UNITED NATIONS, April 4 — The series of articles posted on the JTA web site 16 March testifies to the interest that UNRWA elicits.
The articles are well-researched, inter alia thanks to the extensive contacts between author Michael Jordan and UNRWA’s liaison office in New York. UNRWA attempted to respond to all the queries he had, and the articles reflect an understanding of most of the issues addressed.
While it’s sometimes difficult to ascertain the provenance of the information in the series since it often is attributed to anonymous “sources” or “critics,” the analysis provided is well-reasoned, if not always balanced.
But the approach appears to obscure the main thrust of UNRWA’s role and activities. We are here to provide education, health and related services to a largely destitute population of Palestine refugees in the region.
In doing so, I believe the agency has played a significant role in contributing to stability while imbuing the refugees we serve with a sense of purpose and hope. Against heavy odds, most of the refugees have managed to better their lives and become productive participants in the local economy.
What UNRWA does not do, as I made clear in an interview, is administer or supervise the camps. We have maintained the provision of our services in difficult (and sometimes quite dangerous) circumstances thanks to the resilience and commitment of our staff, and I am proud of the fact that almost all are refugees themselves.