The United Nations is scheduled on Monday to discuss revisions to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. The discussion will focus, among other things, on an initiative by the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists which calls for reforming the manner in which a Palestinian refugee is defined.
The association’s goal is to fundamentally change the objectives of UNRWA’s activities. It argues that while other relief organizations seek to resettle refugees, UNRWA dedicates itself to preventing the resettlement of Palestinians. Additionally, while in other organizations the number of refugees is limited to those who fled their countries, UNRWA inflates its numbers by including all the descendants of the original Palestinian refugees from the War of Independence in 1948.
Former Knesset member Dr. Einat Wilf held meetings in the past year with ambassadors from countries that donate to UNRWA in efforts to shed light on the organization’s practices.
“There is no reason for a fifth-generation descendant, living in Gaza, to be considered by an organization supported by Western countries as a refugee from Palestine,” said Wilf.
Irit Kohn, the president of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, said: [“UNRWA] prolongs the refugee problem and does not facilitate any solution. Had the considerable funds that have been transferred [to it] been utilized properly, the situation could be totally different.”