Shedding Light on UNRWA

In August I wrote a post “J’Accuse“. In that posting I accused the UN of having institutionalized the status of the Palestinians as eternal refugees by establishing a special department, UNRWA, to deal with the refugees. While millions of other refugees in the same period of time have been absorbed or resettled in other countries, Palestinians have remained in refugee camps, stateless and caught in a perpetual cycle of poverty and violence.

This week a confirmation of this came from an unexpected source. When Malala Yousafzai announced this week that she would be donating her share of the World Children’s Prize to UNRWA in order to benefit Palestinian children, human rights activist and political analyst Bassem Eid published “An Open Letter to Malala” requesting that rather than donating to UNRWA, she come to visit him in Jerusalem and donate directly to Palestinian children instead. He explains that Hamas has taken over the UNRWA schools and is promulgating their jihadist ideology rather than the UN philosophy, in effect brainwashing the next generation of Palestinians into a culture of violent resistance rather than a culture of peace. He writes: “For you to get an idea of the indoctrination that is taking place in Gaza, it would suffice to look at the Islamic Bloc’s YouTube clips, which feature UNRWA instructors acting at Hamas’ bidding. The footage clearly shows that Gazan children are not introduced to the values of the UN but rather to the values of jihad, “liberation of Palestine” and the “right of return,” by force and arms.”

Eid also emphasizes that UNRWA’s donors are aware of all of this, and yet still speak of the agency as if it were “an alternative to Hamas” when in fact it is operated by Hamas according to its own objectives: “Despite all this being an open secret — all of UNRWA’s donors are in the know, including the United States and Israel — the organization is still considered a welfare and relief agency that could provide an ‘alternative to Hamas.’ But if you ask Gazans what UNRWA has done for them, they would say “nothing,” (that is, except perpetuate their refugee status). Hamas knows the reason. It has a vested interest in ensuring that conditions of poverty remain unchanged and that the millions of greenbacks keep flowing in. This keeps the “right of return” relevant.”

Although these facts should be no secret to anyone, it is difficult to find them in the media at large. It is important that people know the facts as presented by someone who is a Palestinian and who truly cares about human rights of the people in the refugee camps. I found this letter through my subscription to HonestReporting.org and I encourage you, my readers, to subscribe as well. Their purpose is to identify ways in which the press distorts or obscures important truths about the Middle East conflict and bring those truths to light. The Bible tells us that we should be “a light unto the nations” (Isaiah 49:6). The dark forces of the world do not like light. As the days grow dark and the holiday of Chanukah approaches, let the lights in the windows remind us of our responsibility to bring light into the world every day of the year.

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