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UNRWA maintains the refugees within a threshold that ensures no opportunity for independence

January 23, 2014 at 12:53 am

According to a press release published on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the agency has expressed its ‘gratitude’ to the US for contributing $18.3 million, stating that the ‘generous contribution’ would assist Palestinian refugees facing emergency situations in Syria and Lebanon.

Filippo Grandi, the Commissioner General for UNRWA declared that “The US has once again demonstrated its commitment to the relief of Palestine refugees”. A similar statement was echoed by Anne C. Richard, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. “The President’s announcement today demonstrates the commitment of the United States to the humanitarian needs of all those affected by the conflict in Syria, including Palestine refugees. The United States has worked with UNRWA for over 60 years to ensure Palestinian refugees receive the essential humanitarian support they need.”

Below the press release, brief background information about the agency states that the demands of the growing number of refugees are not being met, due to inadequate financial support. The gratitude expressed by UNRWA is a fragment of a wider spectrum – that of maintaining the plight of refugees within a threshold that ensures almost no opportunity for independence. While the US remains the primary source of funding for UNRWA, it is also responsible for the conditions which have created the need for humanitarian assistance. While Palestinian refugees depend upon UNRWA for alleviating their suffering, the organisation relies upon the financial resources of imperialism to distribute an imitation of dignity, funded by the same country which endorses Israeli human rights violations and obliterates the Palestinian narrative except in circumstances where necessity dictates a manipulative form of remembrance in order to further the Zionist and imperialist agenda.

The US, as well as UNRWA, are aware of the dynamics of dependence which ensures depleting opportunities and resources for Palestinian refugees and the creation of a distinct form of identity through Israel’s vehement refusal to recognise the Palestinian right of return. While offers of humanitarian aid by the US are unlikely to be rejected, it is imperative to recognise that Palestinians are suffering a further indignity through international coercion, of being the recipients of such aid. Palestinian resistance has focused upon the right to return, which international organisations have mangled into a mismanaged ‘conflict’ dependent upon the alleged benevolence of Israeli allies doing their utmost to maintain a situation instead of embarking upon a proper dismantling of the Zionist occupation.

UNRWA ‘gratitude’ encompasses a multitude of human rights violations for which Israel and the US should be held accountable. Unless the United Nations is also held accountable for its complicity in sustaining the conditions which created Palestinian refugees, Israel and its allies will remain safely ensconced within the parameters dictating altruism, concern and democracy. It is worth discussing the ramifications of gratitude which the UNRWA has so readily expressed through the framework of Palestinian memory narrative, which would expose the hypocrisy of international organisations and their links to the imperial structure which has managed to transform the essence of dependence into something akin to collaboration.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.