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Sunday, November 14, 2010

UNRWA strike enters second month; UNRWA and PA still silent

UNRWA workers in the West Bank have been on strike since October 14th - and that fact has been completely absent from UNRWA's website the entire time.

Not even a word about a UNRWA worker who went on a hunger strike and is now being hospitalized.

Even though UNRWA is paid for with donor money from throughout the world (mostly the US and EU), it apparently does not feel that it has the obligation to tell the whole truth to its donors. The strike is well-known in the territories, of course, but the world media has been largely silent on the matter.

So garbage is piling up, schools are closed, medical clinics are closed, and food distribution has stopped in all the so-called "refugee" camps.

The residents generally support the strikers, who are demanding pay from a previous strike.

Most of these camps are in PA-administered areas. Even though UNRWA provides services in the camps, they do not administer them. Which means that the PA can easily send in people to pick up the garbage and take up some of the slack from the strike. Moreover, the PA could have created a plan years ago to close the camps altogether and mainstream the residents into the areas it has control over.

Most governments' major responsibility is to take care of their citizens.

Instead, the PA is silent, letting the trash piles grow and letting the poor people get more and more miserable. Because if the PA would take actual responsibility for its citizens who live in the camps, UNRWA would happily divert resources elsewhere - and the PA is more concerned with money than with the well-being of its people.

So we have a UNRWA that is trying to hush up the whole situation.

And a supposedly institution-building government that refuses to lift a finger to help people under its control.

And a world that is utterly clueless about the dysfunctional situation of a quasi-state that threatens to unilaterally declare its independence but that refuses to act in even the most minimal way as a state should - to protect and support its people.

The reason is the same as always - if the dynamics of how Palestinian Arab leaders are willfully negligent towards their own people were known, the world might realize that Israel is not the problem. And that piece of information is the one that all the parties agree must be kept absolutely hidden.