The U.S. Should Insist That the UN Treat Palestinian Refugees Like All Others

Feb. 27 2017

According to recent estimates, there are fewer than 50,000 living Arab refugees from Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, but the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)—an organization dedicated solely to the needs of Palestinians—caters to a population of over five million, composed of any descendants of the original refugees on the male line including even their great-grandchildren. Much good would be done, argue Richard Schifter and Eric Rozenman, by ending UNRWA’s independence:

Over the years, UNRWA has helped prolong the refugee problem it was created to resolve. A self-perpetuating bureaucracy, UNRWA also functions as an employment agency with a reported 30,000 staffers—most Palestinian and some having come from terrorist groups like Hamas. It boasts an annual budget of $1.3 billion, of which American taxpayers provide $400 million.

In the 2014 Gaza war, . . . UNRWA facilities—including schools and clinics—served wittingly or unwittingly as weapons depots and launch pads or as “shields” against retaliation for attacks staged from adjacent properties. During periods of quiet, anti-Israeli, anti-Jewish curricula in UNRWA schools have indoctrinated future generations of rejectionists and terror recruits.

There is no doubt that simply abolishing UNRWA would overburden Jordan and the Palestinian Authority with responsibility to support these persons of Palestinian ancestry who have not yet been fully integrated into the countries in which they live. That is why, for both political and humanitarian reasons, it would be appropriate for the United States to call for UNRWA to be folded into the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC), and insist [that] the $400-million UNRWA allocation [go directly to] the UNHCR.

Further, the United States should require that Palestinian Arab refugees be treated like all other displaced groups. None of them can bequeath refugee status—and the material, financial, and diplomatic support that comes with it—to future generations. Finally, the United States should insist UNRWA-enabled anti-Israel, anti-peace curricula not migrate to UNHCR.

Welcome to Mosaic

Register now to get two more stories free

Register Now

Already a subscriber? Sign in now

Read more at The Hill

More about: Israel & Zionism, Palestinian refugees, United Nations, UNRWA

The Palestinian Authority Deliberately Provoked Sunday’s Jerusalem Riots

Aug. 16 2019

On Sunday, Tisha b’Av—the traditional day of mourning for the destruction of the two Jerusalem Temples—coincided with the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. While the Israeli government had initially banned Jews from the Temple Mount on that day, it later reversed its decision and allowed a few dozen to visit. Muslim worshippers greeted them by throwing chairs and stones, and police had to quell the riot by force. Just yesterday, an Israeli policeman was stabbed nearby. Maurice Hirsch and Itamar Marcus place the blame for Sunday’s violence squarely on the shoulders of the Palestinian Authority:

Sign up to read more

You've read all your free articles for this month


Sign up now for unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Palestinian Media Watch

More about: Palestinian Authority, Temple Mount, Tisha b'Av