The World's Preferred Refugees

(Jerusalem Post) Ron Prosor - From Mali to South Sudan and from Myanmar to Haiti, countless men, women and children face an uncertain future, aided by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which works with all refugee groups but one. Set apart by the shortsighted interests of the Arab states, Palestinian refugees are the world's only card-carrying, professional group of refugees, with their own set of rules, their own funding and even their own international agency, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). In 2012, the UN spent six times more on every Palestinian refugee as compared to all other refugees. The Palestinians have been on the UN's permanent payroll for over 60 years and are entitled to every service from healthcare to housing and from food rations to education. All other refugees must depend on the host country to provide basic assistance. While UNHCR's approach teaches independence, UNRWA's approach prepares the Palestinians to be lifelong dependents. Under UNRWA's framework, Palestinians can continue to be called refugees long after they acquire citizenship and find permanent housing. By allowing refugee status to pass to Palestinian children and grandchildren, the number of Palestinian refugees has ballooned from a few hundred thousand in 1948 to over five million today. Left unchecked, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians will continue to be added to the UN's permanent payroll every year. The writer is Israel's ambassador to the United Nations.

2013-06-21 00:00:00

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