Senator Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) has offered an amendment to the FY 2013 funding bill for the State Department that would require the Department to provide two numbers to Congress: 1) the number of Palestinians physically displaced from their homes in what became Israel in 1948, and 2) the number of their descendants administered by the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA). 
Palestinians are the only people for whom refugee status passes along through the generations (a condition adopted by the UN in 1965 over the objection of the United States), so they are also the only refugee population that grows exponentially over generations rather than declining as the original refugees pass away and their descendants become citizens of other places. Sen. Kirk seems to think the numbers would provide insight into whether the billions of U.S. tax dollars that have been provided to UNRWA over the years are making the problem better – or worse.
The State Department, naturally, is appalled, believing getting a handle on the numbers is prelude to cutting off the dollars. And further, it appears to believe that how our money is spent is not our business. Deputy Secretary Thomas Nides wrote to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "This proposed amendment would be viewed around the world as the United States acting to prejudge and determine the outcome of this sensitive issue." As if the world's view of the problem is more important than transparency with the American people.
In any event, the U.S. would not be prejudging anything, but only be determining how many people live off our dole.
The possible outcomes of the Palestinian refugee issue are three: to allow them to go to Israel (the so-called "right of return"); to formulate their resettlement (and compensation) in the new State of Palestine; or formulate their resettlement (and compensation) somewhere else. The first means the dissolution of the State of Israel – which cannot possibly be among the State Department's acceptable outcomes. (Can it?) In either of the other two scenarios, counting would be a prerequisite to resettlement. (...)