UNRWA. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East. LINKS TO TERRORISM
by Arlene Kushner


Researched and Written under the Supervision of Israel Resource News Agency
Beit Agron Press Center
37 Hillel Street, Jerusalem 94581 Israel
From North America: 800-969-9716
From Israel: 02-5300125

© Center for Near East Policy Research



The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East was established on December 8, 1949, by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 302 (IV), to “carry out…direct relief and works programmes…” for Palestinian Arab refugees. While it has evolved into a highly politicized agency, its mandate defined it as purely humanitarian.

When it began operations on May 1, 1950, UNRWA was envisioned as being a temporary agency that would dissolve when the refugee problem was resolved. As it is, by design of the Arab states, the problem has not been resolved.

A PLO document explains: “In order to keep the refugee issue alive and prevent Israel from evading responsibility for their plight, Arab countries — with the notable exception of Jordan —
have usually sought to preserve a Palestinian identity by maintaining the Palestinians’ status as refugees.”1 That is, most Arab nations have deliberately refused to absorb the refugees or give them citizenship, and have instead focused on their right to “return” to Israel. That focus was made central to the UNRWA mandate.

Thus, UNRWA’s mandate has been renewed every few years by the General Assembly (GA); its present mandate runs to June 30, 2005.

UNRWA reports to the GA. However, according to an UNRWA publication, “unlike most other UN organizations [it] is an operational agency performing specific tasks of a governmental character”…and “therefore has a highly developed administrative autonomy, with its own self-contained administration.”2 This high degree of functional autonomy is of considerable significance in understanding UNRWA’s current situation.

UNRWA operates in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Jerusalem.3 It maintains in these areas a total of 59 “camps.” These are in fact no more than run-down urban neighborhoods with two- and three-story stone block houses, built on land that had been allocated to UNRWA by respective host governments (in the case of the West Bank and Gaza, by Jordan and Egypt respectively, which administered the areas at the time of UNRWA’s founding).

Currently UNRWA focuses on its role as a service provider to the refugees, but the residential buildings in the camps were constructed by UNRWA and belong to UNRWA, which allows refugees to use them rent-free and to do expansions upward. The “rent-free” option is so attractive that in fact a good percentage of current residents of the camps are not even refugees.4 Facilities within the camps house a variety of services — schools, clinics, community centers, etc.

While there is variation, a good part of the homes provide electricity, running water, phone lines, etc; most have modern appliances. Some have been refined to the point of luxury.5

UNRWA headquarters are in Gaza and Amman; field offices are maintained in Jerusalem Beirut, and Damascus. There are currently over 24,000 employees with UNRWA. More than 99% of these are local Palestinian Arabs, almost all themselves refugees. Fewer than 100 individuals, in administrative posts, are internationals. The employment of refugees invites conflict of interest.

Unlike the UN and its specialized agencies, UNRWA has no system of assessed contributions by member states. Its operations have been financed almost entirely by voluntary contributions. Over the years this funding has come from 116 governments and the European Union.

In terms of absolute sums, the US is the largest contributor (providing some 30% of funding) and the EU is second largest. In terms of donations relative to population size and GDP per capita, the Scandinavian countries, Canada and the Netherlands head the list. Canada has also been mandated to play a crucial role in assisting with the raising of funds: it permanently holds the gavel for the Refugee Working Group, a multilateral group that is an outgrowth of the 1991 Madrid process. The Arab states have contributed minimally.6

In addition to its regular operations (the 2003 regular budget was over $320 million), UNRWA has, since September 2000, run a series of emergency campaigns.

UNRWA provides for Palestinian Arab refugees at a level that exceeds assistance for other refugees worldwide. The Palestinian Arab refugees also have a better standard of living than surrounding Palestinian Arab population. UNRWA education is superior to what is available to other Palestinians, and the refugees are among the best educated of the Palestinian Arabs. UNRWA provides health care, which is often lacking within the general population, and a support system that includes both cash allotments and foodstuffs for those who are in a situation of hardship. The UNRWA population is, in fact, the only Arab population in the world with guaranteed health, education, and welfare benefits.

The Refugees

When the GA charged UNRWA with providing care for the Palestinian Arab refugees, it did not define “refugee.” This task fell to UNRWA itself, which constructed a definition far more expansive than the one that has been applied to all other refugees in the world for more than half a century now:

Within approximately a year of UNRWA’s founding, the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) was established to take care of all other refugees. UNRWA, which was not subsumed into UNHCR, became, and remains, the only agency in the world dedicated to one single population of refugees. By 1951, the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees was in place, providing the standard for the world’s refugees with the sole exception of Palestinian Arab refugees.

UNRWA says that Palestinian Arab refugees are:

…persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict.

That Arabs in the land for as little as two years prior to the founding of Israel were counted as refugees is significant. These people were transients who had for the most part come into the land for work; they were not people whose ancestors had been on the land.

The UN Convention says nothing about descendants of refugees also being classified as refugees. Yet UNRWA counts patrilineal descendants. We are currently looking at the fourth generation of Palestinian Arab refugees.

The UN Convention exempts from refugee status a person who “has acquired a new nationality and enjoys the protection of the of the country of his new nationality.” The UNRWA definition makes no mention of newly acquired nationality. Those who have such nationality (in particular Palestinian refugees living in Jordan and possessing full Jordanian citizenship) are still classified as refugees.

Current Figures
Depending on the source cited, the number of refugees who fled from the land of Israel in 1948-49 is counted as somewhere between 540,000 and 750,000.

UNRWA currently claims 4.1 million registered refugees. This figure includes not only original refugees and their descendants, but some falsely registered half a century ago and their descendants,7 as well as some who have achieved citizenship elsewhere.

UNRWA claims that this number is operational, i.e., applies only to those needing assistance, but the evidence is that the number has been politicized and is indeed much broader than that.8

Just over 30% live in the camps.; many live in areas adjacent to the camps and rely on services emanating from within the camps. The number broken down by area:
More than 1.74 million in Jordan
Almost 395,000 in Lebanon
Over 400,000 in Syria
More than 665,000 in the West Bank
More than 922,000 in Gaza

“Right of Return”

Policy and Practice
The mandate of UNRWA is predicated on UN General Assembly Resolution 194, paragraph 11, which states in its lead sentence,

…the refugees wishing to return to their homes and leave at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.

This has been interpreted as conferring upon the refugees an inalienable “right of return.” In point of fact, no such right exists:

UN General Assembly resolutions have no status in international law and are considered to be only recommendations. What is more, a careful reading of this full resolution as well as other GA resolutions from the same time period makes it clear that the GA was considering the option of resettlement for the refugees along with return. Finally, the phrase “wishing to live at peace with their neighbors” renders the entire proposition null and void, as it is patently evident that the Palestinians do not have peaceful intentions now and did not in the beginning.9

It is important to note, as well, that UNHCR is mandated to help refugees get on with their lives as quickly as possible, which in the majority of cases means resettling them in places other than where they came from. While helping them to return to their original homes is recognized as desirable, there is absolutely no notion that this must be the case.

Nonetheless, for over half a century, UNRWA has conducted itself as if there were a right of return. And the policies and practices that have emanated from this principle have had enormous repercussions in the Middle East. For it has been utilized as the rationale for maintaining the refugees indefinitely in an indeterminate status until such time as return is possible.

UNRWA has not been passive where this issue is concerned, simply supplying humanitarian services until the “return” can be achieved. It has consistently and actively promoted that return. For generations, focus within the UNRWA operation has been on the places where the refugees or their families came from. Registration cards included a code for place of origin in “pre-1948 Palestine.” The camps were originally set up according to villages as well; areas of the camps and even roads were named after villages.

And so now, down to the third and fourth generation, everyone is expected to know where he or she “came from.” And that awareness is constantly reinforced with a variety of programs.

By way of examples:

In the summer of 2000, busloads of Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendants were brought from the camp of Dheisheh to see the homes in Jerusalem they left in 1948. These tours operated throughout the summer with the cooperation of UNRWA.10

In 2001, a Palestinian group, the Higher Committee for the Return of the Refugees, was permitted by UNRWA to come into their schools in order to sharpen the awareness of the students regarding the “predicament of the refugees.” The program concentrated on introducing students to the issue of return and “bolstering their sense of belonging to the homeland [Israel within the Green Line].” The students were provided with notebooks that included in a personal information box “a line reserved for the hometown (sic) of the student.”11 These “hometowns” were the original Arab villages left behind in 1948, which have been largely replaced by Israeli cities and farms, and are most clearly places that these students have never seen.

The message being conveyed then, for half of a century, has been: Israel is yours, you have a right to return to it, you are merely biding time until you can go back, and you are at present being prevented from doing so.

Effects on the Refugees

While a great deal is made of the need to protect the “inalienable rights” of the Palestinian Arab refugees, in reality the “right of return” has worked to the detriment of the refugees in several respects:

The refugees are discouraged from thinking realistically12 in terms of how to get on with their lives.

They live in a state of suspended animation — they have no sense of permanency, and are for the most part (some living in Jordan being the exception) stateless and disenfranchised.

Not only will neither Syria nor Lebanon allow them to assimilate into the larger population, most shockingly, neither will the Palestinian Authority (PA).

From its inception, the PA refused to see the refugees as part of the Palestinian polity. In 1994, the PA made a declaration that they would not help in improving conditions in the camps because the refugees would be returning to where they came from. Subsequently, at a major meeting in Jericho in April 1996, a consensus was reached that the PA would function in the interim as a special host to the refugees in the UNRWA camps in the West Bank and Gaza, with an obligation not to undertake any steps that would undermine return.13 The refugees were not to be seen as part of the future citizenry of an anticipated Palestinian state. Yitzhak Ravid, in a 2001 study on the refugees, reported that the PA is still emphasizing that it does not want to undertake any activity that can be construed as undermining the temporary status of the refugees.14

(It should be noted that at no time has UNRWA encouraged the refugees to think of themselves as in any way part of the Palestinian polity.)

They are often maintained in less than satisfactory conditions. This is the case for at least two reasons.

Precisely because the conditions are viewed as “temporary,” there is an official reluctance to invest much in the way of energy or expense in making improvements.

Dr. Eli Lasch, who was head of medical services in Gaza for Israel’s Civil Administration until 1985, describes15 this attitude: Israeli troops entering Gaza in 1967 were shocked at the condition in which the refugees lived. However, when he attempted to improved the medical facilities and services for the refugees, he was thwarted by UNRWA.

There is, as well, a reluctance to create a situation that will decrease the refugees’ motivation to “return.” If they are too content with their current situation they might stop caring.

This attitude was clearly evidenced, for example, in a report that came out of the Balata camp near Nablus in 1997: Referring to a study that analyzed the impact of development programs in the camps on right of return, Dr. Musallam Abu Hilu of Jerusalem Open University, opined, “it may well be that development programs have an adverse effect on the refugees’ demand for return; such programs might lead to gradual and unconscious refugee integration and resettlement.”16 Return is the priority, not the well being of the refugees. Amelioration of adverse living conditions is seen is a negative if it retards the desire of the refugees to go back to original homes and villages (most of which actually no longer exist).

This was the situation in 1985, when Israel attempted to move some refugees from camps in the Nablus area into 1,300 permanent housing units that had been constructed with support from the Catholic Relief Agency. In this instance the UN intervened and the GA passed a resolution17 forbidding Israel from moving refugees out of their temporary shelters, as this would violate their “inalienable right of return.” But Israel was not demanding that the refugees relinquish their claims to return before they moved into the permanent housing. UNRWA simply did not want the refugees to feel too comfortable or too permanently settled.

Dr. Lasch18 described something similar that took place in Gaza, when Israel established a department for the Rehabilitation of the Refugees, and paid for the building of small houses for the refugees. All that was required of them “was to destroy the shack they had been living in.” UNRWA however, “was very upset and threatened they would lose their rights as refugees.”

Policy Results
Were it not for the unrelenting message delivered by UNRWA to the refugees that their rightful place is back in Israel, the refugees might have been predisposed to settling where they were, or in a third locale, and to getting on with their lives. Evidence certainly exists for this. Early reports showed a tendency on the part of refugees to be quickly assimilated where they were:
From a Lebanese journal in 1959 came the observation that “…the refugees’ inclination — in spite of the noisy chorus all about them — is towards immediate integration.”19
Emanuel Marx observed20 that by 1968, most of the refugees had found work, “were involved in the economy of the host country,” “had become urbanized in the process.”

The current record reflects this process. One-third of UNRWA registered refugees are in the camps; the two-thirds not in the camps opted, and were able at some level, to assimilate within the societies surrounding them. A statement made by UNRWA’s Deputy Commissioner-General, Karen AbuZayd, attests to this: “…if local resettlement basically means becoming self-sufficient…then the majority of Palestinian refugees would fall into that category.”21

But the unrelenting message regarding their return has been delivered to the refugees. And so we see also the hardened response to it — the evidence that the message has been absorbed:

In 1997, in the Jelazoun camp in Ramallah, resident Ali Shereka complained to a Washington Jewish Week correspondent about the dire conditions — the overcrowding and the filth — and then added, “By being in the camps, we show people outside the country that we are not living free and not living in peace.” Present was Iyad Qadi, himself a Jelazoun camp resident as well as an assistant pubic information officer for UNRWA, who reinforced this notion:

We are living in misery. Palestinians strengthen their claim to a right of return by staying in the camps. The refugees’ main concern is to show the whole world that they are still living in the camps, that their situation is terrible.22

The first Intifada broke out in December 1987, in the UNRWA refugee camps. There is a “widely circulated opinion within the Israeli Intelligence community” that this came about as a result of plans by Israel to do a massive overhaul and improvement of camp conditions. Camp residents, it is said, resisted the anticipated renovations, fearing that the Israeli government was making plans to “exile them once again.”23 Badil24 director, Ingrid Gassner Jaradat, confirms the fact that the refugees “fear development” that “could be a hidden resettlement scheme.”25

In late September 2000, after the Israeli government had declared that it was ready to relinquish sovereignty over almost all of the West Bank and Gaza, an armed rebellion broke out in the refugee camps. It was fueled by the refugees’ belief that their future was in the pre-1948 Arab villages, coupled with the realization that “return” for them was not necessarily part of the picture as the PA moved forward with its plans. They suspected their cause would be abandoned.

Quite clearly, the refugees are being used as political pawns in the on-going Arab war against Israel.

A core population of Palestinian Arab refugee lives on indefinitely in a squalid temporary situation. Laboring under false expectations that have been fostered by UNRWA, they are frustrated, mistrustful, and filled with despair. In an enormous anomaly, they have been totally discouraged from seeing a Palestinian state-in-the-making as theirs — they are disenfranchised, set apart. But the UNRWA policy of “right of return” has proved to be no solution for them at all. They have been imbued with a promise that has never been realized.

Rage that their rights are being abrogated has caused them to be radicalized. Filled with a longing to take things into their own hands, many have turned to terrorism. The terror organizations are the ones, after all, that most openly advocate destruction of Israel and establishment of a Palestinian state from the river to the sea.
It was 18 years ago that Sheila Ryan wrote26, “Is it any wonder…these dispossessed people listen to the shadowy figures who preach the efficacy of bloodshed…when all else seems to fail?” How much more so is it the case now.



Dimensions of UNRWA involvement
What is broadly referred to as “UNRWA involvement with terrorism” involves a variety of different and sometimes overlapping aspects:

Arrowthe use of UNRWA facilities by terrorists
Arrowterrorists who are in the employ of UNRWA
Arrowrefugees on the rolls of UNRWA and eligible for assistance who have terrorist connections

Recent Furor: Opening the door to public concern
In early October of 2004, several occurrences involving UNRWA and terrorism took place in rapid succession:

On October 3, in the midst of a spate of Kassam rocket attacks from Gaza aimed at Israeli civilians, the IDF announced that two days prior an IDF unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) had taken photographs of a group of Palestinian terrorists loading a Kassam rocket into a UN (i.e., UNRWA) ambulance in the Jabalya refugee camp.27

The ambulance in question had been parked suspiciously some five or six meters away from where a group of Palestinians was digging a hole to plant a large roadside bomb.28 “The question being raised is what [was] this car doing there? There [were] no injured or wounded people to evacuate from the scene at this time,” Maj. Sharon Feingold reported. “We suspect that the vehicle was not innocently standing there.”29 Earlier, an anti-tank rocket had been launched at Israeli troops from that very intersection, Feingold said.

At the same time, UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Han-sen caused a flap when he gave an interview to CBC in Canada, stating:

I am sure that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll, and I don’t see that as a crime. Hamas as a political organization does not mean that every member is a militant. We do not do political vetting and exclude people from one persuasion as against another.30

Canada — as well as the US and the EU — lists Hamas as a terrorist organization and makes no differentiation between various branches of the organization. A spokesman for the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs quickly let it be known that clarification from UNRWA would be required and that it would reconsider its $10 million annual donation if Hansen’s words accurately reflected the situation.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman in a meeting with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan requested that an investigation into the situation be launched. Annan complied, setting the process in motion.

Gideon Meir, Israeli Foreign Ministry Deputy-Director for Public Affairs, spoke to the press regarding terrorists who are using UNRWA’s medical system. “We are also witnessing terrorists shooting out of hospitals,” he said, stating that Israel had concrete evidence that would be shared with the UN investigating team.31

The four-person UN team was in Israel on October 10 and 11 for meetings — described as “positive and cooperative”32 — before returning to consult with Mr. Annan. No information was forthcoming regarding documentation provided by the Israelis. It is anticipated that a report will be issued shortly.

By October 13, the IDF, after review of the UAV photos, issued a statement saying it had regretfully erred in its original assessment that the object loaded on the ambulance was a rocket.33 It was a stretcher, as UNRWA had previously claimed.

Hansen let it be known that he was expecting an apology. This the Israelis declared they had no intention of delivering. While Hansen drew upon this single error as vindication of UNRWA, the IDF — knowing full well what documented evidence exists with regard to UNRWA-related terrorism — was having none of it. In making a retraction for one mistaken charge, Israel was in no way extending to UNRWA a blanket exoneration; it is Israel’s intention to remain focused on the numerous and deeply troubling UNRWA links to terrorism that indisputably do exist.

Suggestions of terrorist connections
Terrorism in the UNRWA refugee camps did not emerge suddenly. The signs of an UNRWA-terrorist connection presented themselves over a period of time. The earmarks were there, but not many were paying attention.

Much of this information was unofficial:

The Washington Jewish Week ran photographs of UNRWA schools decorated with Hamas and PFLP graffiti and with a map of a Palestine that ran from the Jordan to the Mediterranean, covered with pictures of machine guns.34

The New York Times revealed that UNRWA was allowing 25,000 Palestinian Arab youngsters to use their schools as military training camps; children, ages 8 to 16, were trained in the preparation of Molotov cocktails and roadside bombs.35

The Boston Globe described an UNRWA food distribution center in Beach Camp, Gaza, “decorated with murals of exploding Israeli boats and burning jeeps.”36

IDF Colonel (ret.) Yoni Fighel, a former military governor in the territories, provided information in the course of an interview with Reform Judaism Magazine. “As long as UNRWA employees are members of Fatah, Hamas, or PFLP [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine], they are going to pursue the interests of their party within the framework of their job…Who’s going to check up on them to see that they don’t? UNRWA? They are UNRWA.”37

In an interview on CNN,38 Arafat confidant Ghassan Khatib remarked that every young man in the UNRWA Balata refugee camp has his own personal weapon. This was because the local steering committee, an official UNRWA body, had voted that charitable donations received would be used for guns rather than food or other relief.

Some it was more official:

The fact, for example, that Hamas convened a conference in a school in the Jabalya refugee camp, in which the school’s administration, teachers and hundreds of students participated was reported on the website of the Israeli prime minister. Hamas leader Sheikh Yassin presented his ideological doctrine to the junior high school students present. Saheil Alhinadi, representing the teaching sector on behalf of UNRWA, praised Hamas student “activists” who carried out suicide attacks against Israel.39

What was lacking for a long time, however, was the presence of Israeli military personnel inside of the camps, which would have enabled them to directly witness what was going on and to secure more concrete information. Two and one-half years ago, that changed.

Spring 2002 and after: Solid evidence
In response to an unprecedented wave of horrendous terrorist attacks in early 2002, the IDF moved to do a sweep of the refugee camps, from which terrorism was clearly emanating. The first of these operations was called Operation Defensive Shield, starting in April 2002; other operations followed. These operations, and related arrests during this time period, shed a harsh spotlight on the camps and raised issues that had for too long ignored.

What became imminently clear is that the UNRWA camps were riddled with small-arms factories, explosives laboratories, and suicide-bombing cells, as well as Kassam-2 rocket manufacturing plants.40

A key focus of Operation Defensive Shield was the refugee camp in Jenin. On April 19, 2002, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Natan Sharansky, in a formal government briefing in Jerusalem, described the situation:

…Jenin and the refugee camp of Jenin were the heart of the terror activities. Dozens of suicide bombers were sent from that relatively small place. It had more explosive materials, this small area of the Jenin refugee camp, than most of the big cities of Judea and Samaria. Definitely, it had the highest concentration of explosive materials in this area, if not in the world.41

Alan Baker, Chief Counsel of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, stated in an interview that, “Bomb-making, indoctrination, recruiting, and dispatching of suicide bombers are all centered in the camps.”42
Dore Gold, former Israel Ambassador to the UN, was in Jenin in April 2002 and himself witnessed the presence of shahid (martyr) posters on the walls in the homes of UNRWA workers. “It was clear,” he says, “that UNRWA workers were doubling as Hamas agents.”43

A special intelligence report,44 released in December 2002, provided considerable information with regard to what had been uncovered.

A number of wanted terrorists were found hiding inside schools run by UNRWA.

A large number of youth clubs operated by UNRWA in the refugee camps were discovered to be meeting places for terrorists. For example, the UNRWA youth club at the Jabalaya refugee camp was a gathering place for Tanzim activists.

In the al-Arub refugee camp near Hebron, an official bureau of the Tanzim was established inside a building owned by UNRWA.

Ala’a Muhammad Ali Hassan, a “Tanzim” activist from Nablus, who was arrested in February 2002, confessed that he had carried out a sniper shooting from the school run by UNRWA in the al-Ayn refugee camp near Nablus. He also told his interrogators that bombs intended for terrorist attacks were being manufactured inside that school’s facilities.

Nidal Abd al-Fattah Abdallah Nazzal, a Hamas activist from Kalkilya, was arrested in August 2002. Nidal, an ambulance driver employed by UNRWA, confessed during his interrogation that he had transported weapons and explosives in an UNRWA ambulance to terrorists, and that he had taken advantage of the freedom of movement he enjoyed to transmit messages among Hamas activists in various Palestinian towns.
Nahd Rashid Ahmad Atallah, a senior official of UNRWA in the Gaza Strip who was in charge of distributing financial aid to the refugees, was arrested in August 2002. He told his interrogators that during the years 1990 through 1993, in his capacity as an UNRWA official, he had granted support to families of wanted terrorists, on behalf of Fatah and the “Popular Front.” He also revealed that during the months June and July 2002, he had used his car, an UNRWA car, for the transportation of armed members of the “Popular Resistance Committees” who were on their way to carry out sniper attacks against Israeli troops posted at the Karni passage, and a missile attack against Jewish settlements in the Northern part of the Gaza Strip. In addition to these, Nahd had used an UNRWA car to transport a 12 kg explosive charge for his brother-in-law, a militant member of the “Popular Resistance Committees,” a militant faction of the Fatah movement. He has since been tried and convicted.45

Evidence has also surfaced regarding Hamas control of the UNRWA workers unions in Gaza. This speaks directly to the statement recently made by Peter Hansen in Canada regarding members of Hamas on the UNRWA payroll and makes it clear that his remark is far more than speculation or an off-hand possibility:
In the 2003 elections for representatives of the UNRWA union in the Gaza strip, Hamas-affiliated candidates — formally identified with the Islamic Bloc described in more detail below — gained:
23 out of the 27 seats in the clerks’ sector
6 out of 7 seats in the workers’ sector
6 out of 9 seats in the services’ sector
11 out of 11 seats in the teachers’ sector

The overwhelming predominance of Hamas-affiliated individuals within the population of teachers hired by UNRWA is particularly troublesome because of their potential influence on an entire generation of refugee children, i.e., descendants of refugees.
These victories made it possible for the Hamas candidates to fully constitute the executive committee of the union.46 They represent the fourth consecutive victory for Hamas since 1990 in the elections within the UNRWA union.47

Additional information about arrests of three UNRWA employees by Israel came in 2003 from the US General Accounting Office (GAO), which was charged with doing an investigation of UNRWA operations:

UNRWA employee 1 was arrested on June 22, 2001 for possession of explosives and firearms, and for throwing firebombs at a public bus. He was convicted by an Israeli military court on May 27, 2003 and sentenced to 7.5 years in prison.

UNRWA employee 2 was arrested on February 8, 2002, as a member of Islamic Jihad, for possession of materials that could be used for explosives. He was convicted by an Israeli military court on August 11, 2003 and sentenced to 2.5 years in prison.

UNRWA employee 3 was arrested on November 13, 2002, as a member of Hamas, for possession of a machine gun and for transferring chemicals to assist a bomb-maker. He was convicted by an Israeli military court August 31, 2003 and sentenced to 32 months in prison.

On May 11, 2004, a Reuters cameraman captured video pictures of UNRWA ambulances being used to transport terrorists, firearms (and possibly the body parts of Israeli soldiers) in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City during the course of firefighting between the IDF and Palestinian terrorists.48 Pictures — in which armed Palestinians can be clearly seen entering an ambulance marked “UN”— were shown on Israel Channel 10 on May 24.49 When Israelis leveled charges, the UN denied the incident and demanded an apology. A UN spokesman subsequently conceded that armed Palestinians used the vehicle, but claimed the driver was forced into service. Israel’s deputy ambassador to the UN then observed that the driver didn’t report the incident until it was made public.50

Information has come to light, as well, regarding a memorial ceremony for Sheikh Yassin held at the UNRWA boys’ school in the Balata refugee camp on April 3, 2004. Veiled operatives held mock Kassam rockets; the families of “martyrs” were given gifts and certificates of gratitude.51

This, however, was not a one-time occurrence because of Yassin. What has become clear, as the result of investigation done exclusively for this report, is that there has been an on-going Hamas presence in UNRWA schools.

The organization involved is the very same one, mentioned above, that was delegated the role of organizing the UNRWA unions: The Islamic Bloc, which works within the framework of Hamas, is ideologically connected to it, and refers to itself as a “Jihad” organization. Dedicated to the “Islamization” of the Palestinian issue and the necessity of liberating all of the land of Palestine, it has been charged by Hamas with furthering the goal of Hamas within the schools.52 Its intention in working with schools is explicitly to prepare the next generation for the liberation of Palestine.53

Among the activities sponsored by Islamic Bloc are the following:

In the UNRWA camp of Nuseirat in Gaza, in February 2003, posters were distributed showing the coming victory to liberate Palestine.54 Two months later, a religious newsletter was published and 2,000 copies were distributed in the schools in this camp. In the junior high schools, a “spiritual week” was organized in conjunction with this, which included a march to identify with the “martyr” Muhammad el-Babli, who was active in Hamas and killed in a terrorist incident. Visits were arranged to the families of “martyrs” Tarrak Akel and Fadi al-Hoajri, who had been active in the Islamic Bloc and were killed in IDF actions.55

In the UNRWA camp of Maghazi in Gaza, in January 2003, a meal for breaking the Ramadan fast was organized for 80 students. During this event, movies were shown dealing with jihad.56 In April, a “Jihad” newsletter was distributed in two boys schools in the camp. It honored the memory of Yasser el-Masdar, of Hamas, who was killed by the IDF in a helicopter attack in 2002. This was given to teachers as well as students.57

In the UNRWA camp of Bereij in Gaza, in January 2003, an Islamic Bloc preacher gave a session for students on how to bring people closer to Islam; his presentation was in honor of two founders of Hamas, in prison in Israel.58 In April 2003, a culture day was organized at two schools. With 170 students participating at a local mosque, the emphasis was placed on the importance of Muslims falling as “martyrs.”59

There is also Islamic Jihad involvement in the UNRWA schools, as evidenced by this information from the official website60 of the student organization of Islamic Jihad:

In the spring of 2002, UNRWA employees, mental health staff of an UNRWA school in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank gathered children in their schoolyard for ceremonies honoring the memory of Mahmud Tavalba, who had been head of the Jerusalem Brigade of Islamic Jihad and was killed by the IDF in 2002. All the children were given his picture, and all voices called out in his honor. The land shook from the marching feet of the students: “Be strong,” they cried. “We are your soldiers, our camp is one great lit torch.”

UNRWA attitudes and lack of action

Benefits to refugees with terrorist connections

UNRWA makes no attempt to determine if its beneficiaries have terrorist connections.

This is all the more startling because of requirements of the US Congress, which provides UNRWA with over $100 million per year. Section 301 (c) of the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act, as amended, reads:

No contributions by the United States shall be made to [UNRWA] except on the condition that [UNRWA] take all possible measures to assure that no part of the United States contribution shall be used to furnish assistance to any refugee who…has engaged in any act of terrorism.61


ArrowDoes not note terrorist convictions on refugee registration cards.
ArrowDoes not receive information on terrorist-relation convictions of beneficiaries.
ArrowDoes not ask beneficiaries if they have engaged in terrorism.

Social workers rely on those seeking assistance to volunteer data concerning imprisonment.62 It would be a most unusual beneficiary who, when applying for assistance, would be voluntarily forthcoming about a condition that would render him ineligible for that assistance.
The Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Peter Hansen, attested to the US Government Accounting Office (GAO) on July 30, 2003, that “UNRWA has no evidence that would justify denying beneficiaries relief or humanitarian aid owning to terrorism.”63

Under the conditions described above, indeed there would be “no evidence” of a connection of beneficiaries to terrorism documented by UNRWA.

It would defy credibility, however, to suggest that there are no terrorist-related activities by and convictions of beneficiaries. There is such a preponderance of evidence regarding terrorist activities within the camps that it is clear that some (likely a solid percentage) of the terrorists are themselves refugees. Consider, for example the fact that Fatah identified the Jenin refugee camp as the “suiciders’ capital”:

[Jenin refugee camp] is characterized by an exceptional presence of fighters who take the initiative [on behalf of] nationalist activities…they are ready for self-sacrifice.64

Or that UNRWA Deputy Commissioner-General, Karen AbuZayd is on record as saying, “[everything is] upside down. The refugees are the armed elements.”65

What we are looking at then is a “don’t ask, don’t tell” situation. Rather than attempting to document such evidence, it seems UNRWA would rather willfully ignore situations in which beneficiaries may be implicated in terror: UNRWA in Gaza, while denying assistance to rebuild their homes to six families whose houses were destroyed “during bomb-making activities,” “did not remove these families from its registry of eligible refugees or deny them other assistance.”66
However, while Mr. Hansen may be able to attest to a lack of documented evidence, it is unlikely that he would be able to similarly attest to UNRWA having taken “all possible measures to assure that no part of the United States contribution shall be used to furnish assistance to any refugee who…has engaged in any act of terrorism.”

In 2001 UNRWA proposed to the US State Department that the term “all possible measures” be replaced by a pledge that it would not “knowingly” aid terrorists. With this proposal UNRWA was acknowledging that it would prefer not, or is not able, to take all possible measures. A great deal of latitude is implicit in the term “knowingly,” when the knowledge is not actively sought. State rejected this proposal but has not defined “all possible measures.”67

The bottom line is that it is perceived as better not to be involved. There seems a consensus of opinion that UNRWA staff would be endangered by questioning beneficiaries regarding their terrorist connections, and that the cutting off of benefits makes possible the targeting of UNRWA staff in retaliation.

Thus, what is in evidence here, at best, is an agency mandated to serve a humanitarian purpose that is being held hostage by terrorist elements — so that it is literally afraid to interfere with recipients who are terrorists. At worst, the terrorist population and the refugee population (from which the UNRWA staff is drawn) are so enmeshed that it becomes impossible to separate them. Either scenario represents a situation that is seriously out of control.

There can be no doubt that some percentage of the funds provided to UNRWA supports terrorists or terror-related activities.

UNRWA does not screen all employees

The fact that UNRWA staff and employees are drawn almost exclusively from its client population of Palestinian Arab refugees is in itself problematic, inviting conflict of interest. All the more so then would it be deemed important to screen prospective employees. This, however is not the case.

UNRWA, as a matter of policy, does not perform any security screening or background examinations while recruiting staff in the West Bank and Gaza.68

In Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, there is government vetting of applicants for UNRWA staff positions. There is no such arrangement in place in the West Bank and Gaza.69 The IDF, which is in possession of information that might be important, would cooperate if asked to do so; UNRWA declines to deal with the IDF, however, as Israel is not recognized as having jurisdiction in the area. The PA, which is recognized as having jurisdiction, does no such sharing of information on Palestinians with terrorist connections.

UNRWA denials and dissembling

Outright denials

The Commissioner-General of UNRWA is mandated to provide an annual report on UNRWA to the UN General Assembly. When Peter Hansen wrote the report for July 1, 2001 to June 30, 2002, which covered the time period of Operation Defensive Shield and the IDF discovery of a vast terrorist apparatus in the Jenin camp, he never mentioned — even in passing — what had been exposed. A stunning and calculated omission.

In August 2002, Deputy Commissioner-General Karen AbuZayd told the Jerusalem Report, in response to the charge of terrorism in the camps, “We just don’t see anything like this. These things are invisible to us.”70 This is the same AbuZayd who referred to the fact that the refugees are armed.

On April 21, 2004, at a conference at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, during his talk to those gathered, Peter Hansen revealed that people ask him, doesn’t UNRWA know there is “terrorism” in the camps? As he spoke, he made gestures in the air with his hands, indicating quote marks around “terrorism.”

It is all “made up,” he declaimed, “to delegitimize” UNRWA’s work.71

A statement such as this, in the face of the documented evidence to the contrary, is astonishing and reveals a core refusal at the highest level to deal with the matter.

Rejection of accountability

Peter Hansen in May 2002 wrote (as clarification of a letter by Secretary-General Kofi Annan that addressed UN responsibilities in the refugee camps) that UNRWA is a humanitarian organization without a directive to administer or police the camps, and as such has no “police force, no intelligence apparatus and no mandate to report on political and military activities.”72

In other contexts, UNRWA simply denies that is has any jurisdiction over the physical entities of the camps, and says that it is mandated solely to provide social services and relief. So wrote Paul McCann, UNRWA Chief Information Officer: “UNRWA does not … ‘largely administer’…any…refugee camp. It simply provides services to refugees.”73

This has become a standard UNRWA position. Mr. Hansen maintains that within the West Bank and Gaza, security issues in the camps fall to the PA or Israel.
On a variety of occasions, Mr. Hansen has also represented the situation as being one of terrorists from the outside (not refugees) imposing themselves into the camps, or co-opting UNRWA equipment or facilities, in the face of protests by UNRWA.

Mr. Hansen, in a Reuters interview on March 24, 2002, alluding to an Israeli action against terrorists in the camp, said, “Armed activists who were there obviously slipped away.”

Similarly was this the position taken regarding the use of UNRWA ambulances by terrorists, captured on video by Reuters in May 2004: The UNRWA driver was forced into service.

UNRWA’s responsibilities

Acknowledgement of the situation

The reluctance of UNRWA administration at the highest levels to confront the reality of what is going on in the camps is a matter of considerable concern.

At the end of the day, it is inconceivable that the camps could become centers of terrorist activities without the knowledge of UNRWA top-level staff. Marc Ginsburg, the former U.S. ambassador to Morocco and a former presidential adviser on Middle East issues, explained after Operation Defensive Shield, “Israelis have found caches of weapons and ammunition in camps right underneath the United Nations personnel’s noses.”74

The denials lead to well-founded speculation of complicity. At best, this means turning a blind eye and preferring not to know; at worst, it implies tacit consent.

There can be no realistic remedy for the problems until UNRWA concedes that they exist.
Use of UNRWA facilities and equipment

Mr. Hansen’s claim that UNRWA is simply a provider of services and has no responsibility for the camps falls particularly flat because UNRWA facilities and equipment — for which UNRWA most certainly does have responsibility — are being utilized. UNRWA itself makes this distinction: its website says UNRWA’s responsibility in the camps is limited to providing services and administering its installations.

This report contains numerous documented incidents of use by terrorists of such facilities and equipment. A Shin Bet (Israeli secret service) report drawn up after Operation Defensive Shield provides additional documentation of this sort, for example identifying the UNRWA schools that have been used for storing ammunition.75

Mr. Hansen would have us believe that UNRWA has no responsibility for the fact that weapons are manufactured and stored, and terrorists are trained, hide, and even hold public events, within UNRWA facilities such as schools and clinics and on the grounds of those facilities. It does not wash.

The camps

There is, further, a solid case to be made for the fact that UNRWA has responsibility for what transpires in the camps more broadly. Were UNRWA simply providing services and administering installation, its own website would not refer to the camps as “official” and carefully and clearly define each one, down to the dunam.

In an interview in 1991, Sandro Tucci, then head of UNRWA’s public information office, was asked about who inherits a home in the refugee camp when the father of the family living there dies. Tucci answered, “This is not his property, it’s our property.”76 (emphasis added)

The owner of a property has responsibility for what transpires within that property.

Involvement of refugees and employees

It is disingenuous in the extreme for Mr. Hansen to claim that UNRWA is without responsibility because the terrorists are from the outside.

While, indeed, some of the terrorists may be, the overwhelming degree of terrorist activity emanating from the camps provides strong evidence for the involvement of the refugees themselves. See (page 25 above) the reference to Jenin as the “suiciders’ capital,” which makes imminently clear the eagerness of camp residents to be involved in terrorist acts.

Even in cases where terrorists from the outside enter the camps, their ability to function is enhanced by the tacit approval of, and assistance provided by, resident refugees. The camps, quite simply, function in a pro-terrorist environment, as evidenced by the posters and proclamations as reported here.

What is more, the very disturbing terrorist affiliation and complicity of some UNRWA employees with Hamas groups and activities has been well documented. This speaks perhaps most eloquently against the claim that terrorism emanates from outside of UNRWA.

ArrowUNRWA has a serious responsibility to this situation and must address it.
ArrowUNRWA’s policies of encouraging an expectation of “right of return” have fostered radical sentiments in the refugees.
ArrowUNRWA’s policy of hiring from within its client population (and using staffers who live in the camps and are therefore particularly vulnerable to threats) has seriously exacerbated this situation.

At a bare minimum, UNRWA must acquire information on the terrorist activities of beneficiaries, and seriously vet all prospective employees.

Duty to safeguard UN policies

The responsibility of UNRWA, a UN subsidiary, to safeguard UN interests has been acknowledged by UNRWA.77

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan wrote78 in 1998 (with regard to camps in Africa) that:

Refugee camps…must be kept free of any military presence or equipment, including arms and ammunition…

(In light of this resolution, it is close to incomprehensible that the young men of the Balata refugee camp were all armed as the result of a vote by an official body of UNRWA — see page 22 above.)

Very shortly thereafter, the Security Council adopted a reso-lution79 that includes the following:

…the maintenance of the civilian and humanitarian character of refugee camps …is an integral part of the…international response to refugee situations…

…underlining the unacceptability of using refugees and other persons in refugee camps…to achieve military purposes…
Affirms the primary responsibility of States hosting refugees to ensure the security and civilian and humanitarian character of refugee camps…

Requests all…relevant international bodies and organizations…to consider, as appropriate, the application of the measures contained in this resolution to regions other than Africa.

By 2000, the Security Council adopted a resolution80 that required:

…the Secretary-General to bring to its attention situations where refugees…are vulnerable to the threat of harassment or where their camps are vulnerable to infiltration by armed elements.

Subsequently, the Security Council passed a resolution81 in which it called on States to”

Deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, or commit terrorist acts...

Ensure, in conformity with international law, that refugee status is not abused by the perpetrators, organizers or facilitators of terrorist acts…

Put simply, it is the sense of the Secretary-General of the UN, and of the Security Council, that the civilian nature of refugees camps must be maintained, that the UN is to be informed of refugee harassment by armed infiltrators into the camps, and that refugee status not be used as a cover for those who would perpetrate terrorist acts.

The situation in the camps at present flies in the face of this:
The UNRWA camps are most certainly not civilian in nature, nor is UNRWA doing anything to secure the humanitarian character of the camps.

UNRWA is not informing the UN of vulnerability within the camps to infiltration by armed elements.

UNRWA takes no measures to prevent those who would perpetrate terrorist acts from using their status as refugees as cover.

Quite simply, UNRWA is not abiding by its obligations as an agency of the UN.

Reporting the situation

It may well be that UNRWA is in over its head — that the situation is beyond UNRWA’s ability to control. This does not absolve UNRWA from reporting the situation so that remedy can come from other quarters.

UNRWA’s mandate is humanitarian. This requires UNRWA to place the humanitarian concerns of the refugees at the top of its agenda. Reporting on the difficulties in the camps in order to secure assistance for the sake of the refugees is something UNRWA should readily do.

According to Canadian human rights lawyer, and The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Professor Irwin Cotler:

[UNRWA has] a responsibility to report to the UN that ‘we are unable to implement the mandate to which we are charged, or to fulfill international humanitarian law.’82


The status quo with regard to UNRWA policies and practices cannot be permitted to continue. It fosters terrorism, is antagonistic to the establishment of peace in the Middle East, and works to the detriment of the well being of the refugees themselves.

The nations who currently provide the bulk of the donations to UNRWA are the ones best suited to take an active role in demanding remediation of what is an unacceptable situation. This is so particularly with regard to Canada, which is the gavel holder of the Refugee Working Group and thus raises money for UNRWA, the US, which is UNRWA’s largest provider, and the EU, which is the second largest provider.

We are reminded of the impasse to which we have come when we read the words of former Israeli Government Minister MK Mordecai Ben Porat, who was charged by Prime Minister Begin with finding a solution to the refugee problem. In his book, he concluded that:

…the funds initially intended to erase the refugee problem have become a powerful instrument intent on preserving this very problem.83

We would add to this the inescapable conclusion that, as UNRWA never denies funds to beneficiaries because of terrorist connections, some of those funds actually serve terrorist purposes today.

At this point, it seems both prudent and entirely appropriate for donor states to withhold funds until such time as UNRWA acknowledges the extent of the problem, and takes on a serious analysis of ways in which to genuinely remedy the situation.

At a minimum, constructive changes in current UNRWA policy and practices would require conscientious reporting to the UN regarding terrorism in the camps, vetting of all UNRWA employees, and maintenance of records on terrorist associations of beneficiaries (in response to the stipulations of US law).

Ultimately, resolution of the current problems regarding terrorism will require realistic solutions for permanently resettling the refugees.

Insofar as UNRWA shows itself to be ill-prepared to address the situation, a transfer of authority to other agencies better equipped to handle it would be in order.


1. The Palestinian Refugees FACTFILES, Palestinian Liberation Organization, Department of Refugee Affairs, Ramallah, 2000,p.22.
2. UNRWA document, A Brief History, 1950-1985, Vienna, 1986, p.30.
3. There is one camp, Shu’fat in Jerusalem, but Israel is not counted as a host count-ry — Shu’fat is considered by UNRWA to be in the West Bank. Similarly, the camp Kalandia is within the borders of Greater Jerusalem.
4. See Emanuel Marx, “Changes in the Arab Refugee Camps,” The Jerusalem Quarterly, Number 8, Summer 1978, p. 48, and Amira Has, “50% of residents of UNRWA camp in Jerusalem aren’t refugees — yet exempt from municipal taxes” Ha’aretz, January 1, 2003.
5. In FrontpageMagazine.com, June 28, 2004, Judy Balint described rebuilt homes in the Jenin refugee camps that “featured Italian marble kitchen counters, Spanish tiles…”
6. In 2000, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Gulf Emirates collectively contributed just over 2%, while Egypt, Iraq and Syria contributed nothing.
7. See “UNRWA: A Report” for details on this.
8. See “UNRWA: A Report” for additional details on this.
9. By way of example, note the statement of the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Muhammad Saleh Ed-Din, who wrote, in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Misri on October 11, 1949, “Let it therefore be known and appreciated that, in demanding the restoration of the refugees to Palestine, the Arabs intend that they shall return as the masters of the homeland and not as slaves. More explicitly, they intend to annihilate the State of Israel.”
10. This was documented by BBC, which filmed the bus trips for a report.
11. Mohammed Daraghmeh, “Teaching the refugee issue at UNRWA,” The Jerusalem Times, June 22, 2001.
12. The reality is that Israel, understanding full well that “return” is a code word for the ultimate destruction of the Jewish state, will never permit the refugees to come back.
13. Ingrid Gassner Jaradat, Director, Badil, in interview, December 2002.
14. The study is found at www.vopi.org/issues4.htm.
15. Dr. Eli Lasch, “Child Health Services in Gaza,” Public Health Review, 1984.
16. See www.badilorg/Publications/Other/Refugees/Workshop/wkshop2.htm for the study.
17. The document can be retrieved at www.un.org/documents/ga/res/40/a40r165.htm.
18. Lengthy e-mail communication with Dr. Lasch in February 2003.
19. Al-Hayat, August 14, 1959.
20. Emanuel Marx, “Changes in Arab Refugee Camps,” The Jerusalem Quarterly, Number 8, Summer 1978, p. 43.
21. Isabel Kershner, “Palestinian Affairs: the Refugees’ Choice?” The Jerusalem Report, August 15, 2002.
22. Shawn Cohen, “The Refugee Dilemma: A Day in the UNRWA Arab Refugee Camps,” Washington Jewish Week, July 23, 1997.
23. Uri Nir, Arab Affairs Correspondent, Ha’aretz, December 9, 1989.
24. BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency & Refugee Rights, established in 1998 and registered with the PA, seeks to support the development of a popular refugee lobby for the right of return.
25. Interview, op. cit.
26. Sheila Ryan, “No Place to Call Home,” New Internationalist, Issue 161, July 1986.
27. IDF Spokesperson
28. The Jerusalem Post, October 11, 2004, p. 12.
29. CNSNews.com
30. HonestReportingCanada, October 6, 2004.
31. The Jerusalem Post, October 5, 2004.
32. The Jerusalem Post, October 14, 2004, p.2.
33. The Jerusalem Post, October 13, 2004, p.2.
34. Shawn Cohen, “The Refugee Dilemma: A Day in the UNRWA Arab Refugee Camps,” Washington Jewish Week, July 23, 1997.
35. John F. Burns, “Palestinian Summer Camp Offers the Games of War,” The New York Times, August 3, 2000, p. 1.
36. Charles Radin, “UN Role in Palestinian Camps in Dispute,” The Boston Globe, August 2001.
37. Allison Kaplan Sommer, “UNRWA on Trial,” Reform Judaism Magazine, Winter 2002, p. 42.
38. February 22, 2002.
39. Taken from the website of the prime minister, www.pmo.gov.english.
40. Wall Street Journal, April 21, 2002.
41. From the Israeli Foreign Ministry website, www.idf.il/newsite/english.
42. Charles Radin, The Boson Globe, June 9, 2002.
43. In interview with the author, December 14, 2003. Ambassador Gold was serving as a consult to the IDF during time reported.
44. Reuven Ehrlich, Ph.D., Editor, “Special Information Paper,” Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies, December 2002.
45. Greg Myre, The New York Times, October 18, 2004.
46. Al-Watan (Kuwait) 11 June, 2003:
See also Filastin Al-Muslima (Lebanon) July 2003, p.5.
Details — vote by area and names of candidates - are available.
47. Filastin Al-Muslima, op. cit.
48. Israel National News, May 31, 2004.
49. Israel Defense Forces Website, May 25, 2004, which includes a photo of the incident.
50. CAMERA, June 18, 2004.
51. www.palestine-info.info/arabic/palestoday/dailynews/2004/apr04/2_4/details5.htm.
52. www.khayma.com/islamicblock/about.htm.
53. Interview with Ahmed Casiso, Islamic Bloc supervisor of 20 summer camps for 3,000 junior high school and high school students run in 2004, found on www.alkotla.net/details.asp?id=268.
54. www.alkotla.net/details.asp?id=219.
55. www.alkotla.net/details.asp?id=238.
56. www.alkotla.net/details.asp?id=175.
57. www.alkotla.net/details.asp?id=238.
58. www.alkotla.net/details.asp?id=175.
59. www.alkotla.net/details.asp?id=238.
60. www.jamaaway.org\waed\waed6.htm.
61. US Government Accounting Office Report, November 17, 2003: GAO-04-276R-UNRWA.
62. Ibid.
63. Ibid.
64. From the IDF website: www.idf.il/newsite/english.
65. Isabel Kershner, “Palestinian Affairs: The Refugees’ Choice?” The Jerusalem Report, August 15, 2002.
66. GAO Report, op. cit.
67. Ibid.
68. Reuven Ehrlich, op. cit.
69. GOA Report, op. cit.
70. Isabel Kershner, op. cit.
71. Noted by the author, who attended Mr. Hansen’s talk.
72. Ibid.
73. In a letter to David Tell, responding to his article on UNRWA, published in Israel Resource Review, May 28, 2002.
74. Mara Karin, Near East Report, May 20, 2002
75. Herb Keinon, “Shin Bet documents terrorists’ misuse of UNRWA facilities,” The Jerusalem Post, December 11, 2002.
76. Interview conducted by Jeff Arner and Sylvia Martin, October 1991, in the UNRWA West Bank Field Office in East Jerusalem. Quote drawn from transcription.
77. UNRWA document: A Brief History, 1950-1985, Vienna, 1986, p. 25.
78. Report of the Secretary-General: The causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa, paragraph 54, April 13, 1998.
79. Security Council Resolution 1208, November 19, 1998.
80. Security Council Resolution 1296, April 19, 2000.
81. Security Council Resolution 1373, September 2001.
82. Isabel Kershner, op. cit.
83. Nadav Anner and Mordecahi ben Porat, Will There Always Be Refugees: A Survey and Proposals for a Solution of the Middle East Refugee Problem, Merkaz Hahasbara, Jerusalem 1984.

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