For years, David Bedein who heads the Center for Near East Policy Research, has been a Don Quixote-like figure, railing against the evils of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Over the years he has written scores of research papers and produced films on the issue, presenting his findings to all willing to pay attention. UNRWA remained unchanged.
Now that the United States has announced that it is withholding aid from the Palestinians’ UN agency, Bedein feels somewhat vindicated. But more important to Bedein than the US decision to withhold $65 million in aide to UNRWA, is his certainty that his efforts helped to influence the US announcement that it was “demanding a fundamental reexamination of UNRWA.”
Bedein told his unnamed American guest that UNRWA reforms need to include:
- An audit of donor funds given to UNRWA that addresses widespread documented reports of wasted resources, duplication of services, and undesired flow of cash to the Gaza-based terror groups that have controlled UNRWA operations there for the past 18 years;
- The introduction of UNHCR (the primary UN refugee organization) standards to UNRWA to advance the resettlement of Arab refugees;
- The cancellation of the UNRWA school curriculum, which is based on jihad, martyrdom, and the “right of return” by force of arms;
- The discontinuation of paramilitary training in all UNRWA schools, which are purportedly commitment to “peace education”;
- The dismissal of UNRWA employees affiliated with Hamas, in accordance with laws on the books in western nations that forbid aid to any agency that employs members of a terrorist organization.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also accused UNRWA of perpetuating the “refugee problem” by helping to promote the unrealistic dream that Palestinians living as citizens in other nations have the “right to return” to long-lost properties in what is now Israel.
Last week Netanyahu told the foreign media, “UNRWA is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Palestinians are the only group served by a specific refugee agency, and the only group where refugee status is extended to successive generations. UNRWA should be abolished and its responsibilities taken over by the main UN refugee agency.”