New Zealand suspends funding to Palestinians through UNRWA

Palestinian men carry food aid given by UNRWA in Gaza City, Gaza on 15 January 2018 [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinian men carry food aid given by UNRWA in Gaza City, Gaza on 15 January 2018 

The government of New Zealand has withdrawn and suspended funding to the United Nations’ (UN) aid agency which provides support for Palestinians.

The country’s suspension of aid and financial contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is to be implemented until the release of a report by the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services in October, which would detail allegations of misconduct, corruption, links to terror groups, and anti-Semitism that have been levelled against the agency.

A statement released by New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that “We expect UNRWA to cooperate fully with the investigation under way and to report back on the investigation’s findings and recommendations.” It added that “The Ministry will review the findings of the UN OIOS report once the investigation is complete and, after that point, will provide advice to the Minister of Foreign Affairs on future funding.”

The move by the island nation is in stark contradiction to its recent announcements that it will provide more aid to the agency and to Palestinians, such as in November last year when it vowed to increase its support to UNRWA and in May this year when it assured its commitment to back the organisation until at least 2021.

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This shift in financial policy and the withdrawal of aid comes amid an ongoing campaign to deprive the UNRWA of funding and support from a variety of Western nations, most prominently the United States (US) when the Trump administration withdrew its funding for the agency last year. The most recent cases of the suspension of funds occurred last month when the Netherlands and Switzerland also froze financial support due to reports of alleged corruption within the agency.

The sharp reduction in funding has had a direct effect on the situation of Palestinians in refugee camps in particular. Since the US withdrawal from the agency, there have emerged widespread reports of worsening conditions in the camps scattered throughout Middle Eastern countries such as Lebanon and Jordan, and the UN organisation continues to struggle financially amid the ongoing campaign against it, seeking urgent funds to maintain its work.

READ: UNRWA head says world does not understand suffering of Palestinians in Gaza

UNRWA's lifeline is decreasing due to the cuts made by the Trump administration [AlArabi21News/Twitter]

(Source / 28.08.2019) 

Resisting occupation: Engaged to a man jailed by Israel

A sweet dish is served following a wedding ceremony of a Palestinian couple in Gaza on 2 May 2018 [Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Agency]

A sweet dish is served following a wedding ceremony of a Palestinian couple in Gaza on 2 May 2018

A Palestinian man who is being held in an Israeli occupation jail had his engagement party held in the occupied West Bank yesterday with his new fiancé vowing to wait for his release to be married.

Asmaa Al-Barghouti, from the outskirts of the West Bank city of Ramallah, was engaged to Mohammed Al-Barghouti who has been sentenced to 18 years in jail, Al-Watan Voice reported.

Families of the bride and groom, relatives and friends gathered in Al-Jalazoun refugee camp near Ramallah and organised the engagement party.

Born in January 1985 in the village of Kafr Ein, Mohammed was arrested by the Israeli occupation on 27 December 2006. He worked with the Palestinian Authority’s national security services. He is currently being held in Al-Naqab Prison.

Layla Ghannam, Ramallah’s governor, attended the celebration and said: “His sentence is going to end soon.”  She said this such events are a new form of resistance against the occupation.

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(Source / 28.08.2019) 

UNRWA head says world does not understand suffering of Palestinians in Gaza

Palestinian children play outside tents set up by UNRWA in Gaza [Abed Rahim Khatib/Apaimages]

Palestinian children play outside tents set up by UNRWA in Gaza 

The Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has said that the world does not understand the suffering of the Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip, reports Quds Press. Pierre Krähenbühl made his comment at a press conference in a refugee school in Gaza to celebrate the start of the new academic year.

“Gaza residents are deprived of the basics simple rights,” Krähenbühl pointed out. “These children represent hundreds of thousands of Palestine refugee students in UNRWA’s areas of operation who regularly struggle to access schools because of checkpoints or conflict just to be able to enjoy a basic human right: access to education.”

Everyone at UNRWA, he said, salutes the young girls and boys who dream of a future, whether it is to become teachers, athletes, engineers or presidents. “We also salute the teachers, the school counsellors, the school principals and their deputies, and all school staff whose dedication and commitment are key to our entire educational structure.”

Opinion: Why Europe must fight to preserve the UNRWA model

The Agency is facing a number of challenges in an unsympathetic political climate. Major donors have suspended payments to UNRWA, or cancelled them altogether.

Nevertheless, Krähenbühl stressed that, “Opening UNRWA schools [for the new academic year] would not have been possible without the commitment of our numerous supporters, partners, donors and hosts, to whom we are immensely grateful. Even when UNRWA is facing monumental political and financial challenges, keeping children in schools is key to their well-being and that of their communities, as well as key to stability in Gaza and beyond.”

The Gaza Strip has been under strict and ongoing Israeli siege since 2006. A UN report has warned that if the siege is not lifted, the coastal enclave will be “unliveable” by 2020.

(Source / 28.08.2019) 

PLO : “It Is Time to Impose Sanctions on Israel”

28 AUG12:29 AM

A senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has censured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to build hundreds of new settler units in the occupied West Bank as “irrational colonial escalation.” Palestine News Network reported.

“Corrupt Netanyahu proves that his extremist populist approach in his electoral race has no limits, and for that end, he is willing to wage wars and blow up the entire region,” Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO’s executive committee, said in a statement released on Monday.

She then accused Netanyahu of trying to win the votes of settlers, by stealing Palestinian land and resources, in clear violation of International Law.

Dr. Ashrawi further noted that such colonial behavior has been progressive and systematic, ever since the occupying regime of Israel was formed back in 1948. The state is based primarily on the policy of ethnic cleansing, forced displacement, theft of land, resources, and property, and the breach of International Law and regulations, with the full political, legal and financial support of the United States.

“It is time to impose sanctions on Israel, and to hold it accountable for its deliberate violation of International Law and resolutions, in addition to humanitarian principles and values,” she concluded.

Earlier in the day, Netanyahu said he has instructed his staff to prepare plans for building 300 new housing units in Dolev settlement, located northwest of Jerusalem (al-Quds).

He said the decision comes in response to a purported bombing attack on Friday, which claimed the life of a 17-year-old Israeli girl and wounded her brother and father.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem (al-Quds).

The United Nations Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories in several resolutions.

Less than a month before US President Donald Trump took office, the United Nations Security Council in December 2016 adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem”.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement expansion on Palestinian territories.

(Source / 28.08.2019) 

Israeli Soldiers Injure Many Palestinians Near Jerusalem

28 AUG12:59 AM

Israeli soldiers invaded, on Tuesday evening, the town of al-‘Isawiya, east of occupied Jerusalem, and injured several Palestinians, including a woman who was wounded in her eye, in addition to causing property damage.

Media sources said the soldiers invaded many neighborhoods in al-‘Isawiya, and fired rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades at local protesters, and at many Palestinian cars and homes.

The sources added that one woman was injured in one if her eyes after the soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets at her car while driving.

The soldiers also surrounded a mosque in the town, and attacked dozens of Palestinians, in addition to firing gas bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets at them, causing many injuries.

One of the wounded Palestinians is an elderly man, who was attacked and pushed by the soldiers before they threw him onto the ground.

In addition, the soldiers surrounded the home of Mohammad Obeid, 21, who was killed by Israeli army fire on June 27th, and prevented the Palestinians from entering or leaving it, in addition to occupying rooftops of several surrounding homes.

The soldiers forced the residents to remove Palestinian flags, and posters of the slain Palestinian, in addition to detaining several young men.

The latest attacks took place less than twelve hours after the soldiers invaded the town and conducted extensive and violet searchers of homes and other property, including cars and stores.

(Source / 28.08.2019) 

NINE PALESTINIAN PRISONERS CONTINUE HUNGER STRIKE

Ramallah (QNN)- Nine Palestinian prisoners continue going on an open hunger strike to protest Israel’s arbitrary policies, especially administrative detention and solitary confinement.

Prisoner Huthaifah Badr Halabiyyeh (28 years old) from Abu Deis in eastern Jerusalem is the oldest hunger striker among the nine prisoners. He has been on huner strike for 57 days despite of being cancer patient.

Ahmad Ghannam (42 years old) from Dora in southern Hebron also continues to go on hunger strike for 44 days. Ghannam is a former cancer patient and he has been arrested since last July despite of health deterioration.

In the same vein, Sultan Khalouf (38 years old) from Burqin in western Jenin, has been on hunger strike for 40 days so far. Meanwhile, Ismail Ali (30 years old) from Abu Dei in eastern Jerusalem has been on hunger strike for 34 days.

Leader in Islamic Jihad movement and former prisoner Tareq Qa’dan (46 years old) from Arrabeh in Jenin has been on hunger strike for 27 days. Meanwhile, Naser Al Jadaa (30 years old) from Burqin in western Jenin has been on hunger strike for 20 days so far, Thaer Hamdan (21 years old) has been on hunger strike for 15 days, and Fadi Hroub has been on hunger strike for 14 days.

In the same context, Wajdi Awawdeh (20 years old) has suspended hunger strike, which continued for 27 days, after the Israelis complied to his demands of getting medical treatment.

(Source / 28.08.2019) 

311 PALESTINIANS KILLED BY SNIPERS SINCE THE START OF WAR IN SYRIA

Damascus (QNN)- The number of Palestinian victims, who have been killed by snipers, has reached 311 since the war in has Syria started, according to the Monitoring and Documentation team in the Action Group for Palestinians of Syria.

The team stated in a report issued on Wednesday that most victims were killed in Yarmouk refugee camp in southern Damascus.

The group also said that the total number of documented Palestinians killed in the war in Syria has reached 3989.

Since the beginning of the war in Syria, different organizations have documented hundreds of Palestinians being killed and others, who disappeared.

(Source / 28.08.2019) 

Israeli artillery shell site east of al-Bureij refugee camp

GAZA, PALESTINOW.COM — Israeli artillery Tuesday evening targeted a site to the east of al-Bureij refugee camp, in the central Gaza Strip, said sources.

Israeli artillery fired at least one missile shelling a site to the east of al-Bureij camp, causing financial damages to Palestinian property. There were no reports of injuries.

A loud explosion was also heard in northern Gaza Strip, while Israeli warplanes were seen flying overhead.

(Source / 28.08.2019) 

IOF broke Palestinian metal workshop near Ramallah

RAMALLAH, PALESTINOW.COM — The Israeli occupation forces on Tuesday arrested a Palestinian citizen and broke into a metal workshop in Beit Liqya town south of Ramallah City.

Local sources reported that the Israeli forces arrested Najeh Mafarja, 32, from his home after wreaking havoc on it.

They added that the Israeli forces further stormed a metal workshop owned by the Palestinian citizen Hakam Dar Mousa and seized its equipment.

(Source / 28.08.2019) 

Haneyya: Tuesday’s Blasts Will Not Weaken Our People’s Steadfastness

Head of Hamas’s political bureau Ismail Haneyya has condemned the explosions that hit Gaza on Tuesday evening, stressing such incidents would never undermine the Palestinians’ steadfastness in the besieged enclave.

“Gaza are above all conspiracies. Such suspicious crimes cannot achieve what the wars and blockade failed in,” Haneyya said in a press release on Wednesday.

“These explosions will not be able to undermine our people’s steadfastness and fortitude and the final word will be for the government security services,” he added.

He called for being nationally responsible when circulating news about such incidents and relying solely on official sources from the ministry of interior and national security in Gaza.

(Source / 28.08.2019)