Missiles launched against Israel are being fired from a population base of two million residents of the UNRWA community in Gaza, descendants of Arab refugees from the 1948 war who have lived in temporary homes since 1949, under the UNRWA promise of the “right of return” to Arab villages which existed before 1948.
UN members* fund a $1.6 billion UNRWA budget, 58% of which is earmarked for education.
UNRWA donor nations** can contribute to a lasting peace in Gaza by encouraging an UNRWA PEACE INITIATIVE:
- Cancellation of 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”.
- Disarmament of UNRWA schools and cessation of paramilitary training connected to 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 in proximity of its premises.
- Insisting that UNRWA dismiss employees affiliated with Hamas, Islamic Jihad or Fatah in accordance with laws of donor nations that forbid aid to any agency that employs members of a terrorist organization.
- Introducing 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 assist the Arab refugees from 1948 and their descendants.
- Demanding an audit of donor funds that emanate from 68 nations. This would address documented reports of wasted resources, duplication of services and an undesired flow of cash to the terror groups that dominate UNRWA operations.
*Since 1949, 82% of the Gaza population has dwelt in temporary UNRWA facilities.