Monday, January 06, 2014

UNRWA workers are on strike in the West Bank.

Why?

Because when you live in a culture that says that the world owes you everything for free, you believe it.

Demonstrations were held on Monday for the second day in a row in Bethlehem in protest against policies of the UN's Palestine refugee agency as one of 27 hunger strikers was taken to the hospital.

An UNRWA employee was taken to the hospital as five local employees continued their hunger strike for the fifth day running in protest of the termination of their contracts.

They held signs saying "the termination of the contracts of 50 employees is a great crime," "UNRWA employees union is the first line of defense for the issues of refugees," and "No to the systematic reductions policy," among others.

The hunger strikers called for their reinstatement at their places of work and demanded their full rights.

A member of the UNRWA Arab employees' union Ibrahim Hamdan said that "the UNRWA administration terminated the contracts of the hunger strikers after 10-12 years of employment."

"These employees must be given fixed contracts, and not dismissed," he said.

There are 27 UNRWA employees on hunger strike in the West Bank, from 55 whose contracts were terminated, and Hamdan said the UNRWA is responsible for their health.

Gunness told Ma'an on Thursday that the employees who were on hunger strike were temporary employees whose contracts were not renewed. The funding that provided those employees with salaries had been cut from $40 million to $25 million, he said.

UNRWA advertised 27 job openings after the layoffs took place, but "those on hunger strike did not apply," Gunness said.

The employees were aware that their positions were "never permanent. ... It seems a bit strange to go on hunger strike for that reason."
Notice the language used by the protesters - they use the language of "rights" because that is the only rhetoric they know, from years of insisting on "rights" that don't exist anywhere else.

Only with such a twisted view of the world can these people claim that temporary jobs give them the right to full employment with full medical benefits and higher salaries than their neighbors.

Yes - that is one of their demands:

[Union leader] Mahmoud Hamdan added that employees were calling for a fixed exchange rate to be applied to their basic salary to a assure a steady income.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian workers' union said in a statement that the crisis in Gaza was partially due to UNRWA's policies, without elaborating.

In response to the strike, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said in a statement that the agency's "staff are paid over twenty per cent above the equivalent salaries in the Palestinian Authority. This is in accordance with our salary policy, which aims to keep our staff paid at the same rate or above PA equivalent."
Meanwhile, the "Popular Committees" in the camps - staffed by self-appointed "leaders" - are also protesting and shutting down services, because they say they are supposed to get paid by the PA.

A spokesman for the popular committees in the West Bank refugee camps, Imad Abu Simbel, said that the committees closed their offices and halted services on Monday in protest against UNRWA policies and the government's failure to transfer funds to them for the last three years.

"The directors of the committees took this step in response to the negligent policies of UNRWA and because government has not transferred the earnings of the committees for three years," Abu Simbel told Ma'an.

"It seems that the government is uninterested in ending the suffering of refugees in West Bank camps, through pressuring the UN or even transferring the earning of popular committees," Abu Simbel added, "as if camps are not part of the nation."
These self-serving committees are defining themselves as being the camps themselves!

There is an entire fake nation filled with people who only take, take and take some more, who literally believe that the world owes them free housing, medical care, schooling and guaranteed employment. The PA does nothing to dispel these demands, and indeed it fuels them - after all,  it demands outside funding to prop itself up.

In the 20 years since Oslo, an entire generation of high-tech entrepreneurs could have been raised. The Muslim world could be relying on Palestinian Arab tech expertise, done remotely. Petrodollars could have been pouring in to create an economy that isn't based on bureaucracy, tons of international NGOs, and 19th century agriculture and construction techniques.

Not only has this not happened, but  there are no major plans to do this in the next 20 years.

I have yet to see an op-ed in a Palestinian Arab paper that tells its people to grow up and start to actually work at state-building and taking responsibility. No, all you see is more whining about how awful everything is and it is the fault of someone else (usually Israel, but it could be Hamas, or the West, or Egypt, or anyone besides themselves.)

A state with such a mindset would collapse in about a week without being propped up by other countries. It would descend into chaos and violence in no time. It doesn't take clairvoyance to see this happening.

But the creation of such a doomed state is a vital world priority.

For "peace."

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