Some background information: Created in December 1949, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is a relief and human development agency, originally intended to provide jobs on public works projects and direct relief for 652,000 Arabs who fled or were expelled from Israel during the fighting that followed the end of the British mandate over Palestine.
In 2010, there were almost 5 million qualified Palestine refugees registered with the UNRWA.
In 2009, UNRWA’s total budget was US$1.2 billion, for which the agency received US$948 million. In 2010, the biggest donors for its regular budget were the United States and the European Commission with $248 million and $165 million respectively. Sweden ($47m), the United Kingdom ($45m), Norway ($40m) and the Netherlands ($29m) are also important donors. In addition to its regular budget, UNRWA receives funding for emergency activities and special projects. (Source: Wikipedia)
So, how did the original 652000 refugees in 1948 become almost 5 million by 2010?
There have always been wars and conflicts around the world and there have always been the resultant refugees. This is a sad fact of life, but a fact nevertheless. What has become of those refugees around the world?
In 1948, approximately 800,000 Jews were living in lands which now make up the Arab world (excluding Israel). Of these, just under two-thirds lived in the French-controlled Maghreb region, 15-20% in the Kingdom of Iraq, approximately 10% in the Kingdom of Egypt and approximately 7% in the Kingdom of Yemen. A further 200,000 lived in Pahlavi Iran and the Republic of Turkey. (Wikipedia)
Most of the Jews who were forcibly expelled from Arab and Muslim countries have been assimilated into Israel, so why has the number of Palestinian refugees currently being financially supported by the international community increased so dramatically. How many were given citizenship in neighbouring Arab countries? In Jordan? None! In Lebanon? None! In Egypt? None! In Syria? None? In Turkey? None! In Saudi Arabia? None! The list goes on. Why is this?
Egypt, who governed the Gaza strip following Israel’s independence in 1948 (and thus all the refugees who lived there), until they were defeated in their failed attempted attack to destroy Israel in 1967, were later on offered to return there (at the time of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel) – Egypt declined!
By 1970, Palestinian fighters led by Yasser Arafat, had almost taken control of Jordan, so King Hussain expelled them from the country. For the full story read here : http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_1967to1991_jordan_expel_plo.php
Libya expelled tens of thousands of long-term Palestinian residents in response to the Oslo process; and after the 2003 Iraq war, some 21,000 Palestinians fled the country in response to a systematic terror and persecution campaign. As recently as 2007, Beirut effectively displaced 31,400 Palestinian refugees when the Lebanese army destroyed the Nahr el Bared refugee camp during fighting between the militant Fatal al-Islam group and the Lebanese army. (http://www.meforum.org/3391/kuwait-expels-palestinians).
It would appear that no Arab or Muslim neighbouring country wanted to help these refugees – or to have them living in their midst.
However, as the Arab world has always hated Jews, and particularly the Jewish state, Israel, it does have a use for these displaced people that nobody wanted. The ‘Palestinian people’ a euphemism for those originally displaced in 1948 (there never was an Arab ‘Palestinian’ state, so it follows that there is no such thing as a Palestinian people, whatever they wish to call themselves) became pawns for the Arab world to use in their chess game against Israel. The Arab world wants these wretched people kept in their refugee camps so as to constantly berate the world about what the Israelis are doing to their poor cousins, the ones that they don’t give a damn about! Interestingly enough, those Arabs and their descendents who remained in what was to become Israel, live a far better life, economically and socially, with more human rights, rights to vote, rights to become members of the Israeli government, rights to live in political and religious freedom, than most of their Arab cousins in surrounding countries. Many of those living in Israel when asked if they would rather live in any neighbouring Arab country resoundingly and emphatically answer No, and why do the surrounding Arab countries wish to destroy Israel? Simple answer when you think about it – they hate Jews!
Finally, let us think for a moment about all the money donated to the ‘Palestinian refugees’ and their descendants, who, unlike refugees the world over, which decrease, have increased 10 fold, intended to help with education, medical aids, and improving their lives, where has the money gone?
Yasser Arafat, Born in Cairo in 1929, (note he was Egyptian, not from British mandated Palestine) was a doctor, who had no wealth, but on his death in 2004 had a personal fortune of over 1 Billion US Dollars – so he became the first well-known thief of the refugee’s aid. (See: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/arafats-billions/ ) The current leaders of the terrorist organization Hamas, Khaled Meshall, a former teacher, and Ismail Haniyeh have both also amassed fortunes in private accounts (and incidentally whilst their organizations are in the process of being eliminated in Gaza, they are apparently in hiding in luxury hotels in Qatar) so they are continuing the legacy of Arafat.
The shame is that the refugees have suffered far more at the hands of their Arab brethren than they ever would have been by Israel. We can’t turn back the clock to tell them that they would have been better off staying where they were in 1948, what is for sure is that they would have been, and deep down, many of them know it! They have been lied to, stolen from and killed by their own Arab Muslim brothers and cousins, and now the only place and people which they can find to blame are Israel and the Jews. I cry for the mothers and children in Gaza, hurt as a direct result of the actions of those that they chose to represent them, but my sympathy is for the people and soldiers of Israel who are forced, once again, to defend the land of Israel against indiscriminate rocket attacks on innocent civilians.
UNRWA: If all the Arabs, and that of course applies also to the refugee descendents of those that left the soon to be Israel in 1948, would finally lay down their weapons and accept that Israel is here to stay, there could be peace tomorrow. Simple isn’t it?