In “UNRWA’s unsettling impact” (My Word, January 12), Liat Collins is mistaken in her suggestion to incorporate UNRWA into the UNHCR. It is not because her idea is illogical – it is not possible.
UNRWA operates under the United Nations General Assembly, whose automatic anti-Israel majority will never agree to any change in UNRWA status that would benefit Israel. Instead, the 68 UNRWA donor nations can be asked to adopt the URI (UNRWA Reform Initiative), with its six logical reforms in UNRWA policies that could encompass the conditions for further funding:
- Ask for an audit of donor funds. This would address widespread documented reports of wasted resources, duplication of services and an undesired flow of cash to the Gaza-based terror groups that have controlled UNRWA operations there for the past 18 years.
- Introduce UNHCR standards to UNRWA to advance the resettlement of Palestinian refugees. These people have spent some seven decades relegated to refugee status. Current UNRWA policy is that any refugee resettlement would interfere with the “right of return” to pre-1948 Arab localities. By adopting the political stance of Palestinian maximalists, UNRWA flouts its own commitment to the welfare and future of Palestinian refugees.
- Cancel the UNRWA curriculum, which is based on jihad, martyrdom and the right of return by force of arms.
- 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 training on its premises.
- Insist that UNRWA dismiss employees affiliated with Hamas in accordance with laws on the books in western nations that forbid aid to any agency that employs members of a terrorist organization.
- UNRWA recently hired a “youth ambassador,” Muhammad Assaf, to travel the world and encourage insurrection and violence. This would be an appropriate time to demand that UNRWA cancel its contract with a promoter of war.
The writer is director of the Israel Resource News Agency.