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inFOCUS Quarterly

Spring 2016

Israel - Beyond the Headlines


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UNRWA Support Palestine Refugees

Reader comment on: How UNRWA Supports Hamas

Submitted by Taher- The Gaza Strip (Palestinian Territory, Occupied), Sep 29, 2007 08:55

UNRWA was established by United Nations General Assembly (which Israel is a member of it) resolution 302 (IV) of 8 December 1949 to carry out direct relief and works programmes for Palestine refugees, UNRWA is humanitarian organization only to serve the Palestine refugees through its five programs (Education, Health, Relief and social services, MMP and Emergency Appeal), it has no political or security role in the region or in the Palestinian camps according to its mandate. Israel itself has requested that UNRWA continue to play its role in the occupied territory as a humanitarian welfare association to provide stability in region and escape from their esponsibility as an occupied authorities.

UNRWA is a neutral body same as other UN bodies and its staff always have been strongly requested not participate in any political activities during their work with the agency and in many cases UNRWA has terminated staff members who were involved in political activates, so, for the example of Said Syam who was UNRWA teacher, he started his political life after his early separation from the agency for the reason of unfitness. UNRWA does not punish its staff members who are part of the Palestinian society for their political trends or believes and that's why they have the right to vote in the PA elections but they have to resign if they want to run for elections (Legislative Council or Presidential), all of that is very clear in UNRWA policy and rules and regulations. UNRWA employees can only have staff union elections as a right of representing them selves within the agency as any organization in the world according to the labor law but not on political standards, its never happened in their elections campaign to show any political actions or plans.

It is well known that the host government which prepares the textbooks and curriculum that are taught in UNRWA and governmental schools(Jordan, Lebanon, Syria,and the PA), When Egyptians and Israelis were governing Gaza, UNRWA used the Egyptian textbooks and curriculum, but, when PA has arrived to Gaza according to Oslo accords, the curriculum was replaced by the Palestinian one which never mentioned destroying Israel, beside that UNRWA premises including schools have been always out of any political activities but only using it in some cases for Legislative Council and Presidential elections for lack of places in Gaza and West Bank. If Any Staff member including teachers were caught practicing a political or military activities either in or outside UNRWA premises, they get interrogated and punished according to UNRWA policy which is very clear in that .

In many cases the Commissioner General has commented on the internal conflict within the Palestinian factions criticizing violence they practiced and hurt Palestinian refugees daily life and affected UNRWA operations very badl, more than one of the UNRWA staff members were killed during their work as a result of this conflict, so UNRWA has paid an expensive price. She clarified in more than one occasion that the agency is only care about the refugees life and future far a way from any Political conflict or changes on the Opt, and it has nothing to do with who controls Gaza. The Agency has always worked in the Gaza Strip either in the Egyptian's era, Israeli era, and the PA era (either Fateh or Hamas). These political changes and problems only is the concern of the Secretary General of the UN, the Security Council and the General Assembly.

UNRWA and in many stages had to increase its services to the refugees especially when refugees suffering increases as a reason of political or security disasters which left a very negative impact on their economical and social life, as what happened in the first Intifada and in the second one, and of course now days since the unemployment and poverty percentage has strongly increased like never before because of the borders closure and collective punishment on Palestinians, or Nahr Albared disaster. Be sure that if UNRWA does not increase its services under the current critical situation, the refugees would be more frustrated and hopeless which might lead to more violent actions which might be exported and affect the Israelis and the all region!

Few months ago the American Secretary of the state has been questioned by a congress man regarding UNRWA issue asking her to stop the American donation to the agency, she was saying that UNRWA existence is very important in the region and there is no way to terminate it since it is in charge of the Palestinian refugees humanitarian life and without it they would starve to death and the American Administration should continue its donation to the humanitarian organizations

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Other reader comments on this item



Art Schwartz 

Oct 15, 2009 20:00

Billions [29 words]

Hagar Kennemo 

Nov 4, 2008 08:54

⇒ UNRWA Support Palestine Refugees [778 words]

Taher- The Gaza Strip 

Sep 29, 2007 08:55

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