måndag 8 november 2010

UNRWA and the code of silence

UNRWA and the code of silence , en artikel i Jerusalem Post som behandlar UNRWA, FN:s flyktingorgan för enbart palestinier.

"One of the first rules of being an UNRWA official is omerta. Above all the code of silence means refusing to tell two truths. First is the truth about UNRWA. It is a key mechanism that keeps Palestinians “refugees” over 60 years after their ancestors’ flight during the Arab war against the creation of the State of Israel. It is internationally funded, to the tune of $1.23 billion for 2010-2011, but since it is run by Palestinians, it is a tool for reproducing their sense of grievance against Israel and the West, and a unique culture of dependence and entitlement with respect to the world.The second thing UNRWA officials need to learn is to never, ever tell Palestinians the truth that they are not going back to their ancestors’ homes in what is now Israel. That pipe dream underlies the entire Palestinian sense of grievance and perhaps of self.Recently, for perhaps only the third time in UNRWA history, a high official let the truth slip. In a speech to an Arab-American group, Andrew Whitley, outgoing head of UNRWA’s New York office, stated the obvious, “We recognize, as I think most do, although it’s not a position that we publicly articulate, that the right of return is unlikely to be exercised to the territory of Israel to any significant or meaningful extent... It’s not a politically palatable issue, it’s not one that UNRWA publicly advocates, but nevertheless it’s a known contour to the issue.”UNRWA’s reaction was swift, saying “UNRWA unequivocally distances itself from the statements made by the director of its office in New York, Andrew Whitley, at the National Council on US-Arab Relations in Washington on October 22, 2010. These statements in no way reflect the policies or positions of the agency and are the personal views of Mr. Whitley.”Unfortunately, Whitley came under such pressure from his former employer as a result of his comments that he publicly apologized for the error of his ways, stating that his comments were “inappropriate and wrong.”To allay all doubt, he added that he “wish[ed] to put this letter on the public record out of concern that what I said in Washington could be interpreted in ways that negatively affect the reputation and work of UNRWA.”So dedicated is UNRWA to lying to the Palestinians, perhaps as a function of maintaining its own role as their permanent caretaker, that it is willing to slap one of its own officials in public and even make him retract. The same thing happened in 2009 when James Lindsay, UNRWA’s former general counsel, wrote a critical report on the organization for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Among other things Lindsay criticized UNRWA’s continued employment of known terrorists and continuing politicization of the “refugee” issue...
...SOMETIMES UNRWA will simply deny its internal critics even existed. In 1952 Lt.-Gen. Sir Alexander Galloway, a noted British soldier-diplomat who was then UNRWA director in Jordan, made what was to become a famous statement to a group of visiting American church leaders: “It is perfectly clear than the Arab nations do not want to solve the Arab refugee problem. They want to keep it as an open sore, as an affront against the United Nations and as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders don’t give a damn whether the refugees live or die.”...
...For his honesty, Galloway was fired at the demand of the Jordanian government, which wanted UNRWA to hire local citizens instead of foreign nationals. Indeed, since that time UNRWA has done the precise opposite of what Galloway recommended, opting for the “tempting political maneuver” of lying to Palestinians about the future, never demanding that host countries resettle Palestinians and instead becoming the Palestinian ministries of health, welfare, education and, to an astonishing degree, foreign affairs.Through a strange series of events historians and journalists transformed Lt.-Gen. Sir Alexander Galloway into “Ralph Galloway,” which has permitted UNRWA officials to this day to deny that any such person ever existed.

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