Friday, July 11, 2008

US CONGRESSMEN DEMAND UNRWA REFORM .

by Etgar Lefkovits

A group of bipartisan US congressmen is urging reform in UNRWA, the UN body that deals exclusively with Palestinian refugees and their descendants, and calling for alternative solutions to the containment of refugees in squalid camps.

"The Palestinian refugees have been used as political pawns for the past 60 years by people who don't want peace in the Middle East," said Congressman Eliot Engel (D-New York) at a meeting of international parliamentarians hosted last week by the Congressional Israel Allies Caucus, a bipartisan pro-Israel parliamentary group.

"The UN has been part and parcel of this conspiracy," he said.

Engel, who co-chairs the parliamentary group - established as a sister-caucus to the Knesset's Christian Allies Caucus - said that UNRWA, which was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1949 to carry out relief and works programs for Palestinian refugees, was actually designed to perpetuate the festering sore of the refugee problem.

"Instead of resettling them, UNRWA keeps them in refugee camps," Engel said. "The Palestinians are in the refugee camps because the Arab nations want them in refugee camps in order to perpetuate political hatred against Israel."

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians - with estimates ranging from 400,000 to 750,000 - fled their homes in 1948, and they, along with their millions of descendants, make up one of the most prickly issues Israeli and Palestinian negotiators must deal with as part of any resolution to the conflict.

The issue of the Palestinian refugees has been largely untouched in Israel for years due to the Palestinian demand for the refugees' right of return, which Israel flatly rejects. UNRWA's definition of refugees includes not only the refugees themselves, but also their descendants. As such, the number of Palestinian refugees listed with the organization has mushroomed from over 900,000 in 1950 to 4.5 million today.

About one-third of the Palestinians listed as refugees, or about 1.3 million people, live in 58 refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria the West Bank and Gaza, which critics say have become hotbeds of Palestinian terrorism.

US Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) said it was an "international disgrace" that the US, which is the biggest funder of UNRWA, would allow the growth of the number of refugees.

In contrast to the main UN refugee agency, UNHCR, which assists and resettles refugees from around the world and has an international team of around 6,300 employees, more than 99 percent of UNRWA's 25,000-strong staff members are locally recruited Palestinians - almost all of them Palestinian refugees or their descendants, and some of them members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, groups both the US and the EU classify as terror organizations.

UNRWA, which operated on a cash budget of $487 million in 2007 - excluding special appeals for additional funding - receives most of its money from the US, European Commission, Sweden, Norway and the United Kingdom.

Four years ago, amid persistent reports that the group was turning a blind eye to Palestinian terrorism, then-UNRWA commissioner-general Peter Hansen publicly admitted for the first time that Hamas members were on the UNRWA payroll.

"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 said.

"The organization's record would not stand up to scrutiny of its donors in the US or Europe," said Mark Kirk (R-Illinois), blasting UNRWA for its "lack of international standards and arrogance about accountability."

A UNRWA spokesman in Israel did not return an e-mail request Tuesday for comment.

Recently, some Israeli parliamentarians have begun to openly advocate dealing with the refugee issue.

"It has been a big mistake not to deal with the issue of the Palestinian refugees," MK Benny Elon (NU/NRP), who favors dealing with the issue head-on for humanitarian reasons, said at the Capitol Hill gathering.

A cornerstone of Elon's recent diplomatic initiative includes dismantling UNRWA and resettling the Palestinian refugees into countries outside of Israel, in keeping with longstanding Israeli policy that an influx of refugees would demographically damage the country's character as a Jewish state.

"Without the rehabilitation of Palestinian refugees, no peace will come," Elon said at the conference, which he attended as chairman of the Christian Allies Caucus.

"We are excited about our network of parliamentary sister caucuses taking on the real issues we face and challenging their respective governments to stand steadfast with Israel," said Caucus Director Josh Reinstein.

Meanwhile, amid increased scrutiny over UNRWA's role, an Israeli academic said in a paper released Tuesday that UNRWA should be dissolved, and the services it provides should be transferred to other UN agencies, notably the UNHCR.

"UNRWA perpetuates, rather than resolves, the Palestinian refugee issue, and therefore serves as a major obstacle toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," wrote Jonathan Spyer, a senior research fellow at the IDC Herzliya, in a paper titled "UNRWA: Barrier to Peace."

In the absence of a solution to the Palestinian refugee problem, the UN General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA's mandate, recently extending it until June 30, 2011.

The General Assembly, dominated by the Arab bloc and anti-Western countries, is unlikely ever to change the UNRWA mandate, officials said.

 
Etgar Lefkovits is a staff writer for the Jerusalem Post.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

HADRIAN'S CURSE -- THE INVENTION OF PALESTINE Part 1

by Tsafrir Ronen

 

1st part of 2

 

The Invention of Palestine as a Psychological Weapon for Conquering Eretz Yisrael [the Land of Israel]

 

Summary

Almost 2,000 years ago, the Roman Emperor Hadrian cursed the Jewish People and decreed that Judea should be henceforth called "Palestine" after the Philistines, an ancient enemy of Israel that had disappeared from the world's stage more than 600 years earlier. It was his final twist of the knife and legacy after wars, massacres, persecutions, and exiles that had largely extinguished the Jewish presence from Judea.
 

Today, the modern enemies of a resurrected Jewish Nation have dusted off Hadrian's curse and are attempting to pull off a monumental theft: the Arab world have reincarnated "Palestine" to steal Israel's heritage and the Land of the Jewish People.

Hadrian's Curse will expose the BIG lie of the "Palestinian cause" in a full-length 120-minute documentary. The film will document that there never was a "Palestinian" people, The world has become so accustomed to the "truth" of the "Palestinian" perversion of history and work backwards, exposing recent claims and acts whose absurdity and villainy shock uninformed observers.

When Arafat declared: "Our nation is the Arabic nation that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea and beyond it", it turns out that Arafat's nation already stretches over an area larger than all of Europe.

His is the twisted story of one of the biggest, most remarkable fraud in history. It is such a successful fabrication that many otherwise informed people have been duped and mislead. This propaganda has become a powerful weapon used Israel's enemies, the Arabs, to try to conquer Eretz Yisrael without firing a shot, without an army, tanks or jets. The Jewish People eventually bested Hadrian. They returned to their land and reestablished sovereignty over it.

They rebuilt Jerusalem as their capital, and resettled desolate Judea. They did all this only to now confront the reincarnated curse of Hadrian in the guise of Arabs renaming themselves "Palestinians" and claiming all the ancient Land as their own.

As explained in the film, many Israelis and lovers of Zion have accepted this misnaming and misidentification. Hadrian's ancient curse now threatens Israel's very existence. Israel's success and endurance and the world's hope for peace in the 21st century, demands that the deceit and danger of a Palestinian state must be exposed and avoided. It is our fervent hope that Hadrian's Curse will expose the historical truth.
 

Part I –– The Secret All the Arabs Know

At the Annapolis Conference, George Bush spoke about his vision regarding the virtues of two nations for two peoples.

One of those peoples has a clear identity –– the Jewish People. Yet it would be interesting to know the identity of that second people: Already in 1977, one of the central spokesman of that "second people", a member of P.L.O. leadership, Zahir Muhsein, the leader of the al-Sa'iqa Organization, revealed the truth in an interview to the Dutch newspaper Trouw:

"The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct 'Palestinian people' to oppose Zionism for tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa. While as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan."

Are you in shock? If the Palestinian People does not exist, what does exist? Arabs who live in Eretz Yisrael and who have disguised themselves as "Palestinians" for fraudulent purposes. "Only a means for continuing our struggle against the State of Israel," in Muhsein's words. A fraud so successful that even George Bush can be found seeking a state for that fraud!

Do you think Zahir Muhsein is alone? This transparent fraud about the so-called existence of Palestine is revealed to us by all the Arabs' leaders:

In 1974, the late Syrian President, Hafez al-Assad, declared: "It would be fitting for us to mention to the responsible Israeli authorities that we view Palestine not just as an inseparable part of the Arab nation, but as a part of Southern Syria." In 1987, he reiterated himself at a conference in Amman, "A country named 'Palestine' has never existed." Jordanian King Hussein responded, "The appearance of the national Palestinian persona serves as a response to Israel's claim that Palestine is Jewish."

Yet the prize goes to Arafat who in 1970, with candid simplicity, told the reporter Arianna Palazzi:

"The question of borders doesn't interest us... From the Arab standpoint, we mustn't talk about borders. Palestine is nothing but a drop in an enormous ocean. Our nation is the Arabic nation that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea and beyond it..... The P.L.O. is fighting Israel in the name of Pan-Arabism. What you call "Jordan" is nothing more than Palestine."

Such revelations are an eye-opener for anyone who has not understood until today the masked-ball being run by the Arabs: The true meaning of Arafat's words, that "Palestine is Jordan," is that for the Arabic people, living under the "Pan-Arab" umbrella, in addition to over twenty Arabic countries, there is already a country called Jordan that was established by the British for the Arabs on 77% of the Land of Israel, promised to the Jewish People by the League of Nations in 1922. Anywhere else on earth, would an additional country be established for a people that already has twenty-one countries?

All the same, there is nothing like the testimony of the founder of the P.L.O. himself, Ahmed Shukari. Already in 1956 he proclaimed from the podium of the U.N., as the Arab League's ambassador there, that "such a creature as Palestine does not exist at all. This land is nothing but the southern portion of Greater Syria..."

And if Ahmed Shukari says that Palestine does not exist at all, the logical inference is that "Palestinians" do not exist at all either. That same Shukari was born of a Turkish mother in Lebanon, was himself a Jordanian lawyer, served as the ambassador of Syria to the U.N., the ambassador of the Arab League to the U.N., and the ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the U.N. In 1964, after this talented actor who changed loyalties like a chameleon was fired by the Saudis, Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser hired him to found the "Palestine Liberation Organization", the P.L.O., an organization dedicated to the liberation of a country that in his own words did not exist at all.

All the prominent spokesman of that poor, homeless "people" say openly: The Arabs who live in Eretz Yisrael are precisely the same Arabs who live in Syria, Jordan or Lebanon. They are not a separate country, but a fragment of the enormous Arab nation divided amongst many Arab countries. In their identity they are Arabs and the invention of Palestine is just a transparent bluff: "a means for continuing our struggle against the State of Israel for our Arab unity". Can any testimony be better than that of the Arabs themselves, exposing the lies and deception involved in Palestine's creation?

Yet the most compelling argument for the idea that the "Palestinian People" is a fraudulent invention, and that the Arabs are all one people, was expounded by none other than Mr. Husseini, head of the Supreme Arab Committee, to the U.N. special committee that was deliberating on Eretz Yisrael in 1947:

"An additional consideration of great importance for the Arab world is racial uniformity. The Arabs lived in a broad expanse stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean. They spoke one language, and shared a common history, tradition and aspirations. Their unity was the solid foundation for peace in one of the most central and sensitive regions in the world. For that reason, it does not make sense that the United Nations should facilitate the establishment of a foreign entity within that well-rooted unity."

Indeed, Mr. Husseini is correct. His declaration before the investigative committee of the United Nations exposes the simple fact that there is no "Palestinian" language and no unique "Palestinian" culture. The Palestinians are Arabs, and they cannot be set apart from the Jordanians, Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc.

Remove from the argument the lies and untruths and you reveal that the conflict is taking place between the Arabic, Muslim empire of twenty-one states and the Jewish People, claiming their right to their one and only historic homeland, consisting of less than one fifth of one percent of the lands under Arab control.

This is the twisted story of the biggest, most unprecedented fraud in history. It involves such a successful bluff that many people have no doubt about its veracity. This propaganda has become a powerful weapon by which means Israel's enemies, the Arabs, are trying to conquer Eretz Yisrael without firing a shot, without an army, tanks or jets.
 

Tsafrir Ronen

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

 

HADRIAN'S CURSE -- THE INVENTION OF PALESTINE Part 2

by Tsafrir Ronen

 

2nd part of 2

 

Part II –– The Arabs' Ultimate Goal

Following the Six Day War, the Arab countries, defeated by a small county determined to survive, understood that Israel would be impossible to beat militarily. They understood that the Israeli Samson would be possible to beat only by way of the cunning of the Philistine Delilah. And that's what happened.... No longer would there be cries firing up the masses to genocide, but rather, sophistication... A melody carefully aimed at the delicate western ear. The Arabs discovered that from a propaganda standpoint, it was easier to convince world public opinion of the rights of the poor, small, deprived "Palestinian People" to its own state, than to justify the demand of the enormous Arab empire for an addition of territory from a tiny country fighting for its life.

The Palestinian People is a fabrication invented with aforethought as a psychological weapon of Arab countries defeated in battle, a "Trojan Horse" for conquering Eretz Yisrael, as Feisel Husseini said after the Oslo Accords.

So was born the worldwide propaganda campaign that turned matters on their head. The Israeli "David" against the Arab "Goliath" was transformed, by way of sophisticated propaganda, into the Israeli "Goliath" oppressing the Palestinian "David". The object of this propaganda is to blot out and forget the name and identity of the ancient, Biblical Eretz Yisrael, and to transform it into the land of "the Palestinian People" fabricated by Arab propaganda.

By such means did their false propaganda gain such a strong foothold in the media and the bastions of liberalism that no one has paid any attention to the simple truths spoken openly by Zahir Muhsein, Assad, Shukari, King Hussein or Arafat.

By means of brainwashing, fabrications, lies, falsification, and taking advantage of the world's ignorance and the international media's superficiality, a process has been taking place in broad daylight, for several dozen years already, of counterfeiting and blotting out history. And just as Goebbels and Hitler, the arch propagandists of the 20th century said derisively, the bigger the lie, the more people will believe in it.

Fulfilling the demands of the Palestinian lie, will put an end to the identity of Eretz Yisrael. Following the loss of the Land's identity, will come the loss of our right to the land. For, if there are "Palestinians", that implies that there is also a land called Palestine, and if there is a Palestine... then there is no Eretz Yisrael.

The most terrible part is that large sectors of Israel, itself, have already fallen into the Arab propaganda trap. It is they who are opening the door to the Trojan horse that will destroy the identity of Eretz Yisrael. This is a war that is not being waged by means of weapons and armies, or over physical territory. It is being waged on the battlefields of awareness of the Land's identity. The Roman name "Philistia" was a fiction invented by the Roman emperor Hadrian after the Bar Kochba Revolt in 135 C.E., a fiction of Hadrian then, and a fiction of the Arabs today, to the same degree.

It is a fabrication that represents no people, not then and not today. It is a sophisticated fiction invented for one purpose and one purpose alone: to wipe out a land's identity. If the land is called Palestine, then the Jewish people are occupiers. If the land is called Eretz Yisrael, then the Arabs are occupiers.

This is the essence of the Arab propaganda war, which is intended to steal the identity of Eretz Yisrael and to transform it into Palestine, and by such means to turn the Jewish people into occupiers of Eretz Yisrael. That's the whole story.

Now it's already clear. The Palestinian identity is tactical, artificial and temporary. It is just a tool in the pan-Arab struggle against Israel. The amazing thing is that it's all out in the open. Section 12 of the Palestinian charter summarizes the idea of this temporary identity, by stating that:

"The Palestinian people believes in Arab unification. It believes that in order to fulfill its task towards achieving this goal, it must, at this stage of its national struggle, preserve all the components of its Palestinian personality, and it must increase awareness of its existence, and reject all plans liable to weaken it or make it disappear."

Is there another people in the world that writes in its charter of self-definition the expression "at this stage"? And what will be in the next stage? Obviously, after conquering Israel, the territory will be divided up between Arab countries, and those Arab countries themselves will throw Palestine into the wastebasket of history.

As Arafat said, the Palestinian people are a fiction. The same is true regarding the Jordanian people, and all the other Arabic speaking peoples in the Middle East. These are not peoples with separate identities, but part of the great Arab nation. Only that has a true identity. By their self-definition, they cannot be divided up into a number of peoples with individual identities. Rather, they constitute one nation consisting of many states, as Arafat himself said to Arianna Palazzi in an incautious moment.

For the sophisticated Saudis, with their Saudi Peace Plan, it is clear that its purpose is not to actualize the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, for no such people exists. They conceal the truth that the great Arab nation has already actualized its right to self-determination by establishing a large number of countries, one of which extends over about 78% of the area of mandatory Eretz Yisrael.

For the Arabs, exploding with laughter over the foolishness of the West, it is clear that if an additional Arab state arises in the western portion of Eretz Yisrael, that will not serve the right of self-determination, but the demand of imperial conquest of all Eretz Yisrael by the Arab nation. Is George Bush dragging Israel to its destruction?

The Palestinian fabrication is exposed precisely when we listen to authentic Arab voices. The prominent Arab historian, Dr. Philip Hitti, who expressed himself at the Anglo-American commission of inquiry in the State Department building in 1947, said as follows:

"Sir, Palestine never existed throughout history. Absolutely not!"

Moreover, Professor Juhan Hazam, in his testimony before that same commission, added:

"Before 1917, when Balfour made his declaration, there had never been a Palestinian question, and there was no Palestine as a political or geographic unit."

Also a local Arab leader, Abd al-Mahdi, testified before the Peele Commission in 1937 as follows:

"There is no such land. Palestine is a term invented by the Zionists. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our land was for hundreds of years a part of Syria."

Indeed, this is a picture of the real situation in 1918 and at the start of the British conquest of Eretz Yisrael...

Were there any trace of truth to the claim regarding the historicity of a Palestinian People, we should certainly have expected to find mention of it in the history books and encyclopedias, as well as in archaeological research.
 

Part III –– Will Israel finish Hadrian's Work?

Thus, the way to Palestinian Hell was paved with the good intentions of Christian Zionists like Lord Balfour, the British foreign secretary. In the Balfour declaration, and by the decree of the Mandate, they decided, based on historic rights, to grant Eretz Yisrael to the Jewish people. Yet they called it Hadrian's Roman name, Palestine, which had originally had the precise intention of blotting it off the map.

From that moment on, the way was prepared for the birth of the Palestinian fiction.

The name Palestine, by which the British accidentally called the land, bore the seeds of destruction of the Palestinian bluff, as if the entire Land was the stolen property of the Palestinian people, an ancient, rooted people, thousands of years old. This was such an incredible but successful fabrication that large portions of Israeli society fell into its snare. In the report presented in 1938 to the League of Nations, the British made it very clear:

"The name 'Palestine' is not a country but a geographic region.'"

No one could have imagined in 1917, at the time of the Balfour declaration during WWI, that anyone would use the name Palestine to create a monstrous, hostile, false identity, for propaganda purposes, and would engrave on their flag the destruction of Israel.

The reporter and writer Joan Peters, in her book From Time Immemorial, writes,

"The one and only identity never adopted [by the inhabitants of Eretz Yisrael] before 1967 was that of 'Palestinian Arab'."

The Palestinian lie was not hatched by any land or any people, but by a map, a map drawn by two European colonial ministers, an Englishman, Herman Sykes, and a Frenchman, George Picot, and on the map was written... "Palestine". It was clear to the British that Palestine as a sovereign political unit had never existed. No nation had ever borne its name. No people had ever prayed for its welfare. It was a name that hadn't existed at all for 1300 years, ironically, precisely when Muslim empires were dominant. "Palestine" was a Roman political fabrication that had faded and disappeared together with the empire that had created it.

The Land regained independence only when the name Eretz Yisrael [the Land of Israel], the name in the hearts of the first Zionists, was restored to it. Had not this identity been preserved by the Jewish People, and had it not been preserved in the hearts of the Christian Bible-loving nations who made up the League of Nations, the national rebirth of the Jewish People might never have taken place.

This is the substance of the war being waged on millions of television screens throughout the world. It is being waged over the identity of Eretz Yisrael. It is being waged by means of all the media, and it seems as though the Arabs have the upper hand, while Israel leaves an impression of impotence, of not yet having even identified the battlefield on which its fate will be sealed.

While Israel prepares jets and tanks for a military struggle, Israel's enemies are preparing their weapons for the final battle, for sticking the last dagger into the back of a State of Israel that does not understand and is not even ready for this battle. Unless Israel prepares for this battle, comes to an understanding of its complexity and frees itself from the false terminologies and constant brainwashing, Israel will be defeated and its land will be irrevocably taken from it.

Will Israel, which valiantly vanquished all the Arab armies when they attacked it also know how to face this propaganda attack that is threatening to destroy it?

It would seem as though the battle is already decided. The Arab propaganda has already penetrated the nervous system and destroyed the immune system that defended the Jewish People for 2000 years, with even the Israeli Prime Minister and Foreign Minister saying that "Israel's interest is to establish a Palestinian state"...

In other words, what they want is for the Bible to be rewritten and for King David's land of the Bible to become the land of Goliath the Philistine.

Could anything be more insane? Is there another nation on earth that behaves this way?

Is it possible that Israel will be beaten without a single shot being fired, simply handing over their land to a wretched fabrication, a coarse, primitive, charlatan canard, a deception that conceals the destruction that the Arabs are preparing for Israel? Could Israel's leaders be too blind to see the danger looming of the Land's Jewish identity being lost? Will precisely the vision of the prophets, fulfilled with the establishment of the State of Israel, bring with it the destruction of the identity of the Jewish People's land, and lead to its exchange for the false identity of Hadrian's Palestine? When lies are repeated many times, they become true. Such a lie is the fabrication regarding the existence of a historic Palestinian identity. That false identity, which began with Hadrian's curse and that was revived by Lord Balfour, has become a first rate propaganda tool. It became that the moment the Arabs understood the potential of destroying the identity of Eretz Yisrael, and with it the identity of the People of Israel, whose name bears the stamp of ownership of the Land.

The struggle against Israel was the glue that bound the Arab world, otherwise sunken in endless internal quarrels. The Arabs' aim in fabricating Palestine was not to build a nation but to annihilate a nation. Yet to conceal that plan, they invented the plan of "phases". The first phase is the invention of a "Palestinian People". The second phase is the liquidation of Israel, weakened and wearied after Oslo.

By such means did the Arabs conceal their genocidal intent with a "new tool", in the words of Zahir Muhsein, for conquering Eretz Yisrael without firing a shot.

All of these lies and falsehoods, this whole "costume ball" is being marketed by the media, which is turning out to be an obsessive collaborator with the biggest lie on earth. Precisely this Hadrian understood. That's why he chose the name Palestine. Precisely this is understood as well by Hadrian's heirs –– the Arab propagandists who through their use of this false name sever the historic tie between the People and the Land of Israel. Without doing that, it would be impossible to use the word "conquest" –– could a people be considered the conqueror of its own land? The question Israel faces is this: Will the Jews forego the name and the identity of their Biblical land? Will the Christian world agree to concede on the identity of the cradle of western civilization, the holy land, Eretz Yisrael?

It's the twist of fate that for all this to happen, the Jews had to vanquish Hadrian completely, return to their land, establish sovereignty, resurrect the Hebrew language, establish a mighty army, industry, the best agriculture on earth, hi-tech, culture, song, dance, reestablish a nation, rebuild Jerusalem as their capital and settle every town and village that Hadrian destroyed. Could we have possibly come full circle? Will Hadrian's curse, which didn't succeed for 1800 year, precisely when Israel was in exile from their land, succeed just now, with Israel's return? Will it be precisely the Israeli government that will resurrect Hadrian's curse, previously lost in the depths of forgetfulness?

Today, 1800 years later, an Israeli Prime Minister is calling for fulfilling what Hadrian failed to do –– the erasure of Eretz Yisrael and the establishment of Palestine.

The Emperor Hadrian is smiling from the grave.

 
Tsafrir Ronen is a former member of the secular kibbutz, Ein Charod. He is a media personality, serves in the elite army unit, Sayeret Matkal, and was one of the founders of the Nahalal Forum on Behalf of the Entire Eretz Yisrael. He is currently preparing Hadrian's Curse, a full-length documentary film on the Arab/Palestine myth.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

THE MISTAKES THAT LAUNCHED 3,000 ROCKETS.

 

by Richard A. Baehr

When Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdrew 8,000 residents and all of its defense forces from the Gaza Strip in the late summer of 2005, he offered several rationales to support what he called "disengagement." Regrettably, all but one have proven to be illusory. The result has been disastrous -- leading to the creation of a lawless terrorist haven in the Gaza Strip from which the controlling Hamas faction has lobbed thousands of crude rockets indiscriminately into southern Israel, precipitating a new generation of terror attacks against the Jewish state.
 


Demographics

One argument cited was the need to take the teeming Gaza Strip out of the Israeli-Palestinian demographic equation. It was estimated that some 1.5 million Palestinians live in Gaza, 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank, and one million Arabs lives inside Israel's green line. This population of 5 million Arabs roughly matched Israel's Jewish population of 5 million. Thus, Sharon reasoned, with just the West Bank under Israeli control, the concern that Israeli Jews would soon be a minority between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River appeared less foreboding, or at least not for several decades.

As it turns out, the demographic scenarios promulgated by those who advocated for an Israeli withdrawal from both Gaza and the West Bank were wildly off the mark. As noted by researchers Bennett Zimmerman and Michael Wise in the pages of inFocus Quarterly,[1] the Palestinian census counters inflated the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza, while also exaggerating the annual population growth rate for the Palestinians.

In retrospect, the Gaza withdrawal may have lifted the Jewish percentage in the remaining areas under Israeli control, but the move was premature if not completely unnecessary.


Preventing Terror

A second rationale was that if Israeli settlers were removed from Gaza, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) would have no civilian population to protect, thereby relieving the army of the need to remain. Gaza, after all, had never been a major source of the suicide bombing attacks that had occurred inside Israel's green line. In fact, throughout the "al-Aqsa intifada" that began in 2000, only one such attack originated in Gaza, when foreign nationals traveling to Israel from Gaza with British passports devastated Mike's Bar, a popular pub near the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv in 2003.[2] The IDF had simply erected a fence to surround Gaza, preventing untold numbers of suicide attacks.

In the years since its 2005 withdrawal, the IDF has learned a difficult lesson: suicide bombing is not the only way for terrorist to inflict harm upon Israeli civilians. Indeed, a fence cannot prevent projectiles such as rockets, missiles, or mortars aimed at close-by Israeli communities.

These attacks began soon after the Gaza fence was completed in 2001, but increased substantially year after year. Over the last seven years, Palestinian rockets have become increasingly lethal, with longer trajectories.[3] Conservative estimates suggest that 3,000 rockets have been fired into Israel,[4] not to mention mortars and missiles. The rockets now reach Ashkelon, a city of over 100,000 people, with key infrastructure, including a major Israeli port.

It is unclear whether Israel assumed that the Palestinian Authority would want to keep a lid on rocket fire from Gaza, since a period of "quiet" might encourage further Israeli withdrawals from the West Bank. If this ever was the case, things certainly changed in June 2007, when Hamas' one week military coup[5] decimated the PA's grip on power in Gaza. Since then, rockets have been landing at an increasingly rapid rate.
 

Public Relations

A third rationale for Gaza disengagement was that Israel, often maligned in the mainstream media, would win a public relations victory from its unilateral withdrawal. This was wishful thinking. While the media has occasionally heaped scorn upon Hamas for its indiscriminate rocket attacks, the disengagement has done little to improve Israel's steady drubbing when it defends itself.

Sadly, the occasional criticism of Hamas violence seems to suggest that indiscriminate attacks on Israeli civilian targets were somehow more justified during the period when Israel controlled Gaza. Meanwhile, Israel is still castigated by the United Nations, left-leaning Human Rights groups and NGOs, and, of course, the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. These groups can no longer castigate Israel for occupying the Gaza Strip so they now level new charges of collective punishment against Palestinian civilians in Gaza, when Israel responds with military operations in the areas where the rockets are launched.


A Gesture For Peace

A fourth rationale for the Gaza withdrawal was that it would lead to an improved atmosphere between Israel and the PA, and perhaps nudge both parties towards negotiating peace. The Olmert and Abbas governments are now busy negotiating a "shelf" agreement,[6] but it is one in which even the most ardent peace pundits have little to no faith.[7]

There are currently two Palestinian entities: Hamastan in Gaza, and the PA under Mahmoud Abbas, which maintains only tenuous control in the West Bank. If not for a steady IDF presence, analysts believe Hamas could easily take over. The PA is negotiating with Israel as if it controls Gaza , and Israel plays along. Only, Hamas is as much at war with the PA,[8] as they are with Israel.
 


Let Gazans Control Their Destiny

The final rationale for the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 may prove to be the only one with validity. Optimists viewed Palestinian "sovereignty" in Gaza as a way for the Palestinians to demonstrate that, once in control of their own destiny, Gazans could take responsibility for their quality of life and their economic condition.

At least in one way, this has been a successful experiment. Hamas has demonstrated ingenuity in two areas: construction of smuggling tunnels under the border crossing between Egypt's Sinai Peninsula and Gaza, and mass-producing rockets with more precise targeting ability, greater firing range, and more destructive capability. While both endeavors have increased Hamas' ability to strike at Israeli civilians, they have done little to help the Palestinian national cause. By their own admission, Gazans are awash in misery and poverty.[9]

Before its landslide electoral victory in 2006, Hamas was described by naïve observers as the one Palestinian group free of corruption. Compared to the ossified and corrupt Fatah party, Hamas could claim that it was the good government party, particularly since it had been providing social services to Palestinians through its da'wa (outreach) system for years.

Since the election Hamas has proven that feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, and providing medicines to the sick are among its lowest priorities. Rather, Hamas has focused all of its resources on attacking Israel - and even Fatah.
 


Lessons Learned

There are two painful lessons that can be learned from the daily rocket fire on Sderot, Ashkelon, and other population centers in Israel's south. First, Israeli gestures of good will signal weakness, and can lead to greater Palestinian hostility and violence. Second, half measures never solve any underlying problems.

Indeed, every one of the rationales for the 2005 disengagement envisioned a quiet border, and an improved security situation. Hopefully, the Israelis have learned two more lessons from the Gaza situation: know your enemy, and no more wishful thinking.
 

Footnotes

1. http://www.jewishpolicycenter.org/article/111

2. http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Communiques/2003/
Details+of+April+30-+2003+Tel+Aviv+suicide+bombing.htm

3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Image:Number_of_Morter_and_Rocket_Attacks_2001_to_early_2008V2.jpg

4. http://www.jewishpolicycenter.org/prr/history.php

5. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/15/opinion/15fri1.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

6. http://jpundit.typepad.com/jci/2008/03/a-shelf-agreeme.html

7. http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC06.php?CID=1139

8. http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/03/the_palestinians_have_no_inter.html

9. http://www.spiegel.de/international/0%2c1518%2c455254%2c00.html

 
Richard Baehr is political director of American Thinker.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

UNRWA: REFUGE OF REJECTIONISM Part I

by Barry Rubin, Asaf Romirowsky and Jonathan Spyer

 

1st part of  6

 

Bibliography and footnotes in part 6

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

On the surface, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) seems a humanitarian group helping Palestinian refugees. In reality, it actually helps destroy the chance of Arab-Israeli peace, promotes terrorism, and holds Palestainians back from rebuilding their lives.

Unique in history, UNRWA's job is to keep Palestinian refugees in suspended animation –– and at low living standards –– until they achieve the goal set for them by the PLO and Hamas: Israel's extinction. In the meantime, their suffering and anger is maintained as a weapon to encourage them toward violence and intransigence.

UNRWA schools become hotbeds of anti-Western, anti-American, and anti-Semitic indoctrination, recruiting offices for terrorist groups. UNRWA's services are dominated by radicals who staff and subsidize radical groups while potentially intimidating anyone from voicing a different line. UNWRA facilities are used to store and transport weapons, actually serving as military bases.

In this process, UNRWA has broken all the rules that are supposed to govern humanitarian enterprises. Consequently, UNRWA is the exact opposite of other refugee relief operations. They seek to resettle refugees; UNRWA is dedicated to blocking resettlement. They help refugees to live normal lives so that they can move on with their existence; UNRWA's role is to ensure their lives remain abnormal so they are filled with anger and a thirst for revenge that inspires violence and can only be quenched by a victorious return. They try to create stable conditions for refugees; UNRWA's mission is to enable radical political activity and indoctrination by armed groups which ensures a continual state of near chaos.

The time has come, especially given the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip, which also signals a Hamas takeover of the UNRWA facilities there, to reevaluate the role of UNRWA. If it is indeed very much a part of the problem –– a barrier to resolving the refugees' status and returning them to normal lives; a barrier to resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict; and a source of violence –– it should be dissolved and replaced by something better.

Three basic steps are required to do this. They would improve the refugees' lives and strengthen moderate Palestinian forces.

First, UNRWA should be dissolved.

Second, all services it provides should be transferred to other agencies within the UN, notably the UNHCR, which has a long and productive experience in this area.

Third, responsibility for normal social services should be turned over to the Palestinian Authority. Most UNRWA staff should be transferred to it. Donors should use the maximum amount of oversight to ensure this be done effectively.

People often wonder why violence and instability persists and why the Arab-Israeli conflict is so seemingly impossible to resolve. One important part of the answer is that UNRWA perpetuates the problem. All those seeking real progress toward peace between Israelis and Palestinians need to take a close look at this unacceptable situation. All those with responsibility for the management of these issues need to work for a change of course.

***************************

 


INTRODUCTION

What could be more appealing as an agency to help refugees? The image summoned up is one of suffering people bereft of homeland, traumatized, insecure, and badly in need of help receive humanitarian assistance given altruistically to ease their plight. Who could object to such an enterprise, when presented in those terms?

And indeed the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has done some good work of this nature, at least in the narrowest possible definition of immediate relief, over the long decades of its existence.

But the problem is that UNRWA is much more than that. It has become an agency whose bottom line could be called anti-humanitarian, most of all for those who it purportedly serves. There are two basic issues here.

First, UNRWA has become a vehicle for perpetuating the conflict and thus in delaying the successful resettlement of Palestinian refugees. In this sense, it has worked to keep them in a permanent suspended animation, in which their plight becomes a weapon in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Second, UNRWA has become, at least indirectly, a revolutionary tool used by radical and terrorist forces for obtaining resources, providing bases, and ensuring recruits. This was true for all the groups in the PLO, though most importantly Fatah, and it now applies for Hamas and other radical Islamist groups as well.

In this process, UNRWA has broken all the rules that are supposed to govern humanitarian enterprises. Often, this has been due to intimidation though at times also to the politically committed positions of its officials, and especially employees, who agree with the two principles outlined above.

Consequently, UNRWA is the exact opposite of other refugee relief operations. They seek to resettle refugees; UNRWA is dedicated to blocking resettlement. They help refugees to live normal lives so that they can move on with their existence; UNRWA's role is to ensure their lives remain abnormal so they are filled with anger and a thirst for revenge that inspires violence and can only be quenched by a victorious return. They try to create stable conditions for refugees; UNRWA's mission is to enable radical political activity and indoctrination by armed groups which ensures a continual state of near chaos. It is in effect nothing more than an internationally subsidized recruitment base for terrorist groups or, to put it in the most generous way, is a hostage of the terrorists.

The time has come, especially given the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip, which also signals a Hamas takeover of the UNRWA facilities there, to reevaluate the role of UNRWA. If it is indeed very much a part of the problem –– a barrier to resolving the refugees' status and returning them to normal lives; a barrier to resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict; and a source of violence –– it should have no future existence. The well-intentioned Western finance and UN sponsorship should come to an end, with alternative means being found for providing necessary functions.

This paper seeks to open that debate and explain the vital need for it.
 


CHAPTER ONE: HISTORICAL OVERVIEW

Foundation

In 1948, as the result of the hostilities surrounding the implementation of the UN partition plan, approximately 650,000 Palestinian Arabs left their homes and fled into neighboring countries. According to historical studies, there were three distinct phases of the exodus.

The first began after the November, 1947 ratification of UN General Assembly Resolution 181, known as the Partition Plan. At that point some 30,000 people, mostly from more affluent urban families in Jerusalem, Haifa, and Jaffa, began to leave.

The second phase occurred in March 1948, when tens of thousands of Palestinian Arabs from the Sharon coastal plains began to move to the Arab-controlled hill regions. During this phase, some 6,000 left their homes in Tiberias, 60,000 fled Haifa, and 65-70,000 left Jaffa.

The third and most dramatic phase began in May following Israel's independence declaration and the simultaneous military invasion by the Egyptian, Iraqi, Syrian, Lebanese, and Transjordanian armies. During that period, the flight of Palestinian Arab civilians grew exponentially. When the hostilities ended, the UN estimated that around 350,000 people had left after May alone.[1]

Refugees from the northern regions of the country (Haifa, the Galilee, and Tiberias) fled further north into Lebanon and Syria. Those from the coastal plain regions went east to Jordanian territory (including the West Bank). Those in the south went to the Gaza Strip (Egyptian-held territory).[2]

On December 8, 1949, the United Nations General Assembly (GA) passed Resolution 302, establishing an agency dedicated to "direct relief and works programs" for the Palestinian Arab refugees. As such, UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency [for Palestine Refugees in the Middle East]) was born with a clear humanitarian mandate.

The nations of the Arab bloc were greatly influential in the drafting of resolution 302, but passage was possible only because of the support of non-Arab members of the UN. With the vote on this resolution, a precedent was set regarding accommodation to Arab state wishes in the matter of the refugees, an accommodation that has persisted and, over the last half century, taken on a life of its own.

UN General Assembly Resolution 194 gave UNRWA the mission of taking over immediate relief and more long-term work projects designed to make the refugee communities self-sufficient, pending a political settlement of the conflict.

The problem of definition

When UNRWA first began counting refugees in 1948, it did so in a way without precedent seeking to maximize the number of those defined as refugees. Any displaced Arab who had been in the country at least two years prior to the 1948 war was considered a refugee. No less controversially, UNRWA considers every descendant of the original refugees to be a refugee, a number that has become at least four times the original number.

This was a politically motivated definition to imply that Palestinians would remain refugees forever or until the day that they returned in a triumph to a Palestinian Arab state that included the territory where Israel existed. If they built lives elsewhere, even after many generations –– decades or centuries –– they remained refugees officially. In contrast, other refugees only retained that status until they found permanent homes elsewhere, presumably as citizens of other countries.

In 1948, the UN inexplicably set a cutoff date for refugee status at two years' residency in western Palestine. UNRWA's operational definition of Palestinian refugees was: "... persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict."

That definition is all the more questionable given the permeable nature of western Palestine's frontiers and the fluid quality of the residency, particularly among the urban proletariat, a portion of whom came from neighboring countries. The number of such people in 1948 is estimated as between 16 and 25 percent of those defined as refugees. By virtue of that definition, thousands of Arabs from other countries were granted instant Palestinian identity with a permanent right to being supported by foreign contributions.

Fred Gottheil of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign characterizes this as UNRWA's "moral hazard" saying that,

"the result was the creation of a perverse set of incentives among refugees that discouraged many from pursuing viable options to their long-term refugee status. It also encouraged many non-refugees in the region to attempt to register for refugee status or at least to take advantage of the entitlements UNRWA offered. Finally, UNRWA's half-century tenure as a caretaker agency helped create a relatively large and influential bureaucracy that, as stakeholders in the provision of entitlements, pursued self-serving agendas that tended to perpetuate the Palestinian refugee condition rather than its resolution."

Gottheil as an economist uses the concept of moral hazard as it refers to "an effect of economic institutions arranged so that individuals have an incentive to maximize consumption at a social cost to others because they do not bear the full cost of their consumption." In short, the system encouraged refugees to remain that way forever rather than to shed that status. As such UNRWA fits this rubric because of how it works in tandem with Palestinian society, which would also provide pressures to ensure those so defined remained permanently as disadvantaged refugees. Moreover, refugee status was based solely on the applicant's word. Even UNRWA admitted its figures were inflated in a 1998 Report of the Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (July 1997-30 June 1998):

"UNRWA registration figures are based on information voluntarily supplied by refugees primarily for the purpose of obtaining access to Agency services and hence cannot be considered statistically valid demographic data; the number of registered refugees in the Agency's area of operations is almost certainly less than the population recorded."

Inflating figures was expedient for host countries as well, as a means of transferring social burdens onto international shoulders. Refugees remain on UNRWA rosters without any means test or other criteria used by welfare agencies elsewhere around the world for every other refugee situation.

Again, refugee relief is intended elsewhere as a temporary measure designed for an emergency situation. The goal is to get the refugees resettled, enjoying the highest possible living standards, jobs, and housing. UNRWA's job, however, is one of maintenance, to freeze its wards into refugee status until the clock could be turned back politically to wipe out the "catastrophe" of Israel's creation.

This is reinforced by the fact that, structurally speaking, the Commissioner of UNRWA works in an exceedingly political stage while receiving little if any guidance from the Advisory Commission or the General Assembly. As Edward Buehrig writes,

"paradoxically, because of the highly political context in which UNRWA operates, the Commissioner General receives little guidance from either the Advisory Commission or the General Assembly. This leaves to him and aides the major burden of political determination."[3]

This freedom is what enables the Commissioner the ultimate autonomy to push whatever political agenda he/she desires or, perhaps more accurately, to accede to the non-UN pressures of Arab states or radical Palestinian groups.

Such a system does not operate for the material benefit of the refugees themselves. On the contrary, their well-being is subordinated to political considerations, the most basic of which is that they continue to suffer so as to fuel and justify the waging of the conflict as well as the stance that the only acceptable solution is to eliminate Israel.

Barry Rubin, Asaf Romirowsky and Jonathan Spyer

 

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

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