Given UNRWA's standards, eventually all humans will be Palestine refugees.
Steven J. Rosen, Middle East Forum
In The Ever-Growing Palestinian Problem, Daniel Pipes notes how the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has mangled the definition of what constitutes a Palestinian Arab refugee.
Though only 150,000 of UNRWA's count of 750,000 refugees remain alive today, UNRWA acknowledges that according to their bizarre definitions, the number of Palestinian refugees has ballooned:
When the Agency started working in 1950, it was responding to the needs of about 750,000 Palestine refugees. Today, 5 million Palestine refugees are eligible for UNRWA services. [emphasis added]How has UNRWA allowed the Palestinian refugee problem to so get out of control?
Pipes notes 3 steps UNRWA has taken that exacerbates the Palestinian refugee problem by expanding the definition:
- First, and contrary to universal practice, UNRWA continued the refugee status of those Arabs became citizens of an Arab state (Jordan in particular).
- Second, UNRWA made a little-noticed decision in 1965 that extended the definition of “Palestine refugee” to the descendants of those refugees who are male, a shift that permits Palestine refugees uniquely to pass their refugee status on to subsequent generations. The U.S. government, the agency’s largest donor, only mildly protested this momentous change. The U.N. General Assembly endorsed it in 1982, so that now the definition of a Palestine refugee officially includes “descendants of Palestine refugee males, including legally adopted children.”
- Third, UNRWA in 1967 added refugees from the Six Day War to its rolls; today they constitute about a fifth of the Palestine refugee total.
rather than the population diminishing to a fifth of its original size over six decades, UNRWA has the population of refugees increasing almost sevenfold. That number could grow faster yet due to the growing sentiment that female refugees should also pass on their refugee status. Even when, in about 40 years, the last actual refugee from mandatory Palestine dies, pseudo-refugees will continue to proliferate. Thus is the “Palestine refugee” status set to swell indefinitely.And as the the suffering and instability resulting from UNRWA's colossal mismanagement only increases, the Middle East suffers the consequences.
Pipes concludes with the observation that the UNRWA needs to narrow down the definition of "Palestinian refugee" before it does further damage--but considering the benefits the Arab world feels it has reaped by perpetuating this crisis, such an outcome is unlikely.