Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Shame is the best weapon

From Ma'an:
The UNRWA budget will reach zero by the New Year and threaten the regular payment of salaries for UNRWA workers as well as the level of services for refugees, the organization’s media consultant Adnan Abu Hasana said Tuesday from Gaza.

Large international donors are not paying what they used to, the number of individuals depending on UNRWA services are increasing, and several Arab states have failed to follow-through on aid pledges, the spokesman said.

...Additionally, Abu Hasana said, Arab countries have not fulfilled their commitments to the League of Arab States, which pledged to pay 8% of UNRWA’s budget. The official added that last year the Arab League was only able to transfer payments amounting to 1% of the UNRWA budget.
I am no fan of UNRWA. However, most of the world feels that giving Arabs of Palestinian descent welfare forever while not pressuring Arab states to give them citizenship is a good thing. Given that, how can the Arab states justify their reprehensible role in withholding funds for their fellow Arabs?

Here are the top nation-donors to UNRWA's General Fund in 2008:
1 EC 139,685,831
2 USA 95,726,691
3 Sweden 40,645,161
4 UK 37,498,826
5 Norway 27,574,498
6 Netherlands 23,328,149
7 Canada 16,763,476
8 Denmark 15,005,168
9 Italy 14,749,262
10 France 12,655,279
11 Switzerland 11,069,216
12 Germany 10,680,660
13 Spain 10,349,288
14 Japan 8,516,725
15 Ireland 5,919,003
16 Finland 4,672,897
17 Luxembourg 4,569,763
18 Australia 3,764,130
19 Belgium 3,009,532
20 Kuwait 2,499,958

Yes, Luxembourg gives nearly twice the money to UNRWA than any Arab country does.

So Arab nations deliberately keep their Palestinian Arab brethren stateless, and they don't even pretend to help the "refugees" - most of whom were born and will die in their host Arab nations.

With all the pressure that the EU and US like to put on Israel, why is there none to demand that Arab states step up to help solve the problem that they created? Why does the West not call out the Arabs on their hypocrisy of pretending to be in solidarity with the "Palestinian cause" while doing everything they can to perpetuate it?

Here is a beautiful example of where the West could use the honor/shame dynamic of Arab and Muslim countries to everyone's advantage. Sweden or the UK or even the UN could publicly chide Arab states for their complicity in Palestinian Arab misery, and the chart above is Exhibit A. If the West is so anti-Islam, why does it pay for 99% of the budget of the major organization that keeps these Arabs alive? More importantly, why do Arabs not even pay 87% of the pittance they pledge?

Why, in short, is the welfare of the Palestinian Arabs exclusively a Western problem?

Shame the rich Gulf states into paying at least half of the UNRWA budget. Create a ten or twenty year plan to take away the "refugee" status of Arabs born in Arab states and integrate them into their surrounding Arab society, and shame the Arab states into naturalizing the people that have been their "guests" for decades.

The weapon of shame costs nothing and would have better results than six decades of Western welfare. It would help the West, and it would help the vast majority of Palestinian Arabs who would happily become citizens of Arab countries. More importantly, using shame would nullify the usual self-serving Arab arguments for keeping Palestinian Arabs in misery. It exposes their hypocrisy and helps the very people who everyone agrees needs help.

There is no downside, except for the hypocrites who want to keep Palestinian Arabs in misery as pawns against Israel.