Usually the term ‘refugee’ applies to the temporary displacement of a person forced to leave their home, during a time of war or upheaval, until they are resettled. Unfortunately there is a large group of people today who still consider themselves as refugees even though 70 years have passed. These are the Palestinian Refugees who left their homes in 1948 when the State of Israel came into being.
Over seven decades they have rejected all offers of resettlement and continue to hold on to their refugee status and what they call ‘the right of return’. Their cause has long been upheld by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) funded mainly by the USA. Although America has given some $5 billion to UNRWA it will no longer contribute towards the agency. According to a BBC report today, the US State Department has announced it is ending aid to UNRWA as it is ‘”irredeemably flawed”.
Photo: Palestinians walking under a poster of PLO Leader, Yasser Arafat in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camp in Beirut Lebanon. (3 February 2018) [ShutterStock]
7 Reasons Why the USA has stopped financing UNRWA
- UNRWA perpetuates the status quo: According to Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to the US President, “UNRWA perpetuates the status quo, is corrupt, inefficient and doesn’t help peace”. And as another US official has described the agency: “UNRWA’s mandate has exacerbated the refugee crisis and must be changed. Only a modification of its mandate will allow the Palestinians to reach their full potential.”
- No Need for two UN Refugee agencies: The UN’s main refugee protection agency is the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the question is why do the Palestinian refugees need a separate UN body at a cost of over $1 billion per year? Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the time has come to dismantle UNRWA and integrate it into UNHCR. Over the past 70 years, while UNHCR has permanently resettled tens of millions of refugees, UNRWA has resettled no refugees.
- UNRWA exaggerates the number of refugees: The US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley has accused UNRWA of exaggerating the number of Palestinian refugees (said to be 5.4 million) and warns that the organisation needs to reform. According to a report compiled by the Obama Administration, only 20,000 of the original 700,000 Arab refugees are still alive and displaced from their homes. However UNRWA, asserts that there are over 5 million Palestinian refugees worldwide. Yet fewer than 1% of UNRWA refugees would actually meet the Refugee Convention definition.
- Refugee status is not transferable: Unlike all other refugees, Palestinians refugees pass their status onto their descendants. However the USA no longer accepts this. It has rejected UNRWA’s definition of Palestinian refugee status as something that can be passed on from one generation to the next. Due to UNRWA’s definition it is now responsible for five generations of descendants of Arabs who left Israel in 1948-49.
- Accepting the ‘Right to Return’ would destroy Israel. The Trump Administration rejects the Palestinian demand for a ‘right of return’ for millions of refugees and their descendants to Israel. As Barry Segal of Vision For Israel writes: “When Israel was created in 1948, Arab states attacked the Jewish community vowing to ‘drive the Jews into the sea’. They lost the war however, and some 600,000-750,000 Arab Palestinians who voluntarily fled the area were then instructed to return to the Jewish State and cause trouble. Israel understandably fought against this destructive plan. Palestinian Arabs claim any peace agreement with the Jewish State must allow the descendants and families of these refugees, now numbering over five million to return to Israel. If Israel were to agree to this Jews would became a minority in their own state. Return of the refugees would put an end to the Jewish homeland.”
- UNRWA bashes America. Since UNRWA was established in 1949, the USA has given nearly $5 billion to the agency yet it continues to bash America. UNRWA deliberately indoctrinates the Palestinian Refugees to oppose the USA and Israel and support terrorism and genocide against the Jewish State and its people. According to the BBC report, “The state department says the US is contributing a ‘very disproportionate share of the burden of UNRWA’s costs’. It also complains of a business model and fiscal practices, linked to an ‘exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries’, which is ‘unsustainable and has been in crisis mode for many years’ .”
- UNRWA education programs breed hate and incitement.
Instead of fostering peace UNRWA is responsible for incitement. According to David Bedein, an UNRWA fifth grade textbook instructs students to model their lives after Dalal Mugrabi, one of the terrorists who carried out the Coastal Road Massacre in 1978, when 38 Israelis were murdered by terrorists. “An education system that teaches children to murder Jews is not appropriate for a peace process,” he says.
UNRWA is not the Solution
“Established for the exclusive benefit of Palestinian refugees, UNRWA has, instead of resolving their problem, done everything in its power to perpetuate it. Instead of peace and coexistence, it teaches hatred and incitement. Instead of fighting terrorist organizations, it collaborates with them,” concludes Ron Prosor, former Israeli Ambassador to the UN and the UK.
“As someone who has worked toward UNRWA’s closure for years, I am glad Washington finally gets it. Responsibility for the Palestinians and the UNRWA budgets could be transferred to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, which looks after the rest of the world’s refugees and, unlike UNRWA, works towards solving the refugee problem.”
This article expresses the writer’s opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of GOD TV. Please share your views on the Palestinian Refugee issue in the comments section below.