Wednesday, February 21, 2018

UNRWA Fails its Students but Still Wants More U.S. Money

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has hired a public relations firm,, to bolster its image after the Trump administration cut back sharply the amount of contributions the United States will be making to the agency. The Trump administration reduced the expected 2018 U.S. contribution of more than $360 million to about $60 million. As part of its Dignity Is Priceless global fundraising campaign to help make up for the shortfall, Scott Anderson, UNRWA’s Director of West Bank Operations, and Peter Mulrean, Director of UNRWA’s Representative Office in New York, spoke to reporters at UN headquarters last week.

Continuing to provide hundreds of millions of dollars to UNRWA is throwing good money after bad

The UNRWA directors pitched the importance of UNRWA’s humanitarian work. They said that the current financial crisis is in on a scale unlike any that UNRWA has experienced in the past, calling the cutback an “existential” threat to UNRWA’s ability to continue serving the needs of the Palestinian people. They complained that the United States government has not explained the rationale to UNRWA for its action. All that UNRWA’s leadership should do is to look in the mirror.

The truth is that continuing to provide hundreds of millions of dollars to UNRWA is throwing good money after bad.  Mr. Anderson, UNRWA’s Director of West Bank Operations, unwittingly pointed to the fatal flaw in the educational program UNRWA offers to its students, consuming about half of UNRWA’s regular budget, which he described as the most important service that UNRWA provides. UNRWA, he said, must teach the “host” country’s curriculum, which UNRWA considers to be the curriculum that the Palestinian Authority creates. Mr. Anderson said that it treats the Palestinian Authority for this purpose as representing a “sovereign” nation. Based on this fiction, UNRWA contends it has no choice but to use a curriculum designed by the Palestinian authorities that has been found to indoctrinate Palestinian children to hate Jews and to believe that Israel has no right to exist. A study released last year by the Center for Near East Policy Research, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Middle East Forum found that textbooks used in UNRWA schools during 2016 and 2017 have continued instilling anti-Israel, anti-Jewish hatred.

UNRWA cannot change the Palestinian Authority’s curriculum, according to Mr. Anderson, although it can develop “enrichment” materials to help teachers introduce tolerance lessons that “conform to UN values.” When UNRWA tried to do just that, however, it faced fierce resistance from the Palestinian Authority because it perceived the new materials as too favorable to Israel. Last year, the Palestinian Authority Education Ministry issued a statement complaining that “[A]ny distortion of the Palestinian curriculum is a flagrant violation of the laws of the host country, and any change to any letter to appease any party is a betrayal of the Palestinian narrative and the right of the Palestinian people under occupation to preserve its identity and struggle.” UNRWA’s added materials were condemned as an “affront to the Palestinian people, its history and struggles.” The ministry said that the Palestinian Authority’s suspension of cooperation would continue until the UN agency’s “positions are corrected.”

Rather than hire an expensive public relations firm to polish its image, UNRWA should fundamentally reform its ways

UNRWA appeared to cave to the Palestinian Authority’s demands. UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl promised that “UNRWA is completely committed to the Palestinian curricula, and that no change will be made in these curricula.” Even then, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education would allow no wiggle room. According to an article published on November 8, 2017 by the official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, “The [PA] Ministry of Education and Higher Education reiterated its complete opposition to any step or attempt that UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) or any international body are liable to make against the Palestinian curricula – whether by omitting, changing, or adding any materials in contradiction of the philosophy of the [PA] curricula and in contradiction of the contents of the schoolbooks in everything connected to the national identity and cultural, social, and national heritage of our people.” The article quoted from the ministry’s November 7, 2017 notice that “all of the materials that UNRWA is interested in adding must be complementary and consistent with all of the contents of the schoolbooks.” In other words, UNRWA cannot stray from the Palestinian Authority’s hate-filled curriculum.

Mr. Anderson said that UNRWA was just beginning to roll out its “enrichment” materials, but was deliberately vague as to what that really meant, given the Palestinian Authority’s use of hate-filled indoctrination as part of its curriculum. He gave no timetable for the rollout, or any indication whether the teachers in UNRWA’s schools would have to use the additional materials in their classrooms. The only example he offered of an UNRWA lesson in tolerance had to do with gender equality.

Until the Palestinians stop using UNRWA schools to poison the minds of Palestinian children with hate, the Trump administration should continue its cutback of funding for the UN agency. Rather than hire an expensive public relations firm to polish its image, UNRWA should fundamentally reform its ways.

The Palestinian textbook problem

On what values does the Palestinian Authority and United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) school system raise and educate generations of students? Dr. Arnon Gross, formerly a senior Arabic language broadcaster at Voice of Israel Radio, read no less than 200 Arabic textbooks from both past and present to understand exactly what Palestinian students are taught.

Gross’ latest research will be published in the coming days. His investigation was the result of an initiative by the Center for Near East Policy Research in Jerusalem, headed by David Bedein. Gross takes quotes and conclusions from the textbooks, which amount to libel for all intents and purposes, to demonstrate that the school system drills into the heads of students that there is no entity called “Israel.” And if indeed it does exist, it should be called by another name: “The Zionist entity” that must be destroyed.

In conversation with Gross, he is remarkably straightforward, wasting no time on political correctness. What were his conclusions after studying some 200 school textbooks taught in the Palestinian school system? With no ifs, ands or buts, Gross’s answer cuts like a razor: “There is no chance for peace and reconciliation between the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”

Moreover, he concludes the books clearly intend to “demonize the Jews and Israel, and encourage the violent struggle to liberate Palestine from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea.”

The area in question here is not only the land on the other side of the 1967 Green Line of “the Occupation” but the whole Land of Israel – as it is drawn in the textbooks, covered with the Palestinian flag. The ludicrous suggestion here is that Israel does not exist.

Take, for example, a ninth-grade textbook’s description of Safed, a city in the north of Israel with millennia of history : “Safed is one of the most beautiful Palestinian cities in the Galilee. Its magnificence hails back to its Canaanite origin, despite the fog of occupation that will one day lift.”

Looking through Gross’s research, it becomes clear that all this information, invaluable to “knowing thy enemy,” is presented to us slowly, over time, very sparingly. The reason for this, apparently, is to avoid making some people “uncomfortable.” It may greatly inconvenience the well-wishers and dreamers working to strike a peace agreement with the Palestinian representation. In any case, this information is not hidden in top-secret binders by the intelligence establishment – it is openly printed in Arabic textbooks.

Would it not be more fitting for Gross’ research to be distributed among the 120 MKs who speak day and night about peace with the Palestinians? Anyone who looks at this research will arrive at the negotiation table – if negotiations ever restart – armed to the teeth with clear and publicly available information. This should be used in public speaking abroad. This is heavy ammunition in the diplomatic struggle. Israeli diplomats all over the world should keep the pages of this research within arms’ reach and submit a copy to the government of their host countries.

The research brings truly hair-raising, dehumanizing examples to demonstrate how the Palestinian education incites to the annihilation of the Jews. One of the textbooks calls the 1978 Coastal Road massacre – in which Fatah terrorists crossed from Lebanon into Israel, hijacked a bus and murdered 38 Israeli passengers – a “barbecue.” Why? Because the terrorist cell leader, Dalal Mughrabi, gave a command to firebomb the bus and burn the Jews alive. The burning of Jews alive is actually presented as a “barbecue.” Gross stresses that from year to year, Palestinian textbooks have not become more moderate – quite the opposite, in fact.

Israel warns Iran after launching major raids in Syria

The New Israel Fund has crossed the red line

The American-based New Israel Fund (NIF) has never hidden its mission to save Israel from itself, and its bedrock conviction that the chauvinist particularism of a Jewish State should be replaced with a more “democratic” state of its citizens.

Implicit in this posture is a belief that the enlightened folks at the NIF know better than we Israelis what is in our best interest, and even what is the moral high ground in any given situation irrespective of the real world considerations that would apply.

While we have seen time and time again the NIF supporting organizations that bolster BDS, accuse Israel of war crimes and slander Israel as an apartheid state, in its current hissy fit over the planned deportation of tens of thousands of illegal African migrants back to third party African nations, the NIF has thrown all decency to the wind.

The NIF has chosen to liken the illegal migrants to Holocaust survivors, with the clear and deliberate implication that Israel must be likened to the Nazis.

By doing so, and by standing by as its supported organizations use Holocaust-themed analogies such as demeaning the memory of Anne Frank, the NIF has clearly telegraphed that there are no red lines, there are no off-limits depictions, arguments or tactics.

Perhaps this complete lack of restraint and over the top contempt is a function of having lost the usual reliable support of the Supreme Court. In a landmark ruling in August 2017, the Israeli Supreme Court, sitting with a five court panel (instead of the usual three) upheld voluntary deportations and specifically stated that there was no proof that the illegal migrants faced danger in being sent to third party African countries such as Rwanda and Uganda.

Without popular support, government support, and now the support of the Supreme Court, the NIF has decided to engage in a smoke and mirrors pseudo-populist uprising, in which its supported organizations have gone to the barricades to accuse Israel of not only heartless, cruel and inhumane behavior, but of being complicit in murder.

The NIF can therefore add blood libels to its head-on collision through the red lines of decency. Implying that Israel is knowingly sending the illegal migrants to their deaths deserves a place of infamy right alongside the blood of Christian children being used to make matzah.

What should we taking away from this well financed, heavy handed and hysterical campaign? For one thing, very likely by design, there is no sense that the incursion by migrants seeking a better economic situation for themselves is a human rights crisis demanding extraordinary resilience by Israel. Faced with a true humanitarian nightmare, Menachem Begin welcomed hundreds of Cambodian refugees into Israel, and no one made a peep.

By contrast, it has been shown that 70% of the entering illegal migrants have not asked for asylum, and that 80% of them are prime working age males. No one begrudges anyone’s desire to better themselves economically, but the effort is not a human rights crisis.

At the same time there is probably a deliberate disregard by the NIF for the particulars of what the migration means for Israel. Demographically, 38,000 people represents almost one half of a percent of the total population of Israel, and six tenths of a percent of the Jewish population. The equivalent in the US would be about 1.5 million people.

But unlike the US, Israel’s mission from day one has been to be the one place on earth that can be called the Jewish Homeland and that will be the Jewish State. Even with the most benign disposition, Israel’s government has a duty to its current citizens and its yet to be born citizens to maintain the Jewish character of the State.

For Israel, this is not a racial matter, as the Ethiopian and Bnei Menasseh aliyot make clear. But there is a racial implication here, and it is the soft racism of the NIF and its acolytes in assuming that a return to Africa by Africans is definitionally dangerous. While the UNHCR is extolling the return of refugees to Rwanda and is encouraging many more to return there, the NIF and groups such as Rabbis for Human Rights, view Africa as a ticket to cruelty, or even death.

How contemptuous is this, how demeaning!

Fortunately, when it comes to the New Israel Fund, the people of Israel know better. They have seen the NIF in action before, defending and encouraging the de-legitimizers of Israel, and they know that the NIF has anything but the good of Israel at heart.

Perhaps with this latest unhinged and scorched earth attempt to dictate Israeli policy, the citizens and government will sensibly conclude that maybe it is the New Israel Fund that should be deported.

The case for shuttering UNRWA schools’ doors closed…permanently

The US government decision to suspend funds to UNRWA schools until reforms take place in UNRWA has raised some eyebrows.

Why did the US suspend funds to UNRWA in the first place?

Since 1999, Hamas has been chosen in successive internal UNRWA elections in Gaza to lead the workers union and teachers union of UNRWA, as mentors who influence generations of Palestinian refugee descendants to launch a violent Jihad for the ‘right of return’ to Arab villages lost during the 1948 war.

In that context, the first comprehensive study of UNRWA school books, completed in July 2017, reflects the terrorist domination of UNRWA schools. This study found UNRWA texts to be characterized by de-legitimization of Israel, rejection of the Jews’ very presence in the country, demonization of Israel and the Jewish people, while promoting the violent liberation of all of Palestine – including Israel’s pre-1967 territories – instead of adhering to UN values of peace and co-existence.

Official logos to six different UNRWA financed schools that include the UN logos along with map of conquered Israel replaced by Palestine. – Photos: ElderOfZiyon.blogspot.

Moreover, UNRWA schools encourage children to engage in acts of war by way of presenting war against Israel as an inevitable necessity, including the violent return of the descendants of Arab refugees to a liberated pre-67 Palestine, through veneration of Jihad, martyrdom and Palestinian individuals who participate in the armed rebellion (called Fidais – those who sacrifice themselves, or martyrs and prisoners-of-war when killed or imprisoned). A decisive element in the UNRWA indoctrination is the inclusion of the official anthems of both the Palestinian Authority and its dominant body – the Fatah organization – which are taught to students of the lower grades:

Fidai, fidai, fidai, O my land, O the forefathers’ land

Fidai, fidai, fidai, O my people, O the people of eternity

With my determination, my fire and the volcano of my revenge

And my blood’s yearning to my land and my home

I climbed the mountains and waged the struggle

I overcame the impossible and shattered the fetters

Fidai, fidai, fidai, O my land, O the forefathers’ land

Fidai, fidai, fidai, O my people, O the people of eternity

With the winds’ storm and the weapon’s fire

And with my people’s insistence on waging the struggle

Palestine is my home and the road to my victory

Palestine is my revenge and the land of steadfastness

Fidai, fidai, fidai, O my land, O the forefathers’ land

Fidai, fidai, fidai, O my people, O people of eternity

By the dint of the oath under the flag’s shadow

By my land, my people and the pain’s fire:

I shall live as a fidai and continue as a fidai

And I shall die as a fidai until I return

Fidai, fidai, fidai, O my land, O the forefathers’ land

Fidai, fidai, fidai, O my people, O people of eternity.

(National and Social Upbringing, Grade 3, Part 1 (2016) pp. 15-16)

UNRWA school books present terrorists killed in action as role models to be emulated: Dalal al-Mughrabi, who led the terror attack in 1978 on an Israeli civilian bus on the Coastal Highway, in which thirty five civilians – men, women and children – were murdered, is referred to twice.

 In Arabic Language, Grade 5, Part 1 (2017) p. 14 she is mentioned among the martyrs of Islamic and Arab history of the country.

Another UNRWA school book mentions: “Dalal al-Mughrabi who led the Fidai ‘Deir Yassin’ operation on the Palestinian coast in 1978 in which more than thirty soldiers were killed” (Social Studies, Grade 9, Part 1 (2017) p. 74).

The violent struggle in which the Palestinian children are encouraged to participate includes the perceived “Right of Return” to villages lost during the 1948 war.

A poem titled “A Refugee’s Outcry” reads…

I shall not live as a displaced person; I shall not remain fettered

Tomorrow I shall march as a revolutionary/avenger [tha’ir] and rebel

I shall not be afraid of the storms when they sweep the expanse

And of the hurricanes that hurl black destruction

I am the owner of the great right of which I make the morrow

I shall reclaim it; I will reclaim it as a precious and sovereign homeland

I shall shake the world tomorrow and march as a singular army

I have an appointment in my homeland; it is impossible that I forget that appointment.

(Arabic Language, Grade 5, Part 1 (2017) p. 85)

Another poem, adding incitement to exterminate “the foreigners” to the violent struggle:

I swear! I shall sacrifice my blood to water the noble ones’ land

And I shall remove the usurper [code name for Israel] from my country and shall exterminate the foreigners’ scattered remnants

O country of Al-Aqsa [Mosque] and the sacred place [Haram]; O cradle of pride and nobility

Patience, patience, for victory is ours and dawn peeps out from darkness.

(Our Beautiful Language, Grade 3, Part 2 (2016) p. 64)

A Molotov cocktail attack on an Israeli civilian bus is described in an UNRWA school book as a “barbecue party.” The piece reads: “The neighbor: ‘The curfew does not include us in [the neighborhood of] Al-Sharafah. It is imposed on the Al-Natarish [neighborhood]. It seems that there is a barbecue party there with Molotov cocktails on one of the buses of the Psagot settlement…’”

(Arabic Language, Grade 9, Part 1 (2017) p.61)

Conclusion: Renewed aid to UNRWA schools could be conditioned upon the disbarring of terrorists as teachers in UN schools and on removal of such curriculum which perpetuates a war to liberate Palestine, all of Palestine, under the cry of  “the right of return by force of arms.”

Editorial: UNRWA reform, and a new beginning

For some, the thought of President Trump’s decision to withhold $65 million in pledged aid to a United Nations agency that provides food, housing, and education to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza might seem unfair.

But a closer look at the organization, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, reveals a runaway agency that operates with little oversight. Since the agency was created in 1949, the US has committed billions of dollars in funding, and in 2017 it was UNRWA’s largest donor, contributing $364.3 million – or more than one-third of UNRWA’s $1 billion budget.

For decades, the US has stood by silently while observers have called to reform UNRWA. At issue is its mission and leadership. Since its inception, it has recognized the Palestinian “Right of Return,” which calls for Palestinian refugees from the 1948 Arab-Israeli War to return to cities and towns that are have long been under Israeli control. Initially, UNRWA recognized over 500,000 refugees but that number has jumped to over 5 million – as UNRWA now allows refugee status to be passed down from generation to generation. It also does not remove Palestinians who have moved and acquired citizenship in other countries.

But that’s just the tip of the problem. In Gaza, UNRWA has long been controlled by Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives. For years, its worker’s union has been run by Hamas – and last year, its longtime union president and a former UNRWA school principal, Suhail al-Hindi, was named to the Hamas cabinet, along with Mohammed Al-Jamasi, UNRWA’s director of engineering. Other past UNRWA educators could form a list of “Who’s Who” in the Palestinian terrorism. They include: Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin, and Said Sayyam, a former Hamas Minister of Interior and Civil Affairs who taught for 23 years in UNRWA schools. Then there is the case of Awad al-Qiq, a former headmaster of an UNRWA school in Gaza who also led the Islamic Jihad engineering unit that built bombs and Qassam rockets.

In its school curriculum, UNRWA rejects the notion of co-existence and calls for an armed struggle against Israelis. UNRWA educators have served as role models for students to take up jihad against Israel, and at the end of the school year, thousands of Palestinian UNRWA students are trained each summer with live weapons at a Hamas Children’s War Camp in Gaza. Hamas terrorists have used UN facilities as rocket launching pads; twice last year, tunnels leading to Israel were discovered under UNRWA schools. Meanwhile, children have heeded their educators’ wishes: dozens have become suicide bombers.

Trump’s sober look at UNRWA’s policies should be applauded by US human rights activists and taxpayers. While other countries may boost their donations to the renegade agency, the US has declared that it is time to reform UNRWA. Within this intractable conflict, this is a step in the right direction to ensure the safety and mental health of young Palestinian students, and millions of Israelis.


Decisions made by political leaders and those in authority usually reflect their priorities…writes Michael Kuttner.

It is thus easy to ascertain despite any accompanying media spin exactly what their real intentions are and how they intend to go about trying to implement them. In most cases the culprits erroneously believe that the masses can be easily fooled and hoodwinked and in this assumption they are correct. However thanks these days to eagle-eyed watch dog groups and social media it has become more difficult to “pull the wool” over everyone. Once found out, the resultant fallout and “egg on face” revelations merely reinforce negative perceptions of the perpetrators.

This week has provided another bumper crop of examples, in fact a veritable harvest of double standards and hypocritical attitudes.


Without a doubt the President of the Palestinian Arab Authority who is now in the fourteenth year of his four year term has clocked up more flight miles than most. Obviously those in control of the PA finances, which admittedly is a rather loose term, feel that flying first class is not good enough. After all for someone of his age who flies hither and thither every week something more fitting to his status is required. Remember also that the hangers-on need to join the junkets so obviously one can no longer rely on commercial airlines to fulfill the demanding requirements of a world-class commuter.

Therefore with little fanfare, for obvious reasons, it has been reported that the cash strapped PA is purchasing a fifty million (US dollars that is) plane to enable the President to travel in the manner befitting one of the international community’s exalted members. In the normal course of events, all things being equal, this item of expenditure would not raise too many eyebrows. However given the constant pleas of poverty emanating from Ramallah and the fact that billions of foreign aid pouring into the bottomless coffers of that kleptocracy it is nothing short of scandalous that the world media and of course donor nations are conspicuously silent. This new addition will enable Abbas and friends to whisk themselves even more frequently to not only the usual destinations which have no difficulty in hosting supporters of revisionist history but also no doubt to other countries hitherto unvisited.

If ever there was a case of misplaced priorities this is a glaring example.


Hamas, the terror rulers of Gaza, have also made an industry of using billions of donor funds for projects that have nothing to do with improving the lives of their citizens or resettling Arab refugees who still are kept hostage in miserable camps. Constructing terror tunnels to murder Israelis and investing further millions in developing rockets and missiles have taken priority over providing infrastructure which would provide electricity, water and health care to a population in dire need of these basic necessities. Those in charge know only too well that they can easily manipulate international opinion to blame Israel for any problems besetting them and therefore are able to continually squeeze ever more money from taxpayers in a multitude of countries, including Australia and New Zealand. UNRWA which helps to perpetuate the refugee problem is also complicit in this campaign of deception.

Right on cue as the USA finally decides to pull the plug, the local and international chorus of the usual suspect choirs, burst forth with their serenades of blame. Who are they blaming? The USA and Israel of course instead of the corrupt groups which divert aid funds towards projects of terror.  Every single disaster which the residents of Gaza allegedly face could have been averted had those in charge of receiving your money not stolen it for nefarious purposes. It reminds me of the old Jewish story where a child murders his parents and then complains to the court that he is now an orphan and destitute. T

Talk about skewed priorities.

This, however, is not the end of the story. Lo and behold, Al-Jazeera, a news source which nobody can accuse of being a Zionist tool, has produced a short documentary about the wonders of Gaza. In this eye opener, viewers are exposed to a reality which has been successfully kept hidden. The facts revealed in this exposé are astounding and contradict every lie, claim of dire poverty, deprivation and siege swallowed hook, line and sinker by the Israel haters of this world. If the scenes portrayed can benefit the minority why cannot the rulers of Gaza utilise the billions provided for the benefit of the deprived masses?

We all know the answers to that and therein are revealed the fundamental perversions of priorities.

Watch this video (courtesy of MEMRI) and marvel at how many have been and continue to be fooled for so long.



The clearest example of how messed up priorities can inflict damage on those promoting boycotts of Israeli expertise is revealed in South Africa. Cape Town is facing an imminent water shortage disaster when its dam runs dry and the taps are turned off. All this could have been averted had the South African authorities availed themselves in time of Israeli proffered assistance. Recognised as world leaders in water resource technology, Israel’s expertise was available. However, as leading proponents of shunning Israel, the South African authorities have instead condemned their citizens to a waterless third world existence. Perhaps they should ask their “friends” in Ramallah to help them out of this mess.

This is another classic case of Government inspired stupidity and dumb priorities.


A recent meeting between the leader of Turkey and the head of the Roman Catholic Church highlighted once again how misplaced priorities can supersede realties. One would have thought that top of the agenda would be the question on how to combat religious extremism and promotion of jihadist terror, a condemnation of the Armenian genocide and the dire situation which Christians find themselves in all over the Islamic world.

Instead, top priority was given to denouncing the fact that Jerusalem is Israel’s Capital and the threat to world peace posed by that incontrovertible fact. Given past Vatican sponsored crusades and Ottoman efforts to deny any Jewish connection to Jerusalem it should come as no surprise that in 2018 this subject is deemed to be still relevant.


It has been revealed that after months of tortuous negotiations the two main political parties in Germany have finally entered into a coalition agreement. Amazingly despite the major threats facing European countries in general and Germany in particular, the subject of condemning Jews settling their ancient homeland and its Capital takes a prominent spot in the agenda of the new German Government. The threat of terror, economic chaos and an illegal immigration crisis is second place in the scale of priorities. It’s a pity that Angela Merkel in desperately trying to keep her party in power has seemingly succumbed to the latest fad of Jewish historical denial. No amount of hand wringing expressions of solidarity will erase the misplaced priorities of the coalition agreement.

Proof that the EU is motivated by double standards is their silence in the face of the murder of two Rabbis by Arab terrorists. While Abbas and his colleagues praise the martyrdom of the murderers, the EU of which Germany is one of the leading members remains mute.

Twisted priorities speak volumes about true intentions. It behooves us to take note and act accordingly.

Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and is J-Wire’s correspondent in the region.

Australian Handout An Aid To extremism

ON 29 May 2012, then-minister for foreign affairs Bob Carr signed an agreement with then-UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) head Filippo Grandi, to provide $90 million for Palestinian refugees for five years.

“Australia’s backing over the next years will help UNRWA provide education to refugee children throughout the region, as well as health and relief services,” Grandi said.

Alas, far from benefiting needy Palestinians, Australia’s contribution enabled UNRWA to avoid much-needed reforms and undercut the already moribund peace process. The simple facts are these: UNRWA has become the ­poster child for out-of-control bureaucracy, mission creep and twisted morality.

Adviser to the Pentagon Michael Rubin.

Rather than resolve the problems faced by Palestinian refugees, it perpetrates them.

First, some history. World War II and various regional wars created a refugee crisis that the newborn United Nations sought to tackle. Forty million refugees sought food, shelter and relief in Europe, ­Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The UN initially considered refugee status a temporary state. In 1947, it created the International Refugee Organisation to repatriate or resettle European war refugees. Mission accomplished, it closed up shop in 1952.

The UN founded UNRWA in 1949 specifically to help Palestinian refugees displaced by Israel’s war of independence and, the following year, created the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for everyone else.

UNRWA was meant to be temporary, leaving UNHCR alone to take over the refugee mission.
In a 1951 report to the UN General Assembly, UNRWA reported, “There must be a firm goal of terminating relief operations. Sustained relief operations inevitably contain the germ of human deterioration.”

But Arab states and Palestinians themselves refused resettlement, choosing instead to use UNRWA as a weapon in a broader diplomatic battle.

A child at the Rafah refugee camp in southern Gaza protests against the US move to freeze funding for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. Picture: AFP

Both current UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krähenbühl and UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness were born years after UNRWA was meant to dissolve.
Today, however, not only do both agencies exist, but they count refugees differently.

UNRWA alone bestows refugee status upon subsequent generations. Therefore, even though only about 10,000 of the approximately 700,000 Palestinian refugees from 1948 are still alive, UNRWA counts more than five million today. If the UN applied the same definition to those displaced by the 1947 partition of India, there would be more than 200 million refugees in South Asia.

Nor does UNRWA’s track record make it worth saving. Rather than teach tolerance, its textbooks preach incitement. UNRWA teachers have moonlighted as Hamas terrorists and terrorists use UNRWA schools as weapons depots.

Adults Palestinians protesting at the Rafah camp. Picture: AFP

Administrators pleading ­ignorance shouldn’t excuse; rather, it is just evidence of poor oversight and an agency out of control.
The problem is deeper, however. For almost a quarter of a century, the Palestinian Authority has acted as a shadow state.
But if UNRWA — using Australian and other money — promises to take care of housing, education, and support, why shouldn’t the Palestinian Authority or Hamas spend money on terror pensions, terror tunnels and rockets?

In recent weeks, Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas has unleashed a stream of invective, Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism that would make even former ­Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blush. An aid cut forcing Palestinian leaders to be accountable to their people might be a shot of adrenaline for good governance, Palestinian realism, and peace.

Palestinian girls walk in the Rafah refugee camp after finishing their classes at a UN-run school. Picture: AFP

This is why the United States has slashed its contribution to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) by more than half, to $75 million. If Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop value peace, it’s time to cut off UNRWA and ask UNHCR to take over.

It’s time to recognise that, legally, Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank — that is, within the bounds of historical Palestine — shouldn’t be considered refugees, but rather settled, and no longer entitled to Australian tax money.

The Palestinians deserve better. UNHCR is technocratic and apolitical, while UNRWA is an amplifier for radicalism and waste. And every dollar spent on UNRWA is money denied to Syrian, Rohingya and South Sudanese refugees who are far needier.
UNRWA was right in 1951. It’s time to end its mission.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Gaza ‘humanitarian crisis’ actually a ‘hoax,’ experts maintain

The world press is filled with stories of an alleged “humanitarian crisis” underway in the Gaza Strip. IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot gave credence to the stories this week when he told the cabinet that Israel could face another war with Hamas in Gaza as a result of the deteriorating humanitarian and economic conditions in the coastal enclave.

Eisenkot cited the lack of electricity, drinkable water, and food in the Gaza Strip, and advocated stepping up aid to the territory.

His logic is that an economic collapse would make a war scenario inevitable. As a result of Eisenkot’s view as well as that of other top security officials, Israel is for the first time weighing the idea of sending food and medicine to the Gaza Strip, and thereby prevent the deteriorating conditions from spiraling into violence,

World Israel News (WIN) spoke to several expert observers, and could not find one that agreed with Eisenkot’s assessment or his conclusions.

Prof. Hillel Frisch from Bar Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies has conducted extensive research on the economic situation in Gaza.

Frisch told WIN, “I cannot understand how Eisenkot and the IDF reached their conclusion. I understand why Hamas says there is a humanitarian crisis. They have been plundering the aid money for years. They tax every aid truck entering the enclave. I understand Israeli industrialists including Osem and Strauss who make money selling food to Gaza.”

“I even understand local Israeli mayors whose residents are employed to bring the aid to the Gaza crossings. We know that it requires only 50 trucks daily to stave off a real humanitarian crisis. There is no crisis. There has been an economic deterioration caused by Hamas greed and mismanagement but nowhere near a humanitarian crisis.

“I also reject these notions of allowing Gazan workers to enter Israel to generate income or having Israel build Gaza an island port off the coast. Ashdod port is only an hour away. Lack of a port is not the reason for economic problems in Gaza,” said Frisch

According to Frisch, Hamas is deterred with each round of fighting they are concerned about the pain Israel can inflict upon them. “It’s almost embarrassingly simple. The IDF wants to avoid another round of fighting by giving aid. That kind of thinking is not in Israel’s interest,” Frisch said.

‘Hamas could not care less about the people’

Dr. Mordechai Kedar from Bar Ilan University told WIN, “Gaza is in dire straits because the Hamas government could not care less about the people and cares only about those on its own payroll like security forces and teachers, Hamas spends on missiles and terror tunnels rather than on projects to make life better for the people. ”

“They rely on Israel and all the rest of the aid givers who take care of their poor people so that they can spend on their own interests. The so-called humanitarian crisis is exaggerated. What is true is that there is no hope and no future in Gaza with Hamas running things. They have no idea how to run a state. They are a Jihadi terror group controlling a territory and its people.”

David Bedein, Head of the Center for Near East Policy Research has closely monitored aid to Gaza. Bedein told WIN, “thirty nations are giving food aid to the Gaza residents through United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) on a regular basis. All of the supplies go through Hamas. Gazans tell me that the supplies arrive at Hamas controlled warehouses, but they are not distributed. Eighty-one percent of the Gaza, population live in UNRWA camps but they are not receiving the aid that was sent. Donor countries are being duped. There is a total lack of supervision. If there is a humanitarian issue it’s of Hamas’ doing.”

In an article Prof. Frisch published in the Jerusalem Post this week, he commented, “The most important factor behind real humanitarian crises – the specter of mass hunger and contagious disease – is first and foremost the breakdown of law and order, and violence between warring militias and gangs. This was the story of Darfur, Somalia, the Central African Republic. In such a situation, the first to leave are the relief agencies, then, the local medical staffs, local government officials and anyone professional who can make it out of the bedlam, leaving the destitute to fend for themselves. Nothing could be farther from such a reality than Gaza.”

“Similarly, there is not one news item announcing the departure of a single foreign relief agency or its workers, the closure of one human rights organization in the area. Nowhere is there any evidence that the World Health Organization, which rigorously monitors the world to prevent the outbreak of contagious disease, is seriously looking at Gaza,” Frisch wrote.

The Palestinian Authority, senior Palestinian religious leaders and local figures in east Jerusalem are waging a campaign to keep the Israeli curriculum out of east Jerusalem schools

In recent months Palestinians have been waging a campaign in Jerusalem to prevent the introduction of the Israeli curriculum into Palestinian educational institutions in east Jerusalem. The campaign was accelerated in recent weeks, apparently because the Jerusalem municipality began registering children in the schools in east Jerusalem for the 2018-2019 school year. Online registration became possible (which made the Palestinians suspicious). The claim of the campaign is that the objective of using the Israeli curriculum in east Jerusalem is to erase the Arab Palestinian identity and inculcate the Palestinian students with the Israeli narrative.

Three groups participate in the campaign:

  • The Palestinian Authority (PA), led by Sabri Sidam, the PA’s minister of education who announced a series of practical measures his ministry is planning to take in support of schools, teachers and students. The objective is to prevent the introduction of the Israeli curriculum and strengthen Palestinian education in east Jerusalem.
  • Senior religious leaders Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem and the PA, and Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, the imam of al-Aqsa mosque and chairman of the supreme Islamic authority. The two issued religious opinions forbidding the teaching of the Israeli curriculum.
  • The central parents’ committee of Palestinian students in east Jerusalem, headed by Ziyad al-Shimali. He has been very active on the ground and in the media, and leads a broad campaign against the use of the Israeli curriculum in east Jerusalem.

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