Are We Funding Terrorism?

Jewish Issues Watch has a link to this insightful article about the relationship between the UN agency for Palestinian Refugees, and terrorist leaders.  In particular, the article quotes

“It seems very likely that contributions by Western nations to UNRWA pay the salaries of Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists who are educating the next generation of Palestinians in jihad against Israel and all non-Muslims.”

Some weeks back, when the Rudd Government pledged a further $7 million of Australian taxpayer aid to Palestinian’s (our tax dollars, in these hard economic times when our local industries are capitulating), I wrote to our Government to protest.  In particular, I evidenced through media coverage claims that the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah (led by Fatah whose constitution and actions also fail to acknowledge the right for Israel to exist), is receiving Australian dollars, and transferring money to Hamas-controlled Gaza to pay the salaries of Hamas employees.  

I pointed out to our Foreign Minister that UN Resolution 1373 requires states to “freeze without delay funds and other financial assets or economic resources of… entities owned or controlled directly or indirectly by terrorists.”  Australia officially regards Hamas as a Terrorist organisation. 

The Government has responded to my correspondence.  Most of the issues I raised were well responded to and well reasoned.  Credit to the Departmental officer who researched and directly addressed the issues raised in my correspondence.   When it came to the specific point about funding terrorism with Australian dollars, the following was the response I received:

“The Government is determined to ensure that aid is not inadvertently provided to any terrorist organisations.  Australia’s development assistance to the Palestinian Authority is provided through a World Bank administered trust fund, and directly to United Nations agencies and international and Australian non-Government organisations.  The agreements between the Government and these partners include counter-terrorism clauses, and accountability mechanisms, to ensure that this money benefits the people for whom it is intended”.

I believe that the Australian Government is well intentioned in its aid program, and that the above is satisfactory as an objective.   Translating this into action is somewhat harder.  We need to move beyond diplomacy when it comes to considering this issue and its implications. 

In light of the publicity and the evident infiltration of UNWRA by Hamas, it may well be time to apply greater scrutiny.  I would specifically raise the following questions:

  • What are the clauses in the aid agreements referenced by the Government that provided for Counter-terrorism?
  • What exactly are the accountability mechanisms that are applied?
  • Who is responsible for monitoring and applying the accountability mechanisms?
  •  What audit processes are in place?

If the Australian Government simply receives signed statements from UNRWA leaders to acquit the receipt of grant money, then clearly this is no longer enough.  We must rethink how this aid is sent and distributed.

Since the Oslo process broke down, the Palestinians have received billions of dollars in aid.  What have they to show for it?  Australian’s should be concerned by this.  We should also contrast the use of aid to breed the welfare dependency of Palestinian refugees to the self sufficiency of Israel.  In the words of David Rosenblatt to the Palestinians

“While you have been foolishly drooling over our land instead of nurturing your own, we have built one of the most beautiful and successful countries on Earth. We have done it not to spite our greedy neighbors, but rather in spite of them. We’ve planted forests and quenched the desert. We’ve drained wetlands and cultivated fields. We built universities, opera houses, superhighways, hospitals, skyscrapers and stadiums. We have millions of refugees, but no refugee camps.”

The UNRWA is being exposed for what it is.  David of Perth writes as follows:

“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, currently totaling more than 11 million. Since World War 2 the UNHCR has assisted and resettled about 100 million refugees including over 850,000 Jews expelled from Arab lands since 1950.

With its staff consisting of 99% Palestinians UNRWA’s interests in Gaza are by now so entwined and, in many ways, so aligned with Hamas’ interests that it is often hard to tell them apart as the two major industries in Gaza, terrorism and foreign aid, continue unabated except by Israeli defensive action predictably leading to UNRWA’s current ire.”

No wonder people all over the western world are starting to realise that the impartiality and immorality of the UN makes it part of the problem and not part of the solution.  The history of the failure collective international security is repeating itself.  We have to ask; why should our Australian taxpayer money be used to support the UNRWA, when it has been clearly demonstrated that this organisation is a defacto puppeteer of a terrorist controlled regime?

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