Monday, February 05, 2024

From Ian:

Bassam Tawil: Biden's 'Two-State Solution' To Reward Palestinian Terrorism, Destroy Israel
The declared policy... of the US and Britain since the 1993-95 Oslo Accords has been that a two-state solution should come as part of a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.

If the Oslo Accords are so cavalierly abrogated, what do any international agreements mean, and why would any country sign one in the future?

The assumption that normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia in return for the establishment of another failed and corrupt Arab state would bring peace, security and stability to the Middle East is a deadly fantasy.

The Americans and British are evidently no longer demanding that the Palestinians halt their homicidal incitement against Israel and Jews or stop paying financial rewards to Palestinian terrorists who murder Jews.

The Americans and the British are also ignoring the fact that most Palestinians are opposed to the idea of a two-state solution because they want a Palestinian state to replace Israel, not have a state next to it.

Those who are promoting the idea of creating a Palestinian terror state next to Israel -- again capitulating to terrorists and rewarding terrorism -- are paving the way for more October 7-like massacres. They are essentially asking Israel to commit suicide at a time when its soldiers are fighting to eradicate Hamas and ensure that the Gaza Strip will no longer serve Hamas, or its terror master Iran, as a base for murdering Jews, Americans or anyone else in the West.
Israel's Long War for the West
The common thread weaving Hamas, Hezbollah and the Shia militias together is the significant funding and support each receives from Iran, which has in turn received it from the Obama and Biden administrations. When the Biden administration came in, Iran had $6 billion of reserves; it now has, according to former US Army Gen. Jack Keane, more than $100 billion-- which is presumably what it used to finance its proxies and its nuclear program.

The Biden administration now appears about to compound the problem with another catastrophic retreat: there are reported to be discussions about the US pulling its troops out of oil-rich Iraq – just as the Iranian regime has been trying to force the US to do since Iran's Islamic Revolution of 1979.

"Israel didn't start this war. Israel didn't want this war.... In fighting Hamas and the Iranian axis of terror, Israel is fighting the enemies of civilization itself.... While Israel is doing everything to get Palestinian civilians out of harm's way, Hamas is doing everything to keep Palestinian civilians in harm's way. Israel urges Palestinian civilians to leave the areas of armed conflict, while Hamas prevents those civilians from leaving those areas at gunpoint." — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Wall Street Journal.

Iran's former Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi recently confirmed that the "the confrontation between Iran and Israel will continue as long as [Israel] exists... even if a Palestinian state is established."

Israel is actually well on its way to winning. The least we can do is to enable it to have whatever it needs to complete its mission, and the time in which to do it.

[P]rotecting our borders and protecting our allies is not an either-or choice.... America's outstanding troops are fighting abroad not because the US is irresponsibly gallant, and not recklessly to fund the military-industrial complex, but to defend us here at home better.

If you have a strong military, you will not have to use it: no one will test you.
Palestinians have no future with UNRWA
As a UN agency, UNRWA is supposed to remain impartial and work solely on humanitarian efforts for Palestinians. However, UNRWA has a history of promoting antisemitic violence in its school systems, glorifying terrorism and teaching students to become martyrs.

Hamas has regularly used UNRWA schools as military bases, weapon storage facilities and rocket launching pads. How can an organization call itself impartial when it actively promotes Hamas’s ideology in the Palestinian school curriculum and gives the terror group the ability to launch an assault against Israel?

Since the Hamas-Israel war began on October 7, more and more evidence has emerged on how Hamas has infested itself within the agency. UNRWA teachers can masquerade as ordinary civilians with legitimate UN employee IDs, then simultaneously work as military combatants for Hamas.

The initial evidence came about after one Israeli hostage who was released in the first hostage-prisoner swap revealed that he had been held captive in the attic of a teacher employed by UNRWA (who was also a father of 10 children). The former hostage said he had been locked away for nearly 50 days and was barely provided with food or any medical needs. A month later, UN Watch, a Geneva-based nonprofit that monitors the UN, revealed that 3,000 UNRWA educational employees celebrated the October 7 massacre and called for the execution of the hostages in a telegram channel.

All of these are terrible revelations on their own and prove that UNRWA is far from impartial and, at the very least, complicit in aiding Hamas. However, this was just the tip of the iceberg, as more evidence has come out over just how involved UNRWA staff were in the murder and kidnapping of Israelis. What we can confidently say is that the United Nations is using global taxpayer money to fund the salaries of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists.

Israel has exposed that 12 UNRWA employees in Gaza were directly involved with Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israeli civilians. It is difficult to wrap your head around how the crimes committed by these 12 individuals and the fact that the UN pays for their salaries. The allegations against them include kidnapping hostages, participating in the actual murder of Israeli civilians and filming hostages being taken captive. One of the twelve is an UNRWA elementary school teacher who has been accused of being a Hamas commander and of having participated in the massacre in Kibbutz Be’eri.

At the same time, another is a UNRWA social worker who was involved in the kidnapping of an IDF soldier’s body on October 7. Israel’s revelations summarize that six UNRWA employees infiltrated Israel as part of the massacre, four were involved in kidnapping Israelis, and three additional UNRWA employees were “invited via an SMS text to arrive at an assembly area the night before the attack and were directed to equip themselves with weapons.”

Gadi Taub: Israelis Won’t Stand for Anything Short of Victory in Gaza
Most Israelis know full well that no moral equation can make the fate of 136 people outweigh that of 10 million. Most Israelis also believe that teaching our enemies that they can force us to surrender if they just kidnap enough of us in our own homes is not a good idea.

Since the American press gets most of its information about Israel from the Israeli press, and since the latter amplifies the “Bring Them Home, Now!” campaign, the strength of the counterprotest movement is generally not appreciated outside Israel. The movement involves more than just protests by reservists. A forum called Mothers of IDF Soldiers has just published an open letter to President Biden. “We are an organization of mothers of IDF soldiers, who are now serving on the front lines in the war for our national survival,” the letter says. “We accept the inherent risks our sons and daughters take, but we cannot accept placing their lives in unnecessary danger due to concerns for the enemy population.” They go on to say that “Israel has to keep fighting until all of our War Cabinet goals are achieved: Hamas is defeated, and our 136 hostages are freed.” They also demand “No further entry of humanitarian aid or fuel,” which they say goes directly to Hamas and only prolongs the war that their children are fighting, and that causes Gazans to suffer as well. Recognizing that this stance is in line with public opinion, war cabinet ministers and Netanyahu rivals Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot are now reportedly considering limiting the amount of aid entering Gaza.

You will not convince mothers or fathers who have assumed the risk of losing their sons and daughters—not to mention those who have already sacrificed a child in this war—that Israel can just leave the Gaza Strip without victory. And then there is a recent open letter to the war cabinet, published in prominent journalist Amit Segal’s Telegram channel, by 130 senior reserve officers demanding perseverance till victory.

These forces are now ready, it seems, to test their power: A demonstration is being organized for Thursday, Feb. 8, not far from the Knesset, to demand victory. Last week already saw a clash between a “Bring Them Home, Now!” march in Tel Aviv and evacuees from the south and the far north, when the march passed by a hotel where evacuated families have been housed for almost four months. Predictably, the incident got little attention in the press. One brief online story in Maariv, however, included a video of a displaced woman shouting at the marchers, “You want the soldiers to come back home? How will I return home? Should I return and let Hezbollah come to slaughter me? Promise me they won’t slaughter me, idiots.”

On Jan. 18, a handful of activists blocked Ayalon Highway, which crosses Tel Aviv, with the number 136, the number of the hostages, written on the asphalt in fire. The Israeli press lavished attention on the incident. Yet the same press gives much less attention to another kind of road-blocking protest going on for the last two weeks, which also reportedly included families of hostages, and which is delaying the entry of “humanitarian aid” trucks into Gaza. Clearly, this group wants to increase the pressure on Hamas, not reach a deal with it.

If you ask yourself which of the two movements will eventually have its way, you should first ask yourself how you rate the moral fiber of Israelis in general, not how you rate the political sophistication of their elites. If you believe that Israel has become soft and spoiled, you’ll arrive at the conclusion that Hamas will be able to bring us to our knees by torturing us with videos of the hostages. If, however, you think we might be worthy successors to the ’48 generation, then the conclusion seems to be this: No government will be able to hold power in this country if it resigns itself to defeat at the hands of genocidal jihadists.

Biden Executive Order Should Sanction Palestinians
The order is titled “Executive Order on Imposing Certain Sanctions on Persons Undermining Peace, Security, and Stability in the West Bank.” The text says it applies to “any foreign person,” not only Jews, “that threaten the peace, security, or stability of the West Bank” by “an act of violence or threat of violence targeting civilians” and applies to “a leader or official of an entity, including any government entity, that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, any of the activities.”

If the president applies these criteria to all the parties in the West Bank, he’s got a lot of sanctioning to do, considering that the IDF reported there were 25,257 Palestinian attacks against Jewish settlers between 2019 and 2022. Many reports with exaggerated figures have been published in recent months to gin up criticism of settlers, but the reality remains that the overwhelming majority of extremist violence is perpetrated against Jews not Palestinians.

If the administration is serious, the following must be sanctioned:
- The Palestinian Authority, which is a “government entity” that threatens peace and stability by incitement to violence, glorifying murderers, and adopting an educational curriculum that encourages antisemitism and a rejection of coexistence.
- Mahmoud Abbas and the rest of the officials responsible for incentivizing violence against Jews by paying murderers and the families of suicide bombers through “pay-to-slay” subsidies.
- Official Palestinian media outlets, which are filled with incitement against Jews and Israel.
Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad are already on the U.S. designated terrorist list, so all of their members qualify, as do others on the list, including the Palestine Liberation Front — Abu Abbas Faction, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, and those that should be on the list such as The Lion’s Den, Tanzim, Popular Resistance Committees, and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
- The PLO, which remains committed to the phased strategy for the “complete liberation of Palestine,” as reflected in all the P.A. maps.
- Fatah, which released a video showing members of its Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades participating and bragging about their role in the October 7 massacre.
- Palestinian security forces involved in the murder and torture of Palestinians. While most of the violence of Palestinians in the West Bank is directed at settlers and Jews inside the Green Line, the P.A. also brutalizes its people.
- UNRWA, which runs 19 refugee camps in the West Bank. While we don’t yet know how many staff members of UNRWA in the West Bank are members of Hamas, it would be surprising if many were not affiliated with it and the other terror groups. Staffing aside, we know that UNRWA uses the same textbooks full of hatred and incitement against Israel and Jews in the West Bank that it disseminates in Gaza.

The Biden administration refuses to acknowledge that the handful of extremist settlers are not the obstacle to peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The president should know better. He is surely aware that the Palestinians have rejected statehood offers going back to 1937 and as recently as 2008. Biden knows that Abbas has refused to negotiate with any Israeli prime minister in the last 15 years, which includes Biden’s time as vice president and the three years of his presidency. He also must understand why Benjamin Netanyahu came to power and the entire Israeli electorate shifted to the right after the “land for peace” myth collapsed with Hamas terror following Israel’s disengagement from Gaza.

The president’s executive order could contribute to peace only if enforced fairly. If the administration only sanctions Jews, it will be guilty of antisemitism. How hypocritical would that be considering the administration’s proclaimed commitment to fighting antisemitism?

Senate package doesn’t fund UN agency after allegations tied to Oct. 7 attacks
An $118.3 billion Senate foreign aid and border security package does not include any funding for United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the U.N. agency that employed 12 people accused by Israel of participating in the Oct. 7 attack on Israeli civilians.

The legislation includes $10 billion in humanitarian assistance to provide food, water, shelter and medical care to civilian populations in Ukraine and Gaza. The assistance for Palestinian civilians includes guardrails to prevent it from being diverted to Hamas or other terrorist groups.

The legislation will block UNRWA from receiving U.S. funding while the allegations against its former employees are being investigated. That, however, will not diminish the total amount of humanitarian aid allocated to Gaza, according to a Senate aide familiar with the package.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said last week that nine of the former UNRWA workers facing accusations had been fired. The U.N. said two others had died.

Progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) last week called on the administration to restore funding to the relief agency, warning that failing to do so would risk a humanitarian disaster.

“Obviously, it’s not acceptable for any of the 13,000 UNRWA employees in Gaza to be involved with Hamas, and allegations against the 12 people charged must be investigated. However, we cannot allow millions to suffer because of the actions of 12 people,” he said.

Kenneth Roth, the former executive director of Human Rights Watch, said earlier Sunday that suspending funding to UNRWA “is not the answer.”

“If some members of a police department committed a crime, one would hold those individuals to account, not disband the entire police force,” he wrote on social media before the details of the Senate bill became public.
SEC. 614. None of the funds appropriated or other11
wise made available by this division and division B of this
12 Act, and prior Acts making appropriations for the Depart13
ment of State, foreign operations, and related programs,
14 may be made available for a contribution, grant, or other
15 payment to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency,
16 notwithstanding any other provision of law.

Senate legislation targets Palestinian education, schools teaching hate
Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have proposed a new law in response to reports that educators for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) had taught bigotry to their students.

Titled “The Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act,” the legislation introduced on Jan. 31 would oblige the U.S. Secretary of State to provide regular reports to Congress about what Palestinian students are learning.

Reports would include reviews of whether the curriculum encourages violence; an analysis of the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to reform the curriculum; determinations if any taxpayer dollars are funding materials taught; and summaries of diplomatic efforts in these areas.

“The Palestinian people suffer because of Hamas and its radical ideology,” said Kennedy before describing how the bill “would ensure that not a single U.S. taxpayer dollar goes to schools that teach young children the same hate that inspired the Oct. 7 attacks against Israel.”

Kennedy had previously put forward the bill in 2021.

Mark Dubowitz: Biden response strikes only a distraction unless they target, destroy top Iranian military leaders, capabilities
Iran-backed terrorist proxies recently killed three American soldiers and wounded more than 40.

After a week of publicly telegraphing their plans to strike back, the Biden administration over the weekend hit 85 targets in Iraq and Syria and 36 targets in Yemen.

It is too early to assess how effective these US strikes have been and whether we will see multiple strikes over the coming days and weeks.

We will hear about how many targets were struck, how many militia members were killed, and which military capabilities were destroyed. Strike at Iran

But this is a distraction: We should assess the effectiveness of these strikes by how many senior officers of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are killed and how many of the military capabilities of the Islamic Republic of Iran are destroyed.

We should not be impressed by the administration’s assessment of how American bombs took out ammunition dumps, intelligence facilities, radars and command and control centers controlled by militias, and Iraqis, Syrians and Yemenis fighting for Tehran.

After all, Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, is happy to replenish his terror proxies with more weapons to fight the US and our allies to the last militia member.

Iran is "directly involved" with the attacks on shipping vessels in the Red Sea that Yemen's Houthi terrorists have been carrying out in support of Hamas, the US Navy's chief Mideast commander Vice Adm. Brad Cooper said.

What he really fears is direct American power against his regime.

We should learn from the Israelis. Israel has quietly killed 17 senior officers of the Revolutionary Guards since Dec. 25. The IRGC has now pulled their senior commanders out of Syria.

The Israelis don’t telegraph their punches, they don’t leak to reporters their plans, they don’t let their targets get out of Dodge. They strike the regime directly. They keep quiet.
Biden called Netanyahu a ‘bad f–king guy’ as support for war in Gaza costs him voters: report
Joe Biden has privately ripped Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu as a “bad f–king guy” as the Gaza war rages and negatively affects the president’s reach with young voters, well-placed sources say in a new report.

Biden has grown suspicious of the Israeli prime minister as the conflict nears its fourth month, deriding Netanyahu with the comment and saying the PM is all too eager to drag the US into an all-out war against Iran-backed terror groups in the Middle East, sources who have talked with the president told Politico.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement that Biden has never made such a remark and that the president and Netanyahu enjoy “a decades-long relationship that is respectful in public and in private.”

Despite the White House’s response, the two leaders have repeatedly butted heads over the war, with tensions reaching an all-time high in December when Biden allegedly hung up on Netanyahu during a heated call.

Biden and Netanyahu have bickered over the need to limit civilian casualties in Gaza, with the death toll exceeding 27,000 on Sunday, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry there. The pair also disagree over what the Palestinian enclave should look like after the battle concludes.

Still, Biden has remained vocal about America’s support for Israel despite projections that the war will likely continue throughout 2024 and to the chagrin of his Democratic base.

IDF raids Khan Yunis base where Hamas terrorists trained for Oct. 7
Israeli forces have raided the headquarters of Hamas’s Khan Yunis Brigade, which served as a training facility for the terrorists who participated in the Oct. 7 massacre, the military said on Sunday evening.

The “Al-Qadsia” compound contained “significant training areas,” including mock-ups of the entrance gates to Israeli kibbutzim, military bases and IDF armored vehicles.

Additionally, Givati Brigade troops located the office of Mohammad Sinwar—the brother of Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar. Mohammad Sinwar is a leader of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s “military wing.”

Khan Yunis, Gaza’s second-largest city, is regarded as a personal stronghold of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar. The mastermind of the Oct. 7 massacre is considered Israel’s top target in Gaza, along with Mohammed Deif, the commander of Izz ad-Din al-Kassam.

Soldiers entering the area found that the compound was extensively booby-trapped. Combat engineers neutralized the explosives.
Plainclothes terrorist rushes IDF position with grenades, knife, gunned down

'Hamas's hands are covered in Egypt's blood,' says Egyptian ex-MP
Tawfik Okasha, an Egyptian media personality and former MP, heavily criticized Hamas over their actions on October 7 and the consequences that followed in an interview with KAN News on Tuesday.

When commenting on the current war, as well as the October 7 massacre, Okasha said, "I mourn for every death on the Israeli side and every death on the Palestinian side, but I do not mourn Hamas personnel that have been killed because they are a terror organization that has profited from the Palestinian issue. They are an organization that turned Egypt into a no man's land, and its hands are covered in the blood of Egypt. I will not forget it."

He continued in his criticism of the organization, saying, "Hamas corrupted the Palestinian cause as well as led to the loss of opportunities of reaching a two-state solution because of their uprising against the PA in 2007. Hamas profited from the fact that the Palestinian issue hasn't been solved and has harmed the Palestinian people in the most egregious ways.

"They orchestrated an attack on Israel on October 7 and used the same tactics and tools as ISIS and al-Qaeda," he continued, "The people of Gaza are paying the price for Hamas's stupidity."

Israel examines replacements for UNRWA in face of defunding
Israel is looking into alternatives to UNRWA, amid mounting national and international concern over the UN agency’s connection to Palestinian terrorism.

The move follows a bombshell Israeli intelligence report shared with the US administration which found that about 10 per cent of the agency’s 13,000 employees in Gaza are Hamas members.

At least 12 UNRWA employees actively participated in the October 7 massacre, which killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and saw an estimated 253 others abducted to Gaza, leading more than a dozen countries, including the U.S, and the U.K., to suspend funding to the agency.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry is proposing to redirect aid to the Palestinians through the World Food Programme, an organisation within the United Nations that provides food assistance worldwide. Another option under consideration, pending American support, is funneling the support through USAID, an independent agency of the United States government that is primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid and development assistance.

Both international organisations are listed in an Israeli Foreign Ministry paper being prepared to offer alternatives to UNRWA that will be presented to the nation’s Security Cabinet for approval.

“We are actively working to disengage UNRWA from Gaza,” Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz tweeted Sunday. “They are part of the problem and not a part of the solution.”

Meanwhile, leaders of the Dutch Parliament will discuss UNRWA’s complicity in Hamas terrorism in a meeting in the Netherlands on Wednesday with the heads of the Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus.

The caucus leaders have called for UNRWA to be dismantled.
Hillel Neuer: Un-Hijack Human Rights
Very soon after the founding of Israel, some in the West already began to depict the Jewish state in demonic terms. In the 1950s, the renowned historian Arnold Toynbee, who had earlier described the Jews as a “fossilized” and “extinct” society, literally wrote that Zionism was “demonic.” He pioneered the idea that the movement for a Jewish homeland was a form of Nazism. In his monumental A Study of History, Toynbee accused the Zionists of being “disciples of the Nazis” who chose “to imitate some of the evil deeds that the Nazis had committed against the Jews.” In January 1961, as reported in the New York Times, Toynbee told students at Montreal’s Hillel House that “Jewish treatment of Arabs in 1947 was as morally indefensible as the slaughter by the Nazis of 6,000,000 Jews.” In his books, he wrote that Israel’s crimes were even worse than those of the Nazis.

Toynbee’s libels didn’t stick at first. At that time in the Western world, Israel’s struggle against Arab armies was seen as David fighting Goliath.

In June 1967, however, everything changed. Soon after the Six-Day War, some Western European leaders, eager to appease the oil-rich Arab world and perhaps to alleviate Holocaust guilt, began to characterize Israel as an aggressor. Charles de Gaulle, France’s president, and hero of the French resistance to the Nazis, spoke at length at a November 1967 news conference about the “apprehensions” many felt at an empowered Jewish nation-state. “Some even feared,” he said, “that the Jews, hitherto dispersed…would, once they were reunited in the sites of their former greatness,” acquire an “ardent and conquering ambition.”

Meanwhile, the analogy of Zionists as Nazis was propagated throughout the Soviet Union and disseminated by its global disinformation apparatus throughout the Third World. Drawing upon classic antisemitic themes and popular antisemitic sentiments across both the Soviet bloc and the Arab world, Israel became the singular evil lurking behind every form of Western malfeasance. Eventually, in the West, the Communist meme became a mantra of the New Left. Toynbee’s narrative of Israel as a Nazi-style aggressor began to stick.

A new mutation of antisemitism had emerged. The Jewish state was not acting in self-defense but was rather a colonialist, imperialist, and racist aggressor. By 1975, the United Nations General Assembly, the same body that had once voted for a Jewish state, declared Zionism to be a form of racism. In the United States, university campuses, lib­er­al church­es, the labor movement, and oth­ers on the Left gradually turned against Israel.

The shift in the culture influenced the human rights movement. There were some activists like Bob Bernstein, the head of Random House, who published dissidents such as Andrei Sakharov, Natan Sharansky, and Václav Havel, and who formed Helsinki Watch to monitor basic freedoms behind the Iron Curtain.

But a more dominant camp emerged from the Vietnam antiwar movement, and it targeted anti-Communist regimes allied to the U.S. in the Cold War. This camp was deeply influenced by the Left’s 1960s ideology of anti-colonialism, in which the traditional Marxist paradigm of class struggle was replaced with a Manichaean view of a world divided between the West and the rest.
PodCast: Hillel Neuer on How the Human-Rights Industry Became Obsessed with Israel
1948 was a landmark year in international politics. It saw the establishment of modern Israel. And it saw the General Assembly of the United Nations adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That document, recognized today as a foundation stone of international human-rights law, gives voice to a range of fundamental rights meant to honor human freedom and dignity.

At the time, many of the proponents of human-rights statements and organizations were not only Jewish but proud Zionists. In the 75 years since, those two sorts of commitments seem to have grown in different directions, so that now, most people who work in the human-rights industry do not support but actively oppose the foundational premises and practical necessities of Jewish national freedom.

Hillel Neuer is the executive director of UN Watch, a human-rights organization based in Geneva. Together in conversation with Mosaic’s editor Jonathan Silver, he asks several pressing questions about this history, which he wrote about as a chapter in the new volume Jewish Priorities: Sixty-Five Proposals for the Future of Our People, published by Wicked Son. How did the human-rights movement and Israel start together? How did they grow apart? Can the human-rights movement change course, so that it can still highlight violations of human-rights law without falling prey to the obsession with Israel that today undermines its credibility?

An examination of UN Women’s stance on the funding of UNRWA
WHILE THE humanitarian crisis in Gaza cannot be understated, the international community must not lose sight of the broader implications of funding organizations entangled with terrorist groups. It’s time to move beyond narratives that inadvertently support the very sources of conflict and suffering. The pursuit of justice and the protection of civilians require a nuanced approach, ensuring that humanitarian aid upholds its noble purpose without compromising the safety and security of the region.

In the middle of these geopolitical machinations, the civilians of Gaza and Israel continue to bear the brunt of the conflict. While the humanitarian crisis in Gaza necessitates urgent attention, this should not eclipse the rights and safety of Israeli civilians, including those still held captive by Hamas.

In this context, the stance of UN Women as a prominent arm of the United Nations tasked with championing gender equality and the empowerment of women requires critical examination. The mandate of UN Women is not only to promote women’s rights but also to uphold the highest standards of ethical conduct and impartiality in its operations and advocacy. However, recent statements and actions suggest a lapse in this mandate.

UN Women’s call for uninterrupted funding to UNRWA, despite serious allegations of misconduct, indicates a possible deviation from the principles of impartiality and due diligence. This stance raises concerns about the organization’s commitment to ensuring that humanitarian aid is not misused or diverted, particularly in contexts where terrorist groups are known to operate. The integrity of humanitarian aid is compromised if it is channeled through entities that may be compromised or lack the necessary safeguards against exploitation by extremist elements.

It is crucial for UN Women to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to upholding the UN’s values, which include not only the protection of human rights but also the prevention of violence and the support for peace and security.

The international community looks to UN Women to set an example in ethical and impartial humanitarian advocacy. This includes a responsibility to rigorously scrutinize the entities it supports, ensuring that they adhere to the highest standards of transparency and do not inadvertently contribute to the perpetuation of conflict and suffering.

In cases where lapses are evident, as with the current situation involving UNRWA, it is incumbent upon UN Women to reassess its stance and take a firm position that aligns with its mandate and the broader objectives of peace, security, and human rights.

The engagement of the international community – and particularly organizations such as UN Women – with UNRWA and similar entities must be characterized by a relentless pursuit of impartiality, accountability, and ethical conduct. Failing to adhere to these standards not only betrays the trust of those they aim to serve but also risks exacerbating the very issues they seek to resolve.

Simultaneously, the legitimate security concerns of Israel must be given their due consideration. Only through such a balanced and comprehensive strategy can there be hope for a more stable and peaceful future for both Palestinians and Israelis.
UNRWA chief visits Gulf countries in bid to plug funding gap
UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said on X he met with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Monday to discuss UNRWA’s work in “preserving the stability in the region” and delivering aid to two million people in Gaza.

Spokesperson Juliette Touma told Reuters that Lazzarini would visit Qatar and Kuwait later this week.

“We are hoping those that paused (funding) will reconsider and others will step forward as well,” she said.

Kuwait and Qatar rank 19th and 20th in UNRWA’s list of top 20 donors, giving $12 million and $10.5 million respectively in 2022. The United Arab Emirates was not listed.

Spain said on Monday it will send UNRWA an additional 3.5 million euros ($3.8 million) in aid, Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares told lawmakers.

“UNRWA’s situation is desperate and there is a serious risk that its humanitarian activities will be paralyzed in Gaza within a few weeks,” Albares told lawmakers.

Madrid contributed 18.5 million euros directly to UNRWA in 2023, including 10 million euros approved in December following the decision to triple development and humanitarian aid to the Palestinian territories.

On Friday, neighboring Portugal announced additional aid to UNRWA worth one million euros. Foreign Minister Joao Cravinho wrote on social media platform X it was essential “not to turn our backs on the Palestinian population at this difficult time.”

Set up in 1949, UNRWA provides education, health, and aid services to millions of Palestinians across Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. In Gaza, it is providing shelter for some one million people displaced by Israel’s offensive.

While some private donors and countries like Spain have stepped up to offer additional help, Touma said that it was not nearly enough to offset the gap estimated at $440 million.

Hundreds gather outside offices of BBC to call out media’s silence on Hamas rapes
BBC and other mainstream media have been strongly condemned for their silence over the sexual violence inflicted by Hamas and the lack of outrage over the 136 hostages still being held.

Several hundred people gathered outside the BBC’s headquarters in central London on Sunday, holding posters with the faces of hostages and the words “BBC, The Guardian, Channel 4, Sky: Your silence is loud” alongside Israeli and Iranian flags and Union Jacks.

A human installation of around 20 women and a few men wearing light trousers stained with fake blood around the crotch region, their faces covered with bruises using stage makeup, were bound and joined together by rope.

Demonstrators shouted: “Rape is not resistance!”, “Bring them home!”, and “Am Yisrael Chai!” outside the broadcaster’s offices in Portland Place.

Orit Eyal-Fibeesh from Human Chain, a grassroots group, which organised the event, said: “It has been 120 days since October 7. There are still 136 hostages held in captivity… [We] stand before you today deeply troubled by the lack of attention of the heinous crimes [committed on October 7]. It is truly astonishing that acts can be overlooked by mainstream media.

“The suffering is swept under the rug because of convenience or politics. Rape is rape. Violence is violence. [Everyone has] a moral obligation to speak up.”

Ayelet Razin Bet Or, former director of the Authority for the Advancement of the Status of Women in Israel’s Ministry of Social Equality, said that on October 7, women’s bodies “became part of the battlefield”.

She said: “In the face of terror, silence is complicity. This is not only a betrayal of Israeli women; it is a betrayal of humanity. If we cannot agree that rape is wrong, we have accepted the unacceptable.”

A small group of anti-Israel protesters attempted to interrupt Razin Bet Or, but were drowned out by her and other demonstrators singing Israeli songs. The counter-protesters were kept at bay throughout the rally by a strong police and CST presence.

Florida House adopts resolution calling for agencies to cease contact with CAIR
The Florida House unanimously adopted a resolution 98-15 on Thursday urging state executive agencies and law enforcement to suspend contact and outreach with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR.

Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, filed HR 1209.

According to the resolution, the FBI suspended contact with CAIR due to its relationship with Hamas, a terrorist organization designated by the U.S. Department of State.

CAIR has also been identified as an associate of the Muslim Brotherhood in a prosecution trial involving the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development.

In addition, the group received money from an organization the U.S. Department of Treasury said has links to a Specially Designated Global Terrorist organization, which was accused of funding jihadist organizations, the resolution said.

On Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas initiated a brutal attack of rape, torture, and death on the Jewish state of Israel. The assault resulted in over one thousand casualties, including Israelis and Americans.
CAIR condemns Israel for what it calls ‘alleged’ torture of journalist
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which blamed Israel for being attacked on Oct. 7, is calling on press freedom organizations to condemn Israel for, rather than investigate, a charge it calls “alleged.”

“Domestic and international organizations defending press freedom” should “speak out against the alleged torture of a Palestinian journalist by the far-right Israeli government,” CAIR stated.

The anti-Israel group noted that Diaa Al-Kahlout, a Gaza journalist for Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, alleges that he was tortured in Israeli detention for 33 days, including being denied medical treatment and being “hung from [sic] ceiling from his wrists so that his toes become off the ground.”

While the man was detained, “the soldiers made a barbecue feast for themselves during which they swore at the detainees and forced some of them to chant ‘long live Israel,'” CAIR added.

“If Diaa Al-Kahlout represented a Western media outlet, his alleged torture would rightly cause international outrage and calls for action,” stated Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR national communications director.

“But because of the systematic and decades-long dehumanization of Palestinians and the resulting denial of their human rights, the far-right Israeli government fears no repercussions from torturing and abusing a journalist,” Hooper said.

“We call on all organizations and entities defending press freedom in our nation and worldwide to speak out and hold Israel accountable for this torture of a journalist and for all the many war crimes it carries out on a daily basis in Gaza and the West Bank,” he added.
Pro-Palestine riots are ‘protests for the ignorant’
Sky News host Andrew Bolt has slammed pro-Palestine protesters, calling them ‘ignorant’ because they have ‘no idea at all about what they’re actually protesting about.’

‘What we are seeing in this is the result of years of poor education, of post modernism – there is no truth, years of destroying the teaching of history, all this has taken a terrible toll,’ he said.

Jewish people feel ‘terrified’ in Australia since Opera House protest
Sky News host Rowan Dean says Jewish people now feel “terrified” of living in Australia as he criticised NSW Police over claims pro-Palestine protesters did not chant “gas the Jews” at the Sydney Opera House.

The rally outside the Sydney landmark took place two days after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7.

Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon told reporters an expert in biometric science was recruited by investigators to analyse audio-visual files and determine what was being said.

The expert concluded with “overwhelming certainty” the phrase chanted during that protest, as recorded on the audio and visual files, was “where’s the Jews”, according to Deputy Commissioner Lanyon.

Mr Dean hit back at the claims by NSW Police, arguing multiple people have come out and said they heard “gas the Jews”.

“This was the shameful experience on the Opera House, a modern-day version of a pogrom or a lynch mob preparing itself on the steps of the Opera House,” he said.

Grammys features moving tribute to Nova festival victims and Billy Joel’s first new song in decades
At last night’s 2024 Grammy Awards, the Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr acknowledged the hundreds of victims of the Nova music festival who were murdered and taken hostage by Hamas on October 7.

Mason told the audience at the event in Los Angeles: “Tonight, we celebrate the world of music. Every one of us, no matter where we’re from, is united by the shared experience of music. It brings us together like nothing else can and that’s why music must always be our safe space. When that’s violated it strikes at the very core of who we are.”

He recognised previous attacks at Bataclan concert hall in Paris in 2015, the Manchester Arena in 2017 and the Route 91 Harvest Music festival in Las Vegas the same year. “And on October 7, we felt that again when we heard the tragic news from the Supernova music festival for love, that over 360 music fans lost their lives, and another 40 were kidnapped. That day and all the tragic days that have followed have been awful for the world to bear as we mourn the loss of all innocent lives.”

His tribute followed a plea last week from the CEO of the American Jewish Committee to recognise the victims at the Grammys to honour the spirit of “unity and love” that the Nova festival and its attendees stood for. The music executive championed music’s ability to unite, pointing out that the string quartet performing in the background at the 66th Grammys ceremony featured Palestinian, Israeli and Arab musicians.

“We live in a world divided by so much. And maybe music can’t solve everything, but let us all agree, music must remain the common ground upon which we all stand, together in peace and harmony. Because music has always been one of humanity’s greatest connectors.”

He added, “Now is the time for us, for humanity, to play together, to come together with empathy and with love.”

Singer and influencer Montana Tucker wore a dress emblazoned with a striking yellow ribbon bearing the words “Bring them home” to draw attention to the Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. Tucker, who has nine million followers on TikTok, had travelled to Israel after October 7 to bear witness to the attack.

Annie Lennox also called for a ceasefire and “peace in the world” after performing “Nothing Compares to U” in memory of the late singer Sinéad O’Connor at Sunday’s ceremony.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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