The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has been co-opted by Palestinian terrorists, turning refugee camps into bases for the recruitment, training and dispatching of suicide bombers and other killers, according to the findings of a new study by the World Jewish Congress.
The study, UNRWA, Terror and the Refugee Conundrum: Perpetuating the Misery, by WJC Secretary General Dr. Avi Beker, documents how the UN agency has consistently perpetuated the refugee crisis and has become a roadblock to peace. Release of the report comes on the eve of an international conference to be held in London on Sunday June 29, on the “Forgotten Exodus of Jews from Arab Lands.”
Conference speakers will document and explain the exchange of populations in the Middle East that began with the creation of the State of Israel. Approximately 900,000 Jews were expelled from Arab states in that period while some 600,000 Arabs left Israel. But while the Jews were fully absorbed into Israel and Jewish communities in the West, the Arabs were deliberately kept as refugees in UN camps throughout the region to exploit their plight for political purposes, regardless of the humanitarian impact. The London conference is the seventh in a series of WJC symposiums highlighting this issue.
UNRWA was created in 1949 to provide humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian Arab refugees. Since then, it has mushroomed into a bureaucratic behemoth employing over 20,000 people, with a budget of $311 million annually about one-third of which comes from the United States.
“While there are certainly people of goodwill working for UNRWA, that cannot cover up the role that it plays in perpetuating the refugee crisis by thwarting plans for resettlement, and in enabling Palestinian terror against Israel to continue,” Beker said. “As revealed during Israel¹s Operation Defensive Shield in the spring of 2002, the camps have become bases for the recruitment, training and dispatching of suicide bombers and other terrorists.”
The study charts the history of UNRWA’s slide from an UN agency devoted to humanitarian aid, into one that collaborates with terrorist forces.
“The volatile mix of anti-Israel and antisemitic incitement that is prevalent in UNRWA camps, compounded with an insistence on a Palestinian “right of return” to Israel ensures the continuance of the conflict. A two-state solution in the Middle East, as envisioned by the roadmap and accepted by the parties, depends on an honest and comprehensive resolution to the refugee issue,” said Dr. Beker. “As long as UNRWA and the Arabs continue to obstruct resettlement of Palestinians in Arab states, a two-state solution is impossible. Reform of UNRWA must be a first step to a just solution in the Middle East.”
The World Jewish Congress is an international federation of Jewish communities and organizations representing 80 nations on six continents, and it serves as the multinational representative of world Jewry. Founded in 1935 to fight the poison of hatred and intolerance of Naziism, the WJC has been combatting the persecution of Jews around the world for more than six decades, and today it is leading the fight for material and moral restitution to the Jewish people of the greatest theft and most heinous crime in recorded history.