Yesterday, Hillary Rodham Clinton spent a day in Israel for the first time in her role as the Secretary of State.

The first matter of business that Mrs. Clinton addressed upon her Jerusalem arrival was Gaza.

The report that she gave to Israel from Monday’s conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt – where 81 kings, presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers and representatives of aid organizations pledged $5 billion to aid Gaza – topped her agenda. The Israeli government had requested an invitation to the conference; however, organizers were adamant in their response to Jerusalem: “You are not invited.”

Mrs. Clinton opened her remarks in Israel by saying the U.S. would transfer $900 million to the Palestinians: $300 million for rebuilding Gaza and $600 million to be deposited with Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Salam Fayyad for developing economic projects in the West Bank.

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Throughout her one-day visit to Israel, Mrs. Clinton addressed the contentious issue of how the American government and the other 80 donor nations could transfer funds to Gaza without the funds going through Hamas, which maintains a tight totalitarian grip on Gaza.

However, Mrs. Clinton’s spokesman brushed off the query posed by The Bulletin as to how she could prevent American government funds from finding their way into Hamas’ hands in Gaza, because Mr. Fayyad acts in accordance with the Mecca Accord of March 2007. The Mecca Accord, agreed to in Saudi Arabia by the representatives of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA), obligates the PA to pay Hamas salaries in Gaza, including for armed Hamas military units that continue to fire rockets into Israeli communities throughout the Western Negev region.

Hamas has fired 120 times into Israel from Gaza since the Israeli government declared a self-imposed cease-fire on Jan. 18, after 22 days of an Israeli military incursion into Gaza, which Israel launched with the aim of stopping Hamas from firing into Israel.

With $5 billion of pledges in hand, even while Hamas continues attacks on Israel, the Israeli intelligence community believes Hamas will be the main beneficiary of the Sharm el-Sheikh conference.

An Israeli intelligence officials said, “Only Hamas will benefit from Gaza’s rebuilding – and not the people of Gaza. Hamas can further consolidate and strengthen its rule and impose Islamic hegemony on Gaza.”

Mrs. Clinton also announced she plans to dispatch two emissaries to Syria: Mr. Jeffrey Feltman, a former U.S. ambassador to Lebanon and now acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, and Dan Shapiro, head of the Middle East desk of the White House’s National Security Council.

What no one reported, however, is Mr. Shapiro is far from popular in Syria because he was one of the key congressional staffers who authored the bipartisan-backed Syria Accountability Act, which was signed into law in May 2004.

The act’s purpose was to force the American government to act against Syrian support for terrorism, to end Syria’s presence in Lebanon, to top Syria’s development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and to stem Syrian shipments of military items to anti-U.S. forces in Iraq. By dispatching one of the key players of the Syria Accountability Act to Damascus, Mrs. Clinton conveyed a double message from Jerusalem to Syria: The United States will launch a dialogue with Syria, yet only in the context of the Syria Accountability Act.


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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: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.