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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

February 16, 2003



Peter Hansen must have learned well from the Palestinians whom his United Nations agency claims to serve: Create a in part your own problems, complain to the media about your plight and blame Israel.

His organization - the United Nations Relief and Works Agency - is on the verge of running out of money to feed 1.1 million people in the West Bank and Gaza. A New York Times account which related this development stated that the agency has relied on an emergency fund to supply growing needs for food, shelter and jobs in the territories since the current war began 28 months ago.

In the last two months, the agency has received a commitment of $1.5 million of the $94 million it has sought in donations to replenish the emergency fund. Hansen, who is UNRWA's commissioner general, attributed the dearth of donations to uncertainty about aid needs after a possible war in Iraq and other crises around the world.

Yet he did concede that the current war with the Palestinians might be producing what the Times dubbed "donor fatigue."

The United Nations can take some credit for the war's persistence. As I have griped in a previous writing, a terrorist network sprouted up in the Jenin refugee camp right under the noses of UNRWA staff. A number of suicide bombers who murdered Jews in Israel proper were known to have operated out of the Jenin camp.

Israeli soldiers discovered a virtual fortress in Jenin during their controversial raid last April, and Israeli officials claimed that UNRWA never reported the militant presence to the U.N. If they did report it to the U.N., no known steps were taken to stop it. UNRWA officials had said they reported the matter to the Palestinian Authority police, which would not guarantee appropriate action.

Of course, the U.N.'s failure to take sufficient steps to rid the camp of the terrorist set-up contributes to the violence which, in turn, has led to the drying-up of funds.

Hansen seems ready to sing, Cry for me, Palestine. Rations have already been cut to 120,000 families in Gaza and he feared what might happen if further cuts are made. "In political terms, it will send a message to the refugees that they have been forgotten, and they will feel betrayed."

Whose fault is that? Israel didn't sit quietly by while terrorists established a suicide-bombing base in a camp that Hansen's group operated.

As they say, what goes around comes around.

Oh, yeah, one suggestion to find money for food: Fire Hansen.

The writer can be reached at