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Resources updated between Monday, August 27, 2018 and Sunday, September 02, 2018

September 2, 2018

A Palestinian child at a Hamas summer camp

"U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to end funding for UNRWA, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, brings some much-needed moral clarity to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
...
Trump is sticking to his policy of breaking the rules and adhering to the truth. While there are those who keep a running tally of the lies the president tells on a daily basis, Trump is able to correctly grasp the greater truths. UNRWA, and the refugee story it supports, serves to perpetuate the conflict by falsely claiming that there are more than 5 million Palestinian refugees.

According to the Middle East Forum, however, the number of refugees who fled Israel in 1948 and are still alive is closer to 20,000. U.N. mechanisms, together with Arab states and the Palestine Liberation Organization, have prevented the absorption of these refugees in the countries to which they fled, thereby turning them into cannon fodder for the combative, vengeful policy they have adopted against the State of Israel.

In the initial stages, Trump's move will likely contribute to regional instability.

But in the long run, it will force the Palestinians to undergo an internal and dramatic transformation that will see them invest in education instead of attack tunnels, terrorist activity and missile production..."

At last, some moral clarity by defunding UNRWA Article

The United Nations headquarters

"The Trump administration announced Friday it is slashing all funding to a United Nations agency that provides aid to Palestinian refugees, calling the operation 'irredeemably flawed.'

The move is part of a broader effort to reign in U.S. assistance for the Palestinian Authority amid increased attacks by Palestinian terrorists on Israel. Just last month, the U.S. revoked more than $200 million in taxpayer-funded aid to the Palestinian Authority over concerns the money was not being used properly, and the possibility it was being used to fund terrorism.
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For years, the U.S. has been the biggest contributor to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, donating more than $350 million to the organization in 2017 alone.

In January, the U.S. contributed $60 million to the fund, but U.S. officials were clear at the time that 'the United States was no longer willing to shoulder the very disproportionate share of the burden of UNRWA's costs that we had assumed for many years,' State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said..."

Trump slashes funding from UNRWA, saves taxpayers hundreds of millions Article

September 1, 2018

Dutch police officers pointing their weapons at the attacker

An Afghan man shot by police at Amsterdam's central station on Friday after stabbing two American tourists had a "terrorist" motive, city officials said on Saturday.

The suspect, who was identified as a 19-year-old Afghan with a German residence permit, was questioned on Saturday in hospital where he was being treated for gunshot wounds to his lower body.

"First statements made by the suspect indicate he had a terrorist motive," Amsterdam city council said in a statement.

German police searched the man's house at the request of their Dutch colleagues and seized several data carriers, the authorities said.

The suspect, who is being held in solitary confinement, will be brought before a judge on Monday to decide whether he should remain in custody.

The two people injured in the incident were U.S. citizens, the U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands said in a statement on Saturday.

Ambassador Pete Hoekstra said the pair were tourists visiting the city. They remained in hospital on Saturday with serious injuries, local police said.

Earlier this week, Dutch police arrested a 26-year-old man suspected of threatening to attack far-right politician Geert Wilders over his plan to hold a contest of cartoons depicting Islam's Prophet Mohammad. Wilders on Thursday canceled the contest citing security risks, as thousands of people in Pakistan marched in protest of his plan, while the Taliban in Afghanistan called for attacks on Dutch troops serving in the country.

The National Coordinator for Counter-terrorism and Security Policy said the national threat level in the Netherlands was unchanged at "substantial", or one notch below the highest.

Since attacks by Islamist radicals in France, Belgium, Britain and Germany, the Netherlands has been considered a target, because it supports U.S.-led military operations against Islamic State in the Middle East.

The last major attack in the Netherlands was the killing by a Muslim radical of Theo van Gogh, the outspoken film maker and great-grandnephew of the famous painter, in 2004.

Amsterdam stabbing suspect had terrorist motive, officials say Document

U.S. President Donald Trump speaking at the U.N. General Assembly (File photo)

"A day after the US announced it will not give any further funding to UNWRA, the UN agency that aids Palestinian refugees, Israeli officials said the Trump Administration has made clear to them that it intends to see UNRWA closed down altogether and all its functions taken over by other agencies.

The US will not prevent the Gulf states, Arab nations, and others from providing emergency funding to keep UNRWA (the UN's Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) functioning this year, Israel's Hadashot TV news reported on Saturday, quoting senior Israeli diplomatic sources. But it will condition its consent to further funding by US allies in the Arab world on a reevaluation of UNRWA's role and a redefinition of who the agency defines as a Palestinian refugee. Ultimately the TV report said, the US goal is to 'close down UNRWA altogether.'

The US, which is shortly set to issue a report on the whole Palestinian refugee issue, in which it will reportedly state that there are only some 500,000 Palestinian refugees - as opposed to the 5 million-plus claimed by UNRWA - considers that there are only some 20,000 genuine Palestinian refugees outside the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the TV report also said.

It said the US will now look for other organizations to take on the work done by UNRWA, in education, medical assistance, food aid, and more - with Palestinian recipients acknowledged to be in need of aid, but not considered to be refugees.

To this end, the TV report said, the Trump Administration has already asked King Abdullah of Jordan to take over responsibility for UNRWA's educational network in Jordan - but has been rebuffed. Similarly, it wants Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority to take responsibility for UNRWA schools in the West Bank and Gaza - but this idea is a non-starter at present, with the PA boycotting the Trump Administration..."

After defunding UNRWA, U.S. said seeking to limit others' aid to it, then close it Article

August 31, 2018

A UNRWA office in the West Bank

"The Trump administration announced Friday it is cutting nearly $300 million in planned funding for the UN agency that aids Palestinian refugees, and that it would no longer fund the agency after decades of support. Instead, it said it would seek other channels by which to aid the Palestinians.

The administration castigated the UN's Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) for failed practices, and indicated that it rejected the criteria by which UNRWA defines Palestinian refugees, whereby the UN agency confers refugee status not only on original refugees but on their millions of descendants.

The State Department said in a written statement that the United States 'will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation.'

'The fundamental business model and fiscal practices that have marked UNRWA for years tied to UNRWA's endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries is simply unsustainable and has been in crisis mode for many years,' the statement said, a reference to the fact that the agency grants refugee status to all the descendants of the original Palestinian refugees, something not granted by the UN to refugees from any other places.
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The US supplies nearly 30 percent of the total budget of the UN Relief and Works Agency, which provides health care, education, and social services to Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon..."

U.S. announces it's cutting all funding to Palestinian refugee agency Article

"The Administration has carefully reviewed the issue and determined that the United States will not make additional contributions to UNRWA. When we made a U.S. contribution of $60 million in January, we made it clear that the United States was no longer willing to shoulder the very disproportionate share of the burden of UNRWA's costs that we had assumed for many years. Several countries, including Jordan, Egypt, Sweden, Qatar, and the UAE have shown leadership in addressing this problem, but the overall international response has not been sufficient.

Beyond the budget gap itself and failure to mobilize adequate and appropriate burden sharing, the fundamental business model and fiscal practices that have marked UNRWA for years tied to UNRWA's endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries is simply unsustainable and has been in crisis mode for many years. The United States will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation. We are very mindful of and deeply concerned regarding the impact upon innocent Palestinians, especially school children, of the failure of UNRWA and key members of the regional and international donor community to reform and reset the UNRWA way of doing business. These children are part of the future of the Middle East. Palestinians, wherever they live, deserve better than an endlessly crisis-driven service provision model. They deserve to be able to plan for the future.

Accordingly, the United States will intensify dialogue with the United Nations, host governments, and international stakeholders about new models and new approaches, which may include direct bilateral assistance from the United States and other partners, that can provide today's Palestinian children with a more durable and dependable path towards a brighter tomorrow."

Press Statement: On U.S. Assistance to UNRWA Article

Iranian rockets (File photo)

The U.N. Must Have No Say On U.S. Sanctions Against Iran Article

A pipe bomb found in the possession of three Palestinian suspects on August 30, 2018

Israeli soldiers nab 3 Palestinians with pipe bombs in northern West Bank Document

August 30, 2018

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon (File photo)

Israel's counter to the Arab Knesset Members' U.N. resolution Article

An Iranian Christian woman

Iran's forgotten persecuted Christian minority Document

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (File photo)

Haley Defends Fighting Anti-Israel 'Bullying' at the United Nations Article

August 29, 2018

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley at the U.N. Security Council (File photo)

"US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Tuesday that on behalf of the Trump administration, she plans to introduce additional resolutions at the world body that condemn the terrorist group Hamas.

Since the UN General Assembly adopted a US resolution in June to protect Palestinian civilians due to Hamas's use of human shields, Haley said, 'We are going to continue to put more amendments like what we did with Hamas and make them acknowledge who's doing this.'

'We would love to have some sort of resolution in the Security Council,' Haley added, though acknowledged that Russia, a permanent member of the council, could veto such a measure..."

U.S. Will Introduce Additional U.N. Resolutions Condemning Hamas Article

An UNRWA office building

"EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The next few weeks could be remembered in the annals of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as historic. The US administration is due to decide at the beginning of September whether to stop its funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Such a decision could be as significant as Harry Truman's decision to recognize the State of Israel just 11 minutes after the Jewish State declared its independence in May 1948.
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The US supported UNRWA for decades, even though it knew the agency is a disruptive organ that harms the prospects for peace, keeps the Palestinians locked in a trap of dependency, and threatens Israel's security. UNRWA lists over 5 million Palestinians as 'registered refugees' and has long encouraged them to dream that someday they will resettle in Israel. This falsehood the most significant obstacle to achieving peace is a euphemism for the Arab desire to completely undo the State of Israel. The US, along with other Western powers, continued to sustain UNRWA all these years as a means of appeasing the Arab world. UNRWA is thus a relic of the Cold War era.

For the past few decades, the West has treated the Arab-Israeli conflict as a territorial dispute. Since the June 1967 war, the prevailing motto was 'land for peace,' which meant that in return for territory, Israel would receive peace from its neighbors. An American decision to withdraw from UNRWA would signify that the US believes the dispute to be not territorial but existential. By addressing the core ethos of the Palestinians that the entire land is theirs, and therefore all 'registered refugees' should be entitled to 'return' the Trump administration could make an invaluable contribution to Israel's security as well as to the prospects for future peace. Only by dealing directly with the intransigent worldview of the Palestinians, as epitomized by the 'refugee' problem and the Palestinians' demand for the 'right of return,' will peace be possible in the future.

This would be the first time the Palestinians pay a price for their intransigence. Up to now, they have been encouraged to harden their position every time they refuse a peace deal offered to them by Israel. When they said no to Ehud Barak's peace proposal at Camp David in July 2000, they received a better offer from Bill Clinton a few months later. When they refused that offer, they were offered another, still better deal by Ehud Olmert in 2007-2008. They refused that offer as well. The inner logic of the peace process until now was that the Palestinians might as well keep on saying no, since doing so brings them better offers..."

Is a Historic Decision on UNRWA Imminent? Article

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert (File photo)

Defending $200m. funding cut, U.S. says 'no value to taxpayer' in Palestinian aid Article

August 28, 2018

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley

"US President Donald Trump's ambassador to the United Nations questioned on Tuesday the credibility of Palestinian claims to a 'right of return' to lands in modern-day Israel, touching on one of the most sensitive topics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. ... 'You're looking at the fact that, yes, there's an endless number of refugees that continue to get assistance,' she said. But she said the issue was 'bigger' than that. 'The Palestinians continue to bash America,' she said, while 'they have their hand out wanting UNRWA money.' 'UNRWA can stay there, and we can be a donor if they reform,' Haley continued, declining to endorse a proposal to wrap UNRWA a refugee body devoted exclusively to the Palestinian cause into the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR. 'We will look back at partnering them.' ... 'I absolutely think we have to look at right of return,' she added. Trump administration officials have declined to comment or push back against reports that they will soon roll out their position on a 'right of return,' long criticized by the Israeli government as an attempt by Palestinians to undermine the Jewish nature of the state..."

'We have to look at right of return,' Haley says Article

Yasser Arafat at the U.N. General Assembly, November 1974

The Nation-State Law and revival of U.N. 'Zionism-is-racism' libel Article

U.S. President Donald Trump and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas

"Slowly but surely President Trump is slaying the sacred cows of Palestinian-Israeli diplomacy.

Last week the State Department announced a $200 million cut in annual aid to the Palestinian Authority. Before that, America cut support to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, a body created in 1949 to tend to some 750,000 Arab refugees from the war Israel's neighbors launched to erase it off the map.
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Next, Washington reportedly plans to announce a cap of 500,000 refugees UNRWA can handle. Further, they'll be counted as other refugees are counted instead of the expansive way only Palestinian 'refugees' are counted, which includes multi-generational descendants.
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Most absurdly, Palestinian UNRWA clients living in camps where the Palestinian Authority, or in Gaza where Hamas, has full control, remain 'refugees' despite Palestinian rule, hoping they'll relocate to Tel Aviv or Haifa one day.
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True, regardless of the $200 million aid cut, America will continue funding Palestinian security bodies. The other cut, to UNRWA, has little to do with security directly. Yet, funds are fungible and the Palestinian Authority's president, Mahmoud Abbas, may well retaliate by diverting funds from security to welfare.

And so, 'the ramifications of [Trump's] abrupt steps will only empower the radicals,' warns a former Israeli army spokesman, Peter Lerner, in Haaretz.

Einat Wilf, the Israeli coauthor of 'The War for Return,' a book critical of the demand for a 'right' to return, disagrees. A vocal advocate of peace negotiations with the Palestinians, she nevertheless strongly calls for dismantling UNRWA.

'UNRWA encourages radicalism,' she says. 'It keeps alive the dream that the pre-1948 status quo will return and that Israel as a Jewish state will be erased from the map. I'm not against aid to Palestinians, just against encouraging that dream.'..."

Trump Forcing New Tack In 'War for Return' Article

Firefighters battling blaze

Incendiary balloons cause 3 fires in southern Israel Document

An Iranian woman raises her fist in a cloud of tear gas during a protest at the University of Tehran on December 30, 2017

Iran student gets 7 years for taking part in protest Document

August 27, 2018

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley (File photo)

Haley fights to get U.S. companies a bigger piece of the action on lucrative U.N. contracts Article

Palestinians protesting against against the U.S. and Israel in Ramallah

Trump Administration Cuts More Than $200 Million in Aid for Palestinians Article

Arab Israeli Member of Knesset Aida Touma-Sliman (File photo)

Arab Members of Knesset and Palestinians jointly seek to defame Israel at U.N. Article

UNRWA employees and their families at a protest (File photo)

U.S. set to announce it rejects Palestinian 'right of return' - TV report Article