Better off without UNRWA

DryBonesStaging another of its surreal spectacles, the UN last week marked the 65th birthday of one of its most deformed misbegotten offspring – the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

UNRWA was established in 1949 to cater exclusively to those deemed to be Palestinian refugees. All other refugees, regardless of degree of plight and objective hardship, are looked after by the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), while the privileged Palestinian category is singularly aided by UNRWA.

The defect was already implanted in UNRWA’s genome. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon admitted that UNRWA was never meant to live this long but he contended that “it exists because of political failure.” Doubtless, as per the UN’s dishonorable tradition, Israel is blamed for this failure. The Jewish State is habitually painted as the villain of any piece and its bogus villainy is exasperatingly accepted as an axiomatic premise.  Continue reading

Pause to Fear

The teetering Bashar Assad- Not the dependable despot the West once assumed him to be.

The teetering Bashar Assad- Not the dependable despot the West once assumed him to be.

The imminent fall of Bashar Assad’s regime had been predicted many times over the past few years – since the advent of the misnamed “Arab Spring” in Syria. So far, however, all announcements of Assad’s demise have proven premature.

This, though, doesn’t mean that he’s holding on. We are merely witnessing a plodding process of disintegration whose direction, nonetheless, is unmistakable. Assad already doesn’t rule his county, except for a few undersized beleaguered enclaves whose survival prospects steadily diminish. Continue reading

The New Judeophobic Zeitgeist

Israeli doctors treating a Nepalese boy injured in the recent earthquake

Israeli doctors treating a Nepalese boy injured in the recent earthquake.

Little attention was paid in Israel to the latest UN anti-Israel extravaganza. Presumably we’ve grown inured to the hate spouted at us.

While the Arab Spring’s carnage boggles the civilized mind, the World Health Organization, the UN’s public health agency, has identified the true transgressor – Israel.

WHO’s annual assembly last week condemned Israel for “violating the health rights of Syrians in the Golan.” This is a travesty in every conceivable aspect. Continue reading

The Company Obama keeps

The Emir at the White House - there was no shadow of a hint of displeasure

The Emir at the White House – there was no shadow of a hint of displeasure

Show me who your friends are, goes the timeless adage, and I’ll show you who you are. Indeed, judging US president Barak Obama by the company he prefers to keep is very enlightening.

Obama refused to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week and all the president’s men and women outdid each other in heaping scorn on the unwanted guest from Jerusalem. But just a few days earlier the red carpet was rolled out enthusiastically for Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

It appeared as if not enough praise could be heaped on the emir as he visited the White House for the first time since taking over from his father in 2013. Continue reading

America’s Acute Myopia

unnamedAt this point in time we don’t know what sort of nuclear reactor Vladimir Putin had promised his Egyptian host Abdel-Fattah a-Sisi during the Russian president’s visit to Cairo last week. No actual construction is about to start in the immediate future and thus the nature of the project is moot.

Moreover, it’s not the only new reactor planned. Turkey is getting one as is our next door neighbor Jordan. The Saudis too are shopping for nuclear power.

In all instances, including that of oil-glutted Saudi Arabia, the pretext is the need for an energy source. This too is the pro forma excuse of Iran, another major oil-producer. Also cited is scientific research – hardly the forte or focus of any of the aforementioned countries.

Unlike Iran, however, none of the above had vowed to wipe Israel off the map which can theoretically somewhat ease our angst. Continue reading

Respect please!

David Ben-Gurion signs the Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948. Moshe Sharett is on the right

David Ben-Gurion signs the Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948. Moshe Sharett is on the right

Some democracies – certainly not all – were bequeathed formative documents formulated by prescient founding fathers who deliberately devoted utmost care to address every conceivable future interpretation. The least such seminal documents deserve is special deference from the nations fortunate enough to have inherited them.

They most certainly don’t deserve to be expediently turned into the proverbial rope in a political tug-of-war. Sadly, our Declaration of Independence – doubtless Israel’s most basic and vital text – is being misused in precisely this manner.

It all has to do with the “democratic and Jewish” catchphrase that has gained broad but unsubstantiated acceptance as the Declaration’s bipolar blueprint for the state’s character. Continue reading

Willing Dupes

Cement entering Gaza from Israel last year at the Kerem Shalom Crossing

Cement entering Gaza from Israel last year at the Kerem Shalom Crossing

Hamas, which imperiously rules Gaza, has been named in the latest issue of Forbes Israel as the world’s second-richest terrorist organization. It annually rakes in a billion dollars, outdone only by Islamic State (a.k.a. Da’esh, ISIS, ISIL) which – with an annual income of some two billion dollars – tops the chart of terrorist moneybags.

Hamas’s financial success has by far eclipsed Hezbollah, Taliban and al-Qaida.

IS finances its offensives by selling thousands of barrels of Iraqi oil every day on the black market. Hamas’s chief sources of earnings, according to the exhaustive Forbes report, are accrued from skimming hefty sums off foreign NGO donations and putting the squeeze on ordinary Gazans – the very ones the NGOs are ostensibly seeking to aid. Continue reading

Sedition by Parliamentarians

Moshe German’s car ablaze in Taibe

“I am not a contractor for calming operations,” proclaimed MK Ahmad Tibi (Ta’al) when asked in a host of interviews, following the Kafr Kana shooting and ensuing countrywide riots, what he might do to cool passions.

With in-your-face bluntness Tibi proceeded to do quite the opposite and to pour oil on the flames. In breathless succession he accused the officers who shot 22-year-old Khair-a-din Hamadan of pre-meditated homicide, deliberate execution mafia-style, committing racist murder and altogether being “bloodthirsty animals.”

Shouting down other speakers, Tibi railed and vituperated. He charged that the policemen were out to “intentionally terminate Hamadan” rather than neutralize him when he attacked them with a knife. Tibi belittled Hamadan’s actions as “an understandable expression of anger.”

He insisted on stiff punishment for the individual cops, their commanders and government ministers. Continue reading

Fundamental Perspectives

An Israeli military outpost as seen from South Lebanon, where a Hezbollah flag flutters

An Israeli military outpost as seen from South Lebanon, where a Hezbollah flag flutters

Perceived dangers to our lives and ways of life can be a function of trends – just like everything else in our existence. The latest headline-grabbing focus of fear is Islamic State expansionism. This isn’t a bugbear of negligible proportions.  IS bloodlust and fanatic belligerence are nothing to scoff at.

That said, however, IS isn’t the only threat to the world’s democracies – Israel among them. Neither is it the greatest threat – certainly not to Israel.

Regardless of the repugnance aroused by IS’s sensationalist and lurid beheadings, worse villains abound in our region. Iran with its nuclear ambitions is foremost one, even though the White House is poised to appease Tehran’s ayatollahs without disarming them. Continue reading