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This week’s letter from Israel – February 16, 2024

February 16, 2024

My dearest friends,

Lyndon B. Johnson said: Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose. The speed with which our headlines changed during the past week, clearly demonstrated this.

The best news by far was the release of two of the hostages who had been held in captivity by Hamas for 129 days. Another 134 hostages remain in Gaza. Contrary to the requirements of the Geneva Convention, they haven’t been visited by representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Nor did the medicines provided for them reach their destination.

The Red Cross doesn’t care. Qatar, who brokered the shipment, doesn’t care. South Africa doesn’t care. The UN doesn’t care. Hamas certainly doesn’t care.

Any references made to the unfortunate plight of the hostages by the international community and the media are no more than lip-service. The awful truth is that nobody cares.

Since its inception in 1949, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has been an integral part of the Arab terror machine. Some weeks ago, entrances from UNRWA schools to the Hamas subterranean network of terror tunnels were discovered. The involvement of UNRWA personnel in the October 7 massacre is now an established fact.

Earlier this week, a state-of-the-art Hamas data center, equipped with sophisticated computer servers, was discovered under the UNRWA headquarters in Gaza. As if this wasn’t enough, it transpires this data center was powered by electricity from the UNRWA building.

Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA’s Commissioner-General, claims his organization had no knowledge regarding the goings-on under its facilities. Lazzarini is either a liar or totally incompetent. Probably both.

On September 5, 2014, almost 10 years ago, I launched a Facebook group called Investigate UNRWA Now. My action was motivated by the brazen use of UNRWA facilities as missile storage units and safe havens for terror groups.

At around that time, I initiated an internet petition calling on the Secretary General of the UN to conduct a transparent investigation into this and to bring the guilty UNRWA officials to justice. 1,593 people signed this petition.

I’m a pensioner. I’ve never been an employee of UNRWA. I spent my entire working life working hard to make a decent living and raising a family. So, how is it, that, for the past 10 years, I’ve known about UNRWA’s complicity in supporting Palestinian terror, while UNRWA’s Commissioner-General claims he’s not aware of any such complicity?

Lazzarini has brought UNRWA into disrepute. UNRWA’s mandate is to provide humanitarian services to the people of Gaza. In reality, UNRWA is a conduit for transferring funds to fuel the Hamas terror machine.

Let’s not forget that much of UNRWA’s funding is provided by the US and the EU. Lazzarini’s incompetence does not excuse these countries from adequately verifying how their taxpayer’s money is being spent.

The required course of action is clear. UNRWA must be dismantled and Lazzarini must be fired and charged at the International Criminal Court for his criminal incompetence which resulted in acts of genocide against Israel.

Earlier this week, I listened to an interesting webinar delivered by a former High Court judge in South Africa. The judge presented his views and interpretations of the rulings of the International Court of Justice against Israel. His explanations related to the legal considerations of the rulings. They also exposed the weaknesses of International Law when it comes to fairly adjudicating charges of genocide and war crimes.

In this respect, the comments made by the dissenting judge from Uganda that the conflict is political and should, therefore, be referred to the Security Council, are worthy of note.

There are differences between law and justice. Law is a system of rules and regulations established by governments to maintain social order and protect the rights of their citizens. Justice, on the other hand, embodies the principles of fairness, impartiality and the treatment of people based on rights, merits and equality.

I expect the rulings of the ICJ to reflect justice. The question is, can they?

Jurisdiction of the ICJ is partial. It is limited to states. The ICJ does not have jurisdiction over acts of genocide committed by Hamas and other Palestinian groups. How, then, can the ICJ adequately adjudicate the charges brought by South Africa, on behalf of Hamas, against Israel?

The Hamas Charter is clearly genocidal. By not classifying Hamas a terrorist organization, the UN has negatively impacted its own credibility to address one of the worst terror attacks in history.

Does the ICJ have jurisdiction over countries who provide military know-how and arms to Hamas? At the end of the day, Hamas is a proxy acting on behalf of those countries. It’s like hiring a “hit man” to take the “wrap”. It’s the oldest alibi in town.

The ICJ is an organ of the UN and therefore has no jurisdiction over the UN and its agencies. Who, then, should adjudicate the crimes committed by UNRWA and its complicity in the October 7 massacre?

If justice is to be done, the issues must be judged in their entirety without providing impunity to the political forces who control the purse strings.

The international community is doing its utmost to tie our hands behind our backs, but we will prevail. We have no choice.

My condolences to those mourning their nearest and dearest. My wishes to the injured for a complete and speedy recovery. May God protect our brave soldiers. Their bravery was certainly put to the test in the operation that secured the release of the two hostages earlier this week. May the remaining hostages soon be reunited with their families.

Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom and better times ahead.

Am Yisrael Chai.

Harris Zvi Green.

About the Author
Harris Zvi Green was born in Cape Town, South Africa. He made Aliyah 53 years ago. An accountant by profession, he served as the Chief Financial Officer for a number of Israel based hi-tech companies. He is married to Phyllis. They have 3 married children, 13 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. Harris Zvi Green is a founder member of Truth be Told, an organization engaged in public diplomacy on behalf of Israel.