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UNRWA head: ‘One cannot simply wish away 5m people’

MEMO | August 23, 2018

The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees has spoken out against efforts underway to see the organisation dismantled, stating: “One cannot simply wish away five million people”.

Pierre Krahenbuhl, Commissioner General for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), made the remarks in an interview with Foreign Policy.

Krahenbuhl also spoke to the impact US funding cuts have already had on URNWA’s operations, noting that in the Gaza Strip, the agency “had to announce cuts to some of our emergency services like community mental health, job creation” and “there was even a risk for our food distribution”.

According to the Swiss diplomat, the protests in response to job cuts led to UNRWA losing control of its compound in Gaza for “about 20 days”.

Asked by Foreign Policy about the claim made by Israel and the Trump administration that “Palestinians are the only people in the world who are allowed to pass their refugee status down through generations,” Krahenbuhl said this was “clearly a misrepresentation”.

“UNRWA, in ways that are no different from the UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees], considers children and descendants of refugees as refugees,” he said, before citing Afghanistan, Angola, Burma, Burundi and Sudan as cases of protracted refugee situations where “the children and grandchildren of the original refugee[s]” are also considered refugees.

“It rests on the notion that family unity, the principle of family unity, is keeping families united and together as one of the key parameters of managing refugee crises,” he added.

Pressed as to what life would be like for refugees were UNRWA to be dismantled – a key demand of many Israeli and US politicians – Krahenbuhl replied:

“If UNRWA didn’t exist tomorrow, and even if UNHCR didn’t exist, the world would still have to tackle the reality of protracted, long-term refugee situations that are impacting the well-being of people, but also the security and stability of states in many parts of the world. One cannot simply wish away five million people”.

Read also:

Politicising UNRWA

The plan to end UNRWA will not take away Palestinians’ right of return

August 23, 2018 - Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. An intractable difficulty confronting the Zio enterprise. No, one cannot wish away millions and millions of people, and exterminating them all would be “a task of great physical difficulty,” as Orwell reminds us.

    Comment by traducteur | August 23, 2018 | Reply

  2. An excellent “memo” — it dismantles the lying Zionist narrative along the refugee track. One item that inexplicably (though understandably) gets little to no play is that the Zionist entity so-called Israel, as the belligerent, illegal occupying power, has the responsibility under international law to “care for and feed” the occupied masses made so by its war activities. Ergo, at least — at the very, very least — in the illegally occupied confines of Palestine (East Jerusalem, West Bank, Gaza) the Zionist entity must attend to basic needs of those classified as refugees and indeed to all residents. Were that to happen — as it should, mind you, if this were not an insane aberration soiling all of humanity — there would be no need for UNRWA and the Adelson/Trump/Satanyahu team would be out there busting their asses, spending their money (along the way, my tax money) to carry out their responsibilities. It could be sorted out as to whether the Zioentity, UNHCR or a combination would similarly care for and feed the refugeed masses of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan who, sadly, exist in immiseration and are not about to go away….

    Comment by roberthstiver | August 23, 2018 | Reply


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