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UNRWA & Settler-Colonialism…

There are 10 million Palestinians in the world. Some 70% of them (7,450,000) are refugees and displaced persons under the care, in part, of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

UNRWA health clinic...

To listen to some of the national-race arguments: Palestinians are desert Arabs who wandered into Judea and Samaria after the Romans dispersed most of the Jews into the Euro-Diaspora some 2,000 years ago.

Thus the catchy motto: “A land without a people for a people without a land.”

Of course, like all ethno-racist arguments, it’s a lie. Israel-Palestine was always an ancient crossroads for many peoples. And it was always perceived as “a land flowing with milk and honey…the place of the Canaanites…” (Exodus II, 1:20—3:8). No one group ever had total control.

Given the state of modern biology and the Human Genome Project, DNA analysis increasingly serves as witness to the perfidy of such racialism: Palestinians are largely descended from ancient inhabitants: In particular, Canaanites and Phoenicians.

In addition, many Palestinians are also descendants of the population that lived in the area since Abramic Sumerians colonized the land, and those who later chose or were forced to convert to other faiths, to wit: Islamic and Crusader invaders (as was also the case in Spain and Europe at various periods).

Given Israel’s 1950 Law of Return (for the Select of course), I wonder if the Palestinians with a “Jewish” DNA profile can thus petition the Israeli courts for full citizenship? Good luck with that…

Water: 3 hrs/day...

In contrast to the Jewish Law of Return, in 1952 Israel passed the Nationality Law against Palestinians. That law prohibits any Palestinian not able to prove s/he was in Israel on or after 14 July 1952, from returning, getting compensation, or seeking Israeli citizenship. Who needs Romans?

Of course, by 1952, more than two-thirds of the target Palestinian population (750,000) had been “cleansed” from the land. That process continues today.

Ending up in refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza, the United Nations created UNRWA to replace the overwhelmed humanitarian efforts of the Red Cross and the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers) after the 1948 Israeli War of “Independence.”

One of the current strategies being employed mostly by the Euro-American (78%) settler-colonialists in East Jerusalem and the West Bank is their intended destruction of UNRWA. They perceive UNRWA as a major obstacle in the “cleansing” process.

Baqa'a Jordan, 1969...

During my first visits to refugee camps in Lebanon (1969), I was disguised in traditional Palestinian clothes since the camps were then under the martial control of the Lebanese police and Army. There are 12 such camps in Lebanon (2 others were later destroyed by the Israelis).

An uprising in the camps took place soon after I left and they assumed their own internal political control. Aside from freedom of movement, the Palestinians have never made any other claims against their host nations.

The sole responsibility of UNRWA is education, health, relief and social services. In addition to this support mandate, UNRWA was created to seek international resolution to the refugee problem thru repatriation, resettlement, or compensation.

Of course, that mandate has been thwarted for 64 years by Israel’s refusal to accept any return or compensation, and by the Palestinian’s complete refusal to resettle (as a people) anywhere else. The former Jewish call, “Next year, Jerusalem,” is as much a call by the Palestinians.

Randa Farah, an associate profession of anthropology at the University of Western Ontario (Canada), a short hop from where I live in downtown Detroit, published some recent stats and research on the subject, which inspired this article.

Despite the suffering (the original 750,000 alone is over 5 million today), I never found a Palestinian from the camps who would willingly trade resettlement over their continuing dream of repatriation to their former homes.

This is despite that fact that they’re barely tolerated in their host nations (especially given Israel’s policy of extreme collective punishment), and most refugees have their papers stamped “No Work—with or without pay.”

While UNRWA’s current mandate is to provide aid to the Palestinian refugees until 30 June 2014, Israel is amassing both its propaganda and military forces to defund the agency, colonize Palestinian lands, and attack UNRWA and Palestinians at any opportunity.

UNRWA is currently operating at only 75% of its needed budget. The Israeli gov’t has launched propaganda attacks on UNRWA across the world, and AIPAC is applying its major influence on the US Congress to cease all aid.

Hearts & Minds...

When I first worked in the Middle East, 1969-71, the strategic policy of the Palestinians–as with Vietnam and a number of other conflicts–was armed self-determination.

Palestinians have learned that an armed confrontation with Israel and its military partner the United States is an impossible and suicidal task.

Their current policy of Gandhian-King direct non-violence in conjunction with the majority of Israeli society is, in my opinion, the only course that can prevail.

I believe this is a major factor in the Israeli gov’ts drumbeat for war with Iran. Peace is the greatest enemy of crypto-fascist colonialists.

I don’t know what the intervening history of this conflict will be. But I have no doubt that at some point Israel and Palestine will be one land…one people, or none at all…

Dr. Publico

Category: DNA, FarahRanda, Palestine, UNRWA
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