Bringing UNRWA’s accounts into account…writes David Bedein

October 18, 2014 by David Bedein
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UNRWA, the United Nations Relief Works Agency runs refugee facilities for five million descendants of Arab refugees of the 1948 war.

UNRWAMore than 1,200,000 of these refugee descendants dwell in UNRWA facilities in Gaza, where they have wallowed in “temporary”  camps for 66 years, while UNRWA focuses its energy on the right of Arab refugees to liberate Arab villages which have since been replaced by Israel – instead of working on resettling these refugees, like all other UN refugee organizations do.

Following the Israel-Gaza summer war, UNRWA has asked the Gaza donors conference for 1.6 billion dollars to rebuild their refugee facilitates in Gaza.

Donors may wish to predicate assistance to UNRWA on 4 reasonable conditions:

1. Audit all funds which flow to UNRWA, which operates on a 1.2 billion USD budget. The lack of a current UNRWA audit allows for wasted resources, duplicity of service and a flow of cash to Gaza based terror groups. The phenomenon of unaccounted millions allocated for humanitarian aid needs to be challenged.

2. Introduce UNHCR standards to UNRWA, to encourage refugee resettlement, which current UNRWA policy does not allow. As UNRWA policy would have it, permanent refugee settlement interferes with the sanctity of the UNRWA promise of the “right of return” to Arab villages that existed before 1948.

3. Cancel the current UNRWA curriculum, which now incorporates principles of Jihad, martyrdom and the right of return – in a UN school system which is supposed to promote the UNRWA slogan of “Peace Starts Here.” An integral part of current UNRWA education in Gaza involves paramilitary training in Gaza based UNRWA schools. UNRWA, as a UN agency, should be required to demonstrate a commitment to the sacred UN principles of peace and reconciliation

4. Dismiss UNRWA employees affiliated with Hamas, in accordance with laws on the books in the US, the EU, Canada, Australia and the UK, each of which have adopted binding legislation which forbids aid to any agency that employs members of a terrorist organization. These laws has been ignored by donor nations to UNRWA for 15 years, even though Hamas overwhelmingly took over the UNRWA trade union in Gaza and the UNRWA Teachers Association in Gaza in successive elections, since 1999.


David Bedein is the Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research and the Israel Resource News Agency.

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