|Israel Resource Review
||5th December, 2002
Canada Israel Committee (CIC)
says Canada Subsidizes Purchase of Anti-Israel Books
Staff Writer, The Canadian Jewish News
Canadian taxpayers are helping subsidize the purchase of school textbooks used in Palestinian refugee camps, which "demonize, delegitimize and deny Israel's place in the region," the Canada-Israel Committee (CIC) says.
Canada contributes $10-$12 million per year to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which in turn purchases school textbooks and operates schools in Palestinian refugee camps, said Joseph Wilder, CIC's national chair.
The textbooks are acquired from the Palestinian Authority (PA) and they depict "Jews as pigs, greedy, not to be trusted," Wilder said.
In a telephone interview from the General Assembly in Philadelphia, Wilder said he and a number of other CIC officials visited Israel and the Palestinian territories recently.
They were briefed by David Bedein of the Israel Resource News Agency, whom they had asked to investigate the use of school texts in refugee camps, and they met with UNRWA officials and with Steve Hibert, the Canadian government representative in Ramallah.
UNRWA officials confirmed that the agency operates 256 schools in refugee camps, whose curricula is set by the PA education authority, and UNRWA provides the school books.
UNRWA operates on a $300-million US budget (Wilder called that sum "absolutely astounding"), which is funded by voluntary contributions from UN member states and not from the United Nations itself. It employs 24,000 people, the vast majority of them Palestinians. Canada's contribution is funneled through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). This is in addition to the $50 million transferred each year directly to the Palestinian Authority for humanitarian purposes.
The CIC recently wrote to Foreign Minister Bill Graham outlining its concerns over the use of Canadian funds. Referring to the group's recent mission, Wilder wrote: "What we did not expect to learn was that contrary to your repeated assurances, UNRWA does indeed use textbooks that demonize, delegitimize and deny Israel's place in the region. Quite apart from the objective concern this revelation presents, the fact that Canadian officials did not ensure that you were apprised of this fact raises a whole other set of troubling questions."
CIC is hoping to meet with Graham to discuss the UNRWA issue, but "we don't think it's proper for Canadian government funds to be used in this way," Wilder said.
"I don't know what to think of it. Every foreign minister going back to Lloyd Axworthy denies being complicit in these textbooks. I can only think their staff hasn't fully informed them, because the facts have been known for some time."
Rodney Moore, a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, said, "We are well aware of this problem. It's something we've been working on for some years."
Canadian officials continue to call on the PA to put an end to incitement against Israel and to promote tolerance. Canadian support for UNRWA takes into consideration the entirety of the work the agency does, including valuable services provided to the refugees, Moore said.
For its part, he added, UNRWA sponsors "extracurricular activities for students that focus on peace education, human rights and conflict resolution." Canada is aware of problematic elements in the texts, but it is using its influence to improve them. UNRWA's work with school children has been praised by Israeli diplomats.
Questions about UNRWA's role in refugee camps have been circulating for years and UNRWA has responded to a variety of allegations with a rebuttal on its Web site
Addressing the "allegation" that "UNRWA schools and textbooks teach hatred of Israel," the UN agency states that "the curriculum in the agency's schools is determined by the education authorities in the locations where it operates."
UNRWA also quotes Nathan Brown, professor of political science at George Washington University, who published studies on the subject. Summarizing Brown's findings, UNRWA states:
"Regarding the PA's new textbooks introduced in 2000 and 2001, he [Brown] states: 'The new books have removed the anti-Semitism present in the older books. While they tell history from a Palestinian point of view, they do not seek to erase Israel, delegitimize it or replace it with the State of Palestine. Each book contains a foreword describing the West Bank and Gaza as 'the two parts of the homeland.' The maps show some awkwardness but do sometimes indicate the 1967 line and take some other measures to avoid indicating borders; in this respect, they are actually more forthcoming than Israeli maps. The books avoid treating Israel at length but do indeed mention it by name. The new books must be seen as a tremendous improvement from a Jewish, Israeli and humanitarian view."
The UNRWA Web site attributes much of the criticism of
Palestinian textbooks to the Centre for Monitoring the Impact of
CMIP is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established in 1998 in New York State. In a November 2002 update of its report of the year before, which had examined texts used in grades 1, 2, 6, 7 and 11, CMIP examined 14 new books in addition to 26 high school final examinations in various subjects (www.edume.org).
Although it found some improvement in the treatment of Judaism's relation to Jerusalem, it found "the Jews are still presented in a negative light historically, yet at the same time denied any part in the history of the country shared by them and the Palestinians. Israel is still not recognized as a sovereign state, but is rather presented as a foreign entity imposed in 1948 on the land. It is a source of aggression, death and destruction to the Palestinians, especially the refugees among them who aspire to return to their former homes within its territory. Hence, no peace is sought after, but rather a war against Israel as the usurper aggressor and occupier is to be waged."
This piece ran on the December 1, 2002 issue of
the Canada Jewish News
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How a Former Official of
Israeli Intelligence,Yossi Ginosar, Managed a Secret Account for
Senior Correspondent, Maariv
While the office doors of prime ministers were
opened to him, while he walked around Camp David with Mohammed
Rashid and took part in peace negotiations, Yossi Ginosar was
involved in managing the PA's funds in Switzerland for Rashid,
reaping large commissions and repaying Rashid through straw
companies that he established.
Around USD 300 million of the Palestinian people's money was transferred
from a Swiss bank account belonging to Yasser Arafat and Mohammed Rashid to
unknown destinations during the first year of the Intifada. The account,
at the Swiss bank Lombard Odier, was managed by Israelis and
Senior Israeli security sources believe that an international
investigation is needed to determine where the money went and what it was
used for. Israeli intelligence figures are concerned about possible misuse
of the funds.
The same sources expressed amazement and disappointment that Ginosar, a
former GSS branch commander and the special envoy of Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon
Peres, and Ehud Barak to the Palestinian Authority, did not provide
security authorities with information about the withdrawal of the
Palestinian funds when the withdrawals were performed, during the Intifada.
A long list of grave acts is revealed here at the initiative of Ozrad
Lev, Ginosar's partner who decided to convey the information to Ma'ariv.
"I could not go on living with the feeling that I was a partner, even if
only in a completely passive fashion, in illegal or unethical acts,
including the payment of bribes under the table, conflict of interests, and
problematic behavior," says Lev. "I am not only talking about people, but
also about national and governmental behavior. It became clear to me that
the peace process corrupts no less than the occupation. In the end this
story must come out, into daylight. It cannot be hidden forever. I
prefer, in a situation like this one, to cooperate and tell the truth, the
whole truth, in order to avoid a situation in which my children, who are
more precious to me than anything, will read incorrect things in the
Ozrad Lev, a 42-year-old businessman who was responsible for opening the
bank accounts for the Palestinians in Switzerland and who served as their
investment strategist, as Mohammed Rashid's economic adviser and as Yossi
Ginosar's partner, revealed all of the details behind hundreds of millions
of dollars in PA funds which were managed by Mohammed Rashid, Yossi
Ginosar, and himself over the past few years. All of the deals, all of the
money laundering, all of the payments, all of the straw companies, all of
the money transfers, the commissions and the financial behavior of Rashid
Ma'ariv presents a rare look inside the private safe of Rashid, Arafat,
Ginosar and other officials. The "Israeli connection" behind the
Palestinian money. The vast profits. The personal gains. The problematic
involvement of the Swiss banks. The unscrupulous behavior of businessman
Yossi Ginosar, the personal envoy between (at least) three Israel prime
ministers and Yasser Arafat.
The first to use Ginosar's mediating services was the late prime
minister Yitzhak Rabin. Shimon Peres did the same. Binyamin Netanyahu
occasionally consulted with Ginosar, but lowered the profile of his
diplomatic missions and preferred his own confidant, Attorney Yitzhak
Molcho. When Ehud Barak was elected Ginosar was brought back into the
center of things and he was made Barak's special envoy to Arafat. The
situation changed during Ariel Sharon's term as prime minister. "The only
one who saw that there was a problem, that something was not right here,
and stopped Ginosar's activities or at least limited them, was Sharon,"
says Ozrad Lev. "As far as I know, the prime minister's son Omri also
understood the story in time and put an end to it."
Ginosar sat at Camp David next to Ehud Barak, pressured various prime
ministers to accept Palestinian requests, saw secret material (in Israel
and in Ramallah) on a regular basis, while at the same time managing
Mohammed Rashid's funds, using them as his own, establishing countless
offshore companies, taking in vast profits, secretly paying Mohammed Rashid
set percentages and commissions from gas and cement deals in Israel (but
not before receiving his own cut) and being involved in deals connected
with the Jericho casino. The whole time he did not give Israeli
authorities-despite repeated demands,the details of this blatant and
impossible conflict of interests.
Even more grave: Ginosar worked to establish a network of straw
companies for Rashid through which Rashid secretly received his part of the
commissions for the management of funds designated "the money of the
Palestinian people." "I will not let him touch you," Mohammed Rashid once
told Ozrad Lev, when Lev complained that Ginosar was trying to distance him
from their joint dealings. "I made him a very rich man, I made at least
$10 million for him."
Ozrad Lev served in IDF intelligence, served as aide to Amos Gilad, the
office director of the commander of military intelligence, who was Ehud
Barak at that time, was the adjutant for two chiefs of staff (Moshe Levy
and Dan Shomron), received a prize for "creative thinking" from the
commander of IDF Intelligence along with a team of research and
intelligence personnel, and then became a successful businessman. […]
For about three years Lev served as financial adviser to Mohammed Rashid
and the PA. He succeeded in convincing one of the most prestigious and
well-respected Swiss banks, the Geneva-based Lombard Odier, to open an
investment portfolio for the PA. The bank manages around 130 billion Swiss
franks for various clients. Lev served as the "bridging adviser" for the
Palestinian money, the coordinator and mediator between the bank and Rashid.
The funds involved total more than USD 300 million transferred by Rashid
and Arafat to the bank from a PA account in Ramallah's Arab Bank, but their
final destination is not known: in 2001, at the height of the Intifada,
Rashid transferred the money from the Swiss bank to an unknown destination.
Where were the USD 300 million, the "money of the Palestinian people,"
transferred to at the height of the Intifada? The Americans, the Europeans,
international financial institutions, the World Bank and the Palestinians
themselves their new finance minister, Salam Fayed-are looking for the
money and have even employed accountants and private investigators for this
purpose. IDF intelligence and the GSS have been trying to investigate the
matter for some time.
Lev is disturbed: Where was the money transferred to and what was it
used for? "I know for a fact that the money did not come back to where it
came from. Despite the fact that from that moment I have not been
responsible for these funds, I think that we must investigate and clarify
where the money went. In the documents of the company and the account that
we established for Rashid and Arafat it is clearly written that this is the
'money of the Palestinian people.' This people has a right to know where
its money went." […]
The name of the offshore company that managed the Palestinian account at
the Swiss bank was Ledbury, established in April of 1997. Later Ginosar
became concerned that "too many people know that name," and changed it to
Crouper. Lev's job was to convince the respected Swiss bank, one of the
biggest in the Swiss banking system, to accept the Palestinian funds, for
the first time, in an exceptional, irregular decision. This on the
condition that the money return to the Arab Bank.
In the years before this, there had been several banking scandals in
Switzerland (funds belonging to Zaire dictator Mobutu Sese Seko and to
Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos were discovered in Swiss banks,
sparking widespread criticism) and it was very difficult to convince
respected financial institutions to take large sums of money from an
ephemeral body like the Palestinian Authority, which is not a country and
does not have an organized and transparent financial system.
The bank's representative in the negotiations with Lev was Richard de
Charner, one of the bank's seven partner-managers, considered a very
well-respected banker in Switzerland. At first de Charner treated the
Palestinian money and its sources with suspicion. Then he was satisfied.
A "letter of limitations" drafted by Lev, which put serious limits on the
Ledbury account, convinced the Swiss bankers to accept the Palestinian
money and manage it for almost three years.
The Palestinians, and most of all Rashid, could not hide their surprise
and joy when they heard that such a well-respected Swiss bank had agreed to
invest their money. The Swiss, for their part, could not hide their
amazement when they received the aforementioned letter signed by Mohammed
Rashid, on stationery from the Palestinian presidential office.
Their amazement grew when they saw that the documents connected with the
account and the Ledbury company included, of course, Yasser Arafat's
signature and a photocopy of his passport photo (Palestinian passport
number one). Despite everything, the Swiss bankers acquiesced and opened
the Palestinian account. It remained open until Rashid withdrew the money
in several withdrawals not long after the beginning of the Intifada.
Where is this money today? Only Rashid knows, and maybe Arafat as well.
Ma'ariv has also learned that three other European financial
institutions were involved in managing the Palestinian funds. One was
Soditique, a Swiss investment house owned by a Jewish family. When one of
the owners, who is also a leader of the Jewish community in Switzerland,
discovered the source of the money, he ordered that the money be returned
to the Palestinians and their account closed. "I want no dealings with
them," he said. Another was Atlas, a British investment firm, which
managed tens of millions of dollars in Palestinian investments. The third
was the Samuha family, a Jewish family which deals in investments in
Geneva, and which for a time held a portion of the Palestinian investments
The role of the Samuha family is larger and more interesting than that
of the others. The family's patriarch, Richard Samuha, together with his
son Tony, serves as the driving force behind a large network of straw
companies which belong to Mohammed Rashid and Yossi Ginosar. Samuha is the
man who establishes the companies, registers them, closes them and
establishes new ones, in an endless circle.
Ma'ariv has learned that Ginosar was a partner in a foreign company
called Brichrobe. Another partner in the same company was Prof. Steve
Cohen. Through the company, the two receive regular commission from deals
between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Brichrobe then transfers set
percentages to the various companies belonging to Mohammed Rashid. This
whole complex system is run by Richard Samuha from Geneva. Later, as part
of a circular deal for tax purposes, Ginosar and Cohen sold their holdings
in the company and instead established a complex and completely secret
system of alternative companies.
Ginosar's response: "The country used my connections, not the other way
Ma'ariv (p. 2) by Yossi Ginosar -- My activities in the service of the
country, of its leaders and institutions, during my time in the GSS, as the
prime minister's coordinator of POW affairs, and afterwards, were all
carried out in unwavering loyalty to the country, to the mission and to
those who entrusted me with it. Evidence of this can be found in the
thanks and appreciation that I have received from national and security
leaders over the years.
Throughout the period of my activities for the country with the
Palestinian Authority and other Arab bodies in the region, I acted because
the country approached me and made use of my special connections with the
Palestinians as a private citizen. I did this voluntarily, covering the
expenses with my personal account, and made a substantial contribution, not
only during the peace process, but also to the security of Israel's
citizens in a direct fashion, sometimes without question saving human life.
The attempt to hint at something else, to cast doubt on this service, is
baseless and wicked.
In this issue, the country made use of me and my connections, and not
the other way around. I never asked for credit or payment, and I would not
mention this were it not for the malicious insinuations directed at me by
the journalist before the article's publication. All of my activities as a
businessman were carried out according to the law, along with notification,
also required by law, of the relevant authorities.
The questions sent to me by the journalist before the article's
publication relate to my personal business dealings. Some of them are
inaccurate and some are incorrect.
Throughout the years, the State of Israel and Israeli businessmen have
made efforts to have economic contacts with any possible Arab partner. The
wording of the questions raises concern that this is an attempt to use the
tragic situation that now exists between us and the Palestinians in order
to throw dirt on business activities which were normal and accepted at one
The general impression from the wording of the questions is that I held
an official state position working with the Palestinian Authority while at
the same time I worked to advance my own personal business interests.
Presenting things in this fashion has no connection with reality, because
the situation was completely different.
As a private citizen with special business connections with Palestinian
and other Arab partners, I was approached by the country's leaders because
of those connections and asked to use them to advance the cause of the
country and its security. They did so with complete trust in me, based on
their familiarity with me and my service to the country.
Yossi Ginosar: G. from the GSS
Ma'ariv (p. 5) by Ma'ariv staff -- Yossi Ginosar, 56, immigrated to Israel
from Lithuania at the age of 12. He carried out his military service in
the Military Adjutancy, and after his release studied economics and
philosophy at the Hebrew University. During his studies he joined the GSS.
In his 19 years at the GSS, he filled a series of field and staff
positions, and specialized in the area of combating terror. Among the
senior positions he filled: director of the Northern District, director of
the North American department in the security department, and head of the
During his years of service, his name was linked to two affairs that
rocked the country. In 1984, Ginosar was appointed as a member of the
committee of inquiry that investigated the events surrounding the hijacking
of the number 300 bus. His role in the committee was to obscure the part
of the GSS operatives in killing two of the hijackers, who were caught
alive. Two years later, Ginosar's deeds were revealed by three other
senior GSS officials. A committee that investigated the issue referred to
Ginosar as a "Trojan horse" on behalf of the GSS in the committee. At the
end of 1986, Ginosar, who had been called G. throughout the progression of
the affair, was forced to quit the GSS.
Upon the publication of his name and picture, the second affair
exploded. Izat Nafsu, an IDF officer who had been imprisoned seven years
previously for treason and espionage, fingered Ginosar as his interrogator
and petitioned the High Court of Justice. Nafsu argued that Ginosar had
extracted a confession from him through lies and torture. The appeal was
upheld and Nafsu was released, despite having been convicted.
Ginosar is married for the second time and father of four, and lives in
Kochav Yair. His late son Shahar was run over and killed by a Palestinian
driver in the Gaza Strip in 1991.
This article ran in Maariv on December 5, 2002
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Former PM Ehud Barak Speaks at UC Berkley
Califorinia Correspondent, Israel Resource
Security was tight at UC Berkley for the Barak speech. The San
Francisco Bay Area has a reputation for being an area with a lot of anti-semitic sentiment which is euphemistically termed "anti-Zionism".
This is usually backed up by exhortations of "peace" from the anti-Israel crowd claiming that current PM Sharon and
Likud are the obstacles to that goal. Barak, the Labor leader of Israel's Oslo government after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, might have been considered to be in his element at Berkeley. But, even though he was warmly received by the majority of the audience, though not even a full house, such was not the case.
200 pro-Palestinians protested his speech outside and accused the diehard peacemaker of being the reason for no peace.
Barak is Israel's most highly decorated soldier. He recounted some of his military experiences fighting for Israel as former Chief of Staff and the architect of Entebbe.
His experiences lent considerable credibility to his desire to find a peaceful solution with the Palestinian Arabs. Describing his failed attempts at a peaceful solution as being like the old Jewish joke about the man who tried to make a lifetime career out of coming late to every Jewish event but could never make it, Barak, although sometimes inarticulate with his english, still managed to eloquently state his case for peace, even
if it seemed elusive as ever.
Referring to 9/11, the former Prime Minister said that worldwide terror is the new order of the day. Barak put himself on the line fighting terrorists. His stories of rescue missions and secret operations were mesmerizing and served to bolster his credentials as not just someone who talks the talk. He told several jokes to the audience which warmed them to him and everyone listened until some hecklers, quickly hustled out by police, only briefly interrupted him. He continued, however, like the experienced politician and speaker he is.
He said he sees Labor coming back to power in Israel in two years. Citing the short terms of his recent predecessors, most of whom served only 2 two or three years, Barak predicted a win for Likud by Sharon with Netanyahu in his shadow as Foreign Minister.
His reasoning was the Israeli public will not abandon a current leader in the middle of a war, and that a majority of Israelis (according to him) prefer to see the settlements dismantled and a true seperation between the Israelis and Palestinians to occur by the security wall currently being built. He seemed to feel that with more stability Labor would again emerge as the party to negotiate a peace with the Palestinians. However,
this seemed odd in contrast to his own acknowledgement that the current Palestinian leadership is not in any way a viable peace partner.
Here in the Bay Area, the Palestinian movement has begun a new campaign of revisionist history by vilifying Barak and suggesting he never made Arafat any type of a decent offer at Camp David or Taba. And Barak dealt with such accusations. He outlined his offer to give 97% of the West Bank to the Palestinians, full repatriation to a Palestinian State of all Palestinians in the world, as well as reparations payments and partial control of Jerusalem. He further stated that he considered that offer a beginning point of negotiations and that Arafat rejected it and refused to even use it as a basis of negotiations. Clearly, he faulted Arafat for the breakdown of negotiations and the resulting 682 Israeli deaths which have followed. Still, as regards peace, it was never say die.
Pointing out a need not to persecute minorities, he convincingly pointed out a need for separation from the Palestinians if Israel is to maintain itself as a viable democracy. Without such separation, he reasoned, Palestinians would have to have limited self-rule to maintain the Jewish state which would be objectionable to democratic ideals. He outlined this in three steps:
- Palestinians need their own state.
- New borders reflecting Jewish sovereignty.
- Some of the settlements being dismantled and incorporated into existing ones within Israel's new borders.
But to arrive at these goals he seemed to fall back on the old Labor pipe dream by saying this would be accomplished by fighting terror, restarting negotiations with the Palestinians with "no preconditions" and a trial program of separation. He predicted after a successful U.S. invasion of Iraq, Palestinian security services would then be organized under one head, with a new influx of institutions created to increase the tax base for funding, and making Arafat the equivalent of a Queen Mum. These ideas of course ring hollow given the current consolidation of PA security forces under Fatah and Al Aksa with Arafat as usual calling the shots, and legendary Palestinian corruption.
How does Barak propose to achieve these goals short of a Palestinian civil war and with PA opinion polls showing 88% of Palestinians in favor of dismantling the Jewish state by suicide bombings and without the expulsion of Arafat and his top leadership who will never agree to it? Nor did Barak address Palestinian incitement, the same neglect he showed during his tenure as the Prime Minister.
Barak did effectively counter the myths about Camp David his detractors on the Palestinian side have tried to use to revise history. His method of negotiating peace
was sincere. Yet one wonders how such an old war horse, who does care about the
People of Israel, could fall susceptible to negotiating their security like in the local soulk
with merchants who are negotiating in bad faith and knowingly selling faulty products?
This was especially unnerving, given Barak's conclusion to his speech that he didn't
think peace could be achieved for a very, very long time.
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