Monday, August 22, 2016

Another Rocket in the area? OK - Let's Get on with the Music Festival

The Israeli military hit more than 50 terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, following Palestinian rocket fire at Israel's southern town of Sderot.

Israeli commanders said the retaliatory strikes marked the greatest blow suffered by Hamas since Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

The rocket fired from Gaza landed in a residential area, exploding next to a house and causing no damage or injuries. Police and Homefront Command forces cordoned off the area while sappers safely removed the projectile from the premises.

"The IAF targeted terrorist infrastructure in response to projectile fire at the city of Sderot, which violated Israel's sovereignty and placed Israeli lives at risk. Hamas is the sovereign ruler of the Gaza Strip and it will be held responsible for any terrorist attack emanating from Gaza." an IDF statement said.

The attack disrupted the Live Sderot music festival that had been taking place in the city. Mayor Alon Davidi consulted with police and military officials, and was granted permission to resume the festival, which saw some 5,000 visitors. Israelis gathered to celebrate.


"We'll prove to anyone who wants to harm us and disrupt our lives that they can't do that," said one festival goer. "Naturally, we have some concerns over the rocket fire, but rocket or no rocket -- life has to go on."

Syrian refugee creates website to thank Israelis

Israel has very quietly helping Syrian refugees long before the rest of the world were paying attention to the conflict's human disaster.   There were/are many projects such as setting medical hospital up north, opening the borders to treat injured Syrians.  Israeli children collecting jackets and blankets in the winters to clothes Syrian children.  They were concerned that Syrians parents may not use Israeli clothes because the cloths tags are in Hebrew so they tore out all the tags.  They did not give the clothes/blankest for acknowledgment but to make sure the Syrian children are warm in the winter.    Israel doesn't toot its own horn when it engages in humanitarian aid.  They simply do it out of sense of compassion and express Jewish values.

Now,  a Syrian refugee living in Turkey feels safe enough to begin sharing.  He has many hits from Arabs who cannot speak out in encouragement to speak for them too 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

More Fatah glorification of terrorism ignored by the BBC

From Hadar Sela of BBC Watch = Aug 18th
Last month we noted the predictable absence of any BBC coverage of the annual paramilitary summer camps organised by the terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad for children and youth in the Gaza Strip. Now Palestinian Media Watch brings us news of another terror glorifying children’s summer camp.  This one, however, did not take place in the Gaza Strip and was not run by Islamist terror groups.

“As part of the closing ceremony of a summer camp for Palestinian children organized by the Palestinian National Committee of Summer Camps and the Fatah Movement, Palestinian children performed a play showing the alleged “cruel attitude of the Zionist jailer towards our [Palestinian] heroic prisoners.” 

The summer camp was named after terrorist Muhammad Al-Shubaki, who stabbed and wounded an Israel soldier at the entrance to the Al-Fawwar refugee camp on Nov. 25, 2015. The terrorist’s father spoke at the closing ceremony of the summer camp, expressing his “pride and thanks for the gesture of memorializing the heroic Martyrs.””

The BBC’s profile of Fatah continues to inform audiences that the movement “signed a declaration rejecting attacks on civilians in Israel and committing themselves to peace and co-existence.”

As long as the corporation continues to avoid reporting cases of blatant glorification of terrorism by the PA’s dominant party Fatah such as this summer camp, audiences will of course be unable to put that supposed Fatah ‘commitment’ to “peace and co-existence” into its appropriate context and the BBC will continue to fail to meet its purpose remit of building “understanding of international issues”. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Arab claimed village of Sussiya is illegal, that is a fact – got it?

The “Global Shabbat against demolitions” this past weekend gathered around 300 Jews from some five countries to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian village of Sussiya. They claimed that “As Jews, we say emphatically that “forced displacement”, dislocation and demolition do not represent our values.” However, the fact is that these so-called “activists” are simply expressing anti-Israel bias by supporting thieves and squatters who have illegally settled on swaths of state land. So writes Josh Hasten in the Jerusalem Post
Take the case of the town of Sussiya, which has recently been making its way to the top of the news cycle around the globe. Sussiya is a small, ancient and historical Jewish community in the Southern Hebron Hills. But the interest isn’t actually on Jewish Sussiya, a thriving Jewish town today which archeological evidence indicates was originally a Jewish village established around 1,500 years ago. Instead the attention is being given to what some call “Arab Sussiya,” an illegal encampment built on state land adjacent to the Jewish historical site.
The reason for the fuss is that following years of back-and-forth court hearings, with the High Court issuing an order calling to knock down the illegal structures on the site, the Civil Administration might finally carry out its duty. All that remains is the approval of Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who was asked to issue a ruling around August 15 in response to a petition drafted by the NGO Regavim to implement the demolition.


Regavim has been monitoring the illegal building and expansion on state land taking place at Sussiya over the past several years and per the organization’s mandate is insisting the Civil Administration uphold the law and remove the squatters from land that is not theirs. While Regavim stands nearly on its own defending Israel’s state land, around 50 other NGOs have come forward to defend the land thieves.

These 
anti-Israel NGOs both here and abroad are appealing to foreign entities including the US State Department to pressure Minister Liberman not to carry out the demolition of “Arab Sussiya.” These groups claim that the encampment is an ancient “historical” Palestinian village. To put it bluntly, that is a complete fabrication.

Surveys of villages and populations conducted by the British Mandatory powers in 1945, which mention all of the villages in the area and even some of the inhabitants, prove there is no hint of the existence of an Arab village named Sussiya. More recently aerial photos from 1999 show nothing resembling a village in that area. An identical photo from 2013 shows how squatters have infiltrated the locale.

Regavim research also shows that this clan of bandits is mainly from the Nawajah family who reside in the nearby town of Yatta. In 1986, using the ruse of being harmless shepherds in search of grazing land, members of the clan settled at the archeological site itself, but were evicted by the IDF. It was at that point that they moved to their current location. The Nawajah family has tried to take permanent control of the area ever since, in complete violation of the law.

“But won’t the Arabs be left homeless,” if Israel were to destroy the structures? First, let’s remember that most of the trespassers are homeowners in Yatta. In other words, they can simply go home. But even so, out of humanitarian concerns and leniency, Israel agreed to allot an alternate area to the residents of the encampment, on state land adjacent to Yatta. The Arabs rejected this generous offer, proving it’s not about providing adequate housing and a future for their children, but all about illegal encroachment on Israeli lands in area C of Judea.

A similar strategy of Arabs illegally squatting and building on state land in area C is currently being implemented in other parts of Judea and Samaria by the Palestinian Authority with backing and funding from the European Union, to the tune of hundreds of millions of euros. The goal is to illegally create a unilateral de-facto Palestinian state in area C and avoid any future peace talks with Israel.

So while some anti-Israel Jews are getting together to support the thieves, let’s hope the defense minister makes the right decision to halt the illegal activity at Sussiya by taking down the illegal buildings, thus sending a message that in a democracy such as Israel, the established laws must be upheld.

Who actually cares that foreign aid is diverted from needy Gazans to terror?

 Arnold Roth in his latest blog “This Ongoing War”  discusses what can only be called “apathy” and even “irresponsibility” to the disclosures that tax payers money is beinig used for one of the most expensive projects in the world – the tunnels under Gaza.

He writes “Audit firms, governments and Christian aid groups are sorting out their post-exposé strategies following the arrests of several Palestinian Arabs on charges of illegally and surreptitiously siphoning vast sums into Palestinian Arab terror”

In a precised version of the blog, he further writes - "Yet the human rights organisations and the taxpayers around the world don’t seem to be expressing concern at the diversion of funds have caused.

The latest news from Gaza - just this month and just from Palestinian Arab sources indicates this vast engineering project is not going smoothly:

·                August 6, 2016: Tunnel collaps." [IMEMC, a Palestinian media source which "combines Palestinian journalists’ deep understanding of the context, history, and the socio-political environment with International journalists’ skills in non-partisan reporting."]

·                August 10, 2016: Another tunnel collapse [Ma'an News Agency, based in Bethlehem]

·                August 14, 2016: Yet anoth collapse. The Institute for Palestine Studies reported in 2012 that Hamas authorities had counted 160 deaths inside the tunnels since the Israeli blockade began in 2007, and in August 2014, al-Jazeera reported that figure to be as high as 400." [IMEMC]

This is infrastructure investment is on a truly serious scale. So, in hideous terms, is the pay-off:

"A Hamas operative who was captured in June after illegally crossing into Israel revealed that the terrorist group’s fighters can travel underground throughout the entirety of Gaza." [The Tower, August 11, 2016]

David Feith, of the Wall Street Journal reaffirms the depressing point ["Your Tax Dollars Fund Palestinian Terror", August 11, 2016] that none of this could happen but for the willful blindness of governments, foremost among them the United States.

This revelation should spur a broader reassessment of American aid to the Palestinian government... [since] the Palestinian government has used U.S. and other foreign taxpayers’ money to pay generous rewards to the families of terrorists. The deadlier the crime, the larger the prize, up to about $3,100 a month, or several times the average salary of a worker in Palestine’s non-terrorist economy... No U.S. official can plead ignorance. Palestinian law has sanctioned these payments since at least 2004, specifying how much money is earned depending on the circumstances of the attacker and the body count. [WSJ, August 11, 2016

Unfortunately there have been few signs from the aid agencies themselves that they acknowledge the problems (other than the problem of facing accusations from the unloved government of Israel) and in particular that their internal checks are lacking. At the UNDP, they are now saying they have zero tolerance for wrongdoing in all of its programmes and projects [The Guardian, August 9, 2016]
so look elsewhere for solutions, they seem to say.This is bold and brave of them considering that two years ago, an internal UN audit report found serious short-comings including

·                Their Gaza operation should have been using an electronic funds transfer system with local banks that would have allowed the UNDP program to “be notified electronically when any bank transactions take place,”  including, as the report delicately puts it, “transactions not made by UNDP.” But it didn't use it. Why? Good question.
·                Core procurement  processes for ordering up “significant” civil construction activities that were supposed to be handled strictly by staffers - were not. Outsiders somehow got into the process. Why? Anyone's guess. The auditors called this a “critical” lapse and demanded “prompt action... to ensure that UNDP is not exposed to high risks. Failure to take action could result in major negative consequences for UNDP.” We will watch to see whether this fault gets mentioned in future media reports. 

·                "The office’s internal financial tracking system — a UNDP-wide system known as Atlas — was improperly recording at least $8 million worth of civil construction spending at far less than its full value, a practice that UNDP auditors noted could keep the activity under the radar of higher-level U.N. officials who must approve purchase orders above defined cost threshold levels."

·                Expenditures and receipts were not adequately tracked in the financial system. For instance, a sampling of 41 payment vouchers showed 12 purchase orders had no receipts recorded. “This practice,” the report noted, “increases the risk of paying for goods that are not delivered.” [Fox News, August 11, 2014]

Aid workers privately admit to feeling pressure from Hamas, with the powerful group seeking to influence how projects are organized. In a few rare cases NGOs have seen their offices temporary closed by Hamas... ["Foreign aid workers fear the impact of Hamas allegations", AFP/Saudi Gazette, August 11, 2016]


Israel's concern for the well-being of the Gazans, suffering for years already under the jackboot of a kelptocratic Fatah regime and then, for the past nine years, under the ruthless Islamists of Hamas, may not be top of its list of concerns. But it's undoubtedly a concern. "

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Thoughts of a Christian volunteer in Israel.


I have spent a year working as a volunteer in a ward of a Hadassah hospital for cancer patients.

It is place of desperation sometimes for the patients and their anxious families.  And always, a place of dedication, by the hardworking staff.  

Because of the length of stay, a relationship builds between the staff and the patient and the family member who stays with them.  Hope and joy, tears and suffering, are the daily emotions for all.  The highly qualified staff work under stress, but with great compassion. 

I have memories that will stay with me always.  Sad ones, like parents sitting helplessly besides their suffering children as their small bodies battle the cancer and the drugs.  Happy ones like hugs all round and the sense of celebration when someone leaves completely cured. 

Lasting impressions will include meeting various nationalities such as Russian, Ukrainian, Siberian, Bolivian, Cypriot, Nigerian, British, American, Bulgarian, as well as Israeli Jews and Arabs, and Arabs from the Territories.  People from all over the world who have come to Israel to take advantage of its advanced research and treatment.

The media speaks of the ‘Arab Israeli conflict’.  Blame is usually heaped on Israel and among the many biased and out of context accusations, the ugly word – apartheid is one.  Let the accusers come with me and watch the working relationship between Jewish and Arab staff, and the equal treatment given to Arab patients.  Let them observe the loving interaction between Jews and Arabs:  a rabbi speaking words of comfort to a Bedouin  mother; the group of Jewish  young people singing fun Purim songs to Arab children as well as Jewish; a very orthodox man who plays his accordion for the patients telling me with delight how much pleasure it had given the little Arab boy whose illness had caused blindness; Jewish and Arab family members comforting each other.

In my previous volunteer position of several years, I encountered the same equality of care and compassion given to Arabs from Israeli Aid organizations. I also learned about Jewish sponsored programs that encouraged cultural interaction between Jewish and Arab children and young people.  


In this special world of battling the formidable enemy called cancer, I see again the heart and intent of Israel that I have come to appreciate and which most of the world refuses to acknowledge. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Where Do Tax Moneys Really Go?

How Hamas exploited World Vision in Gaza to support its terrorist activities

World Vision

·       World Vision is a respected global humanitarian aid organization operating in over 100 countries, with a budget of $2.6 billion (USD) and 46,000 employees.
·       World Vision is one of the largest aid organizations in the world and operates in collaboration with the UN.
·       World Vision has operated in Israel, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and the Gaza Strip since 1975.

The extent of World Vision funds channeled to the terrorist/military arm of Hamas
·       60% of World Vision’s annual budget for the Gaza Strip was diverted by Hamas operative Mohammed El-Halabi to Hamas (approximately $7.2 million/year).
·       40% of the funds designated for civilian projects ($1.5 million/year) were given in cash to Hamas combat units.
·       Monies designated for the needy in Gaza ($4 million/year) were diverted to Hamas for the construction of terror tunnels and the purchase of weapons.

Terrorist/military projects build with World Vision funds

·       A Hamas military base (code-named “Palestine”) was built using the aid organization’s money. $80,000 received from the United Kingdom went to construction costs of the base, paid in cash, while salaries were paid to terrorists who worked in the construction of the base.  
·       The aid organization’s funds were diverted to finance the digging of terror tunnels leading from the Gaza Strip into Israel. [Note: These are not smuggling tunnels; they are designed to carry out attacks on civilian communities in Israel and Israeli security forces.]
·       Hamas received building materials from the aid organization that it used for its military facilities and terror tunnels, including iron rods, fences, greenhouse covers [used for camouflage purposes] and pipes.
·       During the Morsi regime in Egypt, El-Halabi diverted tens of thousands of dollars of the aid organization’s funds to purchase weapons in the Sinai, for Hamas.

Food designated for the needy was transferred directly to Hamas military  units in northern Gaza

·       2,500 food packages worth $100 each went to terrorists [total value $250,000].
3,300 packages of cleaning supplies and personal hygiene products worth $80 each were also given to Hamas units [total value $264,000].

How the money was transferred to Hamas

·       Some of the money raised to support injured children in Gaza was diverted to the families of Hamas terrorists, by fraudulently listing their children as wounded.
·       Money designated for psychological support, education and health in Gaza ($2 million/year) was used to pay the families of Hamas terrorists.
·       Part of the aid organization’s donations was transferred in cash and recorded fraudulently as aid to needy children.
·       Monies were paid out as salaries to Hamas terrorists and activists, who were registered as employees of the aid organization when in fact they never worked for World Vision.
·       Costs for legitimate infrastructure projects were inflated, with the difference going to Hamas.
·       Straw companies - two farmers' associations and a fake charity for the benefit of the injured - were established with false registers to launder money.
·       Unemployment payments were diverted to Hamas terrorists. El-Halabi arranged for one-third of the allowances World Vision transfers to Gaza for the unemployed to go to members of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. The terrorists also received a larger allowance (NIS 1500 instead of NIS 1250, or $300).
·       Using lists of fictitious beneficiaries, $2 million/year designated as aid for farmers was diverted to Hamas activists. El-Halabi reported a larger sum than that actually transferred to the farmers to World Vision. The difference was diverted to Hamas.

·       Project costs were inflated. For example, World Vision invests in many agricultural projects in northern Gaza, one of which involves the construction of 500 greenhouses and the preparation of land (495 acres) for agriculture. El-Halabi reported to the charity that the cost was $1,000 per quarter acre, while the real cost was $700. The difference – $300 per quarter acre - was transferred to Hamas.