The saga of the 1948/49 Arab refugees has been systematically sustained, distorted and abused - by the Arabs, the UN in general and UNRWA in particular – in order to dehumanize Israel.
First, let's look at the numbers. According to the British census, there were 800,000 Arabs in pre-1967 Israel.
- 100,000 middle/upper class Arabs left before the war and became integrated in neighboring Arab countries
- 170,000 remained in the area throughout the war
- 100,000 returned to the area under Israel’s family reunification gesture
- 50,000 migrant laborers returned to their Arab countries of origin
- 50,000 Bedouins joined their tribes in Jordan and Sinai
- 10,000 were war fatalities
Thus, by the end of the war there were 320,000 refugees.
UNRWA was established on December 8, 1949 as a temporary, 2-3-year relief agency, but became permanent, the largest UN agency, overstaffed, featuring a $1 billion pension fund, and used as a dagger aimed at Israel.
UNRWA deals only with Palestinian refugees, employing 30,000 people, compared with 6,400 people employed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which deals with 60 million refugees. The UNHCR terminates refugees’ status, while UNRWA perpetuates and exacerbates refugees’ status and inflates their numbers.
According to testimony by General Alexander Galloway, the UNRWA Director in Jordan, at a May 25, 1953 hearing of the Near East Senate Subcommittee: “The Arab states do not want to solve the refugee problem. They want to keep it as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders don’t give a damn whether the refugees live or die.”
The American taxpayer funds 33% of UNRWA’s budget.
And no one talks about the approximately 70,000 JEWS who lived in the area of British Mandate Palestine and were forced to flee.
Nor do they discuss the plight of the Palestinians in Lebanon who are denied the right to work or own land in the apartheid situation in that country. 65% of them now live below the poverty line.