WASHINGTON (Jun. 14)
George Abrams, staff director of the Senate Subcommittee on Refugees and Escapees, who has conducted a survey in Arab countries of the aid being given to Arab refugees by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, said here yesterday that Jordan has assured him that it would try to rectify the UNRWA relief rolls.
Mr. Abrams and another member of the staff on the subcommittee, which is headed by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, conducted a three-week survey of the Arab refugee situation in Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt. The latter country has jurisdiction over the Gaza Strip, where many of the refugees are maintained by UNRWA. Mr. Abrams said he spoke to leaders of the three Arab governments about the reports that Arab refugees have been recruited for service in the Palestine Liberation Army, a group training for war against Israel, While refusing to discuss that phase of his probe, Mr. Abrams said that members of the Jordanian Cabinet had assured him they would try to have the UNRWA rolls rectified so that fraudulent holders of UNRWA ration cards would be eliminated.
The latest UNRWA registration figures, compiled as of the end of June, 1965, showed that, in Jordan, 688,327 refugees were registered by the U.N. agency. It is estimated here that at least 200,000 UNRWA ration cards issued in Jordan have been “passed on” to merchants and others who use the UNRWA cards improperly. “In Jordan, where the problem is especially serious,” Mr. Abrams said, “clear representations were made that steps would be undertaken to begin correcting abuses.” The United States Government is concerned because the U.S.A. pays 70 percent of the UNRWA costs annually, having contributed a total of $364,468,069 to UNRWA since the agency was established in 1950.