The False Palestinian Refugee, Self-Determination Narrative

U.S. President Joe Biden decided that he would start to donate American taxpayer money to the specialized United Nations agency solely devoted to Palestinians, despite the troubled agency making few reforms. UNRWA has been constantly criticized for promoting anti-Semitism, has harbored weapons for terrorist groups and has long been a thorn in the Arab-Israeli peace process.

UNRWA actively perpetuates a false narrative that Palestinian Arabs are refugees from their homeland – even though Palestinians view all of pre-1948 Palestine as a single entity, meaning that they still live in their perceived homeland if they reside in Israel, Gaza or the West Bank.

Moreover, UNRWA encourages a storyline that all Palestinian Arabs are refugees. This is patently false. Many are stateless, but not refugees.

As seen in the charts above, according to UNRWA’s own numbers, 73% of Gazans are refugees (or more accurately, descendants of refugees) while another 8% are given services by UNRWA even though they are not refugees by any definition. Roughly one-in-five Gazans are simply residents, who have had family ties in the strip for generations who never had children with a descendant of a refugee (who would otherwise then get hereditary refugee status according to UNRWA).

The numbers east of the Green Line (EGL) / the “West Bank” are quite different, where over half of the Arabs are residents who have descendants from the region. Roughly 40% of Arab West Bankers registered with UNRWA as refugees to get free housing, education and healthcare, with another 9% “grantees” also getting services from the agency.

Another piece of commonly-stated fiction is that the Arabs have no self-determination and live under Israeli control. As Biden would say, that is “malarkey.”

Israel completely pulled out of Gaza in 2005 and gave the local Arabs there complete self-determination. With that freedom, Arabs voted the terrorist group Hamas to 58% of the Palestinian parliament in 2006 and watched Hamas take over the Gaza Strip in 2007. Hamas has thus far launched three wars from the area in 2008-9, 2012 and 2014.

Regarding EGL, Israel handed control of Areas A and B to the Palestinian Authority as part of the Oslo accords in the 1990’s. Only 14% of West Bank Arabs live in Area C under Israeli-control.

No matter. The world still berates Israel despite handing the PA land and being rewarded with wars, and condemns the Jewish State again for defending itself. No one pauses to contemplate why Israel would consider repeating the abuse at the hands of Palestinians, the UN and the media.

The Arab and Muslim-dominated United Nations manufactured a false narrative that Palestinian Arabs are refugees under Israeli-control which the anti-Israel media parrots in their quest to see the creation of a Palestinian State. In reality, it is those very lies that hinder the chance of reaching an enduring peace.


Related First One Through articles:

UNRWA Artificially Extends Its Mandate

New Head of UNRWA is Another Hamas-Sympathizer Politician

Palestinian Arabs De-Registering from UNRWA

UNRWA Anoints New Palestinian Wards

The Gross OVER-Staffing of UNRWA Schools

Enduring Peace versus Peace Now

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A Tale of Three Palestinian Refugees, With and Without UNRWA

The Biden Administration announced that it is going to send $150 million of American tax dollars to UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. This “temporary” agency was established after the Arab war to destroy Israel in 1948-9, to care for “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.” It has continued to extend its mandate for decades, now caring for grandchildren and great-grandchildren of those “persons.”

Several parties voiced their disapproval with the United States’ UNRWA donation. Former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said “UNRWA, is among the most corrupt and counterproductive of all UN agencies. President Trump was right to abandon it.” Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan added “We believe that this UN agency for so-called ‘refugees’ should not exist in its current format.

UNRWA office in Jerusalem. (photo: First One Through)

To consider how the U.N. has handled “so-called ‘refugees'” in this “counterproductive” agency, imagine two Arabs leaving Palestine during the 1948-9 Arab-Israeli War. One had come to Palestine from Iraq in 1925 and the other from Syria in 1935, both settling in Jaffa. The Iraqi-Palestinian owned his home and his business and was reluctant to leave everything he had built but concluded that the war zone was too risky and returned to Iraq in 1949. The Syrian-Palestinian was renting his home and worked on a farm outside of town. He returned to Syria early in the war, assuming that the five invading Arab armies would finish the Zionists in short order and he could return to a Jew-free city, maybe even under the flag of Syria.

At war’s end, the Zionists were able to hold onto land – more than suggested under the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan and less than allocated under the British Palestine Mandate – and had no interest in allowing the return of those Arabs which wanted to see Israel destroyed.

The Iraqi-Palestinian Arab decided to abandon his Jaffa home and business and started life anew among his cousins in Iraq. However, the Syrian-Palestinian opted to not start again in his old neighborhood where he lived fifteen years earlier, and instead decided to take the free housing, food, education and medical services offered by the United Nations as part of its UNRWA initiative. His grandchildren continue to live as wards of the world because of that decision.

Another person impacted by the Arab-Israeli War was not an Arab but a Jew. He came to Palestine from Yemen at the end of the 19th century and moved to Jerusalem. The Jordanian army routed him from his home during the war and he returned to Yemen. Not long after, the anti-Semitism in Yemen became intolerable and he and his family moved to Canada.

All three of these individuals were “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict,” but only one got services from UNRWA. The Palestinian Jew and Iraqi-Palestinian Arab each lost their homes and livelihood and were offered nothing from the United Nations. Only the Syrian-Palestinian Arab who chose to not move to his hometown in Syria, became a special grantee class. As long as he and his descendants remained a grantee, there was a U.N. promise that they would get property and/or money from the country which was transforming Jaffa and the surrounding region it controlled into an economic and technological miracle.

Today, the grandchildren of that Palestinian Jew and the Iraqi-Palestinian Arab are both successful businessmen and pay less attention to politics than they do to football. They think about the United Nations as much as they contemplate a hangnail from five years ago.

But the grandchildren of the Syrian-Palestinian have built their entire way of life around the largess of the United Nations and its promise that it will force Israel to hand them money or land as long as they continue to take UNRWA’s free education, medical services and housing. The U.N. is mother’s milk, a teat which has fed their entire family for generations with more gifts to come.

Watching these three “refugees” is an elderly fifth generation Palestinian Arab who had participated in the 1936-9 riots to keep the Jews out of Palestine and lobbied the British to halt their immigration as the Holocaust started in Europe. He headed to Gaza as the first tanks from five Arab armies invaded Israel. His roughly 60km trip from Jaffa to Gaza is about the same as from Manhattan to Stamford, CT. Had there never been a war and he had decided to relocate to Gaza (as several cousins did before the 1948-9 War), he would receive neither cries of empathy nor charity, but today he has over 100 descendants living for free in UNRWA housing around Gaza.

If the U.N. is attempting to resolve the lost property of people who fled the war zone, why should it matter whether they are registered as “refugees” and take services from UNRWA? Shouldn’t the Iraqi-Palestinian Arab and Palestinian Jew be entitled to consideration? Why should the Syrian-Palestinian get so much compensation when he never owned property?

The UNRWA policy leads one to conclude that its goal is not about money and property but to physically relocate a select sub-segment of the persons impacted by the war – only Arabs – into the Jewish State. Such UNRWA policy is in direct conflict with the stated U.N. goal of a two-state solution, one Arab and one Jewish, by injecting nearly 6 million Arabs into the Jewish State. One cannot be simultaneously in favor of two states and maintaining UNRWA.

There are significant issues to consider in the Arab-Israeli Conflict but the matter of Palestinian “refugees” has long been artificially manufactured. It is well past time to shut it down.


Related First One Through articles:

UNRWA Artificially Extends Its Mandate

New Head of UNRWA is Another Hamas-Sympathizer Politician

Palestinian Arabs De-Registering from UNRWA

UNRWA’s Fake Students, Curriculum and Shortfall

The Growth of UNRWA’s “Other” Wards

Stabbing the Palestinian “Right of Return”

The Gross OVER-Staffing of UNRWA Schools

UNRWA’s Munchausen Disease

UNRWA’s Ongoing War against Israel and Jews

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

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For the Sins of 5780…

… for supporting the antisemitic and racist Black Lives Matter group

… for apologizing to Blacks when Blacks kill Jews

… for pretending that only White people are anti-Semites and that there hasn’t been a spike in Blacks murdering Jews

… for defending rioters attempting to destroy America’s founding principles

… for enabling the Progressive war on Israel

… for believing the news from CNN and The New York Times

… for pretending that the problem is all in social media and not the mainstream media

… for voting for Socialists

… for contributing to alma maters which promote antisemitism

… for donating to J Street

… for using J Street’s tagline “Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace” when it is nothing of the sort

… for giving cover to politicians who slam Jews

… for inviting anti-Israel speakers into our synagogues

… for being silent when liberal politicians sought to funnel money into Gaza

… for considering qualifying or reducing investments in Israel

… for not clearly identifying Hamas as an antisemitic terrorist organization

… for not holding Palestinian Arabs accountable for their actions and statements

… for not advocating for Jewish prayer on the Jewish Temple Mount

… for still referring to a place called “East Jerusalem” which only existed for less than two decades in the 1950’s and 1960’s

… for the cultural appropriation of the term “promised land” and not ascribing it to Jews and Israel

… for saying Donald Trump has done nothing positive for Israel

… for dismissing antisemitism while being particularly sensitive to racism

… for demanding nothing from Jewish leadership

… for fighting against funding police for Jewish institutions

… for pretending that something that makes you feel spiritual is Tikkun Olam and the essence of Judaism

… for not articulating clearly the difference and inter-relationships between Jews, Judaism and Israel

… for not advocating for the dismantling of UNRWA

… for being silent as European countries banned kosher meat

… for not taking COVID-19 seriously

For all these things, please pardon us.


Related First One Through article:

For the Sins of 5777 of…

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UNRWA Artificially Extends Its Mandate

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) was created in December 1948 as a temporary agency to handle shelter, medical assistance and education for the roughly 700,000 Arabs who left what became Israel. Over seventy years later it continues to artificially extend its mandate.

UNRWA’s term was to end “at the earliest practicable date,” as outlined in UN General Assembly Resolution 194 which stated in article 11:

RESOLVES that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible;

INSTRUCTS the Conciliation Commission to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation, and to maintain close relations with the Director of the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees and, through him, with the appropriate organs and agencies of the United Nations;”

In December 1949 the UN General Assembly issued Resolution 302 which built upon the nature of UNRWA while also making clear the desire to end its existence quickly as stated in article 5:

“Recognizes that, without prejudice to the provisions of paragraph 11 of General Assembly resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948, continued assistance for the relief of the Palestine refugees is necessary to prevent conditions of starvation and distress among them and to further conditions of peace and stability, and that constructive measures should be undertaken at an early date with a view to the termination of international assistance for relief;”

One would imagine a primary focus of UNRWA would have been to help the Arabs learn to live in peace to facilitate their “repatriation.” Not so much.

The war waged by five Arab countries to destroy Israel in 1948-9 continued with cross-border skirmishes and wars leading to the 1967 war which all made clear that the refugees had no interest in living “at peace with their [Israeli] neighbours.” Consequently, no Arab refugees came to Israel, UNRWA continued to roll along and millions of dollars of international assistance continued to flow.

Only with the Oslo Accords in 1993 and 1995 did the Palestinian leadership express a willingness to recognize Israel. As such, Israel gave the newly-created Palestinian Authority the Gaza Strip and several towns in Judea and Samaria called “Area A.” However, the new reality that Gaza was under the rule of the Palestinian Authority made no impact on UNRWA which maintained that its mission continued until the refugees (at this point descendants of refugees who were born in Gaza) move into their ancestors’ towns in Israel. Seemingly, being under Palestinian rule was irrelevant to UNRWA’s term.

But in a pivot of mental gymnastics, UNRWA now claims that its mandate will continue until a Palestinian state is established.

Consider the virtual get-together on April 22, 2020 of the Second Ministerial Strategic Dialogue on UNRWA. The participants underlined that:

UNRWA must continue to operate in fulfillment of its UN mandate until a durable and just solution to the Palestine refugee issue is found in accordance with international law and relevant UN resolutions, including UN General Assembly resolution 194, and within the context of a comprehensive solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of the two-state solution.

UNRWA’s original mission was to help displaced people until they returned to their homes or were compensated. No longer. It first extended its mission to assist refugees in the physical return to homes, a partisan action which was never part of its mandate. It has now conditioned its term on the creation of a Palestinian state, further inserting itself as a highly biased political entity.

Entrance to UNRWA’s Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem portrayed as a keyhole with a key on top, demonstrating that the pathway to ancestors’ homes is via UNRWA.

There are many reasons to terminate UNRWA and fold it into the general United Nations agency which handles refugees around the world. There are ever-increasing reasons to starve UNRWA of all funding and donations as well.


Related First One Through articles:

New Head of UNRWA is Another Hamas-Sympathizer Politician

UNRWA Annoints New Palestinian Wards

What’s Wrong with UNRWA

UNRWA’s Munchausen Disease

UNRWA’s Ongoing War against Israel and Jews

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

Time to Dissolve Key Principles of the “Inalienable Rights of Palestinians”

The United Nations’ Adoption of Palestinians, Enables It to Only Find Fault With Israel

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New Head of UNRWA is Another Hamas-Sympathizer Politician

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced the appointment of Philippe Lazzarini of Switzerland to be the new head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Upon hearing that the head was going to be from Switzerland and not England which is forever anti-Israel, one had a moment to be hopeful that the tainted agency that prevents peace in the Israeli-Arab conflict might have a chance of reform.

Philippe Lazzarini

Lazzarini had been the Deputy Special Coordinator for Lebanon and before that served in a similar capacity in Somalia, as well as a decade at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). His work often focused on “humanitarian assistance and international coordination in conflict and post-conflict areas,” so there was hope that the U.N. was making an active step to turn UNRWA into an organization of humanitarian assistance and not a political instrument to attack Israel.

Reading about Lazzarini’s work in Somalia gave a person a measure of hope. He said that “it is important to bear in mind that the humanitarian agenda will not be subordinated to political decisions,” an important point to make to gain support of people on the ground and to be effective and supporting people in need.

But that is seemingly only his concern in Somalia.

In September 2009, Lazzarini wrote a scathing peace about Gaza and the West Bank called “Putting dignity at the heart of the humanitarian crisis in the occupied Palestinian territory.” It showed a complete deafness to the history of the region and to his own recommendations in Somalia of keeping politics out of his work.

Regarding the first “intifada” which killed hundreds of civilians in Israel between 1987 and 1993, Lazzarini wrote

“Although that period was violent, with daily mass demonstrations, confrontations,
arrests and casualties, it was at least possible to dream of a better future.” 

No mention of brutal killings, bombings or the slaughter of civilians. Just optimism.

He would continue that the situation at the time he wrote (2009) was worse, as there was little cause to be hopeful.

“The current crisis in Gaza was triggered by the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007 and the unprecedented blockade imposed by Israel.”

Nowhere in the nearly 2,000-word article did Lazzarini mention that Hamas is recognized as a terrorist group by a dozen countries and sworn to the destruction of Israel. As such, the blockade appeared unjustified. He would keep his audience in the dark in writing about Operation Cast Lead of December 2008 – January 2009:

“The bulk of the 1,383 fatalities were civilians not involved in the fighting, including over 330 children. Tens of thousands were injured or traumatised. Enduring three weeks of daily bombardment from land, sea and air, the population had nowhere to seek refuge: borders were sealed and safe havens non-existent since even UN premises and schools, where civilians had taken shelter, were hit by direct shelling.”

Lazzarini failed to note that Israel launched the operation to stop the constant missile attacks coming from Gaza and to destroy hundreds of tunnels which Hamas used to bring in weaponry. He also did not mention that Israel allowed the flow of humanitarian goods throughout the conflict.

Regarding U.N. schools being safe havens, the question is safety for who? Just before Operation Cast Lead, Israel killed the principal of one of those UN schools, Awad al-Qiq, who built rockets for Islamic Jihad to fire into Israeli schools and playgrounds.

Lazzarini continued:

“Locked in by a medieval siege whose enforcers decide what items will be allowed in and what people will eat, Gaza has become a ‘humanitarian welfare society’ supported by the international community.”

The author of the Goldstone Report, Richard Goldstone said unequivocally, that “Israel, like any other sovereign nation, has the right and obligation to defend itself and its citizens against attacks from abroad and within.” The “medieval” behavior is by the antisemites who seek to kill Jews, not by those seeking to defend themselves.

Lazzarini then went on to blame Palestinian Arab child and spousal abuse on Israel:

“Women and children in particular are paying a high price, as shown by a recent UN survey revealing an increase in the prevalence of domestic and gender-based violence. Possible factors behind the increase in domestic violence include the
unprecedented levels of trauma and stress that emerged after the conflict.”

The obsession for blaming Israel for the situation continued, as did false political aspersions that “East Jerusalem” is “Occupied Palestinian Territory.” Firstly, East Jerusalem doesn’t exist, it was a 19-year blip in the city’s 4,000-year history and an artifice of war. Secondly, Jerusalem was NEVER designed to be Palestinian: not in the British Mandate; not in the 1947 U.N. resolution to divide the land for two peoples; not in the post-1948/9 war which saw the Jordanians illegally annex the city; not in the post-1967 war after Jordan attacked Israel and lost the eastern half of the city; and not in the Oslo Accords of 1993 and 1995, the last agreements signed by the Israelis and Palestinian Authority.

Lazzarini concludes his article with a notion that has proven untrue:

“Poverty, isolation and humiliation are recipes for extremism. ‘Unlocking’ Gaza by opening its crossing points and freeing up space for Palestinian development in the West Bank are the first steps towards averting a future explosion of violence.”

There is no correlation between poverty and “violence” a/k/a “terrorism.” Palestinians rioted in the 1920’s and 1930’s killing hundreds of Jews without “poverty, isolation and humiliation.” The perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks were from wealthy families.

The Palestinian Arab objection is the presence of Jews and the establishment of the Jewish State as Hamas made clear in its 1988 Charter with statements “Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Moslem people,” and “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” The Palestinian Arabs voted Hamas to 58% of the parliament in 2006 with this call for a religious war against the Jews.

It was not about “poverty.”

The new head of UNRWA looked at first blush as a man who could turn a terrible agency into a constructive organization solely dedicated to humanitarian assistance. Alas, he has shown that he is another political creature born in the UN swamp who will spare no ink to defend Hamas and berate Israel.


Related First One Through articles:

What’s Wrong with UNRWA

The United Nations Once Again “Encourages” Hamas

While Palestinians Fire 400 Rockets, the United Nations Meets to Give Them Money

The Dangerous Red Herring Linking Poverty and Terrorism

The Parameters of Palestinian Dignity

Palestinian Arabs De-Registering from UNRWA

UNRWA’s Ongoing War against Israel and Jews

UN’s Confusion on the Legality of Israel’s Blockade of Gaza

The Palestinians aren’t “Resorting to Violence”; They are Murdering and Waging War

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Palestinian Arabs De-Registering from UNRWA

The saga of the Stateless Arabs from Palestine (SAPs) which have cast their lot with UNRWA for generations may finally be coming to an end.

Since 1949, the United Nations has promised Arabs who used to live and work in what became Israel, that they would be entitled to move back to their old houses. It didn’t matter if they had just moved those homes a few months before, 70 years ago. It didn’t matter if they were just renters and didn’t actually own any property. It didn’t matter that they rejected the very existence of Israel and wanted to see it destroyed. It didn’t even matter if they are the grandchild of someone who was just renting a house for a few months in what became Israel, and both they and their grandparents seek the end of the Jewish State. UNRWA crafted a special designation of “refugees” from Palestine:

“’persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.’ The descendants of Palestine refugee males, including legally adopted children, are also eligible for registration.”

These “UNRWA Refugees” were given much more than free housing, education and healthcare from the United Nations. They were promised that, with the help of the UN, they would get to move to the thriving country of Israel.

With such benefits and promise, these SAPs opted to register themselves with UNRWA, despite being denied the ability to gain well-paying jobs by their host countries in Syria and Lebanon. While they had relatives who moved on with their lives and became citizens of various countries ranging from Chile to the United Kingdom, the UNRWA Refugees opted to remain stateless and to live on handouts.

But those days may be coming to an end.

The ongoing war in Syria has been devastating, not just on Syrian civilians but on the UNRWA Refugees living in Syria. The unrest in Lebanon has not been much better. Meanwhile, the UNRWA Refugees watch actual refugees from Syria and Lebanon who are treated by the UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) getting much better aid and a pathway out of the humanitarian disaster. Not surprisingly, the UNRWA Refugees are looking for a better deal.

On November 11, 2019, the acting officer in charge of UNRWA (as the prior head was fired for improper activities), Christian Saunders, addressed the UN about the current activities in the region. He noted at the end of his remarks:

“Emphasizing that the community of Palestine refugees from Syria inside Lebanon live in extremely difficult conditions, he said they are actively exploring ways to leave, with some demanding deregistration from UNRWA in the belief that it would offer access to resettlement opportunities available to other refugees from Syria.”

UNRWA Refugees are demanding de-registration from UNRWA to become regular refugees under the UNHCR which cares for every other refugee in the world.

The disgrace of UNRWA has been apparent for years, with corruption at the top, over-staffing, hiring of militants, warehousing of weapons to be used against Israel, textbooks which vilify the basic notion of coexistence and more. But it has taken a full 70 years since the establishment of UNRWA on December 8, 1949, for the organization to begin to devolve from within, from the very wards it was meant to assist declaring that they have had enough.

UNRWA was established to be a temporary agency in which “constructive measures should be undertaken at an early date with a view to the termination of international assistance for relief,” as noted in Article 5 in its founding declaration. World sympathy (with perhaps not an insignificant amount of anti-Israel animus) prevented those ‘constructive measures’ from being enacted and billions of dollars in aid were spent on the descendants of the Palestinian Arabs who had started the war to destroy Israel. But lifetimes of long-term promises may finally yield to the dreams of immediate normalcy.

Christian Saunders, new deputy commissioner general of UN agency for Palestinian refugees. UN


Related First.One.Through articles:

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

Delivery of the Fictional Palestinian Keys

The Growth of UNRWA’s “Other” Wards

What’s Wrong with UNRWA

Shut UNRWA in Gaza Immediately

UNRWA’s Ongoing War against Israel and Jews

UNRWA’s Munchausen Disease

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UNRWA’s Fake Students, Curriculum and Shortfall

The first day of school was a wonderful opportunity for the 70 year-old temporary United Nations agency to show pictures of children and ask for money.

Students attend their first day of the 2019-2020 school year at the UNRWA al-Sabra Preparatory Co-Ed School in Gaza on 25 August 2019. © 2019 UNRWA Photo

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) wrote about the 532,000 UNRWA students who went back to school, part of the “5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA.

But those two figures were not really accurate, even by UNRWA’s count.

  • As of January 2019, UNRWA figures show that 5.545 million people were registered as Palestinian Refugees and another 626,000 were “other registered persons” for a total of 6.2 million people getting assistance from UNRWA, 15% more than described in the UNRWA article.
  • UNRWA also runs schools which provide vocational training on top of the 532,000 students going to elementary and preparatory schools, plus secondary in Lebanon. A total of 7,688 were enrolled in the UNRWA Technical and Vocational Education and Training Programme (TVET) and another 1,681 were in Educational Sciences.

The head of UNRWA, Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl who is being investigated for corruption, said that the schools help Arab students become “thoughtful and open-minded, to uphold human values and tolerance, and to contribute positively to the development of society and the global community.” Unfortunately, the exact opposite is the case. Just ten days before the first day of school, the UN was presented with significant findings of outright antisemitism in UNRWA textbooks. The IMPACT-SE study covered many examples of hatred and incitement in the classrooms including:

  • textbooks do not refer to Israel by name, and instead call it “Zionist Occupier”
  • an example for the word “beautiful” is “shahid” meaning martyr
  • A terrorist who killed many Jewish children is featured in textbooks with calls to emulate the act
  • Newton’s law of physics is demonstrated with a picture of an Arab shooting a slingshot at Israeli soldiers

Over a dozen other examples were given.

In concert with the corruption, the lies about the number and types of people getting services and the promotion of antisemitism, the ever-lasting temporary agency came begging for donations.

The Arab-friendly press said that UNRWA needs another $150 million to operate until the end of the year, about 10% of the annual budget of $1.2 billion.

One possible solution for the shortfall would be to remove all of the people in the “other” category who account for well over 10% of the population and should never have been getting services from the ever expanding temporary agency.

Another cure would be to stop UNRWA’s microfinance lending program which hands out tens of millions of dollars every year to Arabs to start businesses. It is unclear if any of the over $530 million in “loans” has ever been repaid.

Shutting all services in the Palestinian territories of Gaza and Area A is another possible answer to the incessant calls for global aid.

But more than anything else, it’s time to shut the school charade.

UNRWA’s textbooks and schools are the training manuals and grounds, respectively, for Hamas’s antisemitic war against Israel. Much like Hamas’s use of children as human shields in launching rockets against Israeli civilians, UNRWA is complicit in crimes against humanity. Not only should the agency’s mandate not be renewed in 2020, social media should block its pages and world banks should deny its ability to fund raise and distribute monies immediately.


Related First.One.Through articles:

UNRWA’s Ongoing War against Israel and Jews

The Gross OVER-Staffing of UNRWA Schools

UNRWA’s Munchausen Disease

The Growth of UNRWA’s “Other” Wards

Shut UNRWA in Gaza Immediately

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

What’s Wrong with UNRWA

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Queen Rania on UNRWA

I Hate Israel – The UN Told Me So

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The Growth of UNRWA’s “Other” Wards

The last post “UNRWA Anoints New Palestinian Wards” generated many questions. Does the agency tasked with helping descendants of internally-displaced people from 1948 actually assist non-refugees as well?

The answer is unambiguously yes.

Here is UNRWA’s report from January 1, 2011. It shows a whopping growth in the number of “refugees,” including a growth of 8.9% in the West Bank alone. If that sounds too hard to believe that Arabs suddenly went from an annual population growth of 2-3% to 9%, it’s because it is untrue. UNRWA decided to add lots of other people onto its service rolls.

Here is a chart the following year in January 2012, the first time UNRWA broke out figures for this “other” category.

Table 1. 2012 UNRWA Recipients Totals

2012 Jordan Lebanon Syria West Bank Gaza Total
Refugees        1,979,580        436,154        486,946        727,471        1,167,572        4,797,723
“Others”              67,787           29,644           23,498        147,156              49,947            318,032
Total        2,047,367        465,798        510,444        874,627        1,217,519        5,115,755
other % 3.3% 6.4% 4.6% 16.8% 4.1% 6.2%

The non-refugees who received aid from UNRWA were 6.2% of the total population, and an incredible 16.8% in the West Bank.

The world didn’t seem to care and kept sending money to the agency. So the numbers of “others” kept on skyrocketing.

Here is a chart from January 2019, which shows that the “other” percentage jumped to over 10% of the total population serviced by UNRWA.

Table 2. 2019 UNRWA Recipients Totals

2019 Jordan Lebanon Syria West Bank Gaza Total
Refugees        2,242,579        475,075        560,139        846,465        1,421,282        5,545,540
“Others”            133,902           58,810           83,003        201,525            149,013            626,253
Total        2,376,481        533,885        643,142     1,047,990        1,570,295        6,171,793
other % 5.6% 11.0% 12.9% 19.2% 9.5% 10.1%

As shown in Table 2, one-in-five West Bank recipients of UNRWA aid were not even descendants of people who fled the 1948 war zone.

This is a result of the active recruitment of “other” Arabs who UNRWA decided should get services from the bloated agency.

Table 3. Change from 2012 to 2019
UNRWA Recipients Totals

Change Jordan Lebanon Syria West Bank Gaza Total
Refugees 13.3% 8.9% 15.0% 16.4% 21.7% 15.6%
“Others” 97.5% 98.4% 253.2% 36.9% 198.3% 96.9%

As show in Table 3, while the Gaza “refugee” population grew by 21.7% over seven years, the “others” serviced by UNRWA TRIPLED. Overall, the refugee population grew by 15.6% while the “other” category almost doubled.

Who are these “Other” Non-Refugees?

UNRWA doesn’t hide the fact that in services other people. It considers itself a humanitarian organization, so it will give other people in need free education and healthcare. Why Syrians fleeing the terrible civil war come under the umbrella of UNRWA (growing by 253%!!) and not the UNHCR which cares for every other refugee in the world is a mystery that only the brains at UNRWA could answer.

In general, UNRWA breaks down the “other” category into six categories:

  • Jerusalem poor and Gaza poor. Just being poor – and their descendants! – entitles people to special relief from UNRWA.
  • Frontier Villagers. That’s a category, and all their descendants also get services from UNRWA.
  • Compromise Cases. Alas, these descendant to not get services
  • Family Members. If someone marries a refugee, then they get services and all adopted children get services. Quite the set up for the scam of the century.
  • Non-refugee wives. If you marry a refugee, you get special services.
  • Khafala children. Children who get Islamic care from a refugee or “other” get UNRWA services too, even if they or their ancestors were never refugees.

So many rich categories to choose from, it’s a wonder that the rolls only doubled in seven years and din’t quintuple.


UNRWA office in Jerusalem
(photo: First.One.Through)

UNRWA was created in 1950 as a TEMPORARY agency, but has managed to make itself a permanent fixture in the Arab-Israel conflict as it inflates the number of refugees and continuously adds to its beneficiaries and staffing. It is well past time to whittle it down to size.


Related First.One.Through articles:

What’s Wrong with UNRWA

The Gross OVER-Staffing of UNRWA Schools

UNRWA’s Munchausen Disease

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

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UNRWA Anoints New Palestinian Wards

UNRWA, the UN agency tasked with providing healthcare, education and loans to the descendants of Arabs who used to live in Israel, has come under fire recently because the head of the agency was caught extending favors to his girlfriend. The accusations caused the Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium to suspend donations to the agency.

Past accusations of supporting terrorism and producing school textbooks which promoted antisemitism never generated such an outcry, perhaps because the Europeans viewed those reports as biased, coming from pro-Israel corners of the world.

But raw statistics as provided by UNRWA itself show the agency to be deeply flawed. Consider the following:

UNRWA staff grows faster than the population it serves.  From 2017 to 2018, the local staff at UNRWA grew by 3.0%, from 30,799 to 31,726, while the number of registered persons served by UNRWA grew by only 2.6%, from 5,869,733 to 6,021,510. There is no reason for a 70-year old agency to grow (hire local Palestinian Arabs) at such an aggressive level.

UNRWA keeps adding (manufacturing?) new Palestinians wards. The number of “registered persons” who are serviced by UNRWA include “registered refugees” which is defined as people who lived (or are descended from males who lived) in Israel between June 1, 1946 and May 15, 1948, together with “other registered persons” who might include wives of people who are registered refugees. (For clarity, the UN decided that a woman who marries a grandson of an Arab who used to live in Jaffa for a few months in the 1940’s, becomes entitled to free healthcare and education for life, as do all of her kids- even those from a previous marriage).

From 2017 to 2018, while the number of registered refugees in Gaza grew by 2.8%, the number of “other registered persons” grew by a whopping 48.4%! The refugee count in Gaza grew by 37,919 people from 1.35 million to 1.39 million, while the number of “others” grew by an insane 42,114 people, from 87,080 to 129,194. It is as though UNRWA in Gaza was officiating at 100 wedding ceremonies every single day to enroll more wards onto its ledgers.

These are figures supplied by UNRWA itself, not an external report which may have some qualitative bias.

UNRWA is a highly corrupt agency focused on self-preservation which wastes billions of dollars of global aid, as it actively undermines any chance for peace in the Arab-Israel conflict. That the Europeans would suddenly become “woke” because of the toxic environment at the top is more tragic than laughable.


UNRWA building in Jerusalem
(photo: First.One.Through)


Related First.One.Through articles:

Shut UNRWA in Gaza Immediately

UNRWA Is Not Just Making “Refugees,” It’s Creating Palestinians

UNRWA’s Ongoing War against Israel and Jews

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

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While Palestinians Fire 400 Rockets, the United Nations Meets to Give Them Money

On November 12, 2018, the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza fired over 400 rockets into various populations centers in Israel. Buses, roads and homes were hit, killing and injuring people trying to manage their lives.


Rockets fired from Gaza into Israel

The United Nations was keenly aware of the situation in Gaza. It talks about the Palestinian Arabs living there every day.

And so it was on November 12. Dozens of delegates from around the world came to express their desire for more money to flow to these same Palestinians via UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which has perpetuated the status of statelessness.

  • The delegate from Syria which hosts a few hundred thousand Palestinians said the “United Nations and the Secretary-General must bridge the Agency’s funding shortfall and work with UNRWA to sustain funding,” and nothing must “interfere with the right of Palestine refugees to return home [meaning to Israel].
  • The delegate from Jordan which hosts – and granted citizenship – to over 2 million Palestinians said “many of those refugees are denied their right to prosper and to return to their villages [meaning to Israel],” and “undermining UNRWA could deepen the frustrations of refugees and cause young people to fall prey to extremism.” (it could get worse than rocket fire).
  • The delegate from Lebanon noted “his country hosts about 469,000 [Palestinians],” and was glad that “UNRWA has contributed to efforts aimed at keeping the right of return [meaning to Israel] on the table,” and “he welcomed the proposed initiatives to fund the Agency [UNRWA].”
  • The delegate from Norway focused immediately on Gaza, where the financial situation of UNRWA created a terrible “humanitarian situation” for Palestinian Arabs “emphasizing that its financial situation is very concerning.
  • The delegate from Indonesia said that “Palestinians should not be deprived of the right of return [meaning to Israel], while highlighting Indonesia’s increased contribution to the Agency’s work.

The list goes on, and includes delegates from Japan, Kuwait, Tunisia, Malaysia, Ecuador, China, Nigeria, Egypt, UAE, Sudan, Australia, Turkey, India, Brazil, Russia and the Vatican.

Pierre Krahenbuhl, Commissioner-General of UNRWA, thanked the Committee for their recognition and support, also noting the remarkable support mobilized in the face of the Agency’s dire financial shortfall.

  • No one addressed the rocket fire from Gaza.
  • No one mentioned that Hamas which runs Gaza threatened to continue to shell the Israeli cities of Ashdod and Beer Sheva.
  • No one discussed the Hamas Charter which calls for the destruction of Israel.
  • No one mentioned the three wars which Palestinians from Gaza have waged against Israel over the past decade.
  • No one mentioned the car rammings or knife attacks against Israeli civilians by Palestinian Arabs from the West Bank.

While Palestinians shelled Israel, the United Nations demanded more monies for Palestinians and a right to move into Israel. Such actions are worse than the “Zionism is racism” resolution of the 1970’s. The UN is actively aiding, abetting and encouraging war against a member state.


Related First.One.Through articles:

What’s Wrong with UNRWA

UNRWA Is Not Just Making “Refugees,” It’s Creating Palestinians

Shut UNRWA in Gaza Immediately

UNRWA’s Ongoing War against Israel and Jews

UNRWA’s Munchausen Disease

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

The United Nations’ Remorse for “Creating” Israel

The United Nations’ Adoption of Palestinians, Enables It to Only Find Fault With Israel

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Join Facebook group: FirstOne Through Israel Analysis