US State Dept. Hides UNRWA Report

As a result of information largely exposed by David Bedein of the Israel Information Center and presented to Congress showing that UNRWA, the UN agency exclusively devoted to Palestinian so-called refugees, is massively misusing US aid, the State Dept. under Pres., Obama in 2012 was tasked by Congress with carrying out its own investigation.  Apart from the issues of UNRWA using text books in its schools that teach hatred for Jews and glorify martyrdom, teaching violent activities in its summer camps for kids, storing weapons in its facilities, and having Hamas members on its staff, the main topic was what really is the number of refugees.

UNRWA counts as many as 5 million so-called refugees, that includes the children, grand-children, great-grandchildren and all descendants of the original Palestinians who left the area of Palestine as a result of Arab wars against the Palestinian Jews who became the Israelis.  But, UNRWA is the only organization in the world that classifies the descendants of those that actually were displaced as refugees, all other organizations including the UN itself and the US classify refugees as only those who actually left their country as a result of conflict.  Furthermore, many of these refugees never left their country, but are settled in Gaza and the West Bank, part of Palestine, and therefore are not classified as refugees, but are classified as internally displaced.  On this basis the actual number of genuine refugees today is not 5 million but more like 50,000 or less.  Since its inception in 1950, the US has paid 6 billion dollars to UNRWA for support of  those refugees on a per capita basis that it doesn’t even recognize as being refugees!  This is American citizen’s US tax dollars being misused and furthermore supporting an agency that is in effect a subsidiary of the Hamas Islamist terrorist organization.  Your tax dollars at work?

What is at issue now is that although the  Report on UNRWA practices was finished in 2015, the State Dept. continues to classify it as secret and refuses to release it to Congress that mandated it.  This even under the Trump Administration, showing how holdovers from the Obama Administration still determine policy.  Now dozens of Congressmen have signed a letter trying to force State to release the Report.  What it will show is that millions of US tax dollars have been misused and misappropriated in order to subsidize a terrorist organization dedicated to the killing of Jews and the destruction of the State of Israel, rather than going to support genuine refugees.  It’s very nice that the USA under Trump is going to move the US Embassy to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, But, at the same time it is funding Israel’s terrorist enemy, Hamas, and by the way an organization and a people who are virulently anti-American.  If that isn’t absurd, what is?

 

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Comey’s vengeance

So James Comey has written his tell-it-all book and not surprisingly it is vehemently anti-Trump.  So it proves that all along he was in fact anti-Trump, although as FBI Director he was supposed to be neutral.  He likens Trump to a Mafia boss, yet neglects to mention that he was elected President of the USA by a majority of the voters.  Also, his exposures of Trump’s supposedly salacious activities in Russia and elsewhere will probably boomerang, since it all sounds like a get-even vengeance tale.

Just as the Mueller Investigation, that supposedly started as an inquiry into possible collusion of the Trump election campaign with Russia, has now ballooned into an all-purpose Democratic get-Trump at any price desperate campaign.  So we are distracted from the very serious accusations against Hillary Clinton, of exposing Government secrets by using an open private server instead of a protected Government one as required by law.  Yet Comey and his fellow conspirators failed to act on that case, managed to divert attention from Hillary and put it squarely on Trump.

I have no doubt that Trump is not a perfect individual, I know that he is vain, egocentric and sexually active.  He may have had questionable financial dealings, etc. etc.  But, that is far from the point.  The question is did his campaign collude with Russia, and after many months of politically motivated investigations by Congress the answer is that there is no evidence of this.  Meanwhile Hillary gets away with serious crimes because she had friends in high places, one of them being Comey.

The Taylor Force Act

Taylor Force was an ex-marine visiting Israel who was gunned down on the promenade in Tel Aviv by a Palestinian terrorist in 2016. They do not discriminate, they murder Israelis, Greeks, Arabs and Americans.  What was most galling about this incident was that the Palestine Authority pays the dead terrorist’s family a stipend for each person shot. And the overall amount of the stipends paid to all terrorists and their families is about m$50, about the amount of aid that the USA has been paying to the PA every year.  This is apart from funds paid to UNRWA and other benefits.

This direct support for terrorism, despite denials, is a continuation of the terrorism that has been practised in one form or another by the PA since Yasir Arafat returned from exile in 1994.  Finally, the Congress has had enough, and with the support of the Trump Administration passed the Taylor Force act that prohibits the US from paying aid to the PA until it stops its support for terrorism.

Since Trumps’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Pres. Abbas of the PA denounced and has stopped all negotiations with the US.  He recently called the US Ambassador to Israel a “son of a dog”, and the US deducted m$25 from its donations to UNRWA.  Abbas has continued in his strategy of trying to obtain diplomatic recognition for a Palestine State at the UN.  But that is futile, because even if the UN recognizes a non-existent Palestine State it will have no validity without the agreement of the USA and Israel.

Now with the appointment of John Bolton as Trump’s security adviser, Abbas has lost again. Bolton is a well-known critic of the PA and is against the much-hallowed two-state solution for the simple reason that a Palestine State would be both a failed State, with total corruption and no effective government, and it would be a magnet for all the crazy Islamic terrorists around the world, looking to kill Jews and Americans after losing out in Iraq and Syria.  It looks as if the Taylor Force Act and the appointment of Bolton will be the final nails in the coffin of Palestinian Statehood.

Trump’s new security adviser

Pres. Trump has replaced Gen. McMaster with former US UN representative John Bolton as his security adviser.  It is generally understood that McMaster was a restraining influence on Trump’s more aggressive tendencies regarding foreign policy.  But, on the other hand, it’s not good when the President and his Security Adviser disagree.  What is needed is a more coherent policy, and that is what Bolton can bring. He is a hawk on N. Korea, Iran and a strong friend of Israel.  In all these respects he will be able to advise Trump how to more intelligently and successfully implement his desired policies.

Where they apparently disagree is on Russia and the Israel-Arab peace plan.  Bolton is a strong critic of Pres. Putin of Russia, but Trump has so far tended to soft-pedal his approach to Putin, seemingly regarding him as a like-minded ally.  This is certainly a naive and mistaken attitude, since Putin is in fact a ruthless and power-hungry dictator of Russia who is also anti-American.  Hopefully Bolton can give Trump a lesson in the realpolitik of dealing with people like Putin.

On the Israel-Palestine issue, Bolton is on record as having concluded that the time for the two-state solution is over.  It has been kicked around for many years, but the Palestinians are nowhere nearer to accepting the existence of Israel and their only policy is to destroy Israel.  This is the reality.  But, Trump’s mid-east advisers, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, have still been pushing the two-state solution as an option.  Trump himself seems to favor any workable deal, so here again Bolton will be able to introduce a measure of realism.

The appointment of Bolton will have significant effects on US foreign policy, changing it from the purely passive approach of Obama to a more assertive approach based on US interests.

Trump Fires Tillerson

Pres. Trump fired Secty. of State Rex Tillerson in a peremptory and undiplomatic manner, by announcing the firing on Twitter.  It has been clear for some time that the two men did not see eye-to-eye on several issues.  Tillerson favoured a more nuanced diplomatic approach, for example to N. Korea and Iran, while  Trump favors a more direct approach, using sanctions and threats.  Trump also fired one of Tillerson’s aides for criticizing the firing of Tillerson.

Mike Pompeo, the current CIA Director, will be taking over at State, while a long-time CIA operative, Gina Haspel, will take the helm there.  If she is confirmed by Congress she will be the first woman director of the CIA.  Pompeo is more in line with Trump’s policies (or biases).  He is more anti-Islamic and pro-Israel and opposes the Iran nuclear deal much more strongly than Tillerson did.   He is also in favor of being more confrontational with the European allies and with China and also Russia.

These changes represent a further destabilization at the Trump White House, with many appointees resigning or being fired.  Recently Trump’s Senior Economic Adviser Gary Cohn resigned and the latest is Trump adviser John McEntee, who has been accused of domestic abuse.  But, in the longer run this replacement of Tillerson with Pompeo may mean a more coherent foreign policy for the USA, with the President and his Secty. of State reading from the same page.

Netanyahu’s visit to Washington

This current visit of PM Netanyahu to Washington comes as a welcome break from his domestic difficulties.  First of all are the many legal investigations (5 at the latest counting) that have been mounted against him by the Israel police and some of which are in the hands of the Attorney General.  He must fear the worst since several (perhaps 3) of his former aides and confidants have agreed to turn State’s evidence against him.

Second, his coalition partners on the right and the left have not been able to come to a compromise on the issue of military service for the ultra-orthodox (haredim).  The Israel Beitanu party wants them to serve as everyone else in the military, with few exemptions for religious conviction.  The religious parties Shas and United Torah Judaism want all haredim to be exempt.  At present there are more haredim (including girls) joining the IDF and there are special battalions for them, but this is not acceptable to most of the religious political parties.  This schism indicates that the coalition will collapse and there  will be a need for new elections in the near future.

But, while this is true, and while Pres. Ttrump is beset by his own legal problems, nevertheless there are two important issues for the two leaders to discuss.  First is the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.  The first move is due to start in May and then be continued in stages.  The Jewish billionaire Sheldon Arison has offered to fund the embassy project, but so far his offer has not been accepted.

The second issue is, of course, Iran and the former nuclear deal approved by Pres. Obama and a number of European countries.  While the Europeans want to maintain the deal, both Israel and now the US feel that it is an inadequate deal for two main reasons, a) it allows Iran to legitimately develop nuclear weapons after the ten years when the deal concludes, and b) it says nothing about Iran’s development of missiles, conventional weapons and the spread of terrorism that Iran is supporting throughout the Middle East.  This has now become a direct threat to Israel since Iran is strongly entrenched in Syria and is trying to develop a large military staging area on the Golan Heights.  Israel cannot accept this.

Hopefully the two leaders will not be too distracted by their own political problems to prevent them from dealing with these two important issues.

Gun Reform

President Trump’s and the NRA’s idea of arming teachers seems like a good idea at first glance. But, it will only last until the first teacher loses patience with a recalcitrant pupil or is threatened by one and shoots him.  Suppose a female teacher is surrounded by three threatening teenage boys and she whips out her revolver and blasts them.  Or suppose a teacher carries or hides a gun and a pupil steals it and then uses it.
Having armed guards outside the school is no use either, as shown by the recent incident in Florida where a police officer stood on guard outside the school while the shooter was murdering 17 school kids inside.  Having an alarm system will also be too late.
The only sensible precaution is to bar all teenagers, all felons and all those with mental conditions from being able to buy guns, period.  This will not stop other supposedly normal and sensible people from buying guns.  But, it will also not stop such school shootings either, because in a country with more than one gun per person it is always easy for kids to borrow or steal their father’s or uncle’s weapon.  But, lets at least make it more difficult for them by banning automatic weapons altogether, whose only real function is to kill people.
I recently watched the movie “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” and was appalled at the way in which men are shot as if they are worthless dummies.  OK, I know this is meant to be some kind of satire, yet seeing this, as many young people do, must desensitize them to violence and killing with firearms.  Similarly with the series “John Wick” and many, many other movies.  Hollywood has developed a cult of killing that unfortunately caters to young people’s idea of entertainment.
But, I am not against the second amendment to the US Constitution and the ability of righteous citizens to bear arms:  I also watched the movie “The Death of Stalin.”  Whether the actions depicted are highly accurate or not, we know that Stalin collapsed in his dacha in 1953, but his Comrades were too scared to call a doctor.  Lavrenty Beria, who was the head of the secret police (NKVD, later the KGB), tortured and murdered people for a living.   He was also a notorious pederast, abducting and raping young girls with impunity.  Then he would have them shot or shipped to the Gulag with their parents, to avoid any incriminating evidence.
The people who ran the Soviet Union were distinguished only by their loyalty to Comrade Stalin and their proclivity to murder.  It was estimated by Robert Conquest, the famous historian of the Soviet Union, from census statistics, that were originally secret, that during its 70 years in power, the Soviets murdered ca. 80 million people. In order to avoid being killed themselves and to stop the voracious random terror, Stalin’s cronies, the rest of the Central Committee led by Comrade Khruschev and supported by the Red Army under Gen Zhukov, arrested Beria at gunpoint and summarily executed him.  This is what can happen when only the Government has arms and the citizens are disarmed.