Thursday, 26 November 2009

DO ARAB STATES CARE ABOUT PALESTINIAN ARABS?

Ken Berwitz

Michael Freund of the Jerusalem Post asks, and brilliantly answers, this question below:

Fundamentally Freund: Do the Arab states really care about the Palestinians?

 

For all their talk of standing by the Palestinians, the Arab regimes sure have a strange way of showing it. Despite reaping an oil-driven windfall last year of unprecedented proportions, few Arab states seem willing to dig very deep into their own pockets to back up their concern with cash.

Indeed, the hollowness of their pro-Palestinian pronouncements was unambiguously on display last week in Amman, at a meeting of the Advisory Commission of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, better known by its acronym of UNRWA.

Among the central topics discussed at the gathering was the growing financial crisis confronting the organization, which relies on voluntary contributions from governments to fund its activities on behalf of Palestinian refugees.

In her remarks, Karen Abu Zayd, UNRWA's commissioner-general, bemoaned the group's financial state, describing it as "my most worrying preoccupation."

She told those assembled that the agency is facing a deficit of $84 million this year, and that it projects a budget shortfall of $140m. in 2010. "UNRWA's weak financial situation," Abu Zayd said, "hinders our ability to discharge our responsibilities to the standards Palestinian refugees deserve."

FOR THE past several years, it seems, UNRWA has been in increasingly dire straits. Indeed, on Tuesday of last week, the group's 16,000 employees in Judea, Samaria and Gaza held a one-day strike to demand better pay.

Why, you might be wondering, have the UN agency's troubles been mounting of late? After all, fuel prices surged last year, with oil peaking in July 2008 at a high of $150 a barrel, so the coffers of Arab treasuries throughout the region were hardly lacking for funds with which to aid their Palestinian brethren.

I wondered too, so I did some research and discovered a few surprising facts about the colossal gap between Arab rhetoric and Palestinian reality.

Consider the following: In 2008, 19 of the top 20 donors to UNRWA's general fund were from the West, with the EU contributing over $116m., and the US more than $94m. Others, such as Sweden and the UK, each gave over $35m.

Just one Arab country - Kuwait - appeared among UNRWA's top 20 benefactors. The Kuwaitis came in last on the list, having coughed up just $2.5m.

Given that Kuwait's oil revenues last year surged by 44 percent to nearly $78 billion, you would think that if they really, truly cared about the Palestinians, this would have been reflected in the size of their donation to UNRWA.

Nonetheless, when compared to the other five Arab states that comprise the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) - Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - the Kuwaitis come out looking generous.

In 2008, the combined revenues of the GCC states from oil production amounted to a whopping $575b. Yet their joint contribution to UNRWA's regular budget was a little more than $3.6m., signifying less than one one-thousandth of a percent of their total petroleum income! Bahrain gave a miserly $50,000, Oman forked over just $25,000, while Saudi Arabia coughed up zero.

I've been to Hadassah dinners where more money was raised in an hour than the Arab states seem willing to part with in an entire year.

In fact, over the past two decades, Arab regimes have been providing a steadily decreasing percentage of UNRWA's funding. In the 1980s, their contributions amounted to 8% of the group's annual budget, whereas now they comprise barely 3%.

As a result, Western states are currently providing more than 95% of the funds behind UNRWA's ongoing programs.

Now don't get me wrong - I am not shedding any tears over UNRWA's difficulties. The organization has long been a vehicle for perpetuating the Palestinian refugee problem as a lever for pressuring Israel, and it has not shied away from working closely with Hamas in Gaza, or serving as a vehicle for anti-Israel and anti-Western indoctrination.

But UNRWA's woes lay bare the breathtaking hypocrisy of the Arab states. They lambaste Israel at every opportunity over the condition of the Palestinians, even as they themselves do very little to alleviate the problem.

Sure, some Arab countries have kicked in funds to various UNRWA emergency appeals, while others provide aid to Palestinians via other channels.

But the numbers above lead one to wonder: do the Arab states really care about the Palestinians?

If UNRWA's ledger is any guide, the answer is a clear and resounding "no."

So tell me:  How is this OUR problem when Palestinian Arabs' own brethren behave this way?

Is it that Arab states don't care about Palestinian Arabs?

Or....

Is it that they want Palestinian Arabs in a state of complete squalor and degradation, so the Arab states have a receptive audience when they pump Gazans and west bankers full of hatred against Israel (which, through providing goods and services, contributes more to Palestinian Arabs in Gaza and the west bank than any Arab state - so help me)?

See, if you make sure they have nothing, keep them in a perpetual state of rage, and have the state-controlled media tell them every day that Israel is the cause, you have a fighting machine that will try to vaporize Israel and kill every Jew there (and elsewhere).  And it it costs you next to nothing.  Let the suckers in the west spend their money instead.   

Based on what Mr. Freund has shown us, that is what Arab states care about when it comes to Palestinian Arabs.


GAIL COLLINS: IGNORANCE ON PARADE

Ken Berwitz

Maybe there's still time to make a balloon of New York Times columnist Gail Collins.  Since she's parading her ignorance in today's paper, they can also put it in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, so children can see her right up there with the cartoon characters.

If your stomach is strong, you can read Ms. Collins' entire column, which manages to attack almost every one of her political bogeypeople (men and women both).  But since you may want it to stay in condition for today's turkey dinner, I'll "treat" you to just one small excerpt:

Its not really fair. The president knows he could jump-start the economy, fix health care and do his ambitious energy policy if only the last administration hadnt cut taxes, started two wars and created a new, large Medicare entitlement without paying for any of it.

There you have it folks.  Barack Obama is a savior, sent to us from God above, who could make everything perfect.  But George Bush - the fellow who hasn't been President for almost a year now - is stopping him cold.  Hail Obama.  Damn Bush. 

Ok, let's think about this (since what you just read is badly in need of some thinking - which should have occurred before it was written):

-Were the tax cuts some kind of problem?  The tax cuts jump-started our economy after 9/11 - which grew the GDP, created millions and millions of jobs and benefitted the entire country, from top to bottom;

-Did George Bush start the war in Afghanistan?  Or did 9/11?  Maybe Ms. Collins forgot about 9/11 since it was only a couple of miles from the Times Building, but her Democratic heroes didn't.  They were virtually unanimous in supporting this war right along with President Bush.

-Did George Bush start the war in Iraq?  Or did Saddam Hussein, by ignoring something like 16 UN resolutions, and sending Hans Blix's inspectors on a pathetic wild goose chase as he refused to account for the weapons of mass destruction that we all knew he had from the Desert Storm days.  And that's before we get to the fact that intelligence around the world - not just US intelligence, but France, Russia, Israel and the UK, among others - indicated he was creating new wmd's, which he could either use himself or sell to terrorist groups (does al qaeda come to mind?  hamas?  hezbollah?).  Monday-morning quarterbacking after we didn't find those wmd's (either because they didn't exist....or because he had a half year to hide, export or destroy them) is easy.  Knowing for sure is not.

 -And that medicare entitlement?  How many DEMOCRATS supported it, Ms. Collins?  President Bush signed it, but your beloved party was instrumental in getting it to his desk.  I wonder if Ms. Collins would like to regale us with how then-senator Barack Obama voted on that entitlement. 

Maybe they're painting Ms. Collins' face on a Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon even as I write this.  They could slip it in right next to the turkey float.  Or maybe just use it instead of the turkey float.  Who could tell the difference?


BUT..BUT..THE STIMULUS IS WORKING, ISN'T IT?

Ken Berwitz

Excerpted from an article in today's The New York Times (to its credit):

As Bank Failures Rise, F.D.I.C. Fund Falls Into Red

By ERIC DASH

Published: November 24, 2009

 

The government-administered insurance fund that protects depositors fell into the red for the first time since the fallout from the savings-and-loan crisis of the early 1990s as the pace of bank failures accelerated.

 

Skip to next paragraph The fund had a negative balance of $8.2 billion at the end of the third quarter, federal regulators said Tuesday. Bank customers, however, should remain confident that their deposits would be protected since most of the amount reflects money that Federal Insurance Deposit Corporation has already set aside to cover the losses from future bank failures.

 

Officials of the F.D.I.C. said in October that the deposit insurance fund had been depleted, but the third-quarter report card on the banking industry issued on Tuesday was the first time that hard numbers had been released. Even amid early signs that the economy is recovering, the report suggested that the countrys 8,100 lenders remain in fragile condition.

This is a wakeup call for anyone who believes the adminstration's BS about the economy.

Anyone, that is, except the people who are still so mesmerized by Obama & Co. that they believe he. "saved or created" 600,000 - 1,000,000 jobs, while unemployment went from 8.1% to its current 10.2%. 

They are immune to wakeup calls.

Zeke ... ... Something like 2/3 of the Stimulation Money has NOT been spent. ... ... Is O-BOW-Ma planning on dumping all that money into the economy prior to the 2010 elections to show that "the recession is over". ... ... The nation cannot survive, living on a credit card mentality. ... ... The decline of the dollar is a direct result of overspending. (11/26/09)


WHY THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION IS SO INEPT

Ken Berwitz

Would you like a one-screen visual that shows why the Obama administration doesn't seem to know what it is doing in so many ways?  Why it thinks that spending money we don't have to create programs that don't work is such a great idea?  Why Mr. Obama's poll numbers are plummeting, as more and more of his former supporters become unmesmerized by how well he reads off a teleprompter, and realize at what is happening to our country?

Then look at this chart, from a J.P. Morgan research report, which shows how much private sector experience each President's cabinet has had, since 1900.

Any questions?


KENT CONRAD: THE FOOL ON THE HILL

Ken Berwitz:

Is Senator Kent Conrad a fool?  Maybe I'm being too kind.  Maybe he's an absolute idiot too.

Judge for yourself:

Sen. Conrad Suggests That People Who Dont Believe in Civilian Trials for Terrorists Should Leave America and Go Somewhere Else
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
By Matt Cover, Staff Writer

 

 (CNSNews.com) Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) told CNSNews.com that civilian courts are well-suited to prosecute al Qaeda terrorists and that "if people don't believe in our system, maybe they ought to go somewhere else. 

Conrad also dismissed a question about the rights of terrorists captured on foreign battlefields and the rules of evidence in terms of a civilian court trial as not serious.

A few thoughts:

-Since this is the first and only time an enemy combatant has ever been given a civil trial, then the people who "don't believe in our system" are not the ones attacking the trial, they're the ones supporting it.  Like Kent Conrad.  

-If Senator Conrad thinks the problems regarding rules of evidence when an enemy combatant is put into the civil courts are not serious, such as disclosure - which hands our enemies a treasure trove of intelligence they can use against us - maybe he ought to read up on the Abdel-Rahman case. 

-And, while he's reading up on things, maybe the senator should read up on how many terrorists Attorney General eric holder's former law firm, Covington & Burling, where he was a senior partner, defended - often pro bono.  Maybe it will then occur to him that we have an AG who is an advocate for terrorist defendants.  And that, in turn, might suggest to him that this is the real reason holder is giving these scumbags a civil trial in New York City, so they can have an international stage to spew their hate. 

So, which is it.  Is Senator Kent Conrad just a fool?  Or an absolute idiot too?

You tell me.

Zeke ... ... The picture comes to mind of the 82nd Airborne parachuting into remote Afghan mountains. Each trooper with his weapon, rucksack, helmet. ... ... Directly behind them, also descending by parachute, battalions of lawyers, in 3 piece dark suits, holding the risers with one hand, clutching an attache case with the other. Neckties blowing in the wind, as they land directly behind the soldiers. (11/26/09)


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