Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Jordan reveals the purpose of UNRWA

Jordan has written a "carefully worded" letter to the head of UNRWA and to the Arab donor nations warning about the shortfall in UNRWA's budget.

Originally reported in Saudi Arabia's Okaz on September 19th, the letter emphasized the dangers to Lebanon and Jordan of reducing the UNRWA  budget.

Even though the vast majority of so-called "Palestinian refugees" in Jordan are in fact Jordanian citizens, the Hashemite kingdom shows no interest in integrating those residents into Jordanian society and has consistently worked to keep the Palestinian Arabs crammed into these miserable camps under UNRWA control rather than integrate these citizens into Jordanian society.

The newspaper said that Jordan regularly warns of the dangers of reducing UNRWA's budget, as "these UNRWA camps are meant to keep the issue of Palestinian refugees alive."

Here the Arab world is revealing explicitly the purpose of UNRWA from their perspective: not to reduce the "refugee" problem but to perpetuate it.

By way of contrast, in 1950 Israel provided Israeli citizenship to the members of UNRWA  refugee camps in the new state and within a couple of years the camps were gone, as the refugees became self-supporting members of Israeli society. Israel felt that the presence of UNRWA camps on its territory - a foreign entity taking care of Israeli Arab citizens, instead of the state itself - was "repugnant."