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  • June 6, 2012

    UNRWA was created to punish Israel

    By Ted Belman, first published in Times of Israel

    The problem with UNRWA goes way beyond counting or definition. It should never have been created in the first place.  So Sen. Mark Kirk’s amendment fails to address the fundamental problem.

    He proposed an amendment to the 2013 Appropriations Bill that would have changed the definition of a Palestinian refugee and would have required the State Department to count heads and report back.

    According to Shoshana Bryen, an aide to Sen Kirk said:

      “Senator Kirk, a former prosecutor, has worked tirelessly for years to force the State Department to quantify U.S. assistance to the Palestinians through UNRWA. He has been thwarted at every turn. “


    The Bill that was passed unanimously on May 25/12, was a watered down version of Kirk’s amendment due to the strong objections of the State Department set out in a letter to Sen. Patrick Leahy, which read in part:

      “This proposed amendment would be viewed around the world as the United States acting to prejudge and determine the outcome of this sensitive issue.

      “The Department of State cannot support legislation which would force the United States to make a public judgment on the number and status of Palestinian refugees.”

      “This action would damage confidence between the parties at a particularly fragile time, undercut our ability to act as a mediator and peace facilitator, and generate very strong negative reaction from the Palestinians and our allies in the region, particularly Jordan,”

    But the question must be asked: how did this become a final status issue in the first place? The international community has never forced the repatriation of refugees to their former country following a war nor spearheaded their claims for compensation. It certainly didn’t do either in the case of the Jewish refugees from Arab lands. Nor has it ever demanded that a victorious country withdraw from land it conquered in a defensive war as it has of Israel countless times.

    America has no qualms against demanding East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine nor of demanding 100% withdrawal nor of demanding that settlement activity stop.  Are not such positions, prejudging the outcome? Why doesn’t she similarly come out against any “right of return”?

    Usually the parties to a war are left to their own devices in arriving at a peace agreement or avoiding it, but not here.  America was a player in the piece right from the beginning and stood with the Arabs all the way along.

    On May 14, 1948, Israel declared the establishment of the State of Israel, against the wishes of the surrounding Arab countries and the US government.  Immediately thereafter, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi Arabia invaded Israel with the intention or eradicating it. Either due to the fear of the Israelis or the urging of the surrounding Arab countries, about 700,000 Arabs fled Israel and the land she conquered.

    In November of that year, the General Assembly passed a resolution providing financial assistance for their immediate needs. Israel passed a resolution barring their return. A few days later the UNGA passed Res 194 which resolved inter alia:

      “ that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible;”

    This resolution, like all resolutions of the UNGA, is a recommendation only and not binding in law. Furthermore the resolution was unprecedented.

    According to the late Ami Isseroff:

      “Resolution 194, was passed soon after the assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte, attributed to the LEHI, and partly expresses the anger of the UN member states over the assassination.”

    Thus its passage was intended to punish Israel.

    That’s not surprising as the U.S. State Department was adamantly opposed to the declaration of statehood by Israel and did everything in its power to prevent it.  As disclosed by recently unearthed diplomatic cables, it even  threatened to stoke anti-Semitism by publishing documents that would “do great harm to the Jews”  for doing so.  It tried unsuccessfully to force Ben Gurion to return to the original Partition lines when it was “mediating” the Armistice Agreement.

    In essence the State Department was siding with the Arabs who vastly outnumbered the Israelis and who possessed vast quantities of oil. Even today, it is averse to upsetting its “allies in the region, particularly Jordan”, as it said in the letter above.

    In April of the following year, Israel and Jordan signed an Armistice Agreement which ended hostilities.  Then, in December 1949, the UNGA passed Resolution 320 which gave birth to UNRWA. Its purpose, as set out in this resolution, was to carry out “direct relief and works programmes”.  Its contemporary mandate “is to provide relief, human development and protection services to Palestine refugees and persons displaced by the 1967 hostilities“ in addition to the refugees from the ’48 war.  Although this Agency was intended to be a temporary, the General Assembly has renewed it repeatedly pending the just resolution of the question of the Palestine refugees.

    Normally refugees are handled by UNHCR whose mandate is to resettle them. In contrast,   UNWRA’s mandate is to maintain them. Had the State Department not wanted to punish Israel or reverse the result of the war, the conflict would have been long settled.

    Subsequent to the war, an equal, if not greater number, of Jews were expelled by all Arab countries, which countries also confiscated their wealth.

    In 1956, Egypt committed an act of war against Israel, namely closing the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping. Israel’s response was to conquer the Sinai. America’s response was to force Israel to retreat to the Armistice Lines.

    In 1967, the Arab countries once again massed their troops on Israel’s borders intending to drive the Jews into the sea. Once again, they were defeated. But this time Israel had a friend in the Whitehouse, namely President Johnson. He decided not to force a full retreat on Israel and instead crafted UNSC Res 242 to allow Israel to remain in possession until she had an agreement for “recognized and secure borders”. There was no demand for Israel to relinquish all the territories. This resolution also provided for “achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem”. Not only did it not reaffirm Res 194, it wasn’t limited to the Palestinian refugees and included the Jewish refugees as well.

    In the Khartoum Conference which followed shortly thereafter the Arabs emphatically rejected this resolution and embraced a policy of no negotiations, no recognition and no peace. A year later, President Nixon attempted to placate the Arabs by proposing the Rogers Plan which required full withdrawal as demanded by the Arabs rather than partial withdrawal as set out in Res 242.

    Although this Plan didn’t get traction, the US continued to support the Arabs and specifically the newly invented Palestinians giving them legitimacy even though they were a terrorist organization.  Arafat the arch terrorist was invited to speak at the UN which he did while sporting a gun holster. When Israel tried to destroy the PLO  in Lebanon in the early eighties, and was about to deliver the coup de grâce, President Reagan saved the Palestinians by evacuating them to Tunisia. It was American policy to use the refugee problem to force Israel to retreat. She needed the PLO to spearhead the Palestinian political movement.

    The pressure on Israel continued, resulting in her having secret negotiations with the PLO which lead to the Oslo Accords of ’93 and ’95. Pursuant to these accords, Arafat and the PLO leadership were allowed back into the territories. The Declaration of Principles signed in ’93 provided that “negotiations regarding the permanent status were to commence no later than the third year of the interim period.” These negotiations were supposed to bring about a final settlement between the two parties. It was understood that these negotiations would cover “the refugee issue, positions on Jerusalem, issue of borders and settlements as well as security arrangements and other issues of common interest.”

    It is important to note that the US had no part in drafting this agreement as it was done without its knowledge. As a result, its terms are favourable to Israel. That is not to say that allowing Arafat and his minions back into Israel, was a smart thing to do, but the U.S. was pushing Israel to do it.

    Thereafter, the US forced on Israel, acceptance of the Roadmap in 2002. It went far beyond the Oslo Accords and provided many terms adverse to Israel’s interests including provisions for:

      – “the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state”

      -“land for peace”

      – The Saudi Plan calling for 100% withdrawal

      –  “GOI immediately dismantles settlement outposts erected since March 2001”.

      –  “Consistent with the Mitchell Report, GOI freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements)”.

    Although the Roadmap mentioned the refugee issue as a final status issue and nothing more, the Saudi Plan which it referenced, required “a just solution to the Palestinian Refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194” and “Assures the rejection of all forms of Palestinian patriation which conflict with the special circumstances of the Arab host countries.” So not only was Israel back to square one on the refugee issue but each Arab country could reject the patriation agreed upon if they didn’t like it.

    PM Sharon wanted the removal of any reference to the Saudi Plan but the State Department adamantly refused and demanded Israel accept it.

    Israel did so subject to 14 reservations which the US pledged to “fully and seriously address”, which pledge she never honored. One reservation demanded the rejection of any references other than to the requirements of Res. 242. It is time for her to seriously address this issue.

    It is the requirements of the Roadmap, drafted by the State Department, that make a peace agreement unachievable.

    As Shoshana Bryen points out:

      “The possible outcomes of the Palestinian refugee issue are three: to allow them to go to Israel (the so-called “right of return”); to formulate their resettlement (and compensation) in the new State of Palestine; or formulate their resettlement (and compensation) somewhere else. The first means the dissolution of the State of Israel – which cannot possibly be among the State Department’s acceptable outcomes. (Can it?) In either of the other two scenarios, counting would be a prerequisite to resettlement.

      “The problem for the State Department is that the Palestinians have rejected the second and third outcomes.”

    The State Department has put itself in an untenable position.  It cannot satisfy the demands of the Arabs and achieve a peace agreement. Nor can it force Israel to make further concessions.  Had the State Department stayed out of it, peace would have been achieved decades ago. Its policy of supporting the Arabs diplomatically and financially has resulted in the intransigence of the Arabs in general and the PA in particular. The PA is now rejecting the US demands.

    The Kirk amendment, watered down or otherwise, avoids the root of the problem and won’t solve anything.

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  • Posted by Ted Belman @ 6:07 am | 16 Comments »

    16 Comments to UNRWA was created to punish Israel

    1. James B - Canada says:

      Sir,

      Excellent post.

      I will add that the continuance of the is to punish not only Israel but the West. Pres Bush should receive a bullet in his useless brain for rejuvenating the UN to invade Kuwait as a multilateral force.

      UN is a worthless taxpayer funded organ as is the US State Dept which I believe exists to punish Israel ( and maybe the West ).

      Unlike Olmert ( who makes me happy I do not live in Israel ) only to see my future descendants used as cannon food, I blame the leftists for keeping Israel in a permanent war mode.

      The US govt is a monster. And on the Internet, the US, the UK, Canada and Australia are perhaps the biggest sources of anti semitism.

      When will this decrepit Anglo Empire end?

    2. mrzee says:

      Not only did it not reaffirm Res 194, it wasn’t limited to the Palestinian refugees and included the Jewish refugees as well.

      There’s nothing in Res 194 that limits it to palestinian refugees either. Israelis living in Judea and Samaria and east Jerusalem are just enjoying their “right of return”

      BTW, doesn’t it seem odd that every arab country voted against Res 194?

    3. dweller says:

      @ James B – Canada:

      I won’t quarrel with most of your post.

      However, your recommendation — for how to respond to a former US Chief-of-State (for “rejuvenating the UN to invade Kuwait as a multilateral force”) — is downright IRRESPONSIBLE, even as sheer gaseous rhetoric.

      (And I’m not sure that rhetoric was all it was.)

    4. James B - Canada DWELLER IS A LIAR says:

      DWELLER is an IRRESPONSIBLE LIAR.

      GHWBush is the devil as was his father. A very evil man like James Baker III ( II were enough). When I hear the word Texas, I still want to puke, even though I was not alive on Nov. 22 ,1963.

      Here is an article from DANIEL PIPES on the UN Loving GHWBush.

      http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/2012/02/blame-un-power-on-george-h-w-bush

      An excerpt:
      The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 constituted the first post-Cold War crisis. The great powers could have handled it any number of ways – in NATO, with a “coalition of the willing,” or with a new organization – but Bush (himself a former U.S. ambassador to the UN) took the matter to the Security Council for decision making.

      UNSC votes on Iraq, Libya, and Syria have had a major impact, permitting a semi-despotism in Moscow and a full-scale one in Peking to exert a major influence on the decisions of democratic states.

      Comments:

      (1) A bipartisan folly: a Democrat founded the organization and a Republican turned it into today’s powerhouse.

      (3) Another Bush: George W. Bush built on his father’s mistake by begging the UNSC for resolution after resolution on the Iraq issue.

      (4) Syria: It is particularly painful to watch the weight of vetoes by the Russian and Chinese governments of a resolution calling on the Syrian president to leave office. How can the democracies allow dictators protecting their own to stymie their own policy?

      (5) The future: presumably, only an American president can dismiss the UNSC and transfer its authority to an organization of only democratically-elected governments. Republican candidates are good on this issue while Barack Obama will imbue the UNSC with yet more power. (February 8, 2012)

      GHWBush: An evil duplicit skunk, just like most politicians. Evil, greedy things who have no or little idea, or what is worst, realize the implications of their deeds.

    5. James B - Montreal says:

      Israpundit did not like my last post so I will try again.

      DWELLER is dwelling in denial.

      I and Daniel Pipes believe the same.

      http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/2012/02/blame-un-power-on-george-h-w-bush

      ” The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 constituted the first post-Cold War crisis. The great powers could have handled it any number of ways but Bush (himself a former U.S. ambassador to the UN) took the matter to the Security Council for decision making.

      “Another Bush: George W. Bush built on his father’s mistake by begging the UNSC for resolution after resolution on the Iraq issue.
      The future: presumably, only an American president can dismiss the UNSC and transfer its authority to an organization of only democratically-elected governments. Republican candidates are good on this issue while Barack Obama will imbue the UNSC with yet more power.

      Dweller?…

    6. bernard ross says:

      The arab states cleansing of its jews was done under the watchful eye of the Geneva conventions. Daily the UN, EU and US call for settlement west of the Jordan river to be frozen in direct contravention of the UN charter which is obligated to observe the Palestine mandate of the League of Nations All the guarantors of San Remo are likewise in contravention. The greatest swindler of jewish rights is the GOI which has not facilitated and encouraged the settlement of jews west of the jordan or bringing cases to the the appropriate fora for its enforcement. The GOI has breached its trust as representative of the Jewish people. There needs to be jewish agancies or NGO’s, independent of the GOI, which will seek enforcement of those rights which are not dependent on, or related to, who rules the west bank.

    7. Michael Dar says:

      181 – 194 have been rejected by the Arabs (no Palestinians in those days!)..all of a sudden they want to revive those as a deceitful political ploy to pressure Israel to give in on their fantastic-ridiculous demands. They had their chances and blew it! Besides 194 had some pre-conditions for their eventual return being their willingness to live in peace..condition which they never met.. 6 decades of war,terrorism and other forms of hostility made all that UN crap null and void.

    8. yamit82 says:

      @ dweller:

      However, your recommendation — for how to respond to a former US Chief-of-State (for “rejuvenating the UN to invade Kuwait as a multilateral force”) — is downright IRRESPONSIBLE, even as sheer gaseous rhetoric.

      I don’t think it was irresponsible and whether it was gaseous rhetoric or not what’s it to you?

      Card carrying Jew haters and the spawn of Nazis or supporters of Nazis be damned as well as those who support and attempt to be their apologists.

      I remember G HW Bush, the ‘New World Order’ Bush who threw Israel under the Bus, the best bud of F… The Jews Baker. The guy on the saudi payroll before during and after his term in office. That qa

    9. yamit82 says:

      @ dweller:

      However, your recommendation — for how to respond to a former US Chief-of-State (for “rejuvenating the UN to invade Kuwait as a multilateral force”) — is downright IRRESPONSIBLE, even as sheer gaseous rhetoric.

      I don’t think it was irresponsible and whether it was gaseous rhetoric or not what’s it to you?

      Card carrying Jew haters and the spawn of Nazis or supporters of Nazis be damned as well as those who support and attempt to be their apologists.

      I remember G HW Bush, the ‘New World Order’ Bush who threw Israel under the Bus, the best bud of F… The Jews Baker. The guy on the Saudi payroll before during and after his term in office. That’s the Bush who engineered The illegal Iran Contra Deal and When Caught red handed made Israel the fall guy.

      The whole family is dirty elitist and if not in America they would be branded for what they are Nazis ( Eugenics) and who but GHWBush recruited the thousands of Nazis into the CIA?

      I have the whole history of the Bush’s and especially Prescott Bush. I laugh when some complain about how Obama was not seriously vetted before the elections as if either Bush #41 or #43 were.

      dweller is a card carrying Republican Elitist and as phony a conservative as I have seen commenting on this site. I guess he can’t forgive the Democrats for Vietnam.

    10. dweller says:

      @ James B – Montreal:

      “DWELLER is dwelling in denial.”

      “DWELLER is an IRRESPONSIBLE LIAR.”

      A liar is somebody who lies.

      A lie is a deliberate, knowing untruth.

      Precisely what ‘lies’ do you find in my above post to you?

      The truth (does the truth matter?)— is that I am neither in denial NOR lying.

      The merits or demerits of Bush the Elder are not germane to my remarks to you, Montreal.

      (Besides, I had already told you I had no disagreement with the gist of your post; re-read what I said.)

      But not only the reality of Bush 41, but ALSO what I do or don’t think about him — whether I see him as the sweetheart of the rodeo OR as Lucifer incarnate — is irrelevant & off-point to what I said to you.

      The admonition I gave you, Montreal, was solely & entirely in regard to the irresponsibility inherent in the kind of loose talk you indulged when advocating how to deal with a former presidentregardless of how you OR I feel about him. Everything else is completely beside the point; don’t be distracted from that point.

      If you’re a trifle slow on the uptake these days, let me spell it out for you — if I can manage to be sufficiently blunt and delicate at the same time (vey iz mir!):

      This site, like lots of other ones, is bound to be monitored by governmental (or govt-sponsored) elements whose activities give no comfort to either you or YoursEverTruly.

      Making loose remarks like the specific one of yours that I alluded to can only risk bringing this website — and, by extension, those who frequent it — under a species of scrutiny that none of us is likely to find desirable. Try making comments of the sort in question in an airport to a ticket agent or a TSA type & see how good life can be. . . .

      Have I said enough for you to catch my drift, or do I need to use a sledgehammer to get the point across?

    11. dweller says:

      @ yamit82:

      “However, your recommendation — for how to respond to a former US Chief-of-State (for “rejuvenating the UN to invade Kuwait as a multilateral force”) — is downright IRRESPONSIBLE, even as sheer gaseous rhetoric.”

      “I don’t think it was irresponsible…”

      An agent provocateur wouldn’t think so either.

      Are you trying to say something to us. . . . ?

      “…and whether it was gaseous rhetoric or not what’s it to you?

      Answered at the end of my comment to Montreal, just above.

      “dweller is a card carrying Republican Elitist…

      As usual, you’re as dense as mahogany, Yamit. I have no party attachments — as I’ve said on numerous occasions.

      “…and as phony a conservative as I have seen commenting on this site… “

      How would the likes of YOU know what a real one was like?

      “I guess he can’t forgive the Democrats for Vietnam.”

      Beware the green-eyed monster, Yamit

      — it has had you by the throat for a long time & it does not mean you well.

    12. James B - Canada says:

      I assume that many govt agents are reading this site.They have not much else to do!!

      I have no desire to see a violent end to GHWB. James Baker III, well, no comment, although II were enough.

      Most of my life I was very pro US.

      The West is dying financially and has lost a lot of clout in the last 25 years because of bad and myopic and greedy policies by the US and Europe and Canada.

      I am angry at Canadian elites, American elites, Euro elites and Israeli elites and the mass of fools who quiver in their presence.

      GHWB breathed new life into this UN Frankenstein monster for votes from North east and California libs. It did not work.

    13. James B - Montreal says:

      DWELLER” Try making comments of the sort in question in an airport to a ticket agent or a TSA type & see how good life can be.”

      Actually I have engaged in this talk to a TSA Agent in Florida.

      He asked me ” what is wrong with Canada? Why so Leftists?”

      If I had said” GHWB is the reason why the UN has so much power. He is the duplicit leftist”, what would he have done? Banned me? I look forward to a being on the good side of a lawsuit.

      The problem with the Americans is that everything is to the extreme. Be it right or to the left. Do you even know what is in the Sarbanes Oxley Act? I doubt it. What a stupid farce. A metaphor for the USA.

    14. dweller says:

      @ James B – Canada:

      “GHWB breathed new life into this UN Frankenstein monster for votes from North east and California libs. It did not work.”

      As I’ve said — I had (and have) no quarrel with this statement.

    15. dweller says:

      @ James B – Montreal:

      “If I had said, ‘GHWB is the reason why the UN has so much power. He is the duplicit leftist,’ what would he have done? Banned me?”

      If that were ALL you’d said, he’d have probably rolled his eyes & asked what you were doing so far from the Granola Coast (or the Deep South).

      But those AREN’T the kind of comments that give me tsouris.

      It’s explicitly (and only) the kind that I referenced earlier that strike me as problematic — because this website (such as it is) is an important & necessary forum.

      — It must not be endangered.

    16. dweller says:

      @ James B – Canada:

      “I have read much much worse on Huffpost or CNN.com regarding violence.”

      So have I.

      But this administration is hardly ‘threatened’ by the likes of them.

      Why create unnecessary risk?

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