To Facilitate Peace, President Trump Should Shut Down UNRWA

Jan. 12 2017

Founded in 1949, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) was tasked with the admirable mission of providing humanitarian assistance for some 700,000 Palestinians displaced by Israel’s War of Independence. The organization now serves the millions of descendants of these refugees, prevents their successful integration into the lands in which they now live, and educates their children to hate Israel and yearn for return to “Palestine.” Noting that the question of these refugees and their “right of return” is now regarded as the biggest impediment to a two-state solution, Sol Stern calls on Donald Trump to defund UNRWA:

Less than 5 percent of UNRWA’s clients ever lived in Israel, but the agency’s regulations state that all patrilineal descendants of the original displaced persons shall retain their refugee rights in perpetuity. Nor does UNRWA seem to be troubled by the fact that 40 percent of its camp residents are citizens of Jordan and Lebanon, and shouldn’t even be considered refugees under accepted international law and practice.

The unchecked growth of UNRWA is a classic case in international politics of the economic principle of “moral hazard.” By providing a social-welfare safety net, the UN enables the Palestinian leadership to undermine efforts to solve the underlying conditions that created the refugee problem in the first place. Palestinian rejectionism is thus rendered risk-free. In turn, UNRWA nurtures Palestinian extremism, yet never is held accountable by the agency’s donor nations, including the United States. . . .

As president, Trump can do a big favor for the Palestinians by disabusing them of their fantasy of return. He should begin by immediately cutting off all American funding of UNRWA. (This will be quite easy to do, because UNRWA isn’t financed out of the UN budget, but rather through voluntary contributions from many member states.) Instead, the president can announce that the $400 million that usually goes directly to UNRWA will be set aside for a fund available for permanent resettlement of the Palestinian residents of the refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza. Trump should also lobby the other nations funding UNRWA (mostly our European allies) that it’s time to end this destructive 66-year venture that breeds hate and violence.

Finally, Trump should read the Palestinian president the riot act. He should tell Mahmoud Abbas that it’s time to end the 1948 war and let the 5.6-million alleged Palestinian refugees know that they are never going back to Israel. If Abbas is agreeable to this new path to peace, President Trump can assure the Palestinian leader that the U.S. will do everything it can to facilitate negotiations for a two-state solution. If Abbas refuses to renounce the right of return, Trump should warn him that the U.S. will end all aid programs to the Palestinians.

Read more at City Journal

More about: Donald Trump, Israel & Zionism, Palestinian refugees, U.S. Foreign policy, UNRWA

 

Close the PLO Office in Washington

April 24 2017

In the wake of the Oslo Accords, and in order to facilitate futher negotiations, Congress carved out an exception to the 1987 Anti-Terrorism Act to permit the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)—a known terrorist group—to open an office in the U.S. capital. The legislation allows the president to extend this “temporary” waiver at his discretion—which every president since Bill Clinton has done. Shoshana Bryen argues that putting an end to the policy is a proper punishment for the PLO’s continued financial support for terrorists and their families.

[The waiver] was conditional on the PLO’s meeting its Oslo Accords obligations, including refraining from terrorism and renouncing international moves that would impede a bilateral agreement on final-status issues. . . .

In 2011, a Palestinian bid for recognition as a full member of the UN failed, but the waiver remained. Over U.S. objections, “Palestine” joined the International Criminal Court in 2015 [in violation of the Accords and thus of the waiver’s conditions]. . . .

[Furthermore], worried about foreign-aid payments from the U.S. and the EU, in 2014 the Palestinian Authority (PA) claimed it stopped paying salaries [to terrorists and their familites] and that future money would come from a new PLO Commission of Prisoner Affairs. . . . [I]n 2015, a year after the PA “officially” transferred authority over Palestinian prisoners to the PLO, it also transferred an extra 444-million shekels (more than $116 million) to the PLO—nearly the same amount that the PA had allocated in the previous years to its now-defunct Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs. . . .

[T]he U.S. government should let the PLO and PA know that we are onto their game. Disincentivizing terrorism by closing the PLO office in Washington would be a good first step.

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, PLO, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy