Israel Resource Review 10th June, 2008


Friendly Foreign Leader Snubs Israel: Symptom of Israel’s Moral Leadership Crisis
David Bedein

Not many foreign heads of state stand up for Israel. When that does happen, it is newsworthy.

Such is the case with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

During the Summer 2006 Lebanon conflict, Harper rejected calls from some quarters in Ottawa to adopt an even-handed neutral approach, like the position assumed by most European nations who prefer to watch Hizbullah pummel Israel and yet see justice and suffering on both sides.

Harper, instead, was forthright in denouncing terror groups who dared to reign hundreds of missiles on Israel’s sovereign territory, forcing one million out of only seven million Israeli citizens to either flee their homes or take cover in shelters, for more than one month, while hundreds of homes in northern Israel were destoyed.

In that context, Canadian PM Harper has retained his consistent support for the Jewish state under siege, and scheduled a state visit to Israel for the third week of June.

Indeed, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, under several police investigations for high level corruption, prepared for Harper’s visit with the pomp and circumstances due to a friendly foreign dignitary, while readying Jewish and non-Jewish Canadians to accompany Prime Minister Harper on his visit.

However, Harper cancelled his visit.

Harper’s office openly stated that Harper did not want to be hosted by an Israeli prime minister under police investigation

This was a case of a politician who did not deny receiving $150,000.00 in cash payments over a period of six years from at least one supporter, someone who was clearly waiting for the opportunity of a visit from a friendly foreign leader to cast himself in the lime light and distract the public from routine daily news stories of felony charges hurled at their head of state, to the point where Olmert is now called The official “Crime Minister of the state of Israel”.

Amazingly, Prime Minister Olmert holds on to his job, with his lawyers claiming that he has not broken the law. Israeli investigative reporter Yoav Yitzhak actually revealed an official transcript which quotes Olmert telling the police that he “did not open the envelopes”. Right. And he only inhaled.

Olmert is not the only Israeli leader with a halo of moral questions surrounding his rise to power. When Israel Minister of Defense Ehud Barack called on Olmert to consider a temporary suspension from his position, an Olmert public relations advisor, Tal Zilberstein, a former PR advisor to Barak, declared that he knew of many “envelopes” that Barak had received when he was Prime Minister, 1999-2001.

Zilberstein should know, as one of several Barak advisors who were implicated in the creation of twenty five fictitious non profit organizations, in Israel and abroad, which helped elect Barak over the Likud’s Benyamin Netanyahu in 1999. The State Prosecutor at the time recommended one indictment " against Zilberstein, which was never carried out. Barak’s lawyer, Yitzhak Herzog, now a senior Israel government cabinet minister, was threatened with an indictment because he handled these fictitious groups on behalf of Barak. However, Herzog chose the right to remain silent and was also not indicted. Herzog’s behavior was in the confines of the law, yet with a moral cloud over his shoulders.

The source of the funds for these 25 fictitious non profit organizations which catapulted Barak to power. Speaking in Toronto several years ago, PR maven James Carvelle stated that tens of millions of dollars flowed from the Clinton Administration in the direction of Elud Barak, to defeat Netanyahu.

All this represents the tip of the iceberg of the crisis of moral leadership in Israel.

Harper is the first friend of Israel to declare that he will not be used to create a false impression of integrity around leaders of Israel whose morals have come into question.

After all, is there a nation in the world where a politician who did not deny receiving $150,000 in cash payments, with no receipt, where that leader would not resign?


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Syria reiterates Support to the Palestinian people, al-Mikdad says [i.e, Right of Return]

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 - 05:55 p.m.

DAMASCUS, (SANA - Syrian news agency)-Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal al-Mikdad on Tuesday renewed Syria's support to the Palestinian people and their fair cause until their lands are liberated and the Palestinian refugees are back home.

"Syria is working to help UNRWA fulfill its duties and offer its services to the Palestinian refugees and their camps till they return back to homeland according to the UN resolutions 194 for 1948 and 302 for 1949," al-Mikdad said during the opening session of a meeting on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

He added that Syria's total expenses on the Palestinian refugees reached at more than $ 136 millions in 2007 in the social, educational and health fields in addition to providing them with resort, security and food.

Dr. al-Mikdad reiterated Syria's backing to the unity of the Palestinians, saying "Syria as a leadership and people, welcomes the initiatives lately announced to conduct a fruitful dialogue to restore the unity of this people and boost the role of the Palestinian Liberation Organization."

He called the international community, represented by the UN and Security Council, to immediately intervene and end the Israeli unfair siege imposed on Gaza strip and allow UNRWA to present its ordinary services and its human aid without any obstacles.

Deputy Foreign Minister also called for implementing the international legitimacy resolutions which calls Israel to withdraw from the occupied Arab territories in Palestine, Golan and the remaining parts in southern Lebanon till the line of June 4th, 1967.

He urged the UN to assume its responsibilities in releasing more than 11 thousands Palestinians detained in the Israeli prisons under illusive pretexts.

General Commissioner of UNRWA Caren Abu Zeid, for her part, referred to the synchronism of this meeting with the 60th painful anniversary of Al-Nakba which lea to the displacement of the Palestinians and forcing them to leave their homes.

She praised Syrian efforts to offer services to the Palestinians in the fields of education, health and resort.

"All appeals to ease and decrease the number of Israeli roadblocks put in the face of the Palestinians were ignored. UNRWA statistics showed that the Israeli roadblocks between September 2007 and April 2008 increased from 566 into 607 , that fact that obstructs the work of UNRWA to reach the places which need human aid.

The two-day meeting, held at al-Cham Palace, was attended by delegations representing 24 member and observer from countries that host the Palestinian refugees and other donors countries

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