UN Official Gives Speech to U.S. Group That Advocates Destruction of Israel

Amid funding showdown, top official welcomed by BDS group

A top United Nations official is facing criticism following a recent speech before a well known anti-Israel organization that supports boycotts of the Jewish state, denies Israel’s right to exist, and has promoted anti-Semitic materials.

Elizabeth Campbell, director of the UN Relief Works Agency’s office in Washington, D.C., recently spoke before the Jerusalem Fund, a Washington-based pro-Palestinian activist group that promotes boycotts of Israel as part of the Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment movement, or BDS.

Campbell has appealed to the Trump administration not to cut funding to UNRWA, the Palestinian aid organization that has long been criticized for employing members of Hamas, participating in anti-Israel political activism, and allowing its facilities to be used by terrorists groups. Campbell discussed the issue in a speech earlier this month before the Jerusalem Fund.

The United States has been withholding more than $65 million in taxpayer funding to UNRWA as the Trump administration considers demanding reforms to the organization or permanently reducing funding.

White House-allied policy advisers with knowledge of the talk told the Washington Free Beacon that it is just another example of UNRWA’s biased attitude towards Israel and its efforts to legitimize groups that take a hardline stance against the Jewish state.

One foreign policy official who has worked with the Trump administration on its effort to reform UNRWA said he views the speech by UNRWA’s Washington director at a BDS group as providing the group with undue legitimacy, particularly in light of U.S. efforts to reform the UN group.

“UNRWA explains away its scandals by protesting, in essence, that you can’t expect Palestinians in Gaza not to support terrorism,” the source said. “But there’s no way to explain away the Washington-based head of a taxpayer-funded group supporting a notorious hate group. The anti-Israel culture at UNRWA is toxic—and it extends from Gaza City to Washington, D.C., as this incident shows.”

UNRWA officials did not respond multiple requests for comment on Campbell’s speech.

The Jerusalem Fund regularly holds events that suggest the group’s affinity for Hamas and make explicit its support for BDS. The title of a recent event was “Hamas: From Resistance to Government.” Another was titled, “Building the BDS Movement.” Another asked, “Israel: Democracy or Apartheid State?” with the speaker endorsing the latter.

A State Department official declined to comment directly on the appearance of an UNRWA official at the Jerusalem Fund, but emphasized the administration’s efforts to see UNRWA reformed or face a further cut off in U.S. aid.

Richard Goldberg, a former senior adviser to retired Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) who helped spearhead efforts to hold UNRWA accountable for its anti-Israel advocacy, told the Free Beacon that Western nations footing the bill for the agency are growing weary of its anti-Israel activism.

“There’s a growing consensus among UNRWA’s largest donors that the time has come for fundamental changes,” said Goldberg, now a senior adviser for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “The agency was established nearly 70 years ago by Arab states as a political weapon in their ongoing fight to destroy the fledgling State of Israel—a war the Arab states now understand they lost.”

“Rather than keeping Palestinians in a perpetual state of poverty and hopelessness, Palestinians deserve to see a path toward prosperity and self-sufficiency,” Goldberg explained. “Before the United States hands over its next tranche of contributions to UNRWA, at a minimum the Trump administration should get a commitment from all parties to prepare for the transition of UNRWA to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. If the Palestinians truly want an independent state, they need to show they can step up and care for their own citizens.”

A second Trump administration adviser who works on Middle East issues told the Free Beacon that appearances such as this have become routine for UNRWA.

“No one is surprised by this, least of all the Trump administration’s UN and Middle East officials,” the source said. “Ambassador Haley has spent an enormous amount of time trying to call attention to the UN’s hostility toward Israel, which exists at every level. Of course a UN official is being hosted by a group that advocates economic attacks against Israel. They’re on the same side.”

Originally Published in the Free Beacon.

State Department Hiding ‘Game Changer’ Report on Myth of Palestinian Refugees

Classified report could bust myth that millions of refugees need UNRWA

Originally published in Free Beacon

The State Department is hiding a classified report on Palestinian refugees that insiders say could be a game changer in how the United States approaches the situation and allocates millions in taxpayer funds to a key United Nations agency, according to multiple sources briefed on the situation.

As the United States moves forward with a decision to slash funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the agency responsible for providing education and support to some five million Palestinian refugees, officials on Capitol Hill and elsewhere have been pressuring the State Department to declassify a report that is believed to show the actual number of refugees is far fewer than the U.N. claims.

Multiple sources with knowledge of the situation told the Washington Free Beacon that the State Department first classified the report under the Obama administration and still refuses to provide U.S. officials with the information despite laws mandating its release.

The report was described to the Free Beacon as a potential tipping point in the debate over UNRWA and its mission, which has come under increased criticism in Congress for what many claim is the agency’s anti-Israel bias and routine promotion of pro-terrorism doctrines.

Some State Department officials have acknowledged in private meetings that there is no reason the report should remain classified, according to sources who said the over classification is part of an effort to suppress this information from Congress and the public.

“I was informed that there is no justification for classifying the report. Rather, it is the officials at State Department who do not want this information out as it could and would lead to a call to reform UNRWA,” said one source briefed on the matter.

While UNRWA provides support to some 5.3 million Palestinians they claim are refugees, the actual number could be closer to 20,000. This disclosure could fundamentally shift the narrative with UNRWA and lead the United States to consider cutting even more of its funding to the agency.

Currently, any U.S. official seeking to read the little-known report’s findings must have top-secret security clearance and access to a secure facility containing the documents.

Revelations of this classified report’s existence and the potential implications come as the Trump administration announced that it would slash UNRWA’s funding by half, from $125 million to $65 million, in order to force the organization to implement a series of reforms.

UNRWA has come under fire from pro-Israel activists and some lawmakers for anti-Israel bias and complicity with radical elements of Palestinian society.

In addition to reports that UNRWA is using anti-Israel content in its classrooms, it has been caught hiding Hamas rockets in its schools on at least three separate occasions.

The U.S. report on UNRWA was first commissioned in 2015 by former senator Mark Kirk (R., Ill.), who was spearheading an effort to increase the organization’s transparency.

Kirk forwarded a congressional amendment to require the State Department to provide Congress with a report on the number of refugees served by UNRWA who actually lived in the territory now known as Israel between 1946 and 1948.

The State Department never acknowledged having completed the report, sources said, and instead classified it.

“State had neglected to tell Sen. Kirk’s office,” said one source with knowledge of the situation. “It seems that this was intentional.”

Once the report’s existence was confirmed, Congress, in a 2017 measure, directed the State Department to provide an unclassified version of the report. This, too, was ignored, sources said.

The report is said to confirm that, as opposed to what UNRWA and its supporters claim, the number of refugees is actually in the tens of thousands, not the millions.

Richard Goldberg, a former deputy chief of staff for Kirk, told the Free Beacon that the UNRWA effort was always about exposing the myth that there are millions of refugees who still require aid.

“This is about basic taxpayer oversight of an agency that gobbles up hundreds of millions of dollars ever year,” said Goldberg, the author of the original amendment that required the report. “Are we funding a refugee agency or are we funding a welfare agency that nurtures a culture terrorism and violence?”

“There’s a moral difference when it comes to U.S. policy and foreign assistance,” said Goldberg, now a senior adviser to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “American aid for true refugees is one thing; American aid to subsidize a culture of welfare and terrorism is entirely different.”

Pro-Israel advocates are now urging the UNRWA report be provided to the public.

EJ Kimball, director of the Israel Victory Project, a coalition of pro-Israel lawmakers, told the Free Beacon that those under UNRWA’s care should be compelled to admit they are not actually refugees in the technical sense.

“If the State Department is interested in resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the number of actual refugees from Israel’s War for Independence must be publicized,” Kimball said. “For the approximately 5 million Palestinian Arabs in need of aid, they should be helped after acknowledging they are not refugees. By doing this, we can break the yoke of victimhood and oppression and give these ‘refugees’ the human dignity they deserve. UNRWA has failed and it either needs to be drastically reformed or tossed into the dustbin of history.”

The State Department declined to comment on the report or its status when approached by the Free Beacon.

PACKERS CORNER: Israel Remains Stable Despite the Chaos in the Region

I’m not going to say that things got done in Israel this week, precisely because Prime Minister Netanyahu was in India most of the time. But…..

Two nights ago in Jenin (northern Samaria/West Bank), Israeli  security services finally caught up with some of the terrorist murderers of Rabbi Raziel Shevach of Havat Gilad. Some of the terrorists were killed and some captured, many details still remain unclear at this point. It would seem that at least one has escaped for now. Two Israeli security personnel were wounded in the operation and are recovering from their injuries. There is nothing unique about Israel tracking down terrorists. Israel is famous for this and that’s a very good thing.

Since the tragic murder of Rabbi Shevach, there has been alot of political discussion/statements/pandering(?) about legalizing his currently unauthorized community, Havat Gilad. A request towards this has been sent to the Israeli cabinet by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. This is very important and the chances of it happening will probably become more clear towards the beginning of next week. What’s even more important is some info that leaked out this week in connection to this. It was revealed, seemingly very credibly, that the Defense Ministry is actively working towards the authorization of upwards of 70 currently unauthorized Israeli communities in Judea and Samara (west bank).

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The “outposts” – as the unauthorized communities are called – issue has somewhat overshadowed some final authorization for building permits that were granted in Judea and Samaria last week. While its much slower development than potentially possible, I want to highlight 2 of the projects approved – those in a community named Alon and another in a community called Karmei Tzur. Both of these communities are very strategic as they sit on the edges of “consensus” areas – Karmei Tzur on the edge of Gush Etzion and Alon on the edge of the Maale Adumim area. AND BOTH ARE BEING DOUBLED IN SIZE! No way around it, that’s’ big. Of course the houses have not been built yet and anything can happen…..

Netanyahu’s visit to India seems to have gone quite well. Remains to be seen if India brings back the $500 million deal for weapons from Israel that was recently cancelled.

The police have begun to recommend some indictments in some of the various investigations into Netanyahu and his associates. No meaning to any of this yet, but the show goes on….

The Government coalition continues to be incredibly stable – the region, not so much. Drama everywhere.

President Trump has significantly cut funding to UNRWA – a UN front for supporting terrorism and the destruction of Israel. Also,there are reports/rumors that the US Embassy will move to Jerusalem within a year. Trump continues to cement his already unprecedented pro-Israel legacy. And Vice-President Pence arrives to Israel on Sunday, with a scheduled visit to the Western Wall and a speech to the Knesset.

99% of ‘Palestine refugees’ are fake

In the words of a veteran Washington hand, the problem of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the main U.N. agency dealing with Palestinians, is always important but never urgent.

Well, it just became urgent.

That’s because President Donald Trump tweeted, “With the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”



U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley added that the U.S. government is prepared to cut off funds to UNRWA. And, Axios reported, a U.S. payment of $125 million was not delivered (though that was later denied).

The American taxpayer is UNRWA’s largest donor, paying in $370 million in 2016. Few expenses would be more satisfying to cut from the federal budget, for UNRWA has a long record of misbehavior: incitement against Israel, supporting violent attacks on Jews, corruption, and perpetuating (rather than ending) the refugee problem. Not surprisingly, many attempts have been made in Congress to cut its funding. But, as Steven J. Rosen documented with regard to 10 initiatives in the years 1999 to 2014, every one of them ended in failure because of Israeli government opposition.

Because of what, you ask? Yes, contrary to what one might expect, the government of Israel wants continued U.S. payments to UNRWA, fearing that their termination might cause a new intifada, the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, or renewed warfare with Hamas. Also, Jerusalem sees UNRWA as a lesser evil than alternative recipients of the money, such as the PA.

Perhaps this time, with the president wanting funds to be stopped, that will happen? Not likely, because, as a news report from Israel indicates, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly endorsed an American cut, behind the scenes he seeks to block or slow down this move, and for the usual reasons. Should that be so, it’s hard to imagine the president and members of Congress ignoring his wishes, as they never have until now.

Even if U.S. funding to UNRWA ended, plenty of governments – and even individuals – could easily replace the $370 million, and have incentive to do so. Qatar could consolidate its role as protector of the Palestinians. Beijing could purchase a role at the heart of Arab politics. Moscow could reverse some of the damage of siding with Tehran. Carlos Slim, estimated by Forbes magazine to be worth $67.9 billion, could decide to burnish his Arab credentials. Worse yet, if any of them did fill the funding gap, the Trump administration would look ineffectual and isolated.

And even if no one replaced U.S. donations, denying UNRWA money does not get to the heart of the problem, which lies not in its sponsored activities, but in its perpetuating and expanding the population of “Palestine refugees” in three unique, even bizarre ways: allowing this status to be transferred without limit from generation to generation; maintaining the status after refugees have acquired a nationality (such as the Jordanian ones); and assigning the status to residents of the West Bank and Gaza, who live in the putative Palestinian homeland. These tricks allowed UNRWA artificially to expand the refugee population from 600,000 in 1949 to 5.3 million now. An accurate count of real refugees now alive is around 20,000.

Therefore, while enthusiastically endorsing Trump’s political goals, I suggest that withholding funds is not the right tactic. Better would be to focus on the “Palestine refugee” status. Denying this to all but those who meet the U.S. government’s normal definition of a refugee (in this case, being at least 69 years old, stateless, and living outside the West Bank or Gaza) diminishes the irredentist dagger at Israel’s throat by over 99%. It also puts the “Palestine refugee” status into play, permits millions of Palestinians to live more healthily, addresses the dank heart of Arab anti-Zionism, and helps resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Accordingly, I propose that the president adjust U.S. policy to work with Jerusalem and continue to send aid to Palestinians while making it contingent upon the overwhelming majority of recipients formally acknowledging that they are not now and have never been refugees.

The Middle East Forum, which has been working this issue since 2010, has proposed legislation to make such a shift. It is both simple and feasible, as it does nothing fancier than bring Washington’s relations with UNRWA into line with U.S. law and policy. About time.
Daniel Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum.
Originally Published in Israel HaYom

Burying Obama’s legacy

The fact is that Trump has given Netanyahu support as he has walked away from the failed policy paradigm of the Obama years.

It may very well be that this week was the week that Israel and the US put to rest former president Barack Obama’s policies and positions on Israel and the Palestinians.

If so, the move was made despite the best efforts of Obama’s team to convince the Trump administration to maintain them.

The details of Obama’s policies and positions have been revealed in recent weeks in a series of articles published in Haaretz regarding Obama’s secretary of state John Kerry’s failed peacemaking efforts, which ended in 2014.

The articles reported segments of two drafts of a US framework for a final peace treaty between the PLO and Israel. The drafts were created in February and March 2014.

The article series is predicated on the assumption that Kerry and his team were on the precipice of a historic breakthrough between PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. But a close reading of the documents shows that the opposite was the case.

There are two reasons that Kerry had no prospects for reaching a deal.

First, he, Obama and their advisers were too hostile to Israel and its citizens to ever convince Netanyahu that Israel’s interests would be secured.

A February 2014 draft framework agreement, which was based on conversations Kerry and his team held with Netanyahu and his advisers, makes this clear. The draft includes Netanyahu’s demand that Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria not annexed to Israel would remain “in place” after the implementation of a peace deal, and presumably, become towns in the future Palestinian state.

In other words, Netanyahu demanded that the Israelis in Judea and Samaria whose towns would be located in the territory of “Palestine” would enjoy the same rights and protections as Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy.

Kerry and his team would have none of it. The February draft agreement notes, “[US] negotiators need to check with PM [Netanyahu] on whether he wants to [maintain this position]… They believe that if so, he will push strongly for ‘in place.’ ‘In place’ is inconsistent with US policy and therefore unacceptable to us as well as the Palestinians.”

In other words, the position of the Obama administration was that all Israelis living in areas that would become part of the Palestinian state must be forcibly removed from their homes and communities.

Haaretz reporters Barak Ravid and Amir Tibon recalled that in previous rounds of negotiations, the Palestinians – unlike the Obama administration – had not rejected this Israeli position out of hand. That is, in demanding the mass expulsion of Israeli Jews from their homes, the administration adopted a policy more extreme than the PLO.

Then there is the problem with the PLO.

Abbas rejected Kerry’s February 2014 draft framework agreement, which was based on conversations with Netanyahu and his advisors. But he also rejected Kerry’s March 2014 agreement, which was based on the US’s conversation with him and his advisors.

The March 2014 draft was presented to Abbas by Obama himself during a meeting between the two in the White House. Not only did Abbas not accept Obama’s offer, he refused to respond to it.

This should have surprised no one. Abbas did the same thing in 2008 after then-prime minister Ehud Olmert presented Abbas with his peace proposal. Abbas’s predecessor, Yasser Arafat, responded in the same way in July 2000 to then-prime minister Ehud Barak’s peace offer, and in December 2000, to then-president Bill Clinton’s peace offer.

Given the consistent track record, it is beyond foolish to believe that anyone – even Trump – will fare differently from his American and Israeli predecessors.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Haaretz series is what they tell us about Netanyahu.

Like him or hate him, the Netanyahu revealed in the articles is a brilliant statesman. In difficult diplomatic conditions, with the US openly siding with the PLO against him, Netanyahu managed to parry and duck. Although Haaretz tries to present Netanyahu as weak and compliant, the text shows that the opposite was the case.

In the face of massive pressure from Obama, Netanyahu refused to commit to anything. His only recorded position was that all Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria remain in place in perpetuity.

Rather than confront Kerry directly, Netanyahu stood aside and watched as the Americans drafted their anti-Israel proposals. He nodded. He smiled. He refused to commit to anything.

And he waited patiently for Abbas to walk away from the table.

Until this week, much to the dismay of many of his supporters, Netanyahu appeared unwilling to move beyond the defensive position he maintained throughout the Obama presidency. This week he took three great big steps forward.

First, Netanyahu announced that he supports amending Israel’s NGO law to ban foreign governments from funding political nonprofits registered in Israel.

For the past 20 years, Israel has been subjected to ever-escalating subversive campaigns funded and often directed by foreign governments and carried out by Israeli-registered NGOs. The purpose of these campaigns is to legitimize political and economic warfare against the Jewish state by European and other Western governments. The campaigns legitimize political and economic warfare against Israel by demonizing the Jewish state, its citizens and its soldiers.

In recent years, lawmakers have tried repeatedly to block the funding. But due to US pressure, Netanyahu scuttled all their attempts. Proposed reform bills were watered down until they were limited to instituting weak reporting requirements. Foreign government funds continue streaming into the coffers of NGOs whose positions are supported by no significant domestic constituencies.

By announcing that he now supports passing legislation that will bar foreign government funding of nonprofits, Netanyahu is striking a strategic blow at the political and economic war being waged against Israel by the EU and by the international Left.

This war, waged in the name of the Palestinians, has harmed Israel’s relations with the Palestinians by discouraging them from living peacefully with their Israeli neighbors.

Then there is UNRWA. The UN’s refugee agency dedicated to the Palestinians is arguably one of the central reasons for the perpetuation of the Palestinian conflict with Israel. Indeed, UNRWA was formed by the Arab governments to specifically block all prospect of peace between Israel and its neighbors.

UNRWA prevents the permanent resettlement of the Arabs who left Israel in 1948 and 1949 as well as their descendants. It has doomed five generations of “refugees” to live in the squalor of its camps, blocked from receiving citizenship in the countries of their birth and prevented from being resettled in other countries.

After Hamas took over Gaza in 2007, then-secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and then-foreign minister Tzipi Livni decided that the best way to respond to the move was by massively increasing UNRWA’s budget. They were unmoved by the fact that UNRWA employs Hamas terrorists. They ignored the fact that UNRWA schools in Gaza and elsewhere indoctrinate their students to embrace jihad and the cause of Israel’s annihilation.

Under Obama, the US increased its payments to UNRWA even as UNRWA schools, clinics and other facilities have been used as missile launching pads and storage depots in Hamas’s war against Israel.

This week, Netanyahu finally put to rest the dangerous folly that UNRWA is a foil to Hamas and a positive force in the region. He called for UNRWA to be dismantled and for the Palestinians and their descendants to be treated like every other refugee group in the world and be resettled by the UN’s high commissioner for refugees.

If Netanyahu’s move against UNRWA is translated into actual Israeli and US policy, it will mark the beginning of the end of one of the primary causes of the Palestinian conflict with Israel.

Finally, there is incitement. Palestinian terrorism would vastly diminish were it not for constant incitement that encourages terrorism and rewards and celebrates terrorists.

Since it was established by the Qatari regime in 1996, Al Jazeera has been a central engine of antisemitic and jihadist indoctrination of the Palestinians. And yet, Israel has never moved to close Al Jazeera’s bureau in Israel.

Israel has given the terrorist network a pass largely because it hasn’t wanted to deal with the Western outcry that such a move would provoke.

This week, for the first time, Netanyahu, along with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, announced they support Al Jazeera’s closure and have directed their staff to consider the best way to do so.

In so doing, Netanyahu and Liberman are making the most of the opportunity afforded Israel by the Arab states’ open cleavage with Qatar. Last week, Saudi Arabia and Jordan closed Al Jazeera’s bureaus in Riyadh and Amman. Egypt, which closed Al Jazeera’s offices in 2013, blocked its website.

Taken both separately and together, Netanyahu’s moves this week strike strategic blows at three central components of the Palestinian conflict with Israel. Incitement, political warfare and the eternalization of Palestinian refugee status all render the conflict intractable and prevent peaceful Palestinian leaders from emerging.

Notably, whereas the Obama administration would have subjected Israel to hysterical condemnations if Netanyahu had dared to take the steps he took this week, the Trump administration has taken no position on Netanyahu’s announcements.

The real reason that Trump appears to be burying Obama’s legacy is because unlike the ideologically- driven Obama, Trump is willing to consider evidence and facts when determining his opinions.

In May, Abbas came to the White House and told Trump that he abjured terrorism. Israel then presented Trump with evidence that Abbas publicly incites terrorism and uses the Palestinian Authority budget to support terrorists and their families.

Trump took in the information and upbraided Abbas for lying to him.

True, this week Secretary of State Rex Tillerson falsely told Congress that Abbas had cut off the payments. And true, Tillerson doubled down on his assertion after both the Palestinians and Israel said the payments have not been cut off.

True as well that Trump continues to believe that he can make “the deal” that his predecessors failed to secure.

But the fact is that Trump has given Netanyahu support as he has walked away from the failed policy paradigm of the Obama years.

In other words, Netanyahu’s moves this week, and the fact that the Trump administration has left him alone to make them without being second-guessed or condemned by Washington, indicates that we have finally moved past Obama’s legacy.

Where we are going is still unknown. But what is certain is that by going after the sources of the continued malignancy of the conflict and pushing back against the lies that informed Obama’s policies, both Israel and the US have abandoned them.

Originally published in Jerusalem Post

The UN: Used and Abused by Terrorists

Recently, it has been reported that an employee of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza was elected to the Hamas political leadership. This employee has been fired pending an investigation. If the aforementioned is proven true, this should not come as a surprise to anyone who is aware of the way the Palestinian terrorists use and abuse the UN and its institutions, particularly the UNRWA.

The UNRWA has been operating since 1950 to provide Palestinian refugees with education, health, relief, social services and other services until they can be permanently settled in their own state. They are the only refugee group to receive such a huge amount of resources and money with their own special UN institution exclusively dedicated to helping them with their needs. No other refugee group receives such attention and help. Beneath this superficial idealism that is the official position of the UNRWA, lies an institution that is used and abused by terrorists to kill and maim innocents and to advance their radical agenda.

Since the Second Intifada, there have been videos and pictures that show UNRWA vehicles being used by armed terrorists as getaway cars. UNRWA workers have been caught using their vehicles to transport weapons, ammunition and explosives for terrorist groups.

UNRWA funds have been used to print anti-Semitic books and summer camps for aspiring young martyrs for terrorist groups have been held at UNRWA schools.

Recently it was reported by the Middle East Media Research Institute that the UNRWA had decided to shelve plans to make changes to the Palestinian school curriculum that, among other things, would have removed maps showing Palestine from the river Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea and would have taught about the Holocaust. Due to pressure from the Palestinian Authority and Hamas these changes were not carried out, because in the words of the UNRWA, “in conformity with its practice since the 1950s based on an agreement with UNESCO, UNRWA teaches host-country curricula in its schools.” In other words, the PA and Hamas dictate what should be taught in UNRWA schools not the UNRWA.

Another NGO, the Palestinian Media Watch, have documented multiple examples of the misuse of UN funds. This includes when the UNRWA, along with other sponsors, sponsored a tree planting ceremony in memory of the terrorists who died during the September 2015 terror wave. This terror wave claimed the lives of 34 and injured 400 Israelis. The ceremony was conducted by the Palestinian NGO Union of Agricultural Work Committees which is co-sponsored by the UNRWA. A further example is when the UN funded an event at al-Quds University, that honoured a terrorist that killed 2 and injured 13 people in a car ramming attack in Jerusalem.

Since the Gaza Strip was taken over by Hamas following Israel’s unilateral withdrawal, the abuse has multiplied greatly. In the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, three Israeli soldiers were killed when they found a booby-trapped tunnel that was connected to a UNRWA building. In that same war, multiple rockets were stored on UNRWA sites, such as hospitals and schools; particularly sensitive locations. Therefore, when Israel justifiably attacks these locations, it serves as a media weapon against them when the pictures of bombed out schools and hospitals are printed in the press.

The UNRWA Commissioner-General, Pierre Krahenbuhl, even admitted that terrorists were using their buildings to store rockets in the summer war in 2014. During the same war it was reported by several media outlets that Hamas terrorists had threatened to kill UNRWA workers if they revealed that Hamas were using UN buildings for war purposes.

The NGO UNWatch held a joint subcommittee hearing on the 2 February 2017 before the U.S. Congress and expressed concern about the number of UNRWA school teachers in the Palestinian camps who had expressed on Facebook incitement to Jihad, anti-Semitism, holocaust denial and praising Hitler. This list is made up of 40 teachers working in camps in Lebanon, Jordan, Gaza, and Syria. With comments like; “I pray to God that you all die from a stroke, otherwise you will die from an axe”, posted by Tarek Abu Ghazelah from Lebanon, after a synagogue massacre in Jerusalem. Or, a further example; “We don’t want no truce or solution. All we want is to strike Tel Aviv,” and “We have filled up their air raid shelters – oh Palestinians, you can be proud”, in a song posted by Adnan Serdanah. See the link below for the full report: https://www.unwatch.org/130-page-report-unrwa-teachers-incite-terrorism-antisemitism/

It is not just in Palestinian camps that this abuse goes on, but also in Syria it was reported that the Al-Qaeda branch, Jabat al-Nusra, had captured vehicles and uniforms of UN workers and was using them to carry out attacks. A UN vehicle had been used in bomb attacks in Daraa in the southern west Syria against Assad’s army. In a similar vein, a picture of a UN vehicle with the black flag of Al-Qaeda raised on top was circulating the web. The neutrality of the UN is trampled on and taken advantage of to advance their evil agenda.  

Within the UN Security Council, Israel is condemned again and again while tyrants and others who deny other humans of their basic rights are not mentioned and are allowed to speak against the only democracy in the Middle East. The abuse of the UN against Israel can be encapsulated in the moment in 1975 when Idi Amin, the tyrant and dictator of Uganda who had people thrown alive to crocodiles and ate the flesh off his decapitated victims, submitted a resolution condemning “Zionism is racism”. The resolution was passed by 72 to 35 votes.

This goes far beyond irony.

The examples mentioned above are a small insight of what has gone on within the UN and its institutions.

The abuse of the UN is a not a minor matter. It white washes and provides cover for the actions of terrorists and condemns those who speak for human rights and democracy. Unless there are some changes, this great institution will continue to be used and abused for the foreseeable future.


Israel’s strategic mistake.

The State Comptroller’s Report on Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s war with Hamas in the summer of 2014, is exceedingly detailed. The problem is that it addresses the wrong details.

Israel’s problem with Hamas wasn’t its tactics for destroying Hamas’s attack tunnels. Israel faced two challenges in its war with Hamas that summer. The first had to do with the regional and global context of the war. The second had to do with its understanding of its enemy on the ground.

War between Hamas and Israel took place as the Sunni Arab world was steeped a two-pronged existential struggle. On the one hand, Sunni regimes fought jihadist groups that emerged from the Muslim Brotherhood movement. On the other, they fought against Iran and its proxies in a bid to block Iran’s moves toward regional hegemony.

On both fronts, the Sunni regimes, led by Egypt under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the Saudi regime and the United Arab Emirates, were shocked to discover that the Obama administration was siding with their enemies against them.

If Israel went into the war against Hamas thinking that the Obama administration would treat it differently than it treated the Sunni regimes, it quickly discovered that it was mistaken. From the outset of the battle between Hamas and Israel, the Obama administration supported Hamas against Israel.

America’s support for Hamas was expressed at the earliest stages of the war when then-secretary of state John Kerry demanded that Israel accept an immediate cease-fire based entirely on Hamas’s terms. This demand, in various forms, remained the administration’s position throughout the 50-day war.

Hamas’s terms were impossible for Israel. They included opening the jihadist regime’s land borders with Israel and Egypt, and providing it with open access to the sea. Hamas demanded to be reconnected to the international banking system in order to enable funds to enter Gaza freely from any spot on the globe. Hamas also demanded that Israel release its terrorists from its prisons.

If Israel had accepted any of Hamas’s cease-fire terms, its agreement would have constituted a strategic defeat for Israel and a historic victory for Hamas.

Open borders for Hamas means the free flow of armaments, recruits, trainers and money to Gaza. Were Hamas to be connected to the international banking system, the jihadist regime would have become the banking center of the global jihad.

The Obama administration’s support for Hamas was not passive.

Obama and Kerry threatened to join the Europeans in condemning Israel at the UN. Administration officials continuously railed against IDF operations in Gaza, insinuating that Israel was committing war crimes by insisting that Israel wasn’t doing enough to avoid civilian casualties.

As the war progressed, the administration’s actions against Israel became more aggressive. Washington placed a partial embargo on weapons shipments to Israel.

Then on July 23, 2014, the administration took the almost inconceivable step of having the Federal Aviation Administration ban flights of US carriers to Ben-Gurion Airport for 36 hours. The flight ban was instituted after a Hamas missile fell a mile from the airport.

The FAA did not ban flights to Pakistan or Afghanistan after jihadists on the ground successfully bombed airplanes out of the sky.

It took Sen. Ted Cruz’s threat to place a hold on all State Department appointments, and Canada’s Conservative Party government’s behind-the-scenes diplomatic revolt to get the flight ban rescinded.

The government and the IDF were shocked by the ferocity of the administration’s hostility. But to his great credit, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu surmounted it.

Netanyahu realized that Hamas is part of the Muslim Brotherhood nexus of jihad and also supported by Iran. As a result the Egyptians, Saudis and UAE rightly view it as a major enemy. Indeed, Egypt was in a state of war with Hamas in 2014. Gaza serves as the logistical base of the Salafist forces warring against the Egyptian military.

Netanyahu asked Sisi for help in blunting the American campaign for Hamas. Sisi was quick to agree and brought the Saudis and the UAE into an all-but-declared operational alliance with Israel against Hamas.

Since the Egyptians were hosting the cease-fire talks, Egypt was well-positioned to blunt Obama’s demand that Israel accept Hamas’s cease-fire terms.

In a bid to undermine Egypt, Obama and Kerry colluded with Hamas’s state sponsors Turkey and Qatar to push Sisi out of the cease-fire discussions. But due to Saudi and UAE support for Sisi and Israel, the administration’s attempts to sideline the Egyptians failed.

The cease-fire terms that were adopted at the end of the war contained none of Hamas’s demands. Israel had won the diplomatic war.

It was a strange victory, however. Netanyahu was never able to let the public know what was happening.

Had he informed the public, the knowledge that the US was backing Hamas would have caused mass demoralization and panic. So Netanyahu had to fight the diplomatic fight of his life secretly.

The war on the ground was greatly influenced by the diplomatic war. But the war on the ground was first and foremost a product of the nature of Hamas and of the nature of Hamas’s relationship with the PLO.

Unfortunately, the Comptroller’s Report indicates that the IDF didn’t understand either. According to the report, in the weeks before the war began, the then-coordinator of government activities in the territories, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Eitan Dangot, told the security cabinet that the humanitarian situation in Gaza was at a crisis point and that hostilities were likely to break out if Israel didn’t allow humanitarian aid into the Strip.

On Wednesday we learned that Dangot’s view continues to prevail in the army. The IDF’s intelligence chief, Maj.-Gen. Herzi Halevi, told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Israel must send humanitarian aid to Gaza to avert a war.

There is truth to the IDF’s position. Hamas did in fact go to war against Israel in the summer of 2014 because it was short on supplies.

After Sisi overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt the previous summer, he shut Egypt’s border with Gaza because Gaza was the logistical base of the insurgency against his regime. The closed border cut off Hamas’s supply train of everything from antitank missiles to cigarettes and flour.

The problem with the IDF’s view of Hamas is that providing aid to Gaza means supplying Hamas first and foremost. Every shipment into Gaza strengthens Hamas far more than it serves the needs of Gaza’s civilian population. We got a good look at Hamas’s contempt for the suffering of its people during Protective Edge.

After seeing the vast dimensions of Hamas’s tunnel infrastructure, the then-OC Southern Command, Maj.-Gen. Sami Turgeman, told reporters that Hamas had diverted enough concrete to its tunnel project to build 200 kindergartens, two hospitals, 20 clinics and 20 schools.

Moreover, the civilian institutions that are supposed to be assisted by humanitarian aid all serve Hamas. During the war, three soldiers from the IDF’s Maglan unit were killed in southern Gaza when they were buried in rubble of a booby-trapped UNRWA clinic.

The soldiers were in the clinic to seal off the entry shaft of a tunnel that was located in an exam room.

Hamas had booby trapped the walls of the clinic and detonated it when the soldiers walked through the door.

All of the civilian institutions in Gaza, including those run by the UN, as well as thousands of private homes, are used by Hamas as part of its war machine against Israel.

So any discussion of whether or not to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza is not a humanitarian discussion. It is a discussion about whether or not to strengthen Hamas and reinforce its control over the population of Gaza.

This brings us to the goals of the war in Gaza in 2014. At the time, the government debated two possible endgames.

The first was supported by then-justice minister Tzipi Livni. Livni, and the Left more generally, supported using the war with Hamas as a means of unseating Hamas and restoring the PLO-controlled Palestinian Authority to power in the area.

There were four problems with this notion. First, it would require Israel to reconquer Gaza.

Second, the Obama administration would never have agreed to an Israeli conquest of Gaza.

Third, Israel doesn’t have the forces to deploy to Gaza to retake control of the area without rendering its other borders vulnerable.

The final problem with Livni’s idea is that the PLO is no better than Hamas. From the outset of the war, the PLO gave Hamas unqualified support. Fatah militias in Gaza manned the missile launchers side by side with Hamas fighters. PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas represented Hamas at the cease-fire talks in Cairo. He led the political war against Israel in the West. And he financed Hamas’s war effort. Throughout the war Abbas sent a steady stream of funds to Gaza.

If PLO forces were returned to Gaza, they would behave precisely as they behaved from 2000 until Hamas kicked them out in 2007. That is, they would have acted as Hamas’s full partners in their joint war against Israel.

The second possible endgame involved a long-term strategy of defeating Hamas through attrition. This was the goal the government ended up partially adopting. The government ordered the IDF to destroy as much of Hamas’s missile arsenal as possible and to destroy its offensive tunnels into Israel. When the goals had been achieved to the point where the cost of opposing Obama grew greater than the battle gains, Netanyahu agreed to a cease-fire.

For the attrition strategy to have succeeded, the cease-fire would have only been the first stage of a longer war. For the attrition strategy to work, Israel needed to refuse to resupply Hamas. With its missile arsenal depleted and its tunnels destroyed, had Israel maintained the ban on supplies to Gaza, the residents would have revolted and Hamas wouldn’t have had the option of deflecting their anger onto Israel by starting a new war.

The IDF unfortunately never accepted attrition as the goal. From the Comptroller’s Report and Halevi’s statement to the Knesset this week, it appears the General Staff rejected attrition because it refuses to accept either the nature of Hamas or the nature of the PLO. Immediately after the cease-fire went into force, the General Staff recommended rebuilding Gaza and allowing an almost free flow of building supplies, including concrete, into Hamas’s mini-state.

The Comptroller’s Report is notable mainly because it shows that nearly three years after Protective Edge, official Israel still doesn’t understand what happened that summer. The problem with Hamas was never tactical. It was always strategic. Israel won the diplomatic battle because it understood the correlation of its strategic interests with those of the Sunni regimes.

It lost the military battle of attrition because it permitted Hamas to resupply.

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

United Nations agency continues to incite anti-Semitic violence

A recent report presented by UN Watch to the United States congress has uncovered more than 40 alarming new cases of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) school teachers in Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria inciting Jihadist terrorism and antisemitism. The 130-page report, titled “Poisoning Palestinian Children” identifies Facebook accounts of teachers which include Holocaust-denying videos and pictures celebrating Hitler.

In September and October 2015, UN Watch documented UNRWA staff posting anti-Semitic material and supporting terrorism on social media. At that time, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness originally said:

Where we find credible allegations of neutrality violations among our staff, we investigate and where it’s appropriate we take disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal”Chris Gunness

Gunness also took to twitter to attack UN Watch and call the reports “baseless allegation[s]”. However, in late October 2016, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that UNRWA employees have “in a number of cases” been subjected to disciplinary action, including suspension and loss of pay. No specific teachers were named and no other details given. Now, even more UNRWA employees have been found to be spreading anti-Semitic material and inciting violence.

The most recent exposé of incitement from UNRWA staff also follows questions around the practices of UNRWA: the inefficiency when compared to UNHCR, its treatment of refugees, the UNRWA school curriculum, policies around granted loans, and their role as an obstacle to peace. The incitement to violence by UNRWA employees constitutes a violation of their legal obligations on at least five counts and has been linked to the “stabbing intifada” that began in September 2015.

The recommendations of the report are that all donor states:

(a) Demand that UNRWA be in full compliance with its obligations, including each of the provisions outlined above, prior to donor states releasing any further funds to UNRWA;

(b) Demand that UN Secretary-General António Guterres and UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl immediately condemn their employees’ incitement to terrorism and antisemitism; and

(c) Demand that UNRWA adopt a zero tolerance policy for employees who incite racism or murder by immediately terminating their employment, and prominently post on its website these and other actions it is taking to root out this insidious conduct by UN staff.

Over the past seven years, New Zealand has contributed $6.3m to UNRWA and not once publically spoken out against such practices. In fact, New Zealand has praised UNRWA’s work on the occasion of its 65th anniversary in 2015, but there has been no public criticism of UNRWA in light of any of the UNRWA staff incitement. Foreign Minister Murray McCully did say that he was aware of concerning behaviour when he was interviewed in May, 2016:

“UNRWA certainly deserves criticism and the example that particularly sticks in my mind is the occasion where some rockets were found in a school and rather than confiscate them and make sure they were in a position where the could no longer do any harm, they were handed back to people who could do harm with them. On one of my visits around that time to Jerusalem, I met with the UNRWA leadership … I can assure you there is not any element of doubt in their minds about the views of the New Zealand government and the funding that has been provided … has been put at risk as a result of their actions. We’ve discussed that quite frankly and will do so if there are further examples.”Murray McCully

New Zealand continues to fund UNRWA to the tune of approximately $1m annually. There has been no comment about the recently uncovered actions of UNRWA staff from any government official and none have responded to Shalom.Kiwi for comment. It’s time New Zealand spoke up about UNRWA’s support for terrorism and anti-Semitism and reconsiders its core-funding commitments.

Originally Published on Shalom.Kiwi.

Do We Spray the Ants or Eradicate the Nest?

(The views in this article are those of the author)

In light of the horrific attack in Tel Aviv where 4 Israeli civilians were murdered by Arab terrorists dressed in suits, we find ourselves in yet another quagmire. The issue is how to respond.

Prime Minister Netanyahu says “we will attack those who attacked us.” Exactly what does that mean Mr. Prime Minister? Is Israel going to launch a targeted strike on Hamas operatives in Gaza or Judea/Samaria?

What will that accomplish? Indeed, it may take out some Arab terrorists, but what will it accomplish in the end? Will it prevent future attacks from taking place? Will it deter leadership from promoting jihad against Israeli Jews? Will it foster a better environment for peace?

Killing Arab terrorists is the equivalent of spraying a trail of ants with pesticide. It only eliminates the ones you see. In order to stop more of them from coming, one must go all the way to the nest and root it out completely.

Other suggestions include halting the influx of Arabs for Ramadan. I find no problem with refusing to allow thousands more Muslims into Israel, which can only increase the chances of more violence.

Still others are suggesting clamping down on goods being shipped into Gaza. This has been an ongoing seesaw issue for years. Every time Israel relents and expands the array of allowable goods, Hamas ends up stealing much of it and using it to manufacture weapons, terror tunnels, or underground bunkers so their leadership remains protected during outbreaks of war with Israel.

What sense does it make to allow shipments of materials that everyone knows will be used for military purposes? Yet world pressure continuously and relentlessly mounts on Israel to “lift the siege of Gaza.”

Pressure also continues against Israel to end the “occupation,” and relax the checkpoints coming in from Judea/Samaria.

Do those who promote said suggestions actually believe such acquiescence would result in peaceful coexistence between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs? If they do, they are either more naïve then Neville Chamberlain, or they have little or no concern for the safety of Jewish lives. The other possibility is they are just plain anti-Semitic.

In actuality, counter attacks by Israel will not address the problem. Clamping down on Gaza will not address the problem. Even if nothing other than basic items, such as food, water and medicine is allowed in. Tightening checkpoints, temporarily revoking permits or razing homes of terrorists in Judea/Samaria won’t remedy the situation. These are all symptomatic remedies, which do nothing to address the core issues.

Turning the tide should be seen as a comprehensive plan that involves a combined effort across many fronts.

One place to start is the classroom. Arab Palestinian children do not receive an “education,” as normal school children do in most countries. They are taught to hate Jews, and to die as martyrs. Take a look at this recent clip below. This is a typical example of how children are “educated” in UNRWA run schools in Judea/Samaria and Gaza.

What kind of adults do you think these children become having been “educated” like this? UNRWA receives over $1 billion annually. The largest donors are the US – $400 million, followed by the EU, Saudi Arabia and the UK. Together they provide over 50% of UNRWA’s funding.

This is where a change must take place. The donor countries should demand their funds be used for proper education, rather than allowing these ‘schools’ to be nothing more than terror training facilities. Further, independent monitoring should take place on an ongoing basis to ensure appropriate education is being administered.  If the schools refuse to provide normal education and continue their terror training, the funding for them should be cut off, period.

Another systemic issue is religious ‘education.’ Religion plays a huge role in the upbringing and character building of people from all cultures and countries. When it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict Arabs again are being ‘educated’ to hate and kill, rather than coexist with Israel. Take a look at this clip.

The imam is supposed to be a man of God. He is supposed to provide teachings which reflect how we are to treat our fellow man in a way which God honors. What kind of god would bless the words that come out of that imam’s mouth? Yet this another huge component in weaving together the fabric of Arab Palestinian society.

Once again, I believe independent monitors should be at every mosque, and when such messages are delivered said leader should be warned that this type of hate mongering will not be tolerated. If he refuses to comply he should face criminal charges.

Will these suggestions be easy? No. Will they immediately change the atmosphere in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Unlikely. However, something must be done, because we know what has been done until now has not produced fruit. What have we to lose?

I have only addressed two particular segments of society with this essay. There are more that need addressing to be sure. However, these two are of huge significance and influence.  If the fundamental institutions of their society are ignored and allowed to maintain the status quo, this is tantamount to declaring the future will continue to be one of symptomatic  remedies.

We can either keep spraying the ant trail and allow it to keep coming back, or we can pursue it to the nest and eradicate it. We have a choice.


Headlines May 30: 3rd of US is Pro-BDS, Arab Youths Arrested, UNRWA Rumors

Ipsos Survey: One Third of Americans Support Boycotting Israel The good news is that a 62% majority of US respondents believe that the BDS movement is a form of modern anti-Semitism.
[The Jewish Press]


Arab youths arrested for brutal attack on elderly Jewish women. Stabbing attack in Jerusalem earlier this month left two women in their 80s seriously injured; terrorists planned second attack.
[Arutz Sheva]


1 Wounded in Evening Terror Attack on Jerusalem Bus. The terror wave that is supposed to be fading is not yet over — terrorists are still trying to pick off buses and cars on the roads, trying to kill families and individual men, women and children.
[The Jewish Press]


UNRWA facing refugee protests, closings, and rumors. UN body responsible for Arab refugees – but which actually perpetuates them – denies it plans to close Gaza office.
[Arutz Sheva]


Dozens of packages containing drone parts and other communications equipment en route to terror cells operating inside the Gaza Strip were intercepted by Israeli security forces in recent weeks.
[Times of Israel]