What is UNRWA Doing in Gaza? – Part 2

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Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer asks why, in the first place, is the United Nations running “refugee camps” for people who claim to be living in their own land?
Refugees gathered in a tent outside UNRWA local office in a refugee camp in central Gaza Strip.

(Continued from last week)

England bombed Dresden to shreds. In three days, England sent in 722 heavy bombers and America 539 bombers. They rained nearly 4,000 tons of incendiary bombs on that one city. More than 25,000 were killed in three days. The bombs were calculated to set off unimaginably devastating fires that would suck the oxygen out of the Dresden air, suffocating or incinerating men, women, and children.

One Dresden eyewitness account:

“It is not possible to describe! Explosion after explosion. It was beyond belief, worse than the blackest nightmare. So many people were horribly burnt and injured. It became more and more difficult to breathe. It was dark and all of us tried to leave this cellar with inconceivable panic. Dead and dying people were trampled upon, luggage was left or snatched up out of our hands by rescuers. The basket with our twins covered with wet cloths was snatched up out of my mother’s hands and we were pushed upstairs by the people behind us. We saw the burning street, the falling ruins and the terrible firestorm.

“My mother covered us with wet blankets and coats she found in a water tub. We saw terrible things: cremated adults shrunk to the size of small children, pieces of arms and legs, dead people, whole families burnt to death, burning people ran to and fro, burnt coaches filled with civilian refugees, dead rescuers and soldiers, many were calling and looking for their children and families, and fire everywhere, everywhere fire, and all the time the hot wind of the firestorm threw people back into the burning houses they were trying to escape from. I cannot forget these terrible details. I can never forget them.”

America wiped out more than 100,000 Japanese civilians overnight in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. War crimes? During the years, America has borne the rare shame of a My Lai in Vietnam, an Abu Ghraib in Iraq, an occasional soldier who goes haywire in Afghanistan or somewhere and kills a dozen innocents on an all-night personal rampage. Yet, all Americans justifiably take great pride in America’s overall excellence of morality, distinguishing and punishing the few shameful outliers.

But to find even that outlier immorality amid the Israeli Defense Forces is virtually inconceivable. The IDF is cooked differently. Its moral purity is so striking that, because of the dramatic reality that Jewish soldiers — unique among warring armies — do not rape their enemies’ women, the world’s Jew-haters, including some Leftist Jewish crazies within Israel, even have penned masters theses arguing that the striking absence of rape proves some kind of Jewish racist anti-Arab repulsion. That, somehow, the lack of rapes proves that Jews do not consider Arab women worthy of being raped. The Search for Blood in the Matzah and poison in the wells.

So Clooney’s fiancée outsmarted the U.N. fools who thought she could be manipulated into becoming the Witch of the Witch Hunters, and it may well be assumed that Clooney’s own advisors, friends, and publicity people helped him realize how a brilliant woman was going to be manipulated simply because she and he are in love. So she is out.

Yet, for Americans, perhaps our attention should focus on other questions, too: Why, in the first place, is the United Nations running “refugee camps” for people who claim to be living in their own land? How can a “refugee camp” under U.N. auspices exist in a world center for recruiting and training suicide bombers, murder-tunnel diggers, and rocket launchers? And why is the United States essentially bankrolling these camps when wealthy Arab oil sheikhdoms barely contribute?

According to U.N. records, the United States finances more than one-fourth of the cost of operating the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In 2000, for example, the United States pledged $89,560,000 towards the $337,014,742 total that UNRWA raised from all nations and sources in the world. By comparison, Saudi Arabia pledged $2,500,000 — less than 1 percent of the UNRWA total and a minuscule fraction of the American contribution. Oil-rich Kuwait pledged $2 million. Syria pledged $37,209. Egypt pledged $10,000. Iraq and Libya apparently had difficult years or their tax advisers told them they did not need the deductions — they pledged nothing, although Iraq then was sending bounties of $25,000 each to the families of suicide bombers.

In 2013, the United States again pledged more than one-fourth of the cost of operating the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The pledge included $130,000,000 towards the UNRWA $550,000,000 core program and another $160,000,000 for additional UNRWA projects totaling a U.S. commitment of nearly $300 million in 2013.

The European Commission was right behind: $120,000,000 for the core program and another $96 million for the other projects, coming to over $200,000,000 from a continent that includes such financial powerhouses, with money to burn, like Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain (PIGS).

By comparison, Saudi Arabia pledged $2,037,981 –less than half of 1 percent of the UNRWA total core program and a minuscule fraction of the American contribution. Oil-rich Kuwait pledged its annual $2 million. Syria pledged $305,217 for the core program. Egypt pledged $15,000 — less than some people in America give at shul for Kol Nidre on Yom Kippur. Russia gave only $2 million. Oil-rich anti-Israel Venezuela gave $11,745. Moslem Pakistan gave $10,000. Qatar — John Kerry’s friend of Palestine — gave $1 million. Sultan Erdogan’s Turkey gave $1,275,000. Iraq and Libya apparently had difficult years yet again; they pledged nothing. Oh, and “Palestine” pledged $6,841,219 for the UNRWA to care for the “refugees from Palestine” who live in places that include Gaza and “West Bank, Palestine.”

To be continued next week.

 

Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer is rabbi of the Young Israel of Orange County, member of the RCA Executive Board and former national vice president of the ZOA. An adjunct professor of law at Loyola Law School, he was Chief Articles Editor of the UCLA Law Review and authored the books “Sharon Against Time Magazine” (Jerusalem: Steimatzky, 1985) and “Jews for Nothing”.