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UNRWA

  • Medical care for children in Gaza headed for the dark ages

    What ails the Gaza Strip is not an incurable disease. We know the antidote that could immediately begin rebuilding the structural determinants of children’s right to life and health. By Priscilla Wathington Children in the Gaza Strip today are more likely to develop health problems than ever before but less likely to access medical care. And as the need surges, Israel is granting a diminishing percentage of Palestinians permission to exit Gaza for medical treatment. [tmwinpost] Imagine you are a parent in the Gaza Strip and your child falls ill, seriously and unexpectedly. That is, assuming your child makes it through…

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  • The problem with international aid to Palestine

    The Palestinian people have become dependent on foreign humanitarian aid to survive, but its adverse effects are strangling their economy. By Liora Sion International aid to the Palestinians is very generous. The United Nations is aiming to raise approximately $540 million per year for the five million Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza. That's a lot of money when compared to sums raised for other countries in crisis. For example, take Afghanistan, where the UN hopes to raise $437 million for the 34 million citizens of the country, despite the enormous difficulties it faces. In Iraq, a country in desperate need…

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  • 'UNRWA shouldn't be held hostage to politics'

    As the U.S. slashes the Palestinian refugee agency's budget, Netanyahu is urging it be abolished altogether. Some believe that shuttering UNRWA would somehow make the Palestinian refugee problem extinct. 'Not true,' says the agency's director in Washington. The Trump administration announced this week that it had cut by more than half its contribution to the UN Relief Works Agency for Palestinian refugees. [tmwinpost] The agency provides life-saving assistance to 80 percent of the population in Gaza, food assistance for over a million Palestinians throughout the region, and schools for over half a million children. Trump's announcement of the funding cuts…

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  • Trump’s threats against the Palestinians should worry Israel

    The Netanyahu government is celebrating Trump's recent declaration and threats against the Palestinians as victories, but Jerusalem should wait before opening the champagne.  The Trump Administration on Tuesday threatened to withhold millions of dollars in aid that it sends to the Palestinians each year, accusing them of not wanting to negotiate a peace deal with Israel. Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, said the U.S. would stop funding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) — the UN agency responsible for providing aid to Palestinian refugees — if the Palestinian leadership refuses to return to American-led peace talks. Washington…

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  • Netanyahu's Israel is a cauldron waiting for the next explosion

    While Israel proceeds along its merry way, each day building more settlements and demolishing more Palestinian homes, it is far from being the secure and stable dream Netanyahu envisioned. By James J. Zogby For half of the past two decades Benjamin Netanyahu has served as prime minister of Israel. Whatever his ultimate fate (given the ongoing criminal investigations he is currently facing), it is clear that he has had a profound impact on Israel, the Palestinians, and the entire region. [tmwinpost] There are those who have doubted that Netanyahu had any core beliefs, other than the desire to retain power.…

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  • Addressing the root of the Palestinian refugee problem

    Cash shortages at UNRWA distract from the wider issue: it is the lack of a diplomatic solution, not funding, that leaves Palestinian refugees vulnerable. In the end, it was the catastrophe that wasn’t. For a nervy few weeks it seemed a severe funding shortage would delay the school year for half a million children reliant on the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA). Then, a predictable last-minute rush of donations closed the gap and Palestinian refugee children went back to school across the Middle East. The reasons for the funding shortage seemed clear: deepening crises across the Middle East, in particular the Syrian…

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  • In five-year high, Israel demolishes 143 Palestinian structures in single month

    Israel demolished 143 Palestinian structures in August, the highest such total in five years. The wave of demolitions came amid severe heat waves and has left children homeless as they start the new school year. Israel demolished 143 Palestinian structures in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the month of August, the highest such total in five years, according to statistics released by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Occupied Palestinian Territory (OCHA-oPt). The wave of demolitions has displaced nearly 200 Palestinians, many of them children. Some of the highest concentrations of demolitions occurred during a record-breaking heatwave…

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  • Mortality rate increases among Gaza infants for first time in 50 years

    With Gaza's infant mortality rate up for the first time in 50 years, health officials worry that a continued blockade, and lack of sufficient neonatal care, may cause the upward trend to continue. For the first time in 50 years, Gaza's refugee population has seen an increase in the number of infant deaths, according to an UNRWA study published earlier this month. Published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal PLOS One, the survey findings were based on results collected from August 2013 to October 2013, prior to the 2014 war that left dozens of infants dead and caused further damage to Gaza’s already ailing health infrastructure. [tmwinpost] "The finding is truly alarming,…

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  • UNRWA funding crisis puts 500k Palestinian children at risk

    A budget deficit of $101 million threatens to delay the start of the academic year in UNRWA schools. At a time of rising extremism, such an outcome could have consequences for states across the Middle East, the agency says. UNRWA, the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees, is facing a budget deficit of $101 million for the coming year, the agency says. The shortfall threatens to delay the start of the academic year for UNRWA-run schools. At risk, too, are psychosocial support programs that are administered within UNRWA schools (those offered in health centers will continue to run). The scale…

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  • Despite the devastation, Gazans see no alternative to Hamas

    A year after Operation Protective Edge, I traveled from Israel to visit my family in the Gaza Strip, where Palestinians are suffering from high rates of unemployment, violence, and drug use. By Thair Abu-Rass This past week I experienced one of the most formative events of my life: a three-day visit to Gaza for the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan. Entering the "largest prison in the world," as Gaza's residents call it, came after the Israeli authorities' eased access for family visits between Israel and Gaza. [tmwinpost] I am a quarter Gazan:…

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  • In war, there is no safe place for Gaza's children

    A new report details the harrowing reality for Gaza's children during last summer's assault. There came a point early on during last summer's Gaza war when it seemed we reached a nadir. Four children, all under the age of 12, were killed by an Israeli naval attack while playing soccer on a beach. The boys were directly struck by two shells, which also seriously wounded four other children. [tmwinpost] It was, as we now know, about to get infinitely worse for Gaza's children. A new report released by Defence for Children International-Palestine (DCIP) documents the consistent targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure…

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  • Homeless and widowed: One Gazan's tragic story

    Rasha Abu Oda fled her Gaza home, took shelter in a UN school, was injured in an Israeli strike and then died while giving birth. The war in Gaza may have ended, but Gazans are just starting to pick up the pieces of their broken lives. By Awni Farhat The aggression of the Israeli army against the Palestinian people of the Gaza Strip ended last Tuesday evening, however the suffering and grief of those who lost their loved ones and their homes continues. The story of Rasha Abu Oda is one of countless heartbreaking stories that I could write about.…

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  • Photos of the week: Gazans search for normalcy among the ruins

    What does life look like in Gaza after both the Israeli army and the media leave? Photos and Text: Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org People in Gaza are lost and uncertain. They cannot fathom what happened to them, and they cannot predict what might happen in the few next days. People whose houses were destroyed are living in schools. Those whose houses are still standing or damaged came back to live in them, but don't know how long they can stay. Many even went back to living in schools out of fear that the ceasefire will end. In Beit Hanoun, people are doing…

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