Dec. 5, 2016
- Who Is Responsible for the Shuafat Refugee Camp? – Jonathan S. Tobin
Rachel Kushner journeyed to Shuafat – inside Jerusalem’s municipal borders but outside the jurisdiction of either Israel or the Palestinian Authority because of its status as a UN refugee camp – to write a feature titled “We Are Orphans: Life and Death in East Jerusalem’s Palestinian Refugee Camp” for the New York Times Magazine. The piece was as sympathetic as advocates of the Palestinian cause could have asked for.
Shuafat is an awful place, but people are there and in every other Palestinian refugee camp because the Arab world and its leaders have kept them there for 68 years. In the years that followed World War II, conflicts created hundreds of millions of refugees in Europe and Asia. Only the Palestinians were kept in camps and deprived of the opportunity to be resettled elsewhere. They are still being told that someday they will return to their old places of residence when Israel ceases to be a Jewish state.
Israel lacks the power to improve conditions in Shuafat or other camps. The responsibility belongs solely to UNRWA and the Palestinian leadership, both of which remain content to continue the same cynical policies. (Commentary)