Hamas and UNRWA: joined at the hip

Claudia Rosett, who has been writing stellar articles on the United Nations for years, has another winner at Forbes. com today titled “Gaza Bedfellows UNRWA and Hamas: How they keep each other in business.” I wish I could simply paste the whole thing here, but there’s such a thing as copyright laws. It’s not very long, but it tells the whole story very thoroughly. Here are some choice excerpts; I recommend you read it all if you have any interest in seeing to what disgusting uses our tax money is being put, and how we are helping to fund the people whose mission it is to destroy Israel.

In the current violence of Gaza, we are seeing the fruition of one of the most bizarre creations of modern diplomacy: a UN-supported welfare enclave for terrorists.

Behind this lies a straightforward equation. Gaza, with its 1.5 million people, runs almost entirely on international handouts. The UN ranks it among the top per-capita aid recipients on the planet.

Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, and Hamas seized power there, won an election, and consolidated its power by driving out the rival party Fatah.

Since then, Hamas has been running Gaza as a territory reduced to basically two industries: aid and terrorism.

And UNRWA is the enabler.  (Here’s UNRWA’s full name: The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.)

Set up in 1949 with a temporary, three-year mandate to provide aid and jobs for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA has survived for almost 60 years, expanding its scope, budget and influence by extending refugee status to descendants of its beneficiaries.

We’ve posted quite a bit about UNRWA; our 10 posts are here. Here’s a notable statistic from Rosett:

To handle these operations, UNRWA employs more than 24,000 staffers. That’s more than any other UN agency, including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, which with some 6,300 staffers–about one-quarter the manpower of UNRWA–is responsible for all other refugees worldwide, totaling more than 11 million.  [There are about 4.6 million Palestinian refugees.]

And 99 percent of UNRWA’s staff are local Palestinians. So the agency represents the agenda of the governments of the countries where the Palestinian “refugees” live rather than that of the UN or of the donor nations (though often it’s hard to tell the UN agenda from that of the Arab governments anyway).  In Gaza, the government is the terrorist group Hamas. Therefore:

Since late December, when Israel began its campaign to end the thousands of rocket and mortar attacks launched by Hamas from Gaza, UNRWA officials have given a parade of briefings via UN headquarters in New York.

Teleconferencing in, they have ignored what UNRWA Commissioner General Karen Koning Abuzayd has described as their “nonpolitical” mandate. With Abuzayd in the lead, they have detailed their outrage on behalf of the Palestinians, excoriated Israel and stepped further into the political arena to demand an immediate ceasefire–something these same UNRWA officials did not do when the attacks were one-way out of Gaza into Israel.

…And while blaming Israel, UNRWA officials also have plenty of incentive to present the worst possible picture. The greater the perceived distress, the better the prospects not only for immediate relief, but for future fundraising.

And oh, how the world has responded! I posted on January 1 about the U.S.’s response — $85 million for Gaza and UNRWA. I quoted the State Department’s press release:

The United States is UNRWA’s largest bilateral donor, and contributed $184.68 million to UNRWA towards its 2008 Appeals, including $99.87 million for UNRWA’s General Fund and $84.81 million for its emergency appeals for Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza. The United States plans to provide additional funding for UNRWA’s 2009 appeals in the future.

Rosett next goes into how the aid money is spent. This is an area of “deep murk,” she says. UNRWA is supposed to check for terrorists in hiring their staff, but it is unclear that they actually do.

For years, various U.S. lawmakers, including the late Congressman Tom Lantos, have tried introducing bills asking for genuine transparency and accountability from UNRWA–which has never been subject to a genuinely independent external audit.

Such efforts have gained no traction, opposed by a UN that even under the most benign circumstances is hostile to opening its books, plus a U.S. State Department that prefers to close its eyes and shovel millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars into terrorist-controlled infrastructure.

Legislators have pointed out that UNRWA ambulances and schools have been shown to aid terrorism, and named UNRWA staffers who are known to be involved in terrorism.  But no resolution has been passed in Congress.

Rosett’s summary of UNRWA’s role is spot-on:

In pushing for an ever-bigger dole and in using the UN stage as a megaphone to help elicit sympathy, drum up funds, denounce Israel and drape in UN baby blue the interests and demands of the Iranian-backed terrorists of Hamas, they do a terrible disservice not only to the cause of world peace, but to the prospects of the Palestinians themselves for forsaking terror and building better lives.

UNRWA does a double disservice. In their support, tacit and overt, of terrorism they prevent any movement toward peace, as Rosett says. And in addition, by keeping Palestinians dependent on aid from outside, which is contingent on their retaining their refugee status, they are preventing millions of people from becoming independent, normal human beings. The Palestinians can focus on terrorism and their hatred of Jews and Israel so intensely because they don’t have to work for a living. They don’t have to build an economy. They have no responsibilities; they are like rebellious teenagers whose rich father will always bail them out. But the stakes are far higher.

By this time, after decades of dependency, and schooled from earliest childhood in hatred and bitterness, these “refugees” may not be able to grow into adulthood. They are emotionally and intellectually crippled. Somehow this terrible situation has to be brought to an end.

Lebanon: African domestic help find refugee husbands to escape abuse

I knew that African workers were often abused and treated like slaves in Muslim countries, but I was surprised to hear it was so bad in Lebanon, once a thriving multicultural and multireligious nation.    This is a story about how, in this case, Ethiopian women have figured out how to escape their terrible lives and get to the West (if they live).

Since May 2008, Ethiopians have been officially banned from coming to Lebanon (it is not clear which end did the banning). It is the latest in a series of bans and one of the only means of protest by the Ethiopian government against the suffering of its female citizens in Lebanon – mostly live-in domestic workers without legal protection or an embassy in the country. But when times get too rough, Ethiopian women turn to their tightly-knit networks, not to return home but to find work elsewhere. One option is to pay a smuggler to enter Greece by land or sea, and another is to marry a refugee in the hope of being resettled in a wealthy country, such as Sweden, Australia, Canada or the US. For many Ethiopians here then, Lebanon has become a transit hub, a springboard to a better life.

Some die, however, before they can escape.

While the figure of more than one death per week of domestic workers in Lebanon announced by Human Rights Watch (HRW) in August did not fail to appall the public, not many noticed that more than half of the recorded deaths over a period of one and a half years – mostly due to suicide or falling off balconies – were those of Ethiopian women. It is hardly surprising that many cannot wait to leave.

The article goes on to report how some women pay huge sums to be smuggled into Europe.   But, the part that interested me most was the ‘marry a refugee strategy.’

Another way for Ethiopian women to leave Lebanon is through “marriage” to Sudanese men, whose UNHCR refugee status makes them eligible candidates for resettlement in rich countries (although out of the 111 Sudanese and 40 Africans from other countries in Lebanon who are registered as refugees at the moment, only a handful actually get resettled annually).

Meserat, whose name has also been changed, married a Sudanese man eight years ago. Meserat, according to a friend, was not in love, but she accepted the Sudanese man’s proposal because she knew he had refugee status. She hoped that her husband will get resettled in the West, since Lebanon does not grant asylum or protection to acknowledged refugees. Meserat was lucky, and after she bore her first child, her husband got a resettlement permit to the States. The couple now lives in New York with their four children.

The story reminded me of a post I did last fall about those hot Bhutanese boys—Nepali girls latching on to Bhutanese refugees soon to be resettled in the US.

Media dishonesty on Gaza

A blog called Bring Back Freedom brings to our attention a big lie by France 2, the French public television network. Quoting from Ha-aretz:

French public television network France 2 on Tuesday revealed they had aired photographs that allegedly showed destruction caused by the Israel Air Force during Operation Cast Lead, which were in fact taken during a different incident in 2005, one in which Gaza civilians were killed by an explosion caused by militants in the Strip.

The footage aired on Channel 2 on Tuesday afternoon showed dozens of dead bodies, including Hamas gunmen and citizens, which the channel said were killed by an IAF bombing raid on January 1st. It later came to light that the channel had instead aired footage of the devastation caused after a truck full of explosives blew up in the Jabaliya Refugee Camp.

A news editor at France 2 told Le Figaro Tuesday that they had “made a mistake by airing those pictures, which he said depict events from 2005.

2005 versus 2009, what the heck. An attack by Israel versus a mishap by a terrorist group that kills its own, what the heck. If you’re convinced Israel is evil, all carnage can be blamed on Israel anyway, so what’s the big deal?

(Bring Back Freedom gives a hat tip to Jihad Watch, so I guess this item came from Ha-aretz to Robert Spencer to Bring Back Freedom to Refugee Resettlement Watch. Ain’t the Internet wonderful?)

Old article sheds more light on Hispanic/Somali culture clash in meatpacking plants

Yesterday, when I wrote about Islam Expert(?) Frankie Martin’s views on Somalia, I came across this article  by Martin at the Huffington Post from October.    The article is entitled, “Hundreds of Somali Muslims fired for praying.”   In fact they were fired for walking off the production line, so even the title is an attempt to gain the readers sympathy for the Muslims right off the bat.

Martin begins:

These are not easy times for Islam in America.


In this environment, the recent firings of hundreds of Somali workers in JBS Swift Meat Co. plants in Greeley, Colorado, and Grand Island, Nebraska have taken on an added significance. The workers had demanded and were refused time to pray and break their fast at sundown during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

He doesn’t tell you that when a prayer break time was given that the entire production line must shut down.  Since the originally promised break needed to be early in the shift to satisfy Islamic requirements regarding sundown, it meant that all the workers would have a very long (tiring) second half of the shift.  The other workers preferred their break midway through the shift.   That was the crux of the problem for the other workers of varying nationalities.

I have to give Martin credit though because he is one of the few who have written at all about the clash of cultures within the plants themselves.  The Hispanics, mostly, felt that they had been there a long time and resented the newcomers making demands.  However as we reported in our extensive coverage of this issue, those protesting against the Somalis were from many countries.  

Martin on the culture clash:

There had been tensions building up for some time between the Somali workers and the mainly Latino management of the plant over cultural and religious issues like prayer times. The final straw came when managers grabbed two Somali women who were praying and removed their prayer rugs from under them, which the Somalis viewed as a major religious and cultural insult and attack on their honor. [Editor:  These women had left the production line without permission.]

The Somalis reiterated their demand for a short break from the meat assembly line and were granted a break at 7:45 pm for prayer. But then Latino workers protested that the Somalis were being given preferential treatment. Tensions escalated. In response, the management at Swift canceled their offer of 7:45 pm prayer and then, to the ire of the Somalis, pushed the break back to 9:00 pm. This was seen by the Somalis as a deliberate slight to them and as a sign of favoritism to the Latinos.


There is also suspicion from Americans fearful that Muslims are not assimilating and are seeking special favors. “We don’t get time to pray at work,” said one white Grand Island women I spoke to, “why should they?” But in reality things are a bit more complex as the real culture clash seemed to occur between immigrant groups within the plant.

Somali’s told Martin, “It’s a win.”

Yet, despite these trials the Somalis still had a strong sense of dignity, of confidence. I asked them how they felt after losing their jobs, and they said they felt great. “This is not a loss for us,” one worker said, “It is a win.” In their minds they had preserved their culture and their religion, Islam — the only thing, it seems, they have left.

Come on Frankie!  That is just B.S.   Of course it’s a win because this whole event was a set-up from the beginning to force Americans and American places of employment to accomodate Islamic religious demands.   They know what they are doing — wearing us down.  They have been taught well by the Left, create a “crisis” and force “change.”

For more background on the controversy at Greeley and Grand Island we have an entire category on the subject here.

Refugees International report: Resettle Rohingya in US

One of the recommendations from a Refugees International Field Report  is for the US to send more financial aid to the Burmese Muslim Rohingya displaced people and to work to resettle them in the US.  To date, we have not officially begun resettling Rohingya.

The summary of the December 19th report tells us what we already know from recent news accounts.  From RI:

With few options available to the Rohingya in Bangladesh, more and more people are risking their lives to travel to Malaysia to seek livelihood opportunities. The number of Rohingya boat people [Editor: more accurately boat men. Women and children have not been found in the boats.]  originating from inside Burma and from Bangladesh is increasing, despite the dangers posed by dishonest brokers, substandard boats, and the Thai navy. Although many have lost their lives at sea or were caught and detained by Burmese authorities, many more continue to reach Malaysia. In all, an estimated one million Rohingya now live in Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia, the Middle East, and farther afield.

But, follow the link to the PDF report and note the recommendations including one to resettle Rohingya.

The UN and donor governments, particularly the US, should integrate the Rohingya into programs that address Burmese displacement, including resettlement.

The UK and Canada have recently begun resettlement.    For more on Rohingya see our category ‘Rohingya Reports’ here.

Refugees International is a lobbying arm of the refugee industry and we wrote previously that they have advocated that the Obama administration allow over 100,000 Iraqis to enter the US this fiscal year.