Nadler Amendment Would Limit Funds to UNRWA

Jul 21, 2003

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) will offer an amendment today to the House Foreign Operations spending bill for Fiscal Year 2004 that would limit funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) unless it makes some fundamental changes to Palestinian refugee camps under its control.

"Congress should not make funding available to an agency that has no plans to resettle Palestinian refugees and allows anti-Semitic teachings in refugee camps," stated Nadler. "Resettlement should have been a clear goal for UNRWA from the beginning, as it has been for all other refugees since World War II. That the United Nations allows its agency to perpetuate refugees living in camps for generations, with no interest in absorbing or settling them in decent, permanent housing, is extremely troubling."

Nadler's amendment requires that one-third of the funding made available to UNRWA in the Foreign Operations spending bill be withheld until the President can certify to the Congress that the agency has established a resettlement program for the refugees and that educational programs in the camps no longer promote anti-Semitic beliefs.

UNRWA currently spends over $300 million a year to house, educate and provide social services to 3.9 million Palestinian refugees, with over one million still living in refugee camps. Through UNRWA, the United Nations has allowed these refugee camps to exist for over 50 years, longer than any other refugee camp in the modern era. Educational programs in the camps include anti-Semitic teachings and deny the existence of the state of Israel.

"UNRWA and the surrounding Arab countries have not absorbed these refugees or worked to provide a permanent home for them. Instead, they have allowed them to fester in camps that provide no future and no hope. This, combined with the fact that the teachings in the camps promote anti-Semitism, makes these refugee camps breeding grounds for potential terrorists and suicide bombers," said Nadler.