A bright PR spotlight on the bulging refugee camps of the Palestinians is one unexpected outcome of the latest bloodbath is Gaza. Israel's shelling of a United Nations-run school sheltering Palestinians on Wednesday turned on that beacon. It was the second attack on a UN facility.
The Wall Street Journal today provided a run-down of the U.N.'s "towering presence" in the daily economic and social life in the under siege Gaza Strip. Two-thirds of Gaza's 1.3M Palestinians are registered refugees. A quarter of them live in U.N. camps and half receive food aid.
The U.N. created its first refugee camp in 1950 following Israel's formation in 1948 and the first Arab-Israeli war. It runs eight camps, 245 schools and 22 medical facilities. Some camps are in the West Bank, Jordan and Syria. The UN is Gaza's No. 2 employer with more than 11,000 staffers.
Beyond the politics involved with Palestinian demands of the right to return to the homeland, there is a tragic human element involved with the daily living conditions of the people that needs to be addressed if lasting peace is ever to the found between Israelis and Palestinians.
The Wall Street Journal's editorial page today pointed to the hypocrisy connected with demands that Israel "take back every single Arab."
It quoted a piece from the late Eric Hoffer, American philosopher and Presidential Medal of Freedom winner, who wrote of the unfairness of Jews not being "permitted to do what other nations do." He wants to know why Arabs displaced by Israel are viewed as "eternal refugees."
Hoffer wrote in 1968:
"Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it. Poland and Czechoslovakia did it. Turkey drove out a million Greeks and Algeria a million Frenchmen. Indonesia threw out heavens knows how many Chinese—and no one says a word about refugees."
"Other nations when victorious on the battlefield dictate peace terms. But when Israel is victorious, it must sue for peace. Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in the world."
Rupert Murdoch's WSJ today served the interests of its readers very well.