Sunday, February 18, 2024

  • Sunday, February 18, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon
Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Al-Safadi participated in meetings at the Munich Security Conference last night with other foreign ministers, emphasizing how important it is to pressure Israel to abandon its war against Hamas as well as the importance of continuing funding UNRWA. 

He has also spoken to other world leaders about how important UNRWA is to Palestinians. 

But the real reason Jordan cares about UNRWA has little to do with Gaza, and everything to do with Jordan's own economic crisis..

Reuters reported last week the real reasons Jordan wants UNRWA to continue to be funded - because it doesn't want to take responsibility for its own citizens:
Jordan's already struggling economy will face even tougher times if several donors continue to suspend funding for the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees and its services have to be shut or reduced as a result, UNRWA's country head said on Tuesday.

"The current funding suspension is putting the continuation of these services at risk after the end of February. It will have severe consequences (on UNRWA's operations)," said Olaf Becker, Jordan director of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency.

UNRWA was already helping the economy with 7,000 employees on its payroll, making it one of the largest employers in the kingdom, injecting over $120 million in salaries into the economy annually, Becker said.

Its services support over one million Palestinian refugees in the kingdom with, on average, 20% lower cost than the state in providing comparable services, Becker added.

 "Our first option would be scale down our services and it might take different modalities but it's very difficult -- what do you choose, health care versus education or sanitation?" he said.

"School children might not have anywhere to go... It will be very detrimental to social cohesion in Jordan," Becker said.
Let's read Becker's words carefully, keeping in mind that the vast majority of Palestinians in Jordan are full Jordanian citizens and should have all of their social services provided by Jordan, not by the entire world.

Those 7,000 employees are doing functions that Jordan should be doing for its own citizens. Health care, sanitation, food and education are Jordan's responsibility, not the world community's. The 20% per person lower cost is meaningless because there would be economies of scale if Jordan extended its own social services to include Palestinian Jordanian citizens. Separate buildings, separate infrastructure and a separate bureaucracy is not exactly efficient.

And social cohesion? Native Jordanians have always been upset that in some cases their Palestinian "brothers" have better services than their own. A separate education and health care system does not promote social cohesion - it impedes it. Not to mention free living expenses to those who live in "camps."

Those who oppose UNRWA funding often frame the issue as a false choice between Palestinian "refugees" getting critical services or going without. It isn't true. If UNRWA should disappear tomorrow, all the funds that now go to UNRWA would be redirected to the states that host Palestinian "refugees." Jordan would be able to move most of those 7,000 employees into its own social services system. No one would go without medical care or education or food. And over a few years, Palestinians in Jordan would not be treated differently from other Jordanian citizens as they are today. 

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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 19 years and 40,000 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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