Reforming UNRWA

UNRWA, of course, does not use the UNHCR criteria and does not engage in the sort of analysis required by the “Procedural Standards for Refugee Status Determination.” As a practical matter, with a fourth generation of refugees now in existence, the UNRWA policy can lead to some strange outcomes. For instance, a man who fled in 1948 from what is now Israel and was registered as a refugee (first generation refugee) could have had a male child with a non-refugee; that child (a second generation refugee) could have himself grown up and had a male child with a non-refugee and then that male child (a third generation refugee) could have had a male child (a fourth generation refugee) with a non-refugee. Although such a fourth generation refugee would have only one-eighth “refugee blood” and even though he, his parents, and his grandparents may have never set foot in what is now Israel, for UNRWA they all remain refugees entitled to repatriation to their “homes” there.

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