Feb. 7, 2018
- Europe has ignored important reasons for the Palestinians’ distress – such as Hamas’ huge annual investments of hundreds of millions of dollars in the manufacture of rockets and the construction of attack tunnels, all at the expense of Gaza’s needy residents. No one has ever inquired how much money from humanitarian contributions ends up in the private bank accounts of Palestinian leaders.
- The Europeans started asking questions only when it was proved to them that the Palestinian Authority was using aid contributions to pay sizable salaries to Palestinian terrorists who had been convicted and imprisoned in Israel, and to build public institutions and name them after terrorists.
- According to the Congressional Research Service, since the Oslo Agreement the U.S. has given the PA $5.2 billion, the highest American foreign-aid total per capita. During the same period, the U.S. gave UNRWA $4.5 billion. The Obama administration doubled American allocations to both the PA and UNRWA. In 2008, the PA received $400 million; in 2009, $900 million. In 2008, UNRWA received $184 million; in 2009, $268 million.
- The reduction in aid to UNRWA is justified because this agency perpetuates the Palestinians’ status as refugees. Most of its employees in Gaza are affiliated with Hamas, and its schools preach hatred of Jews and Israel. Rockets are stashed beneath the floors of these schools and fired at Israel from their vicinity.
- UNRWA should have been closed down long ago and its functions transferred to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, which deals with refugees on a worldwide basis.
The writer is director of the Center for International Communication and a senior research associate at the BESA Center.