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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Arab nations ignore UNRWA appeal for Gaza

Arab leaders that talk incessantly about their "brothers in Palestine" consistently refuse to do anything serious to actually help their supposed kin. From IRIN, the UN news agency:
A UN special appeal for the Gaza Strip has managed to bring in only a small percentage of the US$9.8 million needed for urgent food aid and cash assistance for the enclave's most vulnerable refugees.

On 6 February, UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, began to distribute food aid in Gaza funded by a $100,000 donation from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Red Crescent Society. The money came in response to the special appeal issued by UNWRA in late January.

The UAE donation will pay for food packages sufficient for three months for 2,700 refugees, deemed "special hardship cases" in four camps in Gaza. UNRWA - the largest distributor of aid in Gaza - said it needed over $5 million for food aid as part of this appeal.

Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwalid bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud and the Kingdom Foundation donated another $100,000, which UNRWA said would buy fuel supplies. In the appeal UNRWA said it needed nearly $1 million for fuel costs.

However, this is all the special appeal, which initially targeted Arab donors, has managed to collect, with one UNRWA official noting it was "disappointing".
That means that Arab countries donated 2% of what the UNRWA says it needed.

One possible reason that no one wants to give money to Gazans:
Meanwhile, a Jordanian aid convoy of some 16 trucks with humanitarian goods such as food and medicines was allowed by Israel to enter Gaza on 7 February, with the intention of delivering the items to the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS). However, police from the Islamic Hamas movement, which has governed Gaza since a takeover last June, impounded the convoy.

A spokesman for the police said Hamas was the authority in the enclave and would determine how the aid would be distributed.
Hamas told a Jordanian newspaper that the seized convoy would be given to the UNRWA for distribution - and, of course, it lied:
The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) denied that Hamas handed over Jordanian aid sent to the agency in the Gaza Strip. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri had told al-Arab al-Yawm that Hamas will hand over the supplies that Jordan sent to UNRWA, instead of the Palestinian Red Crescent, to disperse to the needy.
Once again we see that the West cares far more about the well-being of Gaza and Palestinian Arabs than the Arab world does. Using ordinary PalArabs as political pawns is so ingrained in the Arab world that I'm not sure if they even realize it anymore. Their "support" for their Palestinian brethren has always been far more focused on helping them kill Israeli Jews than with getting them jobs or prospects for the future.