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October 22, 2004     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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October 22, 2004

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PAGE 12 HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, ]Be t,e ]Buitz R.IEstaU Bette Butz Ready 407 Wekiva Springs Road, Suite t 15 ,d Bed ', Longwood, FL 32779 ors Looking to Buy or Sell? Call Bedell Bus: (407) 862-9200 Cell: (407) 782-4568 Fax: (407) 571-2420 Website: www. Stay at Ttm Renaissance Resort at World C, olf Village, surrounded by a golf paradise that includes the one-and-only Werld ~1t Hall of Fame and two of the world's most spectacular courses - Eing & Bear, the only course ever t co-designed by tcnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, and Slammer & Squire, designed with inspiration from ~ "~ Sam Snead and Gene Samzen. Luxunous accammodations,~ ~. superb dining and first-class amenities make ~ your expedence way above par! THE RENAISSANCE. RESORT "1 4 AT WORLD GOLF VILLAGE 1-i Another Exceptional Resort by John Q. Hammons Hotels "Offers g~d tl~ough 12./30/04. Tax and resoa fee~ not ~ ~deci. Socne r~l~l~ns apply Limited a~i~t~ility Net ~ with o~ler offecs. Subject ~ change ~ n~ce, Continued from page 2 show it without checking it. It shows them loading aweapon. We're calling for a serious in- vestigation." An UNRWA of- ficial described the incident to JTA as the latest in a series of "baseless" charges against the agency. Earlier this year, Israel accused UNRWA of trans- porting injured terror- ists in a U.N. ambulance; UNRWA responded that its driver was forced to do it at gunpoint. "We've had good working relations with the govern- ment of Israel throughout the years, though there have been time's when the relationship is strained, as it is now," says Maher Nasser, UNRWA's representative in New York. "There is a level of frus- tratiSn, where we expect the Israeli government to come to us if they have a video allegedly showing misuse of UNRWA vehicles, instead of going to the media and misinterpreting it in a way that's harmful to our operation and our reputa- tion." Meanwhile, in an in- terview October 3 with the Canadian broadcaster CBC, Hansen said: "I am sure that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll, and I don't see that as a crime. Hamas as a political orga- nization does not mean that every member is a militant, and we do not do political vetting and exclude people from one persuasion as against another." The Unit- ed States, European Union and Canada have branded Hamas, an organization bent on Israel's destruction, a terrorist group. Canada--which contrib- utes $10 million a year to UNRWA--said it wanted "clarification" of Hansen's comments. Washington also reacted strongly, but it was unclear what action, if any, it might take. The United States, is II Ensuring equal access to affordable health care and affordable prescription drugs STEPHEN | Defending our environment and natural resources | Protecting our individual rights and civil liberties II Making sure that government works for the people ' For U.S. CONGRESS 407-29 !-3256 618 N. Mills Avenue OrlandO, FL 32803 PoL Adv. Pd. for and approved by Stephan Murray Democrat for Congress J UNRWA's largest donor, contributing 30 percent of its $350 million annual budget. According to Section 301(c) of the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act, UNRWA must "take all possible measures to assure that no part of the United States contribution shall be used to furnish assistance to any refugee who is receiv- ing military training as a member of the so-called Palestine Liberation Army or any other guerrilla type organization or who has engaged in any .act of ter- rorism." In an e- mail to JTA, UNRWA's Nasser sought to clarify his boss' position. "The interview that Mr. Hansen gave to CBC was one of many he had given that day and the reference in the interview to Hamas members being on UNRWA's payroll refers to Hamas sym- pathizers not 'members,' " Nasser wrote. "The statement should not be taken out of con- text, and in the follow- up paragraphs Mr. Hansen stressed that while one cannot know what is in the heart and mind of staff, we do care about their behav- ior and actions, which we expect to be of the highest standards expected of U.N. staff members." Hansen has often drawn Israeli ire for perceived one-sided denunciations of Israeli ac- tions, with no mention of terrorist activities. Most famously, he sug- gested that hundreds of Palestinians were killed in Israel's April 2002 assault on the Jenin refugee camp. A U.N. probe later concluded that several dozen Palestin- ians, mostly militants, were killed. His latest comments about Hamas are "typical of Hansen, but Pve heard worse," says a Toronto researcher and longtime analyst of Canadian U.N. policy, who asked not to be identified. "In the Canadian Par- liament, he got into a shouting match with some parliamentarians, basically called them idiots because they wouldn't accept his perspective on life, which is in total contrast to Israel's. He's really become a hostage to the Palestinian perspec- tive." UNRWA's failure to do "political vetting" is one of many structural and pro- cedural flaws that some observers say has stacked the deck against Israel. The agency began its work in 1950, shortly after Israel's creation. According to the UNRWA Web site, "Palestine refu- gees are persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab- Israeli conflict. "UNRWA's definition of a refugee also covers the de- scendants of persons who became refugees in 1948/' The number of UNRWA reg- istered refugees has soared from 914,000 in 1950 to 4.1 million in 2002, rising year- ly at a "natural population growth" of 3.5 percent. Palestinian refugees are unique within the U.N. sys- tem in that they have their own U.N. agency, while the rest of the "world's are tended to by the U.l Commissioner for Pro-Isrhel critics that while the high sioner focuses on ment of refugees, UI awaits a political to the Middle East Thus, they nurtures the dream full "right of return in turn helps conflict further. Criticsalso of supplying textbooks incite hatred against Israel and flating the number of! gees by blurring the tion of "who is a and providing servl some Palestinians in fact more than cally self-sufficient. In a November report by the U.S. Accounting Office, defended its taking "all possible r sures," as called for i~ 1961 Foreig because of the dan ing sensitive questionsa group affiliations in hostile environment, the difficulty of ve~ whether someone is the truth. So UNRWA lawyers bied for watered-I constraints--that agency not assist clients affiliatedv terrorism. For its part, the States has failed to what "all 12 means. And the issue is complicated by suspicion of Israel's gence agencies and system. When UNRWA staffers, evenl victs them of certain rl UNRWA demands to evidence, as it has recent footage, ing aside the charges a bious or baseless. conviction is made scoffs at Israeli For its part, refuses to back up its c by showing evidenCe, scribing its secreCYI matter of national Some Israeli officials cize this policy as a that rings hollow and ates bad P.R. for And while some in Israel and within American Jewry called for UNRWA's from the territorieS, Washington to ing, Israeli consistently expres: port for the most recently in a U eral Assembly December. The reasons are observers say: responsibility for the refugees; and s, doesn't want it Yasser Arafat, the Jan Authority and terrorist groups as a war on all Denying assistance would major I So Israel pushes t the agency, "UNRWA is a part U.N. and Israel is a of the U.N " U.N. official. pect them to be and work for peace, terror, not shelter ists, or put bombs i ambulances." -