One Person at a Time

Readers know how we feel about the United Nations in general and about UNRWA (The UN Relief Works Agency) in particular. So any victory is a good thing.

Readers know how we feel about the United Nations in general and about UNRWA (The UN Relief Works Agency) in particular. So any victory is a good thing.

According to the Guardian of London, the Bush administration has blocked the reappointment of Peter Hansen as UNRWA general-secretary. This is the same Peter Hansen who told a Danish newspaper that 300-400 Palestinians had been killed in Jenin. He told CNN, “I had, first of all, hoped the horror stories coming out were exaggerations… but they were all too true.” He said, “Jenin camp residents lived through a human catastrophe that has few parallels in recent history.” [Mr. Hansen’s ignorance of recent history alone should disqualify him from most forms of employment.] Mr. Hansen admitted hiring Hamas members for UNRWA jobs and that, “Outside parties have entered UNRWA schools in the Gaza Strip and shot at Israeli positions,” and “armed Palestinians have on occasions entered UNRWA schools in the Gaza Strip.”

On the UNRWA website, the following question appears in an interview: “Concerning the Israeli war crimes against the Palestinians, can UNRWA (provide) documents or information if any side submitted a case to the International Criminal Court against Israeli officials?” Mr. Hansen replies, “UNRWA is ready to cooperate with any side concerning its work. What it saw, what it did and what it has, but up till now no one has asked us… UNRWA is ready to cooperate with any side within what its documents and photos that are available at its web site address. We have the photos and every thing is documented…” [Emphasis added]

Mr. Hansen said of himself, “My job is not to put myself at the midpoint between the Israeli view and the refugees’ view. My job was to represent the refugees.” Then he is an abject failure and works for an organization that is an abject failure by design.

UNRWA is the only UN agency to serve only one group of people – Palestinians – and the only refugee agency whose mandate does not include resettlement. All other refugees are the responsibility of the UN High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), which serves nearly 22 million people in 120 countries with the aim of resettling them. Each year, UNRWA-financed projects like the Union of Youth Activities Centers sponsors “right of return” rallies throughout the territories, encouraging Palestinians to believe the existence of Israel is temporary and will be reversed through the UN. According to our State Department, UNRWA-sponsored textbooks are cesspools of anti-Semitism.

Mr. Hansen blames the Jews for his predicament. “There are certain facts about the views of certain groups in the U.S. and Israel about how I have carried out my functions and those groups influenced the decision not to reappoint me.” Any way you like it, Mr. Hansen, but the truth is that a great many Americans, including those on the Hill and in the administration are ready to change the way the UN and UNRWA do business.

We would be pleased to dump the vast majority of UN personnel. One person at a time will have to do for now, but let’s not wait too long to get to the top of the heap.