Bear in mind that Trump’s move is a spending redirection, not a spending cut. Moreover
, I plead no case for UNRWA. Again, as Aronson writes, “Palestinians are of two minds about the organization. No one can deny the health and educational benefits it provides, but the price paid for being wards of the international community is considerable, indeed for many unbearable.” He paraphrases what a woman in Gaza told him: “UNRWA was an abomination…, responsible for breeding complacency and fatalism among Palestinians and offering an excuse and a means for powers great and small to let the Palestinian problem fester.”
But UNRWA’s many failings cannot be used to justify Trump’s action. He’s not punishing UNRWA’s personnel; he’s punishing the Palestinians. He’s not looking for a better way to ease their dire situation. He’s looking to erase them in order to help Israel, although of course the resistance his actions will surely provoke will not be viewed favorably by all Israelis. But, yes, I’m implying that some Israelis, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu among many, will welcome the resistance because they will use it to justify past and future brutality, oppression, and apartheid.
Axios reports that Netanyahu asked Trump to end U.S. funding of UNRWA. Netanyahu has thus also changed his position from the one that had the backing of Israel’s security apparatus, which favored a gradual reduction in funding but no cuts for Gaza out of security concerns. The thinking until now has been that succor for the refugees would keep them quiescent and take their minds off their right of return, even if that is revised to mean homes in the now-occupied Palestinian territories (the future Palestine) or cash compensation.
Unsurprisingly, Israel Hayom reports, “Israeli officials [i.e., politicians] welcomed reports Sunday indicating that US President Donald Trump plans to act to end the Palestinian demand for a right of return and to cut hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, a move they say is in line with Israeli policy.” The publication added, “A diplomatic official dismissed the criticism of a defense official who had been quoted as saying the US decision ‘could set the area, which is already on the verge of a conflict, on fire.’” Jerusalem Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin praised Trump’s move, saying it “finally speaks the truth to the Arab lie that has been marketed all over the world for decades.”
What life is that? That the Palestinians were terrorized by the Zionist militias and then Israeli army into fleeing their homes in 1948 and 1967? No serious person has doubted this since Israel’s New Historians scoured the government archives in the 1980s and documented the Nakba, the catastrophe. Long before that, however, scholars had debunked the lie that the Palestinians left voluntarily only when neighboring Arab rulers requested them to do so as a temporary wartime necessity. (But of course, even under that scenario Palestinian property owners would have a right to return to their homes.) Modified from S. Richman