In a report published last week on its website (“Washington calls for the elimination of the Works and Relief Agency for Palestine Refugees [UNRWA – CAMERA Arabic]”, May 23rd), Sky News Arabia claimed that there were five million Palestinian refugees….in 1949! (translation by CAMERA Arabic):
“It should be noted that UNRWA was founded in 1949 to provide education and health services to circa 5 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank including occupied East Jerusalem”.
Of course, the real number of Palestinians UNRWA was mandated in 1949 to provide aid to is more than six times lower – around 750,000. The agency has been criticised for the inflation in numbers of ”Palestinian refugees” over the years, an inflation prompted by a policy which – contrary to how other refugee groups in the world are treated – automatically grants refugee status to subsequent generations of Palestinians.
Such criticism helps explain calls heard from Washington to close it down.
However, Sky News Arabia likely wouldn’t want its readers to be reminded of the connection between criticism aimed at UNRWA regarding their perpetuation of the “refugees issue” and American calls to axe the UN agency. In this context, it seems clear why the network – a joint venture between the UK-based Sky News and the UAE-based Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corp. – would falsely claim there were 5 million refugees all along.
Research and writing by CAMERA Arabic. Edited by UK Media Watch.