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Review Category : Israel

EMET Praises Legislation Encouraging U.S. Recognition of Israeli Sovereignty over the Golan Heights

(Washington, DC, December 18, 2018) – Today, the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) praised U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) for introducing a resolution encouraging the United States to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

The Golan Heights is an area of approximately 500 square miles that was captured by Israel in its defensive war of 1967, and was successfully retained in its defensive war of 1973 from attacking Syrian forces.  It has served as the demarcation line between the chaotic, feuding forces of radical Islam and the liberal, Western-oriented State of Israel.  The Golan creates the definitive dividing line between authoritarian rule and a vibrant, thriving democracy.  Since 1974, when a Separation of Forces Agreement was negotiated between Israel and Syria, the Golan Heights has remained relatively peaceful, until now.

Because of the seven-year brutal Syrian civil war, the Islamic Republic of Iran has taken advantage of the chaos of the situation, and Iranian-backed forces – including the IRGC and Hezbollah – have penetrated as far south as the Syrian town of Quneitra, making this region a potential line of confrontation.  Iran has attacked Israel from Syria this past year both in February and May, and is determined to build a land bridge stretching from Teheran all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.

American recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights creates an important roadblock in the land bridge that Iran is determined to make. The Golan affords Israel a unique topographical vantage point, providing critical defensive and intelligence strategy to Israel and the United States. And it affords the population of Israel a unique defensive shield, to protect itself from attacks by Iran and its proxies.

The Israeli government voted to extend Israeli civil law to the Golan Heights in 1981.  Furthermore, President Gerald Ford offered Israel assurances in 1975 that a peace agreement with Syria “must be predicated on Israel remaining on the Golan Heights,” and Secretary of State James Baker, in 1991, reaffirmed that the U.S. stands behind these assurances.  More recently, the United States, for the first time ever, voted against the annual United Nations General Assembly resolution condemning Israel’s “occupation” of the Golan Heights.

EMET has diligently been working on educating congressional offices on the critical need for the United States to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. EMET has also worked on a letter with Rep. Doug Lamborn’s (R-CO) office, calling for such recognition.  The letter will be sent to Secretary of State Pompeo.

“I applaud U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton for taking the bold and very necessary step to introduce a resolution encouraging the United States to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, at this critical time,” Sarah Stern, the founder and president of EMET said.

“Israel’s presence on the border of the Golan offers the United States valuable eyes and ears into Iranian troops and its terrorist proxies in Syria. The Golan has been a force of stability in the region for 45 years and offers a protective shield for all of us in the West. Many of the same forces that hate Israel also vehemently despise the United States.  As long as the Golan Heights is perceived as being ‘in play’ as part of the ‘occupied territories,’ the illusion that it might someday be captured by Syrian or Iranian forces is perpetuated.  The simplest way to put an end to this dangerous illusion and to Iran’s voracious appetite is for the United States to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. That would send a strong, clear, unequivocal message to America’s foes in the region without putting a single boot on the ground,” Stern added.

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About The Endowment for Middle East Truth
Founded in 2005, EMET’s mission is to educate policymakers in Washington and the general public about the importance of Israel to the United States in their common struggle against radical Islam. For more information, please visit, http://www.emetonline.org. Follow EMET on Twitter and Facebook.

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When Diplomacy Interferes With Justice

The murder of Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents has dominated foreign policy news for months. Prominent members of Congress are increasingly upset that the United States’ relationship with Saudi Arabia has interfered with the rigorous pursuit of justice for Khashoggi. After all, they argue, Jamal Khashoggi was a US resident, so there should be consequences for the man who, according to the CIA, planned his murder – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman – the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia. Many of these members of Congress also argue that Khashoggi’s murder is so serious that the strong, longtime, US-Saudi relationship must be re-evaluated if there is no justice.

But the Khashoggi case is hardly unique. In fact, there is a similar, but far more serious, situation that resulted in the deaths of two American citizens and the wounding of several others. This occurred on August 9, 2001, when a Sbarro Pizzeria in Jerusalem was pulverized by a suicide bomber.

On that day, Malki Roth, a 15-year-old girl; Judith Greenbaum, a pregnant 31-year-old woman; other American citizens; and many Israelis went to the Sbarro Pizzeria to enjoy some American-style pizza. The Pizzeria, on Ben Yehuda Street, was one of the busiest pedestrian intersections in Jerusalem and was a popular place, especially for families with children. At approximately 2 p.m., at the height of the lunch hour, a blast went off. A Palestinian terrorist named Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri had triggered a powerful bomb that was hidden in his guitar case, which was also packed with nails, nuts and bolts in order to cause maximum damage.

Fifteen people were killed in the blast, eight of them children, and 130 more people were wounded. Malki Roth was a teenager so thoughtful and loving that she often helped her mother care for her handicapped sibling. And Judith Greenberg, an only child who arrived in Israel with her husband as part of her graduate studies, who was five months pregnant at the time. Another four US citizens – David Danzig, Matthew Gordon, Joanne Nachenberg and Sara Nachenberg – were wounded. To this day, Joanne Nachenberg remains in a vegetative state.

Ahlam Tamimi, a Palestinian Arab citizen of Jordan, was the terrorist planner of this operation. She was a 20-year-old student at the time and a supporter of Hamas. Tamimi had even accompanied the suicide bomber there, leaving just before the blast. We know all of this because Tamimi has brazenly bragged about it time and time again, in television and radio interviews, many of which come up in a simple Google search.

Tamimi has spoken about how she spent nine days looking for the perfect place to maximize deaths, how disappointed she initially was when it was first reported that there were only a few deaths, and how important it was to her and the bomber that religious Jews be in the blast area. In all her videos she expressed delight at her actions. In one particularly chilling video, Tamimi was asked if she knew how many children she killed. Her response was “three,” and when she was corrected with the true number – eight – a huge, self-satisfied smile crossed her face.

In late 2002, Tamimi was sentenced by an Israeli court to 16 multiple sentences for her part in this massacre. However, on October 19, 2011, she, together with 1,026 other terrorists, were traded for Gilad Schalit, the Israeli soldier held by Hamas.

 

When Ahlam Tamimi was released she was deported to Jordan, where she received a hero’s welcome. As a terrorist, she received money from the Palestinian Authority, at least $52,681, under the “pay-for-slay” program. The Hamas television station Al-Quds gave Tamimi her own television show, which aired every Friday and, until recently, was broadcast around the world. She married her cousin, Nazir Tamimi, who also had been serving time in an Israeli prison for killing an Israeli citizen, and who also was released in exchange for Gilad Schalit. Their wedding was broadcast throughout the Arab world.For decades, we at the Endowment for Middle East Truth have worked exhaustedly to get justice for the families of the Americans killed and wounded in Israel and the disputed territories by Palestinian terrorists like Ahlam Tamimi. We have successfully worked with Congress on multiple letters to the Department of Justice, and twice inspired hearings on the subject. At the second hearing, Arnold Roth, the father of Malki, was brought in to testify. At that hearing, for the first time ever, Brad Wiegmann, the deputy assistant attorney-general in the National Security Division, who supervises these prosecutions, was called to account for the DOJ’s lack of prosecution and was forced to provide a future report to the subcommittee.

Largely because it is so egregious, there has been some progress in the Tamimi case. In 2013, after the congressional letters, Tamimi was indicted by the Obama administration, and her extradition was requested from Jordan. In 2017, after the hearings, the indictment was made public by the Trump administration. But the Jordanian government has refused to extradite Tamimi, claiming there is no valid extradition treaty with the US. They refused, even though the US and Jordan signed an extradition treaty in 1995 that the State Department and the DOJ still recognize as valid. They refused even though in 1995, in 2006 and in 2015, Jordan extradited three criminal terrorists to the US that were wanted there. And they refused even though the Jordanian government receives more than a billion dollars a year in aid from the US

This injustice cannot be allowed to stand.

Ahlam Tamimi is a brutal terrorist murderer who has killed and wounded American citizens. She has reveled in her crimes and urged others to follow in her footsteps. Letting her live unmolested, celebrated and financially rewarded in Jordan is obscene. If the US needs to punish the man Mohammed Bin Salman who planned the murder of US resident Jamal Khashoggi, and the nation Saudi Arabia that protects him, then our nation should also punish Ahlam Tamimi who killed and wounded US citizens, and Jordan, the nation that is protecting her. Justice demands nothing less.

Sarah N. Stern is founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth. Adam Turner is its general counsel & legislative affairs director.

Originally published at: https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/When-diplomacy-interferes-with-justice-574420
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The State Department Should Stop Undermining the Rights of U.S. Victims of PLO/PA Terrorism

By Mark Sokolow

Photo: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

President Trump signed the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA) on October 3, 2018, to restore rights of U.S. terror victims over the PLO and Palestinian Authority. The Presi- dent did the right thing when he signed it. But now the State Department is asking Congress to delay the law the President signed. The Administration should put a stop to this madness.

Congress passed the Anti-Terrorism Act in 1992 to give U.S. citizens the right to bring civil cases against terrorists who attack them overseas. Every prior Republican Administration since 1991 has supported the Anti-Terrorism Act as serving vital national security interests, in- cluding in lawsuits against the PLO and PA. Up until 2015 the PLO and PA were repeatedly held liable for terror attacks against Americans, and they paid off hundreds of millions of dollars of judgments in favor of US families.

In Sokolow v. PLO, some 40 U.S. citizens sued the PLO and the PA for orchestrating and executing terror attacks in Israel, causing deaths and catastrophic injuries. In 2015, a jury found the PLO and PA liable, awarding a judgment of $655M. But in 2016 the Second Circuit re- versed, holding that the law of personal jurisdiction allowed these terrorists to avoid accountabil- ity in the U.S. courts.

Congress passed the ATCA in response. Senator Grassley introduced the ATCA to reit- erate “Congress’s original intent that terrorist groups and their supporters be brought to justice in U.S. Courts, regardless of where the attacks occurred.” The ATCA was supported by the pro- Israel community from AIPAC to ZOA. Congress followed regular order with hearings in both Chambers. The bill was vetted by the DNI and other Administration officials before being passed unanimously in both Chambers as a stand alone bill. It was signed by the President after due consideration. It says that if the PLO or PA accept U.S. foreign assistance, they are deemed to consent to jurisdiction in civil Anti-Terrorism Act cases. The law takes effect January 31.

The ATCA restored the status quo for anti-terror cases against the PLO and PA. It is one of dozens of laws conditioning US assistance to the PA on compliance with anti-terror promises, including the Taylor Force Act.

The State Department currently oversees more than a dozen programs that benefit the PA, including training, construction, and provision of equipment. The PA relies on these programs for its own security. The State Department is arguing that the PA will cut off all these programs and existing ties with the US if Congress does not delay the law.

Congress should do no such thing. Congress made a simple policy decision. If the PA wants American assistance, it has to do so on the understanding that it will be held accountable for terror attacks that took American lives and caused severe injuries.

State Department officials are arguing that the PA will make a “rational” economic deci- sion to stop taking U.S. assistance if it will cost the PA money in the form of judgments in favor of terror victims. That is simplistic thinking, as the PA makes many decisions for political rea- sons rather than economic reasons—like paying hundreds of millions of dollars to reward terror- ists for murdering civilians instead of stopping that outrageous policy, which would free up hun- dreds of millions of dollars withheld from the PA under the Taylor Force Act. Of course, if the PA values avoiding its just debts for murdering Americans more than it values its security assis- tance from the United States, perhaps that means something important for U.S. policy.

Just as the President signed the Taylor Force Act, which is costing the PA hundreds of millions of dollars every single year, the Administration should stand firm with US victims of Palestinian terror and support the ATCA, which the President signed two months ago. The State Department should stop undermining the clear message sent by President Trump when he signed the ATCA.

Mark Sokolow is the lead plaintiff in Sokolow v. PLO, in which the PLO and PA were found liable for orchestrating and executing terror attacks in Israel that killed Americans. Mark, a lawyer and native New Yorker, survived the bombing of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and then a suicide terror attack four months later in Jerusalem, Israel.

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“Lessons to be Learned from the Latest Round of Violence in Gaza”

Photo: AP Photo / Adel Hana

November 26, 2018

Featuring Prof. Efraim Inbar

On November 11th, Hamas terrorists killed IDF Lieutenant-Colonel M in southern Gaza Strip during a covert Israeli operation, marking the first death of an Israeli officer since Operation Protection Edge in 2014. Starting the very next day, during a period of only 24 hours, terrorists in the Gaza Strip launched more than 460 rockets into Southern Israel, and approximately 100 of them were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. While the majority of rockets fell into open territory, others fell into Sderot, Ashkelon, and other Gaza border communities, resulting in the death of a 48-year-old Palestinian man, and more than 50 people injured. The IDF, in response, struck more than 160 terror targets in the Gaza Strip, including tunnels created by Hamas to use to infiltrate and carry out attacks in Israel, and four military compounds.

Thereafter, Israel agreed to an Egyptian mediated ceasefire with Hamas.

Why did Israel accept a “cease-fire,” rather than finish the job of taking out Hamas targets? How long can we expect the “cease-fire” to actually last? And does the recent flare-up in Gaza impact President Trump’s Middle East peace plan? Professor Inbar tackles these questions.

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ACTION ALERT: Call Your Senators Today to Ask Them to Vote for S. 3257, the STOP Using Human Shields Act

Texas Senator Ted Cruz has introduced legislation that would impose sanctions on individual members of Hamas or Hezbollah who direct civilians to shield military targets. Unable to defeat the IDF outright, Hamas and Hezbollah cynically locate rocket launchers and weapons caches in homes, schools, clinics, and mosques, knowing that Israel will be held responsible for the resulting collateral damage.

In the 2006 Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah kept many of its rockets in underground bunkers in uninhabited areas nicknamed “nature preserves.” However, over the last decade, Hezbollah has shifted its strategy and located its arsenals in towns and villages throughout Southern Lebanon. The use of human shields will be even more central to Hezbollah’s military strategy in its next war with Israel.

Hamas has not only used civilian infrastructure from which to fire rockets at Israel, during the 2014 conflict Operation Protective Edge, but Hamas leaders also exhorted Gazan civilians to ignore the IDF’s warnings to evacuate the combat zone. So solid was Hamas’s confidence that it would pay no price and bear no responsibility for collateral damage, that they had civilians stand on the rooftops of buildings that housed rockets or were located near rocket launchers.

The bipartisan STOP Using Human Shields Act is a necessary step to hold the leaders of Hezbollah and Hamas accountable for the double war crime of targeting Israeli civilians while hiding behind their own.

Call Your Senators TODAY to Ask Them to Vote For the STOP Using Human Shields Act!

You can find your Senators’ Numbers Here: http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

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Looking Back After 25 Years: Lessons to be Learned from the Oslo Accords

October 5th, 2018

September 13th marked a quarter of a century since the signing of the Oslo Accords on the White House Lawn. When the accords were signed, Israel agreed to the “land for peace” formulation, wherein the Israelis were to give up something very real and tangible – strategic territory – in exchange for empty words and promises.

The “land for peace” paradigm has sorely failed. Israel’s efforts towards peace since Olso, including the Hebron Agreement, the Wye River Accords, Taba, the Camp David Summit, and the painful, unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005, were only met with increased terrorism. The Palestinian Authority (PA) regularly incites its people to violence, glorifies “martyrs,” and financially rewards Palestinian terrorists and their families. The PA still continues to refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist and encourages its people to kill Jews.

After 25 years, it is finally time to re-examine the premises of Oslo and the “land for peace” formula, as well as explore alternative solutions for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with guest speakers Dr. Daniel Pipes and Professor Efraim Inbar.

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For the Sake of Ari Fuld, Malki Roth and Countless Others

Yet another woman was made a widow on Sept. 16, and another four children were made orphans by the egregious act of a Palestinian terrorist, Khalil Jabarin. The victim, Ari Fuld, had simply been running an errand for his wife in a local shopping center in Efrat, just south of Jerusalem.

Ari was a true fighter for Israel. He was assistant director of “Standing Together,” an organization that supports Israeli soldiers. Ari served in the Israel Defense Forces, narrowly escaped death in Lebanon. He saved his shrapnel-ridden vest as a reminder of “who is really in charge.”

Ari also was an avid defender of Israel—not only on the physical battlefield, but also in the battlefield of ideas. He constantly ran towards danger to defend the Jewish people, going down to Sderot and the kibbutzim neighboring Gaza, exactly when the rockets were most steadily falling. He went into forums and talk shows dominated by left-wing thinkers who professed the idea that Israel was an “apartheid state founded on original sin” and disabused them of their many pernicious falsehoods.

Ari brought moral clarity and truth into arenas that had been imbued with the murkiness of moral ambiguity and self-doubt about our people’s rightful claim to the land.

After being stabbed by the terrorist, Ari summoned every last ounce of strength to fight off his attacker, subduing him before he could do any more harm. He was a true fighter for Israel until the very end.

He is also the 70th American to have been killed by Palestinian terrorists since the signing of the Oslo Accords (not including two unborn children). Nearly 3,000 Israeli citizens were murdered by Palestinian terrorists in that amount of time.

I have constantly marveled at the strength of the families that have somewhere summoned up the courage to go on.

How one might react when put in this horrific place is deeply individual and subjective. One must never place judgement on the individual response of these profoundly bereaved family members.

Having had said that, I have been uniquely privileged to have gotten to know some bereaved family members who have someone managed to summon up the strength to dedicate their lives to finding something constructive from their enormous pain. They are the true heroes in the fight against Palestinian terrorism and the radical Islamic assault on Western civilization.

Heroes such as Sherri and Seth Mandell, who took the horrendous murder of their 13-year-old son, Koby, and turned their grief into a place of healing and love by creating camps and retreats  for other family members who have lost loved ones to Palestinian terrorism.

Heroes such as Stuart and Robbi Force, who used the enormous pain of the murder of their 28-year-old son and former U.S. serviceman Taylor to pass a law in his name prohibiting American funding to go to the Palestinian “martyr’s fund” that rewards the families of terrorist with generous stipends, and thus incentivized terrorism.

Heroes such as Arnold and Frimet Roth, whose daughter Malki, 15, an American citizen, was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist at the Sbarro pizzeria massacre in the summer of 2001. Malki was an aspiring special educator and helped take care of her severely handicapped sister, Chaya.

In all, 15 civilians had also been murdered, including one other American Judith Greenbaum, 31, who was five months pregnant at the time, and 130 people were wounded. One person, Chana Nachenberg, has remained in a permanent vegetative state, and five members of a single family—the Schijveschuurder family—were killed.

What makes this case particularly egregious is that the architect of this attack, Ahlam Tamimi, has made a career about this and has openly boasted about her act, multiple times. She had been sentenced in an Israeli court to 16 life sentences.

While in prison, she was asked by an Israel journalist if she knew how many Israeli children she had killed. She flippantly responded, “I don’t know … 3?” When she was told that she had killed eight, her response was a gleeful “8! I killed 8 Jewish children!”

Unfortunately, in October of 2011, Tamimi was traded along with 1,026 other terrorists in exchange IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, held by Hamas.

When she was released from prison, she immediately traveled to Jordan, where she was greeted like a conquering hero. She then became the host of her own Jordanian talk show on the Hamas station, Al Quds TV.

According to American law (18 USC, Section 2332), anytime an American citizen is murdered by terrorists abroad, our government has jurisdiction and is directed to prosecute the perpetrator to the full extent of the law. There is no statute of limitations.

On July 15, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice filed criminal charges against Tamimi in the District of Columbia for conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against U.S. nationals, outside the United States, resulting in death.

Tamimi is the first Palestinian terrorist to face criminal prosecution in the United States. A great deal of this is due to the Herculean efforts of Malki’s parents, who have been met with enormous obstacles of bureaucratic red tape, unfortunately, on both sides of the Atlantic.

On March 14, 2017, an American official from the FBI met with Arnold and Frimet Roth to let them know that the criminal complaint has been unsealed. I received a beautiful email that evening from Arnold Roth saying that “for the first time, I am proud that Malki was an American.”

Unfortunately, Jordan has refused U.S. extradition requests, claiming that they do not have an extradition treaty with the United States.

However, in 1995, the Jordanian authorities did honor an extradition treaty with the United States by extraditing Eyad Ismoil, who was guilty of the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993.

Ismoil has been sentenced to 240 years in prison, and is currently in a maximum security prison in Colorado.

I pray that a similar fate awaits Ahlam Tamimi.

This is a simple matter of American justice. Not to demand the extradition of Tamimi telegraphs a tepid, flaccid message to would-be terrorists around the globe regarding our national resolve, and smacks of a pernicious double standard when it comes to the blood of American Jews.

For the sake of Ari Fuld and Malki Roth and countless others, this must be done.

Originally published: https://www.jns.org/opinion/for-the-sake-of-ari-fuld-malki-roth-and-countless-others/

Photo: BBC

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EMET Praises President Trump and National Security Advisor Bolton for the Closure of the PLO Office

(Washington, DC, September 12, 2018) – Today, the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) praised President Trump, National Security Advisor John Bolton, and the rest of the Trump administration, for their order to close the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington DC.  The administration cited the refusal of Palestinian leaders to enter into peace talks with Israel, and their attempts to prompt an investigation of Israel by the International Criminal Court, as the reasons for closing the PLO office.

Since 1994, the year after the Oslo Accords, the PLO has maintained an office in Washington DC.  This office was meant to assist with the implementation of the Oslo Accords and to help facilitate a lasting Middle East peace.

However, the PLO, and the Palestinian Authority it created, have been in violation of many of the terms of the Oslo Accords since they were signed 25 years ago.  Among those violations are: 1) the PLO/PA’s violation of their obligation to refrain from incitement to violence; 2) the PLO/PA’s failure to change the PLO Covenant to remove the clauses in the Palestinian National Covenant which called for the destruction of Israel; 3) the PLO/PA’s refusal to stop supporting terrorism; and 4) the PLO/PA’s circumvention of a negotiated settlement with Israel by seeking unilateral statehood at the United Nations and from other countries.

In her written statement, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said“We have permitted the PLO office to conduct operations that support the objective of achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between Israelis and the Palestinians since the expiration of a previous waiver in November 2017.  However, the PLO has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.  To the contrary, PLO leadership has condemned a U.S. peace plan they have not yet seen and refused to engage with the U.S. government with respect to peace efforts and otherwise.  As such, and reflecting Congressional concerns, the Administration has decided that the PLO office in Washington will close at this point.  This decision is also consistent with Administration and Congressional concerns with Palestinian attempts to prompt an investigation of Israel by the International Criminal Court.”

“President Trump has yet again given, not only to the Jewish people, but also to the State of Israel, the United States and the international community, a gift by closing the PLO office in Washington,” said Sarah Stern, founder and president of EMET.

She continued, “Today marks 25 years since the signing of the Oslo Accords when the parties were supposed to have developed a sense of mutual trust in order to go to final status agreements.  For 25 years, we have watched as the PLO/PA continued its relentless campaign to demonize Jews using every means possible, to teach that one day all of Israel will eventually become Palestine, and to extoll the virtues of jihad and martyrdom.  Since the signing of the Oslo Accords, the PLO/PA has nurtured an entire generation that is steeped in a philosophy of enormous antipathy towards Jews, unrivaled in history since that of Nazi Germany, resulting in the deaths of over 3,000 deaths of Israeli civilians, and 70 Americans.  Up till now, the U.S. has turned a blind eye to these and other flagrant violations of the Oslo Accords, consequently reinforcing their malevolent behavior. Meanwhile, the PLO/PA keeps promising over and over again the same pledges that they had made 25 years ago on the White House lawn.  President Trump, by shuttering the PLO/PA office, is finally signaling that the jig is up.”

About The Endowment for Middle East Truth
Founded in 2005, EMET’s mission is to educate policymakers in Washington and the general public about the importance of Israel to the United States in their common struggle against radical Islam. For more information, please visit, http://www.emetonline.org. Follow EMET on Twitter and Facebook.

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Reducing the Malevolent Impact of UNRWA

U.S. President Donald Trump gave the Jewish people a gift of historic proportions by taking the issue of Jerusalem off the table back in December. On Aug. 25, President Trump gave a gift that is arguably of equal or greater value to the Jewish nation by significantly reducing by $200 million the aid that the United States gives to UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine.

PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat predictably called the decision “disgraceful,” and said that President Trump was “meddling in the internal affairs of other people in an attempt to impact their national options.”

Since when is it that an American president deciding how to spend U.S. taxpayer dollars is considered “meddling in the affairs of other people”?

Beyond that, according to an Aug. 25 report on Israeli Channel 2 news, the Trump administration announced that it will oppose the Palestinian claim for the “right of return” for the descendants of the original Palestinian refugees displaced by the 1948 war.

If true, this would be a historic development—not just to the American taxpayer, the Jewish people and the State of Israel, but to the Palestinians themselves.

UNRWA was formed in 1949, in the aftermath of the 1948 War for Palestinian refugees. These refugees, fleeing from the war (Dec. 1, 1947 to June 1, 1948), originally numbered 550,000 to 600,000. Because the Palestinians have inflated the number—and because they count multiple generations of descendants—the figure that Palestinians and their advocates now invoke is 5 million.

The U.N. High Commission of Refugees defines a “refugee” as “someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence.” Only in the case of the Palestinians is this status passed down for generations.

And only in the case of the UNRWA is there a refugee agency exclusively for one particular refugee group. In 1950, in the aftermath of World War II, the United Nations High Commission of Refugees (UNHCR) was established to deal with the millions of displaced refugees. However, the Arab League refused to allow the Palestinian refugees to go under that rubric.

Why? Because the mandate of UNHCR is for the refugees to be settled and integrated into their host country as soon as possible. The Arab League, however, wanted to keep the Palestinian refugees in a perpetual state of limbo in order to use the Palestinian refugee issue as a thorn in the side of Israel.

The Arab world seems have no concern over their Palestinian brethren, apparently preferring to keep generations of Palestinians in a perpetual state of victimhood, squalor and conflict.

According to David Bedein of the Center for Near East Policy Research, “the right of return is the focus of the entire life … to take back their homes that were abandoned in 1948. … The children are taught you have to go back to these homes and kill the people who live there.”

Upon entering the Aida UNRWA camp, for example, one immediately sees a gate adorned by an oversized key, symbolic of their ancestor’s house left behind in Israel. The symbol of the key is used constantly in pageants that UNRWA schools put on, where the message is constantly drummed in that they will someday return to their ancestor’s orchards and vineyard in pre-1948 Israel.

Throughout the camp—and particularly, inside the schools—pictures hang on walls glorifying  Palestinian shahids (“martyrs”), with messages encouraging youngsters to follow in their “noble” footsteps. Prominently displayed is the ubiquitous map of Israel, of course labeled “Palestine.”

During the summer, young children attend a camp where they engage in military exercises, replete with walls they are taught to crawl under and firewalls they are taught to jump over, dressed in in military fatigues.

Recently, Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho), asked for a General Accounting Office report of what is being taught in the UNRWA schools, but for some inexplicable reason, that office insists on keeping the report “classified.”

Perhaps because the results are too damaging to UNRWA.

According to a recent study conducted by CNEPR together with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, in which 150 textbooks from kindergarten through 12th grade were examined, researchers found Israel and Jews depicted as “demonic,” with violent liberation emphasized. A 2017 text even includes a disturbing text by describing a Molotov cocktail attack on an Israeli bus as a “barbeque party,” while another extols the virtues of Dalal Mughrabi, the female Palestinian terrorist who was responsible for the massacre of 38 Israeli civilians.

All of this stands in stark contrast to the United Nations’ Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which proclaims, among other things, that “the child shall enjoy special protection, and shall be given opportunities and facilities, by law and by other means, to enable him to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions.”

Kids who are unfortunate enough to be educated in UNRWA camps enjoy none of the benefits of a normal childhood. Instead, they are indoctrinated to become nothing more than bullets in a war machine—in a war that they will inevitably lose.

Originally published at: https://www.jns.org/opinion/reducing-the-malevolent-impact-of-unrwa/

Photo: terrorism-info.org.il

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