HAVE YOU BEEN
A TRIP TO
speaking out on nominations," said an
official with one Jewish group. In part,
that reluctance stems from a desire by
organization leaders not to jeopardize
relations with the administration —
especially since the chances of block-
ing any nomination are low, given
Republican control of the Senate.
Lawmakers want the United Nations
Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)
to clean up its act.
The international agency was creat-
ed in 1950 to help Palestinian
refugees, but critics say is now little
more than a vocational school for ter-
rorists. The foreign aid authorization
bill now working its way through the
House includes nonbinding language
calling for some serious housecleaning
at the troubled U.N. agency.
The amendment, inserted by Rep.
Tom Lantos, D-Calif., and Rep. Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., points out the
huge U.S. financial contribution to the
agency in the past 53 years -- 10 times
as much as the entire Arab world has
given to help Palestinian refugees —
and calls on the Arab countries to pick
up more of the burden.
The measure excoriates UNRWA for
allowing its facilities to be "used for
terrorist training and
bases for terrorist opera-
tions, with little attempt
by the UNRWA to stop
or oppose such attacks."
The authors also
express concern about
"the textbooks and edu-
cational materials used
in the UNRWA educa-
tional system that promote anti-
Semitism, denial of the existence and
the right to exist of the state of Israel."
UNRWA, critics say, is the only inter-
national refugee agency that seeks to
perpetuate refugee status rather than
The measure also calls on Secretary
of State Colin Powell to press harder
for UNRWA reform. The issue has
become a top priority for the World
Jewish Congress, which has promoted
the legislation in recent meetings with
"UNRWA today is becoming an
obstacle to the peace process," said WJC
Secretary General Avi Beker. "It is more
and more related to the Palestinian
campaign for a right of return to Israel
— which is a device to replace the
Jewish state. This is a rejection of a two
state solution — and a U.N. agency
s houldn't be part of that." LI
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