Monday, December 19, 2005

UNRWA and Education 

As you may know, UNRWA is the UN Refugee program specifically reserved for Palestinians. While all of the rest of the world's refugees are handled under a separate program designed to support those immediately displaced and help them move on with their lives in a new location, Palestinians get their own more highly funded organization.

UNRWA can claim to need the greater funds on the grounds it has so many refugees, with more being born all the time. That's because Palestinian refugees, alone amongst all refugees in the world, are not merely those displaced from their lifelong homes. Palestinian refugees include those who had just been within what is now Israeli territory for even just two years. It includes not just those directly displaced, but their children. And their children's children, and so on, and so on. At the current rate of refugee proliferation (876k in 1951, 4 million by 2003) by the year 2263, if Israel hasn't been destroyed yet, there will be approximately 8 billion Palestinian refugees waiting for the chance to return to their "homes" inside Israel. If you consider how much money is allocated to each UNRWA-assisted refugee, and that UNRWA feels it is not enough, you'll see that from a fundraisers point of view UNRWA has chosen the right definition of the problem.

And in 2263, these refugees will still be living mostly on the largesse of UNRWA (and Hamas of course). UNRWA demonstrates no interest in assisting the future 8 billion move on with their lives. Most are kept festering in camps right on Israel's doorstep, presumably awaiting that mythical distant day when Israel disappears, at which point they can all crowd their way across the border and claim a miniscule piece of territory for themselves -- provided it's not dangerously radioactive for the next 10,000 years.

Obviously the answer to so much of what is wrong here lies in education. Israel has demonstrated what educating for peace can do. The Jewish state, despite repeated attacks against it in the intervening years, has raised new generations of leaders who have offered Israel's habitual attackers a state of their own in which to live, if they will only give up chasing the bloody dream of Israel's eventual destruction. A similar education for peace could have gone a long way to making that Palestinian state a reality.

Instead, generations of Palestinian "refugees" have been raised and educated with a genocidal hatred of Israel. Many little children are taught to wish (publicly, on television) for a martyr's explosive death, of course taking as many Jews with them as possible. And too many Palestinian children have grown up into murderous teens who have made good on that education.

Can UNRWA wash it's hands of all this? Can they say their only job is to fund the sewage strewn camps and the rest is simply out of their control? That they can't control how the Palestinian Authority educates their own children?

Not if their own claims about being the primary source of Palestinian education are to be believed:

The Palestine refugee community has traditionally placed great emphasis on education as the key to a better future. Despite often difficult circumstances, Palestinians are one of the most highly educated groups in the Middle East. This achievement has been made possible in large part by the contribution of UNRWA in educating three generations of refugees.

UNRWA operates one of the largest school systems in the Middle East and has been the main provider of basic education to Palestine refugees for nearly five decades.
But perhaps they can claim that it is specifically the UNRWA-educated Palestinian children who are the best hope for peace. After all, UNRWA's students should be the ones out of all the children to be educated with the greatest emphasis on co-existence because their curriculum comes from UNRWA rather than Fatah.

Oddly enough, UNRWA makes no such claim:

UNRWA aims to give Palestine refugee pupils a basic education comparable to that provided in government schools in the region, so that they are on an equal footing in gaining access to educational and employment opportunities. Consequently, UNRWA schools use the same curricula and textbooks as the host government/Authority schools, and pupils sit, wherever applicable, for national exams at each stage of the education cycle.
What a wise choice. While the surrounding PA-controlled schools educate the next generation of Jihad warriors and Shahids for the cause, UNRWA's contribution to the quagmire is just more of the same.

Perhaps we could point out to UNRWA that every successful suicide bomber leaves one less refugee for whom they can solicit funding. Presumably they would then see the light and educate the kids in their care for a long and fertile life of peaceful squalor. It's certainly not a moral argument, but those don't seem too useful anymore.

If you really, really liked this -- or even really, really hated it -- there's lots more: