UN Humanitarian Aid: It’s Not All the Same
An Iraqi refugee stands in front of her tent in a UNHCR-sponsored camp for internally displaced Iraqis fleeing ISIS. (Photo: AP IMAGES)
By Shira Sorko-Ram
The number of refugees around the world is staggering.
The masses of people forced to flee their homes across the world has exceeded 50,000,000 for the first time since World War II.
50,000,000 men, women and children – refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced human beings. If they are lucky, they get food and a tent from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The dedicated people of UNHCR are spread across the globe in 126 countries with a staff of 8,600. Their budget in the last few years has literally doubled to over six billion dollars, and last year they helped over 10,400,000 displaced persons. Their stated goals are to keep the refugees alive, and give them hope and a home until they can return to their original homes, or if that is not possible, settle permanently either where they are now located, or in another country.
Over six decades, the UNHCR has helped 60,000,000 helpless people. The average stay of displaced persons can be anywhere from seven to twelve years. They usually arrive with the clothes on their back and often with no documents.
UNHCR needs all the help it can get! Just in the last three years, there are more than 2,500,000 Syrians who have fled over the borders of their country, with another 6,500,000 displaced within Syria.
ISRAELI MESSIANIC JEWS AND ARAB CHRISTIANS PARTICIPATE
Our own Israeli Messianic Jews and Arab Christians are helping refugees through their own channels – through local Arab churches in Jordan and Iraq. They tell us it seems like everyone they meet has lost family to murderous terrorist groups or to the Syrian government’s military bombings.
(We have been honored to send the funds of our Maoz contributors through Israeli Messianic believers to both Jordan and Iraq to help the refugees. Next month we will give you a report!)
A SECOND UN HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATION – UNRWA
However, there is another UN humanitarian aid organization – UNRWA – the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees. It’s goals and bi-laws are completely different than those of UNHCR. UNRWA is the UN humanitarian organization that aids only one group of people – the Palestinians.
It was established to be a temporary organization to give relief help to the Arabs living in the area and prepare them for the time when international assistance would no longer be available. That was 65 years ago.
Today UNRWA bankrolls nearly 5,000,000 Arabs, has 30,000 employees, many of them from the Hamas organization, and a budget of over $1 billion a year.
There are huge differences between these two UN organizations. According to U.S. law, a refugee by definition is an individual who is personally displaced, or is a spouse or an underage dependent of such an individual. The UNHCR, which works around the globe, basically adheres to this definition.
Israeli Christian Arabs and Messianic Jews minister to Iraqi displaced persons, fleeing from ISIS. These Muslim refugees received both clothes and blankets together with the Good News of the God of the Bible and His Son Yeshua the Messiah. Maoz contributors participated in this mission in which distribution was made in cooperation with local Iraqi churches.
A REFUGEE FOREVER AND EVER
However, with UNRWA, the humanitarian organization for Palestinians alone, there is no such definition. Today we have Palestinian children to the 5th generation of original Arab refugees, who are still considered refugees – that is, great great grandchildren of refugees. More than 95% of today’s UNRWA refugees were not even alive when Israel was born in 1948, were never personally displaced by Israel’s creation, and are only designated as refugees because to them this status has become a birthright by the UN.
If the Palestinians were regarded like all other refugees in the world, there would be only a few thousand original Palestinian refugees left in the world, and one of the main barriers to peace between Israel and the Palestinians would have vanished.
Furthermore, according to the worldwide UNHCR organization, when a refugee receives citizenship in another country, he is no longer considered a refugee, period. Not so with the Palestinians, 40% of whose parents several generations back received Jordanian citizenship. In fact, even if a Palestinian descendent of a refugee receives citizenship in America or Sweden, he is still considered by UNRWA a refugee.
THE WEST DOES NOTHING…BUT PAY
Amazingly, the U.S., whose taxpayers donate over $300 million a year to the Palestinians, defends this definition. The European Union contributes another $500,000. It is clear that the West is simply so afraid of a violent uprising if the Palestinians were to lose their monthly birthright benefits, that taking them off the dole is not an option.
Actually, those who call themselves Palestinians have never had their own state. Before Israel was birthed, the land was under the control of the Ottoman Empire for 400 years, and then the British Empire for 31 years. Lastly, Jordan invaded the West Bank and occupied it for 19 years. Should the Holy Land be given back to Britain? To the Ottoman Empire? Ludicrous.
As I pointed out, more than three quarters of the yearly billion dollars given to UNRWA comes from democratic nations. As far as the Arabs are concerned, Saudi Arabia, whose leaders attend UN conferences in gold-plated Boeing 747’s, currently chip in $12,000,000, Turkey $8,000,000 and another oil-rich country, Qatar – which together with Iran, are the greatest funders of terror in the world – give exactly zero to their Palestinian brothers. It is only in speeches that they exhibit their intense concern.
WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?
But just as important, we need to know how UNRWA spends its money. First of all, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has accumulated wealth estimated at $100,000,000. This does not begin to include the wealth of other high-up Palestinian politicians. But how is the rest spent?
UNRWA reports that half of its money is spent on education. One of UNWRA’s core values is educating Palestinian children in their UNWRA schools to believe that one day, through war, they will destroy Israel and take back their land.
You don’t believe it? Check out the documentary, CAMP JIHAD by David Bedein which can be viewed on YouTube. The Palestinian teachers in that documentary gladly tell the viewer how important it is to educate their young that taking back their stolen “homeland” is their primary goal in life. Hamas clearly directs the school curriculum with UNWRA’s full cooperation.
The instructors make the children memorize the names of every village they claim their grandparents and great grandparents came from, telling the children that these villages belong to them and one day will again be theirs.
Understand that when you see a sign that says “FREE PALESTINE,” it means “DESTROY ISRAEL.”
Happening Now: Kurds (left) from Turkey break down the barbed wire fence at the Turkey-Syria border in order to help Kurds fleeing ISIS in SYria cross over to safety in Turkey. (Photo: AP IMAGES)
GOD’S FINAL WORD ON THE LAND
Here’s the reality. Because UNRWA feeds and cares for the Palestinians in Gaza, the Hamas terrorist organization has much more time and money to concentrate on building terror tunnels and rockets and missiles to attack Israel.
But it gets worse. UNRWA for years has thwarted any new attempt to help absorb refugees. In 2010 the outgoing UNRWA director Andrew Whitley dared to suggest that since the refugees would most likely not be able to conquer Israel, it would be good if UNRWA would concentrate on resettling the refugees rather than perpetuating their refugee status. Mr. Whitley backed down when confronted with an outpouring of rage and criticism from UNRWA’s UN leadership, its 30,000 employees, the Palestinian Authority, and of course Hamas and many Arab states.
I think if I had the sufficient boldness, I would have titled this article God vs. UNRWA. If you ask why I would give it this name, just read the following passage of Scripture in the Book of Psalms:
O seed of Abraham His servant, You children of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is the Lord our God… He remembers His covenant forever, The word which He commanded, for a thousand generations, The covenant which He made with Abraham, And His oath to Isaac, And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, To Israel as an everlasting covenant, Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan As the allotment of your inheritance.” Psalm 105:6-11
How could God make it any clearer than this, that the Holy Land was given as an inheritance to the Jewish people?
But, don’t think for a moment that God doesn’t love the Palestinian people – and all the Arab people. He created them and he loves them. He gave the Arabs a huge chunk of land – much of it is still available for development to create a good life for its inhabitants. It is twice the size of the U.S – all of Northern Africa to the Arabian Peninsula, belonging to the 370,000,000 Arabs.
But the point here is that God gave the Land of Canaan to Israel. And even if the whole world comes against the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as the prophets foretold will happen, Israel will inherit her own small but precious land – because God promised it.