Saturday, January 20, 2018

UNRWA and Mr. Trump

With the latest decision of Mr. Trump to cut $65 million from the US allocation to UNRWA, I thought it might help  to remind Mr. Trump of the background of  UNRWA, its purpose and mandate.  In the meantime thanks to Belgium for stepping in to help UNRWA with an immediate disbursement of $23 million.  

UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) was established by the United Nations General Assembly - resolution 302 (IV) on  December 8, 1949 so as to carry out direct relief and works programs for Palestine refugees.  The Agency began operations on  the first of May 1950  and it was supposed to be a temporary Agency to relieve  Palestinian refugees who were evicted or fled from their homes before and during the 1948 war, until they  are   able  to go back to their homes, or be compensated in accordance  with   United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 was adopted on December 11, 1948,  towards  the end of the 1948  Arab-Israeli War.  The resolution   defined  principles for reaching a final settlement and returning Palestine refugees to their homes.   The resolution stipulated  that “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors 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 equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.”

Not only has Israel  denied the right of return for the refugees,  or any responsibility for compensation,  the US has vetoed as well every resolution in support of the right of the Palestinians to go back to their homes.  Thus in  the absence of a solution to the Palestine refugee problem, the General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA's mandate.

Yes Mr. Trump I assure you it is our rights as Palestinians that we are demanding, and not your money.  However once again you seem  to support the oppressors and punish the victims, not only by denying them their right of return but by  denying them their basic rights as well:    health, education and relief services that are very much needed in the refugee camps where the situation has further deteriorated due to the ongoing occupation;  an occupation that should have come to an end with the implementation of the Security council resolution 242 which was unanimously adopted on November 22, 1967, and based on the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.   
Should Mr. Trump be concerned about the amount of money that the US is paying  to UNRWA,  he then should take the responsibility of  settling  the problem of the refugees. Otherwise that issue will continue to be a sore spot  in the history of the United Nations and the US administration .  Moreover,  the US  will have to be  morally responsible for continuing  to support UNRWA because of  the role  of the US administration  in blindly supporting Israel and shielding it from any responsibility for the problem of the Palestinian refugees.  

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Once again, Nikki Haley

Once again, Nikki Haley, the American Ambassador at the United Nations sounds ridiculous.  The last time I heard her was during the vote of the Security Council and the General Assembly after the announcement of Mr. Trump regarding  Jerusalem, threatening countries who would vote against the USA.  But in fact this morning after Mr. Trump threatened to cut  aid to the Palestinians,  she also threatened to cut aid to  UNRWA, the organization that has been supporting Palestinian refugees until a just solution is found for them.  At the beginning of her term she ridiculously threatened to hit with her shoe anybody who would criticize Israel.  Really that was below the belt.  However, the Defense Minister,  Mr. Liberman presented her with a box of shoes when she visited Israel.    

On another scene, but not completely disconnected, she was quoted on the Israeli radio this morning commending the people of Iran for  protesting  against the regime.  “People have the right to rise up against  their oppressors.”  It brought back the memory of the Americans meddling in Iran in 1953 when the government of Mohammad Mosaddegh which was commended for many social reforms,  was overthrown in a coup d’etat aided by the United States' Central Intelligence Agency and the United Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Service, basically for the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry.  Colonial countries have a long history of abusing  the resources of the countries they had colonized and  find it very difficult to  let go.  The 1956  invasion of Egypt by Israel, Britain and France was basically a reaction to   the courageous step that  Gamal Abdel Nasser  took to nationalize the Suez Canal. 

Mr. Netanyahu never stops talking about the danger of Iran.  So it is not surprising that Mr. Trump and his Ambassador Nikki Haley would risk getting the US in a war for the sake of  their  staunch ally, Israel.  I wonder what the ambassador thinks of the rights of the  Palestinians, who have been oppressed for 50 years  under Israeli occupation?  .  Do they have the right to protest against their oppressors? 

Recently it was all over the media, Ahed Tamimi, her mother and other members of the family from Nabi Saleh have been incarcerated for protesting to retrieve their rights in the water source of their town,  that has been depleted by the religious settlement of Halmish.  I would like to see  how Ambassador Haley would react if she cannot get a drink of water or her morning coffee and daily shower.  

Friday, December 22, 2017

Blackmailing, pure and simple

Thank you Mr. Trump for your very special Christmas gift to the People of Palestine during this blessed season.  As much as you wished to deliver to your constituency your promise about Jerusalem, you have no right to do that in the first place.  There is something called international law Mr. Trump, and UN resolutions.  You cannot flout them and continue to  shield Israel for violating them as well.

Your country stood alone at the UN Security Vote refusing your announcement that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.   And today we heard you loud and clear and we heard the US  representative at the UN, Nikki Haley threatening the countries who will vote against the USA in today’s General Assembly.  This is blackmail Mr. Trump, pure and simple.  You are not giving us charity, neither is it your personal money.    The money you are giving to the Palestinian Authority as well as to Jordan  is money that you owe them for hindering the end of the occupation, and the implementation of UN resolutions regarding the Palestinian rights, mainly resolution 194 that gives them the right to return to Palestine.  Palestine should never have been partitioned, and once again it was this blackmail policy that the American administration used at the UN session on November 29, 1947 to force countries to vote for the partition of Palestine.  Let me remind you Mr. Trump that the American aid that goes to Israel is far more than any other country, and is unconditional without a word about Human rights, or International law.

Wake up Mr. Trump, and study the history properly and the history of oppressed people.  They will never give up, until justice prevails.  I seize the opportunity to remind you of the famous quotation by Martin Luther King Jr. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”   It is only justice that will bring about peace Mr. Trump. The Palestinians  have already made a number of concessions, and accepted a relative justice.  But  by now it is a well known fact that the peace process was simply a process to help Israel implement new realities on the ground.  And to add insult to injury the Palestinians are  now being blamed for refusing to resume peace talks.  The US administration  Mr. Trump has never been  an honest peace broker, and your recent statement on Jerusalem simply confirmed this fact and put a lid on the so called peace process.    

As you celebrate Christmas, I hope you will be thinking of all those young people who have been killed,  injured or imprisoned as a result of your rash statement which you claim to benefit the peace process.  If this is the overture of your peace plan, may God have mercy on the whole region.