I have written countless times about UNRWA, the UN Relief and Works Agency, which is the official UN agency for Palestinian refugees. It must be noted and stressed, for the umpteenth time, that the Palestinians are the only refugees who
- a) have their own dedicated refugee agency while all the rest of the world’s hundreds of millions of refugees are dealt with by one sole UN agency, the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); and
- b) inherit their refugee status through the generations, such that the original 400,000 or so refugees in 1948 have now swollen to over 5 million, despite the vast majority of these pseudo-refugees being well settled in countries all over the globe.
Perversely their Arab brethren, who claim to be oh-so-concerned about the plight of these poor refugees, refuse to resettle these people in their own countries, keep them in permanent refugee camps while refusing to build them permanent housing, and even forbid them from working in many professions, or even from working at all. (See here for example.) The Jerusalem Post explains the situation thus:
UNRWA is a unique international body originally set up to assist hundreds of thousands of refugees displaced by the Arab war against the establishment of the State of Israel. Now, 70 years later, the organization offers aid the descendants of those refugees, numbering in the millions.
Thus the Palestinian refugee problem in the Middle East has grown to outsize proportions, and all purely so that they should remain a thorn in Israel’s side.
UNRWA, instead of helping the situation, has exacerbated it through their hate-filled, antisemitic educational agenda and, worse, permitting the likes of Hamas to use UNRWA schools and institutions as weapons storage bases or even for rocket-launchings.
Following Mahmoud Abbas’ latest anti-American and anti-Israel rant, the United States had enough and announced a cut of $65 million to their funding, following earlier reconsideration of the US’s grants to the agency:
The official told AFP the decision to withhold some funds was meant to encourage more “burden-sharing” by other members.
“The United States has been UNRWA’s single largest donor for decades. In years past, we contributed some 30 percent of UNRWA’s total income,” he said.
“Without the funds we are providing today, UNRWA operations were at risk of running out of funds and closing down.
“The funds provided by the United States will prevent that from happening for the immediate future.”
US President Donald Trump earlier this month threatened to cut US aid to the Palestinians, saying on Twitter that Washington gets “no appreciation or respect” from the Palestinians.
“We pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect,” Trump tweeted on January 3.
“With the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”
Although Trump referred to all US assistance to the Palestinians, the contribution to the refugee agency would be the first to be affected.
Israel has often criticized UNRWA, accusing it of sheltering terrorists and allowing Palestinians to remain refugees even after settling in a new city or country for many generations, thus complicating a possible resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
And the “gevalts” echoed around the world:
Human Rights Watch director Kenneth Roth on Monday called the US move “vindictive” and a “bullying tactic,” as he urged other governments to step in and fill the gap if the United States decides to definitely cut funding.
“It is vindictive for the US government to deprive the UN of money to feed and educate Palestinian children in order to blackmail the Palestinian Authority into rejoining Trump administration-led peace negotiations,” Roth said in a statement.
The do-gooding Europeans couldn’t leave well enough alone and decided to step into the breach, thus undoing the American’s courageous move:
The Netherlands and Belgium pledged a total of $38 million for the UN agency that provides aid to Palestinians following US funding cuts of $110 million.
Belgium’s government pledged $23.3 million in extra funding for UNRWA and the Dutch government said it would fast-track another $15 million in funding.
The United States announced its cuts on Thursday. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters that a $45 million payment pledged for the UNRWA food aid program would not go through for the time being. Earlier this week, the US said it would freeze $65 million pledged to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, transferring only $60 million.
According to UNRWA, the United States provided more than $350 million in aid to the organization in 2017.
It didn’t pass unchallenged:
hree lawmakers, including one from the ruling People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, submitted questions to Kaag in parliament this week about the decision.
“Why are you fast-tracking funding for UNRWA when there are so many potential groups with urgent needs?” they asked.
But consider the chart below:
Watch UN Watch’s video about UNRWA below:
And then this:
Even some Arabs agree with the US decision:
It’s amazing how the Arabs can see clearly what the Europeans are so blind to.
It turns out that Canada was the first to cut UNRWA funding:
It’s beyond time that UNRWA was disbanded and the remaining Palestinian refugees integrated into their host countries. The few who cannot be integrated for whatever reason can be dealt with by UNHCR, just like all the other millions of refugees worldwide. There is absolutely no excuse for a Jew-hating, terror-supporting agency to be supported by the UN and by the civilized West.
Kol hakavod to President Donald Trump for leading the way (or at least for following former Canadian PM Harper).
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I don’t understand why USA doesn’t cut additional funding to equal the additional amounts being contributed by the likes of Belgium and Holland. If they did they would manage to completely defund UNRWA much quicker. Let the European idiots pay it all till they run out of cash, or political support!
Very good point. I think I heard that Israel davka asked the US not to go all the way, because then it will end up on Israel’s lap. Let’s ease them off slowly. Or let the Euros take over.
I vote for suspending all payments by the United States to UNRWA, a counterproductive agency designed to perpetuate the suffering of the Palestinian people forever, and prevent peace through indoctrination, propaganda and conspiracy with Hamas, among others, to commit terrorist acts. If others want to step up, we should reduce our payment further by the amount they make up, otherwise defunding is an empty gesture that will have no effect.
Yes, you make the same point as DP above. I agree in theory, it’s just that in practice Israel fears that it will be left “holding the baby”. We can’t just let a million Gazans starve. Yes, they should become productive and yes they should stop the violence,but we all know it’s not going to happen overnight.
In fact I just read an interesting “modest proposal to remake UNRWA“. A lot of food for thought there.
I agree with US.Cut all funding to UNRWA and give the money instead to the Eritreans,Sudanese Syrian refugees.If these refugees are declared that they dint need the money then there will be 2 positive consequenses:
1. If the Eritreans and Sudanese are not really refugees anymore,Israel can deport them with no comeback by all these do gooders,who live far away from them,not suffering from them taking their jobs,or stealing from them,having to pay for free schooling for their children,and sometimes suffering worse crimes like rape.
2.If other countries have to entirely underwrite UNRWA they wont be able to provide for their own real refugees pouring out from the middle east.They -the Europeans,will have to make a financial choice;help their own refugees to resettle,or continue to throw good money after bad and pay for UNRWA and their own refugees.I think when the local European begins to feel it in his pocket,realistic decisions will be made in their parliaments.
Very good suggestions.
Anne was kind enough to post the following article by me (
https://anneinpt.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/guest-post-unrwa-not-part-of-the-solution-but-part-of-the-problem/) back in 2013. Which is to say that this problem has been festering for more years than of us care to think about.
From this leftist’s perspective, one of the few good things that the Donald has done is cutting UNRWA’s US funding (that, and promising to move the US embassy to Jerusalem).
But then, Israel is one of the few topics I am unrepentantly “right-wing” about: to the extent that these views and concerns can be classified as “right-wing”.
Thank you Brian. Your article on UNRWA was an excellent primer on all that is wrong with UNRWA (it’s a very long list).