Hamas is a world threat

asianage.com

 Why Hamas is a threat to Israel, to the world and to Palestinians

Hamas staunchly opposes peace and coexistence, with its stated goal being the destruction of Israel. Instead of providing for the welfare of Gaza’s citizens, Hamas uses its resources to increase its military capabilities, benefit its own members, and pursue its goal of wiping the Jewish state off the map. 


Hamas is a radical Islamist terrorist organisation, the Palestinian equivalent of the Islamic State, or ISIS

Thirty-two-year-old Soumya Santosh from Idukki district in Kerala had been working in Israel for the last seven years. On May 10, 2021, tragedy struck when a Hamas rocket hit the house she had been working in as a caregiver in the southern Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon. She was on a video call with her husband in India when the initial Hamas rocket barrage began on the city. People ran for cover to the nearest rocket shelters. But some could not make it in time.

One such person was Soumya Santosh, who was killed immediately, while the elderly woman in her charge was hospitalised in serious condition. The nearest rocket shelter was at least a minute’s run away from their house and the pair were unable to reach it in time.

Soumya Santosh is survived by her husband and a nine-year-old son. There are many people like her, some foreigners, others Israelis, who would be alive today were it not for indiscriminate terror attacks by Hamas. There are many families and friends who have lost their loved ones because of Hamas operatives, who continue to take innocent lives in Israel.

Eli Kay, a young new immigrant from South Africa, wanted to live when he was shot down by a Hamas gunman on his way to the Western Wall. Khalil Awad and his 16-year-old daughter Nadin also wanted to live when a Hamas rocket fired from Gaza directly hit their home. Five-year-old Ido Abigail was killed by another Hamas rocket. Israeli teenagers Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali certainly wanted to live when they were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas operatives in Judea and Samaria.

We all believe in peace. We believe that even in the midst of the bitter animosities in the Middle East, conflicts can and should be resolved peacefully. Our shared values mean that we must fulfil the responsibility to build better lives for our children, and a better future for us all.

Hamas is a radical Islamist terrorist organisation, the Palestinian equivalent of the Islamic State, or ISIS. It aspires to take control and impose Sharia law throughout all areas of the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas staunchly opposes peace and coexistence, with its stated goal being the destruction of Israel. Instead of providing for the welfare of Gaza’s citizens, Hamas uses its resources to increase its military capabilities, benefit its own members, and pursue its goal of wiping the Jewish state off the map.  Earlier this month, the terrorist organisation had marked the 34th anniversary of its founding.

Hamas ruthlessly seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 in a violent and bloody coup, throwing their Palestinian political opponents off high-rises and publicly executing others in order to consolidate its own power. In the 14 years that have passed since, the Palestinians in Gaza have essentially had all of their democratic and human rights stripped away from them. Protests against the failing economy and electricity shortages that Hamas has brought about are responded to with beatings, arbitrary arrests and torture.

As its overtly antisemitic and anti-Western charter makes chillingly clear, Hamas’ primary goal is to “obliterate” Israel “through jihad” and extend its Islamic rule ‘from the river to the sea”. To achieve this end, Hamas has fired over 27,000 rockets and mortar bombs at Israeli civilians since 2001, including over 4,300 in the May of 2021 alone. Not only does Hamas deliberately target innocent Israelis, it also fires its rockets at Israel from residential areas in Gaza. Firing at civilians from within civilian areas is an outrageous double war crime, and Hamas does it for one reason — to maximise Palestinian deaths, simply in order to provoke misguided condemnations of the Jewish state and stoke anti-Israel sentiment across the world.

The harm that Hamas inflicts on its own people extends even beyond the borders of Gaza. According to media reports, weapons stored in the basement of a Hamas-controlled mosque in southern Lebanon exploded in a fire a few days ago, killing and injuring numerous people. By storing arms in a mosque in one of the poorest refugee camps in Lebanon, Hamas has yet again demonstrated its contempt for all human life, including that of the Palestinians.

Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live in peace. Hamas, however, stands firmly against the values of peace and democracy, and remains committed to destroying the lives and futures of both sides instead. Thirty-four years after its establishment, and 14 years since it violently took over Gaza, Hamas still represents one of the most significant obstacles to achieving peace and regional security.

Whoever aspires towards peace must understand and recognise that Hamas is a disaster. It is an extremist terror organisation that poses a threat to the Palestinian Authority, a danger to any prospect of peace, and seeks to obliterate Israel. These facts have now been recognised by over a dozen states, including Britain and Australia, who both recently designated Hamas in its entirety as a terror organisation. We are calling on all our friends to do the same.

We simply cannot leave Gaza in the hands of Hamas. Rather, we must focus our efforts on the “economy in return for security” vision outlined by Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid. To create stability and the prospect for a better life for both Gaza and Israel, we must act towards increasing international investment in the Gaza Strip, rehabilitating its infrastructure, cultivating other economic projects, and strengthening the Palestinian Authority.

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Double standard on violence

Why the double standard on West Bank violence?

Claims of a spike in settler violence made headlines while “routine” terror attacks, including murder by Palestinian Arabs against Jews, are downplayed or treated as justified.

Jonathan S. Tobin  , December 19, 2021

Jonathan S. Tobin is editor-in-chief of JNS – Jewish News Syndicate. Twitter @jonathans_tobin.

To the casual observer of news from the Middle East, it would appear that the biggest story coming out of Israel lately is what some outlets are describing as a surge in settler violence against Palestinians. According to B’Tselem, an anti-settler group that is nonetheless treated as if it is an impartial and objective source by Western publications, the number of attacks by Jews living in Judea and Samaria settlements on neighboring Arabs is allegedly up by nearly 50% in the previous year. In this telling, radical Jews – motivated by nationalism-inspired hatred for Arabs – are guilty of numerous instances of stone-throwing and even shootings, along with so-called “price tag” attacks in which Palestinian property is vandalized.

The question we should be asking about the hyping of the threat of settler violence is not whether it’s true that a small percentage of residents in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria have engaged in confrontations with Palestinians or that some have broken the law by committing violence. It’s whether the decision on the part of activist groups and some in the media to treat these incidents as emblematic of why it is wrong for Jews to live in the territories is justified, as well as why the focus on settler violence is almost always bereft of the broader context of what is going on in the West Bank on a far more frequent basis: daily attacks on Jews by Arabs, including murder.

While Arab violence doesn’t justify gratuitous Jewish responses or reprisals, there is something wrong if a few Jews throwing stones is considered far more important than the fact that attacks on Jews in the same areas is more or less the national sport of Palestinians.

The double standard is what is outrageous. All of the several hundred thousand Israelis who live in what the international community considers to be “occupied territory” and, by extension, the entire Jewish population of the country are held somehow responsible for the crimes of a few. Yet at the same time exponentially greater volumes of Palestinian violence is considered either unremarkable or somehow justified. If so, then it’s clear that the subject here is not so much the conduct of the settlers as it is the delegitimization of Jews.

The picture painted of incidents of Jewish violence in the various accounts that have been circulated by groups like B’Tselem, J Street and anti-Zionist publications like The Intercept and +972 Magazine, and then recycled in mainstream media outlets like The New York Times, is an ugly one.

Most of the perpetrators are “hilltop youth” – unruly young people who are inhabitants of settlements not authorized by the Israeli government. Others are profiled as disturbed young people who have slipped through the cracks of social-service agencies and are now acting out their personal issues in ways that exacerbate and further embitter the century-long conflict over Zionism. The accounts depict them as swooping down on innocent Palestinian farmers’ attempt to harvest olives, merely going about their daily lives while being subjected to brutal assaults.

As such, the settler violence problem isn’t merely deplored as criminal or shameful; it is held up as the embodiment of everything that liberal Jews and critics of Zionism think is wrong with contemporary Israel. The allegedly thuggish settler population illustrates notions about how nationalism and intolerance for Arabs is subverting, if not altogether obliterating, Jewish values and ethics.

Seen from this perspective, it’s not surprising that the problem was recently denounced by leading members of the Israeli government such as Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Security Minister Omar Bar-Lev. And those who denounce Jewish attacks on innocent Palestinian victims are right to say that it is wrong and, like any other instance of illegal behavior, should be denounced and punished.

But why is it that relatively rare incidents of Jewish misbehavior – which number, if one includes vandalism and treats as credible every single report made by Palestinians or anti-settler groups, a few hundred over the course of a year – are considered more newsworthy or shocking than Palestinian attacks of all kinds on settlers, which are a daily occurrence and likely number more than a few hundred every month. That’s especially true when the toll of terrorist attacks – the latest one having happened on Thursday, when a car full of yeshivah students was fired at by Palestinians, killing one of the Jews in the car and wounding two others – are rarely considered all that newsworthy even when they result in murder.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s response to the statements from members of his cabinet was derided by some as an attempt to appease those who voted for his Yamina Party and who believe that he betrayed them by forming a coalition with left-wingers. But he spoke the truth when he tweeted that “the settlers in Judea and Samaria have been suffering from violence and terrorism every day for decades,” and that it was wrong to engage in generalizations about settlers because of the behavior of a few people.

One of the reasons for the obsessive focus on settler violence is that it is partly understandable that the Jewish world would be more interested in what some Jews do than in the conduct of others. Still, that introspection – which in many cases becomes not so much a case of soul-searching as it is a desire to denigrate and denounce those whom the Jewish left despises because of their politics – is far from being the complete answer.

It’s also a function of the lower standard by which Palestinian Arabs are always judged. Though those who are angered by attacks on them claim the moral high ground, the pass they give the Arabs for their far more frequent practice of terrorism speaks to a kind of racist condescension, rather than respect or concern for their well-being.

Also absent from this discussion is any context regarding some of the incidents involving alleged Jewish violence. Many of them occur in fracases over disputed property when Palestinians seek to cultivate land to which they have no legal title, often adjacent to Jewish communities. The assumption in many accounts of settler behavior that the Jews are always in the wrong in these disturbances is unjustified.

It’s also true that – in contrast to the left-wing groups and the Israeli intelligence services and military whose job it is to monitor settler violence because of the security implications – statistics from Israeli Police tell a slightly different story. As The Times of Israel reported in a story in which the police’s account is buried underneath that of the settlers’ accusers:

“The Israel Police says the number of incidents is decreasing by the year even as indictments go up. According to official police figures, from 2019 to 2021 there has been a 61.1% drop in so-called ‘price tag’ attacks, in which extremist settlers assault Palestinians or vandalize their property in response to Israeli authorities taking action against them. They also say that the number of indictments of Jewish extremists has doubled from 16 to 32 over the past year.”

If so, then not only is the problem not growing, but contrary to those who accuse Israeli authorities of turning a blind eye to settler violence if not condoning it, the government has been cracking down, as they should, on offenders.

Illegal behavior can’t be justified even if it comes after so many attacks on Jews. But the public breast-beating about the settlers and the so-called moral toll of the “occupation” is not merely disproportionate. It is also part of a narrative intended to whitewash, rationalize and even justify violence against Jews for having the temerity to live in parts of the Jewish homeland where Arabs don’t want them. Those who treat this as one more reason to demonize the settlers or Zionism aren’t merely exaggerating the problem; they are inflating it in order to support a cause whose aim isn’t adjusting Israel’s borders but to destroy the Jewish state.

Reprinted with permission from JNS.org.

 

 

 

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False narrative against Israel

NGOs  supposedly promote human rights while falsely condemning Israel

Human Rights Watch has been condemned for releasing reports that are based primarily on Palestinian eyewitnesses’ testimony. It has been accused of suspecting anyone wearing a uniform, of relying on poor research and receiving information from elements that are hostile to Israel, like themilitants of Hamas or Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) groups.

Reprinted from Daily Alert, December 16, 2021

  • How Objective Are Human Rights NGOs When It Comes to Israel? – Elizabeth Blade
    Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International frequently condemn Israel. In 2019, it was reported that the head of Amnesty devoted 70% of his tweets to the “illegal” acts of the Jewish state. Mitchell Bard, an American foreign policy analyst, says this “bias” has been “consistent for many years now. There is a desire to fight for the underdogs and the Palestinians are seen as victims of a stronger neighbor.” Also, “there is an element of anti-Semitism as Israel is singled out far more often than true human rights abusers.”
    Human Rights Watch has been condemned for releasing reports that are based primarily on Palestinian eyewitnesses’ testimony. It has been accused of suspecting anyone wearing a uniform, of relying on poor research and receiving information from elements that are hostile to Israel, like the militants of Hamas or Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) groups. These organizations “are very damaging to Israel because their reports are accepted by the media without any questions, so their views are parroted and amplified.”
    Israel cannot do much to change the situation. “Israel can disseminate the facts, but they are not always reported in the media. Frequently, [Israeli] government statements are deemed to have less credibility than the supposedly objective NGOs. Israel can expose their biases, but they have a halo effect of the false image of neutrality.”  (Sputnik-Russia)
  • Deconstructing Definitions of Apartheid that Delegitimize the Jewish State – Joshua Kern and Anne Herzberg
    Certain NGOs have alleged that Israel is guilty of the crime against humanity of apartheid. However, the definition of apartheid used by these NGOs is not legally substantiated. These groups promote artificial and manufactured definitions designed to demonize Israel.
    This report provides a full analysis grounded in international law of apartheid’s definition and concludes that the legal basis for the definition proposed by certain NGOs is doubtful. (NGO Monitor)
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Palestinians must accept Israel

arabnews.com

Time for Palestinians to stop just saying ‘no’

Palestinians always start their “negotiations” from the point of suffering and conflict, making their situation worse. They rejected Trump’s deficient plan outright and upped the ante by increasing their negative rhetoric, believing it would enhance public support. It didn’t. No one likes a complainer, especially one that refuses to engage.

Ray Hanania

For most Arabs, former President Donald Trump will be remembered for ordering a ban on many Muslims entering the US and for undermining the peace process for Palestine. The reality is that Trump could not achieve peace between Israel and Palestine because the Palestinians never really tried to negotiate or offer ideas.

The Palestinians believed Trump was biased and too close to former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Yet, in an interview this week, Trump revealed that he disliked Netanyahu and stated that the Israeli PM “never wanted peace” with the Palestinians.

So, what really happened? Although Netanyahu embraced Trump’s peace plan, the Palestinians immediately rejected it and refused to offer a counterproposal or discuss changes.

Netanyahu may not have wanted to make peace, but he did not let his attitude show, at least not until the Palestinians pulled the rug out from Trump’s efforts and the deal was declared dead on arrival.

What it all showed was that Netanyahu — and the Israelis generally — understand diplomacy and politics better than the Palestinians. Unfortunately, the Palestinians and their activist voices have no idea how to effectively engage in diplomatic wrangling or to manipulate politics through the management of public opinion. They only know how to react to opinion, not control it.

Palestinians always start their “negotiations” from the point of suffering and conflict, making their situation worse. They rejected Trump’s deficient plan outright and upped the ante by increasing their negative rhetoric, believing it would enhance public support. It didn’t. No one likes a complainer, especially one that refuses to engage.

Although Trump did seek to prohibit immigrants and visitors from six predominantly Muslim nations from entering the US, these countries represented only a small part of the Muslim world, which consists of some 50 nations. But calling it a “Muslim ban” made it easier for foes of the Trump peace plan to get angrier and stiffen their opposition. It also deflected any blame from the Palestinian leadership and activists. The exaggerated “ban” on Muslims was an excuse to reject everything Trump did.

That is not to say that Trump was the great negotiator he claimed he was or that he was a great president. He was simply left with no options but to fall into Netanyahu’s arms.

He moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, an action of great significance, but in reality it has not affected the genuine drive to achieve peace.

Even with the US Embassy in Jerusalem, there was still an opportunity to achieve peace. Rather than make the embassy move a dealbreaker for peace, the Palestinians could have recognized it as being only the beginning of a process. They could have pushed for a better deal.

Instead, Palestinians did what they always do: React to Israeli provocations and make Israel look good. While Netanyahu kept his views about not wanting to make peace to himself, the Palestinians made rejection of the plan their “Masada.”

The word “no” is not a strategy. It is a symbol of weakness, not a substitute for effective or strategic leadership.

Trump gave Palestinians an opportunity to engage, but they refused, leaving him to embrace Israel’s interests and demands. Yet, now that Trump is no longer in the White House, Palestinians don’t want to ask themselves, “What changed?” They don’t ask that question because, in reality, nothing has changed.

President Joe Biden has offered mild support to the Palestinians; enough to upset some Israelis but not enough to make a difference. Unlike the Palestinians, the Israelis will not walk away and leave the president with the Palestinians. They are doing what the Palestinians failed to do with Trump: Pushing back, organizing public relations campaigns and pushing for the adoption of pro-Israel legislation in the US Congress.

Palestinians need to be smarter. They need to change their strategies and silence fanatics who beat the drums of anger, hate and emotion as tools to empower themselves.

The Palestinians can win by trumping Israel — making themselves more vocal about peace and nonviolence than the Israelis.

They certainly need a better communications strategy to win over the public. Palestinians do a horrible job of public relations — actually, they have no public relations. In effect, they make no real effort to win the hearts and minds of the American people, who could be instrumental in countering Israel’s massive propaganda campaign.

Instead, Palestinians leave the field open, allowing Israel to control everything: The narrative, the message, defining history, and determining what is and is not true.

The Palestinians can win by trumping Israel — making themselves more vocal about peace and nonviolence than the Israelis.

Ray Hanania

The Arab world’s support for Palestine has changed symbolically, but not intrinsically. Recognition of Israel by the UAE only creates an environment to litigate for peace. Ony last week, the UAE and Saudi Arabia said that Israel must recognize the rights of the Palestinians and allow a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem.

And Saudi Arabia’s UN envoy this week said during an interview on Arab News’ “Frankly Speaking” that the Kingdom continues to advocate for the implementation of its 2002 Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal as a condition for normalized relations.

The only way peace works is if Palestinians stop saying “no” and start engaging diplomatically and strategically.

  • Ray Hanania is an award-winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and columnist. He can be reached on his personal website at www.Hanania.com. Twitter: @RayHanania

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News’ point-of-view

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UNRWA promotes hatred not coexistence

Palestinians promote hatred, Israel promotes coexistence

 “The gangsters behind the BDS [movement] are causing a lot of damage to the Palestinians,” said Eid in an interview. “I want to raise awareness among the U.S. judicial system about how much damage they are causing. If they poured all of the money they are spending on boycotts into building factories and creating jobs in the West Bank and Gaza, it would go a long way to truly helping Palestinians.”  (New York Post)

Reprinted from Dailyalert.org, November 18, 2021

  • Palestinian Human Rights Activist Sues over Ben and Jerry’s Boycott, Saying It Promotes Hatred – Isabel Vincent
    Palestinian human rights activist Bassem Eid filed a complaint with New York state’s Division of Human Rights last month against Conopco Inc., the U.S. division of Unilever that owns Ben & Jerry’s, charging that its boycott in the West Bank is “counterproductive to peace and creates only more hatred, enmity and polarization.”
    Eid said the boycott will have an adverse effect on the people it is trying to help. “I, as a Palestinian, as well as many of my friends, family and other Palestinians, are regular shoppers at the Gush Etzion commercial center” in the West Bank. “This shopping area is the true realization of coexistence, as both Jews and Muslims from both Israel and the Palestinian-controlled territories…work and shop here.”
    “The gangsters behind the BDS [movement] are causing a lot of damage to the Palestinians,” said Eid in an interview. “I want to raise awareness among the U.S. judicial system about how much damage they are causing. If they poured all of the money they are spending on boycotts into building factories and creating jobs in the West Bank and Gaza, it would go a long way to truly helping Palestinians.”  (New York Post)
  • UNRWA Is a Nursery for Growing Palestinian Refugees – Itamar Marcus
    Is funding UNRWA good for the Palestinians? Even if UNRWA fixed its schoolbooks and guaranteed that UNRWA schools will no longer hide terror tunnels, it will still remain possibly the most human rights abusing institution funded by the international community.
    Prior to the Trump administration, the U.S. was the largest donor to UNRWA. During the Obama administration, the U.S. gave UNRWA over $2 billion. During those years, the number of refugees increased by 700,000. The U.S. investment did not rehabilitate even one refugee. Moreover, the core UNRWA budget since Obama’s first year has risen from $545 million to $806 million today.
    By refusing to resettle the original refugees, UNRWA turned a limited problem into permanent misery, including for the 5.5 million people who were born refugees. UNRWA is the real Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe). For all other refugees, the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has helped resettle over 50 million refugees in the same period that UNRWA didn’t resettle even one. UNRWA imposed refugee status on millions of children, some born 72 years ago, trampling their right to be born into freedom.
    Funding UNRWA is not only a waste of limited international resources but is funding an organization that is fundamentally a human rights abuser. It is not intended to help the refugees but to preserve them as refugees serving the PA’s goals. The UNRWA infrastructure must be closed and its administration transferred to UNHCR – free of the dictates of the PA. UNHCR will be tasked with solving the problem instead of perpetuating the problem. UNHCR will use its billions to train them, create jobs and give them homes in the countries where they were born and lived their entire lives. Resettling these people is a human rights imperative. (Jerusalem Post)
  • UNRWA Doesn’t Need More Funding, It Needs to Be Shut Down – Editorial
    There has been a drop in countries funding the UN Palestinian refugee organization UNRWA recently, in large part following reports which show where the money is going. The textbooks and education system in UNRWA-run schools support terrorism and the cult of martyrdom. Hamas has created terror tunnels and weapons stores under UNRWA schools in Gaza, using the children as human shields.
    The Palestinians have been granted perpetual refugee status. According to UNRWA, someone born this week can be considered a refugee of a war that occurred more than seven decades ago. UNRWA has created a bigger refugee problem and, at the same time, perpetuated the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Israel, Jordan and UAE to Sign Deal for Huge Solar Farm – Barak Ravid (Axios)
    Israel, Jordan and the UAE are set to sign a deal on Monday in Dubai, pushed along by U.S. climate envoy John Kerry, to build a massive solar farm in the Jordanian desert, Israeli officials said.
    The UAE-funded solar farm will provide energy mainly to Israel, which will build a desalination plant on its Mediterranean coast to provide water to Jordan.
Posted in Alternative Energy, Business and Commerce, Climate Change, Education, Islam, Middle East Report, Monotheistic Religions, Recent Posts, Solar Energy | Comments Off on UNRWA promotes hatred not coexistence

Israeli tech fights climate change

timesofisrael.com

World Bank envoy: Israeli tech to help build greener future in pandemic recovery

Israel’s history of coping with environmental challenges and its creative startup culture have sparked the interest of the World Bank and put Israeli firms in a good position to secure lucrative investments and make an impact

By Luke Tress

The developing world’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic presents an opportunity for a greener, more sustainable future, and Israeli technology will play a key part in the process, said Israel’s envoy to the World Bank, Yovav Gavish.

Israel’s history of coping with environmental challenges and its creative startup culture have sparked the interest of the World Bank and put Israeli firms in a good position to secure lucrative investments and make an impact, Gavish said.

“There is huge potential there because Israel has faced many of the challenges that developing countries are now facing. Drought, water shortages, energy dependency,” he said.

 

Gavish spoke with The Times of Israel shortly before he accompanied the bank’s president, David Malpass, on a Wednesday visit to Israel to meet with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and other top officials.

The bank, founded in 1944, counts 189 countries as members and seeks to alleviate extreme poverty and promote sustainable prosperity by providing financial assistance to poorer countries, among other measures. It is one of the leading sources of financing and knowledge for developing countries.

COVID-19 rolled back years of progress in the developing world, pushing roughly 100 million more people into extreme poverty in 2020, 161 million more people into food shortages and 1.6 billion children out of school, the bank said in a recent report. Over 100 million more people are expected to fall into extreme poverty, living on under $1.90 per day, in 2021.

The vaccination rate for many developing countries remains in the single digits, and governments lack the resources for the kind of hefty stimulus packages that have spurred economic recovery in wealthier nations.

Brazilians wait in line for food donated by the Covid Without Hunger organization in the Jardim Gramacho slum of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

The World Bank has deployed $157 billion to combat the pandemic’s toll and is working in 142 countries. The bank defines a country as low income if it has a gross national per capita income of under $1,045, while lower-middle-income countries earn up to $4,095 per capita. Twenty-seven countries are designated as low-income economies, and 55 are considered lower-middle-income.

The pandemic, alongside the climate chaos of the past year, has opened some opportunities, said Gavish, who holds a board position with the bank, where he deals with international projects and handles bank issues related to Israel, including investments and international cooperative efforts.

The bank has developed a plan, dubbed the Green, Resilient and Inclusive Development (GRID) strategy, for pandemic recovery.

Israel’s envoy to the World Bank, Yovav Gavish. (Courtesy)

“We look at it as an opportunity because, first, it’s a wake-up call for many how important the green agenda is, and we see it today with all the climate-related cases, whether it’s fires, flooding, hurricanes, drought,” Gavish said. “Since we have to start the economy again we see it as an opportunity for increasing investment in a more climate-friendly and inclusive way.”

The plan is in accord with the 2015 Paris Agreement to combat climate change and aims to help fulfill the agreement’s sustainable development goals.

Reaching those goals would cost over $3 trillion per year, necessitating private sector investment and new technology, Gavish said.

“We cannot rely on traditional technologies. There needs to be some kind of a disruption, and this is where we see Israel and Israeli solutions come into play,” he said, adding that Israel has coped with many of those issues with innovativeness  and creativity in the fields of agricultural technology, water technology, digital health and other areas.

Farmers watch an encroaching fire after digging trenches to keep the flames from spreading to the farm in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil, Aug. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

The World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) provides loans, equity and advisory services to boost private sector investments in developing countries. The IFC is one of the world’s leading investors in emerging markets; it made $22 billion in long-term financial commitments in 2020. Around $1.5 billion of that sum went to startups and disruptive technologies for smaller firms with both higher risk and greater potential.

The organization has become more interested in Israeli technologies, mainly in the fields of agriculture, water and digital health, which all intersect with the climate crisis, along with energy technology.

The World Bank has focused its attention on Africa more than any other area, with around 30 percent of its portfolio in the region, since poverty will grow the most there in the coming decade. Many startups are eager to work in Africa, where there is less competition but significant capital investment from governments, multinational companies and aid organizations that work with small farmers.

Digital health has become a focus for the IFC, and although Israel is a leader in the field, most of the Israeli technology is geared toward countries with more advanced infrastructure, limiting its usefulness in developing countries.

For startups, investments from the IFC provide funding, prestige and opportunity, Gavish said.

“It’s not only the environmental impact, but there’s a huge business opportunity for technologies that can do carbon capture, for renewable energies, agriculture, water, you name it,” he said.

World Bank President David Malpass speaks during a news conference at the World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings in Washington, Oct. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

World Bank president Malpass met with Bennett, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz and a roundtable of digital health startups to discuss regional cooperation, trade facilitation and collaboration on health and technology during his whirlwind visit on Wednesday. Earlier in the week, he visited Sudan, Jordan and the West Bank.

IFC investments in Israel so far include the agriculture technology companies SeeTree and Netafim.

SeeTree provides services to farmers, powered by artificial intelligence, that identify the health and growth rate of trees and provide information for growth plans, including tracking for pests and diseases and the best time to harvest. The technology greatly improves yields, which in turn increases farmer income and allows for better planning and marketing. The IFC invested $8 million in the company.

The organization committed $69 million to Netafim, a global leader in irrigation technology, to help the company expand into sub-Saharan Africa, China and Turkey. Netafim’s drip irrigation enables greater agricultural yields with less water, which will help water-scarce areas better meet food demands, become more resilient to drought and boost income.

At the IFC’s Transformational Business Awards event for 2020, 11 of the 35 finalists were from Israel, and in 2019, six Israeli startups were chosen out of 270 global firms for awards in a number of categories.

Israel has also funded a program the IFC managed called TechEmerge that matches innovative technology solutions with emerging markets. Eight Israeli firms have been shortlisted for pilot programs through the initiative.

“The trend globally for impact investing is growing, and in Israel there are so many opportunities emerging, so I think there is a huge opportunity to be an impact nation and not just a startup nation,” Gavish said.

Posted in Air & Water, Alternative Energy, Climate Change, Judaism, Middle East Report, Recent Posts, Science and Technology, Solar Energy | Comments Off on Israeli tech fights climate change

Palestinians promote hatred

Palestinians Promote Hatred and Revisionist History

Many Palestinians have been so successfully radicalized by their leaders that they want to see Israel removed from the face of the earth. Hate has been embedded so successfully that they would rather see their people suffer and die than accept any accommodation with Israel.

  • Reprinted from Daily Alert,  September 9, 2021
  • Why U.S. Aid to the PA Will Not Bring Peace – Khaled Abu Toameh
    As the Biden administration steps up its efforts to bolster the Palestinian Authority (PA), Palestinians seem to be increasingly losing faith in their leaders. Many are even saying that they support the annulment of the 1993 Oslo Accords, and that the only peace process they would support is one that leads to the elimination of Israel.
    U.S. financial aid may prop up the PA in the short term. In the long term, however, U.S. dollars will not restore the Palestinians’ confidence in Abbas or the PA leadership. U.S. dollars will not drive Palestinians to accept Israel’s right to exist. The same applies to similar Israeli gestures.
    According to the latest polling, many Palestinians have been so successfully radicalized by their leaders that they want to see Israel removed from the face of the earth. Hate has been embedded so successfully that they would rather see their people suffer and die than accept any accommodation with Israel.
    The only way to change this brutal reality is by halting the messages of hate and the delegitimization of Israel. Until that happens, Palestinians will continue to pocket money from the U.S. and other Western donors, while at the same time moving closer to Hamas and further from any peace with Israel. (Gatestone Institute)
  • Palestinianism and the New Anti-Semitism – Richard L. Cravatts
    A current propaganda campaign seeks to enshrine Palestinianism, in which the suffering of Palestinians trumps the historic suffering and dispossession of the Jews. It is based on the wholesale, deliberate appropriation of the language and symbols of the Jews by the foes who wish to eradicate not only the Jewish past, but the very existence of the Jewish state. Thus, the actual genocide of European Jewry during the Holocaust is either minimized or denied by the Arab world at the same time that Israel is denounced for committing a new “holocaust” against the Palestinians.
    While Arab aggression and homicidal impulses against Jews have been unrelenting, before and since the creation of Israel, Palestinianism has been successful in casting the Arab Palestinians as the perennial victim of Jewish supremacism, even though the aims of the Islamists to establish a Muslim-only state in historic Palestine is the very form of self-determination that is repeatedly decried on the part of Israel for being racist, inhumane, internationally criminal, and morally unacceptable.
    The writer is President Emeritus of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME). (Times of Israel)

 

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World will suffer from Afghanistan debacle

jpost.com

Afghanistan: ‘America will pay a price for years to come,’ say experts

“The news and images so far suggest considerable damage to the moral leadership of the US in the world,” Henderson said. “The decision to withdraw after 20 years was at least explicable. The implementation has been a disaster.”

By OMRI NAHMIAS   AUGUST 16, 2021

WASHINGTON – The US’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan has cast a shadow over the Biden administration’s foreign policy. That the Taliban easily drove through Kabul to recapture the presidential palace is a blow for the administrations’ assessment.

On July 8, Biden was asked whether he believed a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan was inevitable. “No, it is not,” he said. “The Afghan troops have 300,000 well-equipped – as well-equipped as any army in the world – and an air force against something like 75,000 Taliban. It is not inevitable.”

“Do I trust the Taliban? No,” Biden continued. “But I trust the capacity of the Afghan military, who is better trained, better equipped and more competent in terms of conducting war.”

It turned out to be yet another miscalculation by the US in Afghanistan. How didn’t the US see this coming? What could be the regional implications of the withdrawal?

The White House didn’t see this coming, “but the intelligence community almost certainly did,” Simon Henderson, a Baker fellow and director of the Bernstein Program on Gulf and Energy Policy at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy think tank, told The Jerusalem Post.

“President Biden seems to have seen the withdrawal as important to his political reputation,” he said. “Perhaps, but he has made a huge mistake for the reputation of the United States. We will have to wait for leaks about which of his advisers suggested caution and who encouraged him.”

“The news and images so far suggest considerable damage to the moral leadership of the US in the world,” Henderson said. “The decision to withdraw after 20 years was at least explicable. The implementation has been a disaster.”

Michael O’Hanlon is a senior fellow and director of research in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, where he specializes in US defense strategy, the use of military force and American national security policy.

“Some did see it coming,” he told the Post. “But President Biden decided it was okay to run this risk.”

“I disagree with him strongly and yet suspect that the damage for broader US foreign policy will be limited,” he said. “This was a special case.”

Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice president at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said there is a significant disconnect between policy-makers and the military regarding the situation in Afghanistan, to say nothing of intelligence.

“Anyone with their eyes open could see this outcome coming from a mile away,” he told the Post. “But the political leadership wanted their withdrawal. This is a sign of poor interagency coordination, to put it mildly. To put it more bluntly, this is policy malpractice that was preventable. It will cost thousands of lives.”

“America will pay a price for this botched withdrawal for years to come,” Schanzer said. “The resurgence of the Taliban will have an impact on the global jihadist movement, which is now energized. The perception of a feckless America will embolden revisionist powers like China and Russia.

“Meanwhile, America’s allies in the Middle East are watching nervously, wondering when the next withdrawal may take place and whether that will leave them more exposed. This will prompt consideration of new alliance structures.”

According to John Hannah, a senior fellow at JINSA and a former US official, “As soon as President Biden announced last spring that US troops were abandoning Afghanistan, the final chapter that we’re watching unfold of a complete Taliban takeover was written.”

“Almost everyone inside the US government who studied Afghanistan closely understood this was coming if the US military very rapidly withdrew all support for the Afghan security forces, especially close air support and logistics,” he told the Post. “I don’t believe this was a major intelligence failure by the US military and intelligence agencies. They fully understood this could happen. It was purely a political decision by President Biden to ignore these warnings.”

“Biden has considered Afghanistan a lost cause and drain on US resources for more than a decade,” Hannah said. “He saw in former president [Donald] Trump’s commitment to have all US troops out by May 1, which he inherited, as a unique opportunity to fulfill his long-standing desire to end America’s military involvement in Afghanistan, and he jumped on it.”

“Biden made a conscious decision to accept that risk and the potential damage it could inflict on American foreign policy, as well as on his political support in the United States,” he said. “He likely believes that while the majority of the American people will feel badly about the horrors that now await the Afghan people, they will ultimately be supportive of the decision to finally end this forever war and stop pouring more US blood and treasure into what they consider a lost cause.”

“The total collapse of Afghanistan and return of the Taliban is a foreign-policy disaster for the United States,” Hannah said.

“The risk of Islamist terrorism will very likely increase, not just against governments throughout the Muslim world, but against the West as well,” he said. “American adversaries in places like Iran, Russia and China will be emboldened by the US defeat and humiliation and will seek to take advantage by filling the perceived vacuum of US leadership.

“American allies in the Middle East and around the world, who have hitched their own deterrence and security to US power and credibility, will shudder in concern and fear over what America’s abandonment of its long-standing allies in Afghanistan means for them,” Hannah said.

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