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UNRWA

  • Humanitarian aid to Palestinians ‘at an all-time low,’ UN warns

    The funding crisis is particularly devastating in the Gaza Strip, where humanitarian officials say basic services such as education, health, and food security have been reduced to a minimum. By Fidaa Shurrab Funding for humanitarian activities in the occupied Palestinian territories is “at an all-time low,” according to a UN agency responsible for humanitarian affairs in the West Bank and Gaza. [tmwinpost] According to a report published this month by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as of a few weeks ago only $159 million of a requested $539.7 million had been secured for the 2018 Humanitarian Response…

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  • The Oslo era is finally over, but it only gets worse from here

    In theory, the end of Oslo should be a welcome development. In practice, there is little to celebrate. There is something unsettling about the way the 25-year anniversary since the signing of the Oslo Accords is being marked — neither eulogy nor longing, and without anyone having any clue what lies ahead. There is one thing that is different this year, however. With the exception of Jason Greenblatt, nobody is paying lip service to the illusion of a peace process any more. [tmwinpost] In theory, that should be a welcome development. The Oslo process and the legacy it left on…

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  • Trump's endgame in Palestine

    Washington defunding the Palestinian refugee agency is not merely an attack on UNRWA, as serious as that may be. It is an attempt to destroy the Palestinian national movement. By Mitchell Plitnick Late last month, the State Department announced it would end all funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN agency that provides many essential services for Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. The reaction to this decision has been mostly negative. Some have objected to the Trump administration’s decision because it runs counter to U.S. interests. Some have objected because it jeopardizes Israel’s security. Others…

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  • Politicizing Palestinian refugees won't make them go away

    By defunding UNRWA and attempting to define Palestinian refugees out of existence, the Trump administration is only shooting the messenger. UNRWA is a product, not the source, of the Palestinian refugee problem. By Zena Agha Last Friday, the Trump administration announced that the United States would no longer fund the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) – the U.N. body which delivers vital aid to some 5.3 million Palestinian refugees across the Arab world. The cut, which amounts to $300 million, constitutes about 30 percent of the organization’s total yearly budget. [tmwinpost] Describing UNRWA as an “irredeemably flawed operation”, the…

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  • Trump cannot simply erase the Palestinian right of return

    The American president's decision to defund the Palestinian refugee agency is an attempt to accomplish something Israeli leaders have been trying for the better part of a century. By James Zogby First, the Trump Administration "took Jerusalem off the table." Now, in an especially dangerous display of recklessness, it has announced its intention to do the same for the Palestinian "right of return." [tmwinpost] The first indication that this was in the works came with the administration's announcement that it would be suspending all U.S. assistance to UNWRA, the UN agency created to address the humanitarian needs of the Palestinians…

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  • 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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