Jerusalem's Surprisingly Good Relations with UNRWA

By Spiegel, Baruch | Middle East Quarterly, Fall 2012 | Go to article overview

Jerusalem's Surprisingly Good Relations with UNRWA


Spiegel, Baruch, Middle East Quarterly


The relationship between the State of Israel and the U.N. Relief and Work Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) - an agency catering to an Arab population that could at best be described as unfriendly - is little known and little understood. Yet for UNRWA to operate effectively in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, where the bulk of its constituency resides, it must interact and collaborate with the Jewish state, which has exerted overwhelming influence on these territories since the Six-Day War of June 1 967. The result has been an uneasy marriage of convenience between two unlikely bedfellows that has helped perpetuate the problem both have allegedly sought to resolve.

EARLY INTERACTIONS

Having taken over responsibility from UNRWA in July 1952 for the 17,000 Arab refugees who remained in its territory after the 1948 war (out of a 150,000-strong Arab population),1 Jerusalem had no intention of doing the same in the wake of the 1967 Six-Day War, which brought under its control a sizable Arab population that had some, if not all, of its needs met by UNRWA. Instead, the government decided to institutionalize its relationship with the U.N. agency, and on June 14, 1967, Israel's U.N. ambassador, Michael Comay, and UNRWA's commissionergeneral, Lawrence Michelmore, signed a formal agreement establishing recognition by the State of Israel of UNRWA's activity in the West Bank and Gaza. The Israeli government committed itself to "nonintervention" in the U.N. agency's affairs in the humanitarian sphere but reserved the right to intervene in cases of national security. Specifically, the Israeli government agreed:

(a) To ensure the protection and security of the personnel, installations, and property of UNRWA;

(b) To permit the free movement of UNRWA vehicles into, within, and out of Israel and the areas in question;

(c) To permit the international staff of the agency to move in, out, and within Israel and the areas in question; they will be provided with identity documents and any other passes which might be required;

(d) To permit the local staff of the agency to move within the areas in question under arrangements made or to be made with the military authorities;

(e) To provide radio, telecommunications, and landing facilities;

(f) Pending a further supplementary agreement, to maintain the previously existing financial arrangements with the governmental authorities then responsible for the areas in question.2

From 1967 until the first intifada in December 1987, there were no extraordinary tensions or major disputes between UNRWA and the Israeli military administration. However, relations took a turn for the worse in IsraeliUNRWA relations in the late 1980s and early 1990s as violence erupted in the UNRWAadministered refugee camps during the first intifada. The Israeli authorities concluded that some of UNRWA's employees were members or supporters of terrorist organizations and that its facilities were being used to support and carry out terrorist activity.3 UNRWA's operations had become exceedingly politicized with the agency promoting anti-Israeli propaganda - including the use of deeply troubling textbooks demonizing Israel - and advocating an uncompromising stand on Palestinian demands. UNRWA vehicles including ambulances were used to transport terrorists and weapons for terrorist organizations.4 The Israeli authorities demanded the arrest of suspects in these activities, but UNRWA insisted that its employees enjoyed diplomatic immunity. Jerusalem also demanded the right to stop and search UNRWA vehicles, but the agency objected and filed complaints with the Security Council.5 To protect the country, Israeli leaders deployed defensive mechanisms such as imposing curfews and increasing the number of checkpoints and travel restrictions applying to Palestinian employees of UNRWA. The agency responded by complaining that these security arrangements interrupted daily life and education in the territories. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Jerusalem's Surprisingly Good Relations with UNRWA
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.