NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

5 Reasons the US Should Defund the UN Palestinian Refugee Program

March 2, 2017

The following article by NCPA Senior Fellow David Grantham and Calev Michael Myers appeared in The Times of Israel:

American taxpayer money is wasted on UN programs, such as the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), for which the United States remains the single largest donor of any country, having given $380 million toward a nearly $1 billion budget in 2015.

The United Nations set up UNRWA in 1950 to provide relief services for Palestinian Arabs displaced after the 1948 war between the new State of Israel and its Arab neighbors. The organization was intended to provide temporary social services only to Palestinian Arab refugees and only until they could be integrated into the country that sheltered them. UNRWA has instead grown into a near-permanent refugee industry with substandard education, health care and social services for the millions of Palestinian Arabs under its care.

Despite billions of dollars in aid over the past six decades, there has been little improvement in the lives of Palestinians under UNRWA's care. Some 65 percent of Palestinian refugees live in poverty, which worsened for some in Gaza after Israel's withdraw in 2005; the refugee infant mortality rate stands at nearly 22 percent; unemployment in Gaza reached nearly 30 percent in 2011. But five issues, in particular, undermine the rationale for its very existence.


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