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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Biting the hand...

I have to admit to having experienced a certain amount of shadenfreude when reading about the recent spate of Palestinian attacks on UN personnel and facilities in Gaza.  After all, here are the only people on the face of the planet for whom a permanent UN relief agency was created (UN Relief and Works Agency - UNWRA)... but instead of doing everything in their power to protect the Golden Goose, the Palestinians seem to be doing everything in their power to roast it.

Only last week, Palestinian gunmen opened fire on UNRWA chief in Gaza, John Ging who was traveling in a clearly marked UN vehicle. And today four masked Palestinian gunmen carjacked another UN vehicle in Gaza.

The sad part is that these events will likely have absolutely no effect on the UN's doting infantilization of the Palestinians or the relief agency's eagerness to continue financially underwriting their very existence, for the simple reason that if the Palestinians were ever to become self-sufficient (meaning non-refugees), an entire UN agency - the largest of all those under the United Nations umbrella, employing over 25,000 ... and the only one dedicated to a specific group of refugees - would become obsolete overnight.

I once read a wonderful quote (feel free to point me to the source... I tried for over an hour to find it) to the effect that; 'an organization set up to find a solution will never do so because their continued existence (and funding) depends on the perpetuation of the problem'. 

This pretty much sums up the UN relief agency's relationship with the Palestinians.

Since I wasn't able to locate the source of the earlier quotation, here's another appropriate one I stumbled upon during my search that could easily apply to those [pick your favorite] who consistently turn a blind eye to Palestinian/Arab wrongdoing:

An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
                                 ~ Sir Winston Churchill ~

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Posted by David Bogner on March 22, 2007 | Permalink

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Sadly, I am shaking my head in agreement.

But does that mean we do nothing? I want to start a nonprofit to help orphans in third world countries. Orphaned by AIDS, war and poverty. Will my help cease those conditions? Will it put an end to AIDS, war and poverty? Of course not. That's not why I am doing it. But it will help to alleviate their suffering.

Of course what really needs to happen is to get to the root of the problems and make big changes there. But until they are solved or acknowledge, humanitarian aid and security is neccessary.

This reminds me of a debate I once heard about whether or not high schools should have onsite nurseries/day care centers for the students. Those against it thought that it condones the behavior of unprotected sex and is givng the students a free ticket to go ahead and get pregnant, and it's using our tax payers money to do so.

I believe the opposite. We shouldn't punish them. By not having the centers there won't stop them from having unprotected sex and risk getting pregnant, but it will offer them an opportunity to continue with their eduction, to become productive citizens and better parents to the children. It's an investment in our society's future.

Posted by: jaime | Mar 22, 2007 3:12:11 PM

I meant to add that I am sadly in agreement with the first quote.

Posted by: jaime | Mar 22, 2007 3:14:35 PM

Hi David,

Great post. UNRWA is a real scourge and does far more harm to the Palestinian-Arab people than its efforts to help.

Hi Jaime,

[[[ But does that mean we do nothing? ]]]

No.

BUT... when the help perpetuates the problem causing more suffering than it releives, it's not a great ethical choice.

[[[ Will my help cease those conditions? Will it put an end to AIDS, war and poverty? Of course not. ]]]

No.

[[[ But it will help to alleviate their suffering. ]]]

*** Are you really alleviating more suffering than perpetuating the cause of the suffering? ***

In your case, I would say not.

In UNRWA's case, UNRWA is a significant reason why groups like HAMAS and FATAH choose to spend their massive funding on guns rather than food or aid to alleviate the suffering as you have chosen to do. In addition, UNRWA directly contributes to the violence by harboring KNOWN terrorists, their weapons, providing a front, and in other ways.

This is a proven fact with many, many recorded incidents to back it.

[[[ Of course what really needs to happen is to get to the root of the problems and make big changes there. ]]]

And if you really want to help the Palestinian-Arab people, you'll know that UNRWA has enabled destitution among that population and that a positive step forward would be to dismantle the agency and start addresssing the root of the problem.

[[[ But until they are solved or acknowledge, humanitarian aid and security is neccessary.]]]

Only when it really alleviates despair and NOT when it perpetuates the despair we both abhor.

Please seriously consider my points, Jaime.

Shalom,
Maksim-Smelchak.

Posted by: Maksim-Smelchak | Mar 22, 2007 7:56:08 PM

Maksim, well said. You are quite correct. And it's painful for me to admit that when it comes to Israel and the Palistinians, I should avoid commenting because of my bias towards Israel.

I believe a few summers ago, the thread here was about cherry picking idealogies. I am guilty of doing that now. I find it hard to separate my love for Israel's existence and it's security and what is happening in Gaza. As a humanitarian, I should believe that whereever there is a need for assistance, relief agencies should be there to help, both from within it's own and from the outside. But its so political and truthfully it irks me to see them there, in Gaza and the other territories, because in my opinion, it only adds fuel to the fire of anti-Israel / anti-semitism sentiments throughout the West(world, really.)

It is something I struggle with despite if I really believe or not what David wrote about the real reasons why the UN continues its presence and funding there.

Posted by: jaime | Mar 22, 2007 9:43:11 PM

Hi Jaime,

[[[Maksim, well said. You are quite correct.]]]

Thank you. I'd much rather not correct you and not have the UN and UNRWA be such a HUGE part of the problem. But, they are...

If the UN actually stood by its stated ideals, it might really be a force for good...

[[[And it's painful for me to admit that when it comes to Israel and the Palistinians, I should avoid commenting because of my bias towards Israel.]]]

In the words of Hillel, go and learn.

[[[I believe a few summers ago, the thread here was about cherry picking idealogies. I am guilty of doing that now. I find it hard to separate my love for Israel's existence and it's security and what is happening in Gaza.]]]

Israel surrendered when it came to Gaza. They gave up those synagogues, some of them centuries old. Gaza is the first bastion of the Islamo-fascist Palestinian-Arab state.

[[[As a humanitarian, I should believe that whereever there is a need for assistance, relief agencies should be there to help, both from within it's own and from the outside.]]]

I don't have a problem with aid agencies as long as they truly "aid" the local population and not act as dupes and violence-enablers as UNRWA does.

I have a hard time using the term "Palestinian" myself... for my "Palestinian" means Jew... as a reader of history, it's not hard to see that that term overwhelmingly meant "Jew" until around the 1960s. Even the UN didn't start using the term until the 1960s.

For me "Palestinian" means Jews from the British Mandate era and before and "Palestinian-Arab" or simply "Arab" means the Muslim folks who identified as Arabs and were identified as such until the media popularized the word "Palestinian" to mean Muslim Arabs since the Palestinian-Christians are almost an extinct species in Israel and the territories of the former British Mandate.

Shalom,
Maksim-Smelchak.

Posted by: Maksim-Smelchak | Mar 22, 2007 11:43:06 PM

That quote sounds awfully like something I heard in a movie quite recently. Now it's killing me... I'll have to do some research myself!

Posted by: Irina | Mar 23, 2007 2:33:51 AM

An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
~ Sir Winston Churchill ~

Sounds like Cthulhu.

Oh wait... was Cthulhu about getting eaten first?

Posted by: Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) | Mar 23, 2007 2:54:39 AM

At one point while in Gaza I had to regularly deal with different UN officers. None were particularly friendly, except when trying to convince me how good they are and how bad we were.

There was one colonel who chose to be particularly uncooperative and unpleasant.

One day he drives up and apologizes to me.

I was suprised, and asked him why.

He told me that every day he drives into Gaza to help these people. Everyday he saw us as the enemy.

Yesterday, for whatever reason the Palestinians decided he and his UN people were bad and promptly stoned every UN car under his command that drove by to the point of nonrecognition (his car was in bad shape).

He said he had never been so scared, and he finally opened his eyes and understood who/what we were dealing with as our enemy on a daily basis.

He was friendly and cooperative from that day forth - but for some reason got rotated out a very short time later.

Posted by: JoeSettler | Mar 23, 2007 8:37:57 AM

Winston Churchill. Love those quotes. Interesting blog and comments today. Thanks JoeSettler. Go figure. Here in Seattle? Just raining. I have to go here for entertainment ;)

Posted by: Seattle | Mar 23, 2007 10:05:06 AM

They say the UN is the ‘wolf in sheep gear’ for the US and Britain working in Israel’s interest, It all makes sense for the attackers, a couple of Spies in Gaza for what? Aid? Who needs aid when you’ve got a war going on against ‘occupiers’.

Posted by: Rami | Mar 23, 2007 12:05:38 PM

Remember the story about the frog who saves a drowning scorpion, only to get bitten midstream? Frog: "You idiot! Now we're both going to die!" Scorpion: "Sorry, buddy - I can't change my nature." Moral of the story - maybe the UN should find some downtrodden non-scorpions to help. I'm sure if they look hard enough, they'll find a few.

Posted by: psachya | Mar 23, 2007 5:49:50 PM

Enjoyed reading your posts and the comments. i will be back for more. hello from Venezuela.

Posted by: Jungle Mom | Mar 23, 2007 9:23:51 PM

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