U.S. troops patrol at an Afghan National Army Base in Logar province, Afghanistan, August 7, 2018. Omar Sobhani / Reuters

OpinionShame on You, America

The United States has spent hundreds of billions on unnecessary wars, but only the UN relief agency for the Palestinians is improperly run

Now it’s out in the open: America has declared war on the Palestinians. With his son-in-law Jared Kushner, an expert on humanitarian organizations and Palestinian refugees, the great bully Donald Trump decided to end aid to the UN agency that aids Palestinian refugees. The official explanation: The business model and fiscal practices of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency made it an “irredeemably flawed operation.”

Trump and his son-in-law, the keepers of the seal of good government, found that the agency isn’t properly run. The annual U.S. contribution of $360 million will end. Even in Israel, which rejoices at every Palestinian calamity and is positive that everything is a zero-sum game, people think the state’s greatest friend of all time went a little overboard.

The new America treats small slights and major crimes equally. Allocations to U.S. aid organizations operating in the territories, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development, have been cut by $200 million.

Washington decided to hit the Palestinians in the wallet. Of all the huge sums going to aid corrupt regimes, of all the trillions spent on pointless wars and mass killing, it’s the aid to the Jabalya refugee camp that’s mismanaged and has to stop. The Palestinians, blackmailing sons of blackmailers, no longer deserve it because of the business model. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad; the price of the joke will be paid from Chatila to Rafah.

>> Defunding UNRWA is an example of Trump's 'peace' plan | Analysis

In the next decade, the United States is set to pour $38 billion into Israel, among the most developed countries on the planet with one of the best-equipped armies in the world — which of course follow the right business model. Not a single dollar can be cut. Humanitarian aid to a needy country that doesn’t waste a single cent.

Israel deserves this terrifying aid; it complies with every resolution passed by international institutions, a model of morality that obeys every U.S. recommendation that it withdraw from the territories and end the occupation. It’s worthwhile for America to pay for all its whims and wars. It greatly adds to its global prestige.

>> UNRWA under attack: Trump tries to destroy a Palestinian achievement to force a deal | Analysis

This year, America will spend $46 billion in Afghanistan, on a war it can’t get enough of. It will pour $13 billion into Iraq, long after one of the most foolish wars ever ended.

Wars? The one in Afghanistan cost America $753 billion, the one in Iraq $770 billion, according to the Pentagon. According to Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, the actual cost was $1.7 trillion. Two unnecessary wars that caused the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, but the money spent on them conformed with a proper business model. The same for the wars in Syria and Yemen.

Only the UN relief agency for the Palestinians is improperly run. The leader of the free world, the greatest warmonger since World War II, cuts flour for Yarmouk and cooking oil for Bureij, because the Palestinians overestimate refugee numbers.

Behind all this, of course, is a much broader truth. UNRWA could hire Eliad Shraga, head of the Movement for Quality Government in Israel, and comply with Scandinavian management standards, but nothing would make a difference. Israel long ago declared war on the agency, America followed it as usual, all with the aim of removing the refugee issue from the agenda.

Anyone familiar with the conditions in the refugee camps knows just how dependent their inhabitants are on the UN agency. There might be some waste, certainly there are freeloaders, reform is absolutely necessary, but UNRWA provides basic humanitarian assistance. Without it there are no schools, clinics and food in the camps. America owes an indirect debt to the people there; it funds and supports the Israeli occupation, and it has never lifted a finger to reach a genuine solution to their suffering.

But the new America has lost its shame, too; it no longer even wants to pretend to be the honest broker, or take care of the world’s needy, as its position obliges it to do. Let us say, then, shame on you, America.

Trending Now