It has been announced that the United States is cutting all funding to UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency which supports Palestinian refugees, meaning they will have only donated $60 million this year (compared to $362 million last year) and give no further funding to the organisation from this point onwards.
As expected, the media and anti-Israel activists are once again condemning President Trump for this decision. They are wrong. There are numerous reasons why this is the right decision for America and here are five of them.
1 – America gave too much to UNRWA compared with other countries
In 2017, the US donated $362 million to UNRWA making it the largest donor to the organisation by a large margin.
The second highest donor to UNRWA was the EU, which donated $142 million, less than half of the US amount. Following the EU was Germany at $76.4 million, the UK at $67 million and Sweden at $61.9 million.
Even though the US is cutting its funding to UNRWA it will still be one of the largest donors to the organisation this year, having given the organisation $60 million in January. For the first time, however, its donations will now be in proportion with the rest of the world. Clearly though from this point on there will be no further form America unless there is reform in the organisation (more on that later).
2 – Arab nations don’t give enough to UNRWA
You will notice that the top five donors to UNRWA are the US and European countries. These top five donors alone make up more than half the total funding for UNRWA.
In fact, when you look at all donations to the organisation, the USA, Europe, Japan, South Korea, Canada and Australia provide roughly 90% of the organisations over $1.2 billion in funding.
The Arab League, on the other hand, which includes every Islamic nation (and some very wealthy oil states) donates less than 8% of the total budget of UNRWA.
When the Arab League met in April this year, leaders of those nations once again placed “Palestine” as their top priority. You could even say that support for the Palestinians (or rather, hatred of Israel) is what unites the various Islamic factions. Talk is cheap, however, and funding for the poor and needy Palestinians rarely materialises from Arab nations.
President Trump’s decision to cut funding to UNRWA is forcing some nations who profess support for the Palestinians to actually put their money where their mouth is.
Nations such as Qatar and Kuwait will be significantly increasing their support for UNRWA and will now be covering part of the US shortfall. This type of thing should have happened long ago. They have the money to help the Palestinians, but were withholding funds and draining Western resources.
Some hysterical claims against Trump and the US are claiming that Trump is “putting lives at risk” or that he is “sending a message to the Palestinian people: He callously disregards their most basic needs”. This is simply not true. It is the allies of the Palestinians who have been putting lives at risk and disregarding the Palestinians most basic needs for too long. Trump’s decision is correcting this.
3 – The world humiliates America at the UN, then expects it to foot the bill
Despite their lack of donations to help needy Palestinians through UNRWA, the Arab League is more than happy to use the Palestinians as a political battering ram against America and Israel.
Using its political muscle, the Arab League has managed to persuade the majority of countries in South America, Africa and Asia to stand with them at the United Nations. This has resulted in the US often standing alone with Israel whilst Europe and other Western nations sit on the fence and allowed the US to be attacked, vilified and even humiliated for taking this stance in support of Israel.
Also, very few donations are made to UNRWA from South America, Africa, two continents whose countries also back the Palestinians and vote against the US and Israel at the United Nations almost out of principle.
America for too long has been used and abused to provide funding for UNRWA whilst countries who have a vested interest in the Palestinians do nothing to support them financially.
If the countries of the UN want the funding of America, they need to respect them. If they don’t want to respect the US then they need to foot the bill.
4 – The Palestinians themselves do not respect the US or appreciate their support
The votes where America is most alone centre around Israel and the Palestinians. Often times we see the Palestinian Ambassador himself speaking out against the United States and Israel.
Even last year we saw Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas deliver a lie-filled speech at the UN Security Council which slammed the US and Israel. After Abbas finished speaking, instead of respecting the United States, he turned his back on them and left the room.
He did not have the respect to wait a few minutes and listen to US Ambassador Nikki Haley.
The Palestinian Authority is currently not even speaking to the United States. It will not negotiate with Israel and there is no progress to peace. The only way they will listen is if the US takes drastic steps like this.
Why should he or any Palestinian leader be able to treat their largest donor in such a disrespectful way and then be outraged when the US stops its funding?
5 – UNRWA perpetuates the “refugee” problem, fuels the conflict and feeds the hate
Despite all the reasons above, the main reason that the US is right to cut funding to UNRWA should not be supported. Clearly, the needy Palestinians require support. This is not about cutting funding to the vulnerable. UNRWA requires drastic reforms in order to function correctly, and here is why.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency is the largest and only long-term UN body that was established for a single group of refugees. It is also the only refugee agency that changes the definition of refugees to mean something else entirely.
Palestinian refugees are the only refugee group on earth that can inherit their status. Unlike all other refugees, when a Palestinian becomes a citizen of another country, even if they are a multi-millionaire celebrity or an elected member of that nation’s government, UNRWA still classes them as a “Palestinian refugee”.
No other refugee is classed this way. All other refugees stop being refugees once they either return to their own home or become a citizen of another country.
On top of this, the Arab nations where Palestinian refugees live, such as Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, do not allow Palestinians to become citizens of their country, even if they are born there. They allow other people from other countries to become citizens, but not Palestinians. They do this to perpetuate the refugee “crisis” so they can use them as a weapon against Israel. UNRWA has never fought to fix this. If UNRWA truly cared about Palestinian refugees it would fight for the rights of Palestinians to become citizens of other countries, just like other refugees under the UNHCR (which deals with all other non-Palestinian refugees).
In regards to the education that is provided by UNRWA, which makes up half of their annual budget, a recent study analysed more than 150 textbooks being used in all UNRWA schools with researchers finding that Palestinian children were being taught three fundamentals: delegitimization, demonization and indoctrination to violent struggle instead of peace.
One example is a textbook for 12 to 13-year-olds which teaches explicitly about martyrdom. The poem, entitled “The Martyr” reads:
“Hearing [weapons’] clash is pleasant to my ear and the flow of blood gladdens my soul as well as a body thrown upon the ground skirmished over by the desert predators… by your life! This is the death of men and whoever asks for a noble death – here it is!”
This is just the tip of the iceberg.
The researchers concluded that “UNRWA, in fact, not only does propagate a non-peaceful line contrary to UN resolutions on the Middle East, and not only does allow the presentation of Israel and its Jewish citizens as illegitimate with heavy layers of demonization. UNRWA also betrays its moral obligation toward the Palestinian children and youths’ human rights and well-being, by letting the PA prepare them for a future war with Israel.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Associations says the books describes Jews as “people who hated the prophet [Mohammed], killed Jesus, didn’t follow Moses law – the worst human beings that you can possibly imagine… That is the kind of mentality that breeds the kind of hatred that leads to the terrorist actions that takes a terrible toll among all citizens of Israel from terrorism.”
UNRWA is helping to fuel the conflict, teaching its students about jihad, lying to them about the false “right of return” and other teachings that perpetuate the conflict. It is surprising that any nation that professes to support a two-state solution would support the organisation in its current form.
This week US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, explained the reason the US was pulling funding from UNRWA like this:
“UNRWA is a critically flawed organization… It doesn’t advance regional peace and actually perpetuates the conditions that make peace even harder to achieve. As such, the U.S. doesn’t see how any additional investment in the agency will yield a worthy return for the American taxpayers.”