Turning Palestinians into Permanent Refugees Makes Peace Impossible

The U.S., Canada, and several European countries have temporarily suspended their financial support for UNRWA—the UN agency tasked with providing aid to Palestinians who fled Israel in 1948 and their descendants—over its ties to Hamas. But the organization’s rot lies with the very purpose of its existence. Einat Wilf explains:

Once it became clear that UNRWA would neither settle a single Arab refugee nor close down, it became necessary for UNRWA to keep busy, especially since immediate relief was no longer necessary. What started as initiatives for vocational training turned within a few short years into a sprawling education system run by the Arab refugees themselves. In the UNRWA compounds (misnamed “refugee camps”) and the schools a new nationalism was born, the Palestinian one, that united Arabs living in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and the Gaza Strip around the goals of revenge and “return.”

UNRWA and the Palestinian “refugee” issue are not marginal aspects of the conflict. They are at the core of the conflict and the reason for its perpetuation.

The conflict has always been about one thing and one thing only, the Arab rejection of the Jewish right to self-determination in any part of the Jewish historical homeland. Everything else has been the outcome of that single rejection. UNRWA has been one of the most substantial forces in ensuring that this rejection not only never ends, but is indulged, supported, and magnified to become the core element of an entire people.

For there to be peace, the war must first end, and the war cannot end if there is an organization, supported by Canada and other Western powers, that does everything possible to ensure it continues.

Read more at National Post

More about: Israeli War of Independence, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Palestinian refugees, UNRWA

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7