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95th Congress COMMITTEE PRINT 2d Session f
UNITED NATIONS RELIEF AND WORKS AGENCY FOR PALESTINE REFUGEES
IN THE NEAR EAST
A STAFF REPORT
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
UNITED STATES SENATE
JUNE 1978 d
Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Relations
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 28-348 WASHINGTON : 1978
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents. U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington, D.C. 20402
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS JOHN SPARKMAN, Alabama, Chairman FRANK CHURCH, Idaho CLIFFORD P. CASE, New Jersey
CLAIBORNE PELL, Rhode Island JACOB K. JAVITS, New York
GEORGE McGOVERN, South Dakota JAMES B. PEARSON, Kansas
DICK CLARK, Iowa CHARLES H. PERCY, Illinois
JOSEPH R. BIDEN, JR., Delaware ROBERT P. GRIFFIN, Michigan
JOHN GLENN, Ohio HOWARD H. BAKER, JR., Tennessee
RICHARD (DICK) STONE, Florida PAUL S. SARBANES, Maryland MURIEL HUMPHREY, Minnesota NORVILLE JONES, Chic of Staff ABNER E. KENDRICK, Chief Clerk
In the course of its consideration of the fiscal year 1978 Foreign Assistance Authorization bill, the Committee on Forei(rn Relations deleted $9.5 million of the $52 million requested by the Administration to support the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine IRefugees in the Near East. The deletion was made pending a staff study of UNRWA activities in the field. In early April, George W. Ashworth and Richard L. McCall of the Committee Staff were directed to travel to the Middle East to conduct the study. The field study was conducted April 21-30 and Messrs. Ashworth and McCall reported back to the Committee prior to its consideration of the pertinent legislation on May 10 and 11.
Upon a motion by Senator Richard Stone, the Committee decided to restore the $9.5 million withheld from fiscal year 1978 funding and to authorize the full $52 million requested by the Administration in fiscal year 1979. $10 million of the fiscal year 1979 authorization is contingent upon funds provided, on a matching basis, by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
At the conclusion of its deliberations on S. 3074, the Committee agreed the staff report should be printed for the use of the Senate and the public. JOHN SPARKMAN, Chairman.
Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2013
ForewordSummary --------------------------------------------------------- 2
Education and 3
A. Relief 9
B. Health 10
C. Education 10
The central 13
Education ---------------------------------------------------- 13
Rectification of the ration 15
Syrian Government contributions to the Palestinian refugees-------- 15 16
The refugees in Jordan ----------------------------------------- 19
Education ---------------------------------------------------- 20
Ration distribution -------------------------------------------- 22
Jordan field office budget for UNRWA 23
Some additional observations on the UNRWA program in Jordan- 23
West Bank and 25
Self-help on the West 27
Education ---------------------------------------------------- 29
Some general observations -------------------------------------- 29
The Gaza 30
Features of the Gaza 30
Rectification of the ration rolls ---------------------------------- 31
Health, ------------------------------------------------------ 32
Education ---------------------------------------------------- 32
Some conclusions on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip ------------ 32
Before leaving for the Middle East on April 21, we reviewed operations of the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) with officials of the Department of State in Washington. In addition, Dick McCall went to New York on April 14 for discussions with UNRWA officials at the United Nations.
We had intended to visit all five fields in which UNRWA operates: Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza. However, upon the advice of the United States Embassy in Beirut and the Lebanon field office of UNRWA that a visit to Lebanon would be somewhat risky given the present instability, we decided to omit Lebanon. However, we asked that, if possible, Robert Prevot, the field office director for UNRWA in Lebanon, meet with us in Damascus. He readily agreed to do so.
We spent a little more than a week in the field, dividing our time about equally among Syria, Jordan and the occupied territories. After we specified our interest, itineraries were -worked out by the UNRWA field offices in cooperation with the United States Embassies and the United States Consulate General in Jerusalem.
In all countries we saw appropriate officials of the host governments. In Syria, we met with the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and a Syrian Liaison officer with UNRWA. In Jordan, we met with the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Education, the Acting Minister of Health, the Minister of Information and Acting Foreign Minister, the Minsiter of Finance, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Development and Reconstruction, and the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Ministerial Committee. In the West Bank and Gaza our visit came at the end of Passover and during the Sabbath, with the result that all Israeli Government offices were closed. Nonetheless, appropriate Israeli officials gave up part of their Sabbath and we were able to have useful discussions with the senior liaison officer for UNRWA in the West Bank, a liaison officer for UNRWA in the Gaza Strip, a senior official of the governmental office concerned with UNRWA, and the Chief of the North American desk. In Jordan, we met with the American Ambassador and, in Syria and Israel, where the American Ambassador was not present, the American Deputy Chief of Mission and other American Embassy officials.
We were accompanied on our trip by the Commissioner- General of UN RWA, Thomas W. McElhiney. We met at length with all UNRWA field office directors and their staffs, visited refugee camps and UNRWA installations, and directly observed UNRWA operations.
Before leaving Washington, we had become fully cognizant of the concerns which had been raised in regard to UNRWA, and we did not hesitate to point out these concerns in the field and to seek responses.
Without exception, we found the discussions to be open and candid, and we wish to express our appreciation to all of those who helped us gather as much information as possible in the course of our visits.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East was established in 1950 as a temporary agency of the United Nations. The Agency's mandate is to provide services to Palestine refugees-"persons or the descendants of persons whose normal residence was Palestine for a minimum of two years preceding the Arab-Israeli conflict in 1948 and who, as a result of that conflict, lost both their homes and their means of livelihood."
As a temporary agency, UNRWA is not supported out of the general funds of the United Nations, with the exception of some support given by other United Nations agencies and the Dayment of international staff costs from the regular U.N. budget. Ali aost all of its fundi g is a result of voluntary commitments, which must be regularly renewed As a result of this uncertainty and the general lack of support by some nations, in particular the non-host Arab nations, UNRWA undergoes recurring financial crises. One such crisis, occurring at this point, has led to a one-third reduction in the flour component of the rations to qualified recipients and may lead to further reductions unless significant monetary commitments are secured.
The UNRWA budget for 1978 totals $139.8 million. Pledged and expected funds come to $112.8 million, for a projected deficit of $27 million. With the $9.5 million withheld by the Congress pending this staff study, the deficit would be reduced to $17.5 million. So far, despite an active fund-raisin campaign, Commissioner-General MeElhiney has been unable to gain any commitment from previous noncontributors to help out this year. Currently, he is asking previous contributors to increase their support to cover the projected costs.
The most obvious potential source of revenue is the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which gave less than $6 million to UNRWA last year. Most of the countries involved in OPEC are Arab, but donations under the OPEC aegis might serve the dual purpose of getting UNRWA the funds it needs to maintain crucially important services, while sparing the Arab states from being in the public position of contributing substantial amounts directly to UNRWA-something they have in the past been reluctant to do, except when UNRWA was on the verge of collapse.
It was emphasized to us time and again in the field that many Arabs believe that the United States and other Western nations should bear the major share of the load since they were responsible for the creation of Israel and the resultant plight of the refugees. It might be noted that Japan, which had no role in bringing about the present situation, by any stretch of the imagination, supports UNRWA to about the same degree as all of the non-host Arab countries combined.
As one observer put it, "Unfortunately, the Arabs are still more interested in assessin(r blame, than in helping with solutions
A total of 1,706,486 Palestine refugees, are now registered with UNRWA. Of that total, 201,171 are registered in Lebanon; 192,915 in Syria; 663,773 in East Jordan; 302,720 in the West Bank; and,
346,000 in the Gaza Strip. Commissioner-General McElhiney pointed out that these figures are not accurate indications of refugees actually present in the places they are registered, since refugees who do not receive services do not bother to report.their movements to the Agency. About half of the refugees are, in principle, eligible for all UNRWA services, but less than 300,000 could in fact receive all services since the total could be no higher than the school population.
In 1977, according to UNRWA, 821,785 were eligible for all services, including full rations. Perhaps 30 percent were actually ineligible for rations because they are dead, are absent from the UNRWA area of operations, or have surpassed the income level at which rations would be cut off.
Another 9,022 frontier villagers on the West Bank are registered for half-rations and other services. Another 510,706 infants and children of registered refugees are themselves registered for services only, not for rations, due to ration ceilings imposed more than a decade acro. Of this total, even though rations are not 'provided by the Agency, 38,236 displaced children do receive rations donated by the Jordanian Government on an emergency and temporary basis.
A total of 89,571 members of families registered for rations and other services do not themselves receive rations. A total of 29,124 persons receive services, but not rations, because of their income. A final category totals 246,278 and includes persons who receive very few services and no rations because of income or absence from the area served by UNRWA.
UNRWA has 117 internationally recruited staff members, including those seconded from UNESCO and WHO, one of whom is a Palestine refugee.
The Agency has headquarters in Beirut, as well as a field office, and field offices in Syria, Jordan, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.
The Agency provides education and training, relief and health services. Although these services are located mainly in camps, UNRWA does n t run the camps (that is the responsibility of selected refugee leaders), nor is it responsible for security In the camps. Security is the responsibility of the host government. For differing reasons, there are very few security problems associated with the camps in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan and Syria. In Lebanon, virtually all of the Palestinian political and para-military and terrorist groups are represented in each of the camps, and, while community councils may be in charge in an overall sense, the military organizations exercise control in matters important to them to the extent possible. This situation has been compounded by the collapse of any effective control by the Lebanese Government. This matter is discussed more thoroughly elsewhere in the report.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
This aspect of UNRWA activities cost about $66 million in 1977 and involved 10,700 employees, mainly teachers. The main program is general education, under which about 300,000 refugee children receive elementary and intermediate schooling in 595 UNRWA/ UNESCO schools. High school education is provided by the host governments, with some subsidization by UNRWA.
There are eight UNRWA vocational and teacher-training centers for men and women of which 4,141 trainees were enrolled last year.
A university scholarship program partially funds 326 men and women at universities in the Arab countries.
Whenever feasible and possible, the Agency has funded some small pre-school programs, activities centers, and craft training for adults.
UNRWA also helps support a regional institute of education in Amman, which trains teachers appointed to posts in UNRWA/ UNESCO schools.
We had an opportunity to visit elementary, intermediate and vocational and teacher training centers while students were present in both Syria and Jordan and the West Bank. Some of the general education facilities were in bad shape because of age and limited funds for upkeep. A large number of the schools are in rented buildings not meant to be schools. In most of the schools, double-shifting is required because of limited space. These problems could be solved, of course, with millions of dollars in capital outlays, which in many cases could be amortized rapidly due to the high rents UNRWA is often now forced to pay. But these millions are simply not available in a budget which appeared to us to be stretched very thinly.
The impressive aspect of our tours of the facilities was the obvious drive of the students. For most Palestinians, a possible settlement is eagerly awaited, but the terms and date of a settlement are unknown.
Education, by contrast, offers an immediate opportunity for refugees to better themselves. For many, it offers an eventual way out. Realizing this, refugee parents push their children to do well, and the students themselves approach their studies with unusual diligence and drive. Significantly, in all of the host countries, the elementary and intermediate refugee children have consistently scored better on tests than other children in comparable governmental schools, despite the decidedly more spartan circumstances and the lack of advantages which are available to others. Graduates of the vocational training centers usually have firm job commitments before graduationmostly in the Gulf states, where wages are substantially higher than in the host countries. A reported 80,000 Palestinians, including refugees, are currently in universities-a proportion well ahead of any other Middle Eastern nation.
This activity involves approximately 2,330 employees and annual cost of about $21.2 million. Services are available to about 1.5 million refugees in 98 UNRWA clinics and health centers. Services include general outpatient care, prenatal and postnatal care, infant care, rehydration clinics for malnourished children with dysentery and diarrhea, dental care, and special services for patients with such problems as tuberculosis, heart trouble and diabetes. The services are both comprehensive an(I spare. The cost accounting and materials control appears to be scruiptlous. As an example of the tight budget, in Syria there is a budget of $60,000 for medicines and supplies to serve 190,000 refugees.
We asked, in Jerusalem, whether a refugee diabetic would have the same chance of survival in a camp as, say, a diabetic in England.
The answer was no. While insulin and diabetic c1rugs are available the lifestyle of the refugees, the stress, and the poor diet combined to reduce the life expectancy below what would be expected in England.
Still, while those in the health services recognize the problems which cannot be overcome, we were uniformly impressed with the, apparent dedication and effectiveness of the staffs and with the willingness to keep going under very trying circumstances.
A total of 101 supplementary feeding centers are also operated and serve about 34,000 youngsters, mostly under the age of six. Children come to the centers for one meal a day if they are under six and if their parents believe that they would be undernourished without that meal. Older children are eligible under doctor's orders. A standard meal might include a stew made with rice and corned beef, a bread pudding, enriched bread, a vitamin A and D tablet and sometimes, fruit. The accounting is scrupulous. In Syria, meals are provided six days a week at a monthly cost of $3.00. In other countries, costs are slightly higher.
Hospital care is available in private and governmental hospitals under varying arrangements. UNRWA generally covers some or all of the costs.
Under this category, UNRWA provides some very limited funding for shelter repairs and some help to special hardship cases. The main activity under this category --and the most controversial-is the ration program. Until February, UNRWA had been providing 10 kilograms of flour, as well as small quantities of rice, sugar and cooking oil. The Agency receives sufficient quantities of all commodities but flour to meet its needs, but it has had to buy flour in the past. Due to the cash crunch this year, the flour ration has been reduced by one-third.
The Azency has been forced to reduce rations before, most recently in 1976 and 1977. As a result, a ration which once provided about 1,500 calories daily has been reduced to 600 to 700 calories, which, of course, cannot maintain life.
The spare nature of the rations is underscored by the fact that even in a refugee family with eligible ration recipients, the number receiving rations would typically be at least one below the family size.
This does not excuse the fact that in Lebanon Syria, and Jordan,, and, to a lesser extent the West Bank and Gaza, the ration rolls remain rife with errors, despite some efforts to rectify the rolls. Of course, if the rolls were made completely correct, they might not shrink, due to the large numbers of eligible children who would be added to the rolls if the ineligible were removed.
The main reason the rolls have not been rectified is the adamant and continuing opposition of the Arab Governments involved, as well as the suspicions such endeavors cause in the refugees themselves. The Israeli authorities are willing to allow rectification, but they will not cooperate with the effort, nor will they make information such as'lists of registered workers available to UNRWA. In Jordan, there is a widespread fear at governmental levels that correction of the rolls would upset the refugees, raise doubts in their minds as to the inter-
national support for them, and lead to instability and possibly internal difficulties. 1n Syria, the government will not allow investigations and cooperates in only a limited way with efforts to rectify the rolls out of a concern that the status quo would be disturbed needlessly and with possible risks to stability. In Lebanon, essentially no one except UNRWA has sought rectification of the rolls, and it has not occurred to any major extent.
The Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Mr. McElhiney, has steadfastly maintained that the rations should be based on need, not entitlement. In general, this concept was supported by the largely Palestinian local staffs we met in Jordan and Syria, although there were misgivings as to whether it would be wise to proceed soon. The main objection was that refugees would see themselves being abandoned and would view a change in the ration system as a prelude to abolishment of the system. The concept of a system of refugee registration based on educational and health entitlements, rather than rations, was discussed. In general, staffs were intrigued, but unconvinced such a change could be carried out without searing and disturbing the refugees.
In Jerusalem, local staffs were vehemently opposed to an offer by Mr. McElhiney to give full rations to those who could demonstrate need, while keeping others at partial rations. It was argued that so many are needy, such a system could not be instituted equitably and it would engender fierce jealousies. Mr. McElhiney postponed implementation of the plan to allow time for further discussions.
The present budget crises in UNRWA which led to reduction of the flour ration by one-third also threatens to lead to more significant reductions, such as the termination of the intermediate schooling throuLyhout the UNRWA area of activities, a drastic cut in the budget for replacement of unsatisfactory schools and for necessary replacements of health, sanitation, and supplementary feeding facilities.
Significantly, Mr. McElbiney has placed the continuation of the three years of the intermediate cycle at the top of his priorities. This would require $7.5 million of the present $27 million fund deficit. In all of our discussions, the possibility of a halt in intermediate educastion received the most attention and expressions of dismay from the staffs. Restoration of full rations was a decided secondary consideration. The Commissioner- General has placed purchase of flour to kee rations at two-thirds as his fourth priority and restoration of M rations as his twelfth priority.
These issues are dealt with in terms of the specific countries involved in the following sections.
In light of the Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon, the uncertain security situation in that country precluded our direct assessment of UNRWA programs. Therefore, Mr. Robert Prevot, Director of UNRWA operations in Lebanon, and Mr. Thomas McElhiney, Commissioner- General of UNRWA, traveled to Damascus to brief us on the agency's program in that country. Mr. McElhiney accompanied us on the remainder of our trip, while Mr. Prevot returned to Beirut. SThe total number of Palestinian refugees registered in Lebanon is 201,171, of which about 100,000 (or less than 50 percent) are located in camps. As of December 31, 1977, 100,088 refugees were eligible to receive basic rations. A total of 173,245 refugees were eligible for health and education services.
The estimated budget costs for 1978 in Lebanon are:
I. Relief services: in dollars
a. Basic rations------------------------------ $2, 333, 447
b. Supplementary feeding------------------------ 800, 255
c. Special hardship assistance--------------------- 221) 480
d. Shelter-------------------------------------- 63,480
II. Health services:
a. Environmental sntto------------638, 120
b. Medical sevcs--------------1,873, 507
III. Education services:
a. General edcto.------------10,056, 520
b. Vocational euain------------11268, 092
Total cot---------------17,254, 627
UNRWA's sole responsibility in Lebanon, as it is in the other host countries, is to provide relief, health, and education services to the registered ref tigee population in compliance with the numerous United Nations resolutions mandating its operations over the years. Since UNRWA is only service-oriented, it is the responsibility of the host government to provide the security and policing authority in the refugee camps.
Prior to 1969, the Lebanese Government performed this function. There was a Lebanese police post established in each camp. In addition, the stationing of a Lebanese Army Intelligence Bureau representative in the camps allowed the government to exercise tight control over the activities of members of the Palestine Liberation Organization. However, the situation for the Lebanese Government became increasingly untenable. With clashes between the Lebanese security forces and the Palestinians increasing in intensity, the government abandoned the camps. In October 1969, the Lebanese Government requested that the PLO provide the security and policing authority for the refugee camps following the Cairo Agreements which accorded quasi-autonomous status to the PLO in Lebanon. The Lebanese Government's ability to reinstate its own authority in the camps was
precluded effectively by the 1970 clashes between Palestinian commando groups and Jordanian military forces which drove radical elements of the Fedayeen into Lebanon. The Melkart Agreement in 1973 between the Government of Lebanon and the PLO sought to define more precisely limits on Palestinian activity in and from Lebanon.
The total estimated Palestinian population in the Middle East is thought to be 3.5 million. Of this number, intelligence sources estimate the total military and paramilitary strength of the various PLO factions and the non-PLO "rejectionists" is between 18,000 and 20,000.
There were three refugee camps receiving UNRWA services in the area of southern Lebanon attacked, but not actually occupied, by Israel in the March 15 military operation. Of the 27,000 registered refugees (not in camps) who fled Israeli-occupied Lebanon, about 25 percent were Christian Palestinians.
NXhile each refugee camp has popular committees comprised of representatives of the various Palestinian organizations, we were told that because of the effectiveness of Israeli intelligence, the PLO does not prepare for operations openly inside the camps where their activities would be detected easily.
The PLO is able to find military recruits in the refugee camps. However, actual training must, of necessity, occur outside the camps. We were told of instances where precision bombardment by the Israelis resulted in the destruction only of PLO headquarter facilities in the camps.
Because of the unsettled situation in Lebanon and the inability 6f the government to provide security, UNRWA and the less-radical Palestine Liberation Organizations have been cooperating, to their mutual advantage, in a modus vivendi which allows UNRWA to continue providing services. Through analysis of the ration distribution system in other countries, we agree with UNRWA officials it is virtually impossible to divert agency foodstuffs. It was pointed out that individual refugees will sell flour in return for bread, if baking facilities are not available to them. UNRWA officials emphasized that, without PLO assistance during the civil war in Lebanon, UNRWA would have lost all of its commodity stocks to looting. As a result of PLO security at the warehouses, virtually all commodity stocks remained intact.
We raised the question of whether or not the refugee camps in Lebanon were "hotbeds of terrorism and PLO activity," and found the view was widely held that the provision of UNRWA services, although not designed to do so, in fact minimized militant PLO influence. As one source put it, "in periods of crisis, by maintaining its services, UN RWA is a definite factor in holding militancy down."
Many of the registered refugees who fled Palestine in 1948 were of the lower middle class. Having depended upon farming or small
business enterprises for their livelilioods, anid having faced many privations since, these Palestinians place strong emphasis on the education of their children. It is apparent they want their children to have the economic advanMtages they themselves now lack. All UNRIWA officials, in Lebanon and elsewhere, emphasized there is
a strong desire to obtain an education and leave the country to earn a living. Over 75 percent of the Vocational -Technical rriining graduates leave Lebanon for employment in the oil-rich Arab nations of the Gulf where technical skills are sorely in demand. Education and. training were also believed to provide an alternative to indulging in extremist activity.
Would the refugee camps disappear if UNRWA services were abolished? UNRWA officials believed the camps would be maintained. The PLO, although lacking the technical capability to effectively replace UNRWA, would certainly have the financial resources to take over schools, continue health services, and provide food to the refugees. The difference would. be that indoctrination, which is now lacking, would become an important element of the formal education system.
SPrevot, who is mainly responsible for UNRWA's relations with the Lebanese Government said, "the government backs UNRWA fully. 'Bywtdaia our services we will have destroyed any chance for Lebanese institutions to be revitalized."
Prevot also made the point that -with the abolition of UNRWA prior to an overall settlement in the Middle East, the possibility of a negotiated peace would be foreclosed among( the Palestinians. "This would d be psychologically unsettling for the refugees. It would be Perceived as 'a -total abrogation of international recognition of 'the plight of the Palestinians and would encourage a military solution to the problem."
A. RELIEF SERVICES
The relief operation in Lebanon comprises the, distribution of dry rations, welfare assistance, the construction and maintenance of UNRWA facilities and the maintenance of records of the refugee populatio 'n. Families with incomes allowing them to contribute towards their own'support receive only certain types of assistance. The types of assistance received are reduced according to the scale of income until, above a certain level of income, all assistance is suspended.
During 1977, a total of 536 refugees were removed from the ration rolls in Lebanon due to deaths, false or duplicate registrations, increase in income or transfers to other countries. A total of 282 refugees were adled to the ration rolls primarily as a result of loss of income. The
*total refugee population in Lebanon increased by 8,502, of which 7,263 were births.
During 1977, UNRWA distributed dry rations to approximately 100,000 refugees every month. In 1978, due to the agency's financial deficit, the flour component of the normally monthly ration issues has been reduced to eight issues in order to absorb the reduction of about 30 percent in the quantity of flour. Each full ration now includes 10 kilograms of flour, 375 grams of cooking oil, 600 grams of sugar, and 500 grams of rice. In recent years, the daily caloric content made available to ration recipients has declined from 1,500 calories to between 600 and 800 calories.
Welfare assistance is provided to refugees in need in the form of cash assistance ($8.00 per family per year); arranging and paying for the care of orphans and the aged in specialized institutions; the schooling and training of blind and handicapped refugee children; and
distributing food supplements and used clothing donated by nongovernmental organizations. It is estimated that 16,255 refugees will be eligible for this special hardship assistance during 1978.
UNRWA has a small staff in each camp who are responsible for the security of UNRWA installations and property, supervising the cleanliness of the camp, ensuring that water and drainage services function properly and dealing with any problems that arise between refugees and the agency.
Agency officials readily admit that rectification of the ration rolls remains a major problem. However, without the cooperation of the Lebanese Government officials in providing essential data, full rectification is nearly impossible. Comm issioner-General McElhiney has made this problem a major issue in his dealings with the host governments of the region. It is estimated that between 30 and 35 percent of the ration recipients would be removed from the rolls if all the data were available to UNRWA officials. This would not necessarily mean the size of the rolls would diminish, since ration ceiligs imposed in the early 1960's have effectively precluded extension of rations to refugee children who would be eligible on the basis of need.
B. HEALTH SERVICES
Since the basic health services system does not vary greatly from country-to-country, it is not necessary to discuss this program in detail in this section of the report.
C. EDUCATION SERVICES
UNRWA provides education services for the children of registered refugees. As a result, 60 percent of the Agency's field staff are education personnel.
All refugee children, from the age of six up to 19, are eligible for Agency education. UNRWA is responsible for education at the elementary and preparatory level. There are 81 UNRWA schools in Lebanon for a total of 40,128 refugee children. Due to the lack of classroom space, double-shifting is prevalent in Lebanon. In addition, there are 5,010 refugee students in private and government schools at the elementary level, 3,425 students at the preparatory level, and 3,300 at the secondary level. There are 504 students attending the Siblin Vocational-Technical Training Center and 116 students in teacher training at Siblin.
Saturday, April 22
Arrived Damascus Airport, 3:00 p.m. Working dinner:
Mr. Tom McElhiney, Commissioner-General, UNRWA.
Mr. Wilhelm af Sillin, Director of UNRWA Affairs, Syria.
Mr. Robert Prdvot, Director of UNRWA Affairs, Lebanon. Sunday, April 23
Briefing in UNRWA field office-Present:
Wilhelm af Sill6n, Director of UNRWA Affairs, Syria.
Mr. Said Kinge, Field Relief Services Officer, Syria.
Mr. Mustafa Zahlan, Field Health Officer, Syria.
Mr. Mohamad Khalifeh, Field Education Officer, Syria.
Mr. Robert Privot, Director of UNRWA Operations, Lebanon.
Visit to Damascus Vocational Training Center.
Briefing, Mahmoud Tayyem, principal V.T.C.
Wilhelm af Sillin residence. Field staff, Commissioner-General
Briefing and discussion with Commissioner-General on UNRWA's overall activities. Monday, April 24
Visit to Yarmouk Camp to witness ration distribution and health clinic operation.
Visit to Jaramana Camp outside of Damascus.
Visit to central warehouse.
Working lunch at U.S. Embassy. Tuesday, April 25
Meeting with Syrian Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, Mr. Yousif Ja'aidani and Mr. Suheil Hameed, Assistant Director General of the General Authority for Palestine Arab Refugees (GAPAR).
Depart for Amman.
Of the 193,000 registered refugees in Syria, 63,633 (33 percent) are in camps. However, nearly 22,000 are located in emergency camps which were established for those refugees registered by UNRWA who fled the Syrian-Israeli border during the 1967 Middle East War.
In addition to the registered refugees, there are 35,000 other Palestinians registered with the General Authority for Palestine Arab Refugees (the Syrian Government agency responsible for refugees) who are not recognized by UNRWA because they were not registered (luring the prescribed period. It is estimated that 30 percent of these are children.
The Palestinian refugees enjoy all the benefits of Syrian citizenship with the exception of the right to vote.
While 98,659 registered refugees are eligible to receive rations, Dr. Said Kinge, Field Relief Officer for Syria, pointed out there were 65,680 children registered as potential ration beneficiaries who were not receiving rations because of the ceiling placed on recipients in 1961.
Our departure for Jordan was delayed at the request of Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Jousif Ja'aidani to discuss the importance of the UNRWA program to Syria. Mr. Suheil Hameed, Assistant Director General of GAPAR, returned for a few hours from a conference in Jordan in order to see us.
Our meeting with the Minister was marked by cordiality and was conducted in a very businesslike atmosphere. There was a total lack of rhetoric concerning Israel and the United States. We pressed Mr. Ja'aidani on rectification of the ration rolls and the need to broaden the base of financial support for UNRWA, particularly in the area of greater contributions from the OPEC countries. On the latter point, he noted that Syria had instructed its ambassadors in OPEC countries to urge financial support to erase UNRWA's $27 million budget deficit and to place the agency on a sound financial footing in the future.
On the rectification problem, Mr. Ja'aidani was non-committal. He (lid not mention that the amount of rations wrongly distributed was small compared to the needs of the refugees. Although it was not mentioned as a factor, it is apparent the Syrian Government believes the problem to be politically sensitive.
It was obvious to us that Syria exercised tight control over the re ugecs. For example, (luring the Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon, Syria sealed its border to prevent Palestinians from joining PLO military units fighting Israeli forces.
In Syria, we inspected the ration distribution system, operation of the central warehouse, a typical health clinic including maternal child services, and living conditions in both the Yarmouk and Jaramana camps.
With the one exception of the rectification problem, we were impiressed with all phases of UNRWA's operations, an impression reinforced in Jordaii, the est Bank and Gaza.
While the problem of entitlement versus actual needle remains, a nagrgigone regarding rations, we were impressed by the tight controls established throughout the distribution system. A visit to Yarinouk let us see the distribution.
The eligibility of recipients for rations and the number of rations per family is cross-checked with a computer print-out which is p)r0vided to each distribution center once a month. Before a recipient can actually receive the rations, eligibility must be verified. The recipient then goes to the distribution center, where each commodity is weighed to insure accuracy. The process is very time-consuming and burdensome. In order to assure a full accounting of all commodities at the distribution centers, we were told that after ration disbursal, flour was swept from the floors and put back in the sacks.
The rations do not provide even subsistence for the refugees, but are viewed as a marginal supplement to their monthly dietary needs.
THE CENTRAL WAREHOUSE
The central warehouse is responsible for accommodating all agency supplies for the field operations, and subsequent issue to user divisions. These include basic food commodities and such general stores as school supplies, training material, spare parts, and pharmaceutical supplies. Issues and receipts are controlled by systematic procedures. Stocks are examined periodically to confirm quantities and the condition of the commodities and other goods.
With each delivery of supplies to a central warehouse is a computer print-out u sed for cross-checking of the goods actually received at the central warehouse. A precise accounting i'ecords every issue down to the "individual nail," we were told.
Goods are transported by agny-we and hired vehicles. Basic food commodities are taken from the central warehouse to distribution centers in hired vehicles. These costs are refunded by the government.
In touring the central warehouse facilities outside Damascus, we noted that supplies are loaded and Unloaded manually. There were no fork-lifts. Agency vehicles are serviced and repaired at the central warehouse to hold down costs.
We were parti 'cularly impressed with the cautious control and accounting procedures utilized at the central warehouse, although the procedures may appear burdensome. In our estimation, it is indicative of the scrupulous attention UNRWA employees give to avoiding waste and insuring that goods are utilized in the manner intended.
The UNRWA Palestinian employees point with particular pride to the UNRWA/UNESCO-supported elementary and intermediate
schools. They make the point that Palestinian students fare better, from an educational standpoint, than do Syrian students in government schools, though they use the identical syllabus.
In 1977, 37,694 Palestinian children attended UNRWA/UNESCO elementary and intermediate schools. These schools also accommodated 1,694 displaced Syrian and 3,213 resident Syrian students. The displaced Syrian students were eligible to attend UNRWA/UNESCO schools as a result of a directive issued by the United Nations following the 1967 war. There is an exchange program with the Syrian government for resident Syrians in areas where there are no government schools available. UN RWA officials said that the Syrian government accommodates 16,380 Palestine refugee students, at no cost to the agency, in their elementary and preparatory cycles, which more than offsets the number of Syrian students in agency schools.
There were 4,361 Palestinian students in government secondary schools during 1977. The Syrian government pays for Palestinian refugee students in the secondary cycle, except for book and stationery allowances provided by UNRWA. UNRWA also pays the examination fee of 12 Syrian pounds for each Palestinian student completing the secondary cycle.
At the Damascus Vocational Training Center, we saw the technical skills of the Palestinian students. Craftsmanship in carpentry, sheet metal work, arc/gas welding, machinist/welding, to name but a few examples, was exceptional.
Eighteen trades are offered in the center's curriculum. UNRWA constantly makes employment surveys throughout the Middle East and courses are tailored to job opportunities. The capacity of the center is 484 students. Mr. M. H. Tayyem, principal of the Vocational Training Center, pointed out that 2,000 applications from qualified candidates are received each year, but the limited capacity at the center means less than 300 can be accepted. Mr. Tayyem mentioned that an expansion proposal was prepared in 1975, but due to the lack of funds it was not implemented.
In light of the demand in Syria and other Arab countries, particularly in the Gulf, for technical skills, the graduates find little difficulty in obtaining jobs.
The land for the center was donated by Syria. Funds for construction came from the Federal Republic of Germany World Refugee Committee and the United Kingdom World Refugee Committee.
There are 184,000 registered refugees in Syria who are entitled to UNRWA health services. A total of 51,760 of the eligible refugees live in camps.
Services include medical assistance, school health service, health education, milk and supplementary feeding programs, and environmental sanitation in the camps.
In Yarmouk Camp, which has a refugee population of 44,491, we v"isite the general health clinic, the supplementary feeding center, the bydration/rehydration facilities for children, and the maternal child health care facilities.
Repeatedly, we were impressed with the quality of service rendered on scarce budgetary resources. For example, the budget for the procurement of medical supplies for all eligible refugees in Syria is $60,000. Ih is avernLes out to 33 cents per refugee per year.
There is an impressive focus on child care with a variety of vaccination, nutrition, and post-natal care services available to childreii under 6 years. An average of 1,077 children receive one hot meal, as a dietary supplement, five (lays a week in the Yarmouk camp. T"he cost for each meal is 12 cents per child.
Dr. Mustafa Zahlan, Field Health Officer for Sr, reported to us that special studies conducted in selected refugee camps revealed ta birth rate of about 40 per thousand and an infant mortality rate of about 65 per thousand. The major causes of infant mortality are infectious diseases, especially grastro-intesti-nal and resp)iratory infections, which are responsible for about two-thirds of the total (deaths (luring the first year of age. This is the major reason for such a concentration on child health care.
There are 21 out-patient clinics and three dental clinics for the refugees in Syria. There are three diabetic clinics, two clinics to treat rheumatic diseases, one for ophthalmic diseases, one to treat tuberculosis, andl one physiotherapy clinic.
The Syrians provide 78 subsidized beds for those refugees requiring hospitalization. There are five UNRWA supported clinical laboratories and one subsidized laboratory made available by the Syrian government.
There are 21 maternal/child health care clinics, three rehydration and nutrition centers, one maternity center, and two specialized malnutrition clinics.
There are three milk distribution centers and 17 combined milk andl supplementary feeding centers providing a daily ration of milk to about 15,000 children between the ages of six months and two years. Nearly 7,500 children up to 6 years old receive hot meals.
Environmental Sanitation services given to about 55,000 Palestinian refugees in nine organized camps are aimed at prevention of communicable diseases. The services include the provision of a safe water supply, sanitary garbage and liquid waste disposal, and control of rodents and insects.
RECTIFICATION OF THE RATION ROLLS
The employees of IJNRWA in Syria readily conceded that rectification of the rolls is inadequate. UNRWA (toes have access to Syrian government records on births and deaths. As a result, the agency is able to pick up 1,000 ineligible recipients each year and purge them from the rolls. However, it is impossible to rectify the rolls on the basis of income levels or actual presence in Syria.
SYRIAN GOVERNMENT CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PALESTINIAN.\ REFUGEES
The 1978 budget in Syria for UNRWA services is estimated to be $15.1 million. The Syrian government reports direct assistance to Palestinian refugees in the amount of $28 million. The two major areas of outlays from the government are $16 million for education services and $8.6 million for housing.
In the two refugee camps we visited, Yarmouk and Jaramana, the Syrian government had provided water and sewage systems directly to the refugees in addition to paving the main camp roads. Yarmouk
was difficult to distinguish from the township of Yarm ouk and .Jaramana, was characterized by its neatness and cleanliness,- despite the smallness of the refugees shelters. It was apparent that the refugees, at their own expense, had expanded and -upgraded the shelters originally provided them through UNRWA.
A walking tour through the Jaramana Camp afforded us a first-hand view of the living conditions of the refugees. Our first stop was a small. marketplace near the center of the camp. A plentiful supply of meat, vegetables, poultry, and eggs was very much in evidence and the merchants were engaging in a brisk trade with their fellow refugees.
The Syrian government has paved the major roads running through the camp-roads which are more appropriately recognized, from our own experience, as alley-ways. Outside of the main roadway, most were wide enough to accommodate only one vehicle.
The crowd ed existence of the refugees is the most noticeable characteristic of the camp. Each refugee is provided a shelter constructed of cinder block measuring four meters square, with enough land to allow for a slight expansion of the one-room shelter and a modest yard. -A cinder-block fence forms a compound separating each family's quarters from its neighbor's.
The shelters presented us with a diversity of color, evidence of a desire on the part of the refugees to make their conditions as liveable as possible under very difficult circumstances.
Numerous small shops vie, for valuable space in the camp. Small business entrepeneurship, is very much in evidence as a colorful, variety of small goods is available for purchase.
We were somewhat surprised that the atmosphere of the camps was not one of lethargic anticipation of a resolution of the problem of the refugees., People were going about their -business in a brisk manner in an effort to improve their lives.
Tuesday, April 25
Arrived Amman, approximately 1:00 p.m. Working Lunch: Mr. John Tanner, Director UNRWA Affairs, Jordan.
Mr. I. Maslamani, Field Education Officer.
Dr. N. Ayyash, Field Health Officer.
Dr. A. Alami, Chief, Education Development Center. Wadi Seer Training Center. Briefing and tour conducted by Mr. Y. Souqi, principal. Meeting with Jordan field office staff of UNRWA. Wadi Seer Training Center. Wednesday, April 26
Education Development Center. Briefing and Tour conducted by Dr. A. Alami. Amman New Camp. Tour and briefing of Preparatory School and Health Center. Amman Training Center.
Working lunch hosted by Deputy Chief of the U.S. Mission, Roscoe S. Suddarth. Meetings with Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering and staff. Meeting with Jordanian Cabinet officials: Abdul-Salam Al-Majali, Acting Prime Minister.
Adnan Abu Odeh, Minister of Information and Acting Foreign
Abd *ar-Rahim Jarrar, Undersecretary of Ministry of Development and Reconstruction.
Subhi Amin Amer, Former Deputy Prime Minister.
Two Members of the Supreme Ministerial Committee. Thursday, April 26
Depart for Jerusalem.
The seriousness with which the Jordanian government responded to concerns we expressed over the UNRWA program was sharply evident in the meeting we attended with high level officials of the government.
The meeting the night before we were to travel to Jerusalem came somewhat unexpectedly, since King Hussein and the Foreign Minister had left only that day for trips abroad. Present at the meeting were Abdul-Salam Al-Majali, Acting Prime Minister, Adnan Abu Odeh, Minister of Information and Acting Foreign Minister, Abd ar-Rahim Jarrar, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Development and Reconstruction, Subhi Amin Amer, former Deputy Prime Minister, longtime Minister of Development and Reconstruction and recognized as Jordan's expert on refugee matters, and two members of the Supreme Ministerial Committee concerned with UNRWA as well as refugees from the 1967 war being supported solely by Jordan.
The United States Embassy regarded the unusually high level of participation in the meeting as signaling "not only the seriousness with which the government of Jordan regards support for UNRWA, but also that any significant change in support levels triggered by the United States could affect Jordan's internal stability and overall U.S.Jordanian relations."
We told the officials we had been sent to examine UNRWA activities because of questions raised by members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as to the continuing value of UNRWA and as to specific UNRWA-related problems, including rectification of the refugee ration rolls and the degree of international support for the Agency. We emphasized we had found obvious close UNRWA-Jordanian cooperation and found that UNRWA accomplished a great deal with limited resources. However, we did make it very clear that we would have to report that we found very little rectification of ration rolls and almost no support for such an effort.
The officials pointed out that the difficulties posed by the current $27 million deficit in the Agency budget which had led to ration re(luctions and possible termination of the intermediate education cycle were particularly worrisome. They maintained that Jordan is already sacrificing heavily for the refugees, including $28 million alone in outlays a year for refugees displaced by the 1967 war, and would be hard-pressed to do more.
The officials were particularly emphatic that attempts at rectification at this time or a cut in UN RWA services would create untenable security problems for the government. They felt that extremists in the camps would take advantage of such actions.
The camps in Jordan have been relatively free of extremist activity since the Fedaveen were (riven out of Jordan in 1970, and government officials made it very clear they remained fearful of any incident which would provoke a massive t Lrn to extremism on the part of the refugees.
They emphasized that the supposition underlying UNRWA was that refugees would be extended services until there was a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict and pointed out the cost in possible political instability did not justify cuts or changes in UNRWA support.
The Jordanians did say they would also contact OPEC nations in an effort to obtain larger contributions for UNRWA's programs.
Ambassador Pickering pointed out that the refugees were as much attached to the political symbolism of the rations as to the rations themselves. He explained there was considerable fear among the refugees that small chano-es would lead to lar(rer ones and eventual change in their status as refugees before a settlement of the ArabIsraeli conflict.
The Ambassador believes that any changes in UNRWA programs would be exploited to the detriment of this delicate moment in Mideast negotiations.
On April 25, we had a. lengthy session at the Wadi Seer Training Center with Palestinian employees of UNRWA. The employees acknowledged the ration rolls were seriously defective in that they contained names of people not in need, who had departed Jordan, or were even dead. However, they argued that ration registration was an important psychological symbol of identity for refugees and any large-scale attempts to rectify the rolls would be seen by the refugees as an effort to evade the international community's political and humanitarian responsibility for their plight.
The Palestinian staff did argue that, despite the appearance of wrongful distribution of rations, the refugee community is closely knit and, in fact, insures that rations do reach those most in need.
We, in turn, pointed out the obvious political difficulty for donors in supporting the present ration rolls. We further emphasized that Americans were generous in their response to situations where obvious need was apparent. We also noted that as long as refugees were registered with UNRWA and the basic services maintained, the ration card should not be held up as the only symbol of the responsibility of the international community for their plight.
THEREFUGEES IN JORDAN
Jordan has the largest number of registered refugees (672,301), many of whom were registered refugees i n May 1967, living in the West Bank (251,488) or in Gaza (42,435). In addition, Jordan has the largest number of displaced persons (190,000) which are solely the responsibility of the Jordanian government as far as extension of services is concerned. Z l
Nearly 175,000 registered refugees are housed in camps, or about 26 percent of the total refugee population. Each camp has schools, a health center, feeding centers, a welfare center, a recreation center and a youth activity center. All camp sites and the cost of water are provided by Jordan as a contribution to the agency.
Mr. John Tanner, Director of UNRWA operations in Jordan, pointed out a very close working relationship existed between the government and the agency.
"For example, delays in receipt of agency supplies of ration commodities can be overcome by borrowing from the government with
ease," he told us. "In fact, the government even purchased many thousands of tons of flour in 1977 to enable it to be loaned to the agency when its (the government's) own stocks were insufficient to supply the agency."
In spite of this cooperation there has for many years been one field where the government and the agency do not see eye to eye-accurate registration records for the issue of rations. We were told that these registration records were the most inaccurate in the agency's five field offices. The government has consistently taken the position with UNRWA that the necessary investigations to rectify the agency's records would be too disrupting and could cause a security problem. This was also expressed directly to us by government officials. The agency has made many approaches to the government to obtain its support, but unsuccessfully. The consequence is that some 285,000 children in Jordan are registered for agency services, but cannot receive rations.
There are 303,789 registered refugees receiving rations in Jordan.
Mr. I. Maslamani, the Field Education Officer, briefed us on the agency education program in Jordan.
The educational program in UNRWA/UNESCO schools follows the same curriculum and uses the same textbooks as do the government schools. Within this framework UNRWA offers six years of elementary education and three years of intermediate education in Jordan. UNRWA awards a limited number of high school scholarships to academically outstanding students who pass the State Secondary Examination. UNRWA also provides teacher and vocational training for both sexes in its two residential training centers.
At the age of six, registered Palestinian refugee children enter the first grade of UNRWA'UNESCO schools. During the 1977-78 school year, 15,800 pupils have been admitted.
In the current school year, 90,000 pupils are enrolled in the elementary cycle served by 2,086 teachers.
There are 34,300 students in the preparatory cycle, with a teaching staff of 1,014.
Mr. Maslamani pointed out that, due to the steady normal growth in the school population and the agency's lack of funds for school construction, nearly 94 percent of the students operate on doubleshifts.
An agreement has been maintained between the agency and the government by which refugee students residing in localities where no UNRWA schools exist are admitted into government schools. In reciprocation, non-registered refugee students residing in localities where no government schools exist are admitted into agency schools under certain restrictions. Last year, 25,092 registered refugee students attended government schools and 7,847 non-registered refugee students attended agency schools.
Since 1970, the agency has not paid the government subsidies for the education of registered refugee students in the secondary cycle, due to a lack of funds. Of the 25,000 refugee students in government schools, 10,000 were attending the secondary cycle last year.
A visit to the Amman New Camp allowedI ns to observe classroom instruction, at the elementary and preparatory level. The Amman New Camp accommodates :35,000 refugees an(1 has a student population of 17,000.
Although limited space forces double-shifting of students, we were impressed by the apparent motivation of both student and teacher. For example, English. language instruction begins in the fifth grade; rather than relying upon rote memorization, instruction is related to some student activity. In one preparatory cycle classroom, we viewed young women making Tu~~rkish coffee Iarid explaining the procedure in English.
The Wadi Seer Vocational Technical Trainingr Center was opened in 1960 with 200 students. The center has grown slowly, but steadily. Today, it offers 50 courses in 26 different trades to 843 students.
The cost of training per student per year is $1,500. This includes food, clothing, instruction, and hand tools. We were told that more than 75 percent of the total of 4,458 graduates are now working in the Arab oil producing countries, and slightly more than 20 percent remained in Jordan after graduation.
Admission to the center is based upon edlucatioflal and eligibility merit. Some 80 percent of the students come from refugee families who receive the full range of UNRWA services-in other words, those families in greatest need. Although more than 3,000 applications from qualified applicants are received by the center each year, only 476 first-year students can be accommodated.
The Amman Training Center,, which wve also visited, is the first co-educational training center opened in the three Arab countries hosting, refugees. It was inaugurated in 1972. The need for a new training center in East Jordan arose after the June 1967 hostilities in the Middle East. Funds for the land, the construction and equipping of the center were provided by Near East Emergency Donations, Inc. (NEED), a private organization headquartered in the United States.
The center has a capacity of 700 trainees, comprising places for 300 male and 250 female teacher trainees, and 150 women in vocational courses such as business and offce practice, hairdressing and dressmaking.
The graduates of the Teacher Tratining, section usually find jobs in UN RWA, government and other schools in Jordan. Some get jobs in the neighboring Arab countries.
We were told job opportunities for the business and office practice graduates were increasing in Jordan. A few of the graduates seek better paying jobs in Saudi Arabia. The graduates of the hairdressing and dressmaking courses either obtain employment in, or open their own beauty salons and dressmaking factories or shops.
UNRWA is planning to expand the vocational training section to include courses such as assistant pharmacist, laboratory technician, dental aide, and clothing production.
There are 600,000 registered refugees in Jordan eligible for health services. Rather than going into the health program ii) Jordan in any
great (let ail (since it is similar to the program in Syria), we will highlight some variances from other host countries.
In Jordan, we received a more detailed explanation of the maternal child health services available to the refugees. The maternal care services provide pre-natal care from the fourth month of pregnancy, attendance at delivery and post-partum care to the mother and infant.
Dr. N. Ayyash, Field Health Officer, told us nutritional support includes extra dry ration and skim milk for pregnant women from the time of their registration for pre-natal care and to nursing mothers for the child's first year.
The Child Health Clinics lprovidle out-patient preventive care and treatment for children under five. Mothers are schooled in child care and development.
Dr. Ayyash told us school health services are provided by teams and medical examinations are given to all school entrants. Corrective measures are taken as required. Immunizations are also updated.
The Jordanian government has made available some subsidized beds in government hospitals for the refugees, but because of a shortage of funds, was not reimbursed by UNRWA for this service for several years up to 1977.
In environmental health, water is provided by the agency at public water points established after 1967. Bulk water is donated by the host government. A substantial number of families living in refuge camps established before 1967 have private water services. There is water duality control and chlorination of water supplies is carried
out pulaly-RATION DISTRIBUTION
The agency in Jordan has assumed a unique role. In addition to distributing monthly rations to about 304,000 registered refugees from its own stocks, UNRWA distributes similar rations. to 38,000 children* of displaced registered refugees from supplies'provided by the government. The agency also distributes approximately 193,000 rations to non-refugee displaced persons from stocks provided by Jordan. We were told that the government could not distribute the 231,000 rations more economically than UN RW.A, and called upon the agency to shoulder this responsibility.
The ration distribution system functions in the same manner as in other host countries. It is important to note that out of the $11,338,737 allocated Jordan for relief services in 1978, $7.6 million has been marked for the purchase and distribution of the basic rations.
Approximately. 2,555 families, or 2.6 percent of the registered refugee families in Jordan, have been confirmed as hardship cases following verification. This qualifies them for additional welfare assistance provided by the agency.
Dr.. Kamal Ilabboiib explained this assistance is a cash allocation of $2.75 per person per~ year, one blanket per pe~rsonl every three years, and some used clothing.
A youth activities (enter w-as established by the agency in cooper'ation with the YMICA in each of the 10 refugee camps. These centers
provide opportunities for the refugee youth,,- to use their leisure timemabeneficial manner. This is a voluntary agency prIogr'am and these activities do not come out of the UN RWA budget.
JORDAN FIELD OFFICE BUDGET FOR UNRWA ACTIVITIES
The Jordan Field Office Budget for UNRWA activities in 1978 is: I. Relief sevcs--------------------$11,338, 747
ii. Medical sevcs------------------ 4Y 478, 924
III. Education svie-------------------27, 791, 854
IV. Field office reevs-------------------74,988
Total---------------------------------------- 43)684, 503
SOME ADDITIONAL OBSERVATIONS ON THE UNRWA PROGRAM IN JORDAN
Self-help is an important element of UN RWA's program in Jordan.. Construction of playgrounds, recreation facilities, and other public works projects involve the labor and limited financial resources of the refugees.
Although the standard refugee shelter provided by the agency is 4 meters by 4 meters, it was apparent in our visits to the camps that the refugees themselves had gone to considerable expense in expanding the size of the shelters and upgrading the quality of their housing. Numerous small business enterprises were evident throughout each camp we visited.
Education officials pointed with particular pride to the expansion of their programs to include extra-curricular activities. As Mr. Younes, S. Souqi, principal of the Wadi Seer Training Center, told us, "We want to occupy the time of the young refugees as much as we can. By so doing, we avoid their getting into trouble."
WEST BANK AND GAZA
Thursday, April 27
Met at Allenby Bridge by Georges Galipeau, Director UNRWA Operations, West Bank.
Visit to Kalandia Camp Jerusalem.
Working lunch: Mr. Moshe Melamed.
Lt. Col. Tuvia Naboth, senior liaison officer for UNRWA,
Israeli Military Government.
Mr. Tom McElhiney, Commissioner-General, UNRWA.
Mr. Georges Galipeau.
Meeting with UNRWA Senior Staff at field office. Working Dinner, West Bank Director's residence: Mr. Edward Lee, Ambassador of Canada.
Mr. Donald A. Kruse, U.S. Consul, Jerusalem.
Mr. Anwar Nuseibeh, legal consultant to UNRWA.
Mr. Tom McElhiney. Friday, April 28
Visit to Gaza.
Briefing on UNRWA operations, Gaza Strip: Mr. Magnus H. Ehrenstrom, Director UNRWA Operations,
Mr. Roy E. Skinner, Deputy Director UNRWA Operations,
Mrs. Margaret Dean, U.S. Embassy, Tel Aviv. Briefing:
Captain Bellon Shraga, Deputy Liaison Officer for UNRWA,
Israeli Military Government, Gaza Strip.
Working Lunch at Mr. Ehrenstrom's residence: Mr. Roy Skinner.
Mr. Rashad Shawwa, mayor of Gaza City.
Mr. Tom McElhiney.
Tour and briefing, UNRWA Swedish Health Center, Gaza City. Tour, Khan Younis, El Amal, and Rafah Refugee Camps. Debriefing, Tel Aviv residence of Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy, Richard N. Viets. Returned to Jerusalem.
Saturday, April 29
Working Breakfast with Captain Shraga.
Mr. Moshe Raviv, Director, North American Affairs,. Israeli
Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mr. Moshe Melamed, Deputy to Ambassador Eyton Ronn,
Director International Organizations, Israeli Ministry of Foreign
Sunday, May 1
Left Jerusalem 3:45 a.m. for return flight to the United States,
In the West Bank, there are 306,475 refugees registered with UNRWA, of whom 127,838 are ration recipients. A total of 241,601 refugees are eligible for health and education services. There are 77,940 refugees in 20 camps supported by UNRWA services, or 22 percent of the total refugee population.
The agency's projected budget for the West Bank in 1978 is $17.5 million.
Following a briefing by UNRWA's Jerusalem Area Officer, Mr. Tony Bakerjian, we toured the Kalandia refugee camp, which houses 4,046 refugees. The tour and briefing placed particular emphasis on self-help projects undertaken by the refugees themselves and the minimal services available to welfare or hardship cases.
SELF-HELP ON THE WEST BANK
The UNRWA contribution at Kalandia Camp consisted of 400 rooms, one for each family originally settled in the area in 1949. The camp has grown to 750 families and the refugees have built an additional 879 rooms themselves.
Although UNRWA continues to maintain 12 small latrines to serve the, needs of the camp inhabitants who do not have private latrines, 477 families have built private latrines with nominal UNRWA assistance within their respective compounds, and 64 families have built private latrines utilizing their own resources.
Some 452 families have extended electric current to their shelters for their domestic needs, largely at their own expense, and a total of 488 families have extended private water pipelines to their shelters.
There are 38 shops in the camp, all operated by the refugees.
On our tour through the camp, we viewed a number of self-help projects executed during the 1968-1977 period. Although UNRWA supports these efforts to a limited degree, the refugees themselves have made the largest contribution in labor and fina'-ncial resources.
Since the schools are on double-shifts in the camp, waiting sheds for both the boys and girls schools have been constructed. Approximately 7,420 square meters of concrete lanes have been built within the camp. UNRWA has asphalted the major roads running through the camp.
Other self-help projects included construction of a waiting shed at the health clinic, construction of a basketball court, concrete flooring of the yard at the ration distribution center, concrete paving around latrines in the boys' school, concrete flooring of the volleyball court in the girls' school, construction of three additional classrooms for the girls' school, construction of a canteen for the boys' and girls' schools, conversion of the cooperative society building into a show room at the sewing center, construction of a 'surrounding wall for the supple(27)
mentary feeding center, planting and the care of 2,000 trees, and construction of concrete pathways to the main water point.
Although this is not a complete. listng of the self-help projects in Kalandia Camp, we feel it is an impressive sampling of what the refugees have undertaken themselves.
As Mr. Bankerjian explained to us, in 1960, the refugees began to undergo a change in perception concerning the UNRWA procrram. They realized that UNRWA could do only so much for them and that they had to begin providing for themselves until there was a political settlement to their problem.
The statistics for other camps on the West Bank are equally impressive. Construction of schools, youth activity centers, concrete pathways, Mosques and cemetaries, roads, drainage systems, water schemes, and health centers has involved $202,818 in direct contributions from the refugees themselves and $47,065 in assistance from UN RWA. These figures are for the Nablus area alone, in which are located seven camps.
We were very impressed with the neat appearance of the Kalandia camp and the apparent efforts by the refugees themselves to enhance the quality of their dwellings, within the confines of the 100 meters square of land allotted each family.
There are 5,000 active hardship refugee case families comprising 25,755 individuals in the West Bank. The average assistance is $3.50 per f amily per year, or 71 cents per person per year in the form of small cash grants.
Mr. Bakerjian gave us examples of hardship cases in which UNRWA is only able to provide mininal assistance. He cited a family of five which has received hardship assistance since 1956. The head of the family is a hunchback who has rheumatism and is confined to bed. His wife is mentally ill. The total UNRWA special assistance since 1956 has been $120 in cash, 16 parcels of used clothing, and 30 blankets.
Another example was a family of eight, in which the head of the family is mentally ill. In 1969, the family was receiving only two rations a month. In 1977, each member was extended rations. The cumulative assistance since 1969 has amounted to $18.70 in cash assistance from UNRWA, about $25.00 from the Holy Land Mission, one parcel of used clothing, and four blankets.
During our tour of the camp, we visited three hardship cases in their shelters.
Lack of financial resources was a common complaint among the UNRWA health officials in the West Bank. There are :33 health centers providing medical consul tat ions, injections, dressings, eye treatment and dental treatment. Since 1973, there has not been any arrangement for subsidized beds in government hospitals, although ref uw'ees can receive emergency treatment if necessary. Trher~e are a totaT of 29:3 hospital beds available to refugees, mostly in the private Augusta Victoria H~osp~ital run by the Lutheran World Federation, or oneC per thousand. There is only one doctor per~ 10,000 ref ugees.
There are 94 UNRWA/UNESCO schools in the West Bank, with 34,629 students attending the elementary and preparatory cycles. In addition, more than 20,000 refugee students receive education in government schools and 1,200 in private schools. .1 There are three Vocational-Technical and Teacher Training schools in the West Bank, which provide training for 1,323 students. Last year, 89 percent of the graduates from the Vocational Training Centers were employed outside the West Bank. We were told that three out of every four qualified applicants to these schools are rejected because of a lack of space.
According to UNRWA education officials, one of the major problems hampering the teaching of refugee children in the West Bank is the lack of textbooks. There are 117 textbooks which are necessary for the elementary and preparatory cycles. Yet, 42 are not allowed for use in the West Bank because the Israeli government has expressed concern over some aspects of the content of these books. Out of the 42 textbooks which cannot be used, UNESCO has approved 15 for instruction, but the Israeli government has not granted approval for their utilization.
As a result of this set of circumstances, the students have to rely completely upon classroom lectures for many subjects, primarily Arabic Social Studies and Religion, and the Arabic language.
We were also told that there has been very little classroom construction in the West Bank since 1967. As a result, there is doubleshifting of students in nearly all schools.
Several Palestinians in the UNRWA organization argued that the refugees in the West Bank existed under very difficult circumstances due to the Israeli presence. Some examples of what the Palestinians characterized as undue harassment on the part of Israeli authorities were cited as contributing to the serious psychological burden imposed upon the refugees.
However, it was equally apparent to us that the Israelis have been attempting to maintain a very delicate balance between their own obvious security needs and consideration for the refugees in the West Bank. There have been instances of violence which, in our estimation, could have precipitated a much harsher reaction on the part of the Israeli occupying forces. For example, two weeks before we arrived at the Kalandia camp, two Israeli soldiers were killed by a molotov cocktail thrown at a passing bus. A sweep of the camp was made and a score of arrests resulted. Releases came as the search narrowed. Israeli authorities maintained the cocktail was thrown from the Camp, while local UNRWA officials deny it could have been thrown from the Camp.
It was difficult for us to ascertain whether or not the Israelis overreact to incidents in the West Bank. However, we were impressed by two things: First, the level of hostile actions has been reduced and kept mmi'_Imal. Second, while there may be individual instances of overreaction to a given event, we were impressed with what we perceived to be a calm atmosphere in a very difficult situation for all concerned.
THEF GAZA STRIP
Unfortunately, due to the time constraints imposed uponi us during
-the course of our trip, we were precluded from undertaking a more
-comprehensive evaluation of UNRWA's program in the Gaza Strip.
There are 346,000 refugees registered with UNRWA in the Gaza Strip, of whom 196,000 are located in camps. This represents the highest percentage of refugees remaining in camps within the five areas of UNRWA's activities. However, these figures are somewhat misleading., Mr. Magnus Ehrenstrom, Director of UNRWA's operations in Gaza, estimates that 49,000 registered refugees are no longer living in Gaza.
Israeli authorities claim that UNRWA's figures are overinflated by about 80,000. Mr. Ehrenstrom maintained that the discrepancy between the Agency and the Military Government in Gaza stems from the fact that both use different classifications in determining the total number of refugees in Gaza. The Agency uses the same criteria spelled out when UNRWA was created. The Military Government maintains the refugee classification is dubious if a family is economically selfsufficient.
FEATURES OF THRE GAZA STRIP
The Gaza Strip is about 25 miles long and between four to six miles wide. The climate is generally mild and dry, providing excellent conditions for the growing of citrus products.
Before 1948, the population was about 80,000. Because the area has never been independently viable, many of the citizens worked in areas which are now Israel. Following the events in 1948, some 200,000 refugees, from a line south of Tel Aviv, moved into the Strip. In addition, about 30,000 bedouins from the Negev desert also took up
-residence in the Strip.
Mr. Ehrenstrom pointed out that 15 years ago Gaza was nothing more than a sand strip. However, agricultural production has transformed the Strip into a green belt, which was very much in evidence during our tour through the area. Citrus and vegetables are the agricultural mainstays of the area, with weaving, pottery, handicrafts, fishing, and small business enterprises forming important components of the economy.
Each morning at 4:00, some 30,000 laborers leave Gaza for work in Israel. This represents about 50 percent of the labor force in the Strip. The refugees receive about $150 per month. Of the 30,000 workers, however, only 10,000 are registered with the Israeli Labor Exchange. Unregistered workers are paid much lower wages and are ineligible for valuable benefits provided by the Israeli government.
Of the total 195,000 registered refugees in eight camps, it is estimated that only about 165,000 are actually present.
The Gaza Strip was also the birthplace of Fatah in the late 1950's. After the 1967 war, the area was the scene of daily disturbances which resulted in a significant loss of lives within the Arab community In 1972, the Israeli military authorities decided to deal with this problem and undertook a road-widening operation in the camps to assure access by security forces. Destruction of shelters left 2,554 refugee families homeless.
According to Ehrenstrom, it was only recently that the Israelis started making, available cost-free accommodations to replace destroyed
shelters. This situation appears to have been a major irritant in relations between UNRWA and the Israeli military authorities. We were told that of the 2,554 families who lost their shelters as a result of road widening operations in 1971, 316 moved to government housing projects. An additional 2,247 refugee families have moved to government housing projects. However, their shelters were destroyed as a pre-condition to qualifying for such assistance. UNRWA officials maintain that the shelters should not be destroyed, since there remains a lack of suitable housing for a number of refugee families and they should be able to avail themselves of the residences being vacated by those moving into government housing projects. When shelters are destroyed, the agency has taken the position that new shelters built to UNRWA standards should be provided free.
The success of the government housing program depended largely upon whom we talked. Military government authorities maintain the new program does provide larger and much more attractive housing for refugees than what can be found in the camps. Agency officials stated that out of the 6,000 units constructed by the Government only 2,500 have been occupied by refugees, largely because of the cost. They also maintain the government housing in effect transfers refugees from one camp to a new camp.
We were unable to make a determination as to whose perceptions were correct. We did see government housing projects at Rafah and Khan Younis. The concrete shelters were larger and each refugee family was allocated more land for the family compound than in the Agency camps. However, we did not see the new government housing program at Beach Camp (located outside Gaza City), which the government touts as being its most attractive project.
RECTIFICATION OF THERATIONROLLS
Mr. Ehrenstrom stated that UNRWA has been particularly effective in rectifying the ration rolls in the Gaza Strip. He pointed out that during the past 11 years, 136,644 persons and 101,856 rations have been eliminated from the rolls. Of these, nearly 42,000 were the result of information given the Agency voluntarily; approximately 18,300 through distribution line checks and exchanges of ration cards; 2,500 over the past four years through notifications by the government of deaths; 1,000 a year over the past five years as a result of vehicle ownership verification; and 10,015 over the past five years because of income.
A total of 45,972 refugee children have been added to the ration rolls in the past five years, once the need was established. There are presently 31,421 children eligible to receive rations, but who are not receiving them because of the ceilings imposed on the program.
Captain Bellon Shraga, Deputy Liasion officer for UNRWA with the Military Government in Gaza, still believes the ration rolls are inflated. He disputed the agency's rectification program had been particularly effective in the Gaza Strip.
However, Mr. Ehrenstrom, pointed out that the rectification program would be much more effective if the Israeli governm nt would provide UNRWA with the lists of refugees, and their income, working in Israel. He said the Agency had made repeated requests for the lists,
but had been denied access to them. Israeli authorities ni aintain it is the responsibility of the agency to check income levels, a claim UNRWA says would require considerably more manpower than they have available to them at present.
A visit to the agency's Swedish Health Center at Beach Camp afforded us the opportunity to discuss the only family planning program implemented by the Agency. While results have been mixed to date, it was appare nt from our conversations that the medical staff was making headway in convincing larger numbers of refugee families to participate in this program.
Mr. Ehrenstrom was also particularly praiseworthy of the low-cost medical insurance program which the Israeli government had recently implemented for the refugees. He said many refugees were taking advantage of the plan because the rates were very low.
There are 75,000 students in 171 elementary and preparatory schools in Gaza. The Secondary examination papers are prepared in Cairo and transported to examination centers under the strictest security.
Once aglai, a common complaint of UNRWA education officials centered on the availability of textbooks. Out of the 81 textbooks required for instruction in the elementary and preparatory cycles, only 35 had been approved for use.
SOME CONCLUSIONS ON THE WEST BANK AND THE GAZA STRIP
The Israeli officials with whom we met to discuss the problems associated with the UN RWA program made it very clear that they wanted to see the agency's operations continue. Rectification of the ration rolls remains a major problem in the minds of the Israeli officials. In addition, as Moshe Melamed pointed out to us, UNIRWA's mandate should have been changed long ago to enable the Agency to undertake a resettlement program. Had a resettlement program been undertaken, the Israelis believe the refugee problem would have been diminished greatly.
However, when asked to place the program in the context of present day realities, the answer was the same. There is no objection to UNRWA continuing its job and the official policy of the Israeli government was one of supporting the Agency.
When asked what would be the consequences of a termination of the UN RWA program, all agreed that it would result in a great financial burden for the Israeli government because it would have to bear the full responsibility of providing the services to the refugoees. Of greater uncertainty for the Israeli authorities were the political (lifictulties which would be fostered by a termination of the UNRWA Jprog:ram. The Gaza Strip has been very quiet over the past five years, tin impression which wasi., reinforced by the complete absence of any military personnel (luring our trip through the area. While incidents have occurred, and continue to occur1, in the West Bank, the level of violence is certainly miiinial by- any standard. As Captain Shraga
toldl us, a termination of the UNRWA program "would certainly be a political gamble for us."
Could the Israelis provide the same services in a more cost-effective manner than UNRWA? Lt. Col. 'fivia Naboth, Senior Liaison Officer for UNRWA for the Israeli Military Government in the West Bank, said he just did not know. A study of the operation would have to be undertaken before such a determination could be made.
In all of our stops, we posed the questions whether UNRWA fulfills genuine needs, whether there are alternatives to IJNRWA, and whether UNRWA should be changed in any drastic way or even abolished.
There appeared to be no question that TJNRWA fulfills genuine needs-and does so fairly economically. The educational systems and the health services could be handled by the host governments, but probably not in a more productive fashion, unless th;ey were willing to devote considerably more resources to the effort. In Israel and Jordan, in particular, officials made it clear that assumption of UNRWA programs would be a heavy financial burden.
Even the rations-which have deservedly become controversialprobably largely go to the needy, if not the absolutely correct needy. In a large number of cases, rectification would mean for individual families that the names of recipients would change, but the family would still get rations on the basis of need. As noted earlier, it is not at all clear that a comprehensive rectification would save rations. It
-might cause more to be distributed.
Without exception, all of the Arab host governments oppose any drastic change in UNRWA operations. In Israel, there is a strong feeling that rectification should occur-so long as Israel does not have to bear the onus of cooperating with the effort.
Without exception, no host government would like to see UNRWA abolished. In Israel, we were told that such a step would definitely be a gamble. The general policy of the Israeli Government seemed to be to press UNRWA to correct the more obvious problems, while in effect maintaining the status quo pending a general settlement that would deal with the refugee problem.
It must be understood that some of the PLO camps in Lebanon have been hotbeds of Palestinian militant activities and that terrorists have laid plans, but generally not trained in the camps. Weapons caches have been discovered in the camps. However, it must be understood that UNRWA has no control over security, does not condone those activities and endeavors continuously to make certain that UN R WA does not support those activities directly or indirectly. Every effort is. apparently made to keep the schools as neutral as possible. There is no evidence that PLO activities are conducted on any scale at the schools. PLO efforts to take advantage of the schools to recruit have been rebuffed.
Thus, we conclude that the UNRWA influence is a positive one. Without UNRWA running the schools in Lebanon, for instance, the PLO would do so, and would draw upon and indoctrinate the studentry in a way which is not now possible. The whole educational program, .Lnd in particular the vocational, teacher and university training,
offers the refugees hope and an opportunity to get out of the impoverished refugee milieu and into the essentially middle-class of objectives of being self-supporting and raising a family. Thus, UNRWA offers an inviting alternative to terrorism to thousands of impressionable youths.
Many Israelis understandably wish-that the problem of the Palestine refugees could be resolved-but they realize that a solution to the ref ugee problem can only come with progress toward an overall settlement.
The Arab host governments also look toward a settlement that. might somehow ease the problem the Palestine refugees pose. Such basic questions as who might go and who might stay in the host countries after a settlement and how remaining refugees might be integrated into the host country society can only be addressed as part of an overall approach to a settlement in the Middle East.
A point made by John Tanner, the UNRWA field director in Jordlan,, is particularly relevant in this regard: "It is necessary to refute an allegation which is repeatedly leveled against the agency-that UNRWA, by virtue of its existence and operations, has helped delay a solution to the Palestinian question. It has not. It has reduced human suffering and given other authorities the opportunity to seek the necessary political solution. They have not so f ar been successful, but until a political solution is reached, UNRWA's work remains 'essential."'
For the moment, the Arab states are content to let the Palestine, refugees remain in place in the host countries, pursuing, with modest help from UNRWA and the host countries, lives of quiet desperation. For a few-the valuable trained technicians, skilled and semi-skilled workers, teachers and the prosperous-there is a way out to better lives in rich, developing Arab countries. But for the overwhelming poor majority of refugees, the future will be shaped by forces beyond their ccmprehension and control.
On the basis of our investigation, we make the following recommendations:
The Committee should consider funding UNRWA at the requested $52 million level and consider restoration of the $9.5 million in Fiscal Year 1978 funding withheld pending this study.
The Committee should consider urging the Administration t'od its utmost to convince other nations, particularly the oil-rich states, to share the essentially worthwhile burden of UN RWA.,
The United States and United Nations should continue to seek rectification of the ration roles, so that distributions can be based as much as possible on nee(], rather than of ten spurious entitlement.
In the longer run, the United States and other nations should consider sharp increases in support for the presently underfunded health and edIucational activities of -UNRWA. Of particular importance would be an affordable but critically important expansion of the vocational training programs, which must now turn away perhaps four of five qualified applicants.