Open Letter to Julie Bishop

UNRWA is the problem not the solution

To the Honourable Julie Bishop MP
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Deputy Leader of the Australian Liberal Party

Dear Minister,

When Pierre Krähenbühl, UNRWA Commissioner General came around begging did you throw him out of your office? You should have. UNRWA is part of the problem and not part of the solution.

Krähenbühl and Bishop. What's in the box?

Krähenbühl and Bishop. What’s in the box?

The first thing to understand is that UNRWA’s definition of refugee is unique to and totally unlike that of any other refugee. As a result one in three refugees world wide is currently Palestinian. Given the Palestinian population explosion (at least on the books) of 1.5X the world average (2.5X in Gaza) one in two will soon be Palestinian.

With every other refugee in the world the status of refugee is removed when the refugee is resettled, returned to his or her country (it doesn’t have to be the same house) or regrettably dies. Although the number of refugees remains fairly constant as new refugees are added to the  High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR not to be mistaken for UNHRC – the Human Rights Council) lists, the number of refugees for any specific group falls.

Not so with the Palestinians. The descendants of Palestine refugee males(?), including adopted children, are also eligible for registration, for ever. To be a refugee is an inherited asset.  This explains how 750,000† Palestine (not not Palestin­IAN) refugees in 1948 became 5.2 million in 2015.

Krahenbuhl-dilemmaThe conflict is predefined as intractable. If Australia wants to really end the conflict it must insist on UNRWA defining when the refugee status ends. This probably means abolishing that bloated organisation or supporting it for ever.

Perhaps the most egregious falsehood is the claim that if international donors don’t ante up there is “a potential for radical groups to exploit so many children out of school”.

Guess what? Those children have already been radicalised. The cause is, at least in part, radical teachers already in the system. Those children running around Jerusalem stabbing random passersby are your current students.

If Mr. Krähenbühl wants to address some factual issues he should start with the control by Hamas of the Gaza Teacher’s Union, radical curriculum in UNRWA schools indoctrinating children with the idea of the Right to Return and the use of UNRWA premises in Hamas military activities.

Ms. Bishop, the Australian government should be asking why are they funding UNRWA not why they should give more.

If you have a chance, Minister, try to read David Bedein’s ROADBLOCK TO PEACE: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict. It will provide plenty to confront UNRWA next time they come around.

A copy is available from the Nahum Bedein Center for Near East Policy Research
POB 71098, Jerusalem 91719 Israel

Yours faithfully,

Five Minutes for Israel

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Extra credit


† UNRWA’s figure.

“Julie Bishop 2014” by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website – www.dfat.gov.au. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 au via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Julie_Bishop_2014.jpg#/media/File:Julie_Bishop_2014.jpg

About David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI
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