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The Rosett Report

Let Turkey Pay for UNRWA

June 26th, 2010 - 11:11 am

More money! is the cry from Filippo Grandi, the commissioner-general of the United Nations Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA. Speaking in Beirut on Saturday, Grandi was lamenting what he described as the agency’s growing funding shortage.

Another way to describe it would be UNRWA’s ever-expanding budget, which in places like Gaza is spent on providing the staples of a welfare enclave, thus freeing up the ruling terrorists of Hamas to spend their pocket money on things like weapons to attack Israel — the state they are dedicated in their charter to destroying.

Grandi, in his remarks, was rattling the can for the European Union to make up an anticipated $100 million deficit in UNRWA’s budget — which last year soared to $1.2 billion — by some standards a whopping handout. Grandi thanked “generous” Arab donors, but apparently forgot to thank the U.S., which is the single biggest donor (an interesting situation, given the UNRWA beneficiaries who danced for joy and passed out candies when news broke of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on America).

UNRWA was set up by the UN as a “temporary” agency more than 60 years ago, and today has a “refugee” clientele about five times the size of the original refugee population it was meant to serve, with more than 20,000 Palestinians on its payroll. This whole scene is one of the UN’s most astounding swamps of warped incentives, perverse payoffs, and ballooning budgets, dangerous to the Israelis and damaging to the Palestinians themselves — in looking at it I have thought more than once that the best move for all concerned would be to just dissolve UNRWA and turn over its entire budget to private missionaries trying to help North Korean refugees escape from China. That, folks, is a genuine, wrenching, refugee crisis, which the UN over many years has done virtually nothing to address.

But if the commissioner-general of UNRWA is determined to bring in more funds, here’s a thought. Let him direct his lamentations to Ankara, where the Turkish government has professed itself so deeply concerned about getting aid to the Palestinians that it was willing to bless a terror-linked flotilla that sailed from its shores in May — inspiration for the raft of flotilla plans with which friends of Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, etc. are now proposing to try again to break that Israeli blockade meant to keep weapons out of Gaza (the real solution to Gaza’s troubles is to end terrorist rule in Gaza, but that’s not remotely what this flotilla gang is aiming for).

Recently I took a look at Turkey’s donations to UNRWA (Turkey’s Two-Faced Aid for Gaza ) and discovered that Turkey is one of the stingier donors. Relative to the size of the Turkish economy, its status in the G-20 and current seat on the Security Council, and UNRWA’s swollen budget, Ankara has chipped in nothing but small change for the UN relief efforts. Why should the EU or U.S. pay any more for UNRWA? (One might well ask, why should they pay at all?) What they get for their pains is a rising terrorist threat in the Middle East from Iran-backed Hamas, which rules the enclave where the world’s major democracies foot most of the bills for the welfare handouts. This is a result that Turkey’s current Islamic ruling party, the AKP, seems to want more of — at the very least, let them pay for it.

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