The UN and the Arab States Are Responsible for the Misery in the Shuafat Refugee Camp
DEC. 7 2016
A recent lengthy article in the New York Times Magazine described life in Shuafat, a slum located within the borders of Jerusalem but outside the security barrier that, over the past decade, has greatly reduced the ability of terrorists to strike Israel. Shuafat’s poverty stems in part from its being outside the jurisdiction of both the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority and in part from its being administered by the United Nations, whose mandate is to perpetuate the suffering of its Palestinian residents. Jonathan Tobin writes:
People are in Shuafat and every other Palestinian refugee camp because the Arab world and its leaders and organizations have kept them there for some 68 years. In the years that followed World War II, . . . the United Nations set up two separate refugee agencies: one—UNRWA—that was solely devoted to the Palestinians and one for [the millions of other refugees] in the world. The latter was successful in caring for and finding new homes for its charges. UNRWA kept the Palestinians in the camps, and the Arab nations and Palestinian groups have ensured that this remains the case up until the present day. The sole purpose of keeping the refugees and their descendants—who now number in the millions—in place was to use them as a weapon against Israel. They sit in camps like Shuafat still being told that someday they will return to their old places of residence when Israel ceases to be a Jewish state.
That the camps have become awful slums is a function of the refusal of the world body, or the Arab world, to contemplate any solution other than the so-called “right of return,” which would mean the destruction of Israel. That they are not only poverty-stricken but hotbeds of anti-Israel extremism and terror is hardly surprising. In Shuafat’s case, the residents’ plight was worsened by the terrorist war of attrition launched by Yasir Arafat, which forced Israel to erect a barrier that succeeded in stopping the suicide bombings. . . .
Israel may be accused of lacking sympathy for the refugees, but it lacks the power to improve conditions in Shuafat or other camps in the West Bank, let alone Hamas-run Gaza. The responsibility belongs solely to UNRWA and the Palestinian leadership, both of which remain content to continue the same cynical policies. . . . When biased media ignore this fact, the biggest losers are the refugees.
Will the Palestinian Authority Pay Salaries to Arsonists?
DEC. 7 2016
Mahmoud Abbas received much praise for sending teams of Palestinian firefighters to help their Israeli counterparts put out the wave of fires sweeping through Israel. But, as Itamar Marcus points out, this gesture means little if the PA rewards the terrorists who started the fires in the first place:
According to Palestinian law, . . . anyone imprisoned [by Israel] for “resisting the occupation” receives a high monthly salary. Therefore, all of those convicted and imprisoned for arson will receive PA salaries “from the day of arrest until the day of release.” . . . Today there are approximately 7,000 Palestinian prisoners on the PA payroll. The PA rewards them every month for terrorism, and this generous arrangement will cost the PA NIS 488 million in 2016 alone, according to the PA’s publicized budget.
If Abbas was ever serious about stopping the PA’s ongoing support for terrorism, he now has the perfect opportunity to make a difference. Instead of merely enjoying complimentary headlines and nice photo-ops of Palestinian firemen with Israelis, Abbas should decree that the arsonists will not receive PA salaries. . . . Should Abbas insist on adding the imprisoned arsonists to the PA payroll, his hypocrisy in sending a few fire engines to Israel will be exposed to the world.
Should Abbas decide to deny salaries to the arsonists, this may indicate the beginning of a fundamental change in the PA attitude toward terrorism. However, if Abbas cancels salaries only to the arsonists, it will not be enough. If he says to the world that the PA will not pay salaries to those who burned trees, rocks, and homes while it continues to pay salaries to murderers of men, women and children, his values and behavior, which cause many to see him as a terrorist leader, will remain unchanged. . . . Right now while he has the world’s attention, having made this small gesture in the direction of peace, let him take a serious step.