A European Commission technical assistant has created a storm by making political statements about Israel’s settlements in the West Bank, blaming Israel for the waste of European Taxpayer’s money. Al-Jazeera (amongst others) reports the unnamed official as saying “[I]t is the European taxpayers who pay most of the price of this dependence, including US 280 million dollars so far this year, because settlements prevent the PA from functioning normally.”
This Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has put the clerk in his place with a well worded rebuke, delivered to the head of the EU delegation in Israel. They not only point out what utter nonsense the man uttered, that he has no place taking a political stand, that his legal assumptions are way off base, that the economic assumptions are out of line with the facts on the ground, that in fact the West Bank economy has improving – even at a time when the rest of the world economies are shrinking - and that the politics that obviously drives him to speak out are not in synch with European or even Palestinian interests.
What the Israeli government did not say is something that has been shouted out by many independent critics for years – that the EU and many European governments have DELIBERATELY AND KNOWINGLY CHOSEN to throw money at the Palestinian cause, knowing full well that it is wasted – being diverted to support violence and corruption. And every time a new report scratches away the thin veneer of respectability pasted on this blatant waste of public funds, European officials find another layer to patch it over.
This time, however, the old canard of “it’s all the Joos fault” simply reeks of base anti-Semitism.
If it is of any relevance, the Funding for Peace Coalition website or the website of the Taxpayers Alliance or my own archive will give you plenty of background about the known waste of international donations to the Palestinian cause.
Today, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu risked his position, bowed to American pressure, defied his coalition partners and many members of his own party, and announced that Israel would accept a demilitarized Palestinian state on its borders. This was immediately rejected by the “moderate” Palestinian President Mahmoud (Abu Mazen) Abbbas and his chief negotiator Erekat.
Why does Netanyahu insist on demilitarization? Simple. Israel experimented with a Palestinian state by walking out of Gaza. After kidnappings, border attacks, weapons smugglings, a war, a cease-fire, this morning’s IDF bulletin once again reported the results.
“...continuous firing of rockets and mortar shells at Israeli Southern communities from the Gaza Strip…...Last night, a Qassam rocket hit a field ...Approximately 670 Qassam rockets, Mortar shells and Grad missiles were fired at Israel since the beginning of 2009.”
I guess that on behalf of Israel and its citizens, Netanyahu has decided to leave suicide to the Jihadists.
The government controlled Syrian Arab News Agency reports that Khaled Meshall of Hamas says:
1. Any intra-Palestinian peace must include an agreement allowing violence against Israel
2. The Arabs have done so much for peace with Israel that it is now Israel’s turn
The Israeli cabinet met today to discuss mounting US led international pressure for Israel to further open Gaza crossing points.
The discussion comes just a day after the IDF foiled a major border attack involving 10 Palestinian gunmen, mortars and booby-trapped horses. Apparently all part of a plan to breach the border, kill Israelis and hopefully (for them) kidnap another Israeli soldier. And it comes as we approach the 3 year anniversary of the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit - 3 years that the Palestinians have cruelly refused to meet their obligations under the Geneva Conventions to allow Red Cross access - let alone his release or even just a sign of life.
And what good would come of additional goods allowed through the border? Just two days ago, Palestinian Media Watch published translations of May 20 2009 reports by the official Palestinian Authority newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, confirming that thousands of tons of medical equipment - including 46 ambulances stripped of their equipment and painted black to be used as military vehicles - have been hijacked by Hamas for direct military use or for re-sale to the population after confiscation. So much for the humanitarian aid that Israel allows through the borders. It just supports Hamas' nefarious activities.
So does this seem auspicious timing for the US to be pressuring Israel to lower its border defences? Wouldn't the US be better off putting pressure on Hamas to conform to its obligations under international law, stop all violence against Israel and remove its jackboot from the necks of its own citizens?
What many Israelis find strange, though, is what seems to be US pressure for Israel to leave its settlements in Judea and Samaria. The broad Israeli consensus is that it would turn into another Gaza, with a Hamas take-over just a matter of time. Aside from the inevitable rocket attacks on all of Israel's civilian population, they question what would be gained by allowing the destruction of the infant West Bank economy as happened in Gaza?
Visiting Buchenwald was President Obama’s way of avoiding criticism by the Jewish community of the increasing political pressure on Israel. His speech at Buchenwald was clearly a jibe at Iran’s President Ahmadinejad – but at the same time it represented an indirect insult to the Palestinian Authority’s President, Mahmoud Abbas.
"To this day, there are those who insist the Holocaust never happened – a denial of fact and truth that is baseless and ignorant and hateful," Obama said. "This place is the ultimate rebuke to such thoughts, a reminder of our duty to confront those who would tell lies about our history."
Holocaust denial (and denial of the historical connection of Jews and Christians to the Holy Land) is widespread in the Palestinian Authority. President Mahmoud Abbas’ doctoral thesis and subsequent book described the Holocaust as "The Zionist fantasy, the fantastic lie that six million Jews were killed," and claimed that the minimal number of Jews that were murdered to actually be the victims of a Zionist-Nazi plot.
Abbas seems to have lived up to his media reputation as “pragmatic”, and has not as yet publicly responded to being labeled “ignorant and hateful” by the American President. He has presumably put it on the scales against Obama’s Cairo speech; the undeniable suffering of the Palestinian people that resulted from their own warmongering, their rejection of every peace initiative and their terrorist murder of innocent Israeli civilians was equated with the herding of innocent Jewish men women and children into extermination camps for wholesale slaughter by the Nazi regime and their assistants. Keeping Palestinian silence also promotes the US abrogation of past agreements with Israel, and their demand that selective passages of certain abrogated agreements effectively be honored by Israel only. With the US adopting not just the Palestinian line but even their negotiating tactics, It is no wonder that the Israeli press are describing US and Israeli administrations to be on a collision path.
It will be interesting to see how the American Jewish community will respond to the equation.
I have burned many electrons over the years highlighting reports about the abuse of financial aid to the Palestinians. The Funding for Peace Coalition probably did the most comprehensive job back in late 2004 with their report Managing European Taxpayers' Money: Supporting The Palestinian Arabs - A Study In Transparency. Not much seems to have changed since then.
The Palestinian Authority continues to be led by the same corrupt cronies, and continues to provide “terrorist insurance” payments to imprisoned murderers and their families. The Abbas led PA continues to incite violence against Israel through its public statements, television shows and hate education. And the JCPA reports that the internationally funded PA still has Hamas and other terrorists on the payroll.
In Gaza, the criminal Hamas government has been caught red handed time and again stealing international aid – either selling it back to the people to fund their war crimes, or diverting it directly to their guerilla terrorist forces. And Hamas keeps firing rockets into Israeli towns using their own human shields every day. And the smuggling tunnels bring in more weapons all the time.
James Lindsay, former legal counsel for UNRWA, issued a report Fixing UNRWA: Repairing the UN's Troubled System of Aid to Palestinian Refugees, where the recommendations are more than telling. He argues that implementing them would return Palestinians “to what most of them so desperately seek: normal lives.” Lindsay directly and indirectly argues that much of the UNRWA budgets are spent providing services to people who simply don’t need the charity, and many are not refugees, and some are not even Palestinians. In summary, Lindsay says:
No justification exists for millions of dollars in humanitarian aid going to those who can afford to pay for UNRWA services. In addition, UNRWA should make the following operational changes: halt its one-sided political statements and limit itself to comments on humanitarian issues; take additional steps to ensure the agency is not employing or providing benefits to terrorists and criminals; and allow the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), or some other neutral entity, to provide balanced and discrimination-free textbooks for UNRWA schools.
Gunnar Heinsohn of the Raphael Lemkin Institute at the University of Bremen, an institute devoted to comparative genocide research, argues quite cogently that UNRWA and other international aid exacerbate the problems of the Middle East, providing unlimited indiscriminate welfare which encourages a high birth rate, but no useful employment. The result is a “youth bulge” of young men who provide “cannon fodder” for their unscrupulous leadership to indoctrinate and send into battle against their fellow Palestinians or Israel. Heinsohn compares Gaza to other areas of conflict, where “The warring stopped because no more warriors were being born.” His recommendations parallel those of James Lindsay.
Heinsohn also points out, as have many before him, that the Arab world is well aware of the issues. “UNRWA is benevolently funded by the U.S. (31%) and the European Union (nearly 50%) -- only 7% of the funds come from Muslim sources.” They allow the West to develop the cannon fodder, while Iran, Syria and others provide the cannons.
US president Obama’s most recent proposal to provide $900 million for Gaza restoration via the Palestinian Authority flies in the face of all this evidence and professional advice that international funding feeds the conflict.
I can only wonder. During the current world economic crisis, why do Western governments continue to pour so much money into UNRWA, the PA and other Palestinian causes, knowing full well that it will never achieve its stated objectives?
Why don’t you write to your local representative and ask how much of your tax money is being handed over to the Palestinians? I am sure that you could suggest some more effective uses for your money right now!
We all know that operation “Cast Lead” (as the war in Gaza was labeled) was successful in reducing the Hamas attacks on Israel. What the media may not have mentioned is that the Palestinians are in daily breach of the cease fire, leading to inevitable Israeli responses. No doubt, as things intensify, you will hear a lot about on Israeli actions –but probably not much about the war crimes that lead up to them...continued Palestinian attacks on civilian targets, using their own women and children as human shields. The Israel Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center issued a report two days ago, detailing twelve specific cease-fire breaches in the 13 days prior. (Scroll to the bottom of the link for a table of events.) Since then, a Kassam hit Kibbutz Sha’ar Hanegev and a Grad hit Ashkelon, bringing the score to one war crime a day.
It is interesting that while Hamas claims overall responsibility and control of the Gaza strip, at least some of the attacks are being perpetrated by Mahmoud Abbas’ so called “moderate” Fatah faction – which is so generously funded by the EU and other Western governments.
The small West Bank villiage of Naalin has been the focus of many protests against Israel's separation barrier that has been so effective in keeping suicide bombers and other terrorists out of our restaurants, buses and public places. In fact, a Google search
on "Naalin fence protest" generates over 2,000 entries. It is very encouraging to read, then, that this is just the place that a significant rapprochement is being attempted. The Israeli news service Ynet reports
that a Holocaust exhibit has been constructed by the local Palestinian Land Defense Committee. Read the article. I would love to read your comments. Post them on the "speak" link here.
The Telegraph reports
that the death toll in Gaza may have been inflated. Apparently Gaza residents have told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that only around 600 Gazans were killed - and at that mainly Hamas gunmen. They have also told first hand about the way civilian infrastructure (including hospitals) were used as a cover for Hamas activities.
Jordanian news agencies report
that once again, armed gunmen have seized international aid in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has been caught in the past stealing fuel, medicines and food intended for its citizens at gun point - and then blaming Israel for the "humanitarian crisis". Interesting that the Jordanians are only concerned when it is aid that THEY sent being stolen. Meanwhile, UNRWA has asked not to send aid convoys until the issue of the seized convoy is solved.
The tragic close to the abduction of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser brings to our whole nation a deep sense of grief, loss and frustration. It also brings a sense of dismay and foreboding. How will we now deal with the realities of negotiating with Hamas for the return of Gilad Shalit? Have we increased the risk and price of further abductions by taking what many perceived as the only possible and moral course of action?
But grief, dismay and foreboding will not bring Gilad home, nor prevent further abductions. Is there a solution?
Palestinian treatment of our prisoners and their attacks on civilians launched from civilian neighbourhoods constitute severe breaches of the Geneva Conventions and are clear war crimes. And yet our enemies constantly distort the language and terms of human rights and international law to demonize Israel. It is time to call the Palestinian bluff.
Israel should declare that - after years of this demonization and years of our enemies playing with our emotions over Ron Arad, Eldad Regev, Ehud Goldwasser, Gilad Shalit, Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz, Tvi Feldman and Guy Hever – it is acting against the Palestinian breaches of international law.
With no further notice, all Palestinian security prisoners should be denied all access by third parties – International Committee of the Red Cross, journalists, families – anyone. Once a prisoner is taken, his whereabouts, condition, status or even the fact of his confinement will not be confirmed or denied. Access to judicial process will be granted, but only to the point that arrest and confinement is proven legal, and to the extent that legal counsel accepts these new rules, and agrees not to leak any information except as necessary to conduct a proper defence. All other contact with the outside world, stipends from foreign governments or the Palestinian Authority, cash, gifts, letters from any source will be forbidden. All opportunities for study, or any other form of advancement or entertainment will be prevented. These people will be held prisoner under the same conditions as our boys. As soon as the fate of our missing soldiers is satisfactorily resolved; as soon as those still alive are treated according to international conventions; as soon as the Palestinians cease their war crimes, we will return to the natural compliance with those rules that we believe in and have complied with for the last 60 years.
Illegal? No doubt there will be immediate appeals to the High Court. No doubt there will be international pressure. The Government must not falter. It must immediately prepare the necessary emergency legislation to allow this track. It must filibuster and delay until it can be achieved.
We must let the world know that we are no longer prepared to be victims of its double standards.
Rising world food prices together with a cold snap sent the price of tomatoes skyrocketing throughout the Middle East. Haaretz columnist Amiram Cohen complained that the price of tomatoes in Tel Aviv jumped to NIS 12 for aging tomatoes and to NIS 23.30 in up-beat Ivn Givriol Street. That’s $7 a kilo! Cohen says that the problem is the way the world economy works, and suggests cutting out the long chain of middle men, and starting a vegetable patch in the balcony window box.
But is it really the fault of the economic system we have built, and is home planting the solution?
According to President Ahmadinejad manipulation by Iran’s “enemies” is the reason for a 16% inflation rate and tomatoes reaching $3.25 a kilo in Teheran : "In order to harm us, they (enemies) make plots, for instance they come and push tomato prices up in the market. They think we will give up our ideals with their plots." And his solution? Trust in Allah and the revolution. "Of course, God willing, the problem of meat, chicken and tomatoes will be solved. One should be aware that our revolution is like a bulldozer ... the enemies think by throwing a few small stones and sand they can stop this bulldozer,"
In its April Gaza Strip fact sheet, the United Nations is marginally more circumspect. While recognising that fuel transit depots and goods crossing points have been attacked, the UN completely ignores Hamas’ commandeering of fuel supplies in Gaza to create an artificial shortage. The report opens by complaining of Israeli restrictions on fuel limiting the UN’s ability to distribute food. The immediate next sentences: “Market prices increased significantly in the month of April. Tomato prices, for example, rose 156% [to NIS 3.20 or $1 a kilo].” The implication is clear. And while detailing all the hardships and health risks created by the fuel shortage, there is no mention of the ample fuel available to transport and launch incessant rockets to injure and traumatise Israeli civilians.
Meanwhile, the LA Times reports that in Egypt, Lebanon, Oman and other countries American policies are being blamed for increasing food prices. And organisations such as the Moslem Brotherhood, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Islamic Action Front and others are gaining ground amongst the poor – censuring the local regimes as well as the “enemy” for the crisis, handing out food together with their fundamentalist messages of hate.
Is commentary on the price of tomatoes still politically correct?
With court cases and wide debate surrounding the linkage between certain Islamic Charities and the funding of terror organisations, it is interesting to note that even the Palestinian Authority is worried enough to take action.
Ha'aretz reported earlier this week: "The [senior Israeli security] source noted that the PA has outlawed 300 charity organizations, most of them affiliated with Hamas, and its security forces have stepped up their monitoring of imams in West Bank mosques."
And who should know better than the Palestinian Authority on this particular topic?
I have previously written about the Funding for Peace Coalition website (note the new address!). Their latest submission to a UK parliamentary inquiry once again documents the way international funding of the Palestinians lacks transparency or adequate controls –resulting in its diversion to corruption and violence. At the end of the day, it is used to support war crimes, including the murder of Israeli civilians and the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields. And your money is used to promote “terrorist insurance” social welfare schemes. Everyone is guilty – Europe, the US and even Japan give huge sums - both directly and indirectly.
NGO Monitor has just published a highly detailed examination of European Union (EU) funding of political NGOs in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The fifty-page report, 'Europe's Hidden Hand', shows that the EU provides tens of millions of Euros from public money to NGOs whose activities directly contradict EU policy. That is – simply another avenue where international funds promote a never ending war against Israel. I recommend that everyone read at least the Executive Summary, if not the full report of this latest publication.
And in all of this, no-one asks UNRWA to settle even a single Palestinian refugee as a citizen of anywhere. Can you imagine what it would be if the Jewish refugees of WWII or the millions of descendants Jews thrown out of Arab countries were still stateless?
Put all of this together and work out what you are going to do to put pressure on your political representatives to stop pouring money into exacerbating the Middle East conflict.
With rockets falling on Israel's south daily, a debate is raging whether to cut off power supply to Gaza for a short period after every rocket. A message to the Palestinian population that their fate is inter-dependent with that of Israel. If they continue to behave as enemies, they will be treated as enemies. Ironically, as the questions of morality, Israeli and international law, and effectiveness of the measure occupy more and more of the Israeli political scene and media, Sderot suffered a two hour black-out on Sunday, when a Gazan missile hit a high voltage power line in the city.
What is really going on in Gaza? Does the local population really support the incessant rocket attacks and violence against Israel? Would they prefer peace with their neighbours, as the Ramallah based Fatah government claims in the West Bank? The Hamas' election victory was brought about by a convergence of forces, and their bloody take-over had mixed local support. An unusual insight into the situation and views of the local Gaza population is provided by an interview with Gaza journalist Taghreed El-Khodary. In a short piece, she covers a wide range of topics; corruption, internal violence, coercion, Islamisation and the violence against Israel and the inevitable Israeli attempts to stop it. The whole piece is worth reading - but the telling line is no surprise to those of us that have been following the events in Gaza over the last decade:
Shockingly, a significant number of people have told me, ‘we want to go back to have Israel in direct control, like it was under occupation, before Oslo.’
No, the title doesn't signal an intention to convert the sometimes long breaks between my writing into a year off. Rather, a reminder that this Wednesday night is Rosh Hashanah - and the start of a sabbatical year. The seventh year in a cycle; a great equaliser when we remember that all we have is by the grace of G-d, and we "return" it to him, allowing fields to lie fallow, making the produce available for all to take - rich or poor, and forgiving debts owed to us.
With the re-emergence of the Jewish state, the sabbatical year is being progressively reinstated. A remarkable testament to the Jewish scholars who studied and kept alive the complex laws for centuries, believing that one day the prophesies would be fulfilled, with our people returning to their ancestral land. How ridiculous it must have seemed. Even the derisory Roman name "Palaestina" had stuck to the Holy Land. As if it was more likely that the extinct Philistine enemies of Israel would return than the Jews.
As I prepared our small garden for the sabbatical year - cutting and pruning in extra measure so that the plants won't grow too wild in the coming year - I thought how lucky I was to be able to practice this ancient custom, and to be part of the fulfilment of prophesy.
Wishing all my family and friends "Shana tova". May you be inscribed and sealed for a year of happiness, health and prosperity. A year of peace for all.
In this day and age, almost no matter where you live, it is hard to take pride in government. Here in Israel there's lots to brag about. Technological leadership, thriving economy, the warmth of our society, the way our youngsters defend their fellow citizens against attack in a never ending terror war ... but sadly, our elected leaders are not usually part of the positive images. So when they get caught doing something right, it's a noteworthy surprise. A story in today's Ha'aretz is one of those surprises.
Interior Minister, Meir Sheetrit, announced that hundreds of Darfur refugees will be granted citizenship of Israel. Estimates are that around 2,000 African refugees have found asylum in Israel, but the issue is not without its problems. With their pursuers having shifted whole new populations into the Sudanese homes and villages, they will have nowhere to go even after the fighting is over. It is clear that the 2.5 million who have been displaced cannot be absorbed by tiny Israel. It is also difficult to differentiate between economic opportunists and genuine refugees – not to mention the security risk associated with potential infiltrators from an enemy state said to harbour Al-Qaida. To date, the Israeli Muslim community has not come forward, and so those who are in Israel do not have a local community into which they easily integrate.
On the other hand, the Jewish state, which was rose out of the ashes of the Holocaust and became a haven for hundreds of thousands of Jews chased out of Arab countries and has a collective memory of exile to Rome and Babylon, dhimmitude in Arabia, the Spanish Inquisition, and European pogroms, cannot stand idly by.
Darfur is a world responsibility, and one in which it would be reasonable to expect the Arab and African nations to take a lead. Arab states, as yet have shown no inclination to rein in the racist Arab Muslims who are engaged in rape, pillage and plunder of the most barbaric dimensions. Nor have they shown the slightest inclination to protect the persecuted black Muslims. It is worse. In a most repulsive story, Egyptian border guards murdered Sudanese refugees trying to cross the border, seeking refuge in Israel. A physical "tug-of-war" with Israeli border guards over one of the refugees ended in an Egyptian "victory" after they pointed their guns at the Israelis. The poor refugee "prize" was simply dragged back over the border and clubbed to death. Nor have African nations offered succour to their Muslim and animist coreligionists. And the Western world has been equally unwilling to offer haven.
As we approach the Rosh Hashanna new year, we and the Sudanese refugees can only hope that the example set by Israel, absorbing a number so large in terms of its relative population, and granting the protection and benefits of citizenship to the stateless, will be part of fulfillment of the words of the prophet Isiah "The law will go out of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." Press your government to take heed and act.
The constellation in the Middle East has changed. The threat of Islamic fundamentalism is not just being felt by the Western world. Arab states are also worried by Hezbollah, Hamas and a potentially nuclear Iran. That gives the Fatah leadership in Ramallah a unique opportunity to simultaneously imporove their relationships with Israel, the West and Arab states. An imperative with defeat of Hamas' bloody coup in Gaza still ringing in their ears. But can they be trusted?
Ironically, it is the Palestinian Hamas, worried that they will be left out in the cold, who have raised that question to the Palestinian public and to the world.
A report by The Funding for Peace Coalition analyses the coverage of a Hamas press conference last Tuesday, where they publicly presented documents proving the corrupt nature of Arafat, his Prime-Minister (now President) Abbas and his Finance Minister (now Prime-Minister)
Consistent with their form over the last decade, the mainstream media have largely ignored this new evidence. The Funding for Peace Coalition notes that AP did file a report - but deliberately downplayed the corruption. Seems that it's still not quite politically correct to remind the world that the Palestinian elite callously pirated foreign aid to line their own pockets at the expense of their own people. Not to mention the vast sums of stolen money used to encourage and support terrorism. Nevertheless, such revelations in Arabic are rare and newsworthy.
And the Fatah comeback is no surprise: What happened to the vast sums Hamas got from Iran and Qatar?
The real question, of course, is that with money once again flowing from the US and European taxpayer, whether the donor community will see a return on their investment in the form of proper governance, improvement of the situtaion of the average Palestinian and real peace for the region? Or, can we expect that in the tradition of the last decade, the old ways will return, Europe will turn a blind eye, the region will again erupt in violence and the international taxpayer will be bilked until the Palestinian Authority is completely covered in the slime of its own corruption?
Difficulties faced by Palestinian Arabs have been a focus of world attention for decades. But oppression of Palestinians by fellow Arabs barely rates a mention.
Often subject to political racism, Palestinian Arabs have been forced into refugee camp ghettos in many Arab states. Identical to the racist laws against Jews in those places, they are also unable to hold citizenship, own land, get jobs or otherwise integrate into their host states. And despite Palestinian Authority or Hamas control of Gaza, there have been no steps toward dismantling the camps there. This is a situation condoned and maintained by the UN and its institutions. If the Arab states were truly interested in helping the Palestinians, they would give them full social and economic rights.
The world appears oblivious to this apartheid policy; both East and West politically and financially encourage it. Taxpayers support it with hundreds of millions channeled annually through UNRWA to pay for basic education, housing and medical services. All of which could probably be paid for by the welfare recipients themselves, if they were only allowed to work freely and integrate into the society around.
It is outrageous that the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in Tripoli, Lebanon, is nearly empty after months of bombing by the Lebanese army. The refugees, who were never allowed to integrate into their adopted country, have become refugees once again. In one day last week, a 16 year old was killed and a 13 year old girl was severely injured - both bystanders in the fighting between the Lebanese army and Palestinian 'militants'.
Or in Gaza; after a bloody coup, summary 'justice' is being handed out by Hamas against their Fatah rivals. Hamas allows a humanitarian disaster to accumulate, while spending fortunes importing huge supplies of advance weaponry into Gaza. Vast quantities of weapons and military equipment are smuggled in – and yet food and medicines are in short supply. It is easy to blame Israel for the poverty and distress and leave the Western taxpayer with the responsibility of picking up the pieces. No human rights group raises even an eyebrow.
Unfortunately, NGOs so vocal about Israel's infractions as she defends her citizens have more important things on their agenda than to be concerned about these innocent civilians. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Christian Aid (to name just three NGOs focusing significant resources on Palestinian issues) have yet to issue a condemnation of the attacks in Nahr el-Bared.
These same NGOs, supported by the world media, strongly criticize Israel for closing its borders to Gaza. Despite the use of these border crossings for the smuggling of weapons and terrorists that threaten her civilians, Israel assists the passage of food, medicine, stock feed and other basic necessities. In the last month I have counted reports of some 33,000 tons of solids and 1.2 million liters of liquids in these categories. Hamas response has been to attack those very border crossings, to scare away international supervisors, and force closures.
The last weeks have seen Israel release both hundreds of convicted terrorist prisoners and large sums of back taxes. Victims of violence in Gaza – civilian and militant – are receiving the best of medical care in Israel's hospitals. All this while the Kassams still rain down on the Israeli city of Sderot and its surrounds.
Those truly concerned about Palestinian welfare would best focus on making border crossings safe, allowing food and medicine to enter Gaza, allowing trade to flow in both directions; or help to stop the fighting in Lebanon; or prevent the destabilising arms build up in those two places; or end corruption in the Palestinian Authority that siphons billions in international aid away from the average Palestinian toward corruption and violence; or... the list is almost endless of important ways of helping the Palestinians which do not involve criticising Israel…unless, of course, the motivation is more sinister.
Claiming the Israeli Defence Force has "systematically flouted the fourth Geneva convention guaranteeing a civilian population unfettered access to medical services and immunity for medical staff", 130 UK Doctors have called for a boycott of the Israeli Medical Association and its expulsion from the WMA. As you ponder this, you may recall the way an employee of the Israel-bashing Medecins Sans Frontieres was caught planning to assassinate the Israeli Prime Minister. Certainly makes you wonder what motivates these good doctors to press Israel to give immunity to medical staff. And as for "guaranteeing a civilian population unfettered access to medical services", yesterday's Prime Minister's Office press release sure gives the game away - and runs a chill up my spine.
In the wake of precise intelligence information, the ISA, on May 20, 2007, at the Erez crossing, arrested two Palestinian women, who admitted to planning to perpetrate a double suicide bombing in crowded places (restaurants, events halls or any locality with a large concentration of soldiers) in Tel Aviv and Netanya. They further admitted that they were guided by Islamic Jihad, which exploited Israel's humanitarian policy; the two had received medical entry permits into Israel under false pretenses.
Fatma Yunes Hassan Zak, 39, a resident of Gaza, mother of eight children and pregnant with her ninth, had been responsible for an Islamic Jihad Gaza women's labor office for four years. She had been in contact with Islamic Jihad terrorists and coordinated contacts on their behalf with women who had volunteered to be suicide bombers.
Approximately three months ago, her niece, Ruda Ibrahim Yunes Haviv, 30, a resident of Gaza and mother of four children, sought her assistance in perpetrating a suicide attack. Zak, who decided to participate in the attack as well, contacted her Islamic Jihad liaison, who aided the two women in putting their plan into operation.
The two women attended several of their meetings with Islamic Jihad terrorists accompanied by several of their children. Zak's 19-year-old son, also an Islamic Jihad terrorist, was present as the two women were photographed – holding copies of the Quran and weapons – before setting out.
In order for Zak and Haviv to enter Israel, an Islamic Jihad terrorist obtained an authentic entry permit which indicated that Haviv was due to undergo medical tests at a Ramallah hospital, with Zak as her attending relative. The terrorist also instructed the two to go to the hospital and actually undergo the test in order to cover their story. The two women were then instructed to inform Islamic Jihad in Gaza. They were told that an operative would meet them in Ramallah, provide them with explosive belts, and accompany them into Israel. Before leaving Gaza, Zak and Haviv trained in operating explosive belts and in firing an AK-47. They were also instructed on what clothing to wear in order to allay suspicions.