Claudia Rosett captured this screenshot of UNRWA (the wildly corrupt and Islamic tool – United Nations Relief and Works Agency) webpage. She writes,"with Ban Ki Moon soliciting donations for Gaza via (scroll down) the Commercial Bank of Syria, a bank under U.S. sanctions for money laundering and links to Hamas, Hezbollah, Oil-for-Food illicit cash and Al Qaeda.
There's also a link to the site in column below. But saved here just in case UNRWA changes its web site home page". hat tip banafsheh
Can We Give To Gaza Without Giving To Hamas?
If stuffing billions worth of aid into the Palestinian territories could end Islamist terrorism out of Gaza, it might be worth the money. That seems to be President Obama's gamble, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton jetting to a donors' conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, this past Monday, to chip in $900 million on behalf of U.S. tax payers. All told, more than 70 countries, cheered on by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, pledged a whopping total of $4.5 billion in fresh aid to the Palestinians.
The focus was largely on repairing damage to Gaza, after Israel's recent three-week battle to shut down mortar and rocket attacks out of the terrorist-controlled enclave. But, as Clinton described it, this is a nuanced effort. The broad aim is to bypass the Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists who control Gaza, and shovel resources for strictly humanitarian uses into the enclave "in coordination with" the Palestinian Authority, which is run by the U.S.-favored Fatah faction, Hamas' rival, based in the West Bank.
Thus the long and winding title for the Sharm el-Sheikh powwow: "The International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Economy for the Reconstruction of Gaza." Thus, also, the confusion and contradictory news accounts over how much of the multiple billions in aid will flow to the West Bank, how much to Gaza, when and how this will happen, and who will decide.
On the matter of how exactly the "safeguards" will work, the State Department
has been stunningly vague. At a State Department press briefing on Monday, while
Clinton was in Egypt making her pledge, a spokesman said that up to $300 million
would go for Gaza's "urgent humanitarian needs" as identified by the U.N. and
the Palestinian Authority. Those funds, he said, would flow via United States
Agency for International Development "in coordination with U.N. agencies,
international organizations and USAID grantees" and "through the State
Department for the U.N. agencies, [International Committee of the Red Cross] and
other humanitarian organizations."
That's just the U.S. agenda, before we get to the even less transparent
donations, such as the $1.65 billion pledged by the Gulf Arab States, to be
handled out of the Saudi capital. To explore every rabbit hole on this list
could be the work of an entire career. But let's go down just one of the big
Looking for further hints about what this three-ring aid circus might entail,
I pulled up the Web site on Tuesday of the
U.N.'s lead agency in Gaza, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine
Refugees in the Near East, best known as UNRWA. There, on UNRWA's home page, as
of this writing, is a photo of the U.N.'s Ban Ki-moon, standing in a damaged
UNRWA warehouse, backlit by what appear to be rays of the sun, during his visit
in January to Gaza. Next to Ban's photo is a blurb about his appeal for "crucial
funds needed for Gaza's reconstruction after the recent Israeli offensive."
But just below Ban's photo is where it gets interesting. The same Web page
lists several banks, complete with Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial
Telecommunication (SWIFT) codes and account numbers through which benefactors
are invited to send money to UNRWA for its "Special Gaza Appeal."
One of them is the state-owned Commercial Bank of Syria, headquartered in
Damascus, which is an intriguing choice for Ban and UNRWA to condone, because
for the past five years this bank has been under sanctions by the U.S. Treasury
as an institution of "primary money-laundering concern."
In 2004, Treasury imposed sanctions on the Commercial Bank of Syria, alleging
it had laundered illicit proceeds from the U.N.'s Oil-for-Food program in Iraq,
and had also handled "numerous transactions that may be indicative of terrorist
financing and money laundering." According to Treasury, this included two
accounts "that reference a reputed financier for Usama bin Laden."
In 2006, Treasury finalized its rule, which is still current, against the
Commercial Bank of Syria. Under-Secretary Stuart Levey alleged that the bank had
been used by terrorists to move money, and "as a state-owned entity with
inadequate money laundering and terrorist financing controls, the Commercial
Bank of Syria poses a significant risk of being used to further the Syrian
Government's continuing support for international terrorist groups." Among the
terrorist groups cited as examples of such clients were Hezbollah in Lebanon,
and such denizens of Gaza as Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for
the Liberation of Palestine and Hamas.
UNRWA's choice of this bank is all the more curious in light of the lifestyle
choices of a number of Hamas leaders, such as Khaled Meshal, who are based not
in Gaza, but work "in exile" in Damascus. According to a Council on Foreign
released in 2006, Meshal has served Hamas from Damascus as head of the terrorist
group's politburo, and as chief strategist and fundraiser. In 2006 he was
alleged by Israeli then-Vice Premier Shimon Peres to have ordered the kidnapping
into Gaza of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who has not been released.
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