UN seminar on Palestinians ends with call for urgent international aid

A two-day United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People has concluded its work with an urgent call for international aid to mitigate the humanitarian crisis in the occupied Palestinian territory resulting from three years of violence and destruction that has caused record unemployment, poverty and malnutrition.

Now, more than ever, the Palestinian people were in urgent need for the assistance of the international community, the Chairman of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People which organized the Seminar, Papa Louis Fall, told the closing session in Geneva yesterday.

Although Israel and the Palestinians were showing signs of agreement on strengthening the political process and returning to the negotiating table, this should not blind anyone to the gravity of the socio-economic situation and the seriousness of the humanitarian crisis in the occupied Palestinian territory, Mr. Fall said.

The economy and infrastructure had been hard hit by almost three years of violence and destruction that had resulted in record unemployment, poverty, malnutrition and dismal living conditions, which was an environment which could not be conducive to the pursuit of peace.

In this regard, the assistance and support of the international community in meeting the challenging humanitarian and economic needs of the Palestinian people was urgently needed, Mr. Fall added.

The Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, Nasser Al-Kidwa, told the closing session that the living conditions of the Palestinian people had deteriorated almost to the point of threatening the very fabric of Palestinian society.

All this, he said, was due to basically two measures committed by the occupying power: first, the internal and external restrictions and the outright prevention of the freedom of movement of the people of Palestine; and second, the effective and extremely vast destruction not only of homes but also of agricultural land and Palestinian economic and industrial facilities.