National Post, Feb. 1, 2024
“But the Arab refugees themselves, today known as Palestinians, refused any form of settlement in place because they knew that would mean that the war is over and that the Jewish state would thereby be legitimized as a fait accompli.”
Canada’s temporary suspension of its financing of UNRWA over charges that some of UNRWA’s members participated in the Oct. 7 massacre in southern Israel should be made permanent. That UNRWA has created the ideal conditions for murderous terrorist groups to emerge, from Black September, which carried out the gruesome slaughter of Israeli Athletes in the 1972 Munich Olympics, to Hamas, is not a bug in the operating system, but a feature. Anyone who truly cares about charting a path to true peace in the Middle East should have every interest in ensuring UNRWA is dismantled.
There was nothing particularly unique more than seven decades ago in the establishment of a temporary agency to settle refugees from war. With empires collapsing across the world — Habsburg, Ottoman or British — and new states emerging to replace the former imperial lands, tens of millions of people became refugees as they were fleeing across newly delineated borders. Whether in the Indian subcontinent, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, there was nothing unique in the brutal wars of post-imperial independence leading to tens of millions of refugees.
Those refugees were all settled in the places to which they fled (typically new countries with similar ethnic makeup to that of the refugees) or in new places. This was done through local and independent efforts or through dedicated agencies.
The general agency established to handle refugees, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, was mostly focused on Europe in its first years of operation.
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