24 July 2014 – Israeli Attack on UNRWA School in Beit Hanoun

Excellency,

In less than 24 hours since my letter to you yesterday, more than 120 Palestinians, including ten members of one family, have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces.  The death toll now stands at more than 790 Palestinians killed, the majority of them children and women, and more than 5,000 persons injured, as Israel, the occupying Power, continues its bloody aggression against the Palestinian civilian population in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Today, Israel, the occupying Power, proved yet again its absolute disregard for human life and the rules of international humanitarian law intended to prevent such military assaults against civilians.  Once again, the Israeli occupying forces have targeted an UNRWA school, causing more death and injury among already-traumatized civilians, displaced from their homes and sheltering in the school, including many who were demanded by the occupying Power in earlier days to leave their residential areas.  Here, it is imperative to recall that during Israel’s 2008-9 war on Gaza, Israeli tanks shelled an area outside an UNRWA school in Jabaliya refugee camp, killing 42 people and injuring dozens, a crime in which the occupying Power deliberately targeted areas and buildings housing the largest number of civilians, but for which Israel has never been held accountable.  [Read more...]

Right of Reply – United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)

Right of Reply by Ms. Feda Abdelhady-Nasser, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, before the 4th Committee debate on Item 51: UNRWA, 7 November 2013:

Mr. Chair,

I apologize for taking the floor once again.  However, I am compelled to reply to the assertion by the delegate of Israel that the right of return of the Palestine refugees is a “non-starter” – despite the fact that the Palestine refugee issue is an agreed final status issue to be negotiated between the parties – and the claim that it is “the obstacle to peace”.

I ask the Committee: How is respect for human rights and international law contrary to the requirements for peace? How does the obstruction of rights, the perpetuation of the exile, dispossession and misery of a people serve the cause of peace?  It does not.

The Israeli delegate called for “putting people before politics”.  We agree.  This would require, first and foremost, recognition by Israel of the humanity of the Palestine refugees, of the suffering and loss it has inflicted on them, and of their right to justice.  It requires an end to the denial of their rights based on narrow, cynical and unjustified political interests.

Furthermore, the callous remarks regarding the “number” of Palestine refugee, and who constitutes a Palestine refugee or not, are the height of hypocrisy by a State granting return to any Jewish person from anywhere in the world, yet denying Palestine refugees their right to return. [Read more...]

United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)

UNRWA provides assistance, protection and advocacy for some 5 million registered Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the State of Palestine, pending a just solution to their plight in accordance with UN resolution 194 (III).

UNRWA’s human development and humanitarian services encompass primary and vocational education, primary health care, social safety-net, community support, infrastructure and camp improvement, microfinance and emergency response, including in situations of armed conflict.