Wednesday, May 21, 2014


The Palestinians have a unique status in the world of the UN. While all other refugees are handled by a single organization, the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the Palestinians have their own UN agency in UNRWA. But unlike the UNHCR, UNRWA’s goal is not to resettle the refugees and help them build new lives. 
UNRWA’s purpose has always been to keep them in place, living in squalid camps that long ago were transformed in concrete cities where they remain waiting for the day when they will “go home” to a Palestine that hasn’t existed for 66 years. Thus, rather than help the refugees to adjust to reality, UNRWA’s policies have dovetailed nicely with a Palestinian political identity that regards accommodation to Little Satan’s existence as tantamount to treason. 
The Palestinian belief in a “right of return” for not just the original Arabs who totaled a few hundred thousand but for the millions who claim to be their descendants is only made possible by UNRWA’s willingness to go on counting second, third, fourth, and now even fifth generations of Palestinians as refugees. 
Were they treated like other groups whose leaders gambled on aggression and lost—the millions of Germans who were brutally forced out of their homes in Eastern Europe come to mind after 1945—the Palestinians would have been helped to find new homes in the rest of the Arab world. Instead they were kept in place to continue to fuel the war against the one Juice state in the world. Significantly, the roughly equal numbers of Juice who fled or were forced to flee their homes in the Arab and Muslim world after 1948 were given no such sympathy or UN aid. Those refugees were resettled in Little Satan and the West and are now ignored when talk turns to restitution for the Middle East conflict. 
During the last 15 years the Palestinians have rejected three offers of independence and peace from Little Satan as well as walking away from a fourth such initiative this year. It’s clear the leaders of the Palestinian Authority do not think they have the support of their people for any treaty that will recognize the right of Little Satan to exist no matter where her borders are drawn.
Abolishing UNRWA may change that.


Anonymous said...

Well, this is slightly misleading!

First, there is a well-established right of return, stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is a somewhat fuzzy and ambiguous right, but it is hardly a Palestinian invention. After all, US policy in both the Balkans and Afghanistan was to facilitate the return of refugees and their descendants, wasn't it?

Second, UNHCR's preferred durable solution is NOT resettlement but rather return/repatriation. This is how the vast majority of refugee issues are resolved in the modern world. Indeed, UNHCR has a much stronger repatriation mandate than UNRWA. Are you proposing millions of Palestinians return to Israel, as with UNHCR-assisted repatriation in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Rwanda, DRC, etc?

Third, most Palestinian refugees (71%) don't live in refugee camps (and the refugee camps are, in most places, simply low-income urban neighbourhoods, not camps in the traditional sense). UNRWA does absolutely nothing to keep them in camps either (nor does it even run the camps--it simply provides health and education services).

GrEaT sAtAn'S gIrLfRiEnD said...

UNRWA is a more fundamental obstacle to peace because its very existence promotes the belief among Palestinians across the Middle East that a two-state solution is essentially unjust.

By encouraging Palestinians to believe that the international community owes them repatriation to the land their parents and grandparents fled when five Arab armies invaded Israel in 1948, the UNRWA faithfully carries out a U.N.-authorized policy toward Palestinians that runs contrary to U.N. policy in regard to the vast majority of the world's refugees

For nearly 60 years, the United Nations has maintained a successful and
respected organization for refugees apart from Palestinians [-] the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. The UNHCR responds to refugee crises by seeking a mixture of voluntary repatriation, local integration and third-country resettlement. While it values repatriation, the UNHCR's aim is to enable refugees to become citizens somewhere as quickly as possible, with all the protections and privileges that
citizenship bestows.

In contrast, the U.N. has effectively eliminated local integration and
third country resettlement as desirable or even possible outcomes for the Palestinian refugees, and instead has enshrined in the UNRWA's mission the 1950s promise of repatriation that was implicit in the resolution that established the agency.

Moreover, contrary to the policy that it generally applies to refugees, the U.N. regards Palestinian refugee status as transferable from parents to children without limit

This enables UNRWA to fuel the conflict with Israel by cultivating a
trans-generational belief among Palestinians that the one-and-only solution to their plight consists in returning to homes and lands vacated more than half a century ago.

Finally, by providing welfare instead of work, the UNRWA has created incentives for Palestinians to remain dependent on the very international organization that is premised on resisting compromise with Israel.