Tuesday, July 30, 2019

UNRWA chief suspected of ‘abuses of authority for personal gain’

On this subject, it is good to  know that  DFID of the UK is reviewing what its donations to UNRWA is actually being used for
By Batya Jerenberg, July 29, 2019
The head of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Pierre Kraehenbuehl is suspected by his own agency of corruption, Al Jazeera reported Monday.
According to the Qatar-based news agency, the Ethics Department of UNRWA has prepared a report accusing the 53-year-old Swiss and his close circle of “abuses of authority for personal gain, to suppress legitimate dissent and to otherwise achieve their personal objectives.”
Kraehenbuehl and his close circle reportedly used the financial crisis caused last year when the United States stopped contributing to the organization to take “an extreme concentration of decision-making power” for themselves.
There was an “increased disregard for agency rules and established procedures,” with administrative staff suffering from “low morale, fear of retaliation… distrust, secrecy, bullying, intimidation and marginalization.” The result was “highly dysfunctional” management of the $900 million organization.
The UNRWA commissioner general’s personal behavior was castigated as well. According to the report, soon after he was appointed in 2014 he began taking trips to the Gulf with an UNRWA official, Maria Mohammedi, and their relationship went “beyond the professional.” He then appointed her as his senior adviser and used his authority to enable her to travel with him on the organization’s dime.
The report also alleges that Kraehenbuehl has claimed expenses while spending many months in Gulf countries on personal business trips. Yet he has been pleading for money from donor countries ever since the American administration cut off its major funding.
The ethics panel concluded that all the alleged improper behavior is “an enormous risk to the reputation of the U.N.” and that “their immediate removal should be carefully considered.”
There are four people mentioned altogether in the report. Kraehenbuehl and Mohammedi are the only ones among them still in UNRWA’s employ. The deputy commissioner general and chief of staff left earlier this month.
Except to say that he was fully cooperating with the investigation, Kraehenbuehl refused to comment on any of the allegations, Al Jazeera said, explaining that he is “not at liberty to do so” by U.N. rules. Mohammedi, meanwhile, characterized the accusations against her as “false” and “ill-intentioned.”
The damning report was sent to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in December 2018, but a source who said that nothing was seemingly being done decided to leak it to Al Jazeera, the agency said. According to the U.N., the report has been passed on to the organization’s Office of Internal Oversight Services for investigation and no comment will be made until the probe is complete.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Palestinians Spit on Saudi Journalist on Temple Mount

We are used to seeing the Muslims on the Temple Mount attack Jews and Christians, but it is unusual to see them attack a fellow Muslim. Why? A Saudi journalist is attacked with chairs and sticks thrown at him, repeatedly young "Palestinians" spit on his clothes and face and he is verbally abused.

Friday, July 19, 2019


Until the mid-1970s, Israel had a strong agricultural orientation. In order to adapt to changing geopolitical, market and climatic conditions, a combination of sophisticated applied science, and rugged determination  enabled Israel to make  the transition to an industrial, hi-tech economy.

Like most of Israeli innovation, technology was born out of necessity.  Agriculture was not abandoned, but was transformed along with the rest of the country. Israel has come a long way since then.

The fact that representatives from over 40 countries convened in Israel for four days last week to discover technologies  in agriculture - involving artificial intelligence, machine learning, drones, etc., - testifies to Israel as being one of the leading countries in the world in the branch of agriculture.

One of the most outstanding examples is an NGO, founded by Sivan Ya’ari,  with a mission to bring Israeli solar and water technologies to rural African villages.  Since it’s beginning in 2008, “Innovation: Africa” has installed solar energy, water and agricultural technology in more than 250 rural villages across 10 African countries!

In addition, the NGO is working with UNICEF to provide clean water and bring light to 35 more medical centres to internally displaced peoples’ camps and refugee camps across the Cameroon.

While the rest of the world takes for granted the accessing of water by turning on the tap, and flicking a switch to lighten the darkness, these  African villagers and camps had neither. Without the basic necessities in life, they had little hope of a better life to break the cycle of poverty.

The latest produce “Innovation: Africa” has developed is a small device which includes all the components (produced in Israel) that are needed to provide solar power to an entire school or a medical centre. This long-lasting and durable solar system will provide energy to any facility for more than 10 years with no maintenance required.

The innovation does not end with the installation of these life-changing systems. The NGO has also developed a remote monitoring technology which enables them to efficiently monitor all the solar systems and pumps throughout the villages. If anything breaks, they get an alert and the local team fixes it.

Technology has its place, of course,  but Israel’s objective has always been the human element - to help make the world a better place. The “Innovation: Africa” website says this better:
 ”The Israeli heart and mind just transformed the lives of 1 million Africans forever.”

The Magical Misery Tour

The following article refers to the attempts by J Street to distort the realities of life in Israel

A host of progressive organizations use their Jewishness as cover or sanction for their campaigns against Israel. J Street, which calls itself “pro-Israel” and “pro-peace,” is perhaps the best known among them. There’s no better example of how this works than J Street’s recent launch of a program to compete with Birthright Israel, the 20-year-old organization that’s provided free trips to Israel for more than 600,000 young Jews around the world.

According to J Street, “the omission and erasure of Palestinian perspectives and narratives on these [Birthright] trips creates a political environment that allows home demolitions, settlement expansion, and other destructive policies of occupation to continue unchallenged.” Instead, the group says, “organized educational trips for young American Jews must present a robust, nuanced and honest view of the current realities on the ground in Israel and the Palestinian Territory.”

The first such J Street trip, labeled the “Let Our People Know” tour, just concluded. Here, according to a miserable piece by the New York Times’s David Halbfinger, is the “nuanced” and “honest” take that was offered to the 28 American college students involved:

In Har Gilo, they received a harsh history lesson from a veteran opponent of the occupation. Then they toured an impoverished, water-starved Palestinian village that Israeli settlers want to demolish, and visited the city of Hebron, where repeated outbreaks of violence have turned an entire Palestinian business district into a ghost town.

Not a word, either from the “opponent of occupation” or from Halbfinger on the murderous Palestinian anti-Semitic violence that necessitates Israel’s policing of such places in to begin with. Similarly, no mention of the kleptocratic Palestinian leadership that’s consigned generations of Palestinians to certain ruin. Finally, no mention of the fact that the Palestinians have, again and again—and again—refused to make peace with Israel when it was offered.

Here’s some more nuance, J Street style:

The ride to Har Gilo, just south of Jerusalem, took the bus through an Israeli checkpoint. Hagit Ofran, a leader of Peace Now, addressed the group over a microphone and described how soldiers decided which motorists to stop: “To look suspicious,” she said, “you need to look Arab.”

You know what might go a long way toward curbing suspicions? Putting an end to attacks on Jews, like the one that happened last November—in Har Gilowhen a terrorist stabbed Aharon Heller in his body and face. Again, no mention by Halbfinger of that or similar attacks.

Finally, Halbfinger relays how students on the trip were turned off by Israel and Zionism: “By dinnertime, two participants said they were reconsidering their belief in a Jewish state.”  He quotes one: “I came in here a very ardent Zionist . . . You never know when a Holocaust might happen again. Yet, coming here, I’m starting to doubt whether a two-state solution is possible—and whether Zionism is even worth pursuing anymore.”

This is, of course, the goal of the entire undertaking. It’s not about painting a nuanced picture of the conflict or moving toward peace. It’s about Jews showing other Jews what a terrible and misguided place Israel has become. Increasingly, that’s J Street’s mission. Despite its denials, the group has supported the boycotting of Israel on college campuses and targeted pro-Israel activists. Now, it’s packaging the supposed evils of the Jewish state for students to see up close.

The good news is that J Street has taken only 28 kids on a single trip. Put that against Birthright’s estimated 650,000. It will take a lot of David Halbfingers to make up the difference.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

UN Launches All-out War on Free Speech

For full article by Judith Bergman   July 10, 2019 , read here    
In other words, forget everything about the free exchange of ideas: the UN feels that its 'values' are being threatened and those who criticize those values must therefore be shut down.

Naturally, the UN assures everyone that, "Addressing hate speech does not mean limiting or prohibiting freedom of speech. It means keeping hate speech from escalating into something more dangerous, particularly incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence, which is prohibited under international law".

Except the UN most definitely seeks to prohibit freedom of speech, especially the kind that challenges the UN's agendas. This was evident with regard to the UN Global Compact on Migration, in which it was explicitly stated that public funding to "media outlets that systematically promote intolerance, xenophobia, racism and other forms of discrimination towards migrants" should be stopped.

In contrast to the UN Global Migration compact, the UN's action plan against hate speech does contain a definition of what the UN considers to be "hate" and it happens to be the broadest and vaguest of definitions possible: "Any kind of communication in speech, writing or behaviour, that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language with reference to a person or a group on the basis of who they are, in other words, based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, colour, descent, gender or other identity factor". With a definition as broad as this, all speech could be labelled "hate".

The new action plan plays straight into the OIC's decades-long attempts to ban criticism of Islam as 'hate speech'. In the wake of the launch of Guterres' action plan, Pakistan has already presented a six-point plan "to address the new manifestations of racism and faith-based hatred, especially Islamophobia" at the United Nations headquarters. The presentation was organized by Pakistan along with Turkey, the Holy See and the UN.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Discrimination and Persecution of Christians Ongoing

Palestinian Authority: On April 25, "the terrified residents of the Christian village of Jifna near Ramallah," states a report, "were attacked by Muslim gunmen ... after a woman from the village submitted a complaint to the police that the son of a prominent, Fatah-affiliated leader had attacked her family. In response, dozens of Fatah gunmen came to the village, fired hundreds of bullets in the air, threw petrol bombs while shouting curses, and caused severe damage to public property. It was a miracle that there were no dead or wounded." 

The "rioters," the report continues, "called on the [Christian] residents to pay jizya—a head tax that was levied throughout history on non-Muslim minorities under Islamic rule. The most recent victims of the jizya were the Christian communities of Iraq and Syria under ISIS rule." Moreover, as often happens when Muslims attack Christians in Islamic nations, "Despite the [Christian] residents' cries for help ... the PA police did not intervene during the hours of mayhem. They have not arrested any suspects."

Where is the outcry against this ongoing persecution, in Uganda, in Nigeria, in Germany, in the UK, in India, in Indonesia, etc., etc See more detail on this here

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Hebron Businessman Who Attended Bahrain: I'm Afraid For My Life

 Khaled Abu Toameh  July 1, 2019 

A Palestinian businessman from Hebron who participated in last week’s US-led “Prosperity to Peace” conference in Bahrain said on Monday that he’s been forced to flee his home after Palestinian Authority security officers tried to arrest him.  
Ashraf Ghanem, 45, owner of a furniture company in Hebron, was one of 13 Palestinian businessmen who attended the conference as representatives of a group called the Palestinian Business Network. 
The group was headed by Ashraf Jabari, another businessman who belongs to one of Hebron’s large clans.
The PA had called on Palestinians and Arabs to boycott the conference on the pretext that it was part of the US administration's scheme to "liquidate" the Palestinian cause. 
“I’m afraid for my life,” Ghanem said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post. “I can’t go back to my home.” 
On Friday night, some 50 officers belonging to the PA’s General Intelligence Service raided Ghanem’s home in an attempt to arrest him for participating in the Bahrain workshop. 
“I managed to escape,” Ghanem said, without elaborating. He said he was injured in different parts of the body during the escape. 
“The intelligence officers searched my home for more than three hours,” Ghanem told the Post. “They confiscated many documents, including my passport and credit cards. One of the officers took my brother’s phone and called me, asking me to hand myself over to the General Intelligence Service in Hebron.” 
At the same time, PA security officers raided the home of another Hebron businessman, Saleh Abu Mayaleh, and arrested him for participating in the conference. Abu Mayaleh, a cancer patient, was released the following day under pressure from the US administration. 
“I’m now staying in a safe place,” Ghanem said. "I didn't flee to Israel. I can’t move around because the Palestinian security forces took all my documents. I don’t have any money because they also took my credit cards. They even confiscated the security cameras from my home and searched the homes of my brothers.” 
Ghanem said he had received threats from the PA security forces and Fatah officials in Hebron before he went to Bahrain. 
“They told me I would be killed if I went to the economic conference in Bahrain,” he added. “In spite of the threats, I decided to go because I didn’t do anything wrong. Palestinian law does not ban anyone from participating in a conference.” 
Ghanem accused the PA and Fatah of acting like “thugs” by targeting businessmen who attended an economic conference. “We went there after receiving personal invitations,” he said. “We did not go there as representatives of the Palestinian government.” 
A father of five, Ghanem said he was now also concerned for the safety of his family. “I have an 11-year-old son who needs urgent medical treatment,” he said. “I don’t know how I can help him when I’m being forced to hide out of fear for my life. I feel like I’m going to die soon.” 
He said that another PA security agency, Preventive Security Service, was now "harassing" his workers and business as part of an effort to punish him for attending the Bahrain workshop. 
“I pay about NIS 20,000 in income taxes each month to the Palestinian Authority,” he noted. “Now they want to punish me and kill me just because I went to an economic conference. What has the Palestinian Authority done for the residents of Hebron? All the projects you see in Hebron are funded by the international community. Where does the money go? Where are the billions of dollars that the Palestinian Authority received in order to help the Palestinians?”
Ghanem said he wrote to PLO secretary-general Saeb Erekat asking for help, but did not receive a reply. He appealed to the US and EU to intervene with the PA leadership to allow him to return to his home.
“I’m not a traitor, and I’m not a collaborator with Israel,” he told the Post. “I’m a businessman who wants to help his people and boost the Palestinian economy. I didn’t break the law and I’m not a criminal. I went to a conference to discuss economic projects for my people, and because of that I’m now being punished and forced to live in hiding.”