November 21, 2019

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Astonishing ignorance from Luke Baker of Reuters (@LukeReuters)

One would assume that the bureau chief of a major wire news service dedicated to writing about Israel who has been in the region for years would have the slightest idea of what’s going on.

Virtually all of the people UNRWA calls “Palestine refugees” live under PA control. Why should Israel have to take responsibility for people who claim to be refugees yet who have lived in “Palestine” all along?

Moreover, why doesn’t the PA dismantle the camps – today? Why on Earth are humans kept in these camps when they live under PA rule where there is nothing stopping their leaders from building new houses for them?

But it gets worse. Going back in history…(from a Christian Science Monitor article from 1992)

It actually was worse – the UN passed resolutions forbidding Israel from building decent homes for these Palestinians. Here’s one of them, but there were a few:

Baker believes that Israel wants Palestinian “refugees” to rot away. On the contrary, Israel is virtually the only nation that wants them to stop being “refugees” and being treated like any other responsible people, not as welfare recipients forever.

But Baker’s ignorance doesn’t end there. After the 1948 war, UNRWA declared some of the Arabs in Israel to be “refugees” as well and wanted to “help” them. The new state of Israel informed UNRWA that not having the Arabs integrate into Israeli society as full citizens would be, and I quote, “repugnant.” from UNRWA’s 1950 report:

31. Recent discussions with the Israel Government indicate that the idea of relief distribution is repugnant to it, and the Agency was informed that already many of the 24,000 remaining refugees were employed and that all able-bodied refugees desiring employment could be absorbed on works projects if they would register at the government registry offices for that purpose. It was stated that they all have status as citizens of Israel and are entitled to treatment as such. It was claimed that after cessation of relief, aged and infirm refugees would be cared for under the normal social welfare machinery of Israel. 

Since 1948, Israel is the only country in the Middle East to treat Palestinian refugees from 1948 as normal human beings and not as cannon fodder.

This is a story that Reuters’ Middle East bureau has somehow missed for nearly 70 years.

Baker’s snarky comment shows his utter ignorance around one of the most important issues in the region.

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