March 19, 2018

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Palestinian Authority cabinet rejects idea of defunding UNRWA, preferring to keep its own people in camps
In 1950, UNRWA offered to help both Jewish and Arab refugees from the war inside Israel. Here is how UNRWA reported on Israel’s reaction:

30. In Israel, the Agency has provided relief to two types of refugees, Jews who fled inside the borders of Israel during the fighting, and Arabs in most instances displaced from one area in Palestine to another. Jewish refugees at first numbered 17,000 but, during the current summer, all but 3,000 of these have been absorbed into the economic life of the new State. Arabs on relief were first numbered at 31,000 but many have been placed in circumstances in which they are self-supporting, so that it was possible to reduce the number to 24,000 at the end of August 1950.
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. The Agency was requested to share financially in a programme of re-establishment of displaced Arabs now within the boundaries of Israel.

Israel, a newly sovereign nation with crippling debts, felt that the idea of having a UN agency in its borders doing the job of the state in taking care of its citizens was “repugnant.” It created a plan to integrate all refugees, Jewish and Arab, into the state. It would accept monetary aid but not a parallel social infrastructure.

The contrast between 2 year old Israel and a 20-odd year old Palestinian Authority could not be more striking.

Wafa reports:

The Council of Ministers considered the decision of the United States to freeze the funding allocated to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), unacceptable blackmail and illegal action that undermines the rights of Palestinian refugees and increases the suffering and crises of refugee camps, endangering the lives of refugees who depend on the health, education and humanitarian services provided by the Agency for decades

So the United States, by deciding where to best spend its money and saying that it won’t throw its money away, is engaging in “blackmail” and “illegal actions.”

Any normal state would want to take care of their own people in their own borders. But the Palestinian Authority doesn’t want to take care of its own people.

What kind of a state demands that their people remain in camps inside their own borders paid for by the rest of the world?

A real nation would at least demand that the cash that was going to a UN agency to do the job of the state  -taking care of its people – should be redirected to its own budget so they could give equal rights to “refugees” as their other citizens.

Like Israel did.

But no one demands that the Palestinians act like a real nation when dealing with their own people. And when the expectations are so low, the results will be equally dismal.

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