Open letter to UN Amb. Samantha Power on your visit: An Opportunity to Reform UNRWA policies.

The Hon. Samantha Power

US Ambassador to the UN

Dear Ambassador Power,

Welcome to Jerusalem!

At a time of continued deadlock in political negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, you can use thie leverage of the US, which donates $400 million to UNRWA each year — 33% of the UNRWA budget, to launch an effort to find solutions to the humanitarian plight of the five million of descendents of the refugees from the 1948 war who still live around   UNRWA facilities.Instead of just throwing money at UNRWA, The US could assert its leadership amongst donor nations to advance UNRWA policies that could improve living conditions of UNRWA refugee residents…and offer a realistic humanitarian alternative to the “right of return” mantra that has been drummed into the minds of half a million UNRWA students… as an excuse to allow for the status quo of UNRWA refugee status for perpetuity. In that context, you, as the US ambassador, to address six UNRWA challenges, which could guide UNRWA policy reform.

  • The US could work with all donor nations to ask for an audit of donor funds that flow to UNRWA. This would address widespread documented reports of wasted resources, duplicity of services and the undesired flow of cash to Gaza-based terror groups, which gained control over UNRWA operations in Gaza over the past 18 years.
  • The US, as the largest donor to UNRWA, could introduce UNHCR standards to UNRWA, to advance the resettlement of Arab refugees, after 67 years. Current UNRWA policy is that refugee resettlement would interfere with the “right of return” to Arab villages that existed before 1948.
  1. The US could ask fellow donor nations to reconsider the new UNRWA curriculum, which incorporate principles of Jihad, martyrdom and an assurance of the right of return ‘ by force of arms – in a UN school system which is supposed to promote the UNRWA slogan of “Peace Starts Here.”

This is your opportunity to take an initiative during the final year of the Obama Administration to address a pressing humanitarian issue that can be solved.

David Bedein, MSW*

*Author, “ROADBLOCK TO PEACE- How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict: UNRWA policies reconsidered”, David is a social worker and journalist active in efforts to reform UNRWA for the past 28 years. David runs the Israel Resource News Agency and the Center for Near East Policy Research, which have produced produced books, monographs and movies filmed on location in UNRWA. Special website on UNRWA policies; recent report on UNRWA school books; recent UNRWA films.

About the Author
David Bedein, who grew up in Philadelphia and moved to Israel in 1970 at the age of 20, is an MSW community organizer by profession and an expereinced investigative journalist. In 1987 he established the Israel Resource News Agency, with offices at the Beit Agron Int’l Press Center in Jerusalem, where he also serves as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research. In 1991, Bedein was the special CNN middle east radio correspondent. Since 2001, Bedein has contributed features to the newspaper Makor Rishon. In 2006, Bedein became the foreign correspondent for the Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. He is the author of " The Genesis of the Palestinian Authority" and "ROADBLOCK TO PEACE- How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict: UNRWA policies reconsidered"and the director and producer of the numerous short films about UNRWA policy which can be located at: http://tinyurl.com/lxc6xvs
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