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Wednesday, November 17 2010

Who the Heck is Mandated With Resettling Refugees?

I commend John Ging's desire for dialogue with the Israeli public. As the UNRWA's director of Gaza operations, Ging and his organization have a lot of explaining to do.

Adi Schwartz interviewed Ging. This snippet highlights UNRWA culpability in protracting the refugee situation:

Why don’t you resettle the refugees?

“This is not our mandate. I am by mandate given for action, not to resolve the conflict. The question of the refugees is an issue that should be decided upon in the negotiations between the parties themselves”.

Gaza is under Palestinian control. Have you tried to initiate a resettlement project there together with Hamas?

“Why would I do that? You are asking me to solve one of the protracted issues of the conflict. This is not our mandate”.

It's not just Gaza.

Lenny David points out that Rawabi, a planned Palestinian city under development near Ramallah, hasn't earmarked any of its 30,000 housing units for refugees. And that's a shame, because there are exactly 30,000 refugees in Lebanon's still-unreconstructed Nahr el-Bared refugee camp on the verge of losing UNRWA assistance for lack of funds. (See Voice of America for more on that.)

If neither Hamas, Fatah or the UNRWA are taking advantage of such obvious opportunities to resettle Palestinian refugees, whose mandate is it?



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