Monday, May 18, 2015

  • Monday, May 18, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
This is quite amazing:
Six Palestinian and Syrian families left the Gaza Strip on Sunday through the Erez border crossing en route to Sweden after being officially granted the right to immigrate and live in the Scandinavian country.

The immigration of the 27 members of the six families was done in coordination with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and facilitated by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“Our organization facilitated the departure of the six families through the [Israeli-controlled] Erez border crossing at the behest of the UNHCR,” Soheir Zaqout, the spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross, told Anadolu Agency.

According to UN figures, the Palestinian population residing in Syria was estimated at 581,000 before the outbreak of the 2011 Syrian war, the majority of whom lived in the Yarmouk refugee camp in southern Damascus and other camps in various Syrian regions.

However, the ongoing war in Syria has forced tens of thousands of families to migrate to Lebanon, Jordan and hundreds have managed to relocate to the Gaza Strip.

“The Red Cross doesn’t coordinate immigration, our task was to only aid them [the six families] in leaving the Gaza Strip through the Erez crossing because the UNHCR has no official office in Gaza,” Zaqout said.

The immigration of the six families was done through the official channels and after coordination with the Swedish government, she added.

Dozens of Palestinians have recently immigrated illegally through the sea due to the harsh economic conditions plaguing the Gaza Strip and the destruction caused by last summer’s Israeli onslaught on the embattled enclave.
Normally, UNHRC doesn't do anything in the areas that UNRWA works, namely Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. While not mentioned here, my guess is that these families had fled from Iraq to Syria (or the Syrian border) and were never in the UNRWA system but were rather considered real refugees from Iraq under UNHCR. From there, when the Syrian war broke out they probably made their way to Egypt and then Gaza.

The interesting part is that UNHCR, which actually tries to reduce the number of refugees, has taken these 27 people out of the land where UNRWA works so hard to maintain the refugee status of its people and increase the numbers of o-called "refugees."

This is the sort of news UNRWA doesn't like to hear, because so many of the people it keeps in its system would love to move to Sweden or South America or anywhere else, but UNRWA doesn't give them that option. Fewer "refugees" means less funding and less reason for UNRWA, meant to be a temporary agency, to exist.

One other point: Notice that not one Arab country is offering to naturalize any refugee whose ancestors happened to live in British Mandate Palestine n 1948. The countries that offer to help are Western. Arab countries prefer that Palestinian Arabs remain stateless  - supposedly for their own good.

The contrast between how the UNHCR and the Western world acts compared to how UNRWA and the Arab world acts cannot be more striking.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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