Please see an article of mine that just went up on American Thinker:
The subject is UNRWA, which is putting out serious misrepresentations regarding the need for its services — and the severe conditions in Gaza, as well as the quality of the services it does provide.
The villain in its reports is, of course, Israel.
I noted with interest today, after my piece went up, an article on related issues in theJPost.
Says the Foreign Ministry, “UNRWA’s report is false, biased.” Seems UNRWA released a report saying that the children in their Gaza schools attend classes on a double shift. This is because 100 new schools must be built to meet enrollment requirements, but Israel has only approved building of eight schools (i.e., will permit building materials for eight schools to come through the crossings into Gaza). In other words, it’s Israel’s fault that the kids of Gaza can’t study properly.
The truth, as exposed by COGAT (Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories) is that UNRWA never filed arequest to build 100 schools. Officials first heard about this via the media.
Israel has approved 32 educational projects in Gaza for UNRWA — 24 for new schools and others for expansions. However, UNRWA has only begun bringing in building supplies for 11 schools.
Chris Gunness, UNRWA’s spokesman, when queried about this, made a valiant effort to keep his finger pointed at Israel. His response:
“…projects were delayed since donors did not want to give funds after previous donations were not used for past projects due to…Israel’s refusal to approve projects presented years ago.”
Huh? This guy is something else.
One other note of great significance on the issue of UNRWA. I had mentioned in my piece, and it’s here in the JPost as well, that UNRWA claims unemployment in Gaza has increased to 45%. (I.e., the situation is deteriorating because of Israel’s blockade.) I had pointed out facts and figures indicating that there had actually been an economic upswing in Gaza in the last year — which puts the lie to what UNRWA said.
Now the Foreign Ministry has taken a look at something else: It is the “refugee” population that saw an increase in unemployment. Among non-refugees, unemployment dropped by 9%. So then the question has to be asked as to how UNRWA manages those “refugees,” that they are not participating in the overall economic growth in Gaza.
Here’s another sign that UNRWA has to be dismantled.
On the political scene, we continue to spin around without quite going anywhere. Sometimes matters tilt in one direction and sometimes in another.
Back not so long ago, I had speculated that Abbas might be having second thoughts about going to the UN to have a state declared. The sign I saw was that he was stonewalling on the question of the prime minister for that unity government — insisting that it be Fayyad, even though Hamas despises him. This held up matters.
Now there has been an announcement that a unity government has been selected, with names to be revealed shortly. A step towards a joint Palestinian Authority. Abbas has backed down on his insistence that Fayyad be PM, but reportedly there is no final decision yet on who will be selected.
And so, as of now, this is my take: Abbas has weighed his options — has seen that Obama cannot move Netanyahu to pull back to those ’67 lines, as he hoped might happen — and so has decided to go with the UN after all.
This doesn’t mean that a delusional Obama is not still continuing his efforts to “break the stalemate” and get the two parties back to the table, so that he won’t have to cast a veto in the Security Council with regard to membership of a Palestinian state in the UN.
I have only words of praise for Netanyahu, who has held tight to his position. He has spelled out his parameters, again, and again, and again. They include:
 Recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people
 Relinquishment by the PLO of all further claims against Israel if an agreement is signed
 Jerusalem united under Israeli sovereignty
 No return of “refugees” to Israel
 No return to ’67 lines
 A long term military presence in the Jordan valley
 No negotiating with a PA that includes Hamas (if it has not accepted Quartet parameters)
European Parliament President, Jerzy Buzek, of Poland, was here this week. I want to look just briefly at a statement he made in the course of a press conference, because it so typifies international thinking:
“There is a unique opportunity for Israel and the Palestinians to shape a future based on dignity, unity and prosperity, which will be achieved only by negotiations.
…Now is the best time, when there is a window of opportunity…”
A window of opportunity. I wish I had a shekel for every time someone over the years has alluded to that window. It’s amazing: it never closes. Whenever people want to push negotiations, behold! they see it.
I would have far more respect for Buzek, and others like him, if they would say, look, it’s a lousy time, we know this. But we have to try anyway, have to bring matters back from the brink.
But as it is, there is no grappling with reality, no intellectual honesty whatsoever. This is how it is.
I want to reiterate what I said some days ago: There is no way within UN process or international law for the UN to bring a state into existence. And yet the media keep referring to this, public figures insist on alluding to this.
The fact is that we don’t know exactly what will happen: It depends on whether the General Assembly will play by the rules. But what we do know is that it’s not a sure thing.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon has been in Latin America, and Netanyahu is visiting states in Europe — focusing now more on eastern Europe. The goal is to achieve what Netanyahu is referring to as a “moral minority.” If the General Assembly should take some irregular action in voting a Palestinian state into existence, the point is that it should not be done unanimously. If the Western democracies in some substantial number — the goal, I believe is 30 nations — stands opposed, the weight of that vote is undercut.
There were reports just a couple of days ago indicating that the EU was opposed to unilateral Palestinian Arab action on a state. Buzek had been quoted as saying such a move could be “dangerous.”
However, he qualified this in the press conference I alluded to above. The EU is not opposed to a Palestinian bid for statehood in the UN, he said, it’s just that “it is better to negotiate the solution. It is much better to have a dialogue and understanding.”
Here’s a man hedging his bets.
If the PA does go to the UN, or otherwise takes unilateral action in the establishment of a state, then this will automatically void Oslo. Israel will be absolved of her obligation to pursue changes in the status quo that exists between Israel and the PA via negotiations.
See Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s comments on this here:
Thus, I see the possibility of a real window of opportunity here. Not the one Buzek was referring to, I assure you.
I wrote last about a mini-conference to be held here in Jerusalem on Monday night on the subject of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria as an alternative to the failed two-state solution. What I’ve seen in the time since I wrote is enormous enthusiasm in several quarters.
This might be a beginning — the very start of establishing a solid momentum. Call it working towards a paradigm shift — getting people to see that another way is not only possible but desirable. It will require commitment and planning and organizing. The point is that after the UN convenes in September may be the right time to really get this going.
I’ll have more to say after the conference.
Lt. Col. (ret.) Yonaton (Yoni) D. Halevi — one very savvy researcher — has done a briefing for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs — http://jcpa.org — on “Power Dynamics Inside Hamas”:
There has been “overt confrontation between Mahmoud al-Zahar, the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Gaza, and Damascus-based Hamas political bureau leader Khaled Mashaal [that] reflects underground currents feeding the tension within the Hamas leadership in Gaza and Syria.
“Al-Zahar is demanding that Hamas-Gaza be given more weight in decision-making, while the Hamas leadership abroad contends that the center of power should remain outside of Palestine.
“Since the Israeli disengagement from Gaza in 2005, Hamas’ decisive victory in the parliamentary elections of 2006, and Hamas’ military takeover of Gaza in June 2007, the Hamas government has gained significant political and economic power. It conducts foreign relations and imposes taxes on imports from Israel and from Egypt which have become remarkable revenue sources. This has weakened the dependence of Hamas-Gaza on the Hamas leadership abroad.
“In addition, the consolidation of the Hamas regime in Gaza, where the main military forces of the al-Qassam Brigades are stationed, has gradually changed the balance of power inside Hamas. Al-Zahar challenged Mashaal’s authority to lead the movement, arguing that the center of power should move from abroad to ‘inside’ Palestine.”
What caught my eye was this, which is has enormous implications:
“…The current main interest of Mashaal and his colleagues is to promote reconciliation with Fatah in order to pave the way for Hamas to join the PLO and take over the organization that is recognized internationally as the sole representative of the Palestinian people.”
If Hamas should gain control of the organization that is charged with negotiating on behalf of the “Palestinian people,” would people like Buzek still see a window of opportunity?