Memorandum submitted by Joy Wolfe, President,
Manchester Zionist Central Council
I am very involved in the British Zionist community
and actively involved in Media Response regarding the current
situation in the Middle East.
I am a freelance journalist. I am 64 years old,
married with three married children and five grandchildren.
I am a magistrate, a school governor and the
governor of a college for students with special needs and learning
I travel frequently to Israel, and I am in regular
contact with many organisations in Israel and around the world
who take an active interest in the current situation.
I keep myself informed from both sides of the
conflict, receiving material from both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian
I lecture publicly to Jewish and non Jewish
While it would be clear to everyone that I come
to this with a clear affinity to Israel, I am deeply aware of
the suffering of the Palestinian people, who I feel have been
badly misled and mistreated by their own leadership since 1948,
when the opportunity to have their own state first was on the
table. Over the years the many other opportunities offered by
the various treaties, agreements and handshakes on the White House
lawn have prevented the Palestinian State from coming into being.
It is virtually universally agreed, other than
by extreme right wing Israelis and their supporters, that a two
state solution is the answer. This has been accepted by Ariel
Sharon and the Israeli Government, and the only missing piece
of the jigsaw is a Palestinian Authority willing to be a real
partner for peace.
It is interesting to note there are many organisations
in Israel which promote the cause of the Palestinians, as befits
a true democracy. What appears to be seriously lacking are any
similar moves within the Palestinian community.
There are many groups growing now who want to
promote dialogue and understanding. I hope that the view of the
Select Committee will be to promote this type of interaction.
I am submitting several documents which I believe
to be relevant to the Select Committee's deliberations. (Not
I believe a clear message has to go out to both
sides that for too long has been devoted to the fighting, the
incitement, the education of a new young generation to hate, and
that it is now time to get back to negotiations that will bring
a real breakthrough in the peace process.
It will be better to concentrate on that aspect,
rather than continuing recriminations, apportionment of blame
I apologise if it is felt that some of this
submission in the attachments is not strictly relevant, but hope
that due consideration will be given to this evidence.
Finally, while I am sure the recent International
Monetary Fund report on the finances of the Palestinian authority
will already have been drawn to the attention of the committee
I am adding a reference to it again to be sure that it is not
Clearly a major issue in all of this is that
of the refugees.
The question needs to be asked as to why there
is still a refugee population, in undoubtedly highly unsatisfactory
living conditions, 55 years after the original setting up of the
State of Israel by a UN vote.
At the same time that there were approximately
an estimated 850,000 Palestinian refugees, a very similar number
of Jewish refugees were kicked out of Arab lands with no more
than what they could carry.
There has been a history of refugee populations
around the world for many years.
All of them, with the exception of the Palestinians,
have been allowed to integrate in the countries where they have
settled, and been encouraged to live decent, productive lives.
Not so the Palestinians who have been forced by their callous
leaders to live in squalor, as political pawns.
It should be noted that it was an Arab sponsored
UN resolution that prevented Israel from improving the housing
conditions of the refugees in Gaza. It was the same situation,
when Libya offered to rehouse a large number of the Palestinians.
It should not be forgotten that Palestinians
were forcibly ejected from countries such as Lebanon, Kuwait and
Yet no-one seeks retribution for them.
If a tiny proportion of the money from countries
around the world, including Israel itself, that the Committee
is now investigating, had gone for the purpose for which it was
intended, namely to improve the infrastructure in the Palestinian
Authority and to give the Palestinian people a better quality
of life, then this Select Committee Inquiry would not have been
Instead the money was siphoned off by Yasser
Arafat, used to fund the corruption in his regime and to fund
the terrorists, and to boost his personal fortune, said to be
Up until 2000 when the Second Intifada was
launched in response to the then Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud
Barak's peace offer, most of the territory in dispute was already
under Palestinian control. Yet there was absolutely no attempt
to improve living standards, education, health care or any other
aspect of Palestinian life.
If there is to be a positive outcome from this
and other investigations into the reality of the current situation,
very strong directives will need to be given to ensure that improving
the lot of the refugees is top of the priority list.
It is absolutely clear that there cannot and
will not be a Right of Return for a claimed 6-7 million refugees,
a clearly unrealistic and inflated figure.
Compromises have to be found and a real effort
made to promote peaceful negotiations.
Israel has long ago accepted the concept of
the Two State solution as the only way forward.
It is the Palestinians who consistently refuse
to accept this, removing Israel from maps in their text books
Those countries who genuinely seek a peaceful
solution will need to put pressure on the Palestinians to be willing
to compromise and get back to the negotiating table.
Organisations such as UNRWA have exacerbated
the situation rather than ameliorated it. They have turned a blind
eye to terrorism in the camps and appear to have a biased and
unfair attitude towards Israel. They have to be made to act as
honest brokers and properly monitor and administer the situation.
The question has to be asked, how did 200 terrorists find a haven
in the Jenin refugee camp when it was under UNRWA control, how
were bomb making factories allowed to go undetected, and how was
it that all the homes were booby trapped under the very noses
of UNRWA, without them doing one single thing to control this
UNRWA has never tried to fulfil its mandate
of resettling refugees, but instead created the world's only "hereditary
refugees". The Jewish refugees from Arab countries, who were
persecuted out of their homes, have resettled around the world
and mainly in Israel without any specific international aid or
compensation. A similar number of Palestinians who chose to flee
rather than make peace with the State of Israel remain refugees
and often live in poor conditions in cities designated as refugee
camps in the Middle East.
UNRWA is largely responsible for running the
administrative services in these camps, and have never created
an environment or incentive for these "refugees" to
integrate into their host environment. In fact, they helped the
Arab host environmentsincluding the Palestinian Authorityto
deliberately prevent such integration, using these people as political
pawns in the effort to eliminate the State of Israel.
UNRWA allowed its camps to become armed militant
enclaves, using civilians as human shields and cover, in direct
contravention of the Geneva Conventions. UNRWA employees, including
teachers and others, were associated with terrorist organisations.
The UNRWA schools became places where children were inculcated
with the glorification of violence and the aspiration to become
suicide bombers and perpetrate crimes against humanity. UNRWA
became a mouthpiece for the Palestinian narrativea gross
example being their determination to actively promote the lie
of a "massacre" in Jenin, even long after it had been
The sad thing is that the real losers in this
process are the ordinary people. The Palestinians upon whom so
much money has been spent, but do not feel the results. They are
still refugees in a poor, broken economy when they should be productive
citizens of a peaceful, thriving Palestinian entity. The Israelis
who have suffered the pains of terrorist attacks and the accompanying
economic hardships of a shrinking economy as a result of war.
Why have other charitable organisations who
are moving in to help the financial crisis caused by the Palestinian
refusal to make peace not learned the lesson? Christian Aid, the
World Council of Churches, War Against Want and others are all
adopting the Palestinian narrative, and actively peddling the
story that Israel is to blame for all the ills of Palestinian
society. UNRWA managed to fool its donors for many years, but
I wonder now that the UNRWA donors have woken up, whether the
self-destructive path that UNRWA followed will not be shorter
for Christian Aid, War Against Want and others.
Christian Aid has issued reports which rightly
highlight the plight of the average Palestinian resident of the
West Bank and Gaza. They are very careful to follow the Palestinian
narrative as closely as possible, blaming Israel for all hardships
and in no way accounting for the legitimate legal and moral reasons
that Israel may have for the actions it takes. The solutions are
for Israel to take suicidal steps and withdraw from all disputed
territories (and presumably wait for its citizens to be murdered
in their beds). They fund political actions and visits and call
press conferences comparing Gaza to the Warsaw ghetto. In shortthey
are following the UNRWA path.
Christian Aid, Save the Children, Oxfam and
War on Want should all be encouraged to stop pointing the finger
only at Israel, but to actively lobby the Palestinian leadership
and ask them to take practical steps to resettle refugees rather
than waste their donors money on pushing a political barrel.
Then, and only then, can the Palestinians look
forward to a better future, and a state of their own alongside
Israel, reaping the benefits that peace with their neighbour would
Today, Tuesday 18 November, the European Auditors
refused to sign off an audit on the European Union funding.
In their announcement the auditors said "Only
10% of the European funding can be accounted for." This is
the third year running they have refused to ratify the accounts
which clearly brings into question any claims being made to the
Select Committee in evidence that the EU's money to the Palestinian
Authority has been properly monitored and accounted for.
When considering the evidence I have submitted
I wish to draw your attention to some background documents you
already have on file from Dr Rachel Ehrenfeld which give detailed
evidence of the misuse of funds, particularly those from the EU,
and also a recent document from the International Monetary Fund
which highlights the misuse of funds.
The EU itself has admitted the total inadequacy
of the auditing procedure which should have been monitoring the
use of the funds regularly given to the Palestinian Authority.
It has now been publicly stated that no such auditing or monitoring
was actually taking place.
I would also like to refer to the evidence given
by Mr Alan Seatter.
One of the points he made was that the EU ensures
transparency and accountability within the PA through 54 internal
auditors and the IMF.
I would respectfully draw the Committee's attention
to the fact that the IMF has issued a report publicly stating
that it has not been able to properly audit or verify any of the
monies the EU have handed over to the Palestinian Authority.
Similarly the EU has publicly admitted that
its auditing system falls woefully short of the standards needed
to be able to give any assurances that the money given to the
PA goes for the purposes intended and have said they could not
vouch for the fact that some of it could be misused or diverted.
It is for that reason that on quite a number
of occasions payments have been withheld pending further investigation.
Reference has been made to the fact that Israel
is behind with some of its payments to the Palestinian Authority.
It is worth noting that regular payments have been being made
since 2002 and that Israel has not only handed over large sums
of monies due, but also, at the beginning of the negotiations
when it looked as if peace was a real possibility and Israel withdrew
from most of the territories, handing them over to PA control,
Israel was among those international countries who donated money
to the PA in an effort to ensure the PA had the means to improve
the living standards and quality of life of the Palestinian people.
(It needs to be acknowledged that it is a very ironic situation
that Israel should be regularly paying over money to an Authority
which is actively encouraging terrorist attacks against Israeli
If that money had, indeed, been used for the
purpose for which it was intended, the Palestinians would have
been able to experience the tangible benefits of peace. Sadly
they have seen little or no benefit, so it is not surprising they
are bitter and resentful, choosing to incorrectly blame Israel
instead of their own leadership.
Several appendices were also submitted, which
have not been printed. Copies have been placed in the House of