Israel Resource Review 10th January, 2003


Pro Arab Lobby in Washington Registers in Jerusalem and Receives Grant From the EU as a Jerusalem Based Peace Organization
David Bedein

Why is it a good idea to register as an Israeli Non-Profit Organization?

This week, Israel Resource News Agency discovered documents in the Israel Ministry of Interior Registrar of Non Profit Organizations (RASHAM AMUTOT) that Phillip Wilcox, former US consul in Jerusalem and former advisor to President Clinton, has discretely registered his organization, THE FOUNDATION FOR MIDDLE EAST PEACE, with the Israel office of Non Profit Organizations.

The registration of The Foundation for Middle East Peace with the Israel office of Non Profit Organizations enabled The Foundation for Middle East Peace to receive a grant of 310,000 Euro from the EU, as a Jerusalem-based non-profit peace organization.

The EU provides grants to Jerusalem-based peace organizations from its affliated European governments.

Wilcox's outfit, based in Washington since 1989, advertises that it receives no governent money for its work.

The Foundation for Middle East Peace, based in Washington, issues a monthly report that portrays the Israeli communities in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and Katif as THE obstacles to peace in the middle east.

Most recently, Wilcox appeared on CNN and was asked for his analysis of why the Oslo process had deteriorated into war. Wilcox was quick to blame the "terrorists from amongst the Hamas and the Likud settlers".

On July 23, 1990, I covered a delegation of American citizens from the Etzion Bloc who visited with Wilcox in his capacity as the US consul in Jerusalem.

After hearing Wilcox speak about US concerns for Palestinian Arab human rights, the members of that delegation asked Wilcox as to how he understood the human rights of Jews who resided beyond the 1949/67 armistice lines. Wilcox remarked that "If that is where you live, then you have no human rights".


Wilcox is not the only former US envoy to the middle east who now lobbies for the Arab cause in Washington.

Ed Abington, who succeeded Wilcox as the US consul in Jerusalem, works as a registered foreign agent for the PLO.

Ed Walker, who recently served as the US ambassador to Israel, now serves as the head of the Middle East Institute, which also advances the Arab cause in DC.

Could we say that . . .
        The voice is the Voice of Ishmael but the hands are the hands of Uncle Sam?

Translated from Makor Rishon, January 10, 2003

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Covering a Conference to Mobilize Support for the PLO in Jerusalem
Andrea Israel

The Invitation:

"SHAML Palestinian Refugee & Diaspora Center & The Alternative Information Center Humanitarian and Political Aspects of the Palestinian Condition

Wednesday afternoon, 8 January 2003

Ambassador Hotel, East Jerusalem

Palestinian Refugee and Diaspora Center (Shaml) and the Alternative Information Center are most pleased to invite you to attend in this meeting of international scholars researching catastrophes and human disasters around the globe and local researchers and field practitioners working in local or international agencies. The panel members will all be local or locally based workers, who will present a variety of opinions and analyses from the perspectives of Palestinian practitioners and intellectuals, Israeli and Palestinian human rights advocates and local and international humanitarian agencies.

Plan for the panel

The panel will be held in two parts.


  1. Lee O'Brien, OXFAM's senior policy advisor
  2. Palestinian Health Work Committees - Dr. Naim Abu-Teir
  3. A representative of UPMRC
  4. Physicians for Human Rights Israel - Ruchama Marton, President and Founder and Hadas Ziv, Director of Occupied Territories and East Jerusalem Project
  5. B'tselem - Dr. Anat Bilezki, Chairperson
  6. MSF Jerusalem Branch - Olivier Maizoue, Manager
  7. AIDA Humanitarian Facilitator, Charlotte Dunn OXFAM Senior Policy Advisor
  8. UNRWA Deputy commissioner-General - Karen Koning Abu-Zeid
  9. Dr. Gadi Algazi, activist in Taayush Jewish-Arab Partnership

Panel Part 1: Analysis of the Current Situation

Head of Panel: Dr. Sari Hanafi, Director of Shaml

16:30 - Introduction by Dr. Hanafi
16:50 - 18:00 - 4 panel participants will present their views, 15 minutes each.
18:00 - 18:30 - round table discussion
18:30 - 18:45 - Break

Panel Part 2: Humanitarian Aid in broad perspective

Head of Panel: Michael Warschawski, AIC, Board member

18:45 - 19:00 - Introduction by Michael Warschawski
19:00 - 20:00 - 4 remaining panel participants will present their views
20:00 - 20:45 - Open Discussion
20:45 - 21:00 - Conclusion by Dr. Sari Hanafi
21:00 - Dinner at the hotel restaurant

Our aim in convening this panel discussion is two-fold:

  • To present the current situation of the Palestinian people from humanitarian and political perspectives;

  • To discuss the complex combination of political aspect/analysis/practice and the humanitarian aspect/analysis/practice.

The panel theme and problematics will be presented by Dr. Sari Hanafi, Director of Shaml: Palestinian Refugees and Diaspora Center.

Following an introduction, panel members will give a short presentation, concentrating on personal/organisational views of the current humanitarian crisis situation and his/her analysis of the current processes.

A debate will then be opened. The following are leading questions for the debate:

  • How do you/your organization view the use of humanitarian discourse? We are referring here to the use of terms such as 'human disaster', the call for humanitarian emergency aid, the manipulation of this language by the Israeli government etc.

  • How do you perceive the outcomes of humanitarian practice, whether done by small and local organizations - Israeli or Palestinian, governments, international NGOs, UN agencies? This question calls for reflection on possible or past outcomes. Can the humanitarian aid projects and involvement affect the struggle for a strong Palestinian state, market, civil society?

  • How are these questions relevant to the Israeli society? This question refers of course to the political responsibilities/duties of the Israelis, but also invites a reflection on the fact that Israel and Palestine are in many aspects interconnected. What are the social/economic/political outcomes that humanitarian discourse/practice has on Israeli society?

  • Do you/your organization see any tension arising due to the division of labour between humanitarian assistance and human rights advocacy? Do they use different moral discourses but have one political agenda?

Sincerely yours,

Palestinian Diaspora and Refugee Centre, Shaml, an independent NGO dedicated to Palestinian refugees and the Palestinian Diaspora, was established in 1994 by a group of concerned academics and human rights activists who felt the need to examine issues pertaining to Palestinian refugees in a comparative perspective, encompassing relevant experiences in other parts of the world.

The Alternative Information Center is a joint Palestinian-Israeli initiative centred on commonly held beliefs of equality, social justice and a world free of racism, colonialism, sexism and all forms of discrimination. The AIC is an alternative information pool for critical and progressive analyses of the Israeli-Palestinian political, social and cultural reality.

The debate will be in English

Tel: Shaml: 2988442, AIC: 624 11 59

Report on the "Panel on Humanitarian and Political Aspects of the Palestinian Condition at the Ambassador Hotel"

8 January 2000

Sponsored by Shaml: Palestinian Refugees and Diaspora Center and the Alternative Information Center

No official material re: participants or agenda was available. Printed material from various organizations was. Of note: An Apartheid Calendar from AIC and an AIC magazine with a senseless and outrageous article by Michael Warshawski.

Two panels convened. Each time there was an introduction, an opportunity for each panelist to speak, and then questions/discussion.

Panel 1. Moderator: Dr. Sari Hanafi, Director of Shaml. Panelists: a representative of Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (who identified himself without mike and very low, so that name was not audible); Dr. Naim Abu-Teir, from the Palestinian Health Work Committees; UNRWA Deputy Commissioner-General Karen Koning Abu-Zayd; and Dr. Gadi Algazi, from Taayush.

Dr. Hanafi (whose English was weak) introduced the proceedings by asking questions such as "Is this a conflict or a post-conflict situation?" [interesting!] "What is the role of humanitarian organizations? Is it to be a witness?

The two Palestinians spoke first, primarily documenting the current Palestinian situation re: unemployment, poverty, etc. According to the representative of the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees, there is a partial collapse of the Ministry of Health and NGOs are taking responsibility. Ambulances are stopped and many die at checkpoints. Not everyone has PA National Health Insurance; 65% are served by NGOs or private sector. He, to his credit, spoke about aiming for peace and hatred in the next generation. Need to find out who he is! He spoke like a professional, concerned with realities on the ground. Dr. Abu-Teir spoke as a politician, talking about need to focus on the occupation to way to provide relief. There are apartheid policies and the occupation is the only cause of the situation.

Karen Abu-Zayd was very offended by the Wall Street Journal article calling for abolition of UNRWA. She responded to claims that UNRWA breeds dependency: Pre-Intifada, only 6% of the refugees was getting direct assistance. These are "people who are independent, live their lives, have their jobs." Now there are 13,000 in Gaza and 9,000 in the West Bank getting direct assistance - food, etc. [This is actually a low number out of millions - when terrible poverty and hunger is claimed!!] She is concerned about demolitions, which are up to 10/night. In Gaza 1,500 homes need to be rebuilt, in the W.B., 750. There has to be compensatory education because of closures, and psychological counseling. There is a security problem: 6 staff members have been killed. UNRWA can't do its job. There is collective punishment. UNRWA stands behind their installations and staff against charges that there is involvement with terrorism. In DC (primarily) and here, there are charges that UNRWA perpetuates the refugee problem. But the problem will be solved when the political situation is resolved and they can go back. There is an attempt to decentralize UNRWA services. The question is asked sometimes is UNRWA aiding the oppressor: if it were not here would it be so bad the problem would have to be solved? There is "erosion of our principles - our privileges and immunities" (e.g., getting trucks through). Israelis are the "most difficult interlocutors" UNRWA has to work with anywhere. [This to laughter and applause.]

Gadi Elgazi, a dangerous, passionate man, addressed the political situation. He says Taayush is an "anti-colonial movement." As he spoke he said, "I assume you here are all political activists wearing different hats." There is a balance of forces - Israeli and international - against Palestinians. There needs to be a higher political price for the Israelis. This could be through mobilization of the masses. Not enough to talk of victimhood. Need to put Israel's policy in awkward situation. A model of how to do this is the olive tree campaign. Even though lost on the ground, made Israel look bad. The question is how far Israel can be challenged through humanitarian agencies, which can be used to strengthen the popular struggle. Suggests youth clubs and women's groups be used to rally popular resistance.

Discussion: Members of a workshop in Tel Aviv sponsored by Van Leer on the Catastrophe of Globalization were present, led by Adi Ophi. One member raised a question re: violence and what to be done about it. Response of Abu-Teir was that it was all the fault of occupation, daily humiliation. "If you put a hungry cat in a corner and try to kill it, it will scratch you." Someone - unidentified - at the back of the room said that yes, we know the cause, but the question is still what we do about it. (She drew an analogy with drug dependency - whatever its cause, it needs resolution.) Answer she received was that removing the occupation is the solution - there is no accountability acknowledged by the Palestinians. Abu-Teir also spoke about needing to do a "scientific" study to see what's going on.

Lee O'Brian commented from the floor that politicizing the humanitarian organizations is what they are always criticized for doing.

Panel 2. Moderator Michael Warshawski, of AIC. Panelists: Ruchama Marton and Hadas Aiv of Physicians for Human Rights; Dr. Anat Bilezki B'tselem; Lee O'Brian, Oxfam; Oliver Maizoue, MSF (? Medical Services).

Warshawski, during introductions, said nothing that made particular sense or seemed of consequence.

The two women, primarily Ruchama, made a horrific and shameful presentation. "We are part of the occupying society" and are "observers of Israeli violations of human rights." Spoke at considerable length about stopping ambulances at checkpoints, medications not allowed through, etc. Said the ambulances are stopped as a power play, to humiliate Palestinian physicians.

Anat Bilezki spoke briefly (having relinquished part of her time for the lengthy report on ambulances held at checkpoints) and off the record. She said, "Politics is the be-all and end-all of humanitarian work." B'tselem is more activist now, not just objectively gathering information. Must do political work through human rights perspective, using NGOs to make political points. Activists, humanitarians, NGOs all play roles.

Lee O'Brian, Oxfam, explained that she has lived in the territories for 16 years, spent 5 years with UNRWA. She spoke primarily about humanitarianism - in a sense that is broader than how the term is often used. She sees it not just as relief, but also referring to humanitarian law. With law, there is an attempt to reach an objective international consensus, although how it is used depends on politics.

Humanitarian law does not just bring restitution, it also confers obligations. If the Palestinian people make the point that humanitarian law says they are entitled to statehood, then they have an obligation to honor other aspects of international humanitarian law, e.g., regarding the protection of civilians, which means they stop suicide bombings.

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Hunting Season:
Assessing PM Ariel Sharon's Crisis
Amnon Dankner
Editor, Maariv

Perhaps it really is hunting season, as Sharon described what he thinks is being done to him, but now is also the season of inflamed passions and dizziness over the innumerable spins, over the revival of old stories and over the fantastic inflation of new stories. But the steam rising from this cauldron in which politicians, media advisers, lawyers, State Attorney's Office officials, police and press are stirring, heats our head and clouds our view. This great drama, of which one of its highlights was last night on television (until it was interrupted) might be dwarfed in another two-three months and we will be astonished at ourselves that we became caught up in this excitement, but what can we do, it's the season.

Why dwarfed? Because judging by all signs, this story of the loan, the lien, the South African connection, the farm, the banks and Sharon's sons, does not really show signs of criminal acts, but more of clumsy handling, insensitivity to details and to Ariel Sharon's and his sons' obligation to report.

It is unpleasant and improper, but that's no reason to fall from power. Only in two cases could the affair have criminal significance: if the money that Cyril Kern loaned could constitute bribery, and considering his long friendship with the Sharon family and his detachment from all business in Israel, this does not appear likely, or if Cyril Kern himself is the anonymous donor from Annex, which would make all the convoluted details of this deal into a criminal and wrong move, and there are no signs of this either.

On the other hand, while we said that the Sharon family's handling of this affair was clumsy, this is too fine a word for their handling of the media. Particularly yesterday. It's hard to know if Sharon's gamble to talk flagrant election PR when he began to speak was deliberate, in order to be interrupted before getting to the stage of tough questions on live television, or if he thought he could get away with this, taking a chance that he was breaking the election law. It is unpleasant when the prime minister crudely tramples the law in front of all the people of Israel, and this no doubt made its impression. It was also very unpleasant to see Ariel Sharon trying to persuade the public that his sons received a loan for an enormous sum from one of his best friends without his knowing about it. Such things don't happen. Not really. And the main thing: he refused to detail for the public where he suddenly received the large amount of money that supposedly got him out of all his money troubles.

In such cases, the prime minister must come forth and give the public, if he wants to restore his credibility, a full x-ray of the money chain. Sharon, twice in one week, presented partial information, and this gave a clear impression that he has something to hide.

And again, on the other hand, Sharon's great anger, who feel that plots and conspiracies are being woven against him, is understandable. He can, and rightly so, ask why the documents in the affair of the Greek island, which incriminate his son Gilad and which have been sitting for two years in the police offices without Gilad being questioned about them, are suddenly being pulled out. He can ask why the letter of request to South Africa was sent a short time before the elections and how it found its way to the press, replete with outspoken allegations, an even shorter time before. His subjective sense is that a combined effort of his political rivals, of the police, of the State Attorney's Office and media officials is being made. To the press' credit, we can say that it usually runs after stories because journalists like good stories and don't bother to stop and reflect about the interests of the persons leaking them. Justifiably. That is not their job. But the public can reflect on this and guess, without too much difficulty, who the leakers are, who is fanning the flames into hysteria and what their motives are.

Arik Sharon came to his abbreviated press conference yesterday concerned about his fall in the polls, but somewhat cheered by a poll conducted by the Geocartography Institute that came out yesterday showing the a large majority of the public does not believe that there is suspicion of criminal activity in this affair. The public feels uncomfortable but still does not believe, in the main, that the prime minister is a crook.

The problem is that at the rate that affairs are coming up, who knows what else the public will see in the time left before elections and how much time there will be to seriously examine these revelations and the possibility must taken into account that with so many affairs around, people will be convinced that something really is going on and change their mind on election day. These revelations may be genuine and harsh. On the other hand, they may be empty revelations that are inflated and embellished. If that happens, it would be terrible: an unfounded campaign of lies would change the government. This already happened once, sort of: in the 1992 elections, the slogan "corrupt officials, we're sick of you" was coined, based mainly on the charges against Sharon's close friend Uri Shani. The Likud was brought down partly because of this slogan. Five years later, the affair ended with a conviction for very minor offenses. This is not only unfair. This is dangerous for democracy. The fury of voters whose party is deposed because of tricks of this sort is liable to be poison to majority rule. It's best to beware.

This news analysis ran on January 10, 2002 in Maariv

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Official PA TV: Pressures Exerted on Palestinian Children to seek Shahada - Death for Allah
By Nadav Shragai
Correspondent, Ha'aretz

TV: Child Writes to Mother, "Rejoice over My Death"

"Ask for Death - the life will be given to you." This slogan, which was broadcast on Palestinian television on July 5th of last year, was also the headline chosen by the authors of Palestinian Media Watch as the title of their 40th research report. This report examines the social pressure exerted by the Palestinian Authority [PA] on children to die as "Shahids" [Death for Allah].

The written findings of the report are presented with a CD, which is not easy to watch. The televised evidence, includes educational films specially prepared for children that have been broadcast in the Palestinian Authority, texts from PA schoolbooks, and quotes from statements issued by political and religious figures in the Palestinian Authority.

One particular "educational" film clip, which was broadcast regularly during 2001 and 2002 as often as three times a day, shows a child writing a farewell letter to his mother in which he declares, "Rejoice over my death and do not cry for me," and also "How sweet is Shahada [Death for Allah] when I embrace you, my land." This text is recited over a backdrop of a picture showing the child falling to the ground "embracing" the earth.

One short broadcast shows the most famous child Shahid, Muhammad Al-Dura, whose death was captured on camera, apparently calling to Palestinian children, "Join me in Paradise." A child actor plays Al-Dura in fictional scenes of his life in Paradise, frolicking in an amusement park with a kite and on the beach. "How pleasant is the fragrance of Shahids.I go with no fear or tears," says the fictional Al-Dura. The program begins with the caption, "I am waving not to part, but to say you, 'Follow me.' And is signed: "Muhammad Al-Dura"

The report also displays texts that appear in widely-used school books published by the Palestinian Education Ministry, such as the "Song of the Shahid," which is found in four different publications. In one book, "Islamic Education for the Eighth Grade," on page 176, states that, "The Moslem sacrifices himself for his belief , and wages Jihad [Holy War] for Allah. He is not swayed, for he knows that the date of his death as a Shahid on the field of battle is preferable to death in his bed."

The November 2000 issue of "Al-Hayat Al-Jadida," a PA newspaper, quotes "The sports teacher of Wajdi Al-Hattab," [a 14 year old student] "responded to Allah's call and achieved the Shahada he yearned for."

The teacher relates that, "Wajdi asked me to give out cake when he becomes a Shahid." The newspaper also reports that Wajdi's classmates "swore that they would follow the path of Shahada until the liberation of Jerusalem."

The author of the report, Itamar Marcus, writes that many cultural programs "encourage Shahada and show approval for those who are killed. Many television broadcasts include songs and dances accompanied by photographs of violence and highlight how right it is to die for the sake of Allah."

Marcus gives the example of a song [broadcast 3 times on PA TV] that was composed in memory of Wafa Idris, the first woman suicide bomber. The song was recorded at a concert in Egypt, and it describes Idris as a "flower" and a "heartbeat of pride." "In death, you have brought life to our will," the song continues.

In the past Marcus and his institute issued a comprehensive report into Palestinian study material and helped to expose Yasser Arafat's "Hudaybia Speech," in which Arafat compared the Oslo Agreement with the Hudaybia Pact, which the prophet Muhammad signed expressly in order to break later. This time Palestinian Media Watch also brings relevant quotes from Yasser Arafat, who expresses his pride in the Shahids. In a speech given to children who were attending a summer camp, Arafat states, "You are the peers of Faris Ouda [a youth who planned his own death as a Shahid] Onwards together to Jerusalem." In response, the children call out, "Millions of Shahids marching to Jerusalem."

The report also brings examples of the statements issued by the parents of suicide bombers, in which they welcome their children's deaths, and express their satisfaction and joy. The mother of one boy who was killed states: "Praise to God, the Master of the Universe. I can raise my head up high and I have glory and pride. My son is a Shahid. But it is not just my son. All of the Shahids are my children."

The mother of Abbas Al-Awiwi states, "The greatest mother's day present I received this year is the death as a Shahid of Abbas."

Marcus and his staff also bring quotes from speeches delivered by religious leaders. Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim Madi stated on Palestinian television in June 2001: "Shame upon he who does not educate his children the education of Jihad. blessings upon he who dons a vest of explosives belt on himself or on his children and goes in to the midst of the Jews".

Sheikh Abd al-Razak stated on Palestinian television on 22nd March 2002: "Allah has planted within our youth the love of Jihad, the love of Shahada. Our youth have turned into bombs, they blow themselves up among them [Israelis] day and night."

Marcus and his colleagues have concluded that, having been exposed to such messages, young Palestinian children from the ages of six till nine play "death" games and role-play the dead. Children between the ages of 10 to 13 express the will to die, sometimes in televised interviews, and from the age of 14 some even take part in suicide attacks.

This piece ran on January 8.2003 in HaAretz

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