Author, “ROADBLOCK TO PEACE- How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict: UNRWA policies reconsidered (Jerusalem, 2014)

In the midst of this week’s war commentary on the radio, TV and newspapers in Israel, the Israel Minister of Science, Mr. Yaakov Perry, a member of the Israeli security cabinet and former Israeli intelligence official, offered a refreshing solution to the current Israel-Gaza war.

Perry 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..

Perry’s Marshall Plan for Gaza sounds great- except for one hurdle: UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which operates the Arab refugee camps since 1948, will not hear from it.

As a matter of policy, UNRWA will allow any discussion of any permanent resettlement of Arab refugees from 1948 – not even for their descendents.

Instead, UNRWA insists that Arab refugees from 1948 remain AS 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 Israel government minister Mordecai Ben Porat, Israel embarked on a program to relocate Arab refugees camps in the vicinity of their “temporary” Arab refugee camps – an initiative overruled by a 1985 UN resolution which 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. Our agency bought the new PA school books and translated them, and filmed UNRWA classrooms and UNRWA summer camps where the UNRWA war education is applied. 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 Israeli cities of Ashkelon, Ashdod and Beersheva, Sderot and more.

Meanwhile, all new UNRWA school books rename Israeli cities with Arabic names, while the new UNRWA school books indoctrinate UNRWA students that they can only achieve the “right of return” to their 1948 villages by force of arms

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 US government and other western nations who fund UNRWA policies, to the tune of 1.2Billion dollars each year.

Perhaps the time has come for UNRWA donors to condition future finance on the creation of an UNRWA curriculum for peace and reconciliation, without any sanctified ‘right of return”.

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

1 COMMENT

  1. As an American who loves his country greatly (but not it’s government), I have and will continue to stand with Israel and their right to exist. As a whole, we Americans are some of the most generous people on the face of the planet. Unfortunately, we are fast becoming some of the dumbest. For the life of me I DO NOT understand our throwing money away on UNRWA and it’s anti- Israel teachings. Most of the countries we "GIVE" money to hate our guts to put it mildly. We had better wake up and cut off all money to those who sponsor terrorism in ANY form.

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