NEW YORK (Sep. 3)
A specialist on refugee affairs charged in an article published in Look magazine today that a United Nations agency is supporting as many as 500,000 “nonexistent ghost” refugees with American tax dollars. Ira Hirschmann, who was authorized by the State Department to investigate the Arab refugee problem, said that UNRWA (United Nations Relief And Works Agency for Palestinian Arab Refugees) has been duped out of millions of U.S. tax dollars by Arab families and UNRWA officials who contributed to highly inflated refugee population figures by failing to report deaths in the refugee camps, false registrations and black market ration cards.
Mr. Hirschmann’s article noted that, over the past 20 years, UNRWA funds have been supplied largely by the United States Congress which has authorized $400 million for the agency, nearly two-thirds of its budget. But UNRWA has “failed almost completely” in its original assignment of rehabilitating refugees, Mr. Hirschmann said. “Its bureaucracy of 12,000 employees is merely perpetuating itself in Jordan, Gaza, Lebanon and Syria, and the suffering of the Arab refugees is perpetuated so that the Arab countries can continue to raise the refugee issue.” Mr. Hirschmann recalled that the refugee scandal was revealed after the June, 1967 Six-Day War when Israeli census takers were able to make an accurate count of refugees now in camps inside Israel-occupied territory. The census revealed that “somewhere between 200,000 and 500,000 refugees of the total of 1.3 million are non-existent ghosts, many of whom still receive UNRWA aid.”