US ends all funding for UN’s Palestine refugee agency

3 Sep

VIDEO REPORT:  Al Jazeera English, 2 September 2018

The United States has ended funding of the United Nations-run agency UNRWA which supports Palestinian refugees. The announcement comes a week after the Trump administration cut more than $200m in economic aid to Palestinian refugees. Al Jazeera’s Paul Chaderjian reports.

OPINION: by Janfrie Wakim, Palestine Solidarity Network NZ, 2 September 2018

Letter to the Editor NZ Herald:

The decision by the US government to end funding for United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is devastating news.  The UN agency set up in 1949 to support the 750,000 Palestinians forced from their homes or fled 70 years ago when the state of Israel was established on land that was formerly Palestine, assisted these refugees and their descendants, now numbering 5.3milion. They have resided in fifty-eight refugee camps in Occupied Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria with UNRWA providing a sense of hope and security through its vital functions supplying food, access to education, healthcare, social services and employment. It also offers protection for the Palestinian refugees to ensure that their rights under international law are protected and promoted. 

While the  USA provides $3bn annually to Israel for its military hardware and enabling construction of illegal settlement colonies on Palestinian land, its plans to starve a United Nations agency of essential funds will create unimaginable suffering and hardship for the Palestinian refugees. Such a cruel and reckless policy will subvert the very foundations of peace and stability. The plight of the Palestinian refugees must be resolved in accordance with international law and relevant UN resolutions, including the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194. It is to be hoped the New Zealand government will express its outrage and will respond to the call members of the international community to shoulder their responsibilities towards Palestinian refugees and provide the necessary support and financial assistance UNRWA needs to fulfill its mandate. 

Janfrie Wakim,

Spokesperson, Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa-NZ

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