Thursday, September 24, 2009

UNRWA decries the crisis it perpetuates

No current world refugee crisis has gone unresolved longer than the Palestinian exodus, said the UN Relief and Works Agency's commissioner-general, Karen Abu Zayd, in New York on Thursday.

"The Palestinians make up the world's largest refugee group, and their plight has gone on longer than any other," the AP quoted Abu Zayd as saying during an event marking 60 years since UNRWA was established.

The UN's relief agency for Palestine refugees was founded in 1949, although its original mandate was temporary. Now deeply interwoven within Palestinian society itself, it still provides essential services to millions of refugees in camps throughout the Middle East.

"The protracted exile of Palestine refugees and the dire conditions they endure, particularly in the occupied Palestinian territory, cannot be reconciled with state obligations under the UN charter," Abu Zayd added at the UN General Assembly meeting.
What Abu Zayd didn't bother mentioning is some other salient facts about Palestinian Arab "refugees" that make them so unique.

Like, for example, they are the only "refugees" in the history of the planet whose children and grandchildren are also considered refugees, in perpetuity.

They are the only "refugee" group whose numbers continue to go up year after year.

They are the only "refugee" group that is guaranteed to continue to grow forever.

And they are the only "refugee" group to have a UN agency dedicated only to them. All the other world refugees have to share a different UN agency.

All of these facts, ensuring that Palestinian Arab "refugees" remain stateless until Israel is destroyed, have their source in the very agency that is now crying about their endless plight. It is UNRWA which uniquely defines all descendants of Palestinian Arab refugees as being refugees themselves. All other children of refugees become citizens of the countries they are born in, but not so for Palestinian arab refugees. No, they remain stateless, in a limbo enforced by law in the Arab world where every Arab can become a naturalized citizen of any other Arab country - except for Palestinian Arabs.

UNRWA doesn't try to fix this problem, of course. As the article states, UNRWA is now a part of Palestinian Arab culture, providing them with free schools and housing that surpass those of other Arab states. And generations of Arabs whose ancestors happened to live in Palestine in 1947 now feel that these benefits are rightfully theirs. UNRWA has raised generations of whining welfare cases, who grow up to hate not the Arabs who leave them in misery, not UNRWA which perpetuates it, but...Israel.

Notice also how Abu Zayd says that Palestinian Arab "refugees" in the territories somehow have worse lives than those who live in Arab nations. This is an absolute lie. The ones in Lebanon are in much worse shape, both because of governmental discrimination that limits their ability to take certain jobs and own land, as well as because of the fact that these UNRWA camps have turned into terrorist training camps (witness the mini-war that happened last year at Nahr el-Bared, displacing 27,000 people.) Even UNRWA says on their website that "The Lebanon Field has the highest percentage of Palestine refugees who are living in abject poverty and who are registered with the Agency's 'special hardship' programme" ...but you will never hear Karen Abu Zayd say that to the press!

There is another important fact about UNRWA camps that Abu Zayd will never tell the media. In the aftermath of the 1948 war, Israel ended up with some 48,000 refugees, of whom 31,000 were Arab. UNRWA helped the young state with its Arab refugees, but by 1952, Israel informed UNRWA that their services would no longer be needed, and that Israel considered the idea taking handouts for its Jewish and Arab citizens to be "repugnant," as the UN described it.

Today, those 31,000 refugees would have been considered hundreds of thousands of "refugees" by UNRWA's definition. Instead, they are citizens of Israel. Their "brethren," in contrast, are not citizens of any country, because the Arab nations refused to naturalize them (with the exception of Jordan and a very small amount in Lebanon.) The stark contrast between how Arabs treat their refugees and how the Jews treat theirs in more recent times can be seen here.

These facts are not things that UNRWA proudly mentions in their history. Neither does UNRWA mention what happened back in the 1950s, when it actually tried to resettle PalArabs in Arab lands and was rebuffed by the Arab League. UNRWA doesn't mention when Israel tried to build permanent housing for Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza to get them out of the miserable camps - and the UN castigated Israel for such a horrendous act:
No, these facts are not being mentioned in UNRWA's celebrations of 60 years of prolonging the misery of millions of people. Only the ones that they claim make Israel look bad.

A fantastic article that I reproduced about UNRWA in the early days of the blog, by Arlene Kushner, can be seen here.