Friday, June 01, 2012

State Department Backs UNRWA Definition Of Palestinian Refugees--Contrary To US Law

The State Department has been opposed to Senator Mark Kirk's bill that requires a report on which Palestinian Arabs receiving US aid to UNRWA are actually refugees as opposed to those who are descendants of refugees:
...the Appropriations Committee unanimously approved a Kirk amendment offered by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) that would require the State Department to report to Congress with an approximate number of people currently served by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) who actually lived in then-Palestine between 1946 and 1948 and were displaced by the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. With U.S. taxpayers providing more than $4 billion to UNRWA since 1950, the watershed reporting requirement will help taxpayers better understand whether UNRWA truly remains a refugee assistance organization or has become a welfare agency for low-income residents of the Levant.
The bill was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, so now we are closer to resolving the discrepancy between the 5 million Palestinians that now receive assistance from UNRWA on the one hand and the approximately 750,000 Arabs who were displaced during the war against Israel.

Clifford D. May writes that the State Department opposition to Kirk's bill is counter to previous policy--and the law:

Kirk’s legislation was strenuously opposed not just by UNRWA but also by the State Department. When it passed anyway, the State Department communicated its displeasure in both a letter to senators on the committee and a statement to Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin. By doing so, it dramatically shifted U.S. policy. Back in 1965, the U.S. government objected to UNRWA’s decision to award refugee status to the descendants of refugees. Now, the State Department is saying it supports that and, what’s more, sees no reason for Congress even to have access to basic information about those receiving American aid.

Rogin pointed out that the State Department’s views “appear to conflict with the United States Law on Derivative Refugee Status,” which specifically prohibits extending refugee status to grandchildren. In other words, a Palestinian could not seek admission to the U.S. as a refugee on the grounds that his grandfather was a refugee.

There is a larger issue here: As Rosen explained to Rogin, by calling all 5 million UNRWA aid recipients “refugees,” the State Department is suggesting that this entire population has a “right of return” not to the Palestinian territories, the West Bank and Gaza, but to Israel.
These are 2 problematic points:
  • State Department support for UNRWA's unheard of acceptance of the exponentially growing number of Palestinian refugees contradicts US law
  • By accepting UNRWA's growing count of refugees, the State Department likewise accepts that these 5 million Arabs have a right of return
As a side note, there is another provision in Senator Kirk's bill that is not getting the same coverage--the bill also has a provision:
Directing the State Department and USAID not to provide any funds to non-governmental organizations that promote incitement to violence against America, Israel or Jews.
Is the Obama administration and the State Department opposed to this as well?

It well might be--after all, Abbas has consistently incited hatred against Israel without the Obama taking a strong, public stand against it.

Once again, Obama's claim of friendship and support for Israel rests on nothing more than taking credit for the funding of military aid to Israel established by President Bush back in 2007:
US military aid to Israel is set to be delivered as part of a $30 billion 10-year military-aid package signed by President George W. Bush administration in 2007.

From 2009 till 2018 the US is expected to grant Israel some $3 billion per year. Israel may spend 26 percent on locally-manufactured systems while the remaining 74 percent must be spent on US-manufactured systems.
Some friend.

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