Jan. 18, 2018
- UNRWA Is Being Investigated by the U.S. Government – Nadav Shragai
UNRWA – the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees – is being investigated by the U.S. government over suspicions about its growing overlap with the goals of the PLO, to the point of accepting violence, terrorism and incitement. In January, a team from the U.S. Attorney General’s office launched a probe, on behalf of Congress, into whether the textbooks used in UNRWA schools in the West Bank and Gaza included anti-Semitic content and encouraged terrorism. The team is also investigating to what extent UNRWA is linked to terrorist entities, particularly in Gaza.
One example has to do with UNRWA’s links to Palestinian singer Mohammad Assaf, who was made its official youth ambassador. Assaf was supposedly chosen to promote peace, but his songs praise violence and glorify a martyr’s death and jihad. He also sings about the vision of a Palestinian state that will stand on the entire territory of Israel. His music videos, broadcast on PA and Hamas television, have background images of Palestinians fighting IDF soldiers and funerals of “martyrs.” The writer, a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is a journalist and commentator who has documented the dispute over Jerusalem for 30 years. (Israel Hayom)
- U.S. Funding Cut Reignites Debate on Palestinian Refugee Agency– David M. Halbfinger
The U.S. announced this week that it was withholding $65 million from a scheduled payment to UNRWA. Unlike the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UNRWA allows refugee status to be passed down for generations. UNRWA also does not remove people from its list who have acquired citizenship in a new country, so their number always increases. Hence, the Palestinian refugee population has grown from 700,000 to more than 5.2 million.
“At the rate we’re going now, it’s going to be 15 million soon,” said Asaf Romirowsky, executive director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, who has called for disbanding the agency and turning over its functions to other institutions, like the Palestinian Authority. He said that freezing the agency’s money could be a good step if it forced the Palestinians to the negotiating table. (New York Times)
(Click on the title of either article to see the whole article…Ed.)