On July 1, 1999, President Clinton stated that American policy was that Palestinians have a right to live “wherever they would like to live”.

Clinton’s policy statement resounded through the Palestinian media and the United Nations Relief and Work Refugee Agency (UNRWA) camps which have serviced Palestinian Arab refugees in “temporary” shelters since 1948, under the premise and promise of the UN resolution #194, that assures the 3.6 million Palestinian Arab refugees under the aegis of UNRWA that they have the “inalienable right of return to the villages that they left in 1948, which now constitute Jewish communities throughout Tel Aviv, Haifa. Ashkelon, and at least 200 kibbutzim and Moshavim.

Far from being a theoretical notion, the “right of return” remains a living program that moves the hearts and minds of 3.6 million Palestinian Arab refugees. For UNRWA camp residents, the “right of return” is not a dream: it is a plan of action.

The policies of UNRWA, whose greatest funder for the past fifty years remains has been the US, reassure Palestinian Arab refugees that they may indeed realize their right of return”, while the new Palestinian Authority forbids housing assistance or eve voting rights to UNRWA camp residents, under the premise of the “right of return”. >

Toward that end, the curriculum of the Palestinian Authority Educational system, funded in part by the US, stresses the “right of return”, as UNRWA school principals and teachers inculcate a new generation of Palestinian youth to prepare themselves to return “home”, and that does not mean to the west bank and Gaza.

Meanwhile, a senior US State Department official told me that Under Secretary of State Dennis Ross has reassured the Israeli government that UN resolution #242 (that recognizes Israel’s 1967 ceasefire lines) supersedes UN resolution #194.

However, nobody bothered to tell that to 3.6 million people who linger in UNRWA refugee camps, who are also assured by US officials in the employ of UNRWA that they have the right to return to the homes and villages that they left in 1948.


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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.