Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni convened a special meeting of the Israel security cabinet yesterday morning to discuss the continuing Qassam rocket and mortar fire from Gaza. Israel has witnessed 100 Qassam rockets fired at Sderot and the Western Negev over the past 10 days.

Following the Israeli security cabinet meeting, the Israeli government spokesman said that they would not announce what steps it plans to take against Hamas at this time

Yesterday afternoon, however, Mr. Barak, announced that Israel had ordered the transfer of 100 million Shekels in cash – the equivalent of $25 million – to the Hamas government in Gaza to pay salaries, because of a cash flow shortage faced by Hamas.

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Mr. Barak was criticized for this decision by the Israel Minister of Trade and Industry, Eli Yishai, who said that the funds would be used by Hamas to buy more rockets, which would be fired into Israel.

An association of lawyers known as the Israel Legal Forum, asked the Israeli attorney general to issue an order to stop the supply of cash to Hamas.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Batya Ketar, head of the Sderot Parents Association, filed an unprecedented police complaint against Mr. Barak, accusing him of committing the crime of aiding a terror organization, considered to be a capital crime in Israel.

In her police complaint, Mrs. Ketar, cited the case of Richard David Hupper, a 33-year-old York County native who was sentenced last August to three and a half years in a U.S. federal prison for providing $20,000 for humanitarian aid to Hamas. Both the U.S. and Israel define Hamas as a terrorist organization.

In his defense, Mr. Hupper said that he was supplying funds that would only be earmarked for the humanitarian needs of Hamas. The court did not buy Mr. Hupper’s defense. The Israeli Defense Ministry, now headed by Mr. Barak, had provided evidence to U.S. law enforcement authorities concerning the aid that Mr. Hupper provided to Hamas.

“If Mr. Hupper was sentenced to three and a half years in federal prison for providing Hamas terrorists with only $20,000, how much time Mr. Barak will serve in jail for delivering 100 million shekels to Hamas terrorists?” Mrs. Ketar asked.

David Bedein can be reached at dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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