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United Nations Relief Agency in Gaza Strip Is a 'Branch of Hamas'

Society & Culture  (tags: Jihad, Hamas, UNRWA, abuse of funds, violence )

- 1629 days ago -
In the Gaza Strip "UNRWA is effectively a branch of Hamas," the Middle East Forum's Joffe and Romirowsky recently concluded concerning the UNRWA for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. Weapons caches in UNRWA schools abetted by the UN misuse


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Beth S (330)
Sunday September 7, 2014, 11:03 am
UNRWA’s misuse of funds to support Palestinian war on Israel

by Andrew Harrod (Exclusive)

In the Gaza Strip “UNRWA is effectively a branch of Hamas,” the Middle East Forum’s Alexander H. Joffe and Asaf Romirowsky recently concluded concerning the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. Weapons caches in UNRWA schools and other forms of UNRWA support for Hamas, though, are no surprise given documentation of how Palestinians abetted by the UN misuse refugees to attack Israel.

(picture: Rockets found in a UNRWA school in the Gaza Strip)

Founder of the Israel Resource News Agency, David Bedein has recently authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict—UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, describing the uniquely dysfunctional treatment of Palestinian refugees throughout history. Anywhere from 540,000 to over 750,000 Arabs lost their homes in what became Israel during its 1948 independence war. For these people UNRWA originated as the “only UN organization dedicated to handling exactly one ethnic group of refugees” while the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) handles all others.

Begun as a short-term mission on May 1, 1950, UNRWA’s existence has continued with successive three-year mandate renewals, the latest being last June 30. UNRWA’s longevity derives from evolving definitions of “refugee,” never defined in UNRWA’s founding 1949 UN resolution, that count descendants through a refugee’s male line. This includes some whose ancestors were nomadic Bedouins or who simply became indigent after losing their jobs in the new state of Israel. The 1951 UN Refugee Convention’s definition, by contrast, is not inheritable, nor does it encompass individuals who obtain new citizenships, like the 2 million Palestinian “refugees” in Jordan who may attend both UNRWA and Jordanian schools.

Additionally, UNRWA’s 59 camps serve 1.1 million beneficiaries in the Gaza Strip, 688,700 in the “West Bank” territories of Judea and Samaria, including East Jerusalem, 496,000 in Syria, and 425,000 in Lebanon. These 4.7 million UNRWA clients compare with 15.4 million refugees in UNHCR’s definition and 12 million stateless individuals. Yet UNHCR counts 7,200 staff and a $3.32 billion budget compared to UNWRA’s 29,000 (99% local Palestinians) and $1.0037 billion budget.

Only an estimated one-third of 100 million 20th century refugees received any assistance, yet international aid helped encourage 962,000 people to register as refugees with UNRWA at its founding. UNHCR usually expects host countries to provide refugee services, in contrast to UNWRA’s agencies, such that non-refugee Palestinians avail themselves of services in Gaza and Jerusalem camps largely indistinguishable from the surrounding cities. Although overcrowded, UNWRA camps consist largely of stone-block buildings with modern utilities such as phone lines, sewage, water, and electricity. Some camps even have luxury dwellings, such as those in Jenin with Italian marble and Spanish tiles.

Bedein condemns, though, that UNRWA “mandates the perpetuity of refugee squalor.” Traditional refugee policy practiced by UNHCR focuses on refugee resettlement where return to lost homes is not possible or even permitted. The 1949 Geneva Conventions for the Protection of Victims of War, meanwhile, do not recognize any refugee “right of return.”

The sole legal basis for ongoing Palestinian invocations of such a right is in the December 11, 1948, UN General Assembly Resolution 194, rejected by Arab states at the time for implicitly recognizing Israel. The resolution recognizes return of “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors.” The latter phrase, Bedein analyses, renders the “entire proposition null and void, since there is no evidence that the Palestinian refugee population has peaceful intentions,” either past or present.

Yet giving Palestinian refugees a “permanent resettlement, either locally or elsewhere, is precisely what UNRWA will not do.” Rather, UNRWA registrants outside of Jordan live in “suspended animation” without citizenship in surrounding societies. Even the Palestinian Authority (PA) after its 1994 founding refused to absorb UNRWA camps into the Palestinian population, contrary to prior Israeli understandings of the Oslo peace process. The inhabitants of Balata refugee camp, an “UN-administered, quasi-apartheid welfare ghetto” near Nablus observed by City Journal editor Sol Stern, for example, do not vote in PA municipal elections or receive PA funding.

“Arab countries—with the notable exception of Jordan,” the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) once wrote, “have usually sought to preserve a Palestinian identity by maintaining the Palestinians’ status as refugees.” This helps “keep the refugee issue alive and prevent Israel from evading responsibility for their plight.” Correspondingly, UNRWA and Palestinian authorities have always hindered efforts that would improve refugees’ lives and weaken any desire to “return” to what is now Israel.

A 1985 UN General Assembly resolution, for example, prevented moving refugees into 1,300 permanent homes built near Nablus with Catholic Relief Agency aid. Only Israelis after the 1967 war brought improvement to Egyptian-run camps lacking electricity and running water. Demonstrating PA indifference, meanwhile, the 2009 convention of the PLO’s Fatah faction occurred in a five-star hotel overlooking Bethlehem’s destitute Deheishe UNRWA camp.

The “full application” of any Palestinian “right of return,” Jews like Bedein have recognized, “would mean the destruction of the State of Israel as a Jewish state.” “Arabs intend,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Muhammad Saleh Ed-Din wrote in 1949, that Palestinian refugees “shall…annihilate the State of Israel.” UNRWA and Arab policies have therefore sustained through the generations memories of Arab homes lost in 1948 to which now their descendants supposedly will return.

Camp place names, for example, often derive from pre-1948 Arab villages, reflecting the original locality-based UNRWA registration for refugees who often settled in cohesive village groups. Children also play on sports teams organized according to where their ancestors fled in 1948. Camp inhabitants have also made bus tours of Jerusalem homes lost in 1948, while prepared refugee legal claims would entail billions of dollars in damages, including interest, as well as eviction of present Israeli inhabitants. In contrast to camp murals of pre-1948 Palestine life, though, modern Israeli cities such as Beersheba (population: 200,000) have now replaced many lost Arab villages.

Camp school textbooks similarly deny the existence of Israel, its cities, and Jewish holy sites. Even a pre-1948 British Palestine Mandate stamp appears with only Arabic and English, but not an airbrushed Hebrew, inscriptions. These textbooks, along with literature from groups like Hamas distributed in the schools, emphasize violent jihad in reacquiring land supposedly taken by merely greedy Jews through Arab “expulsion or extermination.” Being thus indoctrinated, UNRWA beneficiaries themselves have rejected camp improvements suggesting permanent residency outside of Israel. Israeli intelligence even indicated that the 1987 intifada erupted in UNRWA camps because of Israeli intentions to improve them.

Roadblock to Peace confirms the previous short Israel Resource News Agency documentary Camp Jihad. The “summer fun” documented therein at an annual UNRWA children’s vacation program with colored air slides and kites belies UNRWA’s “Peace Starts Here” slogan. There elementary students learn that “Palestine is an Arab land from the river to the sea” in which “wolf” Jews “killed us and shot our families,” destroying a previous “happy and…great life” of “cars, palaces, and villas.” “Jews…are a gang of infidels and Christians” who “do not worship Allah,” one girl says. “In Palestine there is no childhood,” the camp children chant in extolling jihad for a “homeland” they have never seen, “when we die as martyrs we go up to heaven.”

UNRWA “camps, quite simply, function in a pro-terrorist environment,” Bedein not surprisingly concludes, with the Jenin UNRWA camp known as the “‘terrorists’ capital.” UNRWA teacher unions in the Gaza Strip, for example, have fallen under control of Hamas’ Islamic Block (Al-Kutla al-Islamiya) in recent elections. An UNRWA “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy does nothing to examine prison records or other indicia of terrorism activity to exclude jihadists from aid, contrary to American law. UNRWA has also only agreed to vet staff members for connections to Al Qaeda and the Taliban, not Hamas and Hezbollah or other groups in UNRWA’s area of operations. “Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll” was indeed for former UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hanson not a “crime,” as he rejected “vetting” of such a “political organization.” Numerous terrorists like the UNRWA teacher and Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, whose April 3, 2004, funeral with veiled Hamas operatives and mock Qassam rockets took place at Balata, thus have UNRWA connections.

Only about 5% of UNRWA’s funding comes from the UN, but 30% from the United States, with the next largest contributor being the European Union, giving Western societies leverage over UNRWA reform. “Essentially…an exchange of populations” means that, like Israel post-1948 assimilating 850,000 Jews forced out of Arab countries, these and other countries such as Chile, recipient in 2008 of Palestinian refugees from Iraq, should absorb UNRWA’s clients. They “should…get on with their lives” and cease obsessing over “traditional Islamic ideals of jihad and martyrdom” as a means of overcoming a “Nakba” disaster “created as a result of aggression against Israel.”

ALLEN G (19)
Sunday September 7, 2014, 12:12 pm
Would the U.N. do something dirty ? Of course not . Look at the 3 stooges a.k.a. Ashton , Pillay , and Moon . The poster children for honesty and integrity . Would you buy a used car from any of them ?

Jennifer Ward (40)
Sunday September 7, 2014, 1:44 pm
The UN seems to be at the heart of the problem between those claiming to be Palestinians and Israel. The refugee status of those claiming 'Palestinian' heritage has the special status of being able to inherit the status in perpetuity. Can any other group of people claim the 'right of return' down the generations? It's ridiculous and perpetuates division and resentment.

Darren Woolsey (218)
Monday September 8, 2014, 12:04 am
Beth, thank you for that news story input.

Stan B (123)
Monday September 8, 2014, 12:06 am
Many of us have known this for some time. How many billions have they donated to Palestinian terrorists?

Shil O (0)
Monday September 8, 2014, 1:36 am
and the UN is a branch of the OIC supported also by western dipsticks who don't know squat about mohammedans other than baksheesh

From the past

Nine new residential schemes have been built so far, housing some ten thousand families that have chosen to vacate the camps. Each family was given a plot of land with full infrastructure...

The new neighborhoods were built on state land within municipal areas near the camps, and each had an electricity network, water and a sanitation system ... a road system, paved sidewalks and developed surroundings. Public buildings were constructed in each neighborhood such as modern schools, health clinics and shopping centers, and land was allocated for mosques.

... As soon as his house is built, the refugee becomes the full property owner, and in due course his property is registered in the Land Register. (Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District, 1967 – 1987; Israel, Ministry of Defense, 1987) The vacated homes in the refugee camps were taken down with the goal of eventually creating enough open space so that the camps themselves could be rebuilt as further new neighborhoods for the refugees.

It’s not surprising that the PLO vehemently opposed this program – after all, former residents of a refugee camp, now living in a nice home in a new neighborhood, would have a stake in supporting peace and opposing violence, exactly the opposite of the PLO’s strategy.

What is perhaps surprising is that the United Nations also opposed the program, and passed harsh resolutions demanding that Israel remove the Palestinians from their new homes and return them to the squalid camps. For example, UN General Assembly Resolution 31/15 of Nov. 23, 1976:

Calls once more upon Israel:

(a) To take effective steps immediately for the return of the refugees concerned to the camps from which they were removed in the Gaza Strip and to provide adequate shelters for their accommodation;

(b) To desist from further removal of refuges and destruction of their shelters.

Similarly, UNGA Resolution 34/52 of November 23, 1979 declared that:

measures to resettle Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip away from their homes and property from which they were displaced constitute a violation of their inalienable right to return;

1. Calls once more upon Israel to desist from removal and resettlement of Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip and from destruction of their shelters;

Perhaps thanks to this support from the UN, the PLO began threatening to kill any refugee who would move out of the camps. After a few such attacks, the build-your-own-home program died, and that is why there are still Palestinians refugee camps in Gaza.

• How does the UN define just who qualifies as a Palestinian refugee? And are the UN’s figures for the number of Palestinian refugees accurate?

The UN’s figures are notoriously inaccurate, first of all because of the organization’s curious definition of who qualifies to be considered a Palestinian refugee. According to the UNRWA website (the link to the paragraph below no longer works, but here is a link to a similar UNRWA statement):

Under UNRWA's operational definition, Palestine refugees are persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict. UNRWA's services are available to all those living in its area of operations who meet this definition, who are registered with the Agency and who need assistance. UNRWA's definition of a refugee also covers the descendants of persons who became refugees in 1948. The number of registered Palestine refugees has subsequently grown from 914,000 in 1950 to more than four million in 2002, and continues to rise due to natural population growth. (emphasis added)

In addition, the UN definition contradicts international law, under which descendants of refugees are not considered to be refugees. Thus, under the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, a refugee is a person who:
owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.

There is no room under this definition for a descendant of a refugee to be considered a refugee. The UN got around this problem by creating a loophole – the usual refugee conventions do not apply to people receiving aid from UNRWA (and only Palestinians receive aid from UNRWA).

Beth S (330)
Monday September 8, 2014, 7:22 am
Thank you, Shil. Very informative and disturbingly true comments.

Beth S (330)
Monday September 8, 2014, 9:30 am
David Bedein 11:15am Sep 8

People may ask what UNRWA has to do with the current war with Hamas in Gaza. How many people realize that 75% of the people of Gaza dwell in “temporary” refugee camps in Gaza for 65 years, under the specious premise and promise of the “right of return”- by force of arms, to Arab villages that existed before 1948?

The Center for Near East Policy Research (CNEPR) has launched a campaign aimed at reforming the United Nation Refugee Works Agency (UNRWA), to ensure that Western taxpayer money does not aid and abet the growing phenomenon of war education and terror advocacy that we have documented in our research. In these most trying times for Israel, during the 'Protective Edge' War this summer, we have further witnessed the misuse of UNRWA facilities callously taken over by Hamas' in its' campaign against Israel.

Would you like to receive our confidential master plan to raise funds to finance our investigations to reform UNRWA? If so, please send your e-mail to me at
With appreciation, David

The UNRWA Reform Initiative - Israel Behind The News
The UNRWA Reform Initiative (URI) was launched by The Center for Near East Policy Research, which ha...
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