Foreign Affairs
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UNRWA has often remained silent while Hamas endangers the lives of Palestinians, including refugees, and commits war crimes by using civilian areas to target Israeli citizens. UNRWA spokespeople are quick to make accusations against Israel, but go out of their way to avoid mentioning Hamas.

 

I wish I could just describe all the ways Israel cooperates with UNRWA, and end it there. I wish I could sit here today and join in with the other speakers to simply thank UNRWA for all the humanitarian work it does, and leave it at that.

 

However, as the saying goes, "face reality as it is, not as you wish it to be". In reality, UNRWA has a political agenda which casts a long shadow over its humanitarian agenda.

 

Make no mistake, since UNRWA was established 65 years ago, Israel has supported its important humanitarian mission, and continues to do so today. During this time, UNRWA and Israel have worked hand-in-hand to coordinate hundreds of projects that provide essential services for the Palestinian people. We also recognize UNRWA's important contribution to the welfare of Palestinian refugees.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

When UNRWA was established, their mandate included hundreds of thousands of refugees. Today, UNRWA asserts responsibility for over 5 million refugees. How did the number of refugees increase so dramatically when the purpose of a UN agency is to decrease it?

 

In 1950, the UN established the High Commissioner for Refugees to assist men, women, and children in dire situations around the world. That agency has helped tens of millions of people restart their lives and provide a brighter future for the next generation.

 

According to the UNHCR, you lose your refugee status if you become a citizen of another country. But in the Palestinian case, this restriction does not apply. UNRWA - and UNRWA alone - allows refugees to pass their refugee status to their children and now grandchildren.

 

If we were to apply UNHCR's standards to count the number of Palestinian refugees worldwide, the figure drops significantly. But the Palestinian refugees aren't counted using the UNHCR standards; they are counted using UNRWA's double standards.

 

If this politicization of the refugee issue was not enough, recently, UNRWA left no doubt about how deep its "political mission" goes. UNRWA's spokesperson clearly stated that one of UNRWA's goals is to validate the Palestinian narrative. I repeat - to validate the Palestinian narrative. Is 'validating' the Palestinian narrative within UNRWA's mandate? Is this what funding for humanitarian assistance is intended for?

 

It is no secret that the terrorist group Hamas, the de facto authority in the Gaza Strip, often obstructs humanitarian efforts. The fact that the Commissioner General did not mention today the responsibility Hamas bears for the situation in Gaza - does the Palestinians no favors.

 

UNRWA has often remained silent while Hamas endangers the lives of Palestinians, including refugees, and commits war crimes by using civilian areas to target Israeli citizens. UNRWA spokespeople are quick to make accusations against Israel, but go out of their way to avoid mentioning Hamas.

 

UNWRA had over 10,000 employees in Gaza - most of them Palestinian but also many internationals. Where were they when Hamas stockpiled thousands of rockets, many of them in close vicinity to UNWRA facilities. It seems that while they are quick to condemn Israel, when it comes to reporting on Hamas, UNWRA's employees become blind, deaf, and mute.

 

While Hamas stockpiled rockets in UNRWA schools in order to launch them at Israel from nearby, the UNRWA press statement only managed to condemn, quote, "group or groups responsible". Well, the group responsible has a name - Hamas. And it is an internationally recognized terrorist organization.

 

While Hamas is doing everything to obstruct reconstruction, Israel is doing everything it can to cooperate with UNRWA to help meet the humanitarian challenges in Gaza. Every day, hundreds of trucks carrying goods enter Gaza from Israel passing through Kerem Shalom crossing which is operating 24/7, at full capacity. In the past year, Israel has provided Gaza with millions of tons of equipment, materials and supplies to assist with reconstruction.

 

These are facts which we have not heard much of today.

UNRWA's interference with the political process is beyond the scope of its legitimate activities, and endangers the fulfillment of its mandate. Throughout last summer we witnessed UNWRA officials act as judge, jury, and executioner. They reported facts as they saw fit, assigned guilt, and predetermined what the outcome of the process needs to be. Such interferences only deepens the conflicts and distances us from peace.

 

For instance, UNRWA's recent massive media campaigns are fully in sync with the Palestinian political agenda, and serve no humanitarian purpose. Just listen to Hanan Ashrawi'sAnsari speech today and the usage of the word "justice", which UNRWA is now doing. Take out UNWRA's logo, it could well be an official Palestinian campaign.

 

UNRWA is also using its educational system to validate the Palestinian narrative, to fuel false promises, and to give credence to dangerous myths. From an early age, Palestinian children are taught that the only solution to their plight is the so-called "Claim of Return". Many UNRWA facilities are decorated with keys, symbolizing this claim of return. Young children are taught that these keys will one day open doors for them - but in truth these keys have them locked in a distorted reality.

 

The "claim of return", make no mistake, is a euphemism for the destruction of the State of Israel. This "claim" is the real obstacle to the two-state solution, to which Israel and so many of us in this room are fully committed. The only way to achieve peace is through direct negotiations.

 

The Middle East today is in a state of turmoil. Regimes are unstable, terrorist groups seize and hold territory, and the people suffer the consequences. Palestinian refugees in these countries are caught in the chaos.

 

In Syria, they face death and displacement from a bloody war. In Lebanon, refugee populations from Syria are denied a place to seek shelter from the ongoing violence. The existing Palestinian populations in Lebanon have for generations been segregated, and isolated from the rest of the Lebanese society.

 

In light of the real needs of the refugees, it is troubling that UNRWA would focus its resources on political campaigns, even as it cuts humanitarian assistance. Such campaigns only serve to support the Palestinian political agenda, and distance us from achieving peace.

 

Many of the Arab representatives expressed their so-called concern about situation of the Palestinian refugees. These Arab countries speak today about their suffering. However, when these governments had the opportunity to improve the lives of these refugees, they cynically exploited them for political purposes. Arab governments and the Arab League intentionally continue to sustain the problem of the Palestinian refugees by refusing to give them their basic rights.

 

Scan the list of UNRWA's top donors, and you will discover that in 2014 nine out of ten of them are western countries. Apparently, when it comes to helping Palestinian refugees, Arab countries can't find their wallets. Not only did the Arab states create and maintain the refugee problem, they expect others to pay for it.

 

An example of the hypocrisy by Arab states was evident today hearing the Saudi representative attack Israeli actions while Saudi forces are actively and indiscriminately attacking civilians, children's schools and hospitals. Mr. Ambassador, you can't buy your country out of this one so easily.

 

Mr. Commissioner General,

Even the good intentions are replaced by narrow political interests. In order to achieve the peaceful future we all hope for in the region, UNRWA must choose the right path. It must choose people over politics, neutrality over bias, and truth over propaganda. Only this path can solve the refugee problem rather than perpetuating it.

 

Thank you.

Ambassador David Roet
Copyright: UN Webcast

 

 

 

On Thursday evening, July 20th, the Embassy of Colombia in Tel Aviv celebrated Colombia’s National Day, the anniversary of the signing of the country’s declaration of independence. The event was held at the beautiful home of Colombian Ambassador to Israel, H.E. Mr. Fernando Alzate Donoso, and  wife Mrs.Nancy, in Kfar Shmaryahu.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Wednesday, 19 July 2017), held a series of bilateral meetings with the heads of government of the Visegard Group: Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo and Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico. (Prime Minister Netanyahu met yesterday with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.)

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​PM Netanyahu: We face common challenges, the first of which is to defeat the forces of terror that rampage through the world and threaten both our countries. We must stand together in this battle, much as we work together to perfect the future.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, this evening (Tuesday, 4 July 2017), at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem, hosted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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The EU Delegation in Israel and the Municipality of Tel-Aviv-Yafo presented:  Performance Europa!
Urban celebration of live performances and interactive installations
Tel Aviv’s White Night ,Rothschild 1 Plaza, 29 June 

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 On 11 June 2017, the 5thPhilippine Tourism and Country Fair organized by the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv,Municipality of Haifa and Castra Mall, opened in a festive atmosphere in the northern city of Haifa as the Philippines tries to sustain the rapid tourism growth from Israel.

During the one-day event, simultaneous activities on tourism and cultural promotion and highlights of the 60 years of strong bilateral relations between the Philippines and Israel were featured at the Castra Mall. Around 800 Israelis and Filipinos enjoyed the cultural program that showcased multi-awarded Filipino soprano singer, Ms. Francis Anne “Princess” Virtudazo, and the best talents from the Filipino community in Israel.

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Over 60 leading women from across the world joined together last month for a panel discussion showcasing Israeli females in the lead.
Organized by The Israel Project (TIP) and the Embassy of Cyprus in Israel, the event served as a platform to discuss and understand the challenges and opportunities facing women in Israeli society in the modern age.
Among the panelists were popular journalist Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes. Former IDF commander Miri Eisin and Israeli Olympic athlete Maayan Davidovich.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, today (Thursday, 15 June 2017), in Thessaloniki, at the third trilateral summit, signed joint statements for the continued strengthening of relations.

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A senior delegation from Tanzania, headed by Dr. Aloyce Nzuki, Permanent Secretary Ministry for Natural Resources and Tourism, arrived in Israel for a series of meetings and events designed to increase cooperation with the Israeli tourist industry, and encourage Israeli tourism and investments to enchanted, exotic Tanzania.

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At a festive ceremony attended by Minister of Education Naftali Bennett, the Lauder Dormitory Building was inaugurated today at the Technion
state of the art building was donated to the Technion by World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder and his wife Jo Carole

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09 June 2017 – Jerusalem) The U.S. Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations Nikki Haley visited Yad Vashem today. The Ambassador was guided through the Holocaust History Museum by Dr. Robert Rozett, Director of Yad Vashem Libraries, participated in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance, visited the Children's Memorial and signed the Yad Vashem Guest Book.

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President Reuven Rivlin today (Wednesday) met at his residence in Jerusalem with United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Nikki R. Haley.

President Rivlin welcomed her and said, “You are a dear friend of Israel. We appreciate your strong stand on the world’s most important stage, in support of the security of the people and the State of Israel. With your support we see the beginning of a new era. Israel is no longer alone at the UN. Israel is no longer the UN’s punching bag.”

He continued, “When I spoke at the UN on Holocaust Memorial Day, I said that the UN must learn from the lessons of the past, and stand up against hatred and racism. I said it must end its obsession with targeting Israel. Progress has been made. Israel’s standing at the UN has improved. But sadly, we have a long way to go. Both in holding to account, public statements made by officials, and in supporting regulation to reduce the ridiculous number of discussions and resolutions against Israel. This is also true in the Human Rights Council - which has been hijacked as a weapon against Israel - and in UNESCO, where they seek to rub out the history of the Jewish people.”

The President thanked the Ambassador for her great contribution to the State of Israel, and said, “Ambassador Haley, as the representative the US - Israel’s greatest and strongest ally - we appreciate very much your support of Israel, and all you do to stand up for the values of freedom and democracy which we share. Welcome to Israel, welcome to Jerusalem.”

Ambassador Haley thanked the President for his warm welcome and said, “Thank you Mr. President for taking the time to meet with us, it is an absolute thrill to be here in Israel, I so much appreciate the support we have received from the people of Israel. But I feel somewhat guilty because all I did at the United Nations was tell the truth. I have never taken kindly to bullies, and the UN has bullied Israel for a very long time, and we are not going to let that happen anymore. It is a new day for Israel in the United Nations. We just got back from Geneva, talking about the Human Rights Council and hopefully it will be a new day at the Human Rights Council when it comes to Israel.”

She concluded by saying she was greatly looking forward to her visit to Israel and said, “I am looking forward to taking in the history, the beauty, the tradition, and all that comes with the magic of Israel. Thank you very much for having me it is a pleasure to be here.”

Photo credit: Mark Neiman (GPO)

Friday was a beautiful late spring day; the gardens were lovely, the weather was fine; the guests were elegantly attired; the refreshments were generous and delicious; all the makings of a happy celebration marking the National Day of Sweden. H.E. Carl Magnus Nesser, ambassador of Sweden to the State of Israel, hosted the event at the ambassadorial residence in Herzlia Pituach.

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A fundamentally agricultural holiday, Shavuot commemorates the custom of bringing offerings to the Holy Temple from the first fruits of the harvest and the first animals born to the flocks.

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Tel Aviv Eat presents three evenings of tastings and workshops featuring the region’s leading restaurants and most prominent chefs. Entrance is free (including the chefs’ demonstrations), and tasting portions range in price from NIS 20-35. Doors open each evening at 18.00. There are several performance stages, live music, and stands selling beer.

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"Only when we remember the families who were torn apart from everyone they loved, who suffered that terrible darkness and evil, who had endured the unbearable horror of the Holocaust, only then can we prevent this agony from ever repeating." President Donald J. Trump

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