CAIRO, January 26, 2016 (WAFA) – The Arab League Tuesday called on donors to immediately respond to UNRWA’s appeal to collect $817 million to aid Palestinian refugees in Syria and the occupied Palestinian Territories.
The League said it had been following with great interest UNRWA’s appeal of $817 million emergency funds for refugees in Syria and the oPT, which are according to an UNRWA’s press release, “contexts ]that[ continue to experience the relentless effects of conflict, occupation and blockade.”
Given their worsening conditions and reduced health and educational services, the Arab League emphasized the importance that UNRWA continue to assume its service provision role to Palestinian refugees.
The league stressed the importance of responding to the appeal as the UNRWA embodies “the international community’s commitment to the Palestinian refugees until a just solution is found for their issue (question) in accordance to UN resolutions, namely UN resolution 194.”
It said that responding to UNRWA’s funding appeal would contribute to “suporting regional stability and relieving the decades-long injustice Palestinian refugees have been inflicted with.”
According to the UN agency’s press release issued on January 14, the majority of the estimated 450,000 Palestine refugees in Syria are displaced and 95 percent of them rely on UNRWA for assistance.
“Thousands remain trapped in areas of active conflict, where they face appalling suffering. Tens of thousands have fled to Lebanon and Jordan where, despite the generosity of host countries, they face increasing marginalization and despair.”
In the occupied Palestinian Territories, UNRWA pointed out that “Palestine refugees are exposed to the lasting consequences of an occupation now approaching 50 years and a decade-long blockade, which define every aspect of their lives.”
It said the number of Palestinians who rely on humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip rose to over 830,000 in comparison to 80,000 in 2000. Meanwhile, thousands of Palestinian refugees in the West Bank are “at risk of forced displacement and dispossession” due to settlement construction.
UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl said the funds would contribute to ” address the multiplicity of emergency needs facing Palestine refugees” and to “a measure of stability at a time of spreading radicalization and a measure of dignity for a community that has been deprived of a just solution for far too long”.
UNRWA pointed out that its response in the oPt will particularly focus on the needs of Palestine refugees exposed to displacement and home demolitions, as well as on reconstruction efforts in Gaza.
In Syria, UNRWA pointed out that it would, in 2016, run one of the largest cash assistance programs in an active conflict zone and that it would be an essential provider of innovative education programs benefitting hundreds of thousands of Palestinian and Syrian children, including by means of distance-learning material and a dedicated satellite channel – UNRWA TV.