Last week’s leaked UNRWA ethics report that so far has resulted in the suspension of funds from the agency by at least three European nations also presents a unique opportunity, according to a new op-ed published this week by The Wall Street Journal.
Earlier this week Belgium become the latest European nation to suspend payments to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) following the conclusion of a report into claims of misconduct by the agency’s top management.
In writing “The U.N. Agency for Palestinians Is Even Worse Than You Imagine,” Alex Joffee of the Middle East Forum and Asaf Romirowsky, executive director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East — both scholars at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies — contend the current scandal facing the agency makes clear the danger of devoting an international organization to a single population. UNRWA is the sole UN agency to be focused on one “refugee” population – that is, the multi-generational descendants of the refugees of a single population — more than half a century ago. They add that the crisis is also an opportunity for donors to the agency to band together to demand a “phaseout plan for the entire organization.
“Unrwa’s (sic) 30,000 employees could join the Palestinian Authority, which would take over its health, education and welfare responsibilities like the state it claims to be,” Joffee and Romirowsky write.
“Unrwa’s (sic) expensive international cadre, including lobbyists in Washington and Geneva, should be disbanded. And Palestinian residents of Arab states—all of whom are considered refugees by Unrwa (sic) —should become citizens of those states, as they are in Jordan, or of the Palestinian Authority.”
“As we’ve noted many times, UNRWA is a broken model and as this WSJ op-ed states, the recent report of corruption “. . . represents a new low for Unrwa (sic) and an indictment of the idea of an international agency dedicated to a single interest,” Greenblatt summed up.”