UN Agencies Prevent Peace in Israel

August 28, 2013 8:45 am 0 comments

Ann Dismorr, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, with a map that shows all of Israel as "Palestine". Photo: Palestinian Media Watch.

The John Kerry-Martin Indyk negotiating team needs to come to terms with the fact that the crux of the Middle East conflict is rooted in the Palestinian “Right of Return,” the collective demand claiming a legal and moral right for Palestinian refugees, and more importantly, for their descendants from around the world, to return to ancestral homes in Israel that were once part of Mandatory Palestine. The “right of return” is central to Palestinian national identity and is the barrier to any successful peace agreement.

Indyk is very aware from his past involvement in Camp David in 2000 that insisting on the Palestinian Right of Return is a clear non-starter for Israel as it is mostly used to deflect attention from the real hard honest talks. The real issues include mutual recognition then a discussion about land swaps.

While it maybe easier or convenient at times to believe that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is purely territorial, a closer look at the reality reveals that Palestinian rejectionism of a Jewish State at large is what prolongs the conflict rather than the question of Jerusalem or the borders of 1949 or 1967. To that end, the Palestinian identity as perpetual refugees has become UNRWA’s raison d’être.

Consequently, those hoping to see genuine progress in this next round of negotiations face two major obstacles: UNRWA’s anomalous treatment of the Palestinian refugees which prolongs the conflict; and, second, the lack of an independent Palestinian identity which is not anti-Zionist at its core. Both have enabled UNRWA to become an integral fixture in Palestinian society that fuels the conflict rather than defuses it.

Toxic Enablers

Recently, the Guardian exposed a perversion in a report about global refugee trends by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In the report, the agency omits the Palestinian refugees in counting up the numbers of refugees worldwide. Further, the Guardian correctly noted that, “perhaps mentioning the Palestinian refugees might raise in people’s minds the question as to how it was that almost 5 million people and their descendants … became refugees.”

Such inquiries clearly would question UNRWA’s role in perpetuating and expanding the number of Palestinian refugees worldwide rather than decreasing its clientele — something its sister agency UNHCR, which has a more pragmatic definition of refugees, actually does.

There is a clear political agenda in having generation upon generation of Palestinians repeating the fallacies of 1948. It is remarkable that even the UNHCR seems to recognize this absurdity.Yet the agency has managed to keep itself in business for the past 65 years convincing the world that the Palestinians are “special.” As such agency officials have continually promised a right of return as UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness pointed out in 2011, “established principles and practice—as well as realities on the ground—clearly refute the argument that the right of return of Palestine refugees would disappear or be abandoned if UNHCR were responsible for these refugees.”

As Palestinian “refugeeness” above all is synonymous with Palestinian national identity it has been worn as a “badge of honor” and an evergreen reminder of the Nakba – the supposed catastrophe of Israel’s birth. In this story the Arabs of Palestinian are blameless and have no responsibility whatsoever for their unfortunate destiny; their own decisions and those of their leaders, go unmentioned.

In fact historically, the Arab world has a significant amount of responsibility for the situation, having encouraged and facilitated the refugees’ flight – to a large degree. But in this narrative it is none other than the UN and UNRWA who are the toxic enablers who are now helping fuel this story for generations.Why UNRWA does this is evident: Its continued existence is at jeopardy. It has every reason to entangle itself into Palestinian society and to become more of an obstruction to a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.

It is exactly for this very reason that if these renewed talks are going to have any chance of success both Washington and Jerusalem need to learn from past mistakes and leverage the significant amount of dollars we have poured into UNRWA which only perpetuates the problem and look for real solutions starting with ending the right of return.

This article was originally published by Ynet News.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Education Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    Why We Should Invest in Jewish Children

    JNS.org – My wife Suzy and I will never forget our wedding day. It was not just the uplifting ceremony and beautiful party that left an indelible mark. Some life-altering advice that we received from one of our guests informed and shaped our lives from that day forward. My high school teacher, Rabbi Moshe Yagid, pulled us aside just before the chuppah and challenged us to choose one mitzvah that would be the foundation of our marriage and our lives. He explained [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    LeBron James’ New Coach Shaped by Summer on Kibbutz and Jewish ‘Life Lessons’

    JNS.org – Influenced by his Jewish upbringing and a summer on a kibbutz, basketball coach David Blatt is embarking on his highest-profile challenge yet: coaching LeBron James, the four-time National Basketball Association (NBA) Most Valuable Player who has made waves for returning to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. After guiding Israel’s storied Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball franchise to its 51st Israeli league championship and 6th Euroleague title this past season, Blatt landed the Cavaliers head-coaching job in June. Just weeks later, [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    Young Syrian Jewish Restauranteur Continues a Family Legacy

    JNS.org – At the turn of the century, a young Jewish immigrant arrived in New York. So begins the history of many American Jewish families. It is 27-year-old Albert Allaham’s story, too, with a few unusual twists. Albert’s “century” is the 21st—he arrived almost 100 years after the massive waves of European Jewish immigration. Rather than coming from a small town along the Danube river, his shtetl was Damascus. His first American business was not a pushcart on the Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity A Holistic Look at the Rebbe’s Life and Career (REVIEW)

    A Holistic Look at the Rebbe’s Life and Career (REVIEW)

    Did you know that in the entire Bible, only one birthday is mentioned and it is that of Pharaoh? And did you know that according to some scientists, by accepting Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, it is impossible to prove or disprove that the sun is the gravitational center of our solar system? In his new book, REBBE, best-selling author Joseph Telushkin reveals many surprising and sometimes shocking details as he chronicles the life and teachings of the charismatic Rabbi [...]

    Read more →
  • Food Mitzvos New Jerusalem Eatery’s Uniform Pricing Seeks to ‘Help People Make It’

    New Jerusalem Eatery’s Uniform Pricing Seeks to ‘Help People Make It’

    JNS.org – Omelet sandwich: 5 shekels. Iced coffee: 5 shekels. Tuna sandwich: 5 shekels. Fresh-squeezed orange juice: 5 shekels. Cheese bureka: 5 shekels. There’s plenty more on the Cofizz menu, but you get the idea. Dani Mizrahi and Amir Amshalm, two Israeli men in their early 30s, asked themselves: Why not launch a take-out food joint in busy neighborhoods around Jerusalem where everything—and that means everything—goes for five shekels, or about $1.50. They’d seen the concept take off in Tel Aviv, where [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel New Primetime Drama ‘Tyrant’ Filmed Entirely in Israel (VIDEO)

    New Primetime Drama ‘Tyrant’ Filmed Entirely in Israel (VIDEO)

    The new FX Network drama Tyrant was shot entirely in Israel, just 10 miles north of Tel Aviv, Bloomberg News reported last Tuesday. Tyrant follows the life of an Arab dictator’s second son Barry, played by Adam Rayner, who reluctantly returns home to the Middle Eastern nation of his birth to join the family business away from his suburban life in America. The elaborate set production for the primetime drama included a crew of 300 and a reported cost of over $3 million [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Supermodel: Jewish Mothers Are Constantly Trying to Set Me Up With Their Sons

    Supermodel: Jewish Mothers Are Constantly Trying to Set Me Up With Their Sons

    Skokie, Il-born 25-year-old Erin Heatherton (Erin Heather Bubley) is rocking the modeling world. And in a new interview accompanying a cover spread for Miami’s Ocean Drive magazine, she says Jewish moms are “constantly trying to set her up with their sons.” Imagine that – who would have thought? “The moms, they’re doing what they do. It doesn’t matter what country they live in, what city – grandmothers, too,” she admitted. “But I’m probably going to do that too one day.” Heatherton was [...]

    Read more →
  • Education Israel First Ever: Turkish Academics to Visit Israel Holocaust Museum for Seminar

    First Ever: Turkish Academics to Visit Israel Holocaust Museum for Seminar

    Some 15 Turkish university professors and lecturers will take part in a first of its kind seminar at Holocaust museum Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies starting next week. The trip is especially significant as Holocaust denial is rampant in the Arab world. A Palestinian professor was recently forced to resign after he led a trip to the Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz. Participants in the week-long program at Yad Vashem will experience in-depth tours of the museum’s archives and [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.