Tue, Dec 18, 2018 - Page 6 News List

UN launches appeal for 2019 Palestine funding

Reuters, JERUSALEM

The UN and the Palestinian Authority yesterday appealed for US$350 million in humanitarian relief for Palestinians next year, saying that they needed more, but had to be realistic in the face of “record low” funding.

The Humanitarian Response Plan outlined 203 projects to be carried out by 88 groups, including UN agencies and non-governmental organisations.

The plan prioritised 1.4 million Palestinians most in need of food, healthcare, shelter, water and sanitation, said Jamie McGoldrick, the UN humanitarian coordinator in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and east Jerusalem.

“Humanitarian actors are facing unprecedented challenges, including record-low funding and a rise in attacks to delegitimize humanitarian action,” he said in a joint statement ahead of the appeal’s launch in Ramallah in the West Bank.

Although “much more assistance is needed,” McGoldrick said, the plan was “reflecting what we can realistically accomplish in this highly constrained context.”

Over the past year, the US has slashed its funding to Palestine, including to the UN agency that provides services to 5 million Palestinian refugees.

The US promised US$365 million to the agency for this year, but paid only a first instalment of US$60 million before announcing in August that it would halt all further donations.

Palestine wants to establish a state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem.

About 77 percent of the funds sought in the plan for next year would go to Gaza, the appeal organizers said, because the densely populated coastal strip faced a “dire humanitarian situation” after years of an Israeli-led blockade, internal Palestinian political divisions and casualties from demonstrations and recurring hostilities.

“The humanitarian context in the oPt [Occupied Palestinian Territories] is still deteriorating due to the Israeli occupation violations in a time of lack of resources and declining funds because of the politicization of the humanitarian aid,” Palestinian Minister of Social Development Ibrahim al-Shaer said in the statement.

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