How interesting it is that the same U.N. that just voted to condemn Israel is the same U.N. that profits from the plight of so-called Palestinians. That’s what UNRWA is all about.
Never Heard Of UNRWA?
The U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is a unique entity:
– UNRWA is the only U.N. agency dedicated to assisting refugees from a specific region or conflict.
– UNRWA is completely separate from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
– UNRWA has been around since December 8, 1949 and its mandate was recently extended through June 2017.
– While the UNHCR seeks to resettle or repatriate refugees rather than allow their crisis to persist, UNRWA does not. UNRWA is designed to maintain the Middle Eastern status quo.
What are the results of 67 years of UNRWA devotion to the educational, health care, and social service needs of so-called Palestinians? If you are the United Nations, around $1.2 billion per year. That’s how much UNRWA costs.
Among other things, that $1.2 billion pays the salaries of approximately 30,000 UNRWA employees – almost all, minus the agency’s executive staff are Palestinians. The bulk of that $1.2 billion comes from the United States and European Union. If it were distributed evenly among the 30,000 or so UNRWA employees it would result in an annual income of $40,000 each. That’s more than the per capita GDP found in Israel (which is around $36,400) and well above that of the West Bank and Gaza Strip which is $1924 and $876 respectively. If that money were redistributed among all 4.4 million Palestinians*, it would represent a 14% income increase per West Bank and 31% per Gaza Strip resident.
Of course the $1.2 billion per year isn’t disseminated equally per aggrieved Palestinian. Those funds go to pay for assistance rendered to Palestinians, and to support the lifestyle of U.N celebrities. Celebrities like former UNRWA Commissioner General Filippo Grandi who currently heads the UNHCR.
Grandi has been earning a United Nations paycheck since 1988 – 28 years – working for the UNHCR, UNRWA, and other U.N. relief organizations. Not bad for a philosophy major. Or Grandi’s contemporaries, like Karen Koning Abu Zayd who once led the UNRWA and left to pursue other work. That other work included working in D.C. think tanks and helping run “UNRWA USA”, a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit that “serves to educate the American general public” about the plight of so-called Palestinians “to generate support for UNRWA’s work”. Before Karen Abu Zayd was hired by the United Nations, she taught Political Science and Islamic Studies in American universities. And there’s Antonio Manuel de Oliveira Guterres who once headed the UNHCR; Guterres served as President of the global Socialist International from 1999 to 2005).
These are but three of literally dozens of pompous, jet-setting, red-carpet-adoring elites that enjoy salaries that far out pace what philosophy and Islamic studies majors, and socialist-oriented politicians normally earn elsewhere. The United Nations pays exceptionally well, and it affords its hires the notion that they and they alone stand between the aggrieved and total disaster. Without the aggrieved, the UNRWA would be forced to close their doors. So, the agency does its best to keep their plight alive.
Keeping Plight Alive
Said Emanual Marx and Nitza Nachmias in a 2004 edition of the Journal of Humanitarian Assistance: “most of the criticism concerns UNRWA showing the pathology of ‘aging’, including symptoms of inflexibility, resistance to adjust to the changing political environment, and refusal to phase out and transfer its responsibilities to the Palestinian Authority.” UNRWA embarked upon reforms in 2007 and audited progress of those reforms four years later. The results of the 2011 audit were never made public.
In an April 2011 article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal’s European edition, renowned scholars Asaf Romirowsky and Alexandar Joffe observed “it is hard to claim that the UNRWA has created any Palestinian institutions that foster a genuinely civil society. Ideally the UNRWA would be disbanded and Palestinians given the freedom and the responsibility to build their own society.”
James G. Lindsay, former UNRWA General-Counsel criticized UNRWA in a 2009 report. Lindsay explained that UNRWA’s failure to match the UNHCR’s success in assisting refugees represented “a political decision on the part of the agency (sic. UNRWA)” that seemed tilted in the political favor of those who favored Palestinian takeover over of Israeli territory.
At root is U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 which established the UNRWA. The resolution requires the UNRWA to determine which Palestinians receive assistance – indeed, under the terms of 194 there may be others that would be entitled to UNRWA aid but have no access to it because they aren’t accepted by the UNRWA as being “Palestinian”. While the UNHCR is designed to help refugees return to normal life as quickly as they can, UNRWA is a borderless social welfare organization whose existence is predicated upon the presence of refugees. Take away Palestinian refugees and you are taking away UNRWA’s reason for existence.
Bassem Eid, Director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group said as much in 2014. According to Eid, for the
UNRWA to continue its operation depends on death and the visual suffering of five million Palestinians who continue to languish in and around UNRWA facilities…in the eyes of the Palestinians UNRWA acts as a state with its own foreign policy…that foreign policy does not serve the best interests of Palestinian refugees.
No Wonder the U.N. Voted to Condemn Israel
As much as the UNRWA needs for there to be Palestinian refugees, the U.N. also needs for there to be no competition in the West Bank for the UNRWA. Throw a Jewish settlement out there beside UNRWA facilities and all the sudden all those so-called Palestinians might question the sincerity of people like Grandi, Abu Zayd, and Gutteres, who fly in on U.N. aircraft and enjoy motorcades and luxury suites on the backs of the downtrodden – all so that the UNRWA can take in another $1.2 billion next year in the name of preserving the status quo.
* 4.4 million is from the United Nations official 2010 Palestinian population count.