As I regret to say, many predicted during the election campaign, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government are ‘unrwavelling’ former prime minister Stephen Harper’s commitment to purify the corrupt international system that has unwittingly subsidized Palestinian incitement for decades. No, there’s no typo in the previous sentence. The undoing of Conservative leadership, this dramatic step back to the bad old days of Canada enabling Palestinian extremism, came with the government’s recent announcement that it was allocating $25 million to UNRWA.
UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, calls itself a relief and human development agency. Unfortunately it serves as a delegitimizing and terror-enabling agency. It’s such a flop that even while its employees incite terror and give Hamas cover for its terrorist crimes, Hamas hates it. In August 2015, Sheik Marwan Abu Ras pilloried UNRWA in a Friday sermon broadcast on Hamas TV. The transcript, provided by the indispensable Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), shows the sheik yelling at UNRWA workers: “The money you spend on yourselves exceeds anybody’s imagination. You should know that there is an adviser working for UNRWA whose daily salary is $1,500. He is a mere adviser. Just imagine the cost of all their offices, cars and salaries of those foreigners. Unreal salaries! Legendary expenses! Financial corruption! This is a conspiring United Nations.”
Even worse than the financial corruption that Hamas resents – because it wants the money for its own nefarious ends – is UNRWA’s role as the great enabler of Palestinian delusions, extremism and violence. UNRWA – along with cynical Arab states and Palestinian organizations – created the novel legal doctrine whereby only the Palestinians have what seems to be perpetual refugee status. In no other world conflict is refugee status inheritable. When, for example, Arab and Muslim countries expelled 850,000 Jews from their lands – often after centuries, and even millennia, of living there – these refugees soon became Israeli citizens. Their refugee status fit the definition of a refugee: someone temporarily displaced by war. UNRWA has helped perpetuate the Palestinian problem and emboldened Palestinian extremism by keeping the 1948 file alive, allowing the patrilineal descendants of Palestinian refugees still living in the region to keep asserting demands to un-ring the historical bell and undo the decision many of their grandparents and great-grandparents made to leave their homes in 1948, expecting to return triumphantly after six Arab armies massacred those upstart Jews.
Last fall, Israel – and civilized people throughout the world – had more pressing complaints. According to a report released in October 2015 by the trustworthy UN Watch, based in Geneva, “At least 10 different UN staffers are using the imprimatur of their official positions to incite Palestinian stabbing and shooting attacks against Israeli Jews, with one calling on Facebook to ‘stab Zionist dogs.’”
UNRWA teachers, aid workers, and bureaucrats posted images and videos encouraging the stabbings of innocents, proving those stabbings last year clearly were fuelled by such social media incitement. That well-meaning western countries gave these cheerleaders-for-terrorism salaries, legitimacy and authority betrays all the taxpayers who contributed.
Naturally, MP Karina Gould, parliamentary secretary to the minister of international development, insisted that the Liberal government has “put in place strong oversight provisions and robust mechanisms for this funding. This will not only support the 5.5 million Palestinian refugees to access basic services, but is crucial for the peace and security of the region.”
I am skeptical. The “peace and security of the region” requires a western moral compass, not money spread by blindfolded – or biased – aid workers/enablers. “Peace and security” depends on zero tolerance for terrorism and incitement, and for aid contingent on ending the corruption, delivering assistance to the poor and the needy, and cleansing UNRWA of its terrorist enablers – and worse.