Israel Resource Review 14th March, 2002


Has UNRWA allowed their Refugee Camps to Become the Host of Terror Activity?
David Bedein

Israel Minister of Defence and newly-elected Labor Party leader Binyamin Ben Eliezer has been declaring that the Arab refugee camps represent a haven for killers, and a threat to the security of all Israeli citizens.

Not a day goes by that we do not hear about these refugee camps:

  • suicide bombers who come from refugee camps;
  • killers who take asylum in refugee camps;
  • mortars that are fired from refugee camps;
  • food warehouses in refugee camps which have been transformed into storage bins for artillery shells, ammunition and mortar rounds;
  • Al Quaeda squads which are based in refugee camps;
  • refugee camps which organize official celebrations in honor of their recently-martyred suicide bombers.

    Who runs these "refugee camps"? There is one agency with absolute authority over Palestinian refugee camps - and it is not the PLO, not the P.A., not Hamas, Islamic Jihad or any other Arab entity.

    The agency which runs these refugee camps in none other than UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency! This body was established by the UN after the 1948 War of Liberation, with a mandate to administer 'temporary shelters' until such time as the refugees earned/won/were granted the right to return to the homes and villages they had fled in '48 - even if these villages no longer existed!

    UNRWA, therefore, remains the only refugee agency in the world whose apparent purpose is to perpetuate the status of refugees as refugees! Indeed, the official curriculum of the free UNRWA education system is based on that idea - that refugees must remain refugees until such time as they are repatriated to their homes.

    Peter Hanson, the Danish-born Director of UNRWA, explains that "the right of return" remains the motto of UNRWA, and the cause which unites all of the Palestinian people.

    Sammy Messhassha, Head of Public Affairs for UNRWA in Jerusalem,acknowledges that UNRWA is well aware of the fact that thousands of armed Palestinian Authority security personnel make their homes in UNRWA camps, and that UNRWA does not object to such a phenomenon.

    P.A. media analyst Ghassan Khatib remarked to CNN, in a February/2000 interview, that every young man in the UNRWA Balata refugee camp now has his own personal weapon! How? Each UNRWA camp hosts a local steering committee which is in charge of distributing the funds received as charitable donations from relief organizations and donor countries around the world. And it is that committee which decides whether to provide food rations or weapons with the money at their disposal.

    In light of such evidence, will the nations and organizations which contribute so generously to UNRWA - including the United States, Canada, E.U., and even Israel -now demand that UNRWA disarm these hotbeds of terrorism masquerading as refugee camps? Or not.

    At this time, as UNRWA food storage bins are turned into ammunition dumps to supply armed weapons to the Palestinian gunmen, UNRWA issues urgent memos for donor nations to urgently allocate funds to UNRWA.

    There is one question for the UNRWA donor nations to ask: Where has all the flour gone??

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    Previous Articles Written in
    Israel Resource Review
    about UNRWA

    7th July, 1997
    The Refugee Dilemma: A Day in the UNRWA Arab Refugee Camps by Shawn Cohen
    Sidebar: What you need to know about U.N.R.W.A. by David Bedein

    1st December, 1997
    "40 Minutes in Palestine" by Michael Cohen

    29th December, 1997
    Commonly Held Assumptions: Palestinian Arab Refugees as "Peripheral" to the Peace Process by David Bedein

    13th October, 1998
    Why is the Shuafat Refugee Camp Seething? by David Bedein

    13th July, 1999
    Clinton and the Right of Return by David Bedein
    Peace Only if '48 Refugees Return Home by Al-Ahram Weekly Editorial

    15th June, 2000
    Palestinian Refugee Issue Complicates Israeli-PA Negotiations by Julie Stahl

    9th May, 2000
    Orient House Orients the Visitor to the Palestinian State by David Bedein

    26th October, 2001
    The PLO: Aiming to Bring 300,000 Arab Refugees to the Galil by Uzi Benziman

    5th October, 2001
    UNRWA Director Peter Hansen Opposes Solving Palestinian Refugee Problem

    28th March, 2001
    Canada's role in the 'Right of Return' by David Bedein

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