February 20, 2019

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UNRWA and the PLO agrees: Millions of Palestinians don’t belong in "Palestine"

UNRWA Commissioner-General, Pierre Krӓhebühl, launches the UNRWA Emergency Appeal for Syria, Gaza and the West Bank during a press conference at the UNOG Palais des Nations in Geneva on 30 January 2018.

On Tuesday, UNRWA started a new $800 million fundraising campaign to help make up for the shortfall of funding from the US.

Most critics of UNRWA, correctly, point out that the agency’s definition of “refugee” is at odds with the definition of refugee used in every other context. But another argument in the context of this funding crisis is even more cogent.

Half of the funds UNRWA is demanding – $400 million – is earmarked for Palestinian “refugees” who live in “Palestine.”

Why is he world paying a dime to “refugees” who live in their own land?

The PLO and the PA have insisted on the “right to return” of millions of descendants of people who lived in British Mandate Palestine to Israel, and they have made it clear over the years that the reason they insist on it is to destroy the Jewish State demographically. Otherwise, how can they say on the one hand that they must have an independent state for their people, and on the other hand insist that millions of those same people should not live in their state but in the state of their enemy?

When UNHRC manages to bring real refugees back to their original countries, it doesn’t insist that they move to the exact spot they used to live in. That is absurd and it is not the definition of “refugee.” As long as they can integrate into their countries, they are no longer refugees and no longer in need of international assistance.

But UNRWA’s official position is that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who live in what the UN call the State of Palestine are not full citizens of their statelet, but instead belong in Israel.

And it is demanding $400 million from the world to help keep this situation of intra-Palestinian apartheid, against “Palestine refugees” in “Palestine,” alive.

The US reduction in aid to UNRWA should be explicit about why funding an agency that encourages discrimination against “refugees” inside Palestinian territories is wrong. Europeans should ask why they should fund an agency that is keeping a fake “refugee” issue alive, even in Jordan where the “refugees” are almost all citizens and in “Palestine” where they are literally home. Let UNRWA concentrate, for now, on people in need in Syria and Syrian refugees in Lebanon, where real money is needed even if there is a two-class system for Syrian refugees depending on where their great-grandparents lived.

But to continue to fund UNRWA to provide free food, medicine and education to people who are in “Palestine” and full citizens of Jordan is simply to throw money away.

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