Initiative Jachad

UNWRA is an impediment to peace

UNWRA instills millions of Arab refugee descendants with false hope they’ll be repatrieated to 1948 villages

A Middle East peace process ensued 34 years ago, when Egyptian president Anwar   Sadat made an unprecedented peace effort, when he proclaimed a new policy of   peace and reconciliation with Israel. Sadat headed the largest nation of the   League of Arab Nations, the very entity which declared a war of extermination   against the nascent state of Israel in 1948. The very same League of Arab   Nations spawned the PLO in 1964 for the very same purpose: to liquidate the   Jewish state.

The 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty, and the subsequent  1994  Israel-Jordan peace treaty which emanated from the seminal Sadat  initiative,  ignited hopes that the Israeli-Arab war would finally come to an  end, while  outstanding issues of the 1948 war would finally be resolved.

Festering issues  from 1948 still include the vast property claims of  nearly one million Jews from  Arab countries who left almost all possessions  behind, along with the claims of  the descendants of half a million Arab  refugees from 1948 war who left behind  hundreds of Arab villages.

While  Jewish refugees from Arab countries were  absorbed into Israel, nearly five  million descendants of Arab refugees from the  1948 war continue to languish in  59 United Nations Relief and Works Agency  (UNRWA) “temporary” refugee camps in  Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Judea, Samaria,  Jerusalem and Gaza, now funded to the  tune of 1.2 billion dollars per annum by  38 western democracies, with the US  government donating 25 percent of the annual  UNRWA budget.

An official  UNRWA report, published in June 2011, describes  the destitute situation in the  UNRWA facilities,which UNRWA officials contrasted  with the tremendous economic  growth of neighboring Arab cities of Ramallah,  Jenin, Bethlehem, Hebron and  more.

YET DESPITE its plague of poverty,  UNRWA makes no effort to seek  any long term solutions for descendants of Arab  refugees who have wallowed in  the indignity of refugee life for more than 60  years. UNRWA could adapt the  principles of UNHCR, the United Nations High  Commission For Refugees, to  rehabilitate thousands of its clients. After all,  UNHCR has recently gained  experience in its efforts to relocate thousands of  Arab refugees whom it had  rescued in Iraq, placing them in eleven nations around  the world beginning with  Chile.

In contrast, UNRWA instills millions of  Arab refugee descendants  with the false hope that they will be repatriated to  their 1948 villages, even  though these villages no longer exist. Meanwhile,  UNRWA makes no effort to even  encourage Arab refugee descendants to plan for a  future Palestinian Arab entity  that may soon be established in Judea, Samaria  and Gaza.

Instead, UNRWA  embraces the “right of return” curricula of the  Palestinian Authority, Syria,  Lebanon and Jordan, and UNRWA facilities boast  maps of Palestine which replace  Israel, where all Israeli cities are described  as Arab cities. This past  summer, our agency filmed UNRWA sports camps for  children where the dominant  theme was the “right of return” to the villages of  their  greatgrandparents.

The UNRWA school system’s call to join the armed   struggle to realize the “right of return” has transformed UNRWA camps into a   breeding ground for terrorists.

It was therefore no coincidence that, in   March 2009, Hamas terror groups won their fourth consecutive election to take   charge of the UNRWA trade union and the UNRWA teachers’ union in   Gaza.

Appearing before the National Press Club in Washington on  September  19, 2011, Dr. Mordechai Kedar, senior research associate at the Begin  Sadat  Center (BESA) for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University, described  UNRWA as “an anachronistic institution born 60 years [ago] and [which] should  have died a  natural death many decades ago, like in all parts of the world  after the tumult  of the Second World War.” Moreover, said Kedar, “what UNRWA  does is to  perpetuate the wars of the 1940s as it resuscitates refugee problems  that died  in all other parts of the world, more than fifty years  ago.”

A Middle East peace process ensued 34 years ago, when Egyptian president Anwar Sadat made an unprecedented peace effort, when he proclaimed a new policy of peace and reconciliation with Israel. Sadat headed the largest nation of the League of Arab Nations, the very entity which declared a war of extermination against the nascent state of Israel in 1948. The very same League of Arab Nations spawned the PLO in 1964 for the very same purpose: to liquidate the Jewish state.

The 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty, and the subsequent 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty which emanated from the seminal Sadat initiative, ignited hopes that the Israeli-Arab war would finally come to an end, while outstanding issues of the 1948 war would finally be resolved.

Festering issues from 1948 still include the vast property claims of nearly one million Jews from Arab countries who left almost all possessions behind, along with the claims of the descendants of half a million Arab refugees from 1948 war who left behind hundreds of Arab villages.

While Jewish refugees from Arab countries were absorbed into Israel, nearly five million descendants of Arab refugees from the 1948 war continue to languish in 59 United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) “temporary” refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and Gaza, now funded to the tune of 1.2 billion dollars per annum by 38 western democracies, with the US government donating 25 percent of the annual UNRWA budget.

An official UNRWA report, published in June 2011, describes the destitute situation in the UNRWA facilities,which UNRWA officials contrasted with the tremendous economic growth of neighboring Arab cities of Ramallah, Jenin, Bethlehem, Hebron and more.

YET DESPITE its plague of poverty, UNRWA makes no effort to seek any long term solutions for descendants of Arab refugees who have wallowed in the indignity of refugee life for more than 60 years. UNRWA could adapt the principles of UNHCR, the United Nations High Commission For Refugees, to rehabilitate thousands of its clients. After all, UNHCR has recently gained experience in its efforts to relocate thousands of Arab refugees whom it had rescued in Iraq, placing them in eleven nations around the world beginning with Chile.

In contrast, UNRWA instills millions of Arab refugee descendants with the false hope that they will be repatriated to their 1948 villages, even though these villages no longer exist. Meanwhile, UNRWA makes no effort to even encourage Arab refugee descendants to plan for a future Palestinian Arab entity that may soon be established in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Instead, UNRWA embraces the “right of return” curricula of the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, and UNRWA facilities boast maps of Palestine which replace Israel, where all Israeli cities are described as Arab cities. This past summer, our agency filmed UNRWA sports camps for children where the dominant theme was the “right of return” to the villages of their greatgrandparents.

The UNRWA school system’s call to join the armed struggle to realize the “right of return” has transformed UNRWA camps into a breeding ground for terrorists.

It was therefore no coincidence that, in March 2009, Hamas terror groups won their fourth consecutive election to take charge of the UNRWA trade union and the UNRWA teachers’ union in Gaza.

Appearing before the National Press Club in Washington on September 19, 2011, Dr. Mordechai Kedar, senior research associate at the Begin Sadat Center (BESA) for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University, described UNRWA as “an anachronistic institution born 60 years [ago] and [which] should have died a natural death many decades ago, like in all parts of the world after the tumult of the Second World War.” Moreover, said Kedar, “what UNRWA does is to perpetuate the wars of the 1940s as it resuscitates refugee problems that died in all other parts of the world, more than fifty years ago.”

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