[News] UN warns that Gaza food aid about to run out

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed May 15 11:33:34 EDT 2019


  UN warns that Gaza food aid about to run out

Maureen Clare Murphy 
<https://electronicintifada.net/people/maureen-clare-murphy> - 14 May 2019


Every one in two Palestinians in Gaza is food aid dependent, and the 
largest provider of humanitarian assistance in the territory is warning 
that it may soon be unable to provide that aid.

UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees, stated 
on Monday that it must secure $60 million by June to be able to provide 
food aid to one million Palestinian refugees in Gaza – half of the 
territory’s population.

Some 620,000 Palestinians in Gaza survive on $1.60 per day. An 
additional 390,000 survive on around $3.50 per day, according to the agency.

It is the latest plea 
by a UN body for increased international assistance to Gaza, where, as 
UNRWA puts it, “financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs.”

    Israeli siege increases need

Those needs are a direct consequence of Israel’s land, sea and air 
blockade on the territory, now in its 12th year, and successive Israeli 
military offensives that have wrought widespread destruction and greatly 
diminished Gaza’s productive sector.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has said 
that Israel’s blockade of Gaza violates the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Israel’s use of force in the territory has been the subject of multiple 
UN commissions of inquiry.

“From fewer than 80,000 Palestine refugees receiving UNRWA social 
assistance in Gaza in the year 2000, there are today over one million 
people who need emergency food assistance without which they cannot get 
through their day,” the agency stated.

More than half of Gaza’s population is unemployed, one of the highest 
rates in the world. International aid and remittances from abroad “have 
held Gaza back from the brink of total collapse,” according to UNRWA.

Last year the US, formerly UNRWA’s single largest donor, said that it 
would stop funding the agency. In addition to freezing $300 million in 
funding to UNRWA, the US cut $200 million in bilateral aid to the West 
Bank and Gaza.

The aid cuts are at once a punishment 
against the Palestinian leadership for protesting Trump’s recognition of 
Jerusalem as the capital of Israel 
and an attempt to bludgeon Palestinians into submitting to the White 
House’s “peace” process and erase 
Palestinian refugees out of existence 

“The American administration’s actions are part of a wider campaign that 
aims at imposing a one-sided solution on Palestinian refugees – contrary 
to international law, relevant UN resolutions, and the principle of 
justice,” the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council stated 
<http://mezan.org/en/post/23526> on Tuesday.

The council called on the UN General Assembly “to establish a mandatory 
financing mechanism, rather than voluntary state contributions, in order 
to secure consistent and sustainable funding of UNRWA,” with an expanded 
mandate “to fulfill the legal protection standards that refugees are 
entitled to.”

UNRWA – in contrast to the UN High Commission for Refugees, which looks 
after refugees from the rest of the world – has no mandate 
to facilitate the exercise the right of return home for refugees.

    8.7 million Palestinian refugees worldwide

Today there are 8.7 million Palestinian refugees and displaced persons 
worldwide, constituting two-thirds of the Palestinian people.

“Israel’s failure to respect the right to return for Palestinians who 
were forced to flee their homes in 1948 is a flagrant violation of 
international law that has fuelled decades of suffering on a mass scale 
for Palestinian refugees across the region,” Amnesty International 
stated on Tuesday.

Every two in three Palestinians in Gaza is a refugee from towns and 
villages now inside Israel. For more than a year 
Palestinians in the territory have protested against the blockade and to 
demand their right to return to the lands from which their families were 
expelled before, during and after the establishment of the state of 
Israel in 1948.

More than 200 Palestinians have been killed during the protests, dubbed 
the Great March of Return 

Around 60 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli military during 
protests in Gaza this day last year, and a further 1,300 were injured by 
live ammunition 
making it the bloodiest day yet during the Great March of Return.

The staggering 
number of casualties during the protests has overwhelmed Gaza’s 
healthcare system.

Some 1,700 Palestinians injured during the Gaza demonstrations may 
require amputations because specialized treatment for what medical 
groups have described as war injuries resulting from Israeli army sniper 
fire is unavailable.

The UN is seeking $20 million for Gaza’s medical facilities which are 
“under very serious stress,” Jamie McGoldrick, a humanitarian official 
with the world body, stated last week 

    Two thousand Gaza families still displaced

Meanwhile, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 
that as of the end of April, there was no funding to cover the basic 
needs of Palestinians in Gaza still displaced from Israel’s 51-day 
military offensive on the territory five years ago.

More than 2,200 Palestinians were killed 
during that offensive, and 17,800 homes were destroyed or severely damaged.

Israel’s bombardment of Gaza in the summer of 2014 resulted in the 
largest internal displacement of Palestinians since 1967, when Israel 
occupied the territory, along with the West Bank, the Syrian Golan 
Heights and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula (from which Israel later withdrew).

As of February this year, more than 2,200 Palestinian families – or 
12,300 people – were still displaced as a result of the 2014 offensive.

Nearly $130 million is needed to address needs resulting from the 
offensive, according to OCHA, “including for shelter repair ($75 
million), reconstruction of houses ($47 million) and cash assistance 
($6.5 million).”

Israel habitually destroys 
Palestinian infrastructure in Gaza and third states pay for its 
reconstruction, with no cost to Israel, which controls what raw 
materials for reconstruction are brought into the territory.

Gaza’s population is repeatedly brought to the brink before a stop-gap 
aid contribution prevents total catastrophe.

Last year 
OCHA warned that following Israel’s 2014 military assault – after which 
third-party states pledged $3.5 billion 
to rebuild the devastated territory – “humanitarian financing to the 
occupied Palestinian territory has been gradually, but definitively, 
decreasing year on year.”

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