Palestinians Must Lead the Fight to Reform UNRWA

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was founded in 1949 to provide humanitarian assistance to Arab refugees from Israel’s war of independence. It has since become a corrupt and bloated institution as well as an enabler of terrorism, and its foremost goal is to maintain its own existence by keeping the descendants of those refugees in poverty in its camps. The only way it can be fixed, argues Bassem Eid, is if Palestinians pressure the Western nations that fund it to demand its reform:

As a proud Palestinian, I must take responsibility for what will happen to our people. We can no longer deny our responsibility for the future of our people. UNRWA, to continue its operation, depends on death and the visual suffering of five million Palestinians who continue to wallow in and around UNRWA facilities. The more Palestinians suffer, the more power goes to UNRWA, which allows it to raise unchecked humanitarian funds and purchase munitions. . . . The only agency that can abolish UNRWA is the UN General Assembly, which has never had the interests of the Palestinian people at heart. After all, the UN rakes in more than $1.2 billion a year as an “incentive” to continue our status as refugees.

A Western defunding of UNRWA [suggested by some] would allow nations like Qatar to enter the vacuum, leaving the West with no leverage over UNRWA policy. The point is [instead] to influence donor nations to reform UNRWA and predicate future aid to UNRWA on reasonable conditions.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Palestinian refugees, Qatar, United Nations, UNRWA

Despite the Toll of War at Home and Rising Hostility Abroad, Investors Are Still Choosing Israel

When I first saw news that Google wasn’t going through with its acquisition of the tech startup Wiz, I was afraid hesitancy over its Israeli founders and close ties with the Jewish state might have something to do with it. I couldn’t have been more wrong: the deal is off not because of Google’s hesitancy, but because Wiz feared the FTC would slow down the process with uncertain results. The company is instead planning an initial public offering. In the wake of the CrowdStrike debacle, companies like Wiz have every reason to be optimistic, as Sophie Shulman explains:

For the Israeli cyber sector, CrowdStrike’s troubles are an opportunity. CrowdStrike is a major competitor to Palo Alto Networks, and both companies aim to provide comprehensive cyber defense platforms. The specific issue that caused the global Windows computer shutdown is related to their endpoint protection product, an area where they compete with Palo Alto’s Cortex products developed in Israel and the SentinelOne platform.

Friday’s drop in CrowdStrike shares reflects investor frustration and the expectation that potential customers will now turn to competitors, strengthening the position of Israeli companies. This situation may renew interest in smaller startups and local procurement in Israel, given how many institutions were affected by the CrowdStrike debacle.

Indeed, it seems that votes of confidence in Israeli technology are coming from many directions, despite the drop in the Tel Aviv stock exchange following the attack from Yemen, and despite the fact that some 46,000 Israeli businesses have closed their doors since October 7. Tel Aviv-based Cyabra, which creates software that identifies fake news, plans a $70 million IPO on Nasdaq. The American firm Applied Systems announced that it will be buying a different Israeli tech startup and opening a research-and-development center in Israel. And yet another cybersecurity startup, founded by veterans of the IDF’s elite 8200 unit, came on the scene with $33 million in funding. And those are the stories from this week alone.

But it’s not only the high-tech sector that’s attracting foreign investment. The UK-based firm Energean plans to put approximately $1.2 billion into developing a so-far untapped natural-gas field in Israel’s coastal waters. Money speaks much louder than words, and it seems Western businesses don’t expect Israel to become a global pariah, or to collapse in the face of its enemies, anytime soon.

Read more at Calcalist

More about: cybersecurity, Israeli economy, Israeli gas, Israeli technology, Start-up nation