Media Week – UNhelpful on refugees; Lest we forget; The sounds of silence on Syria

Media Week - UNhelpful on refugees; Lest we forget; The sounds of silence on Syria

UNhelpful on refugees

In the Australian (2/6), Greg Sheridan questioned Australia’s ongoing support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) that is ostensibly “the lead UN agency for helping Palestinians” but is actually a major prop for perpetuating the Palestinian refugee issue:

Australia is the seventh largest donor to UNWRA…It defines as a refugee every descendent of any Palestinian who left Palestine at the time five Arab nations launched a war against Israel in 1948. Thus if you are a citizen of Jordan with your own business, even a member of the Jordanian cabinet, but your grandfather came from Palestine, you are a refugee, according to UNWRA. As a result it makes the Israel-Palestine dispute insoluble. Unlike all other refugees, this status is inheritable infinitely through the generations and never extinguished despite gaining other citizenship.

Lest we forget

The coinciding of the 2012 Olympics with the 40th anniversary of the Munich Olympics massacre of 11 Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists has started to filter through into the Australian media.

In a Canberra Times (24/5) story on the International Olympics Committee refusing to remember the tragedy with a minute’s silence at the London Olympics the Palestinian terrorists were called “hostage-taking Palestinian militants”. In contrast, an Age retrospective of famous/infamous Olympic moments (1/6) correctly labelled the perpetrators as “terrorists”.

Malcolm Folley in the Sunday Telegraph (27/5) noted the reunion of Mary Peters (Northern Ireland) and Heide Rosendahl (West Germany), who recently commemorated in Germany their own Munich Olympics memories:

Rosendahl revealed… she had gone to the quarters of the Israeli women. ‘We’d been in a training camp with them, and I supposed they would be all crying in one another’s arms… Instead, they were ready to go on the street and fight. They were soldiers, or acted like them. That gave me the feeling that the Games had to go on, that I had to go on.’ Peters agreed. ‘The Games had to go on after a day of mourning,’ she said. ‘But I’m still upset that I did not know there was a memorial service here for the Israelis who died.’

The sounds of silence on Syria

The Australian editorialised (29/5) on the double standard of so-called local human rights activists who remain mute in the face of Syrian atrocities:

Perhaps even our own Greens and Sydney’s Marrickville council, ever ready to shoot mindlessly from the lip when it comes to Israel, can now be constrained to react to the sickening images of Houla’s children in their death shrouds and bring themselves to condemn a real human rights outrage. Or do they have one standard for Israel and another for Mr Assad?

Meanwhile, Ben Potter in the Australian Financial Review (31/5) warned that international inaction on bloodshed in Syria would not go unnoticed in Israel:

[The] West’s inactions in the face of the Syrian atrocities could convince the Israeli government that it has no choice but to take military action on its own behalf against Iran’s nascent nuclear facilities.

– Allon Lee