The number of refugees around the world is staggering.
The masses of people forced to flee their homes across the world has exceeded 50,000,000 for the first time since World War II.
50,000,000 men, women and children—refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced human beings. If they are lucky, they get food and a tent from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The dedicated people of UNHCR are spread across the globe in 126 countries with a staff of 8,600. Their budget in the last few years has literally doubled to over six billion dollars, and last year they helped over 10,400,000 displaced persons. Their stated goals are to keep the refugees alive, and give them hope and a home until they can return to their original homes, or if that is not possible, settle permanently either where they are now located, or in another country.
Over six decades, the UNHCR has helped 60,000,000 helpless people. The average stay of displaced persons can be anywhere from seven to twelve years. They usually arrive with the clothes on their back and often with no documents.
UNHCR needs all the help it can get! Just in the last three years, there are more than 2,500,000 Syrians who have fled over the borders of their country, with another 6,500,000 displaced within Syria.
ISRAELI MESSIANIC JEWS AND ARAB CHRISTIANS PARTICIPATE
Our own Israeli Messianic Jews and Arab Christians are helping refugees through their own channels—through local Arab churches in Jordan and Iraq. They tell us it seems like everyone they meet has lost family to murderous terrorist groups or to the Syrian government’s military bombings.
(We have been honored to send the funds of our Maoz contributors through Israeli Messianic believers to both Jordan and Iraq to help the refugees. Next month we will give you a report!)
A SECOND UN-HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATION—UNRWA
However, there is another UN humanitarian aid organization—UNRWA—the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees. Its goals and bylaws are completely different than those of UNHCR. UNRWA is the UN humanitarian organization that aids only one group of people—the Palestinians.
It was established to be a temporary organization to give relief help to the Arabs living in the area and prepare them for the time when international assistance would no longer be available. That was 65 years ago.
Today UNRWA bankrolls nearly 5,000,000 Arabs, has 30,000 employees, many of them from the Hamas organization, and a budget of over $1 billion a year.
There are huge differences between these two UN organizations. According to U.S. law, a refugee by definition is an individual who is personally displaced, or is a spouse or an underage dependent of such an individual. The UNHCR, which works around the globe, basically adheres to this definition.
A REFUGEE FOREVER AND EVER
However, with UNRWA, the humanitarian organization for Palestinians alone, there is no such definition. Today we have Palestinian children to the 5th generation of original Arab refugees, who are still considered refugees—that is, great great grandchildren of refugees. More than 95% of today’s UNRWA refugees were not even alive when Israel was born in 1948, were never personally displaced by Israel’s creation, and are only designated as refugees because to them this status has become a birthright by the UN.
If the Palestinians were regarded like all other refugees in the world, there would be only a few thousand original Palestinian refugees left in the world, and one of the main barriers to peace between Israel and the Palestinians would have vanished.
Furthermore, according to the worldwide UNHCR organization, when a refugee receives citizenship in another country, he is no longer considered a refugee, period. Not so with the Palestinians, 40% of whose parents several generations back received Jordanian citizenship. In fact, even if a Palestinian descendent of a refugee receives citizenship in America or Sweden, he is still considered by UNRWA a refugee.
THE WEST DOES NOTHING … BUT PAY
Amazingly, the U.S., whose taxpayers donate over $300 million a year to the Palestinians, defends this definition. The European Union contributes another $500,000. It is clear that the West is simply so afraid of a violent uprising if the Palestinians were to lose their monthly birthright benefits, that taking them off the dole is not an option.
Actually, those who call themselves Palestinians have never had their own state. Before Israel was birthed, the land was under the control of the Ottoman Empire for 400 years, and then the British Empire for 31 years. Lastly, Jordan invaded the West Bank and occupied it for 19 years. Should the Holy Land be given back to Britain? To the Ottoman Empire? Ludicrous.
As I pointed out, more than three quarters of the yearly billion dollars given to UNRWA comes from democratic nations. As far as the Arabs are concerned, Saudi Arabia, whose leaders attend UN conferences in gold-plated Boeing 747’s, currently chip in $12,000,000, Turkey $8,000,000 and another oil-rich country, Qatar—which together with Iran, are the greatest funders of terror in the world—give exactly zero to their Palestinian brothers. It is only in speeches that they exhibit their intense concern.
WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?
But just as important, we need to know how UNRWA spends its money. First of all, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has accumulated wealth estimated at $100,000,000. This does not begin to include the wealth of other high-up Palestinian politicians. But how is the rest spent?
UNRWA reports that half of its money is spent on education. One of UNWRA’s core values is educating Palestinian children in their UNWRA schools to believe that one day, through war, they will destroy Israel and take back their land.
You don’t believe it? Check out the documentary, CAMP JIHAD by David Bedein which can be viewed on YouTube. The Palestinian teachers in that documentary gladly tell the viewer how important it is to educate their young that taking back their stolen “homeland” is their primary goal in life. Hamas clearly directs the school curriculum with UNWRA’s full cooperation.
The instructors make the children memorize the names of every village they claim their grandparents and great grandparents came from, telling the children that these villages belong to them and one day will again be theirs.
Understand that when you see a sign that says “FREE PALESTINE,” it means “DESTROY ISRAEL.”
GOD’S FINAL WORD ON THE LAND
Here’s the reality. Because UNRWA feeds and cares for the Palestinians in Gaza, the Hamas terrorist organization has much more time and money to concentrate on building terror tunnels and rockets and missiles to attack Israel.
But it gets worse. UNRWA for years has thwarted any new attempt to help absorb refugees. In 2010 the outgoing UNRWA director Andrew Whitley dared to suggest that since the refugees would most likely not be able to conquer Israel, it would be good if UNRWA would concentrate on resettling the refugees rather than perpetuating their refugee status. Mr. Whitley backed down when confronted with an outpouring of rage and criticism from UNRWA’s UN leadership, its 30,000 employees, the Palestinian Authority, and of course Hamas and many Arab states.
I think if I had the sufficient boldness, I would have titled this article God vs. UNRWA. If you ask why I would give it this name, just read the following passage of Scripture in the Book of Psalms:
O seed of Abraham His servant,
You children of Jacob, His chosen ones!
He is the Lord our God…
He remembers His covenant forever,
The word which He commanded, for a thousand generations,
The covenant which He made with Abraham,
And His oath to Isaac,
And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute,
To Israel as an everlasting covenant,
Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan
As the allotment of your inheritance.”
How could God make it any clearer than this, that the Holy Land was given as an inheritance to the Jewish people?
But, don’t think for a moment that God doesn’t love the Palestinian people—and all the Arab people. He created them and he loves them. He gave the Arabs a huge chunk of land—much of it is still available for development to create a good life for its inhabitants. It is twice the size of the U.S—all of Northern Africa to the Arabian Peninsula, belonging to the 370,000,000 Arabs.
But the point here is that God gave the Land of Canaan to Israel. And even if the whole world comes against the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as the prophets foretold will happen, Israel will inherit her own small but precious land—because God promised it.
The Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. Arab nations together with UNWRA have indoctrinated these 4th and 5th generations of refugees to refuse permanent settlement, and instead to look towards the day when they will eliminate Israel and create their own Arab Muslim state on the ashes of the Jewish State. (Photo: REUTERS)
The Israeli Arab conflict is not over how much land Israel should keep or give to the Palestinians. The Arab people have 672 times more land than the Jewish people! The conflict exists because the Arabs want the 673rd portion as well—the sliver that currently belongs to Israel. These Palestinian Muslims have been taught since birth that Israel has no right to exist. The spirit driving the Muslim peoples against Israel has one goal: annihilation.
No matter how much land Israel might give to the Palestinians, it will not bring peace, for the battle is spiritual. Satan wants to destroy Israel. I can understand why citizens of other nations living far away find this hard to believe. But the citizens of Israel face this every day.
Our nation is in strife with no end in sight. Hatred and anguish, built up over the years, has exploded in both Jewish and Arab hearts. The Jews continue to fight for their lives and the Arabs are fighting for the “liberation of Palestine.”
In 1974, Philip Goodhart, member of the British parliament wrote the following: “The plight of the Arab refugees is depressing; but it is by no means unique.” Both British and Israeli records estimate the number of Arab men, women and children who left their homes in Palestine during 1948 to be between 550,000 and 600,000.
“Even if one excludes from one’s calculations all refugees who left their homes temporarily to avoid local fighting, the Arab exodus from Palestine is only the twelfth largest movement of refugees to take place since the end of World War II.”
WHY NOT ABSORB THEM LIKE EVERYONE ELSE?
“For example, by the second week in October 1947 it had been reported in the New York Times that 2,388,000 Moslems had moved from India into Pakistan and 2,644,000 Hindus had fled from Pakistan into India.
“Before this mass flight stopped in April 1950, the most conservative estimates suggest that at least 4,000,000 Moslems and more than 4,000,000 Hindus left their homes. The estimates of the number of refugees driven from their homes by the first partition of India range between eight and eleven million.
“In Europe the post-war movements of population have been measured more precisely. Official West German statistics show that by September 1950 almost 3,000,000 Sudeten Germans had been expelled from Czechoslovakia. Of these, 2,068,000 had settled in West Germany or Austria and 916,000 in East Germany.
“Between 1949 and the building of the Berlin Wall in August 1961 a further 2,739,000 refugees from East Germany registered at official reception centers in West Germany. The total number of refugees from East Germany is more than 3,500,000. Even this figure is dwarfed by the 6,750,000 Germans who left their homes in the Provinces annexed by Poland.”
Goodhart continues that in Africa, during the civil war in Nigeria, well over 1,000,000 Ibos arrived in Eastern Nigeria as refugees. Another million Frenchmen and pro-French Arabs fled during the Algerian War. More than a million refugees from North Korea settled in South Korea after the North Korean attack in 1950, and another million Chinese have fled the Mainland for Hong Kong.
“When Vietnam was partitioned in 1956, 800,000 North Vietnamese, many of whom were Roman Catholic, moved to South Vietnam to escape from Ho Chi Minh’s regime. During the major Communist offensives in the mid-1960’s more than 1,000,000 South Vietnamese also moved out of their homes into temporary refugee camps.
“In the Middle East itself the exodus of Jews from Arab lands has been even larger than the flight of Arabs from Israel. In 1948 there were almost 850,000 Jews in Arab lands ranging from Iraq to Morocco. By 1973 there were less than 50,000.
“There is, however, one factor which distinguishes the bulk of the Arab refugees from the millions of people who have left their homes and countries in the last 40 years because of political, ethnic, or religious pressures. Every one of the non-Arab countries that received a flood of refugees did their best to resettle the new arrivals. India, Pakistan, Western Germany, Biafra, South Vietnam, Hong Kong and Israel all launched successful programs of absorption.”
PALESTINIAN REFUGEES MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO SETTLE DOWN
“On the other hand, in most of the Arab countries where the Palestinians moved, strenuous efforts were made to prevent or to limit the resettlement of the refugees. The reason for their unprecedented callousness to their own brethren on the part of many Arab leaders was avowedly political. If the Arab refugees were to find new jobs and new homes in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, they might easily settle down and lose their sense of Palestinian identity and their yearning for their old homes.
“While the Arab policy towards their own refugees may have been inhuman, it would be idle to deny that it has been a brilliant success politically. The whole world knows about the sufferings of the Palestinian Arabs. Meanwhile almost everyone has forgotten Israel’s valiant and largely successful efforts to integrate the Jewish refugees from Arab lands. Once again too many people, and too many governments, have been prepared to adopt a double standard instead of studying the facts.
“A lasting solution to the whole sad problem can only be found when all concerned recognize that there has been a double exodus, involving a lasting exchange of people. The Arab departure from Israeli territory must be balanced against the flight of an even larger number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands.”
So let’s summarize.
Why is there an Arab refugee problem in Israel? Because the Islamic nations have kept the Arab refugees purposely in refugee camps. They were convinced that if they kept them in dire want, in miserable conditions, with no future possibility to build their lives in any Arab country, then one day these same refugees would explode in frenzied hatred and throw Israel into the sea. That is still the plan.
The problem of Arab refugees began on November 29, 1947. The U.N. Partition Resolution provided for the setting up of a Jewish state and a second Arab state in what Britain called Palestine. Notice that the UN declared two states for Arabs and Jews. There was no entity known as Palestinians in 1947. The Palestinian myth began to take shape in the late 1950’s and gained ground after the Six Day War when Israel captured its ancient city Jerusalem and the Biblical Judea and Samaria plus the Gaza Strip. (The first Arab State in the Holy land had already been established as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.)
Even though the proposed area for a Jewish State was tiny, the Jews accepted the U.N. resolution. But the Arabs of Palestine fiercely rejected it, and the next day new Arab riots and attacks on the Jewish population began. The attacks were stimulated by the infiltration of terrorists from neighboring Arab countries.
When Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, according to the U.N. resolution, declared Israel an independent Jewish State on May 14, 1948, six Arab nations invaded and attacked the very next day. The local Arabs began fleeing to nearby countries when the Arab radio stations carried continuous messages urging Arabs within Israel to leave their homes, so that the invading armies could mop up and drive the Jews into the sea. The Arab civilians were promised that they would soon be back to take the spoils.
THE WEALTHY AND THE POWERFUL LEFT FIRST
In addition, many Arabs left because, as the Commander of the British Troops at that time, General Sir Hugh Stockwell, put it: “The Arab leaders left first, and no one did anything to stop the mass exodus, which became first a rush, and then a panic.”
One hundred sixty thousand Arabs did stay, or were allowed to return to their families soon after the Independence War. The Israeli Government, which had spent two millennia experiencing exile and eviction, did not sanction or tolerate a policy of driving out the Arabs. We must interject that there were some isolated cases of evicting Arabs from their homes in the heat of the battle. But by far the main reason Arabs fled is because they were told to by the Arab nations who invaded Israel.
Indeed, record after record shows the government of Israel, the local Israeli municipalities, the unions, and the Israeli army, pleaded with the local Arabs not to flee.
But these Palestinians believed there would be a swift and sweeping Arab victory. Meanwhile they were anxious to spare themselves the temporary danger and discomfort that might have to be endured if they stayed put while the Jews were being expelled.
In contrast to the British and Israeli census of 550,000 to 600,000 refugees, the Arabs claim that some 900,000 Arabs had fled, and by 1950, had 1,019,000 on UN rations. Friends and relatives in the surrounding countries joined as refugees, births were quickly recorded, and many times deaths were not reported, thus increasing the number of refugees on record. Literally any Arab in the area who came from anywhere in the Middle East could claim that he and his clan had come from Haifa or Jaffa or any other place now within Israel’s borders. That claim made him an officially registered Palestinian refugee.
Again during the Six-Day War another 250,000 Arabs left, about half of them “old refugees” who had gone to the West Bank or Gaza in 1948. As the Arabs fled, a Custodian Council was appointed within Israel to register all abandoned property. It was valued at about 100,000,000 British pounds, a huge amount in 1950. The Israeli government offered to pay compensation, but the Arab governments refused to accept any lump sum as a basis for negotiations. They didn’t want money, no matter the amount. They wanted the land.
In 1964, the Palestinian National Covenant, approved by all the countries of the Arab League, stated that the whole of Palestine, including the State of Israel, is Palestinian territory and the property of the Palestinian people. The State of Israel should cease to exist and only those Jews, whose families had been there since 1917 (when the British took the Holy Land from the Ottoman Empire), should be allowed to remain.
Mr. Ralph Galloway, a former head of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNWRA) in Jordan in August 1958 stated, “The Arab States do not want to solve the refugee problem. They want to keep it as an open sore, as an affront to the United Nations and as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders don’t care (he used stronger language Ed.) whether the refugees live or die.”
PALESTINIAN REFUGEES “USED”
Arab governments regarded the destruction of the State of Israel as a more pressing matter than the welfare of the Palestinian refugees. Palestinian bitterness and hatred had to be fanned. The Arab nations made sure that the Palestinian refugees continued to live in poverty and misery.
Many attempts have been made to resettle the refugees. For example, Egypt from 1948 to 1967 had closed off the Gaza Strip (26 miles long, four to five miles wide) and made it a ghetto. Even though Egypt claimed the Gaza strip as her own, she would not give the Gazans Egyptian citizenship. In 1950, UNWRA put forth a plan to move 100,000 Gazans to Libya. Egypt blocked the plan.
UNWRA tabled a plan to move 50,000 to 60,000 Palestinian refugees to Northern Sinai. Again Egypt vetoed the plan. Egypt had no desire to be seen cooperating in the resettlement of Arab refugees anywhere except in Israel.
In the years 1952-54, UNWRA sought to negotiate with Syria for the resettlement of up to 85,000 refugees living in Syria and Lebanon. Syria said no.
It is reasonable to say that up to 4,000,000 Arab refugees would now be living in permanent homes if their families of several generations ago had been allowed in the late 50’s to resettle. But the Arab nations wouldn’t allow it.
The most serious development in the last couple of decades, as can be seen in the former article, is that UNWRA has absorbed the Arab narrative that all of Israel is really occupied land that belongs to the Arabs, not the Jews. UNWRA has become the eternal Palestinian refugees’ main advocate and promoter. Their 30,000 employees, mostly Muslim, depend on UNWRA for employment and encouragement that one day they will be able to conquer and destroy Israel in order to return to their grandparents and great grandparents’ supposed homeland.
And who has paid for the refugees’ upkeep which has cost the world many billions of dollars? Certainly not the Arab nations. As late as 2004 they were donating 5% of the budget. The U.S. gave 70%. The Soviet Union and the Soviet block countries, which have shed so many crocodile tears for the Palestinian refugees, have not given a penny.
The Western powers have never received a word of thanks from the Arab world. Instead they have been depicted as ruthless and extortionate “imperialists” and the enemies of the Arab people.
It has been pointed out that every refugee could be permanently resettled and housed with just 10 days of oil revenues from the Arab barrels, and the problem would be over. Obviously that is far from the Arab nations’ plans. Rather their war plan is this:
- The maximum number of Palestinian refugees should be encouraged to retain “refugee status.” This would enable all concerned to assert an enduring and inalienable right to return to former homes in Israel.
- Palestinian refugees should not be encouraged to integrate themselves into the life of the Arab countries in which they find themselves. Should they do so, they run the risk of losing any desire to return to their old homes—thus improving the state of Israel’s chance of survival.
- The Arab nations should not be responsible to feed, clothe or educate the refugees, since their status is an affront to the Arab world. Rather the outside powers, who allow Israel to exist, should pay for their upkeep.
- Any attempts to improve the refugees’ lot, to re-house them or give them jobs, should be resisted with every possible means. A better life will cause them to forget that their mission is to make Israel an Islamic State.
As we all know, the plan that the Arab nations have conceived has served their goals well. Decades of riots, wars and unrest with Israel’s desperate attempt to quell them has kept the Palestinian refugees before the public eye more than any other refugees in world history.
The goal, one must never forget, is that the refugees be used as the means to replace Israel with another Arab Muslim state.
Alas, the 22 Arab countries possessing land twice the size of the U.S. cannot accept one tiny Jewish state in her historic home, now approximately 263 miles in length and at its narrowest point, 9.3 miles wide; a country smaller than the state of New Jersey.
However, what the Moslems do not know—and even many Israelis—is that in spite of it all, Israel will continue to exist, until the throne of David is re-established, and the Messiah comes back to reign in the Jewish city of Jerusalem.
Through the Internet, we can reach multitudes of Israelis including 1,000,000 Israelis living outside of Israel.
INTERNET IS THE PRESENT
There is no medium, no vehicle that can begin to compare with the Internet for linking our people to the message of Hope, Peace and Everlasting Life.
There is no means comparable to warn of the Day of the Lord that will come upon all mankind when each individual will be judged with what he did with his or her life.
We at Maoz are building a media team of Israelis to reach our generation.
AND THE FUTURE
We have rented an empty space in which we are beginning to construct an Internet TV studio.
Perhaps there is no more expensive tool that exists with which to reach our generation.
But neither is there a more effectual way, bursting with opportunity, to bring the Good News of the Living Word, Yeshua the Messiah to the nation of Israel.