Time for Canada to join others and end UNRWA funding

I understand that Canada restored funding for UNRWA in 2016 and this year will contribute $50 million to this organization.

While I, like most Canadians, would like to help refugees from the various conflicts which go on around the world, there are

aspects of UNRWA which I find very disturbing.

1) The United Nations refugee organization (UNHCR) was created to help the many refugees resulting from the many conflicts which arise around the world. UNRWA serves one specific group of refugees (Palestinians) . I do not understand why this one specific group of refugees gets it’s own dedicated refugee organization while the many other refugees have to make do with UNHCR.

2) UNRWA uses a unique definition of who is a refugee so that the original displaced person and all of their descendants are considered to be PERMANENT refugees, regardless of any change in circumstances (such as permanent settlement in another area). As a result,the original 500,000 displaced Palestinians have now expanded to about 5 million. No other conflict anywhere on the globe has produced PERMANENT refugees. Why does Canada support an organization that is not trying to solve a refugee problem but is rather devoted to perpetuating it?

3) One of UNRWA’s major activities is to run schools for Palestinian children. Many studies have shown that the teaching and the textbooks used in these schools do not prepare these children for peaceful lives but rather encourage them to hate an enemy, look forward to attacking and exterminating that enemy and to become suicide martyrs. UNRWA was supposed to take action to eliminate this teaching of hatred and violence and the funding was supposed to be contingent on this action but after several years there is no evidence that there has been any reform. Several countries have suspended UNRWA funding because of this lack of reform. Why do Canadian taxpayers continue to fund the teaching of hatred and violence (and the use of UNRWA facilities for military purposes)?

Gordon Vineberg


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