JERUSALEM – The United Nations bears responsibility for the murder of Israeli civilians killed in the past few years by Palestinian suicide bombers, families of terror victims here said.
“The U.N. is partly responsible for the death of my son,” said Miri Avitan, whose son Assaf was killed in Jerusalem by a Palestinian suicide bomber in December 2001.
“Money that was meant for the Iraqi [people] got to Saddam and he wrote a check to reward the murderers of my kid,” Avitan said.
Avitan was one of several family members of Israeli terror victims to blame the U.N. for revenues from its oil-for-food program kicked back to deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and funneled by Hussein to Palestinian terror organizations.
The family members made their statements in a recently released book, “The U.N. Exposed: How the United Nations Sabotages America’s Security and Fails the World” by the Fox News Channel’s Eric Shawn.
Shawn documents how some of the $10 billion obtained illegally by Hussein as part of the oil-for-food program between 1997 and 2002 was used to fund families of Palestinians suicide bombers.
Israel has said the aid received from Hussein provided major financial motivation to underprivileged teenagers who could help their cash-strapped families with the large payments that would be issued upon completion of a suicide mission.
The U.N. Security Council launched the oil-for-food program in 1996 so Iraq could raise funds for food, medicine and other humanitarian goods in spite of sanctions against the Hussein regime.
Iraq sold more than $67 billion worth of oil before the program was ended by the U.S. invasion in 2003.
According to the rules outlined by the Security Council, Iraq was allowed to choose its own suppliers and oil traders. Under the program, the Security Council established a separate committee made up of member states, the so-called “661 Committee,” to approve all contracts issued by the Iraqi government.
The General Accounting Office, the auditing arm of the U.S. Congress, reported Hussein illegally diverted and sold goods intended for the Iraqi population.
Shawn writes the House International Relations Committee revealed the Hussein regime deposited the diverted funds from oil-for-food kickbacks in the Rafidain bank and other financial institutions in Amman, Jordan. The money was then transferred to another account controlled by the Iraqi ambassador to Jordan, Sabeh Yaseen.
Investigators say Yaseen and other Iraqi officials then cut checks from the accounts to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers to honor and encourage the murder of Israeli civilians.
Over a two-and-a-half year period, from September 2000 to just before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq began in March 2003, Hussein officials held public ceremonies in which they shelled out $35 million for the families of Palestinian “martyrs.”
According to documents captured in 2002 by Israel’s Operation Defensive Shield, Hussein set up an “Arab Liberation Front” – a Ba’ath party department in the Palestinian areas used to encourage terrorism and issue checks, usually through the Palestine Investment Bank, to the families of suicide bombers.
The payments were $15,000 at the start of the intifada, and were later raised to $25,000.
Hussein would also issue checks of $10,000 to the families of “ordinary” Palestinians killed in the intifada by other means, such as “through the aggression of the Zionist army.”
Along with the checks came the martyrdom certificates, signed by Hussein, that read: “A gift from President Saddam Hussein to the family of a martyr in the al-Aqsa intifada. To those who irrigate the land with their blood. You deserve the honor you will receive from Allah and you will defeat all who bow before your will.”
A $25,000 check and martyrdom certificate, for example, was transferred June 23, 2002, to Khaldiya Isma’il Abd Al-Aziz Al-Hurani, mother of the Hamas terrorist Fuad Isma’il Ahmad Al-Hurani, who carried out a suicide attack on March 19 of that year in Jerusalem’s Moment Cafe. Eleven Israelis were killed and 16 wounded in the attack.
Checks for $15,000 each were given along with the martyrdom certificates to the families of Hamas suicide terrorists who blew themselves up in Zion Square in Jerusalem Dec. 1, 2001.
Among the victims of the Zion Square suicide attack was 15-year old Assaf Avitan.
Avitan had joined his friends to celebrate the 16th birthday of twins from his Jerusalem neighborhood. He was accompanied by his friend, 15-year-old Golan Turgeman, and was standing on a sidewalk near Zion Square when two Palestinian suicide bombers blew themselves up, killing both teenagers and nine others. A car bomb exploded 20 minutes later, intending to kill and maim the police and paramedics who responded to the carnage.
“[The checks from Hussein enabled by the U.N.] helped enforce the culture of terrorism,” Avitan’s mother Miri said in “The U.N. Exposed.” “It makes me furious.”
Writes Shawn, “The U.N. Security Council paid for the bombings. It contributed to the murders of Assaf and Golan and the nine other victims that night. The Security Council also provided the ability to massacre hundreds more who have fallen victim to Palestinian terrorism.”
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