Unresolved status of Palestinian rights makes UNRWA essential
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency was set up to help refugees forced out of Palestine by the Israeli war in 1947 and again by the Israeli war in 1967. Until the war is resolved and Palestinian rights are recognized by Israel, the UNRWA has a major and important role to play and must be sustained.
By Ray Hanania
Time is not the factor that determines justice. The Rule of Law does. And until the Rule of Law is applied to the Question of Palestine, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is a mandatory necessity to help the Palestinian refugees, who have lived in a violent limbo caused by Israel, to survive.
The Israelis have tried everything to erase the Palestinians including using violence and causing death. Israel has turned to expulsions, home demolitions, and the denial of fundamental civil rights.
As Israel approaches it 75th year of contentious existence without agreeing to a genuine or fair peace, UNRWA is needed to hep the Palestinian refugees and their descendants who were forcibly evicted in 1948 and again in 1967 by Israeli forces.
You can’t steal someone’s lands and then hope that people will forget. They won’t forget. In fact, as we have seen, the memory of the original crime, the Naqba, only continues to grow.
The biased and racist media of the 1940s did everything it could to suppress and squash the story of the Palestinians, asserting that the responsibility for the refugees rests with the Arab countries rather than with Israel, which took their homes, lands and possessions in their military war against justice and civil rights.
Israel wrapped itself in the Holocaust, which was caused not by the Arab World but by the White Europeans, in particular Germany and the Axis powers, but empowered by the blind and uncaring eye of the West, like the United States.
There were more than enough signs to know what the Nazis were doing to the Jews and millions of other non-Aryans during World War II, but the West was more anti-Semitic than anyone and they did nothing until they couldn’t avoid it. Israel’s creation allowed them to turn the virulent anti-Semitism of the West into a “moral” alternative that had Jewish refugees from the War go to Israel rather than to American and Western shores where they were not wanted.
And the price the West was willing to pay was to abandon the rights of the Palestinians, who lived in a country called “Palestine” that was governed by the Ottomans and then the British and then by. Israeli and Jordan.
The Arab World certainly contributed to the Palestinian refugee suffering through its constant turmoil and emotional outbursts. The Arabs did as much to fail the Palestinians as anyone. They fought for Palestine in 1948 after Israel declared its creation — that’s an important point to remember, that the Arab attack took place after the pre-Israel forces grabbed far more of the land than was proposed for them in the United Nations partition.
The pre-Israel forces were brutal and used terrorism, the first acts of terrorism to visit the Middle East, destroying whole towns of Christians and Muslims, murdering women and children, blowing up hotels and killing hostages.
That was the Jewish extremism and terrorism that Western history plays down. Several of the Jewish terrorist leaders, the most violent including Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, became prime ministers of Israel.
During the administration of former President Donald Trump, his ultra-religious son-in-law Jared Kushner sought to extinguish the flame of Palestinian rights in a more blunt way than any other political person has tried. But he failed. Kushner wasn’t the first. Every American president since Ronald Reagan has sought to undermine Palestinian rights, Democrats and Republicans, each in a different way. As if when it comes to Palestinian rights, there is a difference between Democrats and Republicans in America.
Stop fooling yourself. The Republicans are more open about their hostility towards Palestine, the reminder of Israel’s atrocities, while the Democrats do it in a less aggressive way with “happy talk” and often empty promises of peace for all when it is really about peace for Israel.
UNRWA is the glue that holds the Palestinian cause together. The administration of President Joe Biden has helped keep UNRWA alive by restoring funding. And while his words of justice and two-states are moving, he is against a brick wall in the Democratic Party which talks the talk but never walks the real walk.
Even with President Bill Clinton, who tried to force a flawed agreement on Palestinian President Yasser Arafat that needed more Israeli concessions, the peace process swiftly leaned towards Israel’s needs rather than to the needs of justice. Oslo was only a start and it needed more work, but Israel and Clinton wanted to make it the end result, placing Palestinians in Bantustans with their own local governance.
UNRWA is the price of deception and lies from governments that believe that tossing money on problems will make them go away and disappear. But the rights of Palestinians will never evaporate.
Palestine is stronger today in the memories of millions who have never been able to step foot on the land, something Palestinians learned from the Jewish people themselves.
Jews who had never visited the Holy Land lived their lives embraces the belief of Jewish freedom. And they would have had it had they done it in a Democratic way rather than partitioning Palestine into an impossible checkerboard of seven land areas that overlapped and intertwined, with one area encapsuling Jerusalem.
The radicals and extremists on both sides long ago undermined the idea of a Two-State solution, or another word for “partition.” More and more the only answer is One State where Jews, Christians and Muslims, including all of the refugees including Jewish Refugees and Palestinians refugees, can live together as equals.
As long as they are not equal and there is no peace, UNRWA is a mandatory moral necessity, the price the world must pay for an injustice they helped cause.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter. A political analyst and CEO of Urban Strategies Group, Hanania’s opinion columns on mainstream issues are published in the Southwest News Newspaper Group in the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers. His Middle East columns are published in the Arab News. For more information on Ray Hanania visit www.Hanania.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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