Monday, July 16, 2012

Welfare Dependency

Another interesting Op Ed in The Australian on welfare dependency and its effect on the Palestinians - Welfare dependency harms the Palestinian people.

UNRWA and the attemp to deligitimise the rights of the Jewish people is doing more damage to its neighbours and the prospect of peace in the region.

The result of this over a 60-year-long process is that incentives for the refugees to resettle in Arab countries and elsewhere are minimal, as are those for UNRWA itself to ever end its operations.

UNRWA states that despite the creation of the Palestinian Authority, Palestinians remain refugees. It has financial and political interests in maintaining this fiction: as long as the Palestinians are refugees, UNRWA is in business.

Of the 30,000 people UNRWA employs, the vast majority are Palestinian: UNRWA is the largest single employer of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Contrast this to the UN High Commission for Refugees, which employs only 5000 to 6000 people worldwide and which focuses far more clearly on resettlement and rehabilitation of refugees and building new lives, and not on maintaining services that prop up the status quo.

Synonymous with Palestinian national identity is the collective belief in a right of return to "Palestine". Palestinian identity is rooted in three parts. One is that resistance to Israel is permanent and holy. Another is that Palestinians are, individually and communally, refugees, made so at the hands of Israel. The third part is that the world, specifically the UN and Western countries, must support these refugees until they can return to a future Palestine and to homes in what is now Israel.

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