UNRWA's West Bank director met Friday with representatives of donor countries in East Jerusalem to discuss the latest employee strike action over pay.As is usual when UNRWA wokers strike (something that happens at least once a year), the UNRWA web page is silent on the matter.
Barbara Shenstone told US, Danish, Swiss, Dutch, Irish, Belgian, Canadian and Austrian officials that the strike would deprive 56,000 school children of their rights to education as well as more than 5,000 patients of daily medical care.
But it brings the perennial question: why are there still "refugee" camps in the PA-administered territories at all? As far as I can tell, all or perhaps practically all of the UNRWA camps in the West Bank are in "Area A," fully under PA administrative control, in an area that everyone assumes will be part of a Palestinian Arab state. These people are no longer "refugees" even by the UN's definition, as they are in "Palestine."
Has the PA made any moves to dismantle these camps? Has it requested help from donor nations to get money in order to reduce the number of residents in these camps and get them self-sufficient?
If the PA intends to be a state, shouldn't mainstreaming some 200,000 of their own people into full, equal citizens be a high priority?
Shouldn't the donor nations that bankroll UNRWA be pressuring the PA to create a plan to eliminate all of these camps within five years or so? This would reduce the UNRWA budget, reduce the number of people counted as "refugees" worldwide, and stem the perpetual welfare machine that UNRWA has become.
Unfortunately, the reality is that UNRWA wants to keep the camps, the PA wants to keep the camps, and the Arab world wants to keep the camps - all paid for almost entirely with Western dollars. It is past time that UNRWA donor countries start demanding a plan from UNRWA as to how it will reduce the number of people dependent on it, and a plan from the PA on how to mainstream these so-called "refugees" into the statelet that the PA already has.
Of course, the fact that the PA hasn't shown the least interest in helping grant equal rights to its citizens within its own borders indicates that the PA is not really interested in building a state for Palestinian Arabs to live in, but rather to build a state that Jews cannot live in.
All of the obsession about "settlements" cannot be understood in any other way - they are not the least bit interested in mountaintop land that no Arab have ever lived on except in the sense that they want to make sure that Jews are not there. If they simply wanted a state where they could grant Palestinian Arabs full citizenship and representation as a nation that is equal to other nations, they could have done that numerous times already. But they haven't, and they show no interest in doing so.
The "refugees" still exist within the PA borders because they are not meant to be integrated into a Palestinian Arab state. Their entire existence is maintained to pressure Israel into accepting them as citizens one day and, they hope, turn Israel into another Arab state by demographic means.
So the continued existence of these UNRWA camps exposes the twin goals of the PA: a state without Jews and a second state that will marginalize and eventually push out the Jews.
The world, in its quest for an illusory "peace," refuses to notice these little details. Yet there is no other logical explanation for Palestinian Arab behavior that is consistent with their actions throughout the decades.