On October 1, 1997, a few hours before the New Jewish Year began this year, Gazan Hamas leader Abdul Aziz Rantissi declared that he would dispatch more suicide bombers into Israel, to kill Israelis indiscriminately, whether they are civilians or military personnel.

On October 5, following the Jewish new year, you might have expected that Rantissi’s incitement and an appropriate Israeli government response would lead the news.

It did not.

Instead, the lead news items were the botched assassination attempt of a Hamas leader in Jordan, where two Israelis were caught with fake Canadian passports, and Israel’s freeing from jail of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Achmed Yassin to Jordan, and Yassin’s imminent to a hero’s welcome by Arafat in Gaza.

The continuing rancor in the Israeli and world media over the Israeli’s prime minister’s handling of the assassination attempt in Jordan served to distract everyone from the real and present danger posed by the Hamas.

A case in point:

One of Israel’s leading Arab affairs correspondents, Gidon Levy, who at times does not hide his personal identification with the Palestinian Arab national movement, reports how the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Arab refugee camp of Deheishe, whose open sewers and “temporary housing” are located just south of Bethlehem, has become “hamsified” of late.

Gidon Levy warns that Hamas incitement, not discouraged by Arafat’s Palestine Authority, is now “inspiring” every part of the Deheishe community, including grade school children, are preparing massive suicide attacks against Israeli targets, unless and until Israel allows the Deheishe residents to return to the village of Zacharia where they left in 1948. Zacharia, located just west of Jerusalem, is populated by Jews who left Arab countries in 1948. However, the UN resolution #194, passed each year at the UN, assures Arab refugees that they have the “inalienable” right to return to the homes that they left in 1948.

Canada, for one, leads the effort to fund the facilities of the UNRWA camp in Deheishe. Under normal circumstances, Israel would ask Canada to play a restraining role with UNRWA.

However, these are not normal circumstances.

If Israel is to regain the trust and confidence of Canada, so that Ottawa can again understand the security challenge posed anew by a reinvigorated Hamas, the Israeli prime minister should use the occasion of Yom Kippur, the traditional Jews “day of atonement”, to sincerely apologize to Canada for Israel’s recent bad judgment.

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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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