By Restoring Funding to UNRWA, the U.S. Is Ensuring That the Israel-Palestinian Conflict Continues

April 16, 2021 | Einat Wilf`
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Last week, the White House announced its plan to resume funding of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)—which had ceased in 2018—to the tune of $150 million per year. UNRWA, unlike the UN organization that cares for refugees from every other conflict the world over, does not seek to resettle its charges or to integrate them into the countries where they live, but instead keeps them and their descendants refugees in perpetuity. While the administration justified its decision as “a means to advance a negotiated two-state solution,” Einat Wilf argues that it will do nothing of the sort:

The administration is consciously choosing to fund an agency that is institutionally committed to ensuring that peace will never be possible. . . . There are perfectly rational, humane, and effective ways to provide healthcare and education services to Palestinians without fueling the conflict with Israel—in other words, without UNRWA.

For there to be peace, the war must end. This might sound banal, but it is the most important step on the path to making peace between Palestinians and Israel.

So long as Palestinians are indulged by the West in their belief that the war of 1948 remains an open case and that they can undo their failure in that war to prevent Israel’s establishment as a sovereign state for the Jewish people by means of mass “refugee return,” there is zero possibility that peace will be achieved. Unless the war is clearly understood to have ended, that Israel is here to stay as the sovereign state of the Jewish people, and that millions of Palestinians are not “refugees” from that war and do not possess a “right” to continue the war through “return,” peace will remain elusive, and the conflict will continue.

At a time when the Abraham Accords finally mark acceptance by some Arabs of Israel’s belonging and permanence in the region, the Biden administration is financing an agency that provides international legitimacy to the Palestinian view that Israel is a temporary and illegitimate creation.

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