US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner’s push to reform the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) is a welcome development, a number of officials with leading American Jewish groups told The Algemeiner this week.
Kushner’s efforts were first reported in Foreign Policy magazine, which said that in a series of internal emails, the adviser stated, “It is important to have an honest and sincere effort to disrupt UNRWA. … This [agency] perpetuates a status quo, is corrupt, inefficient and doesn’t help peace.”
Furthermore, Kushner reportedly asked Jordan during a June visit to the Hashemite kingdom to remove two million of its Palestinian citizens from the refugee rolls, effectively making UNRWA’s activities in the country irrelevant.
UNRWA was originally set up to serve refugees displaced in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. At first designed to be a temporary body, it is now seven decades old and is embedded deeply in Palestinian society, serving, for example, as the single largest employer in the Gaza Strip. Critics accuse it of perpetuating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by counting descendants of the 1948 refugees as refugees themselves, as well as engaging in anti-Israel activities and cooperating with terrorist organizations.