GENEVA, March 18, 2019 – Author, intellectual and former Member of Knesset Dr. Einat Wilf today addressed the Rally for Equal Rights at the United Nations—see quotes below.

For links to other speakers’ quotes, videos, photos, livestream and more, click here.

Quotes on the ‘Right of Return’ and UNRWA:

  • If you really want to understand how Israel is singled out and discriminated against at the UN, there is no better tale than two refugee agencies – one a great success and the other a terrible failure. The great failure is the UN High Commissioner for Refugees because each of its refugees found a home and moved on with their lives. Do you know which is the success? It’s called UNRWA, which started 70 years ago with several hundreds of thousands of Arab refugees from a war they waged to prevent the State of Israel into being.
  • Today, UNRWA counts 5.5 million refugees from a war that ended 70 years ago. This is what it’s doing. Why is it doing it? Generation after generation, UNRWA allows Palestinians to continue to believe that they are still refugees from Palestine. And where do these refugees from Palestine live? In the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority and in Gaza. Certainly by their vision, they live in Palestine. So if they live in Palestine, how are they refugees from Palestine? They know which Palestine they are refugees from – the Palestine from the river to the sea, the Palestine that will one day will be free. Free of what? Free of Jews, as they see it.
  • Why does the UN allow UNRWA to perpetuate this lie that there are more than 5.5 million refugees, who posses a fictional right of return? There is no right of return, even if the UN General Assembly says it’s true. It does not exist. Israel is a sovereign country and has the right to determine who become its citizens.
  • The UN thinks it made a mistake in 1947 – it made a slip thinking that there could be a Jewish State – oops! They didn’t think the Jews would survive a war of attempted annihilation by several surrounding Arab armies. But we survived and declared our independence. Ever since, the UN has tried to correct their mistake of the establishment of the State of Israel by letting Palestinians stand at Israel’s border to Gaza, telling them the war is not over. They say, “70 years after you tried to strangle Israel at birth, don’t give up – a little more and this will go away and you will return.” This is why they march on the border of Gaza in the name of return. Not in the name of an independent Palestinian state or for better conditions – they prefer to not have a state of their own in part of the land if the Jewish people also have their stake in another part of the land.
  • This is what the conflict is about and every day, the UN betrays its mission by instigating war and telling them to keep fighting – they tell them that the war is not over. But you and I are here to say that the war is over, Israel is here to stay and the Jewish people live.

Full remarks, as delivered:

Thank you, thank you all for coming here, for standing up in front of this building, in front of these flags, and saying “enough is enough.” We demand no more and no less than being treated with fairness, with decency, with equality.

Now, if you really want to understand how Israel is singled out, discriminated against, at the United Nations, there is no better story, no better tale than the tale of two refugee agencies. One is a great success and one is a terrible failure. Can I tell you which is which?

The great failure is called the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Many many decades ago, it had tens of millions of refugees across Europe, across Asia, across Africa. Some of your grandparents, your parents, maybe you yourselves are refugees. And no more. There are no more refugees. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees failed because they all found a home and moved on with their lives.

Do you know which is the success? It’s called UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. It started 70 years ago with several hundreds of thousands of Arab refugees from a war that they waged to prevent the state of Israel from coming into being. And look how successful UNRWA has become. Today it counts 5.5 million refugees from a war that ended 70 years ago. This is what it’s doing.

Why is it doing it?

This is absurd. Generation after generation after generation, it allows Palestinians to continue to believe that they are still refugees from Palestine. And where do these refugees from Palestine live? In the West Bank, under the Palestinian Authority. In Gaza.

Certainly, by their vision, they live in Palestine. So if they live in Palestine, how are they refugees from Palestine? Oh, they know, they know which Palestine they are refugees from—the Palestine from the river to the sea, the Palestine that one day will be free. Free of what? Free of Jews, in their mind. That’s the Palestine from the river to the sea.

So they live in Ramallah and they live in Gaza, but they view themselves as refugees from a Palestine that will replace Israel. And the UN supports that. Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, all the countries you come from, France—they fund that. They allow the Palestinians to continue to believe that. They live in Jordan, they are citizens of Jordan, they have never been displaced by war. They are wealthy business people and yet they are still refugees from Palestine.

Nowhere in the world, for no people, for no country, are people born in a country, citizens of that country, and somehow still refugees from another country in which they’ve never been. The UN allows this absurdity only against Israel. And in Syria and Lebanon, it counts a million refugees. Almost all of them left Syria and Lebanon.

Do you know who is a refugee? The multi-millionaire father who lives in Los Angeles of supermodels Bella and Gigi Hadid. He’s a refugee in UNRWA and Syria from Palestine. That’s a refugee?

Only Israel is singled out. Why? Why does the UN allow UNRWA to perpetuate this lie that there are more than 5 million Palestinian refugees who possess a fictional ‘right of return?’ There is no such thing, there is no ‘right of return.’ Even if the United Nations General Assembly says that, it’s not true. It doesn’t exist. Israel is a sovereign country and it has the right to determine who becomes its citizens.

So, why does the UN do that? Because the UN thinks that it made a mistake. In 1947, it let it slip that there should be a Jewish state. Oopsie! Mistake. They didn’t think that the Jews would win and survive the war of annihilation waged against them by the local Arab militias and five Arab armies.

But we survived and we declared our independence. And ever since, the UN has been committed to trying to correct that mistake of the establishment of the state of Israel. So it allows Arab Palestinians to continue to stand at Israel’s borders, in Gaza, in the Palestinian Authority, and it basically tells them, “The war is not over. 70 years after you tried to strangle Israel at birth, don’t give up! Don’t give up! A little more and this will go away. And you will return.”

This is why they march on the border of Gaza, never on the border of Egypt. And they march in the name of return. Not in the name of an independent Palestinian state. Not in the name of better conditions. They prefer to not have a state of their own in part of the land if it means that the Jewish people will have their state in another part of the land.

This is what the conflict is about, and the UN everyday betrays its mission by basically creating war, instigating war, and telling the Palestinians, “Keep fighting. The war is not over.” But you and we are here today to say, “The war is over. Israel shall stand.” Thank you.

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