Hopeless – Israel’s Concessions For Peace – Against UNRWA, United Nations Palestinian-Arab Agency!

How good intentions – and justice – are thwarted, even demonized, by international politics: the nations of the world, presumably having learned from the failure of the League of Nations, are united to pursue peace between countries and to safe-guard hapless individuals from genocidal persecution – however, now seem equally helpless in avoiding the counter-productiveness of United Nations politics.

The numbers tell it all (Jan 1, 2007 data): there are two UN agencies set up to aid refugees the world over: the UNHCR – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – responsible for over 21 million refugees in 110 countries, including genocidal victims in Africa and Asia, all the refugees the world over except for the Palestinian Arabs – and UNRWA, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, responsible only for them. A simple comparison: UNHCR employs a staff of 6300 for its 21 million refugees (about 3,400 refugees per UN staffer) – whereas UNRWA has a staff of 29,000 – for its far less Palestine-Arab “refugees” – the number of which clearly bares the political game in play against the State of Israel.

Official UN data, when UNRWA was created in 1949 by General Assembly Resolution 302 – was 726,000 refugees – Palestinians who had fled the war zone when five Arab nations attacked fledgling Israel after it accepted UN’s offer of statehood (the Arabs rejecting a similar offer for Palestinian-Arabs). With free benefits and no Arab country permitting entry to any of the refugees (despite identical heritage, religion, language and culture) that number quickly grew to 957,000 in May 1950, when UN benefits began. Then UNRWA expanded its definition of refugees to include patrilineal descendants (no other refugees in the world are given such consideration – against the wishes of the US, largest financial supporter – and creating a major obstacle to any possible Israel-Arab peace), thus UNRWA now lists 4.5 million Palestinian-Arab refugees – even that inflated number gives only 155 refugees per UN staffer – vs 3400 for non-Arab refugees. To show the hypocrisy playing against Israel, two million of these Palestinian refugees live in Jordan, where all but 167,000 have citizenship, thus are fully eligible for government services (40% potential reduction). As has been pointed out in a 67-page critique of UNRWA published in January, 2009, by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (by a senior lawyer for UNRWA from 2000 to 2007), “to call citizens of recognized states ‘refugees’ is suspect and suggests that the agency’s continued existence is due .. to political purposes – UNRWA was not designed as a political organization.” The gross disparity in UN staffer-numbers argues dramatically for political objectives and activity.

The critique also cites past charges against UNRWA: “no steps to prevent members of terrorist organizations such as Hamas from joining its staff; carrying weapons in an UN ambulance; the decision for a growing refugee population .. a political statement that fostered and supported Palestinian demands – as the major donor, the US should do more to push for changes within UNRWA, including a return to a needs-based operations.”

The political unfairness and constant drum-beat against Israel is a dramatic double-standard: Israel is pressured to absorb millions of Palestinian-Arabs – while it must withdraw to the 1967’s indefensible lines (Israel had to defend itself again from Arab armies in 1973) – and of course, no Israeli Jew can be permitted to live in any future Arab state (forced evacuations of Israelis from Lebanon and Gaza) – and no Arab authority seems interested in stopping Arab terrorists from attacking Israeli civilians by rockets (and if Israel does, then “liberals” criticize Israel for “excessive retaliation”). How could anything be fairer?

BOLA TANGKAS