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Byron Shire
May 19, 2022

West Bank village and its Aussie-funded clinic, school under threat

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Foreign Minister Julie Bishop informs me that: ‘Australia provides generous support in response to the development and humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people: $43.6 million in 2015-16. Following the 2014 Gaza conflict, Australia provided more than $25 million in humanitarian assistance to Gaza. This included funding to cover the repair of infrastructure and to help communities rebuild’ (letter, November 2, 2016).

What Ms Bishop does not tell us is the cost to Australian taxpayers of all the Palestinian aid projects which have been trashed by the Israeli military.

Israel’s 2014 blitzkrieg on Gaza deliberately targeted schools, hospitals, United Nations facilities, and NGOs. Why wasn’t Israel pressured to pay for the damage?

ActionAid Australia funded a health clinic and a preschool in Susiya, West Bank (both operating out of tents). In 2011 the preschool catered for 35 children and the health clinic provided 60 medical consultations a week for women and the elderly.

Now the whole tent village is under threat of destruction from the Israeli military to make way for yet another illegal settlement and of course, the Australian government is mute (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-30/palestinian-susiya-receiving-australian-aid-facing-demolition/6661220).

Setting a good  example is the  European Parliament whose Middle East affairs committee is recommending that the EU’s 28 member states ask Israel to reimburse them for the demolition of buildings and infrastructure projects in Area C of the West Bank that they helped finance  (Haaretz, November 7, 2016).

Gareth W R Smith, Palestine Liberation Centre, Byron Bay

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  1. Schools, hospitals and other facilities usually used by civilised people are not targeted by Israel because they are simply there, they are targeted because it is where Hamas stores its rockets, guns and ammunition, while using civilians as human shields. How conveniently Mr Smith ignores these facts and once again shows his hatred of Israelis through his pro terrorist jaundiced view of reality. The West Bank is actually what the Jews call Judea-Samaria and has been part of Israel for over 3000 years. The Syrians never owned it other than through annexation during the Muslim conquests, therefore any Arab claiming the land as theirs is a usurper and thief. I use the word Arab deliberately as there are no such people as Palestinians as Palestine only ever existed as a Roman province or British protectorate. While under the Ottomans the area did not possess any name.

    This deliberate ignoring of history and truth by Mr Smith shows him up to be no more than a propagandist for Islamic terrorists like Hamas. And the publishing of his diatribes while ignoring other people’s responses also shows the fundamental bias of The Byron Shire Echo.


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