On February 3, 2009, James Lindsay and Andrew Whitley addressed a Policy Forum luncheon at The Washington Institute marking the publication of Mr. Lindsay's new study Fixing UNRWA: Repairing the UN's Troubled System of Aid to Palestinian Refugees. I have previously mentioned Lindsay's report here.
Lindsay made a number of recommendations for the reform of UNRWA and was particularly scathing of its partisanship on political issues. This led Lindsay to make this recommendation on the subject:
"Limit public pronouncements to humanitarian and relief issues, rather than getting involved in political issues, especially when taking Hamas's point of view. There are other UN platforms for political pronouncements. UNRWA claims that it condemns attacks by both sides, but in reality, the agency responds only to Israeli attacks and condemns Hamas's firing of Qassam rockets toward Israeli civilians only as an afterthought."
The partisanship issue is just one of the problems with which UNRWA is beset, the main one being that its continued existence in its current form is sustaining the Palestinian refugee issue into its fourth generation.
If proof was needed that Lidsay is hitting the nail right on the head about UNRWA's bias against Israel, the response from Andrew Whitley who is director of the UNRWA representative office at UN headquarters in New York provided it with this offering:
"The study ignores the context in which UNRWA operates and the tight line the agency walks due to various pressures. Someone reading this paper with no background would assume that the Israeli government was a benign actor. No mention is made of the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. "
Needless to say, Whitley makes no mention of UNRWA's co-operation with Hamas terrorists and the cover ups it has been involved in over the years when it's come to whitewashing crimes perpetrated against both the Israeli and the Palestinian people by the corrupt and thuggish leadership in Gaza over the years.
One has to ask whether Whitley is in the least interested in solving the Palestinian refugee issue and whether he's more interested in covering the backsides of those who are content with continuing to oversee an organisation that employs thousands of terrorist sympathisers and one suspects with 99% certainty, many, many Hamas terrorists.