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Entrance to UNWRA's Aida Palestinian Refugee Camp near Bethlehem, with key representing the right of return that says "not for Sale"
photo by Rhonda spivak

David Bedein

“Honey I lost the key”: What happened to the UNRWA two ton key on top of keyhole-like entrance to the UNRWA AL Aida refugee facility in Bethlehem?

David Bedein, June 17, 2012


 For the past four years, adjacent to the UNRWA headquarters the AL Aida refugee facility in Bethlehem hosted a two ton key rested on top of the entrance to Al Aida, which is shaped in the likeness of a mammoth keyhole. 

That mammoth key and key hole were erected at the entrance to the UNRWA Al Aida refugee facility during a celebration on May 15, 2008, to mark 60 years since the creation of Israel and the displacement of Arabs who consider themselves to be refugees who are entitled to the "right of return" to Arab villages which no longer exist, inside Israel.

This week, however, when a news crew visited the AL Aida refugee facility in Bethlehem, the journalists discovered that the massive two ton key was missing.

Rather than contact the UNRWA lost and found department, the reporters asked UNRWA residents about the whereabouts of the missing key. They had no idea.

The reporters asked UNRWA officials, who also said that they did not know.

Had there been sudden misgivings about the key to the right of return, the subject that forms the basis of UNRWA education?


A google search on the Arab media led to the discovery of the key’s whereabouts: The Palestinian Authority is taking the key on a tour of...Germany

Here is the link to an Arab media report about the tour of the key in Germany,

This key has been taken on a PLO public relations campaign to promote German support for the right of descendants of Arab refugees to take back 531 Arab villages that they claim from 1948, which have been replaced by Israeli towns, collective farms and woodlands- within Israel’s 1967 lines"

Germany’s role in any campaign to promote the "right of return" to homes from the 1940’s may be considered to be unusual, since nine million Germans who were forced out of their homes after World War II have never demanded the "right of return" to places like East Prussia and the Sudetanland.


However, Germany plays an important role in the promotion of tha Arab "right of return" to Arab villages from the 1940’s which no longer exist.

A case in point. A consistent aspect of cultural life in the UNRWA camps are film screenings in the UNRWA youth clubs which motivate descendants of Arab refugees to longing a Palestinian "right to return" to villages that they left in 1948,

These films are organized through the Cine Club, orchestrated under the framework of a group known as the Shaml and sponsored by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, which receives funds from the German government.

According to the Ebert Foundation's website, its primary mission is "promoting peace and understanding between peoples".

Yet UN article 194 is touted by the German sponsored Shaml as proof for an absolute "right of refugee" return.

That article states that: "Refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible."

Besides Shaml, the Ebert Foundation also aids PASSIA: the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs.

In 2004, PASSIA, a Palestinian Authority based academic organization, published a multicolored bulletin still in circulation titled "Palestinian Refugees", offering facts and proofs to promote the "right of return".

This publication highlights the German government funded Friedrich Ebert Foundation as the sole sponsor of this brochure.

When the President of Germany, Horst Kohler, visited the Israeli Knesset in January, 2005, an Israel Member of the Knesset, Gila Finkelstein, waved PASSIA "right of return" brochure at President Kohler and walked out of the Knesset in protest.

Finkelstein met with President Kohler, to personally express her outrage that Germany would fund an effort that supported the "right of return", a code name for dismembering Israel.

Kohler promised to look into the matter.

In April, 2005, President Kohler wrote to MK Finkelstein that he relied on the professional judgment of the Fredrich Ebert Foundation and rejected MK Finkelstein's protests.

Germany continues its the policy of promoting the Arab "right of return", allowing the two ton key from the UNRWA AL Aida refugee facility in Bethlehem on a tour throughout Germany.

Perhaps Israel should launch a campaign to help Germans to return to East Prussia.





Israel Resource News Agency

Center for Near East Policy Research

Beit Agron International Press Center

Suite 105-106

37 Hillel Street

Jerusalem 94581 Israel






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