A 56-Year UN Outrage - The Ongoing Myth of the UNRWA Camps

Summary ... There are 59 UNRWA refugee camps for Arabs. Of this total, 28 camps are in Judea, Samaria, the Gaza Strip, and eastern Jerusalem. The rest are in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. The population of the camps, since 1949, has gone from 500,000 Arabs mushrooming to 4 million, doubling about every 15 years.

Lost in the 56-year-long outcry by Palestinians over their 1948 uprooting when Israel became a state and their subsequent hardship in Mideast refugee camps is the United Nations' responsibility for the camps.

Palestinian propaganda is far more effective than Israel's. It has managed to hoodwink the world into believing Israel's existence is the reason for squalor and hopelessness in the camps. Joblessness and poverty, meanwhile, top 60 percent.

Talk about make believe.

Deranged Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat must be blamed for inhuman conditions in what are essentially welfare camps. The refugees' plight fuels hatred toward Israel, a situation Arafat needs to maintain to rouse the masses against "the Zionist scourge."

America helps finance the 59 UN refugee camps for Palestinian Arabs. Of this total, 28 camps are in Palestinian-inhabited parts of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and eastern Jerusalem. The rest are in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. The camps were started in 1949 as UN-monitored havens for 500,000 Arabs displaced from Israel. The population in the camps has mushroomed to 4 million, doubling about every 15 years.

At a time when Israeli soldiers hunting for terrorists and their factories are picked off frequently by snipers and roadside bombs in the Gaza war zone, the truth about the camps is of utmost importance.

In the camps, Arabs unemployed their whole life are freely supported, weapons and explosives are stored and children learn that all of Israel - not just Gaza, Judea and Samaria -- is their Palestine. The title page of the widely used camp textbook Our Country, Palestine reads: "There is no alternative to destroying Israel."

It is in these camps most of the suicide bombers have been recruited and given lethal belts to blow up as many Israelis as possible. Most of the rifles, anti- tank rockets, mortars and explosives used to kill, maim or wound Israelis come to the Gaza camps from Egypt through tunnels.

The Israel Defense Forces have destroyed dozens of tunnels in a race against time. Israel fears that terrorists might acquire shoulder-held surface-to-air missiles to shoot down military and civilian aircraft over Israel.

On June 1, the Massachusetts-based Center for Near East Policy Research, working with the Israel Resource News Agency in Jerusalem, will issue a study claiming that the Islamic terrorist group Hamas is now a key player in the camps insofar as the terrorist group controls the workers and teachers.

Stunningly, the camps are a collective terrorist breeding ground while the West largely funds their administrative umbrella. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East draws 32 percent of its budget from America, 11 percent from Canada and 40 percent from the European Union. The agency is doing what it can for the most vulnerable refugees, but the war fomented by Palestinian terrorists has intensified the lack of food, medicine and sanitation in the camps.

The United Nations could learn from Israel about making refugees productive. After failing to destroy Israel in 1948, Arab states persecuted and finally ousted their Jewish citizens, pillaging their businesses and possessions along the way. At first, the 860,000 Jewish refugees in Israel had to live in tents and be rationed food. The vast majority became productive citizens of Israel with the will to live, not die a "martyr."

The UN camps overflowing with Palestinian refugees are a flashpoint in the Middle East. Conditions are so bleak, refugees have responded to indoctrination and risen up against their perceived aggressors. A lie remarkable in its ability to spread like cancer gives Jews that undeserving tag.v The United States, to the tune of $75 million each year, helps underwrite these camps.

Where's our outrage?

[ Jonathan Friendly, Editor - Jewish Renaissance Media with special thanks to Christian Friends of Israeli Communities | Published: May 21, 2004 ]