Newspaper Review: Dailies Shed Light on Ongoing Financial Crisis Gripping UNRWA

RAMALLAH, August 13, 2015 (WAFA) – The financial crisis gripping the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) that has threatened to delay the start of the school year for hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees hit the front page headlines in the Palestinian Arabic dailies.

The three dailies have reported that Saudi Arabia provided $35 million for UNRWA with the purpose of alleviating the financial crisis gripping it.

Covering this issue in its main front page news item, al-Quds reported on UNRWA’s Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl as stating: “The risk of a delay to our school year remains real unless we can cover our $101 million deficit in the coming days.”

It added that committees representing Palestinian refugees and refugees’ communities across the West Bank have decided to stage a series of steps in protest of the ongoing cut to UNRWA’s services.

Al-Ayyam reported in this regard that despite Saudi Arabia’s donation, UNRWA requires an additional amount of $82 in order to start the school year.

On the other hand, Al-Ayyam reported in its main front page news article on PLO Executive Committee member Zakaria al-Agha as affirming the PLO’s Palestinian National Council would convene during the few coming weeks in order o discuss current issues.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida opted to highlight in its main front page news article the health situation of hunger-striking Palestinian detainee Mohammad Allan, who was moved to Barzilai Medical Center (BMC) in Ashdod to be force-fed.

It reported that Allan is continuing his hunger strike despite his critical health condition and that Israeli police and right-wing extremist Israelis attacked Palestinians who were protesting against force-feeing Allan outside BMC in Ashdod.

Al-Ayyam reported in this regard that dozens of Palestinians rallied outside BMC in solidarity with Allan.

Furthermore, al-Quda and al-Hayat al-Jadida reported that the Israeli water company Mekorot on Wednesday cut off supplies to most of the areas of the northern West Bank.

In regards to hunger-striking Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons, al-Quds reported that the Israeli Supreme Court has given the “state” – referring to the Israeli government- time until September 1 to respond to a petition against force-feeding bill.

Al-Quds also reported that Hamas’ Political Bureau Chief Khaled Mashaal has met with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara and Tony Blair in Doha to discuss Hamas-Israel issues.

Covering Israeli forces and settlers attacks against Palestinian people and property across the occupied Palestinian Territories, al-Quds reported that Israeli settlers “brutally assaulted” two Palestinian youngsters in the western part of Jerusalem.

Al-Ayyam reported in this regard that Israeli police continued to assault Palestinian Muslim women in the vicinity of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Al-Quds also reported that the so-called Israeli ‘Civil Administration’ has ‘legalized’ a West Bank archeological site run by Israeli settlers.

In the wake of the Palestinian cabinet’s announcement that it would adopt austerity measures and cut down on public expenses in order to overcome the financial crisis it is gripped with, the three dailies reported on Labor Minister Ma’moun Abu Shahla as denying reports that the cabinet intends to force tens of thousands of employees into early retirement.