Yesterday, the Christian Science Monitor reported that the US will resettle 1,350 Palestinian refugees forced to flee Iraq. Curiously, the headline spins this as "risking Israel's ire." The source for that idea is an anonymous source (which also gets my goat). The Monitor writes:
The US reluctance to accept Palestinians is because it "doesn't want the refugee program to become an issue in its relationship with Israel," says a diplomat in the region, who requested anonymity because he is not cleared to talk to the press. But these Palestinians, he says, will be processed as refugees from Iraq.
Natan Sharansky lays out the difference:
Instead of working to relieve the refugees' misery, the United Nations has dedicated an entire agency, UNRWA, to perpetuating it. For the rest of the world's refugees, the U.N. works tirelessly to improve their conditions, to relocate them, and to help them rebuild their lives as quickly as possible. With the Palestinians, the U.N. does exactly the opposite, granting refugee status to the great-grandchildren of people displaced in 1948, doing nothing to dismantle the camps, and acting as facilitators for the terrorists' goal of grinding an entire civilian population under their thumb. Nowhere on earth do terrorists get so much help from the Free World.
If anything, a precedent bypassing the UNRWA deserves Israeli applause. The UNRWA and Arab governments haven't helped any Palestinians. Lebanon — for example — restricts Palestinians from 70 categories of jobs, and (irony of ironies) tightly restricts the natural growth of UNRWA-run refugee camps.
Thanks to the UNHCR, and not the UNRWA, an estimated 350,000 people of Palestinian descent live as an integrated community in Chile, not in camps.
These 1,350 owe their good fortune to the fact that they happened to be stuck in Iraq when the US invaded. The other 1.3 million stuck in 58 UNRWA camps scattered throughout Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza aren't so lucky.