After months under siege, humanitarian aid finally reached the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in war-torn Damascus this week. UNRWA on Wednesday released photos of the camp, showing the devastation and desperation that has taken hold there after years of civil war and months under siege. "It is impossible not to be touched by the apocalyptic scenes emerging from the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk in Damascus, besieged and cut off for months," said UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunness. Late last year, +972 reported on the siege and starvation in and around Yarmouk. Read more here. Related: After chemical attack, Damascus…Read More... | 24 Comments
For more than 66 years, Palestinian refugees have been languishing in squalid conditions across camps in the Middle East. But do all of them agree that a return to Palestine is necessarily the best solution? Through her extensive research, Paula Schmitt finds that while different refugees may have different desires, hopelessness remains everyone's worst enemy. By Paula Schmitt There’s something almost cruel about asking a Palestinian refugee whether he would accept living peacefully with Israel were he ever allowed to return. It feels like a sadistic exercise: treat a man like a lesser human, deny him a country, a house,…Read More... | 30 Comments
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) now estimates that approximately 235,000 Palestinian refugees have been displaced due to the civil war in Syria. In a statement to the press this week, UNRWA reported that on April 26, no fewer than 6,000 Palestinians had been displaced from Ein El Tal, a Palestinian refugee camp some 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from Aleppo in northern Syria. According to UNRWA: Mortars and small arms were reportedly used, damaging and destroying refugee homes and contributing to dozens of fatalities and injuries, including among Palestinian civilians. In the aftermath of the fighting,…Read More... | 10 Comments
The United Nation agency for Palestinian refugees is reporting that three separate incidents in Syria claimed last week the lives of five children. One of the children died in Dera'a and four others in Damascus. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East UNRWA, Mohammad Al-Khateeb (aged 14) was killed on March 15 by a bullet as he was returning home on foot after buying bread from a bakery in his neighborhood in Dera'a. On March 19, Hisham Mahmoud (aged 10) and Farhat Mubarak (aged 11), were killed at the crossroad of Yazour and Safad Streets in Yarmouk, Damascus. They were…Read More... | 10 Comments
Although the Shuafat refugee camp is under the jurisdiction of the Jerusalem Municipality, one look at the lack of basic infrastructure, the sewage running in the streets and the unsafe conditions reveal that it is part of a different world. By Chen Misgav Several weeks ago, during a late Saturday morning, a group of 20 Jewish-Israelis leave their cars at the entrance to an intimidating military checkpoint outside Shuafat refugee camp. We are meeting with A., a representative of the Jerusalem Committee Against the Wall and the Settlements, who will be giving us a tour of the camp. We walk…Read More... | 7 Comments
Five members of the same family were killed in Yarmouk, along with at least seven other people. Despite the bloodshed, Jordan continues to refuse to allow Palestinians among the Syrian refugees it accepts. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) issued a press release on Sunday expressing grave concern over the rising number of Palestinian casualties in the Syrian civil war. According to credible sources, an estimated total of 30 Palestinians were killed in the last week. Twelve of the casualties – including five members of the same family – were from…Read More... | 74 Comments
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA, provides "assistance, protection and advocacy for some 5 million registered Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the occupied Palestinian territory, pending a solution to their plight." The UN agency is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from the global body's member states. UNRWA's chief, Filippo Grandi, says the international community and donors must continue in their commitment to Palestinians and, in particular, to the people of Gaza. WATCH: ROEE RUTTENBERG INTERVIEW'S UNRWA CHIEF FILIPPO GRANDI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=075hbClA65I&feature=youtu.beRead More... | 5 Comments
When it comes to the issue of refugees, or 'infiltrators,' emotions often get the best of those who are defending one term or another. But facts are facts, apples are apples, oranges are oranges. I was reminded of the above when reviewing Oren Ziv's images of the mother and daughter being arrested at a kindergarten in the Hatikva neighborhood of Tel Aviv. Naturally, no human can deny the human emotions as evident in the photos. Some will say that the Left is exploiting such images to make those who are for deportation feel and look bad. The Left will use…Read More... | 5 Comments
The writer shares snippets of life from the Palestinians living in the refugee camp in Jordan - from the longing for a home unknown, to reservations about the 'Arab Spring' reaching them. Dispatch from Jerash. By Munir Atalla Last month I worked at the Gaza Refugee Camp in Jerash, Jordan. The camp is home to about 24,000 Palestinian refugees who left the Gaza Strip in 1968. Most of the families living there were also displaced in 1948, meaning that they have lost their homes twice in one lifetime. The majority live on less than $2 a day. About a quarter live on less than…Read More... | 19 Comments
UNESCO is set to discuss the dangers facing Jerusalem's eco-systems, a new UNRWA report elaborates the harm caused to water sources and flora throughout the West Bank, and environmental NGOs warn of the impending extinction of several species – these are the wall's effects on mother nature. Project photography: Oren Ziv / Activestills An event of somewhat historic proportions is about to take place in Saint Petersburg in the coming days: for the first time ever, the annual UNESCO convention is to discuss a request to recognize a world heritage site that was put forward by the Palestinian Authority, which…Read More... | 7 Comments
By Alexis Thiry and Markus Schlotterbeck For the people using the brand new light rail in Jerusalem, Shuafat is just another station servicing an Arab neighborhood in the city. But Shuafuat refugee camp, stuck between the French Hill and Pisgat Ze’ev settlements (and distinct from the nearby neighborhood of the same name), is a third world community that lies just two kilometers away from the country's most important tourist sites. Founded in 1964 by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), when East Jerusalem was still part of Jordan, the camp is now home to 11,000 registered refugees, though…Read More... | 9 Comments
Following an interview UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness, I thought it appropriate to post this press release issued by UNRWA highlighting an appeal from the Jordan Prime Minister for continued funding for UNRWA. Marouf al-Bakheet warns of instability if money is withdrawn. Jordan warns of instability if UN Palestine Refugee Agency’s funds cut UNRWA Commissioner General appeals for Arab funds Jordan, 21 June 2011: The Prime Minister of Jordan, Marouf al-Bakheet, has warned of instability if the UN Agency for Palestine Refugees, UNRWA, is not properly funded and the Agency’s essential services to millions of Palestine refugees in the Middle East…Read More... | 4 Comments
There is no doubt in my mind that you cannot have a just and durable peace unless 4.8 million refugees are brought out of their 63-year exile, statelessness and dispossession. -- Chris Gunness, UNRWA Spokesman, 20 June 2011 Roee Ruttenberg: Can you tell us a little bit about the current state of the Palestinian refugees, specifically vis-à-vis the what they are seeing around the region in the so-called “Arab Spring?" Chris Gunness, UNRWA Spokesman: The situation is quite different in a number of states or territories. In Syria, for example, there’s great upheaval, though by and large UNRWA refugees have…Read More... | 16 Comments
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