Officials from Israel’s security establishment have concurred that the Israeli government must work to establish an alternative to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the Gaza Strip to avoid a humanitarian disaster in the impoverished Palestinian enclave.
Israel’s Haaretz daily reported Sunday that Israeli officials concluded in a meeting last week that a substitute must be developed to channel much-needed aid into the blockaded Gaza Strip in order to avoid further deterioration.
The officials noted during the meeting that only three percent of Gaza’s water supply is drinkable and desalination projects are not being advanced rapidly enough to stave off a water crisis. As a result, many Gazan families are storing seawater for household use, Haaretz added.
According to the report, an Israeli delegation will attend a UN donor conference in New York later this month and encourage countries to supply the necessary funding to guarantee the continued delivery of food, education services and the salaries of some 30,000 UNRWA employees in the Strip.
But, in light of the US decision to de-fund the Palestinian aid agency, the Israeli delegation will instead focus on securing funding for the provision of basic needs, Haaretz further stated.
Humanitarian conditions in the blockaded Gaza Strip have steadily declined over the years, exacerbated by a limited power supply and lack of drinkable water.
US President Donald Trump announced at the beginning of this month that Washington would cut almost $300 million in planned funding for the organization which it claimed had become an “irredeemably flawed operation.”
Washington had long been the largest single donor to the agency, supplying nearly 30 percent of the total budget to UNRWA which provides healthcare, education and social service to almost five million Palestinians across the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
(Source / 09.09.2018)