened outside the school and no one had actually died inside the school. Nothing has changed since then. The “massacres” in which Hamas terrorists using UNRWA schools as a base are killed pop up in every paper. The UNRWA repeats the same lies.

‘Peace Talks’ in the Works on Anniversary of Gush Katif Expulsion

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Egypt and western leaders are preparing the groundwork for peace talks as Israel reportedly agreed to extend the 72-hour truce with Hamas on Wednesday, the ninth anniversary of the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif in Gaza.

The current ceasefire is supposed to end 8 a.m. Friday.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad have rejected extending the halt in attacks on Israel and showed its muscle, at least in its tongue, but it warned it will renew missile attacks.

The war against Hamas was a follow-up to the so-called Disengagement plan executed today, on the Hebrew calendar, with the ballyhooed promises that removing Jews and the IDF from Gaza would make Hamas safe for Israel.

Nine years and 15,000 rocket and mortar shell attacks later, Israel lost 67 soldiers and civilians and again was cast as the villain for “disproportionate” retaliation against Hamas.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told foreign journalists Wednesday that Israel is maintaining the ceasefire and will not sit idly if it is violated, but the advantage is now in the hands of Hamas, unless it really is so stupid to go back to war on Friday.

Hamas has held the truce and continues to do so, knowing full well that it now has everything to gain as international leaders converge in Egypt, calculate the damage in Gaza, place the blame on Israel for defending itself “disproportionately” and turning Hamas into a legitimate entity that will be peace-loving if only Israel would allow Gaza to open an airport under the supposed supervision of the United Nations and if Israel simply would release more terrorists from jail.

That is a sensible demand by Hamas since once the terrorist organization used United Nations’ UNRWA organization, which has institutionalized desire for millions of Arabs through its “refugee camps” to store rockets. It also has been filmed using U.N. ambulances to transport its fighters, complete with machine guns. The IDF has provided aerial photography of Hamas firing rockets next to UNRWA facilities, including schools.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has stated that “peace talks” should be a direct continuation or the truce.

“Israel has expressed its readiness to extend the truce under its current terms,” and anonymous Israeli official was quoted as saying by the London Independent. Egyptian media also reported the extension.

The ceasefire gives international leaders room in the media to make their pitch for imposing a Western-style peace on Hamas, which does not recognize any existing agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and which categorically calls for the destruction of the State of Israel.

But that is just idle talk, as far as peacemakers are concerned,

“We must spare no effort to turn the current calm into a durable ceasefire that addresses the underlying issues of the conflict,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told Ban the General Assembly.

His Middle East peace envoy Robert Serry, a long-time supporter of Hamas told the meeting of the General Assembly from Cairo “It would be cynical and irresponsible if, yet again, the outcome of the talks would lead us to the previous status quo.”

Ban brought out the heartstrings, and said, “The massive death and destruction in Gaza have shocked and shamed the world. The senseless cycle of suffering in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as in Israel, must end.”

UNRWA chipped in by flying U.N. flags at half-mast across the Palestinian Authority in memory of 11 United Nations staffers killed in the war.

Lost in the verbal volume was the recollection that Gaza once upon a time enjoyed a flourishing economy under the “occupation” until Yasser Arafat’s terrorists, murdering Jews under the euphemism of the Palestine Liberation Organization, helped lead the intifada that began in Gaza.

Obama Betrays Israel at UN Over UNRWA

Monday, August 4th, 2014

The U.S. Congress has been there for Israel right from the start, but perhaps that signature on the Iron Dome funding last Friday was inked after President Barack Obama had his arm twisted a little. It’s impossible to know.

Obama told reporters at the White House on Friday that he understood Israel’s need to defend itself; and literally the day after, Hamas terrorists fired 11 shells at Israel from a mortar positioned right next to another UNRWA boys’ elementary school, this one in the Zeitoun section of Gaza City.

Nevertheless, Obama’s representative to the United Nations on Sunday conveyed an entirely different message to the rest of the world.

In a statement regarding Israeli gunfire aimed at Hamas terrorists next to an UNRWA school in southern Gaza, the U.S. Mission to the UN completely betrayed its ally.

The IAF air strike referred to in the current U.S. complaint came in response to mortar fire aimed by Hamas terrorists standing around the gate of an UNRWA boys’ elementary school in the border town of Rafah – who then fled on a motorcycle, taking care to drive as close as possible to civilians along the wall of the school.

The missile fired by the Israeli pilot targeting the terrorists – who were firing at Israeli soldiers on the ground at the time – didn’t miss. It hit the terrorists. But the large explosion predictably also killed the civilians who were standing nearby – precisely as Hamas planned and hoped, creating another gory photo op for the anti-Semitic world to feed on. And feed they did, egged on by the United Nations itself, and sadly, even by Israel’s ally.

Here’s the statement submitted from the U.S.:

“Today’s strike outside an UNRWA school in Rafah, where an estimated 3,000 people were taking shelter, is horrifying. This incident, which took the lives of at least ten Palestinians, including one UNRWA staff member, and injured many more, is only the latest in a conflict that has left dead approximately 1,750 people, including 11 UN staff, and injured many thousands more. Additionally, the UN estimates as many as 475,000 people have been displaced by the violence, of whom more than 259,000 are sheltering in 90 UNRWA schools, which are not equipped as shelters. It is imperative that all sides work towards a ceasefire that ends the rocket attacks and tunnel threat from Hamas, and the perilous situation faced by civilians in Gaza.

“We call on all parties to take all feasible precautions to prevent civilian casualties, comply with international humanitarian law and respect UN facilities in Gaza. We further call on Israel to conduct a full and prompt investigation of this incident as well as the recent strikes that hit other UNRWA schools. Civilians, many of whom have been told to evacuate their homes by the Israel Defense Forces, must be able to find refuge in safe, UN-designated shelters.”

Sound like an ally? Hamas is officially recognized as an international terrorist organization on the U.S. State Department’s own list of terror entities – but one would never know that from reading this statement, which makes it seem as though Hamas is the wronged party, and a legitimate entity to boot.

What’s wrong with the Obama administration?

Another UNRWA Gaza School Fake-Out, Brought to You By Hamas

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

As usual, only half a story made it to the media in initial reports — and that half made the headlines first. But at least this time UNRWA made an effort to clarify the facts quickly. Credit where credit is due.

Hamas terrorists were engaged in a firefight with IDF soldiers just outside the UNRWA boys’ school in the southern Gaza border town of Rafah. It’s the same town where IDF 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin and two other Israeli officers were killed in a Hamas attack Friday morning about 90 minutes after the start of a humanitarian cease fire agreed to by both Israel and Hamas.

An IAF aircraft allegedly struck the entrance to an UNRWA school in the southern Gaza border town of Rafah Sunday morning, local sources initially reported, saying about 10 were killed and 30 others were wounded.

IDF gunfire was aimed at the Hamas terrorists who were firing at them on Sunday outside the gates of the school — not at the school itself, and not at any civilians within. The IAF air strike was targeting gunmen escaping on a motorcycle who were firing at the IDF soldiers; not at the school, nor at the civilians nearby. But they were standing outside the gate, and they were caught in the crossfire precisely as the terrorists intended.

Once again, Hamas used those sheltering at an UNRWA school as human shields. UNRWA official Richard Engel confirmed the fact in a tweet.

“those killed and injured were apparently around the gate of the UN school…not a direct hit inside the school compound.”

Nevertheless, the photo op of people carrying bloodied bodies of children and women, injured and dying, weeping next to an UNRWA school, far outweighed any cold facts that might have been stated later on.

“Shelling incident in vicinity of UNRWA school in Rafah sheltering almost 3,000 IDP. Initial reports say multiple deaths and injury,” tweeted Chris Gunness at 10:40 am in a post on the Twitter social networking site.

But by 11 am, he had already considerably toned himself down, telling Britain’s Sky News only that the school had been hit and calling on “all sides to respect the neutrality of UN premises.” But in fact, the school wasn’t hit. The area outside the school was hit. Gunness added, accurately, that sanitation is a huge problem — not a surprise in a war zone — and talked about the logistical needs of providing for the thousands seeking UN assistance.

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists have deliberately fired rockets and mortar shells at IDF soldiers from within UNRWA civilian structures in order to draw Israeli fire towards the innocent Gaza civilians who are sheltering within the buildings.

Three UNRWA schools have so far been documented — by UNRWA itself! — to be weapons ‘warehouses’ for Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist groups. A former International Red Cross building packed with explosives built into the very walls of the structure was deliberately ‘dressed up’ with an UNRWA sign to appear to be a United Nations facility, within which a tunnel shaft was hidden, and booby-trapped.

It’s impossible to know how many more United Nations buildings have been commandeered by Hamas and are hiding terrorist weaponry. There has been no comment from the IDF. After the last such incident, Israel was roundly condemned by the United Nations, despite the fact that the IDF was returning fire to the source of an unprovoked attack.

It remains to be seen how the United Nations Human Rights Council will react this time.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/another-unrwa-gaza-school-fake-out-in-the-making/2014/08/03/

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