Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Disband UNRWA

Last week Einat Wilf, Member of Knesset for the Independence Party (Ehud Barak's splinter group from the Labor Party) who has a PhD in political science from Cambridge University, addressed foreign diplomats in Jerusalem, and told them as reported in the Jerusalem Post, that "UNWRA is a major obstacle to peace." I agree with her, and this is the letter that I wrote that was published in the J. Post Letters section on Feb 7, 2012.

I strongly agree with MK Einat Wilf's contention that "UNRWA is a major obstacle to peace" (Feb 2). In fact UNRWA perpetuates the conflict between Israel and the Arabs by keeping large numbers of Palestinians in camps in perpetual dependency on the international community.

Under international law a refugee is defined as someone who leaves their country either voluntarily of by force, but it does NOT include their descendents. If this definition of refugees was accepted, then there would be only a few thousand genuine refugees left after 64 years since the Israeli War of Independence and not the outrageous exaggeration of millions as the Arabs claim. With this small number of genuine refugees the whole problem would be much easier to solve. Even though there is no "right of return" for refugees, allowing just these remaining legal refugees to return to Israel would be a humanitarian gesture. But, if the Palestinians wait another 10 years to make a compromise agreement with Israel, then there will be no genuine Arab refugees left.

To resolve the conflict it would be better if in fact UNRWA were disbanded. Given the fact that this is unlikely to happen, then the US, that pays ca. 20% of the cost of UNRWA, and other Western countries should just stop wasting their contributions to UNRWA that only goes to exacerbate the conflict. Since money is fungible, funds given to UNRWA allow many Palestinian men to become terrorists at the expense of American and other taxpayers. Stop the payments to UNRWA and hasten a peaceful resolution of the Israel-Arab conflict.
Jack Cohen


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