Almost seventy years ago, there were about 1.35 million refugees on the move. Today, the children and grandchildren of a little less than 40% of these refugees receive one billion dollars annually from the United Nations, financed largely by the United States of America and the European Union, while the descendants of just over 60% of these refugees get nothing! One billion dollars for forty percent, nothing for sixty percent. What is the reason for this unfair distribution?
The proposal to establish two independent states, as supported by a two thirds majority in the United Nations General Assembly on 29 November 1947, was accepted by the Israelis, but refused by the Arabs. Instead, Arabs joined Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria in a joint war to destroy the newly founded state of Israel. The war caused two groups of refugees; one numbering 500,000, the other 850,000. Let’s start with the smaller group.
When Israel was founded in 1948, the Arab world declared a war of annihilation against Israel. In the wake of this ongoing war and the belief in the promises of the Arab nations that after the destruction of Israel, Arabs could return to the region as victors, a half million people left their homeland. Despite the fact that most of them were not forced to leave – at least not from the Israelis -, Israel offered the resident Arabs to become full-fledged citizens of the new nation. 160,000 Arabs accepted that offer. There are now over a million Arab Israelis, composing 20% of the Israeli population, who all have equal citizenship rights. They are the only Arabs in the Middle East who, without fear of discrimination or persecution, enjoy freedom of speech, live by or criticize religious beliefs and can be openly homosexual and feminist. They are the only Arabs in the Middle East who can participate in free elections. Their Prime Minister is Benjamin Netanyahu (as of October 2016). However, the half million Arabs who fled seventy years ago are still considered refugees today and receive one million dollars a year in aid.
Let’s take a look at the other 850,000 refugees. In the course of the ongoing war of annihilation against Israel, 850,000 Jews were expelled from their Arab homelands. They were robbed of their possessions and their citizenship was revoked. There are even Arab nations that have perfected their policies of expulsion so that in 2001 there was not a single Jew living in Libya and Algeria, for example. While more Arabs live as full-fledged citizens of a democratic Israel today than in 1948, over 99% of all Jews in Arab countries have since disappeared. There were many terrible pogroms against Jews, including the pogroms of Aleppo, Cairo and Aden.
In this context, it’s absolutely cynical to talk of expulsion and genocide, and not mention the massive reduction of the Jewish population in Arab countries down to 0.9% and the near doubling of the Arab population in Israel. What happened to the 850,000 Jewish refugees?
Many of them emigrated to Israel, others found a new home in other countries, and those who needed help with their new refugee situation were supported by the United Nations until 1951, the year the UNHCR agency started its activities. The Office of the High Commissioner is responsible for the protection of millions of refugees and displaced persons worldwide and is also active in the area of humanitarian aid. The authority is the successor organization of the refugee commissariat of the League of Nations. In 1954, as well as in 1981, the agency was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and in 1986 won the Balzan Prize for Humanity, Peace and Fraternity among the nations because of its successes in making citizens out of refugees. The UNHCR is thus a well-functioning authority. Why, then, does the agency fail in dealing with Arab refugees?
While the 850,000 Jewish refugees and displaced persons once again retained a national citizenship, the other group of 500,000 refugees has since swelled to 4.7 million and lives in crowded camps in Arab countries to this day. The only Palestinians who now have civil rights are the 1.25 million Israeli Palestinians. Why does the UNHCR seemed to have failed? The answer is surprisingly simple: because the UNHCR is not responsible for the Palestinians.
The Arab Palestinian refugees are the only group for which the United Nations has a separate authority: the UNRWA. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Middle East is a temporary UN aid program, which has been regularly extended for three year periods since its founding in 1949. The agency’s headquarters was situated first in Beirut, then in Vienna in 1978 due to unrest in Lebanon and since 1996 in Gaza.
Although the UNRWA is a temporary agency and could at any time be incorporated into the UNHCR, UNRWA continues to exist. Why? What distinguishes the Palestinian refugee from all other refugees in the world? Why are these refugees treated differently from all other refugees? The answer lies in the different goals of the two agencies. While the task of the UNHCR is to make citizens out of refugees, the UNRWA maintains Arab Palestinians in their refugee status through the establishment of specific criteria:
Firstly, while UNHCR refugees lose their refugee status as soon as they become citizens of a member country of the United Nations, Arab Palestinian UNRWA refugees retain their refugee status even if they obtain a national citizenship.
Secondly, while the descendants of UNHCR’s refugees cannot inherit refugee status, UNRWA refugees can pass on their refugee status generation to generation, ad infinitum.
Thirdly, while the UNHCR promotes and supports naturalization of refugees, UNRWA avoids the issue of naturalization of Arab Palestinian refugees in their host countries.
For these three peculiarities, UNRWA obtained a budget of US $ 907,907,371 in 2012. Despite all this money, UNRWA has not helped a single Arab Palestinian to discard his or her refugee status. Israel, however, has helped all Palestinians who remained in 1948 to become citizens. Israel is therefore more successful in helping Palestinians than the United Nations! Israel is the only country in the Middle East to guarantee Palestinians their human rights. However, the half million Arabs who left Israel, live in neighboring countries under inhumane conditions. They are often denied education and medicine, they are not allowed to build houses or accept jobs. In addition, they are prohibited from acquiring citizenship in all these countries except Jordan. Under these inhumane conditions, one half million refugees have now become 4.7 million eternal refugees. 4.7 million persons who, under the auspices of the United Nations, are denied any hope of a better future as free citizens, 4.7 million eternal refugees who are not fortunate enough to belong to the 1.25 million Palestinians living in a democratic country that strives for freedom: Israel!
Apart from Israel, no one seems to care about the welfare of the Palestinians. Why? Why are Arab countries so intent on keeping Arab Palestinians in their refugee status? The President of Egypt gave an answer back in September 1960: „When the refugees return to Israel, Israel will cease to exist.“
Let us suppose that the 850,000 Jewish refugees would have the same right of return as many ascribe Arab refugees. The United Nations would have to promote and support Jewish return to Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen and all the other Arab countries where Jews had once lived. Not only that, those Arab countries would have to be forced to surrender land to Jews with innumerable resolutions, because they are occupiers. The UN would have to work towards the establishment of independent Jewish enclaves, whereby Arab regimes would have to retreat from Jewish territories.
The eternal Arab Palestinian refugee situation is particularly useful for the enemies of Israel. Sir Alexander Galloway, a former UNRWA chairman, said in August 1958: „The Arab countries do not want to solve the refugee problem. They want to keep it as an open wound, as an affront to the United Nations and as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders could care less whether Arab refugees live or die.“
The United Nations ensures that Arab refugees and their descendants remain chained to their past. The United Nations supports their wailing and complaining, but prevents them from escaping their status as refugees. These artificially created refugees, a standing army against Israel, are financed with a billion dollars annually from a separate fund set up by the UN, while the descendants of Jewish refugees today are not getting one measly penny of „refugee aid“. That’s what I call subtle warfare against Israel.
(Translation: William Wires)