How the Western World Funds Hamas’ Terrorism

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was founded in 1950, with its stated goals of providing “education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance” for 150,000 Palestinian Arab refugees.Aida, we will return

The organization was supposed to be temporary, but the number of “refugees” has since swelled to 5 million.

The Palestinian Arabs are the only people on the planet that have been accorded by the U.N. their own agency to deal with their refugee status; the rest of the world’s many millions of former refugees fall under the auspices of the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, and have for the most part been successfully integrated, transferred and settled.
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Book Review: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) was created in 1949, after the Arabs rejected the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan for Palestine, and five Arab armies attacked the nascent State of Israel and lost their bid to destroy it. However, the UNRWA’s role in enabling the ongoing Arab War on Israel is not readily understood nor publicized.

This is the essence of the new book, Roadblock to Peace, How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict: UNWRA Policies Considered, by David Bedein.

Bedein, a prolific Jerusalem-based investigative journalist, author and director of the Israel Resource News Agency, is eminently qualified to report first-hand the workings of this unique U.N. agency, whose exclusive mandate is for one ethnic group. This stands in sharp contrast to the U.N. High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), which works on behalf of millions of refugees from the rest of the world.

More after the jump.
The book is extensively sourced with interviews, citations, graphs, photographs, and footnotes.

Bedein explains that the UNRWA was spawned in response to the displacement of about 540,000 Arab refugees upon Israel’s repulsion of the invading Arab armies between 1948 and 49. Unlike the U.N. mandate for all other refugees on the planet, from its beginnings, UNRWA has avoided any permanent solution to the predicament of these refugees, and instead focuses on their so-called right to “return” to Palestine.

As Bedein says, the UNRWA’s mandate is ostensibly “to provide humanitarian aid (education, health care, welfare assistance, social services) but it has instead absolved itself from any responsibility to resolve the plight of the Arab refugees and their descendants, thus transforming their plight into a political tool.”

This is key to comprehending why the Arabs cannot and will not end the conflict: A theological component, which Westerners often ignore, encompasses a portrayal of victimization and “occupation” by the hated Jews, whom they treat as dhimmi, “proteges,” in Muslim countries.

The assumption that the UNRWA would have a limited lifespan has been proven woefully incorrect. Instead, it is a behemoth, operating 59 refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza, Judea and Samaria (defined as the “West Bank”) and Jerusalem. As of 2011, it had 29,000 staff members. By contrast, the UNHCR has 7,200 employees who serve 15.4 million refugees.

The UNWRA is funded through voluntary contributions from 116 donor countries, of whom the U.S. is the largest contributor, with 30% of the money donated.

In 2011, the U.S provided almost $267 million to the UNWRA. Since then, the UNRWA’s budget sky-rocketed to $1.2 billion. This assistance exceeds that of all other refugees in the world.

The number of refugees UNRWA served as of 2011 has swelled to 4.681 million, because unlike how the UNHCR, which counts only the actual refugees, UNRWA counts descendants of refugees as well.

Most problematically, the UNRWA holds that return to their place of origin is considered an inalienable right. This is also in opposite to the UNHCR, which protects the right to find asylum or resettlement in a country of refuge or a third country. The UNHCR’s goal is to help refugees get on with their lives; most consequently are resettled, not repatriated.

Two chapters of the book are potent in particular. In chapter five, “UNRWA Refugees and the Terror Connection,” Bedein writes about how it has circumvented stringent requests from donor nations to weed out Hamas from its ranks.

In chapter six, Bedein describes the UNRWA’s educational system, which uses half of the UNRWA’s budget, and the use of school books which contain material that contradict is professed mission — the ideal of peace.  

With numerous examples, Bedein shows how UNRWA school books often advocate armed struggle against Israel, deny Israel’s legitimacy as a sovereign state and demonize it. He demonstrates how Hamas maintains control over its staff union and keeps it a hotbed of anti-Israel radicalism.

This type of behavior has been going on for more than six decades, and has clearly contributed to the perpetuation of the conflict. Accordingly, per Bedein, “UNRWA should not continue its policy of absolute submission to the political, ideological and propagandist lines of the host governments in its areas of operation whenever these lines contradict UNRWA’s principles and mission. These are things that UNRWA must not teach.”

As U.S. taxpayers, we should all be very concerned that we are in essence funding terrorism, not peace.

Bedein concludes with sensible policy suggestions on improving UNRWA’s accountability. The status quo, he says, is “neither desirable nor acceptable” and ultimately “detrimental to the long-term well being of the refugees and to the possibilities of peace in the Middle East.”

Bedein’s final moral argument is the most powerful one: It is simply inexcusable and humane for the UNRWA to continue to cultivate expectations of the “right of return” and “confer on them a limbo status that prevents them from getting on with their lives.”  

For anyone truly interested in understanding the UNRWA’s largely-invisible but looming and forgotten role in preventing a genuine reconciliation and peace in the Middle East, this is the book for you.

Lee S. Bender is co-President of the Zionist Organization of America — Greater Philadelphia District, and co-author of Pressing Israel: Media Bias Exposed From A-Z (Pavilion Press, 2012).

Releasing Murderers for Peace Negotiations: The Fight Begins Now

— by David Bedein

The impression that Israel has released 100 terrorists from jail last week, as the Arabs’ term for renewing the peace negotiations, is wrong. Israel has not yet released any murderers. The reality is that the Israeli government must now go through a mandatory “risk assessment” process for every murderer who may be released, as required by Israeli penal law.

In previous murderer releases, the Israeli government ignored that process, because Israeli lives were on the line: Gilad Shalit, Elchanon Tannenbaum, and others who were already dead, but the government of Israel held out the possibility that they were alive, as in the case of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.

Today, no lives of specific people are at stake — only the lives that freed convicts would kill. The Israel Resource News Agency’s Center for Near East Policy Research visited the prisons in which many of these Arab terrorist convicts are jailed, and produced the short film, For the Sake of Allah, where convicts state openly that if freed, they would resume their campaign of murder.

The mandatory “risk assessment” process must be applied for every convict, as mandated by the penal law in Israel. According to the highest sources in Israeli intelligence, such a process would result in the cancellation of some of the orders to free some of the murderers, whose presence on the streets of Israel constitute a threat to human life.

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Cartoon courtesy of Yaakov “Dry Bones” Kirschen

Hold Peres Accountable: Questions to Ask the President of Israel

— by David Bedein

The President of Israel, Shimon Peres, pushing 90, celebrates his longevity with a birthday bash this week that include thousands of invited guests and hundreds of reporters.

It behooves the journalists who cover the Peres birthday event to hold Peres accountable for policies that Peres stands for. In the media, longevity allows for long memories.

14 questions follow the jump.

  1. In 1981, Peres opposed and tried to interfere with Menachem Begin’s 1981 decision to bomb Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi nuclear reactor. Does Peres have any regrets for his opposition to the destruction of that nuclear reactor?
  2. Peres is proud of the Oslo peace accord which he helped facilitate between Israel and the PLO on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993. However, on October 7, 1993, the left wing newspaper Al HaMishmar revealed that the PLO would not ratify that accord, and, indeed, the PLO has never ratified that accord. Instead of heeding the Al HaMishmar report, Peres, then Israel’s foreign minister, dispatched his Deputy Minister, Yossi Beilin, to fly to Tunis to thank Arafat for ratifying the Oslo accord, which Arafat and the PLO never did. Why does Peres promote an unratified accord?
  3. In 1994, Rabin, Peres, and Arafat made an agreement that Arafat’s armed forces would comprise no more than 9,000 inductees, and that any Palestinian under arms would first have to be vetted by Israeli intelligence to ensure that he did not have a background in terror activity. Yet as early as December 1993, it was discovered that the PA had drafted two Arab residents from the Arab village of Tequa who had murdered the curator of the Herodian, David Rosenfeld, in 1982. In December, 1995, Arafat announced that his commanders for Ramallah and Nablus were men who planted bombs in Jerusalem’s Zion Square on July 5, 1975, killing thirteen people. As of 1995, the PA armed forces counted as many as 19,000 under arms by 1995 and now comprise a least 30,000. Since 1995, the IDF acknowledges that it no longer knows who has been recruited into the PA security force. Can Peres answer the question as to whether the PA armed forces now include volatile terrorists within its ranks?
  4. Throughout 1994 and 1995, when private agencies produced videos of Arafat’s speeches where Arafat expressed support for Jihad to liberate Palestine, Peres implored Israel TV not to air Arafat’s speeches in the Arabic language. Peres also asked the US Congress not to view the videos of what Arafat was saying in Arabic? Does Peres express regret for trying to obfuscate Arafat’s message in the Arabic language?
  5. In December 1994, when Peres and Rabin conducted a briefing for the media in Oslo before they both received the Nobel Peace Prize together with Arafat in, I asked them if Arafat had fulfilled his commitment to crush the Hamas. Both Rabin and Peres indicated that he would do so. A few hours later, when I asked Arafat the same question, as to whether the PLO leader would crush the Hamas, Arafat’s response was clear: “Hamas are my brothers. I will handle them in my way.” And Arafat did handle the Hamas – by bringing them into his new regime, as full coalition partners. In May, 1995, Arafat’ security forces announced that they would provide Hamas with arms. In December, 1995, Arafat invited Hamas to join his provisional regime. In 1996, Arafat appointed Hamas officials to run the religious departments and schools under his authority. By fall 2001, the IDF confirmed that Islamic terror groups train and operate in the full view of the Palestinian Authority security services, and that the Islamic terrorists get a clear message that their activity operates with the full blessing of Arafat’s regime. The promise of the Oslo process was that Arafat would crush the Hamas, not co-opt Hamas. Does Peres feel today that Arafat betrayed him?
  6. Norwegian statesmen Kare Kristiansen resigned from the Nobel Prize committee because of the Nobel Prize bestowed upon Arafat. The same  Kare Kristiansen told the Norwegian media that Peres had promised financial remuneration to fellow Nobel Prize Committee member Terje Larsen in order to ensure that he would share the Nobel Peace Prize with the late Prime Minister Rabin. In 2002, I interviewed Mr. Kristiansen and he explicitly affirmed that he had witnessed the deal made between Peres and Larsen which assured Larsen that he would be “well rewarded for his efforts.” How does Peres respond to the allegation that he paid good money for the Nobel Peace Prize?
  7. The Palestine National Council, meeting in April 1996, did not vote to nullify the PLO charter to destroy Israel. However, Peres proclaimed that Arafat did fulfill his promise to nullify amend the PLO charter. It turned out that the resolution that Arafat had told Peres that they would pass was not even brought up for a vote. What is Peres’s current perspective of the PLO charter, which was never changed?
  8. In March 2007, when a new “Palestinian unity government” was formed to include Hamas and the Fatah in a coalition government, Peres declared that “only with economics can we make peace.” Peres went on to say that if members of terrorist groups perceive economic incentives, they will cease to be terrorists. Does Peres   truly believe that a terrorist organization which acts upon a deep rooted ideology can be enticed by a good business opportunity to abandon the path of terror?
  9. Peres repeats over and over that the “gap between Israel and the PA is very small,” while consistently describing Abbes as “Israel’s hope for peace.” However, Peres refuses to comment on the war curriculum that Abbas and the PA ministry of education have introduced in the PA. Peres consistently refuses to say if he has even reviewed the new PA school books, which have introduced a curriculum of war for the next generation of Palestinian Arab school children. On March 1, 2000, Peres addressed an international colloquium for the Jewish media, where Peres announced that the PA had adopted a PA school curriculum for peace. When I pointed out to Peres that the curriculum that he had quoted from had been vetoed by the PA, Peres moved away from the microphone and said “I know.” The Israeli intelligence report on PA school books now being used in PA schools, prepared by Dr. Noah Meritor, is accessible at http://www.terrorism-info.org….  Why will Peres not comment on the current PA curriculum of war?
  10. Before the Gaza retreat, Peres, then deputy Prime Minister, Peres announced on July 7th, 2005 that the American government had allocated $2 billion to cover the costs of disengagement. That assurance was quoted by the mainstream Israeli media for months to come. However, on July 12th, 2005, the spokesman for the US treasury department told Israel’s leading business newspaper, GLOBES, that the US was not giving one penny for the Disengagement Policy. Where did Peres get the idea that the US would fund the Israel retreat from Gaza?
  11. Before Israel’s 2005 retreat from Gaza, Shimon Peres accused southern Israelis of “stoking hysteria” about the rockets and asked “What’s the big deal?”, while calling the kassam missile as a harmless. “Kassam Shmassam”, said Peres. Since the southern region of Israel has suffered  29,000 aerial attacks from Gaza and 49 people killed over the past ten years, what is Peres’s perspective on the assurances that he gave the people of Southern Israel before Israel withdrew its civilians, soldiers, and bases from Gaza?
  12. In 2011, Shimon Peres dispatched a letter of praise to J Street, one day after J-Street called on the US to support the PLO resolution at the UN Security Council calling for the halt of settlement construction, including east Jerusalem, which the Obama administration vetoed after all other permanent members voted were in favor. Does Peres have any second thoughts about sending such a letter of support to J Street?
  13. On January 4, 2013, Machmud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority, delivered a new year’s message in which he lauded Adolf Hitler’s Arab ally, Haj Amin Al Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, as someone whose legacy should be emulated” by the Palestinian people, Since Israel’s President Shimon Peres never stops in his adulation of Abbas, Peres was asked if he would condemn Abbas’s praise of the Mufti, yet Peres refused comment on Abbas’s praise of the Mufti. Why would Peres not condemn Abbas’s praise of the Mufti?
  14. Peres continually endorses an independent Palestinian state under the leadership of Abbas, as a Palestinian state that would coexist as a peaceful neighbor with Israel. Yet UNRWA remains in tact, maintaining 5 million Arab refugees and their descendants in “temporary” refugee camps, under the premise and promise of the right of return to Arab villages that no longer exist within Israel. Why does Peres not support a change in the UNRWA mandate, which contradicts his vision of a “two state solution”?

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A Reasonable Request: PLO Ratification of the Oslo Accords


Arafat (right) signed the accord without the PLO’s sanction

— by David Bedein

Recently, US Secretary of State John Kerry passionately called for the renewal of talks with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Former President Bill Clinton, who hosted the PLO-Israel ceremonies on the White House lawn twenty years ago, is on his way to Jerusalem for high profile lectures, where he will also call for renewal of negotiations. And Shimon Peres, Israel’s president, who served as Israel’s foreign minister at the outset of negotiations with the PLO two decades ago, is about to convene thousands of dignitaries at a conference at the President’s mansion, that will call to expedite negotiations with the PLO.

Veteran observers of middle east politics may ask: what is there to negotiate about?

More after the jump.
Indeed, there is an item on the table that is hardly a minor detail: The Palestinian Liberation Organization did not ratify the Oslo Accords after Yasser Arafat and Mahmuod Abbas signed them on the White House lawn.

On September 13, 1993, at the White House, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin and Israeli Foreign Minister Simon Peres signed the “Declaration of Principles” (DOP) between Israel and the PLO together with Arafat and Abbas. The agreement, which had been hammered out in Oslo, stipulated mutual recognition between Israel and the PLO. It required the PLO to cease and desist from terrorism, and for the PLO to nullify its covenant, which calls for Israel’s destruction.

The Israeli Knesset ratified the accord one week later, by a vote of 61 to 50, with 9 abstentions. However, what received hardly any attention was the fact that on October 6, 1993, the PLO executive did not ratify the Oslo accord, for lack of a quorum.

Very few people know or remember that Pinchas Inbari, the only Israeli correspondent covering the PLO in Tunis at the time, writing for the Israeli left-wing Hebrew newspaper Al HaMishmar, broke the story that Arafat announced in Tunis that he could not get a quorum of the executive council of the PLO to ratify the Declaration of Principles of the Oslo Accords. Al HaMishmar then ran a headline, which reported that the PLO did not ratify the accord.


Yossi Beilin was sent to Tunis to thank Arafat for the ratification of Oslo, which never happened

Carrying Al HaMishmar in my hand, I walked into the office of the Israel Government Press Office director at the time, Mr. Ori Dromi, and showed him the headline. Dromi, an appointee of Rabin, made it clear that from the Israeli government’s point of view, this meant that Arafat signed the accord without the sanction of the PLO.

The rest of the Israeli media, however, did not report that the PLO never ratified the accord, and the Israeli government acted as if it had done so.

Inbari was scheduled to appear on Kol Yisrael’s popular morning radio show when he got back from Tunis. However, the Prime Minister’s office asked Kol Yisrael to cancel that appearance. Instead, the Israeli government dispatched then-Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yossi Beilin, to fly to Tunis to thank Arafat for facilitating the ratification of the Oslo accord, which the PLO never did.

Why is this important? According to the Israeli law, since the PLO did not ratify the Oslo accord, which renounce terrorism, the PLO and Fatah were never stricken from Israeli law books as “a terrorist entity,” a status that the PLO received on March 1, 1980.

The same goes for American law. In March 2002, US government designated the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades of the Fatah as a terror organization. That designation was never changed. Under US law, any government that aids and abets an organization defined as a terror organization will forfeit US foreign aid assistance.

On two occasions, the Palestinian National. Council gathered to discuss the PLO Covenant, which calls for Israel’s destruction: on April 24, 1996 and on December 14, 1998. On neither occasion did the PNC cancel it.

In other words, there is a real reason to renew negotiations with the PLO: The first items on the agenda would be to ask that the PLO finally ratify the Declaration of Principles of non violence and mutual recognition, which constituted the essence of the Oslo Accord. The other request would be to cancel the PLO Covenant.

Aren’t those requests reasonable?

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Jerusalem will not forget a true friend, Senator Dan Inouye

אִם אֶשְׁכָּחֵךְ יְרוּשָׁלָיִם, תִּשְׁכַּח יְמִינִי
If I forget you, O Jerusalem​​, let my right hand wither – Psalms 137:5

— by David Bedein

As a journalist in Israel for the past 26 years, I have met hundreds of politicians from around the world who visit Israel and laud the Jewish state with superlatives of support.

There is only one visiting politician whom I ever met who had tears in his eyes as he discussed his connection to Israel.

That was Senator Daniel Inouye, the Democrat from Hawaii who just passed away.

When I first interviewed Inouye in 1987, I held out my right hand to shake his hand, not realizing that he did not have an right arm.

Although I felt embarrassed, he went on to reassure me, with a genuine good spirit, that his loss of a right arm in the war against Germany in World War II was nothing like the losses suffered  by  the Jewish people to the Nazis.

The Senator went on to relate that in the 20 months that Inouye spent in US Army hospitals recovering from the loss of his right arm and other wounds, he learned about the Jewish death camps from a fellow officer in the hospital and that he spent his convalescence reading up on Jewish history, and, when Israel was formed in 1948, he became a registered Israeli bond salesman  — without commission.

Looking at my kippah, I will never forget how the Senator smiled and told me that he spent a few years considering conversion to Judaism, but that he did not want to make his Methodist mother uncomfortable.

This was a man whose support for Israel and the Jewish people was not deep and geunine.

Daniel Inouye will be mourned in Jerusalem.
David Bedein is the director of the Israel Resource News Agency and the Center for Near East Policy Research.

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Twenty Conclusions of Operation Pillar of Defense

— by David Bedein

Last week, while visiting communities struck by Gaza missiles throughout southern Israel, it was easy to discern the all pervasive anger that Israeli citizens — from all walks of life — vented against the Israeli army for halting the attack on Gaza

Civilians under the terror of aerial attacks find it hard to gain perspective on the achievements made during a one week November 2012 battle with the Hamas regime in Gaza. Indeed, this was a battle. The war with Gaza is far from over.

This time, Israel’s leaders used psychological warfare tactics against the tactics that its adversary uses.

The twenty conclusions of “Operation Pillar of Defense” follow the jump.

  1. Israeli Air Force’s pinpointed “surgical attacks” killed off Hamas leaders and deprived the Hamas regime offices of badly needed tactical and ideological leadership during the confrontation with the IDF- and Israel did so with minimum civilian casualties on the other side. Meanwhile, massive IDF attacks on the Hamas regime’s munitions tunnels signaled that the tunnel supply game is over.
  2. When the IDF held back on a land incursion into Gaza, the other side was deprived of shahidim — martyrs. Pupils in UNRWA schools in Gaza had been prepared by Hamas media professional YouTube movies of themselves, which would be screened if they would become shahidim while attacking IDF troops during any IDF incursion into Gaza. Without available dead children in the form of shahidim martyrs, it was hard for Israel’s adversaries to make the case to the world for “Israeli war crimes.”
  3. The IDF attack on Hamas TV antennas and the IDF bombing of the Hamas media center signaled that communications could now be a target of the IDF. The next step might be a cut off of all Gaza radio and TV frequencies, since these frequencies happen to be owned by Israel. These frequencies were leased by Israel and given to the newly autonomous Palestinian Arab areas in Judea, Samaria and Gaza after the Oslo accords were signed in 1993, to communicate a message of peace.
  4. A new unity of purpose swept Israel. Missile attacks on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem will help galvanize opposition in the center of the country to any possibility of a Palestinian Arab state in Judea and Samaria, which would place Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and, indeed, Israel’s only international airport, within ‘Sderot missile distance’ of any quasi-independent Palestinian Authority entity. The Hamas regime in Gaza proved that it could indeed hit the center of the country- Tel Aviv and Rishon Letzion and…Jerusalem. No longer would the people of Israel define the Hamas missile threat as limited or confined to Sderot and the Western Negev.
  5. Daily praise heaped upon Hamas during its battle with the IDF by the official media outlets of the Palestinian Authority unveiled the formal alliance forged by the Fatah regime in Ramallah with the Hamas regime in Gaza. Since the EU, the US, Canada, Australia, Russia and even the UN define Hamas as a terrorist entity, the PA embrace of Hamas will place all future assistance to the PA in jeopardy. So much for the undeserved “moderate” image of the PA.
  6. Vocal Israeli Arab citizen support for the Gaza regime as it launched missiles on the center of Israel will also not be forgotten.
  7. The Israeli surgical attacks took the wind out of the sails of anti Israel protest movements which had planned demonstrations to protest alleged Israeli “war crimes”.
  8. The Israeli military campaign, unlike any other campaign since 1967, witnessed International support for Israeli military initiative, since the IDF focused on targeted killings of Arab military leaders. On the diplomatic front, US President Obama and virtually all European leaders expressed support of Israel.
  9. The battle did not conclude with a cease fire, but, rather, with a tahadia — a respite before the resumption of hostilities — which holds no obligations for the Arabs, yet also holds no obligations for Israel. Israel can therefore demonstrate total freedom to respond when it feels like responding, with the precedent of explicit international support.
  10. After the PLO had worked for a generation to redefine the situation an “Israel-Palestinian conflict,” Israel faced an Iranian supported entity, which expanded the scope of the Gaza fighting into the international Islamic arena
  11. A key element in this battle involved a test of Tehran’s deterrent system — the threat of missiles launched from Gaza was tested. Iranians could now gauge the effect on Israel of, and the ability of Israel to respond to, intensive bombardment from Gaza in retaliation for any Israeli, US or multinational attack on Iran. Iron Dome was proven to be effective, which can’t be pleasing to Iran.
  12. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, rather than visiting Gaza to demonstrate Egyptian solidarity with his fellow Muslim Brotherhood members (Hamas being the Palestinian branch of the MB), instead dispatched his prime minister Hesham Kandil, a minor figure, while Morsi frantically engaged in brokering an arrangement to stop the fighting. Morsi was shown to be far more concerned about keeping US financial aid flowing to Egypt than he is about anything else — Gaza, Israel, or Iran.
  13. The IDF executed a successful reserve call-up that was simultaneously huge in absolute terms (75,000 troops, compared to about 10,000 reservists mobilized before Operation Cast Lead in 12/08) yet relatively small (the total IDF head count being about 621,500), indicating that, though much of its population was under the psychological stress of bombardment, Israel was capable of fielding almost 8 times as much reserve manpower to threaten Gaza with invasion as was assembled on the Gaza border in 2008 (not counting any elements of the 177,000-strong regular army, which trains constantly and is thus better prepared for combat than the reserves) yet still managed to have 5 times as many yet to be mobilized reserves as the 75,000 that have been called up.
  14. The IDF killing of Hamas military chief, Ahmed Jabaari who masterminded Gilad Shalit’s abduction, Yahiya al-Abya, the head of Qassam’s rocket forces and Khamer Hamri, who commanded PIJ’s missile operation was each an accomplishment in and of itself.
  15. There were heart-rending casualties on the Israeli side- including the horrific murder bymissile- of Mira Sharf, the 26-year-old pregnant wife of the rabbi of the Chabad House in New Delhi, who was visiting Israel to attend a commemoration of the 2008 butchering of the couple who ran the Chabad House in Mumbai, while maiming of her husband and one of her children, only 4 years old.
  16. In conclusion, the strategic position of Israel in the region has been bolstered by the impotence of the Gazan rocket barrage, the IDF’s formidable response and the sudden unity of Israel under fire.
  17. It now remains for Israel to cope with the fact that 65% of the population of Gaza continue continue to wallow in Hamas-run UNRWA facilities under the promise of the “right of return” to “their” homes and villages which they left after the 1948 war.
  18. While villages of Gaza may develop into a prosperous entity, the one million descendants of the refugees from 1948 who live in UNRWA camps are indoctrinated to engage in an “armed struggle” to renew hostilities at any moment.
  19. The Israel Ministry of Strategic Affair, which operates out of the office of the Prime Minister’s Office, is now drawing up a comprehensive document on UNRWA, which includes recommendations regarding the the financing of UNRWA, and the UNRWA administered education system. The document will pay special attention to “the cultivation of the Palestinian ethos of struggle and resistance” in the UNRWA schools.
  20. Hamas was elected to control the administrative union and the teachers union of UNRWA in Gaza. That means that humanitarian aid and education to UNRWA in Gaza fall under direct control of a terror organization. With the UNRWA demands for cash transfers, international accountability for cash in the hands of Hamas has become a critical issue. It will now behoove donor nations to UNRWA in Gaza to ensure that humanitarian aid is not bartered by the Hamas leadership for munitions or for incitement in the UNRWA schools.

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Why Should This Ceasefire By Any Different?

— by Noam Bedein

‘Cease Fires’ between Israel and Hamas:
6 years of a record of non compliance

Since the last day of Operation Cast Lead (January 18, 2009) until the 1st day of Operation Pillar of Defense, the Gaza Hamas regime launched 2,000 aerial attacks against Israel. That was the third ‘ceasefire’ between Israel and Hamas.

There is talk about ‘an opportunity to reach an understanding with Hamas,’ relying on the notion that Israel must ‘give Hamas a chance for a ceasefire with Israel.’ How many people remember two failed ‘ceasefires’ were reached with the Gaza Hamas regime over the past 6 years? How many people remember what occurred during those ceasefires? The people of Sderot and the western Negev remember all too well.

First Ceasefire

Let us refresh our memories. From November 26, 2006, until May 15, 2007, the first “ceasefire” between Hamas and Israel lasted for six months. Here is the statement made by Hamas five days before agreeing to that ceasefire: “Hamas’s military wing will stop rocket fire when residents evacuate the city of Sderot.” (from November 21, 2006)

During that “ceasefire,” the Gaza Hamas regime launched 315 attacks on Sderot and the western Negev. There was no IDF response to those attacks during that “ceasefire.”

More after the jump.
Second Ceasefire

The second “ceasefire” took place from June 19, 2008 (1 year after the Hamas military took control of the Gaza strip) until December 19, 2008. During those six months of “we cease they fire,”, the Gaza Hamas regime launched 530 attacks on Israel.

2008 was the most intense year of the decade; the entire western Negev region was under constant rocket fire, with approximately 3,200 aerial attacks on Israel.

Three days before the end of 2008, the IDF military launched “Operation Cast Lead” to stop the attacks from the Gaza Hamas regime.

One question needs to be asked: What nation in the world would allow a one-sided “ceasefire?” What other nation would allow for one missile to explode within its territory, let alone allowing an entity to now place the majority of its population under the threat of a missile attack?

It is worthy to note that Israel’s adversaries do not advocate a “ceasefire;” they promote a hudna. A hudna means no more than a temporary respite in the war between Islamic forces and non-Islamic forces. The authoritative Islamic Encyclopedia (London, 1922) defines hudna as a “temporary treaty” which can be approved or abrogated by Islamic religious leaders, depending on whether or not it serves the interests of Islam; with the proviso that a hudna cannot last for more than 10 years.

What is the alternative? A demand of unconditional surrender from an enemy bent on Israel’s destruction.

Noam Bedein is a photojournalist, lecturer and founder/director of Sderot Media Center. He lives approximately two miles away from the Gaza-Israel border in the Israeli city of Sderot.

Israel Behind The News
Funds Needed to Continue Proactive News Investigations

  • Dangers of Further US Aid to the PLO Army
  • Threat of Planned PLO Army Deployment in Hebron and Jerusalem
  • UNRWA and PA for War Curriculum, financed by US and the West
  • Conflicts of Interests of Israeli businesses invested in the Palestinian Authority

Losing my Seventh Grade Teacher: Stan Diamond (z’l)

Stan Diamond taught me about Civil Rights, Cuba and how to think for myself.

— by David Bedein (Akiba class of 1968)

This past Shabbat, when our family held its perennial discussion about our  apprehensions about  Iran, and the possibility of a nuclear threat, I told my cantankerous seventh grader, Ruchama about what it was like to be a seventh grader during the Cuban missile crisis, exactly fifty years ago  I talked to Ruchama about our Core class at Akiba, and about our seventh grade teacher, Mr. Stan Diamond, who taught us in the seventh grade about how to think for ourselves.

I distinctly remember the discussion in Mr. Diamond’s Core class like it was yesterday, almost verbatim, fifty years later.

I now know, from my work with people in traumatic situations, that you often remember the intimate details of traumas as they took place, especially when you experience such events at an impressionable age.

We were all frightened of what might happen.

I was already, at 12, following the news with great interest

Mr. Diamond asked us what we thought was going on.

More after the jump.
I stood up in class to say that  President Kennedy was fighting to stop Cuba’s Castro from violating international agreements – to which Mr. Diamond asked: “which international agreements?”, to which I
responded: “The Monroe Doctrine”, to which Mr. Diamond asked; “And who signed on to the Monroe Doctrine”, to which I responded: that the US declared the Monroe Doctrine to stop foreign powers from invading Latin America,  to which Mr. Diamond responded with a question: “So was there really an international agreement with another country that the US was responding to”, which made us realize that the US was acting on its own, for better or worse.

From that moment on, I was skeptical about the use of US power.

And throughout that year, as the Cuban Missile Crisis resolved itself, Mr. Diamond guided our class through the nascent civil rights movement.

Mr. Diamond introduced us to CORE, the Congress for Racial Equality, where he was active.

Mr. Diamond stressed, over and over, that civil rights was important because of the “dignity” that everyone deserved.

After Shabbat, I sent a letter to Mr. Diamond, asking if he remembered our lively discussion during the Cuban Missile Crisis exactly fifty years ago this week, and to thank Mr. Diamond, half a century later, for having the patience to inspire me and other  youngsters to develop an independent mind, and to rely on facts, not on assumptions, to understand what is going on around us.

Indeed, one of Mr. Diamond’s trademarks was to get us to write facts on 3 by 5 cards, with the fact on one side and the source on the other side.

One could easily say that Mr. Diamond planted in me the seeds to be the social worker and investigative reporter that I am today.

To this day, when I oversee students of investigative journalism, I invoke Mr. Diamond’s “fact card method” although no one would know what a 3 by 5 card looks like today.

But placing the fact next to the source represents the  basis of journalistic integrity

On Monday night, I helped an Ethiopian Israeli named Aleli Admasu, who was sworn in at the Knesset with a speech on the subject of “affirmative action” for Ethiopian Israelis, to give Ethiopians the
dignity that they deserve in Israeli society.

I was thinking of Stan Diamond at the Knesset.

And when I got back to the office, the first e-mail waiting there was a message from my sister, who learned at Akiba two years after me that Stan Diamond had died.

It was if Stan Diamond had visited my home, the Knesset, and my office, while en route to heaven.

At a funeral, a person’s body is buried. That person’s soul and legacy live on.

And so it will be with Stan Diamond, who will always be my seventh grade teacher, the man who taught us about Cuba, civil rights, dignity…and the importance of checking your sources.

Stan Diamond inspired young people to think for themselves.

That will be his legacy.

Israel Behind The News
Funds Needed to Continue Proactive News Investigations

  • Dangers of Further US Aid to the PLO Army
  • Threat of Planned PLO Army Deployment in Hebron and Jerusalem
  • UNRWA and PA for War Curriculum, financed by US and the West
  • Conflicts of Interests of Israeli businesses invested in the Palestinian Authority

Canadian First Nations To Stand With Israel Against IAW

 First Nations congregation shows their support of Israel— by Noam Bedein, Director, Sderot Media Center

On my recent visit to Canada, I was confronted by the growing strength and public acceptance of the Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) and came back to Israel with new friends who take a courageous stance for Israel — The First Nations communities.

More after the jump.
First Nations delegation in Israel, near the Knesset.Background

From January 25th to 31st I traveled to Winnipeg and Ottawa, invited and sponsored by Bnai Brit of Canada in Winnipeg, CAMERA, Hillel, and the Israeli Consulate in Ottawa. During this speaking tour I experienced the PR campaign leading up to the anti-Israeli festival “Israel Apartheid Week”, which will be held in 92 cities around the world from February 20th to March 11th, and in Canada from March 5th to 9th, 2012.

In Winnipeg I realized that the main challenge was getting more people from the Jewish communities to understand the real message behind “The Apartheid Slur” and take a stand against “The Apartheid Slur.”

As Director of Sderot Media Center for the Western Negev, I was in Canada to talk about Sderot and the Western Negev, and the connection between Hamas-controlled Gaza and the anti-Israeli, anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic festivals that are popular on college campuses. These festivals’ main purpose is to demonize the State of Israel and at the same time de-legitimize Israel as a sovereign state.

Over the past several years, multimillion dollar media campaigns have promoted the Palestinian narrative in Gaza, the first Arab territory in the Middle East controlled by a regime designated as a terrorist organization, since June 2007. In addition to these well-funded media campaigns, a slough of “alternative news” websites, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook accounts help spread the message that Israel is an apartheid state that abuses “Palestinians”. In spite of overwhelming evidence that this is not true, this lie has been told so often, and for so long, that few question its validity.

In addition to the anti-Israel media campaigns, unbalanced reporting by almost every major media outlet has legitimized ongoing missile attacks from Gaza. One rarely hears a report on the brutal reality. Since the “cease fire” of January 18th, 2009 that ended Operation Cast Lead, Gaza-based terrorist organizations have launched more than 1,070 aerial attacks. As in the past, the many different Islamic terror groups target the civilian population that has endured approximately 13,000 aerial attacks over the past eleven years, including during the current “cease fire” (Israel’s third unilateral cease fire).

Noam Bedein and Rev Raymond MacLean
Finding New Israel Supporters

On Wednesday, January 25, I gave a multimedia presentation in Winnipeg for the Bnai Brit Jewish/Aboriginal/Christian Round Table that included Jewish, Christian, and First Nation representatives and met many remarkable people at this meeting, including Rev. Raymond MacLean.

Rev. MacLean is a First Nation representative and Pastor to the largest urban First Nation community in North America. 10% of Winnipeg city’s population of 700,000 is Aboriginal/First Nations people.

Rev. MacLean founded an organization known as World Indigenous Nations for Israel. He has visited Israel 16 times since 2003 and is part of the Indigenous Tour to Israel being held from February 12th to 23rd, 2012.

The Indigenous Tour to Israel as promoted in Winnipeg: “Original peoples from both the northern and the southern ends of the earth” from Greenlandic Inuit, Canadian Inuit, First Nations from Canada, as well as indigenous people from Fiji, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia

“Wherever we stand, we stand for Israel”

There are fifteen First Nation communities from four Provinces (Manitoba, Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan) including representatives from the Objiway, Cree, Oji-Cree and Sioux tribes. More than 300 First Nation individuals have visited Israel in the past 9 years.

Speaking with Rev. MacLean, I learned that their communities will always take a stand for Israel, as they have in the past.

Rev. MacLean:

In 2006 our First Nation group took a stand for Israel in the streets of our city during the Israel-Lebanon war. We received criticism from all sides both people from the streets and from the media. I was interviewed
by the media of our city and I shared positive things why we should stand with Israel and no word of mine was posted in that interview the next day.

The beautiful connection the First Nation people have with the Jewish people’s rights to live in Israel, is summed up as “the inheritance of the land by the ancestors”

I asked Rev. MacLean to comment on how anti-Israel activists compare the Arab-Israeli conflict to “the Colonizer occupying land and kicking out the First Nations to live in poverty and in refugee camps”.

Rev. MacLean:

Our conflicts are not the same. They need to study history a little further. I know the history from the beginning. There were Arab nomads who lived in the Holy Land prior to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 who were hired by the new Jewish settlers. Also, neighboring Arabs from Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt sought employment and were hired by the Jews who were settling in their new land after returning from exile after 2500 years to reclaim their inheritance left by the ancestors. These Arabs became known as Palestinians but were originally Arab nomads and neighbors of Israel who Israel endorsed and recognized as Israeli citizens.

Many challenges face the First Nations. They are struggling to maintain their identity, history, and culture while living within the mainstream society and, at the same time, dealing with poverty and related issues brought on by centuries of mistreatment and hostility.

Rev. MacLean:

Our young people no longer retain their original tongue, but all speak the main English language.

Right now the Jewish world, especially here in Israel, is having difficulty maintaining our identities and beliefs and protecting our basic historical and legal right just to live in Israel. At this time, it’s encouraging to know that there are people, even in remote places around the world, who understand our situation and stand with us.

Connecting with these communities can bring real social change and hope to many Indigenous people throughout the world, while at the same time uniting people behind Israel’s cause.

I returned from Canada with renewed hope for the future, knowing that we have friends out there who are motivated and educated and who are not necessarily Jewish or Christian. My experience with the First Nations communities reminded me of Psalm 126

Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing; Then they said among the nations: ‘Hashem has done great things with these.’ Hashem hath done great things with us; we are rejoiced.

Israel Behind The News
Funds Needed to Continue Proactive News Investigations

  • Dangers of Further US Aid to the PLO Army
  • Threat of Planned PLO Army Deployment in Hebron and Jerusalem
  • UNRWA and PA for War Curriculum, financed by US and the West
  • Conflicts of Interests of Israeli businesses invested in the Palestinian Authority