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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘UNRWA’

Arab League Again Promising UNRWA Funds They’ll Never deliver

Monday, September 30th, 2013

From UNRWA, a September 26 press release:

We, members of the League of Arab States and other supporters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), met today in New York under the chairmanship of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States to reassert our support for UNRWA’s mandate in providing assistance and protection to Palestine refugees and to identify practical ways to strengthen that support.

We welcomed Members of the League of Arab States’ engagement to achieve and sustain the 7.8% target for Arab government contributions to UNRWA’s core budget as set out in numerous resolutions of the Council of the League of Arab States since 1987.

The Arab League has been promising to fund 7.8% of UNRWA’s core budget since 1987?

Forget that this amount ($50.7 million) would be less than Sweden gives UNRWA by itself. Forget what a joke it is for oil-rich Arab states, who continuously claim that the plight of Palestinian Arabs is their most important issue, bragging about pledging a mere 7.8% of the core budget (and no promises for the emergency funds UNRWA regularly demands, such as currently in Syria.)

In fact, a glance at the 2013 budget shows that the members of the Arab League pledged not 7.8% of UNRWA’s core budget this year – but 3.3%! (This document only shows government contributions, not individual NGOs and foundations.)

So even the inadequate 7.8% promise is an empty lie. And traditionally the Arab states have paid far less than what they pledged!

Everyone in the Arab world knows that none of them care about their Palestinian brethren, as this cartoon showed. . But this is hushed up when they talk to the West about how important the issue is to them.

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The UNRWA Dilemma

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

The Palestinian people, according to a recent study by the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, have received per capita, adjusted for inflation, 25 times more aid than did Europeans to rebuild war-torn Western Europe under the Marshall plan after the Second World War.

Most of these funds, according to the study, reached the Palestinian people through The United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

UNRWA is the only UN refugee agency dedicated to a single group of people, and the only agency that designates individuals as original refugees if they have lived in areas effected by the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, for a minimum of only two years, before being displaced. UNRWA is also the only UN agency that designates the descendants of the original refugees as refugees as well – even though 90% of UNRWA-designated refugees have never actually been displaced.

UNRWA, furthermore, violates the UNHCR Refugee Convention by insisting that two million people (40% of UNWRA’s beneficiaries) who have been given full citizenship in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, are nevertheless still classified as refugees, and by encouraging them to act on a “right of return.”

Although, since World War II, fifty million people have been displaced by armed conflict, the Palestinian people are the only ones in history to receive this special treatment.

Before describing why UNRWA is a body that drastically reduces any chance of a lasting peace, let’s take a look at which citizens are funding UNWRA. After all: “There is no such thing as public money, there is only taxpayers’ money.”

The total 2012 UNRWA budget was $907,907,371. Although the permanent supportive rhetoric for the “Palestinian case” from the Muslim world might lead one to expect that UNWRA is funded mainly by Muslim countries, in fact UNRWA is almost entirely funded by Western taxpayers: The USA, EU, UK, Sweden, Norway, Germany, The Netherlands and Japan pay $644,701,999, or 71% of the annual UNRWA budget. The funds from the second largest donor, the EU, are of course already composed of EU taxes from its member states.

So where do the Muslim states rank? First in, at #15, is Saudi Arabia. The land of palaces and private gold leaf painted Airbus A380′s on the Royal runways chipped in $12,030,540 — less than half of a tiny country such as the Netherlands. Second, at #18, is Turkey, the supposedly economically flourishing state of a prime minister who zealously supports Hamas, but which contributes only $8,100,000. Qatar, which stands accused of paying millions in bribes to win the bid to host the 2022 World Cup, and is now spending millions on the construction of high end soccer stadiums, contributed exactly $0 to its Palestinian brothers in faith.

These figures also reflect the nature of the role Muslim countries play in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. In their rhetoric, they are permanently hostile towards Israel and sympathetic to slogans such as: “Free Palestine,” still basically a euphemism for “Destroy Israel.” Even this meager support, however, appears to strengthen the Palestinian leadership’s resolve to say no to peace whenever that occasion arises. The non-existence of peace, however, is what perpetuates Palestinian agony, along with Muslim states’ refusal to deliver anything helpful when it comes to either the material needs or the human rights of the Palestinians. The role of most Muslim states in the conflict therefore seems a subversive one, aimed at the perpetuation of Palestinian suffering to divert attention from their own deficiencies such as their terrible human right record, lack of democracy, and the repression of their own peoples; Assad allegedly lavishly paid Syrian Palestinians to storm the Israeli border in 2011, to divert attention away from his bloody crackdown on his countrymen and to let the world media focus on Israel shooting Palestinians on the border.

Muslim states use the Palestinian people as pawns in a hostile game of chess against Israel.

Now that we know where the money does and does not come from, it might be helpful to review how UNWRA spends it. Just a minor detail to keep in mind along the way: The personal wealth of PA president Abbas is estimated at $100 million. UNWRA also funds for Palestinian children summer camps in which the entire focus seems to emphasize the children’s right of return to the villages in which their grandparents are said to have lived, as well as the means to achieve this: Jihad – as shown in a rather disturbing documentary, Camp Jihad, produced by David Bedein.

The United Nations, United Against Israel

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Israelis like to celebrate November 29 as a pre-Independence Day holiday, because that was the day when the newly established United Nations voted to approve a Jewish State.  I don’t consider that act to be all that worthy of our celebration for a couple of reasons.

  • One is that even though a majority of the members of the time did vote to approve a Jewish State, none of them was willing to do anything at all to ensure that the Jewish State would actually exist or survive the onslaught of Arab armies and terrorists which tried to destroy it.
  • The second reason is that we did and do not need the approval of international bodies for our legitimacy, our existence. We owe our survival and existence to G-d and only G-d.  Our victories go against all logic and rules of warfare.

These two points must be remembered.

Very soon after the establishment of the State of Israel, the United Nations quickly established an organization to fully support those Arabs who claimed to be refugees, displaced by the State of Israel, UNRWA.  Unlike all other refugee support groups, this one has made it its aim to perpetuate the refugee status and privileges of the people housed in their camps.  All other refugee support groups aim to get the refugees settled in new productive lives in new homes and locations.  So it’s very, very, very clear that the United Nations, contrary to that November 29th vote is really out to sabotage the State of Israel.

There’s an interesting article in the Jerusalem Post (hat tip: David Bedein’s Israel Behind the News) that tells us which countries have been supporting UNRWA recently.

The United Nations Relief and Work Agency is the only UN refugee agency dedicated to a single group of people. It is the only agency that designates individuals as original refugees if they lived in the area for a minimum of two years, that acknowledges the descendants of original refugees as refugees as well, and the only one that actively encourages its clients to act on their “right of return.”

Since WWII, 50 million people have been displaced by armed conflict.

The Palestinian people are the only ones in history to receive this special treatment.

No doubt this is based on an obvious anti-Israel bias. They are counting on Israel to be destroyed, G-d forbid.  I honestly don’t understand why Israel continues membership in the United Nations, an international organization that is doing all it can to undermine and destroy the State of Israel.

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Video: Camp Jihad

Monday, August 5th, 2013

This film was shot on location in the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) facilities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, by a TV crew hired by the Nahum Bedein Center for Near East Policy Research.


Why the World Loves Palestinians

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, described the special situation of Palestinian refugees on the recent World Refugee Day:

Unlike other refugees, the Palestinians have their own set of rules, their own funding and even their own international agency, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency or UNRWA. To paraphrase George Orwell, all refugees are equal, but some refugees are more equal than others.

In 2012, the United Nations spent six times more on every Palestinian refugee as compared to all other refugees. Like a favored child, the Palestinians have been on the UN’s permanent payroll for over 60 years and are entitled to every service from healthcare to housing and from food rations to education. When it comes to refugees from Syria or Somalia, responsibility falls to the host country to provide basic assistance.

While UNHCR’s approach teaches independence, UNRWA’s approach prepares the Palestinians to be lifelong dependents. Under UNRWA’s framework, Palestinians can continue to be called refugees long after they acquire citizenship and find permanent housing.

UNRWA’s humanitarian mission is undoubtedly important. However, it is being marred by its unspoken political motto of “once a refugee, always a refugee.” By allowing refugee status to pass to Palestinian children and grandchildren, the number of Palestinian refugees has ballooned from a few hundred thousand in 1948 to over five million today. Left unchecked, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians will continue to be added to the UN’s permanent payroll every year.

Let’s apply some simple arithmetic. If about 650,000 Arabs fled Palestine in 1948 (I’m ignoring the smaller number of 1967 refugees in the interest of simplicity) and there are 5 million today, that represents a truly remarkable growth rate of 3.2% per year (the population of India, by contrast, is growing at about 1.7% per year, and that of the US, including immigration, at about 1.1%). If the current trend continues, then, in ten years there will be 6.8 million. The 10 million mark will be reached in 2035, when a Palestinian child born today will be 22 years old. And in 100 years, there will be 116 million Palestinian refugees!

This is clearly unsustainable, but the only ‘solution’ acceptable to the Arabs, to supporters of BDS, to a majority of UN members, and even to our local “Peace Fresno” organization is that all of these Arabs will ‘return to their homes’ in what is today Israel. In the meantime, their ‘oppression’ qualifies them to engage in violent actions.

Prosor continued,

Instead of extending their hand in friendship, the Arab states employed the NIMBY strategy – Not In My Back Yard. Believing that the creation of UNRWA absolved them of any responsibility to their Palestinian brothers, the Arab states passed discriminatory laws. In Lebanon for example, Palestinian refugees are barred from working as doctors, dentists, lawyers, engineers or accountants.

By making the Palestinians the poster children for international victimhood, the Arab states believe they hold a permanent trump card to defame and pressure Israel. While the Arab states are saturated in petrol dollars, the funds mysteriously dry up when it comes to assisting Palestinians and subsidizing UNRWA.

Scan the list of UNRWA’s top contributors and you’ll find it’s exclusively North American and West European countries.

To put it more bluntly: the US and the Europeans are contributing more than $650 million a year (2011 figure) to help the Arab nations build a weapon to use against the Jewish state. And the Arabs pay almost nothing! What a deal.

And it is more than simply a demographic weapon. UNRWA in Gaza supports Hamas in several important ways, particularly by way of its educational system. Teachers — who are all Gaza Palestinians — use books and materials supplied by the Hamas regime. Many Hamas leaders, including Ismail Haniyeh, are graduates of UNRWA schools, and teachers sometimes moonlight as terrorists.

The question of refugees is just one area in which the UN (and its budget) is grotesquely deformed in the direction of the Palestinians. Everyone knows about the imbalance in General Assembly resolutions, and the biased Human Rights Commission. But don’t forget the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), and the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People (SCIIHRP), not to mention the Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR), which is responsible for the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, held every year on November 29, the anniversary of the Partition Resolution of 1947.

Refugees, Hypocrisy and Arab Unity: Just Follow the Money

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

The Arab-on-Arab bloodbath just across Israel’s northern border goes on and on, and with it the incredible and worsening suffering of ordinary Syrians. That is, in significant ways, a function of politically correct but morally repugnant decision making of the “world community.”

The decades-long handling of the Palestinian Arabs as a uniquely deserving cause is revealed for the scam it always was. People are paying with their lives for the double-talk about the “refugees.” Those people are not only Arabs, but in many cases they are also the close kin of the undeserving beneficiaries of the Palestinian Arab Victimhood industry.

Evelyn Gordon writes (“How UNRWA Steals Money from Those Who Need It Most“) about the current threat by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees to halt all relief operations in Syria and for the benefit of Syrian refugees. 1.3 million of them are being looked after until now; the number – given the ongoing unchecked savagery throughout Syria – is certain to grow.

$1.5 billion was pledged to the U.N. agency by donors earlier this year; only $400 million has turned up. That’s a shortfall of more than 70%. What can we learn from this?

For anyone familiar with the way Arab national giving works, this is a constant: fancy rhetoric and high flying speeches about Arab solidarity and Arab unity and Arab generosity, followed by… not much. Is there a shortage of available cash in the oil-soaked Arab world? Not really. (We wrote about the phenomenon of $600 million recreational yachts a few days ago. See 10-Apr-13: “I cannot help but cry out long live the descendants of apes and pigs”).

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says that unless more money arrives (read: unless the promises of funding are honored, which so far has not happened), UNHCR is going to stop distributing food to refugees in Lebanon from May. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, with the largest population of Syrian refugees, has said it will close its borders to more of them; it cannot cope without aid.

Now pause.

Evelyn Gordon writes about a different (a very different) U.N. agency that deals with refugees, one that

enjoys comfortable funding of about $1 billion a year to help a very different group of refugees–refugees who generally live in permanent homes rather than flimsy tents in makeshift camps; who have never faced the trauma of flight and dislocation, having lived all their lives in the place where they were born; who often have jobs that provide an income on top of their refugee benefits; and who enjoy regular access to schooling, healthcare and all the other benefits of non-refugee life… Their generous funding continues undisturbed even as Syrian refugees are facing the imminent loss of such basics as food and fresh water. I am talking, of course, about UNRWA.

People who have never heard this before think we’re making this up, so please read carefully and verify:

It has long been clear that UNRWA–which deals solely with Palestinian refugees, while UNHCR bears responsibility for all other refugees on the planet–is a major obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace. Since, unlike UNHCR, it grants refugee status to the original refugees’ descendants in perpetuity, the number of Palestinian refugees has ballooned from under 700,000 in 1949 to over five million today, even as the world’s non-Palestinian refugee population has shrunk from over 100 million to under 30 million. Moreover, while UNHCR’s primary goal is to resettle refugees, UNRWA hasn’t resettled a single refugee in its history… It has thereby perpetuated and exacerbated the Palestinian refugee problem to the point where it has become the single greatest obstacle to an Israeli-Palestinian agreement… Unfortunately for the Syrians, it seems that many of the world’s self-proclaimed humanitarians prefer harming Israel to helping those who need it most. [Evelyn Gordon]

Last year, we asked [in a post called "5-Jun-12: If there's one single thing about UNRWA that we wish people understood, it's this"] a question that, if it were to get an honest answer, might point to a genuine breakthrough in resolving our neighborhood’s problems:

If (to borrow the laughable claims made by its many supporters) UNRWA’s work is so important, if it brings us closer to peace, if it restores dignity to the lives of dispossessed and destitute Arabs, then why, when you look at the top twenty list of donors to this agency that exists entirely from donations, do you see that only one is Arab (the Islamic Development Bank). What is it about UNRWA that the Arab states understand better than the nations and tax-payers of the West?

Allow us to restate this in a simpler way:

Arab leaders, many of whom preside over phenomenal cash resources, (a) simply don’t give to the strange U.N. agency that exists specifically to support the most beloved cause that exists in the Arab world – the Palestinians. And (b) they fail to honor their pledges (as we noted above) to fund the one organization that can do something to relieve the genuine suffering of the Syrians, tens of thousands of whom have been killed in the past two years’ Arab-on-Arab fighting and millions of whom are now desperate to find shelter.

The role of rampant hypocrisy in explaining what happens in global politics is under-appreciated.
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Look Who Is Blockading Gaza Now

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

Reported in the New York Times:

U.N. Agency Suspends Food Aid After Protest in Gaza By JODI RUDOREN The United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the Gaza Strip stopped food distribution and other services for refugees indefinitely, an official said Friday.

What happened was that last Thursday, the agency’s Gaza headquarters was breached:

“What happened today was completely unacceptable: The situation could very easily have resulted in serious injuries to UNRWA staff and to the demonstrators. This escalation, apparently pre-planned, was unwarranted and unprecedented,” Robert Turner, head of the agency’s Gaza operations, said in a statement.  “All relief and distribution centers will consequently remain closed until guarantees are given by all relevant groups that UNRWA operations can continue unhindered,” he said.

So, is Israel wrong in its policy since we’re actually targeted by mortars, shootings, rockets, missiles and underground tunnels?

Cannot we demand guarantees?

P.S.   Informed that

The hardcopy has this article somewhat buried at the bottom of page A4 under two other articles. Were it Israel–my oh my, it would be on pg 1 and take up half the page.

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Hamas Calls UNRWA’s Protest Strike ‘Unjust’

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

Hamas blasted UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, as being “unjust” for stopping food distribution after rioters stormed UNRWA offices in Gaza in what Hamas said was a “peaceful demonstration.”

“They were screaming, shouting and threatening employees,” said Adnan Abu Hasna, media adviser for UNRWA in Gaza. “It was a really serious danger for staff. We cannot work in such conditions – who knows when these verbal threats will turn into physical attacks?”

The protests followed the agency’s decision to remove approximately 21,000 Gaza families from the welfare list for 800,000 recipients because donors, mainly Arab League countries, have not forked up enough money to cover UNRWA’s $67 million deficit.

Abu Hasna said that Arab League countries have in the past committed to supplying 7.5 per cent of UNRWA’s annual budget but are only providing approximately 1.5 per cent of it.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/hamas-calls-unrwas-protest-strike-unjust/2013/04/07/

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