Two must-read articles, which should be read in their entirety,
In a meeting hosted by Abu Dhabi on Jan. 12, representatives from the Palestinian Authority and several donor countries, including Egypt, Britain and the U.S., met to discuss efforts to raise and send undisclosed amounts of money to help Palestinians in Gaza. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) also pledged to rebuild schools, mosques, hospitals and 1,300 damaged Gaza houses. In addition, the Emirates raised more than $87 million in a nationwide telethon on Jan. 9.
How would the money find its way to Gaza? “It is now the job of experts to funnel the cash,” said UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash. The experts do not have to look hard: They can funnel the money through the vast tunnel network that runs from the Egyptian border into Gaza. The Israelis have destroyed many of these tunnels, but enough remain through which to continue to smuggle cash and other supplies, including weapons.
The buildup of this underground complex sped up after March 2007, when the U.S. gave Egypt $23 million in special aid to stop underground smuggling into Gaza. Despite that apparent failure, on Friday, Jan. 16, under American and international pressure, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni signed an agreement with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, under which the U.S. will commit resources to help Egypt patrol the boundary.
Supplies and cash for Hamas have been pledged from all over the world, not merely from Iran, On Jan. 3, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz donated $8 million of the more than $26.7 million raised in a national fundraising telethon for the “Relief of the Palestinian People in Gaza.” Qatar, which pledged $50 million when Hamas was elected in 2006, promised to send more.
While condemning Israel, the European Union pledged more than $4 million in “humanitarian aid” to Gaza. In 2008, it provided Gaza with $55.6 million. In addition, European Union member states pledged more than $41 million, including $10.5 million from the British government’s Department for International Development. Japan pledged $10 million, and terror-struck India said it would send $1 million. Norway has announced a pledge of about $4.5 million, while Australia is adding $3.5 million in addition to the $32 million it gave in 2008. Additionally, other countries sent tons of medical and humanitarian supplies. This more than meets the UNRWA emergency appeal for $34 million.
Incredibly, Israel also supplies Hamas with cash. It began transferring truckloads of cash to Gaza after Hamas’ violent takeover of the territory in June 2007. The first transfer of more than $51 million (delivered in Israeli shekels) was purportedly to strengthen the influence of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the Gaza Strip and pay the salaries of 35,000 Palestinian Authority employees then allegedly loyal to him. Among those employees, however, were Ismail Haniya, the Hamas-appointed prime minister in Gaza, and Mahmoud Zahar, Hamas’ foreign minister.
You must read the rest of the article, where Rachel explains who Zahar is.
Also this week in Forbes, Claudia Rosett’s article on the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Gaza Bedfellows UNRWA And Hamas: How they keep each other in business.
From an original refugee population listed by UNRWA as some 900,000 in 1950, UNRWA now provides for a Palestinian “refugee” clientele of more than 4.6 million.
They are spread throughout camps–which physically look more like squalid towns–in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza. Into this system flows an annual UNRWA budget now well above $400 million per year, doled out variously in the form of cash, goods, medical care, schooling, job-training programs and so forth.
To handle these operations, UNRWA employs more than 24,000 staffers. That’s more than any other UN agency, including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, which with some 6,300 staffers–about one-quarter the manpower of UNRWA–is responsible for all other refugees worldwide, totaling more than 11 million.
At UNRWA, more than 99% of the staff are local Palestinians. They sit at the many local levers of the UNRWA distribution machinery, which under UNRWA policy takes on the coloration of and yields to the policies of host governments–as UNRWA officials explained to U.S. lawmakers who some years ago challenged the use of anti-Israeli textbooks in UNRWA schools.
In today’s terrorist-run Gaza, such an approach carries exactly the kind of deadly implications now playing out–while UNRWA and other UN officials call for an end to the violence.
And it’s not limited to UNRWA:
And, as UNRWA officials have aired their views and demands from the UN stage, handouts for Gaza have been rolling in from all sides–some via UNRWA, some through other channels.
This goes way beyond Israel allowing hundreds of aid trucks into Gaza, even as the Israeli military is battling to shut down the rocket launchers and destroy the arms-smuggling tunnels and weapons caches of Hamas.
Support in cash and kind, in dollars and tons, has been pledged by donors ranging from Iran to Japan to the European Union to the Arab Gulf States to the U.S. (already the top donor to UNRWA, with $148 million in contributions last year, and now promising an immediate $5 million in response to UNRWA’s latest flash appeal for Gaza, plus another $80 million for the agency to spread around in places including Gaza).
Plane-loads of relief, both in goods and services, have been announced by donors ranging from Russia to Libya to Sudan.
When this largesse eventually arrives in Gaza, how exactly will it be spent, distributed and supervised?
Go read the rest.
Both articles show how Hamas’s terrorist enablers continue to finance the Iranian-backed terrorists of Hamas.
If you can, please also listen to my September 27, 2007 podcast with Rachel Eherenfeld.