In 1949, the UN established a special agency for Palestinian refugees, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA). All other refugees, regardless of degree of plight and objective hardship, are looked after by the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
According to UNRWA's Web site, here is the difference between the UN's two refugee organizations:UNRWA is mandated to provide the Palestine refugees with humanitarian assistance, whereas UNHCR has the mandate to provide international protection to refugees who fall within the scope of its Statute and to seek permanent solutions for the problem of refugees by assisting Governments.
In other words, UNHCR's job is to help governments settle refugees. UNRWA's job is to help governments perpetuate a refugee problem which, UNRWA points out, has now been extended over four generations.
Last week UNRWA launched a drive to increase contributions and divulged that the Arab countries - their inflammatory rhetoric notwithstanding - are the most tightfisted of UNRWA donor countries.
Of UNRWA's $462 million 2006 budget, $137m. came from the US, $41m. from Sweden, $27m. from the UK and $12m. from Denmark. Saudi Arabia, the world's richest oil-producer, managed to scrape a mere $1.2m. Smaller Kuwait managed a tad more with $1.5m., still a drop in its overflowing oil bucket. The rest of the Arab states are even less generous. Oil-rich Bahrain spared no more than $30,000. Indeed the Arab world's share has declined. In the 1980s it financed 8% of UNRWA's outlay. By 2006 it put in less than 3%.
There's something inordinately wrong with this picture even by the standards of realpolitik. The very nations responsible for keeping the "refugees" displaced, who spur them to pursue irredentist goals and who whip up lust for revenge, do least for them. But the paucity of Arab contributions to UNRWA is just the tip of the iceberg of Arab cynicism with respect to the refugee question.
February 19, 2007
An article on the fraudulent purpose of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) and its bias against Israel, in an excerpt from The Jerusalem Post:
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