“The residents of the region will not silently overlook this and will settle accounts with those running for the country’s leadership in the upcoming elections,” Eshkol Regional Council Chairman Haim Yellin and Shaar Hanegev Council Chairman Alon Schuster said on Wednesday. Their comments were made in response to the security cabinet decision not to approve an additional budget for fortifying houses in the Israeli communities near Gaza.

The Israeli government security cabinet meeting was held in wake of a petition to the
High Court of Justice on fortifications that included a demand to expand the range of the houses to be fortified to a distance of four miles from the border fence.

At the meeting, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai presented the plan whereby another half-billion Israeli shekels were needed to fortify 1,300 housing units in order to complete an overall plan to fortify 4,700 units. As said, the ministers decided not to approve the addition.

The decision elicited great anger in the communities. Mr. Yellin told the Israeli media that “the government is sticking its head in the sand without understanding that there is a population here that is facing Hamas without any possibility of a scrap of protection.”

Kadima Knesset Member Shai Hermesh, who lives in Kfar Azza, not far from Gaza spoke out harshly against his own government: “The security cabinet’s decision to forsake the residents is more hurtful than the Qassam rocket fire that the region has taken in the last seven years. It is unfortunate that we will need to go to the High Court of Justice in order to open the blind eyes and hearts of the security cabinet ministers.”

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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.