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UNRWA is Indispensable for Palestinian People Amidst Ongoing Conflict, Says Dr. Ahmed Abu Holi

Posted On: 25-06-2024 | Politics , Palestinian Diaspora
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 Dr. Ahmed Abu Holi, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization and head of the Refugee Affairs Department, emphasized the critical importance of UNRWA and its mandate under Resolution 302, stressing that the agency cannot be replaced or dispensed with. Dr. Abu Holi stated that the meeting comes amid Israel's ongoing genocide against the Palestinian people and unprecedented targeting of UNRWA, which he described as attempts to weaken and terminate its role and services. 

He underscored that UNRWA serves as a lifeline, especially given the current events in Gaza, the West Bank, including Jerusalem, and other regions.

Dr. Abu Holi highlighted the significance of education for Palestinians, citing a report by 19 independent UN experts on the "deliberate educational genocide," which noted the destruction of 80% of buildings and educational centers and the targeting of experts and teachers in the sector. He added that the Palestinian delegation at the meeting firmly rejected any attempts to weaken, replace, or end UNRWA's services.

Regarding UNRWA's chronic funding crisis, Dr. Abu Holi welcomed the decision by the vast majority of countries to continue their financial support for UNRWA and thanked those that have resumed their funding. He called on countries that have suspended their funding to take immediate action to reinstate and increase it, particularly given the current conditions in Gaza, the invasions and destruction in West Bank camps, and the repeated attacks on UNRWA centers in Jerusalem.

Concerning the Independent Review Committee's report, known as the Colonna Report, the host countries welcomed the report as it dispels pretexts regarding UNRWA's neutrality and funding cessation. They noted some reservations about certain recommendations in the report that require consultation and coordination with the host countries and UNRWA to preserve its mandate and UN authorization. They also stressed the need for funding outside of UNRWA's budget to implement these recommendations.

Dr. Abu Holi emphasized the importance of thorough preparation for the upcoming UNRWA pledging conference, scheduled for July 12 at the United Nations headquarters, highlighting that it will be a crucial opportunity to bridge UNRWA's funding gaps.

The Palestinian delegation included Mr. Anwar Hamam, Deputy Head of the Refugee Affairs Department, and Ms. Mai Odeh, an international relations expert.

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