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Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day 20-21 April 2020

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Tell United Nations To Condemn Hamas’ Environmental War Crimes!

We call upon Mr. Erik Solheim, Executive Director of the UN Environmental Programme, to condemn Hamas and other terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip for causing severe environmental damage to southern Israel.

Over the course of the past three months, Hamas operatives and other terrorists have burned thousands of tires and launched hundreds of incendiary devices into Israeli territory. The combined effect of these heinous acts has not only led to the release of toxic materials into the fragile ecosystem, but has resulted in the destruction of more than 7,400 acres of land, hundreds of acres of wheat fields, and 2,700 acres of protected nature reserves.

When these devices touch down in Israel they leave a deadly path in their wake. Local wildlife are either killed or forced to flee their native habitats. Forests and farmland have been ravaged. And the livelihood of the thousands of farmers who have committed their lives to turning what was once desert into an oasis has been shattered.
Thus far, 900 incendiary devices were sent across the border, leading to more than 750 fires –an average of eleven per day. Not only has the cost of damage exceeded $3 million, but it will take years to reverse the ecological damage caused by Hamas.

Both the United Nations Resolutions and International Humanitarian Law expressly prohibit the destruction of the natural environment in armed conflict, and yet the international community has remained silent as Hamas wages environmental warfare that endangers civilians, wildlife, and ravages the natural beauty and resources of Israel's southern region.

In May 2016, the Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme reaffirmed UN General Assembly resolution 47/37 entitled “Protection of the environment in armed conflict” which stressed “that destruction of the environment, not justified by military necessity and carried out wantonly, is clearly contrary to existing international law”.
Article 35 (3) of the Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions states: “It is prohibited to employ methods or means of warfare which are intended, or may be expected, to cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross regards these obligations as customary international law. Based on the texts of these statutes, it is evident that Hamas has intentionally committed environmental damage, amounting to environmental war crimes.

Therefore, the World Jewish Congress calls on the UN Environmental Programme and Director Solheim to condemn these acts and use all necessary measures at their disposal to ensure that these illegal actions cease immediately.
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United Nations adds Yom Kippur to its list of official holidays

Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, will become an official holiday at the United Nations, following diplomatic efforts by Israel. The measure had the support of the US government, the World Jewish Congress and other Jewish organizations.

The Day of Atonement now joins the Christian holidays of Christmas and Good Friday and the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, in the list of 11 official UN holidays where staff of the world body are given a day off.

No official meetings will take place on the Jewish High Holiday, and Jewish UN employees can observe the holiday without forfeiting a day of vacation.

“Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people, and the UN should have recognized this holiday many years ago. Today we finally have an official place for the Jewish religion in the World’s parliament,” Danon said in a statement.

Last year, 32 ambassadors signed letters calling on the UN to recognize the Jewish holiday, including the US, Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Bahamas, Canada, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Dominica, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Micronesia, Monaco, Nauru, Nigeria, Palau, Panama, Philippines, Rwanda, Samoa, Seychelles, South Sudan, Suriname, Togo, Uruguay and Vanuatu.

The Israeli mission to the United Nations said in a statement that Israeli cooperation with the United States “prevented the anti-Israel majority at the UN from blocking the resolution” to recognize Yom Kippur.
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Israel's UN envoy says Qatar is a 'Club Med for terrorists' destabilizing the Middle East

WJC, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations in New York, Ron Prosor, has lambasted the Persian Gulf emirate Qatar for bankrolling terrorist groups such as Hamas and called it a "Club Med for terrorists".

Qatar's then emir Hamad ben Khalifa Al Thani with Hamas leader Haniyeh in Gaza in 2012In an opinion piece for the 'New York Times', Prosor urged the world to work forcefully to halt Qatar’s ability to bankroll the terror groups, specifically Hamas. “Today, the petite petroleum kingdom is determined to buy its way to regional hegemony, and like other actors in the Middle East, it has used proxies to leverage influence and destabilize rivals,” the ambassador wrote. “Every one of Hamas’s tunnels and rockets might as well have had a sign that read ‘Made possible through a kind donation from the emir of Qatar,’” Prosor added.

He also accused the Qatar-based news network 'al-Jazeera', which is funded by the emirate’s ruling house, of spreading “radical messages that have inflamed sectarian divides” across the Middle East.

“In the early days of the Arab Spring, al-Jazeera’s coverage of popular uprisings earned the network millions of new followers and solidified its status as a mainstream global news network,” Prosor continued. “Qatar capitalized on this popularity by advancing its own agenda — namely, using the Arabic network to promote the views of extremists who were undermining the region’s more pragmatic elements,” he said, later singling out the Muslim Brotherhood as the main group enjoying Doha’s support.

Prosor said that Qatar was deliberately undermining Israel’s efforts to end Hamas’s ongoing rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip by “pulling the strings” of the Palestinian organization and forcing the group to reject cease-fire proposals.

It was “all because Doha wants a starring role in any cease-fire agreement between Hamas and Israel,” Prosor asserted.

According to Prosor, Qatar "harbors leading Islamist radicals like the spiritual leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who issued a religious fatwa endorsing suicide attacks, and the Doha-based history professor Abdul Rahman Omeir al-Naimi, whom the United States Department of Treasury has named as a 'terrorist financier' for Al Qaeda. Qatar also funds a life of luxury for Khaled Meshal, the fugitive leader of Hamas. Mr. Meshal’s uncompromising stance — he has vowed never to recognize Israel — has long been an obstacle to reaching a peace deal. But behind Hamas, Qatar is pulling the strings...It is time for the world to wake up and smell the gas fumes."

The Israeli diplomat suggested that “in light of the emirate’s unabashed support for terrorism,” FIFA should reevaluate its decision to name Qatar the host of soccer’s 2022 World Cup.

The international community had to realize that while “Qatar has spared no cost to dress up its country as a liberal, progressive society,” it was in actuality “aggressively financing radical Islamist movements” and destabilizing the region, Prosor wrote.

“Qatar’s continued sponsorship of Hamas all but guarantees that, whatever happens in this round of hostilities, the terrorist group will rearm and renew hostilities with Israel,” he said. “The only way forward is to isolate Hamas’s last major backer.”
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UN, Iran Reach Nuclear Cooperation Deal

VOA News, The United Nations and Iran have announced an agreement to cooperate on resolving outstanding issues regarding the country's nuclear program. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said critics of a separate bid to limit Iran's nuclear activity need to let negotiations take their course.

Talks Monday between the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, and the Iranian nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, yielded a roadmap that will allow for wider U.N. inspections, including at a heavy water reactor site and a uranium mine.

The IAEA has been focused for two years on reaching a deal with Iran to gain greater access to documents regarding the country’s nuclear program, in addition to related personnel and sites.

Meanwhile, Kerry said on Monday during a visit to Abu Dhabi that critics, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, must recognize that world powers have not yet reached any agreement in their talks with Iran.

He said the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany were united on the plan they presented to Iranian negotiators Saturday in Geneva, but that Iran could not accept it at that time.

The powers are seeking to persuade Iran to suspend work that could allow it to build nuclear weapons in exchange for the easing of some sanctions against Iran. Those negotiations are due to resume next week.

Israel, which calls Iran's nuclear drive a mortal threat, has warned against any deal that would leave some of Iran's nuclear fuel-making capacity intact while giving Tehran respite from sanctions.

Kerry said on Monday that it would not be responsible to ignore an opportunity to come to a verifiable agreement with Iran that would prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.

There has been hope that the election of new moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in June will lead to progress in both the talks with the IAEA and the group of six world powers.

Rouhani told his parliament on Sunday that Iran will not give up what it considers its nuclear rights, including the right to enrich uranium on Iranian soil, in any deal with international negotiators.
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