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UNWRA RESPONDS TO PIPES

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  • ummyakoub
    UNWRA RESPONDS TO PIPES Paul McCann, National Post, 8/25/03 http://www.nationalpost.com/search/site/story.asp?id=3B25D164-D326- 4C8A-B226-934B0FDB202C Re: The
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 5, 2003
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      UNWRA RESPONDS TO PIPES
      Paul McCann, National Post, 8/25/03
      http://www.nationalpost.com/search/site/story.asp?id=3B25D164-D326-
      4C8A-B226-934B0FDB202C


      Re: The UN's Palestinian Refugee Trap, Daniel Pipes, Aug. 21.

      It is with great dismay that we read Daniel Pipes's commentary on the
      United Nations Relief and Works Agency and the Palestine refugees.
      While Prof. Pipes is entitled to his opinion, his column is
      misleading on a number of points.

      Palestine refugees differ from other refugees because a majority of
      them continue to suffer the plight of dispossession and
      statelessness. Rather than their "status" as refugees
      creating "anguish and discontent," it is their dispossession and
      statelessness that lie at the heart of their predicament.

      The standard mechanisms by which refugee problems are solved are:

      - voluntary repatriation;

      - voluntary resettlement in host states; and

      - voluntary resettlement in asylum granting third states.

      In the case of the Palestine refugees, repatriation has consistently
      been rejected by Israel, whereas resettlement in the Arab host states
      has been rejected by both the states concerned and the refugees
      themselves.

      UNRWA's education, health, relief and social services have developed
      the human potential of the Palestine refugees, enabling them to be
      self-reliant members of the societies in which they live.

      What condemns the Palestine refugees to "lives of exclusion, self-
      pity and nihilism" is not UNRWA, but rather the inability of the
      parties of the conflict to solve the refugee issue. Thus, dismantling
      UNRWA will not "solve the Palestinian refugee problem," as Mr. Pipes
      claims. The refugees and their plight would still exist. UNRWA itself
      is not mandated to solve the refugee problem, which is a political
      question for the parties to the conflict.

      The international community, including Israel, has consistently
      recognized the important contribution of UNRWA to the stability of
      the region. In describing UNRWA as a "malign institution" and its
      humanitarian services as "monstrous works," Prof. Pipes betrays the
      extreme bias of his views.

      Paul McCann, chief, public information office, UNRWA headquarters,
      Gaza.

      *********************************************************************

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