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UNRWA: The Damage Done

(Photo: flickr/ amargretecom)

(Photo: flickr/ amargretecom)

In three separate incidents since the start of Operation Protective Edge, schools in Gaza being run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) were found to be stashing rockets – the very same rockets the IDF is trying to locate and destroy. In at least one of these cases, UNRWA returned the rockets they discovered to “local authorities” – Hamas – undoubtedly used them to launch attacks against Israeli civilians instead of handing them over to the Israeli army.

UNRWA was established in 1949 to provide various services to more than half a million Palestinian refugees after Israel’s War of Independence in 1948. But many people argue that UNRWA is fundamentally flawed, and has only exacerbated the issue of Palestinian refugees, who today number over five million.

The status and future placement of Palestinian refugees is one of the fundamental obstacles to peace between Israel and its neighbors. And while the Palestinian Authority and Hamas continue to call for the return of all refugees to their original neighborhoods within Israel proper – a scenario which would effectively bring an end to the Jewish state – it is UNRWA that has kept this fantasy alive.

All refugees across the globe – with the exception of Palestinian refugees – are tended to by the U.N. High Commission. This commission operates under guidelines established in 1951 and seeks to settle refugees as quickly as possible, and most frequently, in countries other than the ones from which they fled. UNRWA, whose only patrons are the Palestinians, states that those Palestinians who fled Israel in the course of the 1948 War, as well as their descendants, will retain refugee status so long as they do not return to the homes and villages from which they fled – villages and homes that no longer exist.

With over 30,000 personnel, many of whom are proud members of Hamas, UNRWA is the largest U.N. agency, and the only U.N. program dedicated to serving only one group of people –…

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Thursday, July 31st, 2014 at 8:40 AM  | Stand For Israel

Rockets Found in UNRWA School for a Third Time

UNRWA-logo-724x1024Stand for Israel has been reporting on the recent frequency of terrorist rockets being found in United Nations-operated schools. And as we noted in today’s Daily Dispatch, rockets were again found in a UNRWA-run school in Gaza on Tuesday. The Times of Israel reports that this is the third such occurrence since the onset of Operation Protective Edge:

In its press release, UNRWA’s spokesperson said that the discovery was made during a routine inspection of the school, “which was closed for the summer and not being used as a shelter.”

“All the relevant parties have been notified,” UNRWA said, without elaborating which parties. Hamas, the terror group that controls the Gaza Strip, has launched over 2,000 of rockets at Israel in the past month …

Despite announcing the discovery, UNRWA could not send a UN munitions expert to disarm and remove the weapons “because of fighting in the vicinity,” it said in a statement. “But we hope to do as soon as the security conditions allow.”

It was not clear from the statement where the school was, how many rockets Hamas or one of the other Palestinian terror groups stored at the UN facility, or where the weapons are now.

Tuesday’s incident was the third instance in which Palestinian armaments were found in UN facilities in the Gaza Strip …

In Jerusalem, officials charged that the weaponry was returned to Hamas. “The rockets were passed on to the government authorities in Gaza, which is Hamas. In other words, UNRWA handed to Hamas rockets that could well be shot at Israel,” a senior Israeli official told The Times of Israel.

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Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 at 9:37 AM  | Stand For Israel

The U.N. Human Wrongs Council

(Photo: wikipedia)

(Photo: wikipedia)

The United Nations is at it once again. This week we’ve reported on the rockets found in U.N.-operated schools in Gaza, and the U.N.’s giving of said rockets back to Hamas. And yesterday we told you about the U.N. Human Rights Council voting for a resolution to investigate Israel for its actions during the current Operation Protective Edge. Former national security adviser Elliott Abrams, always an intelligent voice of reason, writes at Israel Hayom that this is an unfair resolution and that the U.S. – even as it was the one vote for Israel – should not be part of such a council:

This is a biased, one-sided, mendacious resolution. The word “Hamas” is not mentioned. The firing of thousands of rockets into Israel is not mentioned. The massive system of attack tunnels through which Hamas terrorists have entered Israel is not mentioned. The fact that Hamas hides weapons in U.N. schools is not mentioned …

The United States erred in joining up in 2009, and the returns are in. The experiment failed. Until the council stops its biased and one-sided actions, and stops throwing fuel on the flames in the Middle East, we should disengage. Council members such as China, Cuba, and Russia (yes, all three are, amazingly enough, members) will not recognize moral clarity, but very many Americans will.

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Friday, July 25th, 2014 at 8:41 AM  | Stand For Israel

Why Nobody But the U.S. Voted Against the U.N.’s Anti-Israel Resolution

(Photo: wikicommons/ russavia)

(Photo: wikicommons/ russavia)

Yesterday, the United Nations Human Rights Council approved a resolution that condemned what it calls “the widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms arising from the Israeli military operations,” and called for an inquiry committee to investigate Israel’s actions during the current Operation Protective Edge. Writing at The Times of Israel, Raphael Ahren looks at the U.N.’s continued bias against the Jewish state, as well as the fact that the United States was the lone nation to stand for Israel:

Only the United States voted against the resolution. Twenty-nine nations voted in favor, among them not only the usual suspects such as Saudi Arabia, Algeria and South Africa, but also some ostensible friends of Israel, including Russia, Kenya, India and Mexico.

Equally hurtful for Israel, if not more so, were the abstentions of the eight European Union member states who had the right to vote: Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Romania and the United Kingdom …

The resolution does not mention Hamas once.

For Israel, the vote was another heavy slap in the face. Because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hesitated before launching the Gaza campaign and accepted several ceasefire offers, officials were sure of the international community’s (relative) support for Operation Protective Edge. But statements reiterating Israel’s right to defend itself are apparently no guarantee of supportive votes at the UN.

“It’s a travesty of justice; it’s a travesty of fairness; it’s a travesty of common sense; it’s a travesty of truth,” Netanyahu said Thursday …

Let us be thankful that Israel still has those who stand with them, and pray that God will continue to watch over the Holy Land and its friends.

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Thursday, July 24th, 2014 at 1:15 PM  | Stand For Israel

Did the United Nations Give Rockets to Hamas?

(Photo: flickr/ dbwhitcon)

(Photo: flickr/ dbwhitcon)

As we reported yesterday, a second stash of terrorist rockets have been found hidden in a U.N.-run school in Gaza. The first group of rockets – found in a similar school last week – were handed over to the police, The Daily Beast reports … except this police force is connected to the very terrorists who wish to launch them at Israel:

When 20 rockets were discovered last week in a U.N.-funded school in Gaza, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees was quick to condemn the storage of weapons of war in a building meant to educate children.

But rather than turn them over to a third party, or arrange for their disposal, the agency, known as UNRWA, handed them over to the local police force, which was established by Hamas, and is believed to be under the militant group’s control. In other words, the supposedly neutral agency may have given weapons to one of the combatants in a conflict that has claimed more than 360 lives in the past two weeks.

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Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 at 10:00 AM  | Stand For Israel

For Second Time, Rockets Found at U.N. School in Gaza

(Photo: flickr/ ismpalestine)

(Photo: flickr/ ismpalestine)

Both last week and in yesterday’s Daily Dispatch, Stand for Israel brought you news of terrorist rockets found hidden in Gaza schools. Today, The Times of Israel reports that rockets were again uncovered in a school operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA):

Israeli officials reacted furiously to the discovery. “How many more schools will have to be abused by Hamas missile squads before the international community will intervene,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor told The Times of Israel. “How many times can it turn its head the other way and pretend that it just doesn’t see?”

Another senior official pointed out that UNRWA has a history of letting Hamas use its facilities for its terrorist activities. “Time and again, over the years, UNRWA has been abused by gunmen from different terrorist factions who are using UN facilities to stockpile weapons, to fire rockets from, to steal UNRWA humanitarian equipment and to cause damage and fire in UNRWA’s hangars,” a senior Foreign Ministry official told The Times of Israel.

“Against all evidence, UNRWA refuses to acknowledge reality and pathetically attempts to ingratiate itself with Hamas, pretending that nothing serious has happened,” the senior official said. “This is a classic case of beaten-wife syndrome, which we have been witnessing for years from UNRWA. The people of Gaza, and indeed taxpayers from countries who contribute to UNRWA’s budget — including Israel — deserve better.”

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Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 at 3:57 PM  | Stand For Israel

The Scorpions at the U.N.

(Photo: wikicommons/ Henry Mühlpfordt)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Henry Mühlpfordt)

As we reported in Stand for Israel Daily Dispatch, the mother of kidnapped teen Naftali Frenkel – joined by the mothers of Eyal Yifrach and Gilad Shaar – spoke at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva today. While one can imagine no more moving speaker than a mother missing her son, Ruthie Blum writes at Israel Hayom that we shouldn’t expect the U.N. to give Israel a fair shake:

Indeed, since the June 12 abduction of the Israeli teenagers, the U.N. has been focusing ‎solely on the response of the Israeli government to the kidnapping.‎

Considering that time is of the essence when searching for captives — who might be ‎wounded or undergoing torture — the behavior of the Israel Defense Forces and the public ‎at large has been exemplary, if not mild. This is particularly the case since Operation ‎Brother’s Keeper has uncovered an extensive network of tunnels and explosives labs ‎throughout the West Bank.‎

Yet in a phone call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday evening, U.N. ‎Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed “concern” about the restrictions on movement ‎and mass arrests of Palestinians.‎

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Tuesday, June 24th, 2014 at 8:27 AM  | Stand For Israel

Much More Can Be Done and Should Be Done

Today, Rachel Frenkel, the mother of kidnapped Israeli teen Naftali Frenkel, spoke at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Joined by the mothers of the other two abducted boys, Ms. Frenkel thanked all who are praying, and all who have condemned the actions of the terrorist kidnappers. She then said more could be done, before pouring out her heart as only a mother in such a circumstance could:

[I]t is wrong to take children, innocent boys or girls, and use them as instruments of any struggle. It is cruel. This council is charged with protecting human rights. I wish to ask: Doesn’t every child have the right to come home safely from school?

We just want them back in our homes, in their beds. We just want to hug them again.

Watch Ms. Frenkel’s remarks, or read the transcript at the link above. And please keep praying that more will be done, and that the three mothers will soon welcome their sons safely home.

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Tuesday, June 24th, 2014 at 8:15 AM  | Stand For Israel

Mother of Kidnapped Teen to Address U.N.

(Photo: ASHERNET/IDF)

(Photo: ASHERNET/IDF)

The mother of Naftali Frenkel, one of the three Israeli teens kidnapped over a week ago by Hamas, will be addressing the United Nations on Tuesday, The Times of Israel reports, to call for the immediate release of the three boys:

Frankel is expected to appeal for international condemnation of the abduction and call for pressure to urge the kidnappers to free the yeshiva students …

“We raised different ideas about future activities, and agreed on continued collaboration,” the families said in a press statement following the three-hour meeting. “We are determined to see the children return home as quickly as possible, and we will test our actions by the outcome — seeing our children again.”

We continue to pray for the boys’ safety, as well as for strength for their families, and that the international community will perhaps stand for the abducted teens’ release.

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Monday, June 23rd, 2014 at 9:30 AM  | Stand For Israel

The International Criminal Court Strikes Out Again

(Photo: flickr/ Estonian Foreign Ministry)

(Photo: flickr/ Estonian Foreign Ministry)

Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian leaders have, from time to time, threatened to apply for membership in the International Criminal Court (ICC) and, from that position, launch wave after wave of legal assaults against Israel and her leadership. Western nations and Israel typically respond to this with violent opposition at the prospect of having to ward off such an onslaught.

Then there are days like yesterday when the nations of the world demonstrate why the ICC is not only nothing for Israel to fear, but also nothing for actual war criminals to fear.

Yesterday, the U.N. Security Council took up the question of whether Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad – who has killed more than 150,000 of his own people and used chemical weapons against civilians – should be referred to the ICC for prosecution for war crimes. The measure failed in the Security Council when it was vetoed by both Russia and China (neither of which has the power to veto on its own). Interestingly, neither Russia nor China are members of the ICC (full disclosure: neither are Israel or the U.S.).

Earlier, in 2008, the U.N. Security Council referred Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to the ICC for the campaign of mass rape and murder in the Darfur region of that country. The ICC indicted him for war crimes in 2009. Bashir is still president of his country and looks no closer to arrest and trial than he was before his indictment.

If the U.N. can’t even agree to refer Syria to the ICC, and a murderer like Bashir doesn’t have to worry about trial, does Israel have much to fear from the ICC? Obviously, the concern is that the ICC assault could further isolate Israel. But this is a group that, to put it mildly, is not exactly the most effective and organized of world governing bodies. Watching the ICC and its backers fall over themselves trying to indict Israel would likely do a lot more damage to the already weak reputation of the Court than it would to…

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Friday, May 23rd, 2014 at 8:41 AM  | Stand For Israel
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Rabbi's Commentary
Praying for Peace, Prepared for War

The people of Israel were cautiously hopeful when a three-day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas terrorists, brokered by the U.S. and the United Nations…


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