The US should stop funding UNRWA

Personally, I think the best thing to do would be to put the present administrators of UNRWA out of a job.

Boxes from UNRWA await transfer to Gaza from Israel. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Boxes from UNRWA await transfer to Gaza from Israel.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) runs the Palestinian refugee camps in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. If you visit the West Bank or Jordan (Gaza, Lebanon and Syria are pretty much off-limits these days), it’s not at all difficult to recognize the Palestine refugee camps. They are the ugly slums that lie just beyond the reasonably livable neighborhoods where most people live.
Palestinians are bribed to live in them with subsidies. The refugee camps are reverse-Potemkin villages intended to photogenically immortalize the suffering of the Palestinian people.
UNRWA does not help refugees return to living a normal life; instead, UNRWA is in the business of perpetuating their refugee status and the refugee status of all their future generations on the premise that they will all be allowed to return to Israel someday. There are various estimates of how many Arab refugees there were in 1948, but UNRWA claims the highest number, 750,000. Today, UNRWA claims there are about 5.3 million Palestine refugees eligible for its services, presumably waiting to claim their right of return to Israel, a country whose total population is 8.8 million.
UNRWA is the willing captive of Arab extremists. UNRWA claims it is forced to work with extremists or it won’t be allowed to operate at all, but history shows that UNRWA is only too willing to cooperate.
Does UNRWA provide education? You can be sure it does. But who does it hire to provide that education? That’s right, Arab extremists teach the children to hate Jews and to take back Israel, and they train the children in warfare. UNRWA facilitates Arab extremists weaponizing the suffering of the Palestinian refugees against Israel (turning ploughshares into swords).
The world should rescue the Palestinian refugees from UNRWA. UNRWA abuses them by casting them in the role of perpetual victims.
They are not “refugees” in the way the word is normally understood.
UNRWA’s inflated budgets and fiscal irregularities are also disturbing, and there are credible reports that UNRWA works directly with terrorist groups in Gaza.
What would happen if the US, UNRWA’s most significant funding source, stops supporting UNRWA? If the US manages to put UNRWA out of business, the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) could take over its functions. Then instead of trapping the Palestinians in everlasting refugee status they would finally be allowed to live normal lives, and the tension their growing refugee presence causes in the Middle East will be eased.
Interestingly, Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said US President Donald Trump threatened “to starve Palestinian children” by threatening to cut US funding to UNRWA.
That is a revealing statement because it gets to the heart of the problem.
The PA/PLO is trying to morally blackmail the West. The message is that unless the West supports UNRWA the PA won’t spend any of its own money on feeding its own children and it will be the fault of the West if these children starve. With that kind of logic, they can take over the world. They can say unless you give me everything I want, I will allow my children to starve and I will tell everyone that you are responsible for it.
The truth is that even if the PA/PLO won’t feed its own children, the Western world, if not the Arab world, should and certainly would make sure there would be a transition program to keep Palestinian children from starving and to avoid any other catastrophic changes. In contrast with UNRWA, the Western world, and probably also the rest of the Arab world, does not want to make hostages of Palestinian children.
There are those who describe how UNRWA could be reformed. Personally, I think the best thing to do would be to put the present administrators of UNRWA out of a job.
The author made aliya at the end of 2009 and is passionately interested in Israel and its relations with its neighbors.