Wednesday, August 16, 2017

UNRWA: Perpetuating “Refugee-ism,” Condemning the Palestinians to Refugee Status Forever - by Amb. Alan Baker

...UNRWA employs 30,000 people, almost all Palestinian and some complicit in acts of violence and terror against Israel such as allowing Hamas rockets to be stored in and fired from UNRWA schools or grounds. In one case, after the weapons’ discovery, UNRWA handed the rockets to Gaza government officials – in other words, back to Hamas officials. The enhanced and bloated corpus of Palestinian refugees that it purports to serve represents the sole factor enabling it to maintain its influence as an essential part of Palestinian society and as an essential player in the international political scenario in all concerning the Palestinian issue.

Amb. Alan Baker..
JCPA/Institute for Contemporary Affairs..
Vol. 17, No. 23..
15 August '17..


In all the various frameworks envisioned by the international community for reaching a peaceful settlement in the Middle East generally, and between Israel and the Palestinians in particular, the issue of refugees has been perhaps one of the most central and complex.

The refugee issue extends beyond territorial and historic issues that are the basis of the dispute. It goes beyond pragmatic considerations of security, historic and religious rights, economic relations, and social and cultural interests.

UN Security Council Resolution 242 (1967), the generally acknowledged framework for settling the dispute, placed “achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem” on an equal par with other essential requirements for peace, such as termination of belligerency, withdrawal from territory, freedom of navigation, and territorial inviolability and political independence of states within secure and defensible boundaries.

Establishment of UNRWA as a Temporary Agency

General Assembly Resolution 212 (III) of 1948, one of the earliest UN resolutions dealing with the Middle East conflict, addressed the settlement of the refugee issue as “one of the minimum conditions for the success of the efforts of the United Nations to bring peace to that land.”2 Resolution 302 (IV) of 1949, which established UNRWA, recognized that assistance to the refugees was necessary “to further conditions of peace and stability.”3

In a similar vein, General Assembly Resolution 292 (1950) considered that “reintegration of the refugees into the economic life of the Near East, either by repatriation or resettlement, is essential …for the realization of conditions of peace and stability in the area.”4

As such, the concept behind the establishment and functioning of UNRWA was, from the start, a temporary arrangement, integrally linked to any effort at achieving peace. This temporary character has existed since its establishment through the annual UN General Assembly review and financing mechanisms and the annual series of resolutions renewing the agency’s mandate.

(Continue to Full Article)

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