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Audio Interview: From Montreal to Ein el-Hilweh

Listen to an interview with Ahmed Abdel Majeed, a stateless Palestinian born and raised in Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp in southern Lebanon, who was deported from Montreal Canada in November 2003. In Montreal Ahmed was an active member of the Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees, a group of Palestinians in Montreal organizing against deportation by Canadian immigration authorities. 

Palestine: Making a Bad Situation Worse

With Hamas in control of the Palestinian Authority (PA) government, and Western donors are halting all direct aid to it, an already precarious humanitarian situation in the West Bank and Gaza could potentially turn worse. Virtually bankrupt, the PA needs $120 million a month to pay its staff, and an additional $40 million for continued minimum basic services to its constituency. With Israel suspending the transfer of $60 million a month in Palestinian customs receipts, the $35 million the PA collects each month in domestic revenues are not enough to keep it afloat. 

Audio Documentary - Burj el-Shemali Refugee Camp

Listen to a radio documentary on Burj el-Shemali refugee camp, located on the outskirts of the southern Lebanese city of Tyre & home to upwards of 20 000 Palestinian refugees. Recorded in Burj el-Shemali during the summer of 2005, this documentary focuses on the present day political, economic and social situation facing the Palestinian residents of the camp, within the context of ongoing major political changes taking place in Lebanon. 

Aid agencies: Suspension of aid is accelerating slide into crisis

The Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA) cautioned donor governments and Israel that the strategy of starving out the newly elected Hamas government by rerouting aid to outside agencies is deepening the suffering of civilians. Thirty-six aid agencies operational in the occupied Palestinian territories said the suspension of direct aid to the Palestinian Authority — a move initiated by Canada, the US and EU — is accelerating a slide into crisis. The sanctions have left unpaid for a second month the entire Palestinian public sector, comprising 150,000 police, doctors, teachers and other public service workers. Aid agencies the situation is most acute in the Gaza Strip. 

Annan to host Quartet meeting on Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Tuesday

Secretary-General Kofi Annan will host a high-level meeting on Tuesday of the diplomatic Quartet, the partnership of the United Nations, European Union (EU), Russia and the United States that is seeking to bring a two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict amid a potentially dangerous deterioration looming on the horizon. The meeting at UN Headquarters in New York is being held at the principals’ level and is expected to be attended by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, with the EU represented by its High Representative for a Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik of Austria, as well as Benita Ferrero Waldner. 

Umm al-Zinat: Commemorating the Catastrophe

Some 2,000 Palestinian demonstrators gathered deep in a pine forest on the slopes of Mount Carmel near Haifa on Wednesday this week as most Israelis celebrated their 58th Independence Day with open-air barbecues and parties. The Palestinian refugee families were joined by 150 Israeli Jews in an annual procession to commemorate the mirror event of the establishment of the State of Israel — the Nakba (Catastrophe), when the overwhelming majority of Palestinians were driven from their homes and out of the new Jewish state under cover of war. This year the families marched to Umm al-Zinat, a Palestinian farming village whose 1,500 inhabitants were forced out by advancing Israeli soldiers on 15 May 1948, a few hours after Israel issued its Declaration of Independence. 

Israeli authorities impose more restrictions on UNRWA staff members' access to Jerusalem

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has today protested to the Israeli Government the introduction of further restrictions affecting the freedom of movement of UNRWA staff crossing into Jerusalem from the West Bank. In an unprecedented development, the Israeli Government failed to officially inform UNRWA, and other United Nations agencies, about its decision to impose a general closure from 1 May through 4 May and did not inform the Agency that its West Bank staff, holders of Israeli-issued travel permits allowing them access to Jerusalem, would be prevented from reporting to work. 

Economic Update: Westbank and Gaza

In recent weeks, both the Government of Israel (GOI) and donors have been considering a variety of economic responses to the outcome of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) election of January 25, 2006, some of which are already under implementation. GOI has suspeneded the regular transfer of revenues which it collects on behalf of the PA; other forms of economic interaction at issue are Palestinian labor access to Israel, and the flow of imports and exports across Palestinian borders with Israel. Donors are planning to reduce various categories of foreign assistance. 

Flattening the conflict

While the Palestinians are manoeuvring feverishly in reaction to the latest developments dropped in their fishbowl, Israel quietly but forcefully continues its sustained policy of seizing and maintaining control over the West Bank, its land and natural resources. In face of this onslaught and international apathy and complicity, writes EI contributor Rima Merriman, pleading for fulfilment of international obligations to the Palestinians is pointless. Palestinians should put all their energies, instead, into finding ways to contain and reverse Israeli military practices that target their land and natural resources. 

Palestine refugees on 56 years of UNRWA

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is the main provider of education, health, relief and social services to registered Palestine refugees in the Agency’s five fields of operations: Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. UNRWA’s assistance is especially essential to refugees in the occupied Palestinian territory, where the economic situation continues to deteriorate and movement restrictions impede the delivery of UNRWA’s humanitarian aid. The frequent closure of the commercial Karni crossing to the Gaza Strip, where refugees account for two-thirds of the population. Below are some impressions and reflections of Palestine refugees in Gaza.