The Palestinian refugees are so unique in the world's eyes that they have their very own United Nations aid agency. This isn't because they're the most numerous refugee population (they aren't, even with inflated numbers) or because they're the most destitute (again, they aren't). It's because on the other side of the equation stands Israel, the nation that the international community most loves to hate.
Once again, US President Donald Trump appears determined to change the rules of the game by shuttering the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), an organization he holds largely responsible for preventing a genuine peace in the Middle East, which is an opinion shared by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
To that end, White House Advisor and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner has recently been working to ascertain how many genuine Palestinian refugees there really are in the world today.
You see, the United Nations typically defines a refugee as a person displaced from his or her homeland. But, in the case of the Palestinians, an exception has been made to allow this status to become hereditary, meaning that the original 650,000 or so Palestinian refugees have today become millions. There is also argument over whether many of these should be classified as true refugees, or merely "displaced persons," given that they today live only a few miles from their original family homes and still reside among their own people in the same geographical area.
According to Foreign Policy magazine, Kushner recently told White House officials that the game UNRWA is playing with Palestinian refugees is making a viable peace agreement difficult, if not impossible.
Back in June, Kushner visited Jordan and was said to have asked the Hashemite Kingdom to strip local Palestinians of their refugee status. It was seen as a first step toward eliminating the need for UNRWA altogether.
For years, the Palestinian leadership has maintained as one of its "red line" demands the right of each and every Palestinian refugee in the world to return to old family homes in Israel proper. Given the aforementioned exemption that has turned the children and grandchildren of those original refugees into refugees themselves, this would mean potentially flooding the Jewish state with as many as 7 million Palestinians, thus irreversibly shifting the demographic balance (outside of a mass migration of America's Jewish population).
It's a condition no Israeli government from either side of the political spectrum can ever accept.
UNRWA feeds this impossible situation by perpetually increasing the number of Palestinian refugees, and even educating them (via UNRWA schools) to forever see themselves as nothing more.
Unlike the power-brokers before him, Trump seems to understand that without removing this roadblock, the peace process isn't going anywhere.