Lessening UNRWA’s Damage

Critics of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the organization tasked with oversight of Palestine refugees, have tended to focus on its sins. Its camps are havens for terrorists. Its bureaucracy is bloated and its payroll includes radicals. Its schools teach incitement. Its registration rolls reek with fraud. Its policies encourage a mentality of victimhood.

Food distribution now constitutes a small part of UNRWA's spending; most of it concerns education and health.

But UNRWA's most consequential problem is its mission. Over 63 years, it has become an agency that perpetuates the refugee problem rather than contributing to its resolution. UNRWA does not work to settle refugees; instead, by registering each day ever more grandchildren and great-grandchildren who have never been displaced from their homes or employment, artificially adding them to the tally of "refugees," it adds to number of refugees aggrieved against Israel. By now, these descendants comprise over 90 percent of UNRWA refugees.

Further, UNRWA violates the Refugee Convention by insisting that nearly two million people who have been given citizenship in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon (and who constitute 40 percent of UNRWA's beneficiaries) are still refugees....

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