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Background and Rationale for a One State Bill in Congress


Since the issue concerning the One State Solution and it corresponding Bill has moved along during the last year both in Congress and the White House, we have developed a “leave behind”

Since the issue concerning the One State Solution and it corresponding Bill has moved along during the last year both in Congress and the White House, we have developed a “leave behind” update/explanation document of the UNRWA legislative issue. It is below for your perusal.

Note – the HRXXX below means House of Representatives and the X’s substitute for a number not yet formally assigned to the Bill. Please continue praying for this initiative.

Paul Liberman
Executive Director/AIA


Background: The United Nation Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) was established on December 8, 1949, under UN Resolution 302(IV) for the purpose of channeling United Nations contributions to Palestinians for the purpose of resettlement. It was established to assist approximately 700,000 residents who fled shortly prior to the May 1948 Israel War of Independence.

Because UNRWA allows refugee status to be inherited by descendants of Palestinian refugees, the Palestinian Authority today estimates that the number of “refugees” has grown to 5.3 million people. However, most of these are children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, many of whom have never even lived in the Palestinian territories, but comfortably live in other nations.

The United States has been a major source of funding for UNRWA. From 1950-1999, American contributions averaged under $50 million per year. From 2000 through 2014 this grew to about $175 million. In 2014, the U.S. contributed just under $251 million and over $364 million 2017. The U.S. contribution represents 28% of total UNRWA funding.

Year U.S Funds to UNRWA

1999 $50m

2014 $175m

2015 $251m

2017 $364m

UNRWA funds are designed for public works projects and for direct aid for education, health care and social services. UNRWA is the largest agency of the United Nations.

Lack of Accountability: There is little data available disclosing how UNRWA funds are spent. Its biennial budget (2016-2017), shows that only 4% of annual receipts are spent for camp infrastructure and improvements. Yet, camp maintenance and dissolution are the central aspects of their charter. All UNRWA funds are directed to the Palestinian Authority for the purpose of dissolving the refugee camps and helping assimilate the refugees into Palestinian society. However, rather than dissolving the camps, the PA has diverted funds for other purposes. Some 54% is dedicated to education, which was not central to its original, intended purpose.

The only other officially published data can be found in the Audited Financial Statements, in accordance with Article VII of the Finance Regulations and Rules of the United Nations. It shows 35,256 area employees and 229 internationally.

Inciting Hatred: According to the Washington Free Beacon, UNRWA sponsors anti-Israel indoctrination programs in Palestinian schools and community centers. Aside from the Free Beacon article, it has long been known that UNRWA money is spent to underwrite anti-Semitic curricula against Israel. An independent watch dog organization, UN Watch, identified 60 teachers by name and school that were teaching flagrant hatred against Israel. The UN General Assembly certified that 22 schools should be disciplined; however, the suspensions were never implemented.

UNRWA-Fuel Pump for Terrorism: According to the Washington Free Beacon article, UNRWA also sponsors a cash assistance program that involves literally handing over cash to Gaza and Syria. There is no outside accountability of these disbursements, which in 2016 amounted to $192.3 million. Even worse, UNRWA facilities in Gaza have been used to house Hamas rockets and weapons to be used against Israel.

In 2004 and 2013 the PA legislature mandated monthly stipend payments to Palestinians and Israeli Arabs who are convicted of terrorism. Those who are jailed (five-year sentence for men and two years for women) are entitled to “salaries” for life. Men who are imprisoned for only three to five years receive $570 and a 30-year sentence entitles a family to $3,400 per month. Health insurance and educational tuition are also provided for prisoners, as well as their wives and children. Families of terrorists that have died receive $1,560 monthly. Members of the PLO arrested in foreign countries are also entitled to benefits.

After release from prison any male ex-prisoner of ten years (five for females) is entitled to a salaried position in the PA. Upon release, if their salaries are less than what they received in prison, the PA makes up the difference. If they cannot find employment, they are entitled to a monthly government salary, with disability and/or death benefits payable to their families. (Washington Post April 30, 2017, “Palestinians are rewarding terrorists. The U.S. should stop enabling them”.)

Another watchdog organization, Christians in Defense of Israel is calling for a complete cessation of UNRWA payments until there is accountability, and a verifiable end to payments to terrorists.

Eroding Support for UNRWA: Jonathan Schanzer (Senior Vice President) and Richard Goldberg (Senior Advisor) of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies have published criticism of UNRWA and call for sweeping revamping of U.S. participation.

Professor Eyton Gilboa of the Center for Strategic Studies-Bar Ilan University, has written that UNRWA funds need to be dramatically reduced, as the Palestinian Authority uses these contributions to pay sizable salaries to terrorists.

E. J. Kimball, Director of the Israel Victory Project at the Middle East Forum writes that the number of Palestinian Refugee descendants increases every day. The academic journal, Refugee Survey Quarterly projected that if the current definition of “refugee” remains intact, there will be 11 million by 2040 and 20 million “refugees” by 2060. He states, “either UNRWA brings its definition in alignment with US law or the US should direct its money elsewhere.”

In early 2018, the Washington Free Beacon reported that a 2016 U.S. State Department report showed that only 20,000 of the original Arab refugees who fled the Palestinian territories in 1948 are still alive and displaced from their homes. The Obama State Department classified this report. There is considerable support on Capitol Hill to make this report public.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has called for UNRWA to be abolished. Jared Kushner, senior advisor and son-in-law to President Trump, has written, “It is important to have an honest and sincere effort to disrupt UNRWA… This (agency) perpetuates a status quo, is corrupt, inefficient and doesn’t help peace.” According to YNEWS, Kushner plans to strip Palestinian descendants of refugee status.

Congressional Reaction: In January 2018, a portion ($65 million) of the federal government’s UNRWA allocation of $125 million was suspended, but not eliminated.

The Taylor Force Act was introduced in Congress in 2017, which proposed to discontinue American economic aid to the Palestinian Authority until the PA changes its laws to stop paying stipends funneled through the Palestinian Authority Martyr’s Fund to terrorists and to the families of deceased terrorists The bill passed the House and the Senate and was enacted into law in early 2018.

On June 23, 2018, Representative Doug Lamborn introduced HR 6451, the UNRWA Reform and Refugee Support Act, which seeks to ensure that U.S. contributions to UNRWA would only be provided to the extent that the Palestinian Authority resettles original refugees from 1948.

HR 5898, the UNRWA Accountability Act, introduced by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) calls for the State Department to develop a strategy to insist on UNRWA accountability.

A Better Way

HR XXXX redirects U.S. funds, bypassing UNRWA, and instead makes these monies available to West Bank individual applicants who seek to leave the West Bank for other countries. The bill eliminates U.S. contributions to UNRWA, redirecting U.S. dollars directly to individuals and families who seek better opportunities outside the West Bank. Essentially, it voucherizes the aid program. Under the legislation:

· Applicants wishing to leave the West Bank for other nations would apply to immigrate through a newly-created office within the Israeli government.

· The applicant would have to be accepted for immigration by the new host nation in order to qualify for assistance.

· Once leaving the West Bank, the immigrant may not return for 5 years.

· The government of Israel would implement and administer the program. It would receive 20% of the funds for administrative costs.

· Both individual Palestinians and Israel benefit. The only loser under this program is the corrupt Palestinian Authority, which would no longer be able to keep an iron grip on its constituency. Under this program, their constituency would be able to vote with its feet.

Summary: Because of empathy for poor and abused individual Palestinians, our generous country has closed its eyes to the rampant abuses taking place at UNRWA. The tide of outrage towards UNRWA has reached the stage for decision making. HR XXXX seeks to address the problem in a constructive and decisive manner.

Questions about HR XXXX

Q. Do Palestinians want to leave the West Bank? The Alliance for Israel Advocacy (AIA) commissioned an independent survey among 650 residents ages 18-30, which had a margin of error of 4%.

The result reflected a full-time employment of only 29% of the young population. When part time employment was included, it only raised the percentage to 46% and this included government jobs e.g. police, security forces, bureaucracy etc. There isn’t much of an economy inside the West Bank. It is widely known that the PA leadership is pocketing a good portion of the U.S. and international contributions.

The survey reflects that 48% of respondents say that emigration is frequently or occasionally discussed with family and friends. The missing ingredient is sufficient funds for travel and a chance to get started elsewhere. Redirected UNRWA funds could be the economic source for which they yearn.

Q. Where do the Palestinians want to go? Under the AIA survey, the UAE, Turkey, United States, Germany and Sweden were the top five destinations (in that order of preference).

Q. Is it realistic to expect other nations to receive Palestinian transplants? Yes, the United Nations has relief programs that pay nations which receive refugees. There is an existing schedule of what each country receives for accepting such immigrants.

Q. Who wins and who loses under HR XXXX? Both individual Palestinians and Israel benefit. Only the corrupt Palestinian Authority loses.