Israel Harel
Haaretz (Opinion)
June 14, 2012 - 12:00am

Five million Palestinians define themselves as refugees. They insist on festering away in camps, at the international community's expense, while holding fast to their main dream: returning to the towns and villages from which their ancestors fled or were expelled. Their ambition to realize this dream - which is a major stumbling block to ever ending the conflict - is made possible by the unending aid they have received for more than 60 years now from the UN Relief and Works Agency.

It isn't just the first generation that is entitled to this aid, as is the norm for all other refugees the United Nations helps (though it aids only a minority of the world's refugees ). The fifth generation is also entitled. And if this anomaly isn't halted, new generations will continue to be eligible until the end of time.

UN aid has raised generations of people who live a life of idleness and are educated toward vengeance, terror and eternal hatred for the Jews and Israel. UNRWA and the other aid agencies that fund the refugee camps' education system are responsible for schools in which the educational ideal is to become a martyr, and which teach that Jews are the worst and cruelest people in the world. This education adjures its students not to rest until they have liberated Jerusalem and Jaffa, Haifa and Acre, Lod and Ramle, Ashdod and Ashkelon, Beit She'an and Be'er Sheva. And until not a single Jew is left in these cities, or anywhere else in the Holy Land of Palestine.

The United States, which contributes $250 million a year to the organization, knows what it is perpetrating. And so do all the European donor states. The worst terrorists have been educated in schools whose curriculums are supervised by UNRWA and whose budgets are funded by the organization. UNRWA also engages directly in propaganda against Israel, and indirectly in propaganda against the United States. Its staff have even been caught smuggling arms and terrorists.

Yet Israel, the country that would seem to have the greatest interest of all in cutting off support for these incubators of terror and hatred, has not lifted a finger to end this Even worse, when AIPAC sought to raise this issue with American legislators, Israel's Defense Ministry prevented it from doing so. And when Atzmaut MK Einat Wilf began trying to get Washington to restrict UNRWA's inflationary definition of refugee status (since she believes that "UNRWA's activities perpetuate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict instead of solving it" ), Amos Gilad, who heads the Defense Ministry's diplomatic-security department, wrote her that the "red line" was to avoid "any reduction in UNRWA's budget," since the agency's continued funding "accords with Israel's interests."

This, however, is the very heart of the issue: Only a reduction in this anti-Israel agency's budget would curtail its activities and force masses of Palestinians to move from lives of stagnation and decay to productivity. The continued existence of the refugee camps - in which Palestinians are educated to hate Israel and seek its destruction, and from which thousands of missiles have been launched at Israel's citizens - cannot in any way, shape or form be construed as "according with Israel's interests."

Millions of genuine refugees, vulnerable to abuse and even murder, get no help at all. Only the Palestinians, who could rehabilitate themselves - just as millions of other refugees, both Jewish and non-Jewish, have done without any help from the UN - instead continue to fester, generation after generation, at the expense of the world's taxpayers.

Why isn't Israel at the forefront of a worldwide diplomatic campaign against the UN institutions that perpetuate the Palestinians' refugee status? And if Israel won't do the job itself, why doesn't it at least stop tying the hands of those who are ready to do so?


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017