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UNRWA – Who asked you?

Yair Lapid

Yair Lapid

The writer is a member of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and chairman of the leftist Yesh Atid Party. 

The United Nations has been taken hostage. It’s time to rescue it.

UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness harshly criticized our decision to demolish the homes of two terrorists who last December stabbed two Israelis to death at the Jaffa Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City.

I have one question for Mr. Gunness: Who asked you? UNRWA is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. Its role is clearly defined. It is supposed to help Palestinians find work and if they can’t find work then to assist them with food and medication.

That’s it. It doesn’t have another role. There is nothing in UNRWA’s mandate which justifies intervention in Israel’s security matters.

There is nothing in Chris Gunness’s past which qualifies him to give us advice on how to protect ourselves or to act as judge in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

140723-unrwa-school-gaza-330a_1c0a5b39a9dad24441f189f588e3118dBut if we’re already speaking, Chris, I have few more questions: Why doesn’t the State of Israel appear on maps in UNRWA schools? If you condemn violence, why were you silent when it became clear that an UNRWA building was used as a hiding place for a terrorist tunnel used to kill three Israeli soldiers? Why are you silent when gays are persecuted and churches burned down in Gaza? Why are the Palestinians the only people in the world who can inherit the status of refugee from their parents? Why can someone be born in Qatar, live in a villa in Paris, hold a Spanish passport and still be considered a Palestinian refugee? Why is it that among the 23,000 UNRWA employees there are so many Hamas people (I didn’t say that, Chris. As you know, the commissioner-general of your organization said so himself)?

In fact, why is it that only the Palestinians have a refugee agency of their own? What do they deserve that the 21.5 million refugees from Tibet, Darfur, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere don’t? How is it that, since UNRWA was founded in 1950, the number of refugees has multiplied from 750,000 to over five million (!) without a single Palestinian being expelled? Is UNRWA creating refugees?
And I also have a question to the citizens of the United States: Do you know that your taxpayer dollars fund this insanity?

A well-organized global campaign

And not only this. UNRWA didn’t grow in a vacuum. It is part of a well-organized global anti-Semitic campaign in which a number of UN agencies take a suspiciously active role.
Take for example the UN Human Rights Council. Its treatment of Israel strayed from the boundaries of legitimate criticism long ago.

palestinian-girl-with-flag-in-front-on-unrwa-logoIn the past decade the council has voted for 61 resolutions condemning human rights abuses across the world and 67 resolutions which condemned Israel.

That’s not a mistake. The council has condemned Israel, a democratic country which upholds international law, more times than the rest of the world combined.

A short reminder: In the past decade more than 400,000 people have been massacred in Syria; there were wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Ukraine; in China and Iran there are daily executions.

But the facts don’t interest the UN Human Rights Council. It continues to condone the murderers and condemn Israel where the rights of women and the LGBT community are protected, where elections are free and the media is free, where Arab citizens sit in parliament and on the Supreme Court, in the military and in every government office.

The World Health Organization’s other “mission”

And it doesn’t stop there. Let’s take a quick look at the World Health Organization–another agency connected to the UN–which not long ago held its annual meeting. As expected, the meeting dealt with questions of life expectancy, mortality, the spread of disease and the need for vaccines.

But the assembly also included one exception: It included a harsh condemnation of only one country in the entire world–Israel. The resolution condemned what it coined the “Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights.” There was no explanation how this might be relevant to health issues. Two hundred meters from the Israeli Golan, in Syria, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are being massacred and that wasn’t mentioned even once in the resolution.

In fact, the only connection between the Israeli Golan and health issues is that for the past few years Israel has quietly rescued hundreds of Syrian children who were wounded in the fighting, and treated them in our hospitals.

The resolution also contained a series of false “facts” based on disgraceful Palestinian propaganda in a report presented to the WHO.

For example, the report argues that “Israel injects Palestinians with viruses which cause cancer.”

This is a monstrous accusation which wouldn’t be out of place in [Hitler’s propaganda newspaper] Der Stürmer.

The report was also decorated with photographs meant to enhance the drama. One, which was captioned, “Taken during the Israeli war on Gaza 2014,” is an image of a simulated attack on Tehran which appeared on a popular blog a few years ago. The mountains surrounding the Iranian capital were removed using Photoshop to increase credibility.

Another photograph is captioned, “The devastation caused by the Israeli war on Gaza in 2014.” It was actually taken in Beirut in the early 2000s. All this, in an official United Nations report which is distributed and quoted.

The United Nations vs. Israel: 136 to 1

How did this happen? The UN underwent a hostile takeover.

The 136 countries of the Non-Aligned Movement serve today as an automatic majority against Israel in every vote in every UN agency.

A large number are Islamic states, others rely on oil money. They allow themselves to behave like that because they discovered that the democratic nations are silent.

But why are they silent? They could put a stop to it.

The United States funds 22 percent of the UN budget. In fact six countries–the United States, Japan, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany–fund around 65 percent of the entire UN budget. All that is required of those countries is to raise their voices and say they refuse to allow this to continue, and then this wild and distorted attack against Israel would end.

The UN has been taken hostage. It’s time to rescue it.