Thursday, January 21, 2010

'Hamas accepts Israel's right to exist'

Jan. 21, 2010
Khaled Abu Toameh , THE JERUSALEM POST

Hamas has accepted Israel's right to exist and would be prepared to nullify its charter, which calls for the destruction of Israel, Aziz Dwaik, Hamas's most senior representative in the West Bank, said on Wednesday.

Dwaik's remarks are seen in the context of Hamas's attempts to win recognition from the international community.
Dwaik is the elected speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council. He was released a few months ago after spending nearly three years in an Israeli prison.

Dwaik was among dozens of Hamas officials and members who were rounded up by Israel following the abduction of IDF soldier St.-Sgt. Gilad Schalit near the Gaza Strip in June 2006.

His latest remarks were made during a meeting he held in Hebron with British millionaire David Martin Abrahams, who maintains close ties with senior Israeli and British government officials.

Abrahams is scheduled to brief British Foreign Secretary David Milliband this weekend on the outcome of his meeting with Dwaik and other top Hamas officials in the West Bank.

Abrahams, a major donor to Britain's Labor Party, told The Jerusalem Post he would urge Milliband to "consider the implications of Hamas's positive overtures."

During the meeting in Hebron, Dwaik stressed that other Hamas leaders, including Damascus-based leader Khaled Mashaal and Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, have voiced support for the idea of establishing an independent Palestinian state within the pre-1967 boundaries.

"The [Hamas] charter was drafted more than 20 years ago," Dwaik noted, adding that his movement would even be prepared to "nullify" the document.

"No one wants to throw anyone into the sea," he said.

Dwaik also expressed Hamas's desire to engage in dialogue with the international community, first and foremost the European Union. He confirmed that Hamas was receiving financial aid from Iran, but said that this was the direct result of the boycott and sanctions against the movement.

Abrahams said that he would be happy to facilitate a dialogue between Hamas on the one hand, and Israel and the international community on the other. He said he was "very excited" to hear from the most prominent leader of Hamas in the West Bank that the movement would be prepared to nullify its charter and accept Israel.

"The fact that there is a possibility for recognition of Israel is a symbolic gesture," Abrahams added. "We can all look for good in people and we can all look for bad in people. I always look for the good."

Asked whether he might be condemned as naïve for believing Hamas, Abrahams said, "People might say that I'm naïve, so let them. But I'm prepared to give them [Hamas] a chance because I've got faith and confidence in Dwaik and Haniyeh. We can't allow 1.5 million to be festering in the Gaza Strip while the majority of them are good and well-educated."

Abrahams said that his decision to engage Hamas was aimed at "preventing bloodshed on both sides." He said he was encouraged by the massive support he found among the Jewish community in Britain for the idea of talking to Hamas.

"I recently published an article in the Jewish Chronicle to test the temperature of the water within the Jewish community about Hamas," he said. "I found a lot of support among Jews for dealing with Hamas and I was pleasantly surprised."

Denying that he had delivered any message from the British government or the EU leadership to Hamas, Abrahams said he was convinced more than ever that the movement posed no threat to the US. "Hamas is different from al-Qaida," he said. "Hamas is no threat to Western interests."

Some consider Dwaik, as speaker of the PLC, to be the acting president of the Palestinian Authority, since Mahmoud Abbas's term officially expired on January 9. Dwaik himself has said that he is content to let Abbas continue in office until the election that is now scheduled for June 28, 2010

This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1263147942240&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull

"Still More"

Arlene Kushner

Every time I write about our mobile medical hospital in Haiti, I think I've provided enough information... and then there's more.

The clip below is from NBC, and describes, again, what only the Israelis have done. The reporter, who is herself a doctor, calls our hospital "A model for crisis care." The equipment includes neo-natal units and monitoring equipment that can transmit information to hospitals elsewhere for assessment by other doctors. Each incoming patient has an electronic record, and an ethics team helps with tough decisions. This is top-flight medicine in any terms, but in this case, set up within 48 hours of an emergency, in a field, inside canvas tents, with equipment and personnel brought half-way around the world, it is nothing short of breathtaking. This is being done, plain and simple, because it's the right thing to do: because we are commanded. One doctor says, in this clip, "We believe that when we save a life, we've saved the world. We've saved the world several times in the last few days."

But think, how many millions are seeing us in this light for the first time. How people might, just might, begin to appreciate who we are. Who we are: first our compassion and the speed with which we run to help others. But also our skills and capacity to make a difference. The interviewer asks a doctor, "You have electronic records of the patients?" and the doctor answers, "Of course." "Of course," she then mumbles to herself, meaning, to him it's a given, but I'm astounded.

Click here for NBC Report: Israeli Field Hospital a Model for Crisis Care


With it all, we must remember that our capacity to respond in an emergency has been honed by our long and painful experience responding to terrorist attacks. But what is important is that we share these skills for the sake of the world -- not just in Haiti now (which is suffering the worst of catastrophes) but wherever there is a crisis.


Today is the first anniversary of Barack Obama's inauguration as president, and today, for the first time in a long time, I begin to feel hope for America. That is because of the stunning upset in the senatorial race in Massachusetts -- the bluest, the most liberal state in the Union -- in which Republican Scott Brown emerged as victor.

That this was an anti-Obama (and anti-ObamaCare) vote is clear. The president now must circle his wagons and decide how to proceed next. There is talk of going slowly with regard to pushing through the health care bill, both because some Democrats are pulling back and because the addition of one more Republican to the Senate makes it no longer filibuster-proof. And it is being said by some Democrats that the emphasis now has to be on jobs and economic matters (presumably with a decrease in unemployment, if achieved, giving the party a boost).

I think the best thing I've read on the subject today is Jeff Jacoby's assessment,"A blessing in disguise."
"It really is the people's seat, and on Tuesday the people of Massachusetts took it back.

"But in electing Scott Brown instead of Martha Coakley to replace Ted Kennedy in the US Senate, the Bay State's voters did more than hand the GOP its most improbable and thrilling come-from-behind victory in a generation....And they did more than prove that no political party has a permanent lock on any state's electoral loyalties.

"They also gave President Obama and the Democratic left a blessing in disguise -- if only they are wise enough to recognize it.

"Brown ran explicitly against Obama's polarizing domestic agenda -- especially the radical health-care overhaul that the president has made his No. 1 priority...

"Politically, ObamaCare has backfired. No president in the modern era has ended his first year in office with disapproval ratings so high. Much of the goodwill with which he entered the White House has been squandered, and any effort to try to force the health bill through Congress now would drive what's left of that goodwill right over a cliff.

"But that isn't going to happen. Brown and the voters of Massachusetts have killed ObamaCare for good. In so doing they have given the president a priceless second chance to adjust his political course, move toward the center, and deliver at least some of the bipartisan cooperation that was at the heart of his once-enormous appeal..."


What I wait to see is if the Obama "readjustment" will affect his push for the "peace process": if he will be too busy attending to domestic matters to give it his attention now, or otherwise think better of it.

This is particularly relevant right now as Mitchell will be here tomorrow.

Aluf Benn of Haaretz believes, with some good justification, that the political dynamics following yesterday's election will work in our favor:


Word today was that Abbas was asking for a "short term" (three to six month) total freeze on all building, including in Jerusalem. This was supposed to be a face-saver for him and allow him to come to the table.

I find this interesting because it suggests that the reports I received last week-- from sterling sources with a great deal of inside information -- regarding the fact that Abbas has decided to simply declare a state unilaterally, and thus is not even thinking of returning to the table, may turn out not to be correct.

Speculation: Could it be that in his present political bind Obama will be far more reluctant to back a unilateral move by Abbas then he once indicated he would be? Is this slow-down time?


Netanyahu held a press conference this evening and forthrightly rejected any notion of freezing construction in Jerusalem, even informally.

Abbas had suggested that if this face-saving "gesture" from Israel is not forthcoming (and it isn't), then there might be shuttle diplomacy, with Americans moving between Jerusalem and Ramallah. The PA would provide the US with specifics of what it was demanding: '67 lines with a 3% exchange of land possible. There has been no comment on this either from the US or our government that I am aware of.


But Netanyahu said something else at the press conference, as well:

"We are surrounded by an ever-growing arsenal of rockets placed in the Iranian-supported enclaves to the north [Hezbollah in Lebanon] and to the south {Gaza]...We cannot afford to have that across from the center of our country.

"In the case of a future settlement with the Palestinians, this will require an Israeli presence on the eastern side of a prospective Palestinian state."

He is alluding to the Jordan Valley, and an Israeli presence on the eastern border of a Palestinian state to block bringing in of rockets and other weaponry that could endanger us. This is the first time that he has made such a demand specifically.

He is absolutely correct, of course, that such an Israeli presence would be necessary. But making this a requirement for negotiating a state more or less guarantees that there will be no negotiations. And in point of fact, there should be none. With all of the myriad other reasons why not, this fact alone makes formation of a Palestinian Arab state not a good idea.


I was fascinated to see a piece by Yossi Alpher in today's Post, called, "The peace process will resume, but why?" Alpher's orientation is to the left, and he has been a staunch supporter of the formation of a Palestinian Arab state.

But in this article, he writes, "Regardless of whether the end result is a unilateral, bilateral or multilateral process, without a functioning Palestinian state apparatus there can be no two-state solution."

What is more, he observes, "There is little...prospect that Abbas will succeed in bringing Gaza and Hamas back into the fold of a single Palestinian partner for Israel. Hence he can negotiate only on behalf of the West Bank. But Gaza won't go away."

Alpher does not address the fact that a "single Palestinian partner" that included Hamas would actually be no partner at all, but he does come part way in recognizing the futility of imagining that a "two-state solution" can be negotiated now.


And so, maybe Abbas will come to the table, and maybe he will not. But even should he sit at the table, there will be no meaningful negotiations. This much is clear.

Now we wait for Mitchell's visit. And, as time allows in upcoming postings I would like to look at Fayyad-Abbas tensions, and Egyptian-Hamas tensions -- all of which play into the broader dynamic.


A notice here for Israelis:

The Moskowitz Prize for Zionism was established by Irving and Cherna Moskowitz as an expression of support for people who put Zionism into action in today's Israeli society.

The need for this special prize arose from the feeling that the true Zionist heroes in today's Israel do not always receive the institutional recognition and public praise they deserve. These are Israeli men and women acting from a feeling of personal responsibility, vision and national mission, each in his field, and often while sacrificing their personal welfare and even endangering their personal security.

This Lion of Zion prize is awarded to Israeli citizens, residents of Israel, who best personify modern Zionism in Israel in their actions, addressing the challenges that face Zionism today, in spheres such as education, research, settlement, culture, defense and security. Winners receive cash prizes.

You have the opportunity to nominate someone who inspires you. Deadline is January 29.

Go to for details and to submit your nomination.

see my website

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hamas Leader Unwelcome in Egypt

Hana Levi Julian
A7 News

Cairo has rolled up the red carpet and announced that Damascus-based Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal is unwelcome in the Egyptian capital. Officials in the Egyptian capital are hoping the ban will exert enough pressure to force Hamas into reconciling with its rival, the Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah faction. Egypt has refused to meet with Mashaal until he cooperates with its efforts to re-establish a PA unity government. The last time external mediators – Saudi Arabian and Egyptian leaders – succeeded in forcing the two factions into a similar framework, the so-called “unity” lasted barely two days. Ultimately it dissolved into the bloody militia war that ended with Hamas seizing total control over Gaza, leaving Fatah as the ruling faction over the PA areas in Judea and Samaria.

Mashaal is also the Hamas official primarily responsible for repeatedly failed negotiations for the release of captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, held hostage in Gaza since he was abducted by Hamas-linked terrorists in June 2006.

According to a report published Tuesday in the Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jareeda, Egypt has made its position clear to a number of Arab states, including Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Mashaal had apparently appealed to both in hopes they would mediate between Hamas and Cairo.

However, Egypt maintained a firm stance in backing PA Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, who said he would not meet with Mashaal unless Hamas signed an Egyptian proposal for reconciliation between the two factions. Egypt maintained that it had no objections to receiving a Hamas delegation to sign the document, “as it is and without amendments,” the paper reported.

Kuwait has been working to arrange a reconciliation summit between the two factions as a follow-up to Egypt’s negotiations, Kuwait Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al Sabah told reporters on Sunday. He noted that Abbas and Mashaal had both been to Kuwait in recent weeks to visit separately with its Amir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah.

"Up and Down"

Arlene Kushner

I wrote yesterday about Peace Now as one of several organizations that take money from international sources -- with the Knesset considering a bill that would require such organizations to register as foreign agents.

I apologize that I did not adequately specify what I was referring to: It's not money from international sources that is the problem, but, rather, from foreign governments. Peace Now and others receive funding from European governments that have an agenda not compatible with Israel's. Organizations, for example, such as Magen David Adam, which takes money from American Friends of MDA, are not foreign agents. (Thanks to Nan for asking the right question.) had also written yesterday that I had it from a reliable source, but could not absolutely confirm, that Israel was the only nation that had a field hospital in Haiti. Almost correct, but not quite. There apparently are some other hospitals set up, but they are meager facilities. (Improvement is expected, but up to this point, the US showing is pathetic; it's appropriate to ask why.)

Israel's hospital was the first, and is the largest; most significantly, it is the only one equipped with proper surgical facilities and life-saving equipment. It's a serious place. Dying patients from other places are being transferred to the Israeli hospital. Additional medical staff and supplies are on their way to Haiti from Israel today.

See the video clip below from CNN. Can you believe? CNN praising Israel! We have to be damn good to receive such accolades. I would recommend simply sharing this clip with others. It says it all. (Thanks to Wallace and Cheryl for sending it to me.)

In a similar video from CBS News, the Israeli hospital is called the "Rolls Royce of emergency medical care."


I would like to recommend a piece by Barry Rubin: "New Failure on Iran Sanctions: Will the Farce Never End?"

"It is literally incredible how ineptly the Obama Administration is handling the sanctions on Iran...

"This situation provides a vivid case study on the Obama Administration's view of the world, diplomatic skills, and unwillingness to take even a moderately tough stance on handling critical issues."

Rubin makes clear that in spite of Obama's declared intention to start sanctions by this date, or that, nothing is actually happening.

It's time for everyone to be very worried.


I had a similar response when I read a news report today about what German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, in a press conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu, after an historic joint Israeli-German cabinet session. Said she:

"If Iran's reactions don't change, we will help work on comprehensive sanctions."

If Iran's reactions don't change? What utter nonsense this is. How long is the world supposed to wait?

Netanyahu's response:

"If we don't apply sanctions, crippling sanctions, against this Iranian tyranny, when shall we apply them? If not now, when?"

The world is highly uneasy about the prospect of an Israeli military attack on Iran, but this same world, which shies away from sanctions, as well, is increasing the likelihood that Israel will attack.


I like it that it has been announced that the theme for this year's independence day (Yom Ha'Atzmaut) celebrations will be: "If you will it, it is no dream – Achievements of the State of Israel on the 150th anniversary of the birth of Herzl."

Of course, this can be turned around to focus on achievements such as stunning hi-tech. But there is a very definite political message here, and we need to emphasize it: We cannot be intimidated by the world. We must hold on to our vision, in order to make it happen. Judea and Samaria are ours. We must will it, to make it so.


After weeks of unseasonably warm weather, winter has finally arrived, with chill and wind and heavy rain and sleet. We need much more -- we're in trouble because of water shortages, but this is most welcome. A blessing.

see my website

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Israeli Government and Haiti


At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 17.1.10:

1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks:

"I would like to say a few words about the horrific tragedy that took place in Haiti. What happened there is a large-scale disaster of very great proportions. The lack of protective measures only deepened the tragedy. I think that it is our obligation, as the State of Israel, as the state of the Jewish People, to mobilize immediately – and this we have done. As soon as I learned of the dimensions of the disaster, I ordered that a team be dispatched. It left with the speed characteristic of the IDF, in coordination with the Foreign Ministry.
The defense establishment sent a team which has begun to work and is already saving lives. It is a field hospital with doctors, x-ray machines and other vital pieces of equipment that are in short supply in Haiti. I think that this is in the best tradition of the Jewish People; this is the true covenant of the State of Israel and the Jewish People. This follows operations we have carried out in Kenya and Turkey. Despite being a small country, we have responded with a big heart. The fact is, I know, that this was an expression of our Jewish heritage and the Jewish ethic of helping one's fellow. I hope that the team saves lives and that Haiti succeeds in recovering from this awful tragedy.

Tomorrow, I and several ministers, including Foreign Minister Liberman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, will be leaving for Germany. We will hold annual discussions, which take place alternatively here and in Germany. Now it is Germany's turn and we will go there. We ascribe great importance to our good relations with Germany. They have major consequences for the Israeli economy, our diplomatic struggle around the world and for the security of Israel."

The Cabinet noted that Prime Minister Netanyahu will leave for Germany, at the invitation of Chancellor Angela Merkel, in attend to the Israeli and German governments' consultative forum tomorrow (Monday), 18.1.10. Pursuant to Article 16 of Basic Law: The Government, Minister Moshe Yaalon will serve as Acting Prime Minister for the purposes of summoning and conducting meetings of the Government in Prime Minister Netanyahu's absence, should this prove necessary.
IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

Posted by Jerome S. Kaufman

Fatah Official Skips Mother's Funeral in Gaza

Hana Levi Julian
A7 News

One of the highest officials of the Palestinian Authority’s Fatah faction, Muhammad Dahlan, skipped his mother’s funeral in Gaza this out of fears that his life would be endangered. PA sources claimed that Israel and the U.S. both advised him not to go.
Suriya Dahlan, 80, died Sunday of renal failure in the family's hometown of Khan Yunis, according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency. Her son, still considered the leader of Fatah in Gaza, fled the region during the 2007 militia war that ended in the takeover by Hamas, and now lives in Ramallah.

Dahlan, who today is the deputy chairman of the Palestine Legislative Council, explained that he will not enter Gaza while it remains under the control of the rival PA terrorist faction.

Formerly dubbed the faction’s “strongman” due to his performance as head of security, Dahlan was reportedly invited by Hamas to participate in his mother’s funeral, but only under specific restrictions, according to Ma’an. He rejected the conditions, which included a requirement to file a formal request with the de facto Hamas government for permission to enter Gaza, and to remain in the terrorist group’s custody for the duration of his stay.

Other media reports alleged that a number of Dahlan’s enemies in Gaza had called for his arrest, and some had vowed to physically attack him if he returned to the region, even to attend his mother’s funeral.

In a statement issued to the media, Dahlan explained that he did not want to “provoke events or confrontations, or injury to members of Fatah who may be abused, as was the case during the commemoration ceremony for Yasser Arafat when more than 10 Palestinians were killed and 100 injured.” He expressed his thanks to Gaza residents who sent condolences and who were present at his mother’s funeral.

“Despite this great sadness that arises from not participating in the funeral, I will not enter Gaza until Palestinian legitimacy is restored,” Dahlan wrote, and charged Hamas with exploiting his mother’s death for political purposes.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Abbas: Only Difference from Hamas Is that Fatah Is in Power

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
A7 News

Palestinian Authority PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said in a speech Sunday that his party’s being in power is the only difference between it and the rival Hamas terrorist faction. “The Palestinian Authority is the legitimate authority and that is the difference,” he told a party conference.

In a particularly hard-line speech, he boasted that the Arab leaders in Judea, Samaria and Gaza “has not offered any concessions from May 1988 until today.” In a further eradication of the American roadmap, he claimed that Israel and not the PA proposed temporary borders for a future PA state. The Roadmap originally provided a three-step plan towards establishing the PA as a country, with temporary borders as a second step. Condoleezza Rice, as U.S. Secretary of State two years ago, convinced Israel to skip over the first phase, which called for an end of incitement and violence by the PA.

In his speech, Abbas defended his honoring an Arab woman for the worst terrorist attack in Israel’s history. He and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad last month celebrated the 50th birthday of terrorist Dalal Mugrahbi, who orchestrated and later was killed in the 1978 Coastal Road attack in which 37 Israelis, including 10 children, were massacred by a bus hijacker.

Abbas and Fayyad honored her by naming a Ramallah town square after her, calling her a martyr.

In his speech to the Fatah Revolutionary Council, Abbas maintained that he will continue to hunt down and persecute Arabs who violate the PA law against selling property to Jews. Several Arabs have been executed without trial for land deals with Jews.

He also reiterated that he will not agree to resume talks with Israel for a new PA state until Jerusalem halts all building for Jews in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

He said the partial 10-month freeze instituted three months ago by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “is frankly an unacceptable…position rejected by us, and we cannot go back to negotiations if Israel stays in this position, and if the U.S. has been unable to persuade Israel not to do so."

Speaking later in the day to reporters, Abbas charged that the United States softened its stand against Israeli construction. He explained that U.S. President Barack Obama last year "demanded the full suspension of the Israeli settlement, but now there is a fallback in the U.S. stance in facing the Israeli government's rejection" to freeze building.

Haiti: Woman gives birth in IDF emergency field hospital

Jan. 18, 2010

The IDF's field hospital in the Haitian capital worked at full capacity throughout Sunday, treating a relentless stream of victims from what a senior IDF medical officer described as "the war outside."

Overnight Saturday, in what staff described as one of the most fulfilling moments of their work, the Israeli doctors delivered a baby boy, whose mother, Gubilande Jean Michel, promptly declared would be named "Israel." Meanwhile, the IDF's rescue teams continued to play their vital role in the international race against time to find survivors from last Tuesday's quake. Team members saved the life of a customs clerk who had been trapped in his office by debris, and then sent him for treatment in the field hospital.

Israeli officials noted that, from their experience, it is reasonable to believe survivors can yet be located and extricated five or six days after a disaster of this kind, but very rarely beyond that time period.

With most medical facilities here out of commission, the Israeli hospital has drawn a constant throng of locals needing urgent medical care.

More than 100 survivors have been treated, with three in 10 in serious condition and 50 percent moderately injured. Children comprise more than half of the injured, most with limb injuries and bone fractures. Nearly a dozen lifesaving operations have been performed.

Set up in an industrial park, and staffed with 40 doctors, 40 nurses and medics, the hospital has been constantly treating patients since Saturday.

"There is no hospital around, so the ambulances started bringing patients here," said Col. Carmi Bar-Tal, the deputy head of the IDF emergency and medical unit. "There is a war outside," he said, gesturing to the compound's gates where a crowd was awaiting help.

Inside, the army tents house orthopedic, emergency and surgical units. Doctors are equipped to handle pediatric and adult emergency care. There are two operating beds, X-ray facilities and a laboratory. "We know that what we are giving them is the only thing they have," Bar-Tal said. "We discharge patients but don't know what awaits them afterwards. At least we gave them a chance to live."

Newly born Israel's mother Gubilande, who is 24, arrived by ambulance on Saturday night, accompanied by a cousin. She had left her three other children with her parents. Her husband has been missing since the quake.

Bar-Tal noted that the IDF's participation in 10 previous relief missions in catastrophic situations had given it vital experience for coping in this environment. "We have the capacity to help," he said. "We know how to bring medicine to the field."

Virgine Géré, 36, was brought in with a gunshot wound in her right shoulder.

Her boss accidentally shot her and the bullet penetrated her chest. On Sunday, she lay in a cot with tubes running straight from her chest. "For now, she is stable," said Dr. Noam Zeller Lion.

Besides the urgent need for medical care in Port-au-Prince, Haitians are desperate for water and food. Communication is spotty and fuel supplies are depleting. Some Haitians are crossing to the Dominican Republic to purchase supplies.

In Port-au-Prince, throngs of people lined up at gas stations to buy gasoline at $10 per gallon.

Throughout Sunday, crews worked to clear rubble from the streets. People picked through collapsed homes searching for victims. Nearly everyone here is living outside, since few structures are safe. The sprawling tent cities reek of desperation.

The Israeli rescuers have been well received by the Haitians. TV cameramen photographed survivors applauding and singing next to an IDF search and rescue team after they pulled someone out of a collapsed building. "Good job, Israel," the crowds sang over and over.

IsraAID has sent a medical team to the Port-au-Prince hospital, while ZAKA International has continued to search for survivors.

"The scenes in the hospitals were horrendous. Everywhere on the floors of the building and outside, there are people with amputations and bone-deep wounds, hundreds of them," said Sheve Cohen, a nurse from the Negev.

"The size of the catastrophe is unbelievable. All of
the injured were being treated, until we came by, by one local doctor. We were the first foreign backup team to operate in the hospital."

IsraAID is trying to expand its operation and additional teams will be sent next week.
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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jews Applaud, PA & UNRWA Slam Canada's Funding Change

Hana Levi Julian
A7 News

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is protesting a Canadian government decision to cut funding to the agency’s programs in the Palestinian Authority, in favor of redirecting the money towards the PA justice system. UNRWA runs a numbers of schools as well as food distribution and other support programs, including quarterly stipends, in Arab towns and villages throughout Gaza, Judea and Samaria. The agency employs thousands of local PA Arabs in each of the regions to carry out its programs, each of which is also administered by local PA residents as well.

The redirection of funds, however, was applauded by the nonprofit Binai Brith of Canada organization, which praised the strategy as one that would further build PA government infrastructure.

Neither PA officials nor UNRWA was pleased by the decision. Until now, the Canadian government has provided UNRWA with approximately 11 percent of its budget, totaling approximately $10 million annually. In explaining the change, Canadian officials said that it was “difficult” for the government to monitor how the money was being used.

The Canada-Israel Committee also released a statement applauding the government's reallocation of UNRWA's funding to "direct food aid to the Palestinians."

Canada: PA Wanted ‘Direct Deposit' to Treasury

Victor Toews, president of the Canadian Treasury Board, told reporters that he met in Ramallah on January 9 to discuss the matter with Ali al-Jarbawi, PA Minister of Planning and Administrative Development. Also present at the meeting were two other PA officials, PA Justice Minister Ali Khashan and PA Attorney-General Ahmed al-Mughani.

Toews related that at the meeting, al-Jarbawi asked that the money be deposited “directly" to the PA Treasury. However, Toews said, the Canadian government refused the request.

“Canada has made a $300 million commitment over five years to the Palestinian Authority, but we want to put that money only into programs that are consistent with Canadian values,” he explained. “We are going to focus directing our funds on institution-building in the PA, such as building a proper functioning justice system… I told him [Jarba that our [Canada’ paramount concern is the security of Israel.”

Binai Brith: Hamas Infiltration in UNRWA?

“We are grateful that Canadians have a government that truly understands the situation in Israel and the territories and has acted to redirect funding from UNRWA to specific projects in the Palestinian Authority,” Frank Dimant, executive vice president of Binai Brith Canada, said in a statement.

“Institution-building in the Palestinian territories is crucial for civil society there to prosper and for a peace deal between the parties to become truly feasible. Canadian funding of UNRWA has always been problematic due to the fact that numerous reports spelled out the degree to which Hamas and other Islamic terrorist organizations have infiltrated UNRWA and diverted funding intended to benefit the Palestinian people,” the statement continued.

“This new directive from the Harper administration will ensure that the funding will actually go to real and specific projects for which there will at last be true accountability.”

UNRWA: ‘Ill-Judged Politically-Motivated Allegations’

Jerusalem-based UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said flatly the allegations were “baseless.” In a written response sent to Israel National News, Gunness noted that the United States and Europe, “which give serious support to the State of Israel, are UNRWA’s two most generous supporters. If these baseless allegations were even halfway true, do you really think the US and EC would give us hundreds of millions of dollars each year?” he asked.

“The latest US Government Accountability Office audit of UNRWA – the result of months of detailed investigations into these sorts of allegations – show how ill-judged these politically motivated allegations are,” he said.

Gunness also claimed that it is in Israel’s interest to maintain a strong UNRWA, “contributing to the peace and stability of this region – a fact recognized by the Israeli government which regularly praises our work,” he said. “There are groups who seem to think that if UNRWA were de-funded and disappeared, the refugees would disappear too. This is a deluded fiction,” he stated.

The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition Ayalon threatens to expel ambassadors

Jan. 16, 2010 staff and AP , THE JERUSALEM POST

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who caused a diplomatic crisis with Turkey this week, on Saturday implied that the country's ambassador could be expelled if Turkish TV dramas continue to depict Israeli security forces as brutal.

Ayalon touched off the feud earlier this week when he called in the Turkish ambassador to reprimand him over a TV program showing Israeli agents kidnapping children and shooting old men.

He seated Turkish Ambassador Ahmet Oguz Celikkol on a sofa lower than his own chair and wouldn't shake his hand in televised images of the meeting. Asked in a Channel 2 interview Saturday what Israel would do if another installment were shown with scenes it found objectionable, Ayalon replied, "Maybe we would expel their ambassador."

Asked again later by the anchor whether he was threatening to expel the Turkish ambassador, Ayalon said that a variety of responses would be considered against any nation whose actions hurt Israel, including the expelling of ambassadors.
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