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Resources updated between Monday, October 07, 2019 and Sunday, October 13, 2019

October 13, 2019

October 12, 2019

Screenshot of UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl speaking at a press conference

"...While the General Assembly resolution establishing UNRWA called for the alleviation of distress among the Palestine refugees, it also stated that 'constructive measures should be undertaken at an early date with a view to the termination of international assistance for relief.' In other words, the new refugee agency's mission was intended to be temporary.

By 2018, the 'temporary' UNRWA had been transformed into a bloated international bureaucracy with a staff of 30,000 and an annual budget of around $1.2 billion. As for the number of Palestinians registered by UNRWA as refugees, that had mushroomed to 5.6 million as a result of its decision to bestow refugee status upon 'descendants of Palestine refugees' in perpetuity – children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The growth in UNWRA's client base was therefore exponential year on year, justifying an ever-expanding staff and an ever-increasing budget.

It was at this point that US President Donald Trump decided enough was enough. He slashed US funding from $364 million to $60 million and announced that, from 2019, US funding would cease.
On July 20, 2019, it suddenly emerged that seven months previously, a 10-page confidential internal report, with input from dozens of current and former UNRWA staff, had been sent to UN Secretary General António Guterres. According to the Agence France-Presse news agency, the report alleged that UNWRA's commissioner general, Pierre Krähenbühl, and other top officials, had been guilty of a range of abuses including 'sexual misconduct, nepotism, retaliation, discrimination and other abuses of authority, for personal gain, to suppress legitimate dissent, and to otherwise achieve their personal objectives.'
All in all, the Palestinian refugee story is one of heartless exploitation of Arabs by Arabs – the callous manipulation of powerless victims for political ends, with little regard for their welfare or human rights. Whatever the result of the inquiry into the UNRWA ethics report, this inhumanity must be brought out into the open, the UNRWA farce of 'refugee status' in perpetuity must be ended, and steps must be taken to allow people and their families who may have lived in a country for 50 years or more to settle and become full citizens."

UNRWA under scrutiny Document

October 11, 2019

Screenshot of security footage

UK: Stabbing attack in Manchester an 'act of terrorism' Document

A Kurdish refugee camp in Turkey (File photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Civilians rush to escape Turkish airstrikes in northern Syria Document

October 10, 2019

Antisemitic graffiti in a Jewish cemetary in Moldova (File photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The U.N. antisemitism report's shortcomings Article

Screen grab from one of the young women who posted their dance videos on Instagram.

Three Young Women Arrested In Iran For Publishing Their Dance Videos Document

This image shared on social media shows the alleged shooter in Halle, Germany, on October 9, 2019.

Two Dead in German Synagogue Attack on Yom Kippur Document

October 8, 2019

Iranian Kurdish singer Mohsen Lorestani (Photo courtesy social media)

Iran charges famous Kurdish singer with being gay, faces execution Document

A German police car (File photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

German truck attack by Syrian immigrant that injured eight people seen as 'act of terrorism' Document

October 7, 2019

Iraqi police (File photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Iraqi police fire on protesters in new unrest, death toll passes 100 Document

An UNRWA building in Jerusalem (File photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

"'Direct pressure' by donors is the most likely way to induce the United Nations Relief and Works Agency to change, former UNRWA general counsel James Lindsay told JNS as the 74th session of the U.N. General Assembly came to a close last week in New York.

Speaking from Geneva, Lindsay-the only former senior UNRWA official ever to have written a thorough critique of the agency, which is tasked with serving 5.6 million Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, eastern Jerusalem, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan-told JNS that while the renewal of the agency's mandate in the coming months was 'pretty much a foregone conclusion,' donor countries can still have a very significant impact. (The agency's mandate must be renewed every three years.) Donors countries should be encouraged to do 'the right thing,' he said, by 'pressure and embarrassment,' if necessary.
Lindsay detailed UNRWA's undermining of its own mission as a 'humanitarian and welfare organization focused on the immediate relief of people in distress.'

For example, he said, only 10 percent of the organization's current budget goes to basic, immediate needs, while the rest goes to education and medical care, which he called 'governmental responsibilities.'

'There is no reason why the United Nations should be providing that,' he said.

UNRWA's major structural problem, he said, is its unique definition of who qualifies as a refugee. According to the agency's definition, Palestinians who have citizenship in their host countries, including 1.8 million Jordanian citizens, are still classified as refugees. This is unlike the definition used by the U.N. Human Rights Council, which is responsible for all other refugees around the world.
'From a practical standpoint,' Lindsay told JNS, 'I suspect all member states already know that the UNRWA definition of a refugee should, from a moral and legal standpoint, be made identical to the definition for all other refugees in the world.'..."

UNRWA must evolve or dissolve, says former senior agency official Article

French police (File photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Paris police attacker a radicalised Islamist, says French prosecutor Document