UNRWA: Over One Million Gazans to Lose Food Aid in June
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Last fall, the UN said 20 million Yemenis are hungry, millions facing starvation — because of US orchestrated aggression, ongoing since October 2001 the world body failed to explain.
Gaza is shaping up as Act 2 because of well over a decade of illegal Israeli blockade, intermittent wars, along with land, sea, and air attacks on the Strip at its discretion.
Isolating Gaza is solely for political reasons, not for any threat posed by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or other Palestinians.
Last December, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said food insecurity affects two-thirds of Gazans (1.3 million people).
They’re either severely or moderately harmed, “according to the preliminary findings of the latest (December 2018) Socio-Economic and Food Security Survey.
Because of oppressive Israeli actions, Gaza’s economy is “in free fall,” virtually in a state of collapse, extreme poverty and unemployment at catastrophic levels.
According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, around 80% of Gazans are impoverished. Half the working aged population is unemployed. For Strip youths, it’s over 60%, an untenable situation.
The average number of days per month worked is around 22 — for Gazans with jobs, averaging about 37 hours a week, in most cases earning poverty or sub-poverty wages.
On May 13, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA) reported that “half of the population of (Gaza) may not have enough food by June” because of inadequate amounts of aid.
UNRWA needs at least $60 million by June to continue providing food aid for over one million Gazans, two-thirds of them too “abject poor” to afford basic needs.
Without aid from UNRWA or other sources, they’ll face severe malnutrition or starvation. According to the agency’s director of operations in Gaza Matthais Schmale:
The emergency situation in Gaza “is a near ten-fold increase (from years earlier), caused by the blockade…and its disastrous impact on the (Strip’s) economy, the successive conflicts that razed entire neighborhoods and public infrastructure to the ground, and the ongoing internal…political crisis” since Hamas’ January 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) triumph over Fatah, headed turncoat Israeli enforcer Mahmoud Abbas.
A July 2017 UN report said Gaza would be unlivable by 2020, a gross understatement. It’s been unlivable for its two million residents for years, enduring protracted humanitarian crisis conditions.
It’s why Great March of Return/Break the Siege protests have been held since March 30, 2018, Israeli forces responsible for around 300 Gazan deaths, about 27,000 others injured, many seriously, largely from live fire on unarmed/defenseless demonstrators.
UNRWA is funded by voluntary contributions, largely from UN member states, the need urgent since the Trump regime cut off most aid, a despicable act.
In early 2018, it cut over $300 million in aid for Palestinian refugees, ending it all months later in cahoots with Netanyahu regime harshness — part of their scheme to bully and intimidate PA leadership to bow to their will.
Most aid to the PA was suspended, at the time PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashwari saying “(t)he rights of the Palestinian people are not for sale,” adding:
The Trump regime “already demonstrated meanness of spirit in its collusion with the Israeli occupation and its theft of land and resources. Now it is exercising economic meanness by punishing the Palestinian victims of this occupation.”
The Trump and Netanyahu regimes are trying to pressure, intimidate, and bully Palestinians into abandoning their fundamental rights by agreeing to a no-peace/peace deal no responsible leadership would touch – as well as going along with the Trump regime’s illegal recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s exclusive capital.
Established in 1949, UNRWA is “mandated to provide assistance and protection to (around six) million Palestine refugees registered with (the organization) across its five fields of operation.”
“Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.”
Its services include food aid, education, healthcare, and other social services. It’s the main source of aid for long-suffering Palestinian refugees, displaced by Israeli aggression, prohibited from returning home in defiance of international law.
For lack of funds, UNRWA programs were cut back, the world community failing to make up for the shortfall caused by Trump regime harshness.
According to the UN, its Humanitarian Response Plan is underfunded by over $300 million, mainly because eliminated Trump regime funding.
In cahoots with Netanyahu, its hardliners demand Palestinians either surrender to their demands or endure endless collective punishment, in flagrant violation of international law.
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