Ireland and UNDP assist communities affected by Apartheid Wall

While a great deal has been said and written about Israel’s Apartheid Wall and its horrendous effects on the lives of many Palestinians, Ireland has formed a partnership with UNDP’s Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People to ease the isolation of small villages and create micro regional planning committees. A total of 238.3 sq km are being isolated between the Green Line and the Apartheid Wall, 57 percent of which is cultivated, mostly with olive trees and field crops. UNDP proposed emergency assistance that aims to address their needs. 

$193m in relief needed for refugees in the West Bank and Gaza

Three years of curfews, closures and conflict in the West Bank and Gaza have plunged two-thirds of the population into dire poverty, increased hunger and restricted access to health and education. Today UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees and the largest humanitarian agency in the region, launches an emergency appeal to the international community asking for $193 million to relieve some of the suffering in the occupied territories in 2004. 

World Bank grant to sustain education, health and social services

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved this week a US$15 million trust fund grant to the West Bank and Gaza which aims to sustain the delivery of education, health and social welfare services under today’s emergency conditions. This grant is the third in a series of ESSP operations, now totaling US$60 million from the Trust Fund for Gaza and the West Bank. The ESSP operations form a major part of the Bank’s response to the economic crisis associated with the Palestinian intifada. 

Divide and destroy

Israel’s separation wall is creating a new kind of humanitarian crisis for the Palestinians who live in its shadow. Cutting into Palestinian lands by up to six kilometres, the barrier takes different forms along its length - here an imposing concrete construction, there a steel fence and a tangle of barbed wire. The new dependency emerging in the communities destroyed by the barrier is yet another example of how the poverty afflicting the Palestinians is a human creation. Christian Aid’s Alex Klaushofer witnesses the devastation of communities. 

Nineteen donor countries pledge $72 million for activities of UNRWA

Nineteen donor countries pledged $72 million for the 2004 budget of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) at this morning’s meeting of the General Assembly’s Ad Hoc Committee for Voluntary Contributions. Despite an increasing beneficiary base, the 2004 budget had declined by some 5 per cent in real terms to $330 million. The 2004 budget would minimally cover the Agency’s financial needs, he continued, including $4 million in salary increases and $7 million in working capital requirements. 

Growing up under curfew

The tragic situation faced by children in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is the subject of a report put together by staff from Save the Children UK and Sweden who have joined forces and plan to launch it at the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva in April 2003. 

Education under occupation

Since September 2000, there has been a dramatic deterioration of children’s rights in the Palestinian Territories. This study was conducted by Save the Children between April and June 2001. It examines the effects of this deterioration on the education system and calls for better monitoring of children’s rights in the Palestinian Territories. 

UN observes International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian People

The United Nations today observed the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People with a series of resolutions and speeches calling for a peaceful settlement of the Middle East conflict. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in remarks to the General Assembly’s Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, said recent peace initiatives by Palestinian and Israeli civil society leaders show a settlement can be reached to the conflict. 

ICRC ends large-scale relief for Palestinians

The ICRC’s large-scale distributions of relief aid to several hundred thousand Palestinians living in the towns and villages of the West Bank came to an end in mid-November 2003. Since June 2002, the ICRC had provided urgently needed aid to 300,000 people struggling to make ends meet. However, humanitarian aid is no longer the best way to help them. It is essential that the West Bank Palestinians’ basic rights under international humanitarian law are respected. In the long term, humanitarian aid cannot be a viable solution to the crisis. 

UNHCR seeks solutions for Palestinians on Iraq-Jordan border

The UN refugee agency has urged governments in the Iraq region to find solutions for hundreds of refugees facing harsh winter conditions near the border between Iraq and Jordan. UNHCR estimates that 1,800 people are living in refugee camps in eastern Jordan. UNHCR estimates that 1,800 people are living in refugee camps in eastern Jordan. More than half of them have been stuck in the no man’s land between Iraq and Jordan since April, unwilling to return to Iraq yet unable to enter Jordan.