...Incidents like the one that occurred today in Qalandia that resulted in three Palestinian deaths and last week’s confrontation in Jenin do illustrate the problem with the peace process, but it is not the one that the liberal mainstream media and the international press think it is. The idea that Israel is staging these attacks to undermine the talks is false. The fact that the IDF is forced to enter built-up areas in order to track down terrorist suspects shows just how unreliable the Palestinian Authority is as a peace partner. Moreover, the willingness of mobs in these towns to rally to defend suspects and attack the IDF with gunfire and rocks is testimony to how deeply rooted support for terror operations is in a Palestinian population that we are told is ready for an end to the conflict.Jonathan Tobin
(Communicated by the MFA Spokesperson)
27 August 2013
...we were disappointed (but not surprised) at UNRWA's press statement from yesterday. While omitting to mention any context or reason for the Israeli operation, it was quick to cite "credible reports" in determining that its employee had been shot "…on his way to work, and was not involved in any violent activity."^
Quite aside from the fact that UNRWA did not even bother to approach any official Israeli sources for comment, its statement was rushed to the press while the violent riots were still raging on in Qalandiya. Hence, it begs the question of how it was possible for the Agency to collect forensic evidence, cross reference personal eye-witness reports and reach peremptory conclusions – all of that in the space of just a few hours.
It is regrettable that UNRWA has consistently failed to display similar zeal and enthusiasm when asked to investigate its own cases of alleged wrongdoing. Earlier this month, for example, the Agency was forced to admit that it had negligently allowed a third party to use some of its installations in order to organize 'summer camps' where anti-Semitism and incitement to violence were preached to Palestinian youth. Needless to say, UNRWA's half-hearted admission was released only after "a lengthy and detailed investigation", as opposed to the rushed superficial procedure it adopted yesterday.
We therefore call upon UNRWA to return to its original humanitarian agenda of assisting Palestinian refugees, while refraining from any one-sided political advocacy activities. Only thus can it hope to be taken seriously – both by Israel and the international donor community.