Tag Archives: UNWRA

As the next Gaza convoy sets out…

If those who organise humanitarian aid to Gaza via flotillas and other blockade-breaking adventures really are about the plight of the Palestinians, I have some news for them about Arabs and even other Palestinians persecuting their own.

True humanitarians would not ignore the behaviour of Lebanon, Jordan and Libya whilst highlighting the actions of Israel.

(H/T to Elder of Ziyon for all these stories)

The first story is about Libya.

Libya has implemented a program of taxing all of its Palestinian Arab residents.
According to Al Jazeera (Arabic), Palestinian Arabs in Libya are now forced to pay an annual fee of up to $1550, and they have to endure a host of new humiliations as well.

PalArabs have been banned from working in various jobs, including education. Relatives cannot visit them. Those who own cars are being taxed for more money than their monthly salaries. Travel documents are expiring and not being renewed, yet the Arab League does not allow Palestinian Arabs from obtaining passports from the countries they have lived in all their lives.

Residents note bitterly that all this is happening while Libya made a big show of sending a ship of aid to Gaza.
All of this is in contradiction with Libyan Law #10 of 1998 which was supposed to grant somewhat equal rights to Palestinian Arabs in that country.

This is from a country which egregiously sits on the UN Human Rights Council.

Next in the hall of infamy is Lebanon:

According to the Elder there are “well over 100,000 Gazans in Jordan with limited rights –  and no easy way to get out”.

Yes, Gazans. Gazans in a Jordanian open-air prison, Mr Cameron.

The Elder then quotes an Arab researcher called Oroub El Abed who has been documenting the plight of Palestinians:

Gazans in Jordan are doubly displaced refugees. Forced to move to Gaza as a result of the 1948 war, they fled once more when Israel occupied the Gaza Strip in 1967. Guesstimates of the number of Gazans in Jordan range between 118,000 and 150,000. A small number have entered the Jordanian citizenship scheme via naturalisation or have had the financial resources to acquire citizenship.

On arrival in Jordan, the ex-residents of Gaza were granted temporary Jordanian passports valid for two years but were not granted citizenship rights. The so-called ‘passport’ serves two purposes: it indicates to the Jordanian authorities that the Gazans and their dependents are temporary residents in Jordan and provides them with an international travel document (‘laissez-passer’) potentially enabling access to countries other than Jordan.

The ‘passport’ – which is expensive – has value as an international travel document only if receiving states permit the entry of temporary passport holdersFew countries admit them, because they have no official proof of citizenship. Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and some Gulf States are among those who refuse to honour the document. Any delay in renewing the temporary passport or in applying for one puts an individual at risk of becoming undocumented.

Since 1986 it has been harder for Gazans to compete for places in Jordanian universities as they must secure places within the 5% quota reserved for Arab foreignersEntry to professions is blocked as Gazans are not allowed to register with professional societies/unions or to establish their own offices, firms or clinics. Only those with security clearance can gain private sector employment. Those who work in the informal sector are vulnerable to being exploited. Many Gazans are keen to leave Jordan to seek employment elsewhere but are constrained from doing so. Some have attempted to leave clandestinely.

Rami was brought up in Jordan, studied law and worked for over two years for a law firm in the West Bank city of Hebron. Lacking a West Bank Israeli-issued ID, he was forced to return to Jordan every three months to renew his visitor’s visa. Due to the high cost of living he returned to Jordan in 1999 only to find himself stripped of his Jordanian temporary passport. Now without any form of identity, he notes that “being Gazan in Jordan is like being guilty.”

In Jordan, as in most other Middle-Eastern countries, women cannot pass on their citizenship to their children. Neither is citizenship granted to a child born on the territory of a state from a foreign father. Married women are forced to depend on their fathers or husbands to process documents related to their children. Because of this patriarchal conception of citizenship, children of Jordanian women married to Gazans are at risk of being left without a legal existence.

Heba, a Jordanian national, married Ahmad, a Gazan with an Egyptian travel document. A year after their marriage, Ahmad was arrested for being in Jordan without a residence permit. Deported from Jordan, he was refused re-entry to Egypt and ended up in Sudan. Heba had a child but has been unable to register the birth due to the absence of her husband. She cannot afford to go to Sudan to be with him.

(emphasis by the Elder)

But there is more on Lebanon:

Hot on the heels of the slight easing of restrictions on professions that Arabs of Palestinian descent in Lebanon can practice, the Lebanese Forces (which are mostly Christian) are trying to ensure that PalArabs cannot live in Lebanese-owned homes:

The Lebanese Forces urged the government on Saturday to find a solution to Palestinian occupants of homes owned by Lebanese in villages east of the southern port city of Sidon.

While hailing parliament’s decision to grant Palestinians working rights, an LF statement said “the Lebanese government is urged to find a quick solution to the issue which has become an unacceptable burden.”

It said homes in Miyeh Miyeh, Darb al-Sim and other areas are occupied by Palestinians.

The government should adopt an effective solution to find alternative housing to them, the LF said.

The bigotry in Lebanon against Palestinian Arabs is so entrenched that it is not newsworthy. This isn’t about the PalArabs owning land – this is saying that they cannot even live outside camps, even if they are (apparently) paying for it!

The Elder also directs us to an article in PajamasMedia which he calls Palestinian Arab “apartheid” against – Palestinian Arabs.

Depending upon whose estimate you read, there are some twenty or thirty thousand “refugees” in the Balata refugee camp outside of Nablus. Balata is simultaneously the most populous and smallest of the Palestinian refugee camps — its growing population is confined to one square kilometer, making it one of the most densely populated and miserable places on the planet.

Any regime with an ounce of compassion would have shut Balata down and integrated its people into the surrounding community. Balata is a place without hope, a quagmire of despair, where the day-to-day misery of its inhabitants is partially ameliorated by Western charities and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA), while inadvertently building a culture of dependence.

Balata’s creation could ostensibly be laid at Israel’s doorstep, but its perpetuation cannot. The current residents of Balata are only refugees by a crude reworking of the meaning of the term. They themselves have fled from nothing, and sought refuge from nothing. They are the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of the people who fled or were expelled during the 1948 war.

If you want to use the term “apartheid” to characterize some aspect of Middle East politics, then Balata is a good place to apply it. It is the Palestinian Authority’s answer to Soweto.

The PA does not permit the children of Balata to go to local schools. It does not permit the people of Balata to build outside the one square kilometer. The people of Balata are prevented from voting in local elections, and the PA provides none of the funds for the necessary infrastructure of the camp — including sewers and roads.

Balata and the other refugee camps are showcases of contrived misery. They are Potemkin villages in reverse. Naïve peace activists and unsophisticated Western clergy are led through such camps to witness the refugee drama, with Israel conveniently and prominently cast in the role of villain.

(Elder’s emphasis)

Yet we always hear the media and Palestinian huggers everywhere banging on about Israeli apartheid.

 

And let’s not forget the Egyptians who, of course, are the forgotten jailers of the Gazans, after all, if you are complaining about freedom of movement of Gazans, then why don’t the Egyptians open the Rafah crossing for them?

Oroub El Abed writes that ‘Some 50,000 Palestinian refugees live in Egypt without UN assistance or protection and burdened by many restrictive laws and regulations. Little is known about their plight and their unique status’.

El Abed believes in the mythical Right of Return but she pulls no punches about how Palestinians are treated by fellow Arabs.

The continuing plight of the Palestinians is not all down to history or the Israelis; the Arabs and the Palestinians themselves bear huge responsibility for perpetuating refugee-hood as a weapon against Israeli in total disregard of the lives and livelihood of millions of Palestinians.

And when the UN agency set up specifically and uniquely to deal with Palestinian ‘refugees’ tries to improve their lives in Gaza, they have to face Hamas’ interpretation of Islam which condemns the very people that are there to help them. The Elder lists complaints in the Palestine Times, a Hamas-run newspaper:

- The creation of a UNRWA Women’s Committee meant to foster equal rights between men and women is really meant to end chastity and purity.

- UNRWA sometimes sponsors trips for students where they are in danger of meeting Jews and Zionists.

- UNRWA schools were rumored to have taught about the Holocaust which teaches students to sympathize with Jews

- Some schools have more females than males, causing them to have more female teachers than male teachers

- UNRWA salaries are too high

- UNRWA’s services have decreased as their budget gets stretched.

And it is into the arms of these people that the flotillas and convoys are running. They don’t even seem to have their story right. Are they going to bring humanitarian aid (which they can take to an Israeli port without confrontation) or are they just intent on confrontation and provocation?

Their real motivation is to destroy Israel first, help Gazans a poor second. Indeed, each flotilla and convoy is an exercise in hypocrisy and exploitation of the very people they claim to want to help.

Flotilla farce: Hamas refuses to allow in ‘humanitarian aid’ (2)

As I write, most of the aid from the Freedom Flotilla and the Rachel Corrie that Israel has sent through to its crossings with Gaza is not being allowed in by Hamas.

Can you believe that? Its people are in such dire need but Hamas  will not allow in this ‘vital’ aid.

Where are the protests from the Free Gaza Movement about Hamas’s inhuman blockade? Why are the IHH not slammimg Hamas. Why is Turkish prime minster Erdogan not taking Hamas to task? Where is Ban Ki Moon? John Ging (UNWRA) anyone? Amnesty International? Save the Children? Human Rights Watch? All silent. Desmond Tutu? Shtum.

I see. It’s only when Israel blocks anything that it’s wrong. Now I see. Thank you so much you irrational bunch of hypocrites. At last I am enlightened.

What the hell is going on when no-one says anything about this!

Ging, Ging. Gone Native

As EU foreign policy chief, Baroness Ashton, arrived in Gaza to view the situation and make some pointless noise to demonstrate she was doing something,  the head of UNRWA, John Ging was making outrageous claims about Israel’s so-called ‘blockade’.

UNWRA is the UN Relief Agency which for 60 years has been dedicated ONLY to Palestinian refugees and the the 3 or 4 generations of their descendants since 1948. As such, it is totally separate from the UN’s main refugee organisation and is the only UN body set up to deal with a single issue.

It just so happens that most of UNWRA’s workers in Gaza are Palestinians and it has been shown, by various reports, and by its own admission, that some, if not many, of these workers are members of Hamas or other terrorist groups.

During Operation Cast Lead John Ging became world famous for his interviews including a notorious one where he claimed that the Israelis had killed dozens of people in a school when he later had to admit that it was about 7 (who were ‘militants’) outside the school.

As a member of the UN, Ging should be politically neutral. If he chooses to criticise Israel he should be careful about his facts and not do the propaganda job of militants and murderers and Israel bashers.

This is what he had to say yesterday, as reported by the BBC:

We have to have action. A thousand days and a thousand nights of a medieval siege is far too much. It’s a shame – it’s a disgrace

What! A medieval siege? Does this man know what a medieval siege was? A medieval siege stopped ANYTHING getting in to a city with the aim of starving its population. ‘Blockade’ is a term used which is itself a lie, but ‘siege’ is beyond acceptable. Where is the furore about this man’s clear alignment with the narrative of terrorists. Ging appears to have gone native.

On Tuesday day this is what was reported by the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) on their website:

13,144 tons of humanitarian aid crossed into the Gaza Strip last week

In addition to that, 1,215,602 liters of diesel fuel and 883 tons of cooking gas entered the Gaza Strip; 470 medical patients and accompanying individual were transferred to Israel and the Judea and Samaria region to receive medical treatment

Over the last week, a total of 550 truckloads, consisting of 13,144 tons of humanitarian aid, were transferred into the Gaza Strip from Israel via the various border crossings. 1,215,602 liters of diesel fuel and 883 tons of cooking gas also crossed into Gaza. Likewise, nine truckloads of carnations were exported from the Gaza Strip to Europe.

In addition to that, 470 medical patients and accompanying individuals from the Gaza Strip crossed into Israel and the Judea and Samaria region for medical treatment, and 93 Gazans entered Israel for other various reasons. 216 staff members of international organizations crossed into the Gaza Strip, and 279 crossed from the Gaza Strip into Israel.

Essential humanitarian food products, wheat and flour, meat, chicken, fish, legumes and other agricultural produce as well as animal feed, hygiene products and medical supplies were among the goods that crossed into Gaza this past week.

Now, you may not like Israel’s policy of preventing those who want to destroy it from having the means to do so, but ‘medieval siege’ is deliberately emotive language and Ging should be sacked. In fact UNWRA should long ago have been disbanded as it is now just a propaganda weapon for Hamas. In fact, Gaza receives more aid than Haiti. See The Gaza Siege myth article in ynetnews which shows the totally unbalanced approach the UN and, thus, the gullible or disingenuous world treats Israel and its relationship with its would-be murderers.

Living in Gaza is not great, but no-one is starving, hundreds of Gazans receive medical treatment in Israel and Israel co-operates with UN agencies to rebuild Gaza without Hamas or Islamic Jihad getting hold of materials with which to rebuild their terror infrastructure.

Why did Ging not condemn the rocket attack yesterday which killed a Thai worker? Why did the BBC use Ging’s locution and call it ‘the Israeli siege’? Why is everyone so purblind to the fact that Egypt has a border with Gaza and Egypt is completing a metal barrier along its entire length to shut down the smuggling tunnels which are supposed to be a ‘lifeline’ to the ‘besieged’ of Gaza when they are a death line administered from Tehran.

The only thing medieval about Gaza is the religious fanaticism of Hamas et alia and their medieval blood lust which openly declares its desire to exterminate Jews, not Israelis but Jews wherever they can be found. Why does Ging not condemn that as medieval?

Ging has become a tool of Hamas and therefore the UN is a tool of Hamas.

Gaza and Sri Lanka: The BBC News Double Standard

On Saturday the BBC reported that a “makeshift” hospital in what is supposed to be a civilian safe zone has been hit by the Sri Lankan army killing 91 Tamil civilians and injured another 87.

The Sri Lankan army has put the blame on the Tamil Tigers saying that they had carried out suicide attacks and insisted that they had stopped their heavy bombardment some days before.

It was doctors at the hospital who claimed that the Sri Lankan army had bombed the hospital. You would think they would know the difference between a suicide bomb and an artillery shell.

But in the interests of  the fair reporting standards that the BBC is so keen to tell us it upholds the reporter offers this word of warning:

Journalists are not allowed near the conflict zone, so the conflicting accounts cannot be independently verified.

I would point out to the BBC that during Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s military action against Hamas in December and January, no such statement ever appeared on the BBC News website or TV broadcasts. The BBC, and its viewers, were asked to swallow whole reports from just one side of the conflict, coming through UNWRA which, in turn, received all their information directly from Hamas. This lead, for example,  to the misreporting by UNWRA head John Ging of the supposed attack on a UN school where 41 people were reported to have been killed. Later, Ging had to concede that no such incident had taken place and about a dozen people had been killed outside the school, the majority of whom were combatants.

But the BBC STILL REPORTS THIS INCIDENT AS IF IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED. and adds a pathetic “Update” at the end:

In February 2009, the United Nations said that a clerical error had led it to report that Israeli mortars had struck a UN-run school in Jabaliya, Gaza, on 6 January killing about 40 people. Maxwell Gaylord, the UN humanitarian co-ordinator in Jerusalem, said that the Israeli Defense Force mortars fell in the street near the compound, and not on the compound itself. He said that the UN “would like to clarify that the shelling and all of the fatalities took place outside and not inside the school”.

Some “clerical error”! It doesn’t even mention the fact that only 12, not 40 had been killed, and it only mentions obliquely the IDF investigation which actually names most of the fatalities and identifies them as know Hamas combatants.

Why does the BBC not just withdraw completely this lie. The report is still there with the headline “‘Stray mortar’ hit UN Gaza school” and a photograph of an injured child being carried from an ambulance, presumably to a hospital even though we now know that NO CHILDREN WERE INJURED IN THE SCHOOL.

So why does the BBC continue to post a lie or, to be generous, an erroneous report which appeared to have the authority of the UN and which the UN corrected later?  The UN report was so credible that, according to the BBC, even the IDF at first believed it and produced the “stray mortar” story. But:

The [Israeli] statement was made anonymously to the media because the investigation had not yet been made public by the military

So this wasn’t even the official IDF position at the time but suited the BBC’s biased viewpoint, so they printed it.

The BBC report continues:

The dropping of the defence that Hamas mortars had come from within the school compound may cause some embarrassment to Israel in what has been a high profile incident.

The initial “human shield” claim was made forcefully after the killings by the military, politicians and many supporters of Israel.

“Hamas cynically uses civilians as human shields,” the military said in its initial statement, and later it went as far as naming two well-known Hamas militants among those killed at the school.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev called the incident “a very extreme example of how Hamas operates”.

It is not clear what credibility the change of position will be given by observers. 

The last sentence says it all really: the Israeli government was not to be believed. It was Israel who were the war criminals, Israel who breached every rule of warfare and Hamas who were  the victims. This is in marked contrast to the BBC’s Sri Lanka report where it emphasises that story cannot be verified.

The IDF has clearly shown that Hamas not only used Human Shield policies but operated in cynical violation and total disdain of international law throughout the conflict. Yet the BBC still sees fit to perpetuate its own misreporting and offer a dismal and ineffective rider.

Hamas Propaganda and the Lies About Gazan Casualties (2)

The Jerusalem Post reports more information about the alleged attack by the IDF on a UN school in Gaza during the recent conflict.

If you remember, the world, and in particular, John Ging UNRWA Head in Gaza, were outraged by an attack by the IDF that reportedly killed 42 people INSIDE the school. Ging later claimed he never said this and that the casualties were ‘near’ the school.

Since Operation Cast Lead the Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) has been meticulously gathering information and statistics about casualties. Here are its findings with regard to this specific incident:

“12 Palestinians were killed in the shelling near a UN school in Jabalya, north of Gaza City – and not 42 as claimed by Palestinian officials at the time”

The names of 7 of the dead have been disclosed to the JP, 5 men and 2 women. This makes 9 names out of the 12 killed that the CLA has now discovered.

The IDF claimed that it was returning mortar fire from the vicinity of the school.

But here’s the clincher:

“On the day of the incident, officials further said, officers from the CLA contacted the Palestinian Health Ministry and were told that three Palestinian civilians had been killed and that Hamas was hiding the identities of the remaining casualties. “

Yet the UN is still seeking “to gain clarity” and is compiling its own figures. No doubt they are going back to the very people who lied to them in the first place, namely Hamas. The same people who held up UNWRA employees at gunpoint and stole Aid intended for Palestinians in need. The same Hamas who the UN left to guard a weapon stockpile which subsequently mysteriously disappeared.

I cannot give any credence to the statistics of the UN or any of their operatives when their source is Hamas or people who are being terrorised by Hamas, namely the people of Gaza, who will spout any lie that will protect them from the retribution of a vicious gang of thugs and murderers.

Can We Have Our Munitions Back Please

So you are the UN operating in Gaza and you decide that it is incumbent on you to go round the Strip collecting unexploded munitions from the recent Israeli-Hamas conflict.

You decide to place these munitions in a warehouse for future safe disposal and you need someone to guard them.

So who do you pick? Why, Hamas of course!

Then when you find that the warehouse is suddenly empty you plead with Hamas, “can we have our munitions back please?”

What kind of madness is this?

1. Hamas is classified as a terrorist organisation by the UN

2. UNWRA workers were recently held at gunpoint and had tonnes of aid stolen by Hamas

3. Who do the UN think Hamas might use these munitions against?

It is totally unbelievable. Now tell us that the UN is not deeply implicated with Hamas in Gaza. Where is their judgement? Where is their commonsense?

The UN has now, effectively, turned itself into a partner for a terrorist organisation.