The scam perpetrated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency ever since 1949 has finally been exposed. Defining itself as “a relief and human development agency,” its jurisdiction extends only to Palestinian refugees from the war waged by Arab nations against the nascent State of Israel in 1947-48. UNRWA claims to help 5 million Palestinians, confined to refugee camps in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and its former “West Bank,” to “achieve their full potential in human development.” In reality, it has perpetuated Palestinian poverty and misery, with no end in sight.
UNRWA’s swindle has now been exposed by Bassam Eid, a Palestinian human rights activist who grew up in the refugee camp of Shu’afat, near Jerusalem. In a recent Algemeiner interview andJerusalem Post article, he lacerated UNRWA for the “war crime” of “causing five million Palestinian refugees to suffer more and more under the umbrella of the ‘right of return’” to their 1948 homes, which no longer exist.
But UNRWA duplicity goes deeper. For two decades it has not deigned to conduct a census in the refugee camps that it administers. Yet it receives lavish UN funding ($1.2 billion annually) for its inflated claim of 5 million Palestinian refugees. Hardly coincidentally, the Palestinian Authority insists upon 6 million, equivalent to the number of Jewish Holocaust victims. Without a refugee census, Mr. Eid sharply inquires: “on what figures is UNRWA basing its requests for funds?”
Speaking as “a loyal Palestinian” who is “concerned about my people’s future,” Mr. Eid’s conclusion is scathing. “In the eyes of the Palestinians,” he asserts, “UNRWA acts [as] a state with its own foreign policy. And that foreign policy does not serve the best interests of the Palestinian refugees.” Who would know these truths better than the founding director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group?
The UNRWA rip-off exposed by Mr. Eid, conducted in collusion with its United Nations parent organization, provides only a glimpse of Palestinian and UNRWA mendacity. World opinion, increasingly hostile to Israel, has avidly embraced the inflated Palestinian narrative of 5 million “refugees.” UNRWA has claimed 3.75 million. But it defines “refugees” to include not only Palestinians who were forced to leave their homes during the Arab war against Israel, or who voluntarily abandoned their homes on the urging of their leaders. UNRWA includes their descendants, in perpetuity. So doing, it has created an ever-expanding category of “refugees,” the increasing majority of whom never left Palestine (and are therefore not refugees) because they were as yet unborn in 1948.
It gets even more delusionary. Once UNRWA was established, it propagated the number of 925,000 Palestinian refugees — the better to justify generous funding. For years that false claim was endlessly repeated — by the New York Times no less than by journalists and scholars who avidly embraced the Palestinian narrative in their relentless determination to subvert the legitimacy of the Jewish state.
That deception was finally exposed in April 2011 in Israel Affairs by the research of historian Efraim Karsh. Scouring previously unexamined Arab, Israeli, and British sources, Karsh discovered the falsehoods perpetrated by the Arab League and its acolytes, whose inflated numbers were initially rejected by UN officials. But subsequently embraced — and expanded — by UNRWA, 962,643 Palestinian “refugees” emerged to qualify for financial relief. Mr. Karsh’s research led him to identify between 583,000-609,000 genuine Palestine refugees in 1948.
According to reliable current estimates, somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 actual Palestinian refugees remain alive. Israel could easily permit their return without upsetting its demographic balance. Presto: Palestinian refugee problem solved — and their descendants unshackled from perpetual dependency and degradation under UNRWA auspices.
Professor Auerbach is the author, most recently, of “Jewish State Pariah Nation: Israel and the Dilemmas of Legitimacy” (Quid Pro Books, 2014)