The United Nations Relief and Work Agency is the only UN refugee agency dedicated to a single group of people. It is the only agency that designates individuals as original refugees if they lived in the area for a minimum of two years, that acknowledges the descendants of original refugees as refugees as well, and the only one that actively encourages its clients to act on their “right of return.”
Since WWII, 50 million people have been displaced by armed conflict.
The Palestinian people are the only ones in history to receive this special treatment.
Before describing why UNRWA is a body that drastically reduces any chance of a lasting peace, let’s take a look at whose citizens are funding UNWRA. After all, there is no such thing as public money, there is only taxpayers’ money.
The total UNRWA budget for 2012 was $907,907,371. The permanent and hysterically supportive rhetoric for the “Palestinian cause” from the Muslim world might lead one to expect that UNWRA is mainly funded by Muslim countries. The truth, however, is that UNRWA is almost entirely funded by Western taxpayers. With a total of $644,701,999 in contributions, the US, EU, UK, Sweden, Norway, Germany, The Netherlands and Japan pay 71 percent of the annual UNRWA budget.
And don’t forget that the funds from the second-largest donor, the EU, are of course already composed of EU taxation of member states.
So where do the Muslim states rank? First in, at No. 15, is Saudi Arabia.
The country with palaces for every prince and gold-plated Boeing 747s on the royal runways chipped in $12,030,540, less than half the contribution of a tiny country like The Netherlands.
Second, at No. 18, is Turkey. The supposedly economically flourishing state, whose prime minister zealously supports even Hamas, contributes only $8,100,000. Qatar, which spent millions on obtaining the 2022 soccer World cup, contributed exactly $0 to their Palestinian brothers.
In essence, these figures reflect the nature of the role Muslim countries play in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
In their rhetoric they are permanently hostile toward Israel and very sympathetic to the Palestinians, fond of slogans like: “Free Palestine,” which is still basically a euphemism for “Destroy Israel.” This strengthens the Palestinian leadership’s resolve to say no to peace, whenever the occasion arises. But the non-existence of peace perpetuates Palestinian agony.
On the other hand, Muslim states do not deliver when it comes to the material needs of the Palestinians.
This too perpetuates Palestinian suffering.
One can only conclude that the role of most Muslim states in the conflict is a subversive one, aimed at the perpetuation of Palestinian suffering.
Muslim states abuse Palestinian suffering to divert attention from their own deficiencies and they use the Palestinian people as pawns in a perverted game of chess against Israel.
Now that we know where the money does and does not come from, let’s review how UNWRA spends it. Just a minor detail to keep in mind along the way: The personal wealth of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is estimated at $100 million.
David Bedein, director of the Center for Near East Policy Research, recently released a rather disturbing documentary, Camp Jihad, about UNWRA-funded summer camps for Palestinian children.
The entire focus of the camps is on emphasizing the children’s right of return to the villages their grandparents are said to have lived in. And the means to achieve this? Jihad.
Some scenes from the camp: A women in full burqa tells children to tell her where they are from. They respond with Jaffa, Haifa and so on.
But these children have never been to these places. Then the woman shouts: “We will return to our villages with power and honor. With God’s help and our own strength we will wage war and with education and jihad we will return!” Another group of even younger children was told by a woman in traditional clothing that: “Our grandparents were having a BBQ on the beach, and then a wolf appeared.
Who was the wolf? The Jews. What did the Jews do to us? They expelled and deported us. They killed us and shot our families.”
The hateful indoctrination of youngsters is a perverted and criminal act, but is it is nonetheless being funded by Western – including my Dutch – governments.
It has to stop. The West cannot possibly accept that its tax money is being used to poison children’s minds.
But besides summer camps like these, the whole notion of UNWRA might be counterproductive. If an entire nation lives on an international welfare check, there’s little incentive for effective nation building. And even worse, when the current conflict is the only reason for the annual welfare check that pays PA leaders, there isn’t much incentive for ending the conflict, either.
But there’s something more fundamental at play. Gunnar Heinsohn’s book Sons and World Power explores the correlation between war and the number of males in a society and states: “In such ‘youth bulge’ countries, young men tend to eliminate each other or get killed in aggressive wars until a balance is reached between their ambitions and the number of acceptable positions available in their society.
“In Arab nations such as Lebanon (150,000 dead in the civil war between 1975 and 1990) or Algeria (200,000 dead in the Islamists’ war against their own people between 1999 and 2006), the slaughter abated only when the fertility rates in these countries fell from seven children per woman to fewer than two. The warring stopped because no more warriors were being born.
“In Gaza, however, there has been no demographic disarmament. The average woman still bears six babies. For every 1,000 men aged 40-44, there are 4,300 boys aged 0-4 years. In the US the latter figure is 1,000, and in the UK it’s only 670.”
Heinsohn concludes that the reason for Gaza’s endless youth bulge is that a large majority of its population does not have to provide for its offspring.
Most babies are fed, clothed, vaccinated and educated by UNRWA.
Despite claiming the opposite, UNWRA will perpetuate the conflict and the West is dumb enough to pay.
The author is a Dutch Masters student in clinical psychology and a columnist for De Dagelijkse Standaard.