Writing about UNRWA from the perspective of an MSW community organization social work professional, suffice it to say that the function of a social work refugee agency is to help people get on with their lives.

Instead, however, UNRWA represents a social work agency which forces 5.3 million descendants of Arab refugees from the 1948 war to live as refugees in perpetuity, in the continuing indignity of 59 “temporary” refugee camps under false pretenses, under the fake promise of the right of return to villages that no longer exist.

Yet the future was not on the agenda of the UNRWA international donors conference this week in Brussels.

Towards that conference, our center dispatched a team of photographers to get a sense of the current atmosphere in the teeming Aida and Deheisha UNRWA refugee camps in the heart of Bethlehem.

They returned with 915 pictures of massive murals in both refugee facilities, all of which depict one theme: the war against the Jews to liberate their lost Arab villages by force of arms.

These murals of life in temporary UNRWA facilities will soon be the subject of a virtual UNRWA photo exhibit.

All this begs the question: where does UNRWA go from here?

Here are five policy suggestions that should have been on the agenda of the International Donors Conference to detox UNRWA;

1. Cancel the new UNRWA war curriculum, based on Jihad, martyrdom and the “right of return by force of arms”, which have no place in UN education, whose theme is “Peace Begins Here”.

2. Disarm UNRWA schools and cease paramilitary training in all UNRWA schools. It is an absurdity that UNRWA, a UN agency with a purported commitment to “peace education”, allows such arms training and missile fire from its premises.

3. Insist that UNRWA dismiss employees affiliated with Hamas in accordance with laws of donor nations that forbid aid to any agency that employs members of a terrorist organization.

4. Introduce UNHCR standards to advance resettlement of fourth- and fifth-generation refugees from the 1948 war who have spent seven decades relegated to refugee status. Current UNRWA policy is that any Arab refugee resettlement would interfere with the “right of return” to pre-1948 Arab localities. By adopting the stance of Arab maximalists, UNRWA flouts its commitment to the future of Arab refugees from 1948 and their descendants.

5. Demand an audit of the 1.5 billion dollar budget which flows from 68 nations and 33 nongovernment organizations. This would address documented reports of wasted resources, duplication of services and undesired wads of cash to terror groups which now dominate the UNRWA population .


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David Bedein
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.