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Thursday, January 17, 2013

UNRWA adds a works project in Gaza

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) announced that it will provide thousands of new jobs after a one-time donation made by the European Commission for a job creation program worth 14 million euros over three years.

The director of UNRWA operations in Gaza, Robert Turner, told a news conference on Thursday, "This step will contribute significantly to poverty alleviation and mitigation of the effects of the economic crisis ...in Gaza."

The program is expected to employ over 7000 unskilled workers and 4000 skilled workers in Gaza.

It was unclear what kinds of jobs these were, although Turner said that "This step will have a positive impact on the provision of services in vital sectors such as education, health and relief services and environmental health."

This makes it sound like UNRWA is the employer itself, further entrenching itself into the fabric of Palestinian Arab society rather than trying to wean it off of aid, as any decent refugee agency is supposed to.

UNRWA also announced that Saudi and Japanese projects to provide housing for "refugees" are moving forward.

Of course, this means that there is no mechanism to convert the "refugees" into regular citizens of Gaza, ensuring that Gaza and the West Bank remain the only places on the planet that people living in their "homeland" are considered "refugees."

If the EU was serious about solving the "refugee" problem, it would look into the ridiculous definition of "refugee" that UNRWA enforces. If the EU wants to create j obs in Gaza, it should do so without using it as a means to keep a "refugee" agency growing ad infiitum.