Michael Curtis in American Thinker shows how the Palestinian “refugees” are treated completely different from all other refugees in The Right of Return to Manhattan and Other Places and how absurd it is. I don’t have time to write anything at length, but here are a few excerpts:
On why there were Palestinian refugees:
The problem started with Arab opposition to Jewish settlement in the area of Palestine even before the establishment of the State of Israel. As a result of the violent Arab Revolt of 1936-39, mainly led and orchestrated by the Arab High Command under Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, over ten per cent of the adult Palestinian population was killed, injured, or imprisoned. This Arab wave of terror directed against British personnel, Jews, and other Arabs opposed to the Mufti and his followers resulted in the first wave of refugees, perhaps as many as 40,000 Arabs who fled the area.
But the main refugee problem was caused by the militant Arab activity in the mid 1940s and then by the 1948-49 War that was initiated by the Arabs. The “catastrophe,” as the war is named by the Palestinians, was brought on by the invasion of Israel immediately after its establishment on May 14, 1948, by troops from Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and other Arab countries. As a result of the fighting, and for reasons that are still disputed, Palestinians fled their home in large numbers.
On the origin of the Palestinian refugee organization:
Before the end of the war, the United Nations General Assembly on November 19, 1948 passed Resolution 212 (III) to create the UN Relief for Palestinian Refugees (UNRPR). This body was replaced by decision of UNGA Resolution 302 (IV) on December 8, 1949, by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
About this UN concern for Palestinian refugees, two aspects are worth noting. One is the fact the UN ignored, and indeed still ignores, the reality that 700,000 Jews, probably a larger number than the actual number of Palestinian refugees, made exodus from the Arab lands in which their families had lived for centuries. The second is that this instance is the only time that the UN has set up an agency only for one group of people and that this unique agency has remained in existence for 64 years.
Putting this in context:
The initiation of a Palestinian refugee relief agency was a remarkable and inexplicable departure from established relief activity. On December 14, 1950 the UNGA set up the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHRC), originally with a three-year mandate. Its function remains to coordinate international action to protect refugees and to resolve refugee problems worldwide. Since then it has helped more than 50 million people restart their lives. Among the various refugee populations it has assisted are the 4 million from Afghanistan, the 12 million ethnic Germans after World War II, the 5.5 million from Sudan, and the 15 million Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs after the 1947 Indian-Pakistani war.
Then contrasting the staff and budgets for the two agencies:
With a budget in 2012 of $3.59 billion the UNHRC has a staff of 7,600 in more than 125 countries. Currently, it is concerned with 33 million people. About 14.7 million are internally displaced; 10.5 million are refugees; 3.1 million are returnees; 3.5 million are stateless; 800,000 are asylum seekers; and 1.3 million considered to be in danger. To these figures must be added the millions now fleeing countries like Syria, Iraq, Mali, South Sudan, and Libya.
These figures make an extraordinary contrast with the existence and activity of UNRWA involved with much smaller numbers but with a much larger staff at its disposal. It employees 29,000 people, mostly Palestinians, and has 2 headquarters, 5 field offices, and representatives abroad, including in Washington, DC. A member of the latter group was Chris McGrath, former aide to Senator Harry Reid.
He concludes that UNRWA keeps up a welfare state for Palestinians, something which does them a great disservice. The cause of the whole thing was an order to Arab states long ago not to take in any of the refugees so they could be used as an ongoing weapon against Israel.