Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Opinion: How the UNRWA is Blocking Peace and a ‘Marshall Plan for Gaza’

July 31, 2014 5:16 am 2 comments
Students at a UNRWA School in Gaza, in 2011. Photo: UN / Shareef Sarhan.

Students at a UNRWA School in Gaza, in 2011. Photo: UN / Shareef Sarhan.

Recently, the Israeli Minister of Science, Mr. Yaakov Peri, a member of the Israeli security cabinet and former Israeli intelligence official, offered a refreshing solution to the current Israel-Gaza war.

Peri suggested a “Marshall Plan for Gaza” to revitalize the lives of the Gaza population.

After all, 75% percent of Gazans wallow in “temporary” UN refugee camps that were founded in the wake of the 1948 war.

Peri’s Marshall Plan for Gaza sounds great – except for one hurdle: UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which has operated the Arab refugee camps since 1948.

As a matter of policy, UNRWA will not allow any discussion of any permanent resettlement of Arab refugees from 1948 – not even for their descendants. Instead, UNRWA insists that Arab refugees from 1948 remain refugees until there is a political resolution to the Arab-Israeli war – a development that is not at all imminent.

The UN policy is not new.

In 1983, at the initiative of Israeli government minister Mordecai Ben Porat, Israel embarked on a program to relocate Arab refugees to camps in the vicinity of their “temporary” Arab refugee camps – an initiative overruled by a 1985 UN resolution that declared that the resettlement of Arab refugees from 1948 would violate their “inalienable” right of return to villages that they left in 1948.

Only recently, UNRWA introduced a new school curriculum created by the Palestinian Authority. My news agency bought the new PA school books and translated them, and filmed UNRWA classrooms and UNRWA summer camps. This new UNRWA curriculum instructs half a million UNRWA students that their future lies only in the villages that they left in 1948, even if their homes were replaced by the Israeli cities of Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beersheva, Sderot, and more.

Furthermore, all new UNRWA school books rename Israeli cities with Arabic names. Hence, the UNRWA inspiration for Gazans to fire on Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beersheva, Sderot, and more.

The donors to this “refugees for perpetuity” policy are the U.S. government and other Western nations who fund UNRWA policies to the tune of $1.2 billion dollars each year.

Perhaps the time has come for UNRWA donors to reconsider their funding unless its policies change. Why should any nation fund a war education curriculum? After all, the UNRWA slogan is Peace Starts Here.

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Features Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    JNS.org – Aside from Israel itself, those with a vested interest in the Jewish state are accustomed to tracking developments related to Middle East players such as Iran, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. But much global attention has recently focused on the Caucasus region at the Europe-Asia border, specifically on the suddenly intensified violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh area of western Azerbaijan. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, while not taking place in Israel’s immediate neighborhood, does have what one scholar called […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    JNS.org – On Friday, April 22, 196 nations across the world mark Earth Day, the annual day dedicated to environmental protection that was enacted in 1970. Not to be forgotten on this day is Israel, which is known as the “start-up nation” for its disproportionate amount of technological innovation, including in the area of protecting the environment. For Earth Day 2016, JNS.org presents a sampling of the Jewish state’s internal achievements and global contributions in the environmental realm. Water conservation Israeli […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture World New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    Holocaust humor and the role that laughter played in the lives of Jews during World War II are the focus of a documentary that made its world premiere on Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. In The Last Laugh, first- and second-generation survivors, as well as famous Jewish and non-Jewish comedians, discuss their thoughts on when joking about the death camps is appropriate or taboo. “Nazi humor, that’s OK. Holocaust humor, no,” Jewish comedic giant, actor and filmmaker Mel Brooks says in the film. “Anything I […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    JNS.org – Sherri Mandell’s life was devastated on May 8, 2001, when her 13-year-old son Koby was murdered by terrorists on the outskirts of the Israeli Jewish community of Tekoa. Yet Mandell not only shares the story of her loss, but also celebrates the lessons she has learned from tragedy. Indeed, “celebrate” is this Israeli-American author’s word choice. Her second book, The Road to Resilience: From Chaos to Celebration (Toby Press), came out earlier this year. The lesson: in every celebration, there is […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    JNS.org – Alan Gross used to be nothing more to me than a tragic headline. When I started my position at this news service in July 2011, Gross had been imprisoned in Cuba since December 2009 for what that country called “crimes against the state.” Gross, a subcontractor for the United States Agency for International Development, went to Cuba to help the Jewish community there access the Internet. After his arrest, he received a trial he describes as a “B movie,” […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Features New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    JNS.org – When I saw the recent Academy Award-winning film “The Big Short,” I was struck by the sheer genius of the financiers who devised the schemes and packaged the loans for resale, but it left me with unanswered questions about how the properties these loans represented were moved. “The Big Short” was largely about paper transactions, big money, and wealthy investors, and it mildly touched on the way the actual end-users — the home buyers and brokers — played into this […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Why do we think so negatively about psychiatrists that we still insult them by calling them shrinks? Some medics might be quacks, but we don’t generally refer to them as witches! Shrinks; The Untold Story of Psychiatry, by Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, is a sobering account of how psychiatry has swung from a marginal, unscientific mixture of weird theories into one of the most common and pervasive forms of treatment of what are commonly called “disorders of the mind.” Is it […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion At Forbes Summit in Israel, Entrepreneurship Is a ‘Common Language’

    At Forbes Summit in Israel, Entrepreneurship Is a ‘Common Language’

    JNS.org – Nine months ago, Seth Cohen, director of network initiatives for the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and Randall Lane, editor of Forbes Magazine, were schmoozing about the “vibrancy of Tel Aviv and soul of Jerusalem,” as Lane put it. They dreamed about how they could bring young and innovative millennials to the so-called “start-up nation.” From April 3-7, Forbes turned that dream into a reality. Israel played host to the first-ever Forbes Under 30 EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) […]

    Read more →