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.