Recently, UNRWA came out with its first promotional campaign geared towards Israelis. The online campaign, titled (in Hebrew) “UNRWA: Bad for Extremism,” presents three questions “Israelis have asked” about UNRWA, though clearly they mean The Israeli Initiative. The first: Does UNRWA perpetuate the refugee problem? Second: Is UNRWA involved in terror? Third: Is UNRWA an anti-Israel organization?
Of course, UNRWA does not truly answer the most important question about the refugees: Why doesn’t UNRWA try to rehabilitate the refugees, instead of keeping them as-is? The truth is, UNRWA cannot answer that question, as it was founded shortly after the 1948 War of Independence to provide temporary aid to the refugees – “temporary” aid that has lasted for over 60 years.
At the Israeli Initiative, we see this campaign as proof of the success of our public struggled against UNRWA. After we reported a deterioration of the relations between UNRWA and one of its biggest donors (Canada), it is encouraging to see that the Israeli public is starting to lose faith in the agency, as well.
UNRWA is justly concerned. Confining the Palestinian Refugees in their inhumane status since 1948 threatens the existence of the Jewish state, and is a major obstacle to the peace process. There is no doubt that it is in Israel’s, as well as the world’s interest to stop the major funding it provides to UNRWA, and redirect it to the rehabilitation of those millions of refugees.
To see UNRWA’s campaign (in Hebrew):
Bill Garners Support
A further proof of The Israeli Initiative’s success comes from the Knesset. The bill that the Initiative is promoting – to apply Israeli law to municipalities in Judea and Samaria – was discussed in two different events.
The first event was part of the “birthday” celebrations for the Knesset, which occur each year on Tu B’Shvat. Israeli youth were invited to give speeches in the plenum, one of which was a student from the religious girls’ high school in Kfar-Pines. This young woman discussed the booklet The Israeli Initiative published to promote the law at length.
The next day, at the event launching “The Lobby for the Land of Israel” in the Knesset, the Secretary-General of “Israel Beiteinu,” MK Fania Kirschenbaum, referred to the high school student’s speech, and emphasized that this is the most important step the Lobby can take. MK Tzipi Hotoveli specifically referred to the law as being the new lobby’s top priority.
This lobby is not just one of many. It includes tens of Knesset Members from many parties (Shas, Likud, Israel Beiteinu, National Union, NRP, Kadima and United Torah Judaism), and is lead by Head of Coalition Zeev Elkin, who has also signed his support on the bill. The speaker of the Knesset cannot join a lobby, but he came to the launch and spoke warmly of it. Many ministers came to support the goals of this lobby, which may be one of the strongest in the 18th Knesset.
Representatives of The Israeli Initiative that attended the launch used the opportunity to give MKs and ministers copies of the booklet the Initiative published to promote the law, which is available in Hebrew on our homepage.
A Two-State Solution–Delusional?
Is a two-state solution “delusional?” The Israeli Initiative thinks so, and, to our surprise, MK Daniel Ben-Simon of the Labor party seems to agree!
Ben-Simon, a former writer for Ha’aretz, formerly served as head of the Labor’s Knesset faction. Yesterday, he attended a meeting of the Knesset’s Education Committee, where he heard about the growth of towns in Judea and Samaria. According to Arutz Sheva, Ben-Simon asked how can the State of Israel discuss establishing a Palestinian State, while the Jewish population of Judea and Samaria continues to grow.
The following is a translation of Ben-Simon’s remarks, as reported by Arutz Sheva:
“Is our political path, talking about two states for two nations, delusional? Judea and Samaria are developing! We are delusional! I am sitting here in this meeting, and feel like I’m in a movie. My question is – Is there any coordination between policies and what is happening on the ground in Judea and Samaria?”
(For the rest of the blog post, click here: www.theisraelinitiative.blogspot.com)
Ben-Simon’s words reflect the abyss between the vision of those who support a two-state solution and reality. “Instead of two states, it seems that the territory of Judea and Samaria are a state-within-a-state that is next to another state,” said Ben-Simon, amazed.
Ben-Simon’s awakening is a good sign for Israeli politics. Politicians are slowly begining to understand, years after the idea of two states rose, that this solution is not relevant. At The Israeli Initiative, we say that not only does the Jewish population growth in Judea and Samaria not allow for there to be two states, but that the whole concept, including the hope for the rise of a Palestinian state, is not realistic. An independent Palestinian state will not be able to rise in any area that is Israel. It’s simply impossible – not economically, geopolitically or because of security.
It’s important that, in conjunction with the slow awakening from the nightmare of two states, we continue to promote alternative, realistic ideas that will invigorate the political thought in Israel, that has been “stuck” for many years.
As always, The Israel Initiative is happy to hear your reactions and answer your questions.
Manager, The Israeli Initiative