web analytics
September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Will Momentary Focus on UNRWA Expose PA and Hamas Abuses?

Logo of the United Nations Relief Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East.

Logo of the United Nations Relief Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East.
Photo Credit: UNRWA

How a person feels about the vast and sprawling UNRWA organization – the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East – is a kind of proxy for how open he or she is towards understanding what actually happens in this part of the world as distinct from what people wish were happening.

If you think UNRWA is just great, deserves all the support we can give it, one of the mankind’s major humanitarian achievements, then you may be part of a hugely uninformed majority. A blog with the modest title “Call to Humanity” (just as one small example among many) reflects that standpoint, calling UNRWA “the oldest, most-established and perhaps the most successful international humanitarian operation in the world“.

It’s nothing of the sort as, for instance, the Red Cross (established in 1863) might point out. As for successful, there’s room for thinking very differently.

When UNRWA got started on December 8, 1949, it defined a Palestinian refugee as someone whose “normal place of residence” had been Palestine during the 23 month period ending in May 1948. Yes, that’s 23 months, not years.

In 1965, the class was widened dramatically by an UNRWA decision to extend coverage to third-generation refugees i.e. the children of parents who were themselves born after 14 May 1948, the day Israel came into formal existence and was massively attacked by all the Arab states.

This must have gone over well in certain quarters because in 1982, eligibility was extended to all subsequent generations of descendents, without any limitation. This chain of events is described in a recent monograph, “UNRWA: Blurring the Lines between Humanitarianism and Politics“, authored for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs by Dr. Rephael Ben-Ari.

What’s more, those “refugees” remain refugees even after they become citizens of other countries.

Given UNRWA’s broad definitions, it is therefore no wonder that the current number of Palestinian refugees, according to the Agency’s figures, amounts to nearly 5 million – half of the number of refugees in the entire world - whereas the formal number of original refugees who fled Palestine in 1948 was around 700,000 – 750,000 out of whom only 8 percent are still alive. [Ben Ari]

UNRWA has evolved into one of the largest programs of the United Nations. Its 30,000 employees are part of a structure that delivers services to its beneficiaries in ways that, elsewhere, would be considered government-like. But in the Middle East, government-like can be a fairly loose and unhelpful definer. For instance, though polio has erupted in the region, the government operated by the Hamas regime in Gaza is said to be refraining from spending any of its hard-earned military-equipment budget on anti-polio vaccine.

How effective is UNRWA? A different refugee agency (the Office of UN High Commission for Refugees) set up in the same year to serve the remainder of the world’s displaced innocents

has helped tens of millions of people restart their lives. Today, a staff of some 8,600 people in more than 125 countries continues to help some 33.9 million persons [UNHCR website].

Yet people like the blogger we just mentioned keep putting UNRWA at the top of the heap.

Now, sixty-plus years after it got started, UNRWA is about to come under some brief scrutiny within the UN, though let’s quickly add that no-one expects anything good to come of it. Jonathan Tobin explains this in an article published yesterday on the Commentary Magazine website, called “Want Peace? Change UN’s Refugee Policy”:

A UN panel will discuss an effort to revise the rules under which the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) operates. The pending debate is the result of an initiative pushed by the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Judges and seeks to redefine who can be considered a Palestinian refugee and therefore a recipient of UNRWA’s largesse… This discussion not only calls attention to UNRWA’s misguided policies but also highlights an issue that is one of the chief obstacles to peace. Though UNRWA is tasked with helping the Palestinians and is, for lack of a Palestinian government or groups dedicated to providing their people with a path to a better life, their primary source of sustenance, it actually plays a central role in their continued victimization… Rather than help the refugees to adjust to reality, UNRWA’s policies have dovetailed nicely with a Palestinian political identity that regards accommodation to Israel’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. [Tobin]

About the Author: Frimet and Arnold Roth began writing and speaking publicly soon after the murder of their fifteen year-old daughter Malki Z"L in the Jerusalem Sbarro massacre, August 9, 2001 (Chaf Av, 5761). They have both been, and are, frequently interviewed for radio, television and the print media, including CNN, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, Al-Jazeera, and others. Their blog This Ongoing War deals with the under-appreciated price of living in a society afflicted by terrorism which, they contend, means the entire world. Frimet is a native of Queens, NY while her husband was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. They brought their family to settle in Jerusalem in 1988. They co-founded the Malki Foundation in 2001 and are deeply involved in its work as volunteers. They can be reached at thisoingoingwar@gmail.com .


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

3 Responses to “Will Momentary Focus on UNRWA Expose PA and Hamas Abuses?”

  1. That can’t be true they are not refugees send them back to the Arab countries that they came from

  2. It’s Israel not Palestine

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Candy-laden bulletin board greets children on their first day of school in the lobby of an Efrat apartment building. Sept. 1, 2014.
The message reads:
"To our dear children ... may it be a year of fun and happiness in your studies." 
Did You Know September 1 is an Israeli National Holiday?
Latest Blogs Stories
paramedikit-3

“I knew that being there would allow me to protect other soldiers.”

Kerry Repeats

JoeSettler asks what could still possibly be on the negotiating table with the PA after a summer like we just had…

Kurdistan Crisis

You did not want to listen because you could not blame my Israel.

iphone

Now everyone has easy access to the culture and all of its vices, both social and intellectual.

Connect the dots, please: All of these Muslim Arab terror organizations are connected.

“…while Hamas has been weakened it has not been destroyed…”

Jewish donors bought and donated the greenhouses to the Palestinians.

This week’s podcast discusses the need for transparency in international business dealings.

The new “Begin Plan” is an impending nightmare, it rewards the Bedouins for brazen land-grabbing.

There is absolutely nothing for Israel’s security in this American document.

Is it because of corrupt values and lack of meeting opportunities that we have a shidduch crisis?

Israel is fighting the war that none of the Western world has the ability or courage to fight.

Finish the job! Sayyem et a missima!סיים את המסימה!

Life after 50? You better believe it! Tips on how to prepare and enjoy life after retirement.

While I am no fan of the two-state solution, I think I have a solution for the Gaza strip. Let me make it perfectly clear that in no way do I believe a Palestinian people, nation or Arab State ever existed in the history of the world and certainly was not occupied by Israel. If […]

Hamas targeted the Erez Crossing when it knew that Gazans and Israeli Arabs would be there, out in the open…

More Articles from Frimet and Arnold Roth
Ofir (C) and Bat-Galim Shaar (rear, L), parents of kidnapped Jewish teenager Gilad Sha'ar, seen with Iris ( front L) and Ouria Yifrah (front, center), parents of kidnapped Jewish teen Eyal Yifrah, and Avi Frenkel (R), father of kidnapped Jewish teen Naftali Frenkel.

The Palestinians remain below the age of responsibility; the source of their behavior always in Israel’s actions.

Aftermath of the Sbarro Pizzeria homicide bombing, August 9, 2001.  Fifteen people were murdered, including the authors' 15 year old daughter, Malki. More than 120 were injured.

Our daughter Malki was murdered, because she was Jewish,, by unrepentant Arab terrorists.

Tragedies continue emanating from the decision to release 1000+ terrorists from Israeli prisons.

A rocket from Gaza failed to make it over the fence. It crashed somewhere on the Hamas-controlled side.

UNRWA’s numbers mean half the refugees in the world are Palestinian Arabs.

Mrs. Obama, our daughter’s murder by another Islamist terror group – Hamas – was also unconscionable.

The grandaughter of an Auschwitz survivor was murdered in a terrorist massacre in Jerusalem.

The State Department is said to want the court to intervene on Arab Bank’s behalf for foreign policy reasons.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/this-ongoing-war/will-momentary-focus-on-unrwa-expose-pa-and-hamas-abuses/2014/05/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: