UN Report on Failed Gaza, PA Governments: It’s All Israel’s Fault

By Jewish News International / JNi.Media

"A prominent element of Israel's restrictions on Palestinian productive activities is the dual-use list, which prohibits the importation of civilian goods deemed by Israel as potentially having other, harmful uses." (photo credit: IDF)
“A prominent element of Israel’s restrictions on Palestinian productive activities is the dual-use list, which prohibits the importation of civilian goods deemed by Israel as potentially having other, harmful uses.” (photo credit: IDF)

If a visitor from outer space were to read the new Report of the “United Nations Conference on Trade and Development assistance to the Palestinian people: Developments in the economy of the Occupied Palestinian Territory” issued Tuesday (Sept. 6), they would walk away with an image of a nation of industrious, democratic, peace-loving people named the “Palestinians” who are intentionally and on a daily basis prevented from thriving and achieving the economic success they so richly deserve by a cruel and capricious Israeli occupation that sets out to torpedo every shred of goodness those peaceful folks manage to sustain.

This horrifying image is only enhanced by the fact that this report comes from the principal organ of the UN General Assembly dealing with trade, investment, and development issues. The organization’s goals are to: “maximize the trade, investment and development opportunities of developing countries and assist them in their efforts to integrate into the world economy on an equitable basis.”

With that in mind, here is the opening paragraph of the Executive summary of the UNCTAD report, meaning the gist of whatever else comes below:

    “In 2015, Israel withheld Palestinian fiscal revenue for four months, donor aid declined and Israeli settlements continued to expand into the Occupied Palestinian Territory, while poverty and unemployment remained high. The Occupied Palestinian Territory continued to be a captive market for exports from Israel, while occupation neutralized the potential development impact of donor aid. Genuine reconstruction has yet to take off in the Gaza Strip despite $3.5 billion in donor pledges. Gaza’s socioeconomic conditions worsened and the infant mortality rate increased for the first time in 50 years.”

It’s an executive summary, so one cannot argue that so many of these assertions are being lumped together out of context. And yet, for a report that should provide an overview of the economic and social situation in the PA and Gaza to cite the withholding of revenues without mentioning that Israel was forced to freeze those funds after the PA had accumulated half a billion dollars in unpaid electric bills; and for the same executive summary to make the construction of a smattering of Jewish apartment units as a top-level cause for Arab decline — signals the point of view and general inclination of the authors.

You’re welcome to read the entire report if you wish. We went looking for those items that best reflect how the report turns facts and figures on their head to come up with the preconceived conclusion: it’s all the fault of the Israeli occupation, and once Israel is out of the picture you’ll see how those Palestinians will become Switzerland of the Middle East.

UN Blames Israel for Unemployment
Take, for instance, item 5, dealing with Arab unemployment. In 2015, the unemployment rate in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory” was 26%, compared with 12% in 1999.

What happened in 1999? Well, for some unknown reason, there was an Israeli “tightening of restrictions on movement and access of Palestinian labor and goods.”

What a capricious, wicked nation those Israelis must be. Of course, 1999-2000 marked the eruption of the second intifada, which made the current plague of shooting, stabbing, car ramming and stone and firebomb throwing look like a day at the fair. Israeli employers were done with hiring Arabs from the PA and Gaza who would turn on them one morning and slash their throat, thank you very much. Israel imported foreign labor from Asia, and other migrants started cutting through the border illegally in the Sinai, and the Arabs were pushed out of the Israeli labor market. God is in the context.

UN Blames Israel for PA Arabs Wanting to Work for Israelis
Next, the report offers a blatant lie (Item 6): “Lack of employment opportunities in the domestic economy forces thousands of unemployed Palestinians to seek employment in Israel and in settlements in low-skill, low-wage manual activities.”

The reality is that those “lowly” jobs in Israel pay three times what the average job pays inside the PA, and if Israel only issued more work permits, those PA Arabs would have gladly abandoned their lousy jobs in Ramallah and Shechem and flooded Israel’s construction sites.

But the report is unhappy with the fact that as many as 12% of the PA Arabs find decent employment in Israel, because, let’s face it, “this forced dependence on employment in Israel and in settlements magnifies the vulnerability of the Palestinian economy to political shocks, as Israel can at any time bar Palestinian workers, even those with Israeli permits, from entering Israel and settlements.”

On that assertion, there is one surefire way to make sure Israel would never, ever bar those workers and take away their permits: if Arabs from the PA not start shooting, stabbing, car ramming and stone and firebomb throwing. It’s a scientific correlation, proven by 50 years of Israeli presence in Judea, Samaria and Gaza: Arab violence leads to Arab poverty; Arab civility leads to Arab prosperity. It’s such a simple message, one must attend many anti-Semitic incitement sessions at one’s local mosque to be able to ignore it.

Israel’s Response to Arab Terror and Illegal Construction Harms the PA Economy
Here’s Item 9, which does not belong in an economic report, because it covers a negligible issue in terms of costs to the Arab economy, but it’s there to make a political point, and tell another lie: “In April 2016, the Secretary-General of the United Nations advised the Security Council that demolition of Palestinian homes and businesses in the West Bank was continuing at an alarming rate.” How alarming? “By early April, the number of Palestinian structures demolished had exceeded the total of those destroyed in 2015, displacing 840 people.”

Israel demolishes Arab homes in Area C for two reasons: illegal construction, and participation of one of the occupants in a terror attack. In terms of numbers, the vast majority of the structures are destroyed for lack of building permits. Israel is the recognized sovereign in Area C, according to the Oslo accords, and you can’t defy the sovereign power by building whatever and wherever you want. But Israel also demolishes Jewish structures in Area C, for a variety of legally contested issues, a fact that is completely ignored by the report which prefers to repeat the mantra that Israel demolished those Arab homes “while accelerated settlement activity created facts on the ground.”

Now, what was the economic effect of those 840 demolitions on the PA, whose citizens reside in Areas A and B? Probably negligible, but a point scored is a point earned.

In Item 14, UNCTAD supports the World Bank’s assessment of a problem they named “the Palestinian fiscal leakage.” What it means is that while the Arab earnings are meager and sub-standard in the PA, the PA Arabs working in Israel make triple those wages and get to keep a lot more after taxes, some of which Israel transfers to Ramallah. But the World Bank and now the UNCTAD want those PA laborers in Israel to pay higher taxes, which would go to their government. Indeed, Israel has promised to collect and transfer to Ramallah “$128 million to cover some of the losses accumulated over the years by the Authority.” That money, as the Israeli Finance Ministry explained to the Knesset Finance Committee this summer, will be coming out of the wages of PA Arabs working in Israel.

UN Blames Israel for Gaza’s Internal Problems
Now we get to what the report names, “Slow reconstruction in Gaza and disregard for the productive base.”

It has been documented by every major news outlet and at least two recent court cases in Israel that Hamas has completely usurped the $3.5 billion in donations [and used it instead] for the digging of new terror tunnels and for rebuilding Hamas leaders’ homes destroyed in the 2014 war. It is also understood by most rational people in the world that as long as the Gaza Strip is governed by a terrorist organization whose major stated aim is to destroy the Jewish State, Israel has no choice but to impose a blockade on the free flow of goods into Gaza, because those goods would inevitably be used to prepare for the next attack on Israel.

Not on planet UNCTAD.

Item 22 states without benefit of context or recognition of regional realities: “Israel’s blockade of Gaza, in its ninth year, continues to exert a heavy toll. The population of Gaza is locked in, denied access to the West Bank and the rest of the world. … The blockade has affected Gaza’s once vibrant export sector.” Ah, those capricious Israelis and their obsession with not getting killed.

UN Report Straight Out Lies
The same item adds a nasty line: “Even people in need of medical treatment are not allowed to travel to obtain essential health care.” The author of this blatant lie should come visit Israeli hospitals in Ashkelon, Ashdod and Beer Sheva, where Gazan patients are a regular feature, including family members of top Hamas officials.

Israel Refuses to Be Annihilated
Item 23 is also about Israel’s refusal to be annihilated: “A prominent element of Israel’s restrictions on Palestinian productive activities is the dual-use list, which prohibits the importation of civilian goods deemed by Israel as potentially having other, harmful uses. The list includes essential factors of production, raw materials, agricultural fertilizers, telecommunications equipment, steel, pipes, spare parts and other capital goods.”

Yes, because Hamas engineers have skillfully turned all those highly useful items into highly murderous weapons.

The same item complains that “recently, more items have been added to the list, and the thickness of wood classified as dual-use has been reduced from 5 to 3 cm, then to 1 cm. This has far-reaching implications for Gaza’s furniture industry, among other harmful effects. Enforcement of the stringent dual-use restrictions obstructs reconstruction efforts, raises production costs and forces Palestinian firms out of business.”

Again, let Hamas officially abandon its murderous designs on Israel, let it sign a document recognizing Israel’s right to exist and watch how the Gaza Strip becomes paradise in a month. The fact is, with the right investments and without the Islamic extremists’ threat, Gaza could become as pretty and as prosperous as San Diego. Parts of it already are, even today.

UN Blames Israel for Gaza’s Now Rising Infant Mortality Rate
Item 25 is a tour de force of convoluted logic: “A shocking indicator of the grim situation in Gaza is the rising infant mortality rate, one of the best indicators for the health of a community. Infant mortality has risen for the first time in 50 years. The rate of neonatal mortality has also risen significantly, from 12 per 1,000 live births in 2008 to 20.3 in 2013.”

The sad truth is that Israel was investing in Judea and Samaria and Gaza infrastructure and social services to the point where they exceeded the standards in all other Arab countries. It is safe to say that had Israel continued to run those territories, today they would have been its equal in terms of social services and levels of income.

The relatively low baby mortality cited for Gaza in 2008 did not appear out of thin air — Israel, that hated occupier, pushed it on with heavy investments and years of government effort. The progressive decline in both parts of the Arab-run territories is not the result of “the occupation,” but of the utter failure of local Arab governments to manage modern state systems. We can illustrate this point:

On June 16, 1994, the Israeli Civil Administration in the Territories issued a report comparing the state of the Arab infrastructure in Judea, Samaria and Gaza in 1970 with 1990. According to that report, in 1970 Gaza had 3 community clinics. In 1990 there were 28. Each of the Israeli-built Community Clinics in the Gaza Strip offered mother-and-child health services, family care units, and pharmacies. Several of the centers offered 24-hours-a-day delivery units and emergency services, and minor x-ray units.

Major renovations and/or additions were made to almost every hospital in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza since 1967. Thus, for example, Rafidiah Hospital in Shechem received a radiology center in 1987 and an out-patient department in 1988. Wattani Hospital in Shechem received an intensive care unit in 1987. Ramallah Hospital received a diagnostic radiology center in 1987 and a neo-natal and premature intensive care unit in 1986. Beit Jala Hospital received a radiology center in 1987. Hebron Hospital received an outpatient and laboratory wing in 1988. The Bethlehem Mental Hospital received a chronic care department for male patients in 1986. The dialysis department at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City was completely renovated in 1989. Khan Yunis Hospital’s surgical suite was refurbished in 1987. The Opthalmic Hospital in Gaza City was renovated and re-equipped in 1989.

And infant mortality in Gaza declined from approximately 85 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1968 to 26.1 in 1990. In Judea and Samaria, infant mortality declined from approximately 35 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1968, to 18.1 in 1991.

For comparison, in 1991 deaths per 1,000 births in Libya stood at 62, Egypt 82, Turkey 54, Iraq 66, Syria 37, Tunisia 38, Jordan 38, Lebanon 50 and Saudi Arabia 69.

Together with the decline in infant mortality, great progress was made by Israel in controlling and eliminating major childhood diseases, due mainly to immunization programs instituted since 1967. Twelve nursing schools, two of which offer BA degree programs were opened between 1971 and 1991. The numbers of both doctors and nurses more than doubled from 1967 to 1991.

Voluntary health insurance plans which were unavailable before 1967 were first offered in Judea and Samaria in 1973, and in Gaza in 1976. In 1978, a new comprehensive plan was introduced; it was automatically applied to Civil Administration workers and to area residents working in Israel and was offered to all other area residents on a voluntary basis.

Israel greatly improved and expanded sewage treatment facilities in the liberated areas. Before 1967, there were no sewage treatment plants in Judea and Samaria. Since 1967, modern installations were built in Jenin (1971), Tulkarem (1972), Ramallah (1979), and Kalkilya (1986). The first stage of the Hebron sewage treatment plant was completed in 1991. In Gaza, sewage was managed through local septic tanks. Since 1967, treatment facilities were improved and/or constructed in Gaza City, Khan Yunis, Jabalya, Rafiah, and the Shati refugee camp. Routine testing of sewage for various enteric bacteria was begun in 1981.

Judea and Samaria were recognized as malaria-free areas in 1971.

UN Report Blames Israel for Palestinian Authority’s Failure in Self-Government
Item 37 in the UNCTAD report unwittingly makes this point: “Palestinian economic indicators have deteriorated in the last two decades, with serious ramifications for the welfare of the Palestinian people. In 1995-2014, the population grew by 3.6 per cent annually, while real GDP per capita grew by only 1 per cent. In addition, productivity failed to grow and unemployment increased by 9 percentage points to 27%.”

What else happened between 1994 and 2014?

Oh yes; the governing of Judea, Samaria and Gaza was handed over to the local Arab leadership, which proceeded to mess things up while inciting to violence [their citizens] against the only country on earth that actually took the trouble to help them. With numbers like these – and the report heaps them in multicolored tables – the Arab record of self-government is nothing short of abysmal.

Unfortunately, UN reports telling the world that these failed regimes aren’t to blame, that it’s all Israel’s fault, are not helping anyone, least of all the local Arabs who are now telling survey takers openly that they would rather live under Israeli rule or escape to Canada, whichever comes first.

Corruption at World Vision in Gaza

By Daniella Cheslow

A sign shows the direction to the World Vision offices in Jerusalem.
A sign shows the direction to the World Vision offices in Jerusalem.

JERUSALEM (AP) — The international charity World Vision said on Monday (August 8, 2016) that Israel has accused the charity’s Gaza Strip director of funneling what appears to be an impossible sum of money to Hamas.

Israel’s Shin Bet security agency said Mohammed el-Halabi siphoned about $7.2 million a year to the Islamic militant group over a period of five years. The security agency said this is roughly 60 percent of World Vision’s total Gaza budget.

World Vision Germany spokeswoman Silvia Holten said the charity’s budget in Gaza in the last decade totaled $22.5 million. She said World Vision has stopped its Gaza operations while investigations continue. Germany and Australia suspended donations to World Vision in Gaza amid the allegations.

“There is a huge gap in these numbers the Israeli government is telling and what we know,” Holten said.

Israel indicted el-Halabi last Thursday.

According to the Shin Bet, el-Halabi crafted an elaborate scheme to funnel funds, food, medical supplies and agricultural equipment to Hamas. He fraudulently listed the children of Hamas operatives as wounded, created straw organizations, and inflated project costs to divert cash, the agency said. Building supplies intended to support farming projects were transferred to Hamas for constructing tunnels and military installations, according to the Shin Bet.

The allegations, if proven correct, would bolster Israel’s arguments for maintaining its blockade of Gaza, imposed after Hamas seized power in the coastal strip in 2007. Israel says the closure is vital to preventing Hamas from importing weapons and materials used to attack Israel.

Robert Piper, the U.N. coordinator for aid in the Palestinian territories, said Monday that the allegations against el-Halabi “raise serious concerns” for aid groups in Gaza, and that, if proven true, “deserve unreserved condemnation.” He called for a fair and transparent trial.

Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, president of Israeli legal advocacy group Shurat Hadin, said her organization warned World Vision four years ago its funding was being diverted to armed militant groups in Gaza. She said she discovered this while her group researched a lawsuit against the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which in the past was involved in attacking Israelis. She said the PFLP used front organizations that appeared as beneficiaries on the World Vision website. Darshan-Leitner said she is exploring suing World Vision in the United States for aiding and abetting terrorism.

“Foreign NGOs want to give money to Gaza,” Darshan-Leitner said, even as they “ignore all the signs that their money is diverted to terrorism.”

World Vision did not immediately respond to the charge.

The U.S. also funded humanitarian projects run by World Vision through 2011, which overlaps with el-Halabi’s time as Gaza director. The U.S. State Department said in a statement that it is closely following the Israeli investigation. If confirmed, Hamas’s embezzlement of aid funds would be “reprehensible,” according to the statement.

Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon speculated that World Vision’s budget does not include in-kind donations like food.

“They are trying to belittle their role and to show they are much smaller than they really are,” Nahshon said of World Vision. He did not provide proof of his claim, but said el-Halabi’s legal team will have access to the evidence. He added that el-Halabi confessed to his crimes, but el-Halabi’s lawyer Mohammed Mahmoud said his client did not confess.

Holten said the World Vision budget includes all in-kind donations, but she did not provide a detailed report of the organization’s spending in Gaza in recent years. She said World Vision performs stringent internal audits and commissions external audits from outside companies as well.

El-Halabi’s father has denied he is a member of Hamas. A spokesman for Hamas in Gaza, Hazem Qasem, has called the allegations “lies.”

Women in Palestinian Culture–How to Hit Your Wife

PalWatch.org

PA Mufti of Gaza explains how to hit your wife: “Not hitting that will bring the police, and break her hand and cause bleeding”

Mufti of Gaza Hassan Al-Laham: “Allah created a solution for this (i.e., marital strife). How? Allah said: Warn them [the wives], and separate from them, and hit them, and bring an arbitrator from his family and an arbitrator from her family. [Only] after this comes divorce. The husband starts with a warning.”

(Female) PA TV host: “Explain to our viewers the steps a husband should take.”

Mufti: “The warning needs to be made politely by the husband to his wife, while he shows good relations, dialogue, respect, and humanity. She who stands before you is a human being. She is an independent person and deserves respect. You did not buy her as a slave, nor did you buy her in the market. She is a respectable woman from a respectable family, just as you are a respectable man from a respectable family. It may be that she is from a more socially respectable family than yours, however she became your wife, and she is under your command, and is under your care, so that you should treat her according to Allah’s command. The warning should be made using a good word, good treatment, and a positive look.”

TV host: “In order to stop the conflict from getting worse and resolve it.”

Mufti: “It is a warning. When she makes a mistake he will explain: ‘You shouldn’t do this and that.'”

TV host: “What is the stage after the warning, honored Sheik?”

Mufti: “‘[Koran:] Warn them [the wives] and separate from them.’ The separation means separation in the bedroom, in the home. Not outside. In other words, he will not show other people that there is a problem. But inside the home, at bedtime, if he separates from her and does not speak to her in the bedroom, she will ask why, and he will explain: ‘You made a mistake and I am angry about it.’ Perhaps this will lead to reconciliation…

“After the warning and separation, comes the hitting – hitting that does not make her ugly. The Prophet [Muhammad] said: ‘Do not hit the face and do not make her ugly.’ (Hadith) In other words, not hitting that will bring the police, and break her hand and cause bleeding, or hitting that makes the face ugly. No. As it is said [in a Hadith] ‘If not for this (i.e., the fear of retaliation), I would give you painful blows with a small brush.’ … The hitting is not meant to disfigure, harm, or degrade. The hitting will be like a joke. He will hit her jokingly. Not a blow that breaks a bone or makes the face ugly, and he will not curse and the like. This hitting is a kind of reminder that the love and friendship that Allah commanded is still found between us (i.e., the couple).”

Official Palestinian Authority TV Feb. 8, 2016 (2:34 min)

Senior IDF official: Hamas-ISIS cooperation is ongoing — video

By Elior Levy / YNetNews.com

Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Maj.-Gen. Yoav Morechai, told Palestinian media this week that cooperation between Hamas and the Islamic State group (ISIS) in Sinai is ongoing, with Gazan militants going to fight in the Sinai, while ISIS militants receive medical treatment in Gaza.

Mordechai mentioned in his interview a Salafi militant, Mahmoud Z., who has been coordinating between Hamas and ISIS, as well as a Sinai militant, Ibrahim Abu Qureia, who has received medical treatment in Gaza. COGAT’s comments are likely meant to put a spotlight on the strong connection between ISIS in the Sinai and Hamas in Gaza, while the Hamas leadership is trying to mend strained ties with Egypt.

(Please be patient as the video loads slowly.)

Meanwhile, Israeli security officials revealed that Hamas has allowed Salafist leaders to leave Gaza for Sinai to participate in fighting against the Egyptian army. The officials said that Mohammed Sami Gint, a Hamas militant from the Shati Refugee Camp, and Mahmoud Nimr Abdel Latif Zagrah, traveled to Sinai to fight with ISIS.

General Yoav (Poly) Mordechai, Photo: AP
General Yoav (Poly) Mordechai, Photo: AP

The Israeli security officials also claimed that Hamas continues to assist ISIS in treating its wounded in Gaza hospitals. Ibrahim Abu Al-Qureia, an ISIS militant, recently received treatment at a Gaza hospital with the help of Mahmoud Tawfiq Satiri, a Hamas militant.

Maj.Gen. Mordechai added that Israel has uncovered Hamas attempts to exploit the Erez Border Crossing between Israel and Gaza for terrorist purposes and warned that if such attempts continue, it will affect the Strip’s reconstruction efforts and Israel’s goodwill gestures to the Palestinians.

Additionally. he made clear that Israel did not exact consequences against the Palestinian people after the Jaffa and Jerusalem attacks on Tuesday, but rather the families of terrorists, who allowed their children to carry out the attacks. He also blamed the incitement in the Palestinian media for the ongoing violence and demanded that the Palestinian Authority condemn the attacks.

Maj.-Gen. Morechai denied that Israeli officials met with senior Palestinian officials to discuss the day after Abbas, saying Israel does not intervene in internal Palestinian affairs. He also emphasized that security cooperation is ongoing and serves Palestinian and Israeli interests.

Hamas Endangers Its Civilian Population By Embedding Military Facilities In Civilian Areas

Rocket fire from Gaza
Rocket fire from Gaza
A house hit by fragments from an Israel missile fired in response to rocket fire, in an airstrike that killed two Palestinian children in the northern Gaza Strip. March 12, 2016. Credit/Reuters
A house hit by fragments from an Israel missile fired in response to rocket fire, in an airstrike that killed two Palestinian children in the northern Gaza Strip. March 12, 2016. Credit/Reuters

By Kate Shuttleworth and Rushdi Abu Alouf / LATimes.com

Two Palestinian children, a brother and sister, were killed in Gaza on Saturday when shrapnel from an Israeli airstrike hit their home where Hamas had built a training camp nearby, medical officials said.

The strike was targeting four training camps for Hamas militants and came in response to the firing of four missiles from Gaza into open areas of southern Israel late Friday, according to a statement from the Israeli military.

Residents of Beit Lahiya, in the north of the Gaza Strip, said 10-year-old Yassin Abu Khoussa died when shrapnel hit his family home, situated near a militant training camp. His 6-year-old sister, Isra, was seriously wounded in the strike and later died at a hospital.

Their 13-year old brother was wounded but survived, according to Gaza’s health ministry spokesman, Ashraf Qidra.

The house had already been partially destroyed during the most recent Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip in 2014, but the family was still living there, local sources said.

The Israeli strikes hit five targets across the Gaza Strip, according to a statement from Hamas, the Islamist militant group that controls the Palestinian coastal enclave.

No organization has claimed responsibility for firing the four rockets into Israel, but Israel has said it holds Hamas responsible for any attacks launched from the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli military spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, described the attacks as an effort to “threaten the security and safety of the people of southern Israel.”

“The military will continue to act to protect those who threaten innocent lives and Israel’s sovereignty,” he said.

During the Gaza war of 2014, militants fired thousands of rockets and mortars into Israel, which responded heavily with airstrikes, naval strikes and later a ground invasion. In all, 1,200 Palestinians were killed, mostly civilians. Israel lost six civilians and 67 soldiers.

The war ended with a fragile cease-fire, and rocket fire tapered off.

The missiles were the first since October 2015 to prompt an Israeli response that led to Palestinian deaths. In an ensuing airstrike by Israel, a 2-year-old girl and her pregnant mother were killed when their house collapsed.

A 5-year-old was killed in February when an unexploded shell thought to be a dud detonated, and several other Palestinians were shot dead during demonstrations near the border with Israel.

In contrast, violence has surged in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, where nearly 200 Palestinians and 33 Israelis have been killed this year.

The next frontier in the conflict may not be the air but underground. The Israeli military has said Hamas militant fighters have been digging tunnels with the aim of reaching inside Israel to carry out more attacks. Israel is working on technology to detect and destroy such tunnels.

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To see biased reporting on this event analyzed by CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) click here.

How Hamas exploits Gaza to harm Israel

From ‘free’ homes with strings attached to taxes for police calls – Hamas’ tricks for fleecing Gaza, fooling world about ‘Israeli blockade.’

By Ari Yashar / IsraelNationalNews.com

Hamas terrorists in Gaza (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90)
Hamas terrorists in Gaza (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90)

Aside from siphoning off international aid for its missile and tunnel programs, Hamas has been cynically manipulating the residents in Gaza by imposing unreasonable taxes to prop up its terror activities, even while deceiving the world into blaming Israel for the bleak situation.

Hamas continues to complain to the international press about the “Israeli blockade” and accuse it for Gaza’s economic crisis. But the terrorist organization is fleecing its residents in various forms of taxes and funneling tens of millions of dollars into its “military arm” every month. Meanwhile, the international community continues to ignore the duplicity of Hamas and condemns Israel’s legal naval blockade.

Several of Hamas’s methods of ripping-off Gaza residents were exposed recently by Walla, which reported that nearly 100,000 residents in the coastal enclave remain homeless since Operation Protective Edge in summer 2014, Hamas’s third war against Israel.

Qatar has been donating enormous amounts of money to rebuild Gaza, and slowly new homes are being built for the 17,000 families whose homes were completely destroyed.

Hamas also held a raffle recently for 1,040 housing units built by Qatar in Gaza, promising Gazan homeless who signed up that they would receive the homes for free.

However, Walla reports that those who won in the housing lottery found that Hamas demanded that they pay $40,000 for each “free” house. The terror group claimed the expenses were required to hook up the houses to the various infrastructure systems such as water and electricity.

In this way, Hamas required those who lost their homes in a war started by the terror group to pay for homes that were paid for by Qatar, and did not cost Hamas anything at all. Hamas is to see a benefit of nearly $40 million in the coming years, thanks to the taxes on the homes.

Showing other widespread corruption, sources in Gaza revealed that around 150 of those who won in the lottery actually did receive their homes for free – because they had ties to Hamas.

Tax schemes

The housing lottery is far from the only example of Hamas’s exploitation of Gaza residents.

Another example arises from the fact that in order to block weapons smuggling, Israel prevents ships from Gaza from straying too far into the Mediterranean Sea. The boats of fishermen who breach the line are seized, and if the fishermen are found not to be involved in smuggling, the boats are returned.

But when the boats are returned, Hamas demands that the fishermen pay a tax for the return of their own property, seized due to Hamas’s weapons-smuggling efforts.

Another tax is leveled when residents require the services of Hamas’s police force due to a disagreement or a criminal incident; in such cases they must pay a tax for calling a policeman.

Hamas also tries to manipulate residents who receive exit permits from Israel into establishing terror infrastructures in Judea and Samaria.

For a certain price, Gazans can get a permit from a senior doctor saying that they need urgent medical treatment in Judea and Samaria, or elsewhere in sovereign Israeli territory. Often Hamas uses those who obtain the permits, using them to transport funds or messages to its terrorists in Judea and Samaria.

Smuggling has likewise been a huge issue. Nearly every week, the terrorists try to sneak materials for producing rockets or digging attack tunnels through the Kerem Shalom crossing. Every day, between 650 and 700 trucks loaded with goods pass into Gaza from Israel through the crossing. Huge quantities of materials for the nefarious terrorist programs are hidden among the goods, including, in one case, electrodes inside margarine.

Terror wages courtesy of Iran

Even as Hamas capitalizes on the plight of its residents and likewise delays the payment of salaries for its workers, the 40,000 terrorists in the group’s Al-Qassam Brigades “military wing” continue to be paid. Their wages are funded by Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. While Tehran has somewhat curtailed its financial aid to Hamas, it makes special efforts to maintain its funds for the Al-Qassam Brigades to continue the terror war against Israel.

Aside from Iran, the taxes exploited from Gazans also help to fuel the wages of the Hamas terrorists. According to Israeli estimates, every year Hamas invests nearly 100 million shekels (around $25.7 million) into smuggling-in materials to produce weapons and dig attack tunnels.

Hamas bans Gaza New Year’s Eve parties

Agence France-Presse / published by The Daily Star (Lebanon) DailyStar.com.lb

Islamist group Hamas has banned public New Year’s Eve parties in the Gaza Strip because they offend the territory’s “values and religious traditions”, police said on Wednesday.

“The interior ministry and police department did not give permits to any restaurants, hotels or halls for end-of-year parties” after several venues requested permission, police spokesman Ayman al-Batinji told AFP.

He said New Year’s Eve celebrations were “incompatible with our customs, traditions, values and the teachings of our religion”.

Parties had also been curtailed in “solidarity with the families of the martyrs of the Jerusalem intifada,” Batinji said, referring to violence that has swept the city and parts of the West Bank in recent months.

Since Oct. 1, 136 Palestinians and 20 Israelis have died in a wave of attacks and clashes across Israel and the Palestinian territories — including in Gaza.

In previous years restaurants, hotels and cafes in Gaza were allowed to host closed events to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

The new year under the Islamic calendar began this year in October, but the new year under the Gregorian calendar is widely celebrated across the Arab world.

Islamists Hamas tightly restrict public parties and celebrations in Gaza.

A source close to the police said security forces would close down “any unlicensed party”.

Netanyahu Blasts UN ‘Hypocrisy’ After Ban’s Comments on Gaza Report

“There is no limit to the hypocrisy”, says PM after UN chief accuses Israel of making Gazan children “suffer”.


By Elad Benari / IsraelNationalNews.com

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the UN’s hypocrisy immediately after the head of the global body, Ban Ki-moon, accused the IDF of making Gazan children “suffer” last summer in its counter-terror operation.

“This is a dark day for the United Nations,” Netanyahu said. “Instead of mentioning the fact that Hamas turned Gaza’s children into hostages when it fired from kindergartens on the children of Israel, the UN chooses again to preach to Israel, which makes sure to act according to international standards, as determined just this week by senior generals from the United States and Europe.”

“At the same time,” Netanyahu continued, “the Hamas terrorist organization receives immunity from the UN despite the fact that it has been proven beyond doubt that it committed war crimes when it fired from hospitals, mosques, and UN facilities. It turns out that there is no limit to the hypocrisy.”

Ban had earlier said that last year [2014] “was one of the worst in recent memory for children in countries affected by conflict” and added he is “deeply alarmed at the suffering of so many children as a result of Israeli military operations in Gaza last year.”

More than 500 children died during the conflict in Gaza last year, although Ban failed to note that Hamas embedded its terror infrastructure in civilian populations to maximize casualties on the Gazan side and portray the IDF negatively. Hamas also widely used civilian shields, callously using local people, and particularly children, in the line of fire.

Israel has pointed out that many facilities in Gaza were struck because they were being used to launch rockets on Israeli civilians and store weapons.

Hamas has been busily developing its domestic rocket arsenal since the last war and is siphoning off construction materials to rebuild its terror attack tunnels into Israel in preparation for its next terror war against the Jewish state.

Netanyahu’s comments followed earlier criticism from Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), who said the UN was showing “outrageous bias” against Israel.

“At a time when ceaseless war rages in the Middle East and children are slaughtered on a daily basis, the UN decides to mention Israel in the same breath with states that since long ago have not had any basic human rights,” she said.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor criticized the UN the same day, responding to the UN report on children and armed conflict that was prepared by Leila Zerrougui of Algeria.

Ban said the report showed “the unprecedented and unacceptable scale of the impact on children in 2014 raises grave concerns about Israel’s compliance with international humanitarian law…(and) excessive use of force.”

Prosor responded, saying that Israel asked to provide information for the report but was refused, as Zerrougui relied only on radical anti-Israel groups. The report completely failed to mention Hamas’s role in the impact on children in Gaza.

The ambassador further pointed out that 2% of the report discusses Iraq and Islamic State (ISIS), while 6% of it is dedicated to Syria. Over 10% of the report, though, discusses Israel’s “aggression against children.”

Hamas, Fatah exchange threats after wave of arrests

PA security forces arrest 170 Hamas men in connection with shooting attacks against Israelis, raising the wrath of Gaza’s ruling faction.

Elior Levy / YNetNews.com

The Palestinian Authority arrested 170 Hamas men in the West Bank over a period of a few days, according to Palestinian security source, leading to threats from the Gaza terror organization.

The source said the arrests were made in connection with a series of shooting attacks against Israelis in the Binyamin area over the past few weeks that claimed the lives of Malachi Rosenfeld and Danny Gonen.

According to the source, there is evidence pointing to Hamas being behind the series of attacks, which also included a shooting at a Maden David Adom ambulance that ended with no casualties.

Palestinian Authority police. (Photo: Mohammed Shinawi)
Palestinian Authority police. (Photo: Mohammed Shinawi)

The arrests were made in three waves. In the first and biggest raid, 108 Hamas men were arrested in one night, some of them former prisoners released from Israeli and PA jails.

The PA security forces’ spokesman, Adnan al-Damiri, said Hamas was trying to undermine the security situation in the West Bank, adding that the Gaza rulers were doing so while holding indirect contacts with Israel to secure a long-term ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas condemned the wave of arrests, and Hamas official Ismail al-Ashqar threatened that if the PA continues these arrests, Palestinian security forces will become a target to the “Palestinian resistance” in the West Bank.

Other Hamas officials said the security forces in the West Bank were operating as part of a plan to eliminate Hamas in the West Bank, a plan they charged serves Israel.

“If Hamas tries to test our patience and commit a terror attack that affects Palestinian security, the organization will meet with a response it cannot imagine,” Fatah said in response.

Nablus governor Akram Rajoub, who used to be a senior official in the Palestinian security forces, said that any attack against the PA will turn all of Hamas’s men in the West Bank into a target.

Despite the mutual threats, the Palestinian security source said Hamas would not dare execute an attack against the PA security forces, but did not rule out the possibility that Hamas men could open fire at PA security when they come to arrest them.

Ten Minutes About Living Near Gaza

Listen to 27-year-old Anna’s non-political perspective as a kibbutznik who lives near Israel’s border with Gaza. She refutes the media’s portrayal of Israel in summer 2014 as a heartless monster and explains that the IDF acts humanely, like allowing terrorists to get away if they suspect that catching them would harm nearby innocents. Anna mentions the frequency of rockets falling and hearing 30-40 alarms some days. She sheds real tears in empathy for Gazans who aren’t part of Hamas but are used as part of their human shields; she expresses her fear of terrorists popping up in her formerly safe neighborhood from nearby tunnels, wanting to kill her and her family.

Nonetheless, Anna is “happy to live in place that is like heaven. … It’s surreal how beautiful it is!” She speaks for normal Israeli citizens and asks you to think about how their lives have changed because of Hamas in Gaza and how the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) defend and protect them and then are condemned by the media. She asks how people in other countries, say, Paris or California, would like living like Israelis in southern Israel and then asks that the viewers put themselves in her position before judging Israel.

Grab your box of tissues. Her plea is heartfelt.