Tuesday, February 24, 2009

$900 Million for Gaza?

Money grows on trees you know, and despite our tanking economy we apparently have enough cash to funnel $900 million to Gaza.

A New York Times story this morning explains that this aid is to help rebuild Gaza "after the Israeli incursion" last month. The Times does not point out that Israel, fed up with Hamas rocket attacks, was defending itself. That's beside the point.

This aid follows on the heels of the the "Unexpected Urgent Refugee and Migration Needs Related to Gaza" order signed by Obama on January 27, 2009. The order allocated $20.3 million for the purpose of resettling Gaza refugees and would be distributed by the UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency).

The new $900 million influx would also be handled by the UNRWA. Andy McCarthy, writing for National Review, expressed concern about UNRWA in a post this morning and it seems his fears are well founded. He says "the UNRWA is effectively an arm of Hamas in Gaza (and elsewhere). In its second term, the Bush State Department was reckless in enabling Palestinian terrorists on its utopian quest for Middle East peace. As in so much else, Obama is taking that parlous policy and multiplying it by a hundred."

During the election there were concerns about Obama's anti-Israel position. He was associated with several anti-Israel characters such as Rashid Khalidi (remember the 2003 tape suppressed by the LA Times in which Obama attended a farewell bash, along with Bill Ayers, for Khalidi?). I wrote about my own concerns here, here, and here. Obama's radical associations alarmed me, but many scoffed at me and said I should not to judge him by his friends. Fair enough.

But now we are giving aid to Gaza and to assume that this money won't find its way into the hands of Hamas is naive. Asaf Romirowsky, in an article published in 2007 by the Jewish Policy Center, wrote about how UNRWA supports Hamas and it is worth your time time to read.

Romirowsky points out that the UNRWA benefits from the continued conflict because without the conflict there would be no more purpose for them. The agency is staffed mainly by locals - "more than 23,000" of them and they are not screened against any terrorist watch list.

Khalidi himself explained that UNRWA employs "members of different political groups such as...Hamas and Islamic Jihad, without reference to their belonging to a specific group." The workers are even allowed to associate with terrorist groups.

Rominrowsky writes:

"There have also been widespread reports of terrorism from UNRWA-supervised facilities, including sniper attacks from UNRWA-run schools, bomb and arms factories in UNRWA camps, the transport of terrorists to their target zones in UNRWA ambulances, and even UNRWA employees directly tied to terrorist attacks against civilians.

Nidal Abd al-Fattah Abdallah Nazzal, an ambulance driver for UNRWA from Kalqiliya in the West Bank, was arrested by Israeli security services in August 2002. Nidal admitted that he was a Hamas activist and that he had transported weapons and explosives to terrorists in his ambulance, taking advantage of the freedom of movement afforded to UNRWA vehicles by the Israelis."

In addition, the UNRWA allowed terrorist groups to use their schools for the purpose of training Palestinian children how to make roadside bombs. Is this what we should be funding as U.S. taxpayers? There is more than enough evidence to support the fact that Hamas operates freely within UNRWA. So by extension, our government is funding terrorist organizations?

How might our ally Israel feel about all this influx of cash in the direction of Hamas?

If we want to weaken Hamas to the point where they can no longer terrorize Israel or anyone else, shouldn't we CUT their funding rather than making it easier for them to operate?

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