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‘Without UNRWA we have nothing’: Palestinian refugees speak out against US aid cuts

Israel/Palestine
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Bethlehem, occupied West Bank — Palestinians in Bethlehem’s Aida refugee camp have expressed their mounting anxiety over a US decision to slash funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Earlier this month, the US State Department informed UNRWA that it would be withholding over $100 million from the organization. Heather Nauert, the department’s spokesperson, said that the funds “will be held for future consideration. It’s money that’s being frozen at this time.” The US wants to “see some revisions made in how UNRWA operates,” she said.

She added that the decision was “not aimed at punishing anyone.”

Palestinians in Aida refugee camp disagree, telling Mondoweiss that the cuts are a continuation of US policies aimed at strangling the lifeline of Palestinian refugees.

UNRWA was established in 1949 to provide services to some 750,000 Palestinians expelled from their homes and lands during Israel’s creation in 1948.

The UNRWA refugee status is passed down to children via their fathers; the number of Palestinian refugees under UNRWA’s responsibility is now more than five million — all of whom are scattered across Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip.

‘Erosion of services’

Aida refugee camp is located adjacent to Israel’s separation wall and an Israeli military tower in northern Bethlehem city. On the roof of some homes, an illegal Israeli settlement can be seen beyond the cement wall that snakes around the camp.

The camp is the site of frequent Israeli military raids and a recent study conducted by UC Berkeley School of Law concluded that the camp was the most tear-gassed area in the world.

The some 3,150 residents of Aida are dependent on UNRWA to provide food and cash programs to vulnerable refugees, school and healthcare.

Sajida Allan (Photo: Jaclynn Ashly)

Sajida Allan, a 24-year-old who volunteers at the Aida-based NGO al-Rowwad, told Mondoweiss that “we already face so many hardships in the camp. Cutting this aid will only make our lives more difficult.”

Chris Gunness, UNRWA’s spokesperson, said that owing to US cuts the agency is facing the “worst financial crisis in its 70-year history” with a $440 million deficit — at least $250 million of which was expected to originate from the US. The agency has reportedly begun laying off dozens of its workers since the US announcement.

Camp residents noted that concern over the future of UNRWA services has been swelling years before these most recent cuts.

According to residents, for the past decade UNRWA services have been steadily reduced. UNRWA’s shrinking budget coupled with austerity measures has shifted some of the financial burdens on Palestinian refugee families.

Gunness told Mondoweiss that UNRWA has experienced a “slow erosion of its services” owing to a prolonged financial crisis.

He said that UNRWA’s teachers and doctors are “working against all odds because the infrastructure that supports them is crumbling.”

Former construction worker Abbas Thaher, 67, remembers when UNRWA covered 100 percent of healthcare costs, school supplies and stationeries for Palestinian students at UNRWA schools, and even distributed free clothes to refugees twice a year.

Now, however, he says that UNRWA does not cover school expenses and clinics often lack various medications, forcing families to buy medicine and seek treatment outside UNRWA facilities. In 2016, UNRWA reformed their healthcare system to require refugees pay five to 20 percent of their secondary healthcare costs.

Thaher pays 4,000 shekels ($1,172) a month on treatment for his ill wife. He says that UNRWA does not assist him with the costs. “I’m not worried about losing UNRWA services,” Thaher said, frustrated. “Because they barely provide any as it is.”

But at the same time, he acknowledged that Palestinians “need UNRWA just to have a basic life.”

‘UNRWA is all we have’

Jaida Abu Srour (Photo: Jaclynn Ashly)

Camp resident Jaida Abu Srour, 22, told Mondoweiss that UNRWA’s Cash for Work program is central for the livelihoods of Palestinian refugees. The program hires refugees on a temporary basis to provide them financial support.

According to Aida residents, even this program has been peeled back. Abu Srour’s uncle suffers from health complications that prevent him from being employed. The Cash for Work program is often a lifeline for sick or disabled refugees who cannot find alternative employment.

“He has been unemployed for two years now. And he is not getting help from UNRWA,” she said, adding that as services continue to be cut amid the West Bank’s soaring unemployment rates refugees are becoming “desperate” to land temporary work with UNRWA.

Many residents fear that the program will be further scaled down owing to US funding cuts, which could leave scores of refugees without a livelihood, Abu Srour told Mondoweiss.

According to Gunness, 60,000 Palestinians are currently participating in UNRWA’s Cash for Work program in the West Bank. Meanwhile, the agency provides food and cash programs to an additional 1.7 million Palestinian refugees throughout the Middle East.

He added that “well over 95 percent” of UNRWA’s some 30,000 employees are Palestinian refugees.

“When you start disturbing an institution that is so deeply-rooted in these communities the consequences are likely to be profound and unpredictable,” Gunness said. “Who knows what kind of consequences this US reduction will have.”

The US cuts to UNRWA came two weeks after Trump threatened to cut US aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the wake of a US decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, prompting Palestinian leaders to boycott Trump’s so-called “peace process.”

“This is just a continuation of US policies that were happening before Trump,” Allan explained to Mondoweiss. “They are recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, threatening to cut funding to the PA and then slashing their support to UNRWA. These policies have a goal: squeeze us into a corner and make our lives so miserable that we just give up our rights.”

Ahmad Abu Salem (Photo: Jaclynn Ashly)

Ahmad Abu Salem, 59, owns a small shop in Aida camp. He says he is most concerned about the schooling and healthcare provided by UNRWA, noting that these are the most basic service provisions needed in the camps to prevent dangerous social consequences.

“UNRWA is all we have. We don’t have any alternatives if they continue cutting services. Without UNRWA we have nothing,” he said, adding that the PA is not financially capable of making up the gaps in services.

Abu Salem expressed fear that the slow collapse of UNRWA would create a vacuum of unemployment, prompting Palestinians to turn to crime to make ends meet. “We would have no jobs and nowhere to go. If these cuts continue the situation here could explode,” he said.

Refugee Identity

For Palestinians in Aida camp, the most important aspect of UNRWA is its “confirmation of the refugee identity.”

“The camp itself is like my passport,” Thaher told Mondoweiss. “It shows the world that I am a refugee and that I had a home I was expelled from.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for UNRWA to be dismantled and has alleged that the agency “incites” against Israel. He has referred to Palestinians expelled from their homes during Israel’s creation as “fictitious refugees.”

“When I call myself a refugee, people are sympathetic to me and my story,” Allan said. “But if they take that label away from us, it will be easier for Israel to paint us as terrorists, erase our history and dehumanize us.”

While residents noted that UNRWA does not directly help with fulfilling the Right of Return — upheld by UN Resolution 194 which supports the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes in what is now Israel, its continued existence is crucial to maintaining the historical narrative of this displacement.

UNRWA is connected to the status of Palestinian refugees so much so that Allan believes the gradual reduction of the agency’s services represents “the slow erasing of the refugee identity.”

“The US and Israel want to force UNRWA to continue reducing their services to Palestinian refugees, so that we have to find services elsewhere,” Allan explained. “Once fewer and fewer refugees rely on the agency, they can more easily close it down. And with it, our dreams of returning home.”

Jaclynn Ashly
About Jaclynn Ashly

Jaclynn Ashly is a journalist based in Bethlehem, Palestine. You can find her on Twitter @jaclynnashly

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30 Responses

  1. Maghlawatan
    January 25, 2018, 11:34 am

    https://www.rte.ie/news/world/2018/0125/935993-davos-wef/

    US President Donald Trump threatened to withhold aid to the Palestinians if they did not pursue peace with Israel, saying the Palestinians had snubbed the United States by not meeting Vice President Mike Pence during a recent visit.

    Mr Trump, speaking after a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the World Economic Forum in Davos, said he aimed for peace in the Middle East.

    He said he hoped sound minds would prevail among Palestinians to pursue peace.

    But then he warned: “When they disrespected us a week ago by not allowing our great Vice President to see them, and we give them hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and support, tremendous numbers, numbers that nobody understands – that money is on the table and that money is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace”.

    “Because I can tell you that Israel does want to make peace and they’re going to have to want to make peace too or we’re going to have nothing to do with them any longer,” Mr Trump said.

    He said his administration had a peace proposal in the works that was a “great proposal for Palestinians” which covers “a lot of the things that were over the years discussed or agreed on”, without providing specifics.
               
    Mr Trump said that hisdeclaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital took it off the negotiating table “and Israel will pay for that”, adding “they’ll do something that will be a very good thing” without elaborating

    • Misterioso
      January 26, 2018, 7:14 pm

      @Maghlawatan

      More grist for the mill:

      https://www.wrmea.org/washington-report-live/cognitive-dissonance-in-davos.html

      “Cognitive Dissonance in Davos”

      EXCERPT:
      “Speaking at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Thursday, U.S. President Donald J. Trump again threatened to cut aid to the Palestinians, citing, among other complaints, their objection to his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The comments came as Trump shared the stage with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, whose country is the world’s largest beneficiary of U.S. aid.

      “As our own Shirl McArthur has pointed out, conservative estimates put the total amount of U.S. aid to Israel since 1949 at close to $150 billion. Although that aid is commonly classified as ‘military,’ much of it once flowed through the U.S. Agency for International development as cash assistance. For perspective, consider that, according to numbers published by the U.S. Government Accounting Office, USAID’s total spending since 1962 has been about $273 billion.

      “Threatened cuts to USAID and its humanitarian assistance, which prompted protest from the Agency this week, put aid to Israel into sharp relief. That’s especially true given the likely human impact of aid cuts to the Palestinians. The Trump administration last week confirmed that it had cut funding to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees, which provides vital relief to millions of people, including in refugee camps throughout the Arab world and the occupied Palestinian territories.

      “According to Elizabeth Campbell, the Agency’s representative in Washington, those cuts have already taken place and represent an 80 percent drop from last year’s U.S. funding amounts. The resulting budget shortfall puts at risk basic medical services to more than three million refugees and school operations for some half a million children, says UNRWA, which has launched an urgent fundraising campaign to cover the gap.”

  2. eljay
    January 25, 2018, 12:02 pm

    … “Because I can tell you that Israel does want to make peace and they’re going to have to want to make peace too or we’re going to have nothing to do with them any longer,” Mr Trump said. …

    Police chief Trump says: I can tell you that the rapist wants to make peace and although the victims remain battered, abused and chained in his basement they’re going to have to want to make peace too or else we’re going to have nothing to do with them any longer.

  3. Ossinev
    January 25, 2018, 1:58 pm

    “He said his administration had a peace proposal in the works that was a “great proposal for Palestinians” which covers “a lot of the things that were over the years discussed or agreed on”, without providing specifics”

    This pathetic self obsessed moron will say anything and everything completely off the cuff to the audience/person he is physically addressing at any given time and in any given situation. If subsequently challenged to make good on statements or to clarify obvious contradictions he will cry “misquote” , “fake news ” , “most victimised POTUS in History” etc. Just like a 7 year old when he doesn`t get his way which in 7 year old eyes is the only way and grown ups don`t understand. He then retreats to his perennial comforter his Twitter account to re- assert his 7 yr old manhood.

    The Yahoo is a corrupt racist liar but he does retain an element of cunning thus his long tenure as Zio in Chief (very soon to be ex Zio in Chief as he frantically but in the end fruitlessly tries to keep political pace with the younger right wing nutjobs with their Jewish Imam inspired Fascism). Even he is wary of relying on the homespun DIY spin of the pathetic POTUS.

    As for the laughable Abbas and his fellow PA collaborators:

  4. Citizen
    January 25, 2018, 3:17 pm

    The cable tv news shows are all loving up Netanyahu, and not giving a single word of context, as of former US official policy for decades, nor of the related international law to which US bound itself regarding, for example the designation of Jerusalem as a corpus separate; nor do these shows mention the last abstention of US at UN SC re the resolution that passed, once more defining Israel’s settlements as illegal under international law. It’s just disgusting. The pundits and big hosts they have on give us US citizens hasbara pablum. I have yet to ever hear the term “Nakba” used on said shows. These shows won’t even mention now the history as to why these Palestinians depend so much on UNRWA–not even a peep as to how it is they became refugees in the first place.

  5. Maghlawatan
    January 25, 2018, 8:43 pm

    Trump is playing Jenga with the status quo in Israel/Palestine.
    $680m is a relatively insignificant sum in the scheme of things. It wouldn’t keep the settlers going for more than a fortnight. Yet it keeps hundreds of thousands of vulnerable refugees going. Taking it away is ultra dangerous .

  6. Maghlawatan
    January 25, 2018, 8:52 pm

    Tech news. Developments in Artificial Intelligence have led to the use of the faces of real actors which are superimposed on the faces of porn actors. Scarlett Johannsen is now available in an updated version of deep throat starring AIPAC.

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jan/25/ai-face-swap-pornography-emma-watson-scarlett-johansson-taylor-swift-daisy-ridley-sophie-turner-maisie-williams

  7. Maghlawatan
    January 25, 2018, 9:11 pm

    Maggie Haberman Retweeted

    Andrew Beatty

    @AndrewBeatty

    ·

    8h

    Trump and Haley leathering Abbas today and Bibi swearing up and down he wants talks. It feels a lot like we’re looking for a scapegoat for the failure of Trump’s peace plan even before it has got off the ground.

  8. Elizabeth Block
    January 26, 2018, 10:43 am

    There’s a moral law – not, unfortunately, a statute law anywhere, I think – that says that if you deprive someone of the means of providing the necessities of life for himself, it’s your responsibility to provide them for him.
    Israel, with the enthusiastic support of the United States, has done this to the Palestinians. They obviously don’t realize that it has consequences, practical and moral as well.

  9. Emet
    January 26, 2018, 11:56 am

    The Palestinian people are being used as political pawns. They are being abused mainly by their own leadership. Instead of investing in the people, they purchase arms and build underground tunnels to attack Israel. When Israel pulled out of Gaza and left an impressive infrastructure to grow vegetables and flowers, what did Hamas do? They destroyed it. Why? Because they did not want any left-overs from Jews. In all of history, there is no other case when the second generation of refugees are also regarded as refugees. Only with Palestinians is this the case. Now the third and so on. What is this? The hate of Jews pushes the weak to make irrational decisions. UNWRA only institutionalizes the hate of the Arabs and prevents the new generations from moving forward.

    • Kaisa of Finland
      January 26, 2018, 12:33 pm

      ” In all of history, there is no other case when the second generation of refugees are also regarded as refugees. Only with Palestinians is this the case..”

      But Emet, aren’t the Zionists claiming that Jews living in Europe/U.S.A. and where ever outside Israel are something like 100th or 1000th generation of “refugees”, living in “diaspora”, waiting for their time to “return to their homeland”?? Where is the difference there?? (Except that those Palestinian refugees are often able to show the exact place they or their family used to live in.)

      • eljay
        January 26, 2018, 1:44 pm

        || Kaisa of Finland: … But Emet, aren’t the Zionists claiming that Jews … outside Israel are something like 100th or 1000th generation of “refugees”, living in “diaspora”, waiting for their time to “return to their homeland”?? Where is the difference there?? … ||

        The difference is that Palestinians are hate-fuelled, “demographic threat” refugees, while Jews are noble and civilized “exiles”.

        Kidding. You’re dead on regarding one of the greatest hypocrisies of Zionism:
        – a geographic Palestinian originally from or up to n-generations from geographic Palestine is not permitted to return (in the real sense); while,
        – a Jewish foreigner more than n-generations removed from geographic Palestine is permitted and encouraged to “return” (in the fake, Biblical sense).

      • Misterioso
        January 26, 2018, 7:04 pm

        @Kaisa of Finland

        BINGO!!
        Emet lives in a hasbara induced fantasy world.

        Nor should we forget that contrary to their propaganda designed to rationalize their monstrous crimes, the Jews of foreign origin who moved to Palestine and dispossessed/expelled the native Arab Palestinians though force of arms, several massacres, mass rape and intimidation had/have no genetic relationship to the biblical Hebrews. (Not that it would matter if they did. My great, great grandfather was dispossessed and driven out of Ireland by the British during the 19th century. Do I have the right to go to Ireland and kick out the present occupants of what was my great grandfather’s land and take it over? Certainly not!! It would never enter my mind or that of any sane person.)

        Palestinians and their ancestors, however, have lived continuously between the River and the Sea for well over 15,000 years.

        To wit:

        http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fgene.2017.00087/full
        Front. Genet., 21 June 2017 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2017.00087

        The Origins of Ashkenaz, Ashkenazic Jews, and Yiddish”

        “Recent genetic samples from bones found in Palestine dating to the Epipaleolithic (20000-10500 BCE) showed remarkable resemblance to modern day Palestinians.”

        Furthermore:
        “The non-Levantine origin of AJs [Ashkenazi Jews] is further supported by an ancient DNA analysis of six Natufians and a Levantine Neolithic (Lazaridis et al., 2016), some of the most likely Judaean progenitors (Finkelstein and Silberman, 2002; Frendo, 2004). In a principle component analysis (PCA), the ancient Levantines clustered predominantly with modern-day Palestinians and Bedouins and marginally overlapped with Arabian Jews, whereas AJs clustered away from Levantine individuals and adjacent to Neolithic Anatolians and Late Neolithic and Bronze Age Europeans.”

        “Overall, the combined results are in a strong agreement with the predictions of the Irano-Turko-Slavic hypothesis (Table 1) and rule out an ancient Levantine origin for AJs, which is predominant among modern-day Levantine populations (e.g., Bedouins and Palestinians). This is not surprising since Jews differed in cultural practices and norms (Sand, 2011) and tended to adopt local customs (Falk, 2006). Very little Palestinian Jewish culture survived outside of Palestine (Sand, 2009). For example, the folklore and folkways of the Jews in northern Europe is distinctly pre-Christian German (Patai, 1983) and Slavic in origin, which disappeared among the latter (Wexler, 1993, 2012).”

      • Emet
        January 27, 2018, 1:29 am

        Kaisa, you only strengthen my case with your comment. When the Jews were exiled by the Romans, there was no “UNWRA” looking after them. They got on with it. They did not buy weapons and wage war and terror. They encouraged their kids to study and make something of their lives. What’s UNWRA’s message? Even the schools that UNWRA run teach the next generations that they are victims and they encourage the next generations to hate. What’s their message? No need to move on when UNWRA’s around. And don’t forget the free food handout’s as well. The Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas are well known to use the free lunches to indoctrinate the poor. And UNWRA is controlled by Hamas. You and elegy and Misteriso will continue to bury your heads in the sand. Unfortunately you are not helping the Palestinians.

      • eljay
        January 27, 2018, 8:45 am

        || Emet: Kaisa, you only strengthen my case with your comment. … ||

        Your case underscores just how fraudulent is the so-called “Law of Return” of so-called Jewish “exiles”. I agree that her comment strengthens your case.

      • Talkback
        January 27, 2018, 9:22 am

        Emet: “Kaisa, you only strengthen my case with your comment. When the Jews were exiled by the Romans, there was no “UNWRA” looking after them. They got on with it.”

        Besides the fact that you can’t prove that the Jews were exiled at all it is obvious that your sense of “justice” is 2 millenias behind the rest of civilization and that you need to have a huge problem with human rights – especially the right to return – and even have no heart to support refugees or to criticize a prolonged refugee problem which was created because of the absolute racism that your Apartheid Junta practices.

        Shame on you, Zionist!

        Emet: “They did not buy weapons and wage war and terror. ”

        ROFL. You are kidding, right? There were no Jews fighting Roman occupation?

        Emet: “They encouraged their kids to study and make something of their lives. ”

        Sure. A lot of kids “studied” 2000 years ago, especially in “exile”, right?

        Emet: ” … and they encourage the next generations to hate.”

        Nobody needs to be encouraged to hate those who keep one expelled because faith and heritage. The hatred is justified.

        Emet: “Unfortunately you are not helping the Palestinians.”

        Says the Zionist of all people who supports the expulsion of Nonjews until eternity. Absolutely perverse.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        January 27, 2018, 11:02 am

        Emet:

        “Even the schools that UNWRA run teach the next generations that they are victims and they encourage the next generations to hate. .”

        What is it we hear the Zionist teaching to their kids about the victimhood and hate (and revenge..) ?? And what is it you are doing here all the time??

        Our Finnish correspondent – yes, the same who was not allowed to go to that event with Mike Pence, because she refused to take off her bra for an inspection:

        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/mike-pence-israel-journalist-claim-strip-search-event-a8173206.html

        – just wrote an article about a school (Hand in Hand) in Jerusalem where the Jewish and the Palestinian (both Christian and Muslim) children all go together. There the history is taught from the both sides. I think that kind of a school might do good for you too.

        https://yle.fi/uutiset/3-10018012

      • Emet
        January 27, 2018, 2:23 pm

        Kaisa, as most of the Arabs from the Ottoman era period moved around the area and have families in many of the modern day countries created after Sykes-Picot, let the Arabs who’s great grandparents once lived in Palestine, and for a short period of time, move to Syria, or Iraq, or Lebanon, or Jordan, or Egypt or Saudi Arabia. The Arabs living in refugee camps should have been given citizenship of the countries they are now in. Includes Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and so forth. If the Palestinians want to return, let them return to an Arab country. They will be more at home there.

      • Kaisa of Finland
        January 27, 2018, 10:22 pm

        Emet:

        “..If the Palestinians want to return, let them return to an Arab country..”

        So after using so much time, claiming that the Palestinians have the problem (with their victimhood and hate etc), now you are telling me that you are the one who does not want to share and go “hand in hand”, but simply want them out, so you could have more?? Am I understanding correctly?? Or what else would be your reason to not to let them to return??

        “They will be more at home there..” ???

        And who gave you the authority to decide, where they feel at home??

        In Israel I knew this old Iraqi Jewish man (R.I.P.) who’s parents had sent him to Israel as a child (for a better future??). He grew up in a kibbuz and all his life he missed Iraq. Every shabbat (of his adult life) he used to take his car and his son and drive up to the Druze and Arab villages to feel like home.

      • Talkback
        January 28, 2018, 3:32 am

        Emet: “Kaisa, as most of the Arabs from the Ottoman era period moved around the area and have families in many of the modern day countries created after Sykes-Picot, let the Arabs who’s great grandparents once lived in Palestine, and for a short period of time, move to Syria, or Iraq, or Lebanon, or Jordan, or Egypt or Saudi Arabia. ”

        Besids the fact that this is just another claim that you can’t prove with SERIOUS sources (that exludes the Joan Peters hoax) you just demonstrate again, that you are a racist. Cause where did most of the Jews come from who settled in Palestine during and after the Ottoman period?

        And no, even if it is important for a racist, inhumane being and supporter of Jewish Apartheid they have a right to return to Palestine.

        Emet: “The Arabs living in refugee camps should have been given citizenship of the countries they are now in.”

        They should have been Israelis from the get go. According to international customary law and human rights law and as envisaged in the partition resolution they should have been Israelis from the get go. But you need to keep them expelled and denationalized to maintain Jewish Apartheid.

        Emet: “If the Palestinians want to return, let them return to an Arab country. They will be more at home there.”

        Please continue and show the world the ugly racist face of Zionism.

    • oldgeezer
      January 26, 2018, 12:42 pm

      @Emet
      “what did Hamas do? They destroyed it”

      A lie.

      ” there is no other case when the second generation of refugees are also regarded as refugees. ”

      A lie.

      ” Instead of investing in the people, they purchase arms and build underground tunnels to attack Israel. ”

      They have a right to fight those who oppress them. To date the tunnels have only been used to smuggle goods and attack army outposts.

      • Emet
        January 27, 2018, 2:31 pm

        Only smuggle and attack army outposts? What wonderful people you are supporting. Makes you want to get up in the morning, does it?
        And if I understand you correctly, are you agreeing that money went to building tunnels instead of education and civilian infrastructure?

      • Annie Robbins
        January 27, 2018, 2:57 pm

        when you live under a military blockade, for the most part, tunnels are civilian infrastructure.

      • eljay
        January 27, 2018, 3:55 pm

        || Emet: Only smuggle and attack army outposts? What wonderful people you are supporting. … ||

        …says the pro-“Jewish State” supremacist. Good one.

      • Emet
        January 27, 2018, 5:52 pm

        Eljay, how many Muslim states are there? How many Arab states are there?

      • oldgeezer
        January 27, 2018, 8:27 pm

        @Emet

        No they aren’t wonderful. No people are. They’re normal and human.

        They have every right to break the blockade and to attack their oppressors who are violating international and international humanitarian law and the GC.

        The real scum bags are the GoI and their terrorist armed forces.

      • eljay
        January 27, 2018, 10:05 pm

        || Emet: Eljay, how many Muslim states are there? How many Arab states are there? ||

        Gosh, eljay, why fuss over one serial rapist where there are so many murderers out there?

        That’s it? That’s your best argument for Jewish supremacism in/and a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” in as much as possible of Palestine? Wow.

      • Talkback
        January 28, 2018, 3:34 am

        Emet: “Emet: Eljay, how many Muslim states are there? How many Arab states are there?”

        The same number of states whith natives Muslim or Arab majority population. Unless they were expelled by Zionist terrorists.

    • Misterioso
      January 26, 2018, 6:44 pm

      @Emet

      Pure bilge.

      Reality:

      Hostilities between Hamas and Israel are a consequence of Israel’s illegal occupation of the Gaza Strip and its brutal, continuous escalating oppression of the native inhabitants.

      To wit:
      As Human Rights Watch declared in 2005: “…Israel will continue to be an Occupying Power [of the Gaza Strip] under international law and bound by the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention because it will retain effective control over the territory and over crucial aspects of civilian life. Israel will not be withdrawing and handing power over to a sovereign authority – indeed, the word ‘withdrawal’ does not appear in the [2005 disengagement] document at all… The IDF will retain control over Gaza’s borders, coastline, and airspace, and will reserve the right to enter Gaza at will. According to the Hague Regulations, ‘A territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised’. International jurisprudence has clarified that the mere repositioning of troops is not sufficient to relieve an occupier of its responsibilities if it retains its overall authority and the ability to reassert direct control at will.”

      The International Committee of the Red Cross: “The whole of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law. The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, ratified by Israel, bans collective punishment of a civilian population.”

      “In practice, Gaza has become a huge, let me be blunt, concentration camp for right now 1,800,000 people” – Amira Hass, 2015, correspondent for Haaretz, speaking at the Forum for Scholars and Publics at Duke University.

      “‘The significance of the [then proposed] disengagement plan [implemented in 2005] is the freezing of the peace process,’ Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser Dov Weisglass has told Ha’aretz. ‘And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda….’ Weisglass, who was one of the initiators of the disengagement plan, was speaking in an interview with Ha’aretz for the Friday Magazine. ‘The disengagement is actually formaldehyde,’ he said. ‘It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.’” (Top PM Aide: Gaza Plan Aims to Freeze the Peace Process, Ha’aretz, October 6, 2004) http://www.haaretz.com/print-e

      • Emet
        January 28, 2018, 2:59 am

        Israel completely pulled out of Gaza and Hamas went on to smuggle and actually fire rockets into Israel and into civilian population centers. There is no excusing the behavior of Hamas and then ignorantly say its Israel’s fault.
        To blame Israel for problems between Muslims is to ignore the elephant in the room. I suggest you do a little research on Iran and the Sunni/Shiite divide and the many years of peace and harmony between Arabs and Muslims. Don’t worry, its a short but violent book.

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