The United Nations Relief and Works Agency provides aid for nearly six million Palestinians. Washington, the largest source of financing for the agency, has signaled that it intends to halt the aid until Palestinians agree to “return to the negotiating table” with Israel.

Should the very job description of UNRWA be revisited and changed, as many (including many who have no sympathy or admiration for Trump or Netanyahu) believe?

This is a segment from The “Pascal’s Meteorology” Edition.

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1 comment on “UNRWA ShmUNRWA

  1. Greg Pollock says:

    UNRWA is an artifact of the war which birthed Israel, those refugees from newly minted Israel wards of the UN as direct guardian of the Palestine Mandate. The unique status of these refugees rests, I think, partly on guilt over failure of that guardianship post Israel admission into the UN. That is, these refugees are not like refugees elsewhere in that elsewhere the UN had no direct custodial responsibility. But this (in my view) legal history has been lost, largely because the US, through its veto, would never allow the Security Council to reassert its protectorate–and, indeed, it is about impossible to envision such reassertion if faced with an intransigent IDF. UNRWA’s long life is instanced failure of the UN at a ground level.

    Trump’s threat to cease contribution to UNRWA is, in Gaza, simply an augmenting of the original Israeli strategy of almost starving Hamas as Gaza into capitulation. The threat uses humanitarian effort for political coercion which is reason enough to decry it. Noah’s advocacy of massive assistance to Palestinians, in Gaza, the West Bank, the Lebanon camps, or Jordan, is in some form the only solution. The question is how you move in that direction when you need economic improvement for political improvement but political improvement is a prerequisite for economic development. The only answer I see is incrementalism: forget global agreements–find a way to evolve both the economies and political connections. And evolution doesn’t happen on paper.

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