|Protesting outside UNRWA Gaza headquarters April 2013 [Image Source]|
Gazans, Jordanians stage protests against UNRWA decision to cut services to Palestinian population | Jerusalem Post | Khaled Abu Toameh | July 26, 2015
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and Jordan on Sunday staged protests against the decision of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) to cut its services to the Palestinian population. The protesters claim that UNRWA has cut its health and educational services to tens of thousands of Palestinians.
In the Gaza Strip, where nearly half of the Palestinians rely on UNRWA services, scores of protesters gathered outside the agency’s offices, chanting slogans against the latest decision. Many Palestinians suspect that UNRWA’s scaling-down of its services is part of a “conspiracy” to eliminate the refugee problem. The protest was organized by representatives of various Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip, who urged UNRWA to reconsider its decision to decrease its services to Palestinians.
Talal Abu Zarifa, a senior member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, warned UNRWA against the “anger” of the Palestinian refugees. “UNRWA needs to be careful not to enrage our refugees,” he said at the protest. “Our people will erupt because they realize that this is a conspiracy against refugees and not a financial matter.”
One of the protesters,Ali Hashem, also sounded a similar warning against UNRWA. “The cuts in services will lead to a revolution against UNRWA,” he cautioned. “This is not a financial crisis, but a conspiracy against Palestinian refugees.”
UNRWA spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna said that his agency was suffering from a severe financial crisis. He said that UNRWA needs about $101 million to overcome the crisis. “Unless we obtain this sum, UNRWA will be forced to take harsh measures and decisions, including postponing the opening of the new academic year,” he added.
A similar protest was held by UNRWA employees in Jordan, where the agency’s Advisory Commission held an emergency meeting to discuss the financial crisis.
The Commission will review the growing risk that UNRWA may have to delay the start of the academic year in some 700 schools for half a million students across the Middle East unless the deficit of $101 million can be fully funded, according to a statement released by UNRWA.
The Commission will also be discussing a special report to be sent by the Commissioner-General to the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, and on to all 193 members of the UN.
UNRWA officials say they currently have enough funds to maintain its services essential to protect public health, which includes immunizations for children, primary health care, relief and sanitation and some emergency programs through to the end of 2015. However, the money is not enough to guarantee the stable provision of its education services from September onwards.
Hamas legislators in the Gaza Strip said in a statement on Sunday that UNRWA’s decision to cut services to the refugees was tantamount to a declaration of war on the Palestinians. The legislators dismissed UNRWA’s talk about a financial crisis as false and warned the agency against attempting to implement an old plan to resettle the refugees.
The Popular Committees for Palestinian Refugees in the Gaza Strip warned UNRWA against taking part in a “conspiracy to liquidate the case of the refugees.” The group warned that Palestinians would revolt against UNRWA’s moves “and burn everything that comes in their way.”
|Protesting outside UNRWA Gaza headquarters July 2011 [Image Source]|
Some of the wealthiest entities in the world - they call themselves states but they function as family-owned businesses with their own postage stamps and flags - say they are desperate, desperate to help their Palestinian Arab "refugee" brethren.
Yet (a) for most of UNRWA's nearly seventy years of existence, they have either failed to give anything, or (b) have failed to reach the ranks of the top 20 givers, or (c) failed to give sums that come close to reflecting their undying passion for the Palestinian Arab "struggle", in stark contrast to their very public passions for spending on what are euphemistically termed luxuries. And that extends way past ordinary consumer items to such self-indulgent vanities as acquiring sports tournaments for mind-boggling prices and then announcing plans for $160 billion of new sports fields and tennis courts.
So where has UNRWA's funding come from?
It's no secret. But it's certainly something that gets overlooked in the customary news reporting channels for reasons about which we can speculate. The facts and data are out there in the public domain. To save everyone the effort, we suggest taking a glance at some recent posts of ours:
- "03-Jul-15: Misery, terrorism and money-making: a cynics' guide"
- "04-Jun-15: Exploding for decades: UNRWA needs more, more, more"
- "19-May-14: Will momentary focus on UNRWA throw any light on PA and Hamas abuse of their own people?"
And it isn't all that hard to figure out why this farce keeps going on and on for decades. Quoting ourselves:
"...when you want to preserve misery at all costs, leverage it to ensure a ready supply of human bombs and other terrorists, there's an ever-willing cast of international figures, NGOs and the many arms of the UN who are evidently only too pleased to be of assistance - or to be exploited by others with more detailed agendas."Finally, here (for the second time this month) is a shout-out to to UNRWA's indefatigable "Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications", Christopher Gunness, to straighten us out and indicate a more UNRWA-friendly way of looking at this. We know he's busy, so let it be clear that no one is holding their breaths.
What UNRWA stands for is perfectly clear to anyone who looks.