Trump admin may reject granting refugee status to ‘Palestinian’ descendants in perpetuity

A policy first — sanity.

Amid its deepening standoff with the Palestinians, the Trump administration is considering halting all of its financial aid to the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, and declaring that it rejects the UN criteria under which refugee status is extended to millions of descendants of the original Palestinian refugees, a TV news report said Tuesday.

Finally. According to the UN’s own definition, the status of “refugee” cannot be passed from generation to generation — as it conveniently has been for the Palestinians.

Bernard Lewis said at a conference I attended years ago that he “first realized the U.N. was hopeless” after the partition of Palestine, he said. Palestine was a “triviality” compared to the partition of India that took place a year earlier, in 1947, he added. Millions of refugees were created, and yet India and Pakistan formed a working relationship and sorted out the problems.

The key difference, he said, was that “in the partition of India, the U.N. was not involved.” The United Nations failed to act after the Muslim states invaded Palestine, and then treated Arab refugee status as a privilege handed down from generation to generation, in order to use the refugees as a weapon against Israel’s legitimacy.

In other words, UNRWA is creating “Palestinians” out of the whole cloth on order to keep the agency alive with massive funding while inflaming 21st century Jew-hatred.

  • According to the UN’s own definition, the status of “refugee” cannot be passed from generation to generation — as it conveniently has been for the Palestinians. A Palestinian with a European, American or Jordanian passport has no reason to be considered a refugee. Except by UNRWA.
  • “Since the UN took them over, the Palestinians started burying their dead at night, without declaring them, in order to share their rations. As a result, for nearly 20 years, the official death rate in the camps was close to zero. In addition, there was a lot of movement between the camps. But these displacements were rarely recorded, so that a Palestinian could appear in several camps at the same time…” — Said Aburish, Palestinian Refugee and biographer of the late Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat.
  • UNRWA is not just a humanitarian agency. Its political stance is evident at all levels of the organization. A report from the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, says that the 2016-2017 curriculum for elementary schools in PA, partly funded by UNRWA, “teaches students to be martyrs, to demonize and deny the existence of Israel, and to focus on a ‘return’ to an exclusively Palestinian country.”

The actual number of “Palestinian refugees” is remarkably small. It’s quite different for the Jews, but then it always is. No one speaks of the close to one million Jewish refugees expelled from Arab countries in 1948. They received no international aid, whereas a Palestinian “refugee” and his descendants still do, via UNRWA, if the “normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948 or June 1967” – or that of their grandparents or great grandparents. This is unique in the world.

One of our AFDI bus ads that was banned in various U.S. cities.

First off, “Palestine” was never even a country. That said,  the UN refugee agency has not only failed to solve the refugee problem, but they create the and have long  hperpetuated the problem.

In 1949, the UN established a special agency for Palestinian refugees, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA). All other refugees, regardless of degree of plight and objective hardship, are looked after by the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

According to UNRWA’s Web site, here is the difference between the UN’s two refugee organizations: “UNRWA is mandated to provide the Palestine refugees with humanitarian assistance, whereas UNHCR has the mandate to provide international protection to refugees who fall within the scope of its Statute and to seek permanent solutions for the problem of refugees by assisting Governments.” (emphasis added) In other words, UNHCR’s job is to help governments settle refugees. UNRWA’s job is to help governments perpetuate a refugee problem which, UNRWA points out, has now been extended over four generations.

Last week UNRWA launched a drive to increase contributions and divulged that the Arab countries – their inflammatory rhetoric notwithstanding – are the most tightfisted of UNRWA donor countries. Of UNRWA’s $462 million 2006 budget, $137m. came from the US, $41m. from Sweden, $27m. from the UK and $12m. from Denmark. Saudi Arabia, the world’s richest oil-producer, managed to scrape a mere $1.2m. Smaller Kuwait managed a tad more with $1.5m., still a drop in its overflowing oil bucket. The rest of the Arab states are even less generous. Oil-rich Bahrain spared no more than $30,000. Indeed the Arab world’s share has declined. In the 1980s it financed 8% of UNRWA’s outlay. By 2006 it put in less than 3%. There’s something inordinately wrong with this picture even by the standards of realpolitik. The very nations responsible for keeping the “refugees” displaced, who spur them to pursue irredentist goals and who whip up lust for revenge, do least for them. But the paucity of Arab contributions to UNRWA is just the tip of the iceberg of Arab cynicism with respect to the refugee question. What possible reason, for example, could there be for the Palestinian Authority, together with UNRWA and the Arab world, to maintain “refugee camps” in the Gaza Strip? Israel, after all, has withdrawn completely from Gaza, including dismantling settlements and even moving cemeteries. This was the moment the Palestinians claimed to be waiting for – complete territorial contiguity and not a single Israeli settler, roadblock, or military base in sight. Israel’s withdrawal freed up substantial tracts of prime real estate.

Yet nothing has been done to help these people find permanent homes. By unnaturally perpetuating a problem for generations, the Palestinians give the lie to their own claims to promote a peaceful two-state solution. This becomes self-evident when we consider the different definitions for “refugee” to which UNHCR and UNRWA resort. UNHCR’s refugee is one who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted…is outside the country of his nationality.” By this definition the refugee’s descendants aren’t refugees. Florida-born children of Cuban refugees are no longer considered homeless.

The only exceptions are the Palestinians. UNRWA classifies as refugees any Arabs, native or not, who sojourned “in Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, and lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict.” Not only could an itinerant foreign Arab laborer claim Palestinian refugee status, but UNRWA stipulates that the right extends to “descendants of persons who became refugees in 1948.” By UNHCR’s yardsticks, over 95% of those whom UNRWA regards as refugees are nothing of the sort.  (J Post)

The Times of Israel:

TV: US may reject UN’s granting of Palestinian refugee status to descendants

Israeli TV report says Trump administration is considering reallocating all aid it currently sends to UN’s Palestinian refugee agency

By TOI staff

Amid its deepening standoff with the Palestinians, the Trump administration is considering halting all of its financial aid to the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, and declaring that it rejects the UN criteria under which refugee status is extended to millions of descendants of the original Palestinian refugees, a TV news report said Tuesday.

Hadashot TV news said this “new ultimatum” under consideration by the Trump administration is one of the avenues being considered as the US seeks to press the Palestinian Authority into returning to peace talks with Israel.

The TV report said that State Department sources, asked for confirmation of the report, noted only that President Donald Trump said in Davos last week that all US aid to the Palestinians was under review and that no formal statements were yet being issued.

Hadashot also reported that the State Department, having already frozen some $100 million in UNRWA funding, was considering stopping all of its $360-million annual funding for the organization, and instead allocating it to other UN bodies that work with the Palestinians.

At the same time, it further reported that some in the administration and the State Department want to accompany that move with a formal declaration that the US rejects the mandate under which UNRWA operates — according to which Palestinian refugee status is transferred from generation to generation.

Of the hundreds of thousands of refugees who left or were forced out of Israel when the country was established, a figure estimated in the low tens of thousands are still believed to be alive. But their descendants, considered refugees under the unique designation afforded by the UN to Palestinians, number in the millions.

Israel has for years demanded that the UN change its designation of Palestinian refugees, and that it use the same criteria it applies for other refugee populations worldwide. Humanitarian assistance to other refugee groups is overseen by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, which does not extend refugee status to descendants of original refugees.

The TV report quoted Israeli diplomatic sources who are aware of the new US thinking on the issue as saying that a Trump declaration rejecting the UN criteria for Palestinian refugees would represent “a tremendous victory” for Israeli diplomacy and a direct continuation of Trump’s December 6 declaration recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with US President Donald Trump in Davos, Switzerland, January 25, 2018 (screen capture: Channel 2)

In previous rounds of negotiations, Palestinian leaders have sought a “right of return” to Israel for these millions. No Israeli government would ever be likely to accept this demand, since it would spell the end of Israel as a Jewish-majority state. Israel’s position is that Palestinian refugees and their descendants would become citizens of a Palestinian state at the culmination of the peace process, just as Jews who fled or were forced out of Middle Eastern countries by hostile governments became citizens of Israel.

Earlier Tuesday, the head of UNRWA indicated that he was aware of the US thinking. Pierre Krahenbuhl said the US decision to reduce funding for UNRWA “has a political dimension that I think should be avoided,” and claimed Washington would ultimately slash payments by $300 million, contributing just $60 million to the agency’s 2018 budget.

Krahenbuhl made the comments while issuing an emergency appeal for more than $800 million in funds to provide additional assistance to Palestinian refugees in Syria, Gaza and the West Bank.
Palestinian children hold bread patties during a protest against aid cuts, outside the United Nations’ offices in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on January 28, 2018. (SAID KHATIB/AFP)

Last Friday, Hadashot said Israel was hoping to see the US make plain that it rejects Palestinian demands for a “right of return” of millions of Palestinians to Israel.

Quoting what it said were diplomats who are following the process, Hadashot reported that now that Trump has declared Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital, and the Jerusalem issue to be “off the table,” the next step being sought is to remove the “right of return” from the list of final status issues to be resolved.

After that is done, the Friday TV report said, Trump will present the “proposal for peace” that he spoke of on Thursday — a proposal, the Hadashot TV reporter remarked, that might better be described “perhaps as the Netanyahu plan” since it is expected to meet many of the Israeli prime minister’s demands.

The Palestinian Authority has been boycotting the Trump administration since December 6, when Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and said he would move the US embassy to the holy city from Tel Aviv. In that address, the president said the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem would still have to be negotiated by the two sides, and thereby did not negate Palestinian claims to East Jerusalem.

Sitting with Benjamin Netanyahu in Davos last Thursday, however, Trump said: “We took Jerusalem off the table, so we don’t have to talk about it anymore.” He added, turning to Netanyahu, “You won one point, and you’ll give up some other points later on in the negotiation.”

In his unscripted remarks to the press on Thursday, Trump said the US would no longer transfer monetary aid to the Palestinians unless they entered peace negotiations with Israel, and excoriated the Palestinian leadership’s reaction to his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“That money is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace, because I can tell you that Israel does want to make peace, and they’re going to have to want to make peace, too, or we’re going to have nothing to do with it any longer,” he said.

The US is also considering shutting down the offices of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Washington, the de facto embassy of the Palestinian Authority in the US, if Ramallah continues to refuse to take part in peace talks, Hadashot TV news reported Thursday.

Israel & the Region Palestinian right of return US-Palestinian relations Israeli-Palestinian peace talks Palestine Liberation Organization PA Palestinian Authority Israel-Palestinian relations Trump administration Donald Trump

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Geller Report. Pamela Geller’s shocking new book, “FATWA: HUNTED IN AMERICA” is now available on Amazon. It’s Geller’s tell all, her story – and it’s every story – it’s what happens when you stand for freedom today. Buy it. Now. Here.

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