“. . . These are actions aimed at liquidating the Palestinian issue completely . . .” (Mustafa Barghouti)

unhcr&unrwa
UNITED  STATES  ENDS  ALL  FUNDING  TO  UNRWA
 

The United States (US) officially cut all funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), on Friday, calling the agency an “irredeemably flawed operation.”     ___The statement, issued by US State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert, said “the administration has carefully reviewed the issue and determined that the United States will not make additional contributions to UNRWA.”     ___According to the Washington Post, the statement added that the US remained “very mindful of and deeply concerned regarding the impact upon innocent Palestinians, especially school children.”   More . . .

THE  UNITED  STATES  ADMINISTRATION  HAS  SAID  NO  TO  HELPING  PALESTINE  REFUGEES.  BUT  WE  WON’T.  HELP  FUND  UNRWA’S  WORK.        

With the United States administration’s recent decision to cut funding to UNRWA by $300 million (83%) [NOW  CUT  IT  COMPLETELY], the Agency faces an unprecedented funding crisis and millions of Palestine refugees could lose access to UNRWA services.     ___It’s going to take all of us standing together to FUND UNRWA’S WORK so the Agency can continue serving Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.     MORE . . .

WISHING  AWAY  PALESTINIAN  REFUGEES:  END  OF  US’  UNRWA  AID  EXPLAINED 

[. . . . ] For nearly 70 years, UNRWA has provided lifesaving assistance to more than five million Palestinian refugees in the occupied territories, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.    [. . . .] Mustafa Barghouti, a former Palestinian information minister and secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative, said “The US . . . want[s] to kill UNRWA with the aim of killing the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.  These are actions aimed at liquidating the Palestinian issue completely while trying to normalise relations between Israel and Arab countries.  This will fail and what the Americans have done will make us more determined to stick to the rights of Palestinian refugees, especially after their nationalistic law, which is nothing but a system of apartheid”.   MORE . . .

ASHRAWI  ON  US  DECISION:  ‘INHUMANE  AND  RECKLESS’ 

Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Member, Hanan Ashrawi, said in a statement on Saturday that the United States (US) administration’s decision to end all funding to United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is “a cruel and irresponsible move targeting the most vulnerable segment of Palestinian society.”    ___Ashrawi said that “Palestinian refugees are already the victims who have lost their homes, livelihoods and security as a result of the creation of the state of Israel, and once again, they are being victimized by the US administration in support of Israel’s decades-long military occupation and impunity.”   More . . .

UN,  UNRWA  EXPRESS  DEEP  REGRET  TOWARDS  US  DECISION         

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressed deep regret towards the United States’ decision to end all funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), on Friday.     ___The spokesperson of Guterres, Stephane Dijarric, said in a statement “we regret the United States’ decision to provide no further funding to UNRWA, which provides essential services to Palestine refugees and contributes to stability in the region.”     ___He added that “UNRWA has a strong record of providing high-quality education, health and other essential services, often in extremely difficult circumstances, to Palestine refugees who are in great need.”   More . . .

UNRWA USA supporters can help protect the fundamental right to education for 526,000 Palestine refugee girls and boys. Your $100 donation can cover the education costs of an UNRWA student for a month as well as a back to school kit.

Fund+UNRWA

“. . . my dreams took the night train and I did not know how to say goodbye . . .” (Mourid Barghouti)

❶ Geneva Human Rights Centre calls on international community to halt violations in Palestine
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) FM calls on ICC prosecutor to prevent crimes against Palestinian people

  • Background: Statement of the UNRWA Commissioner-General;  PRESS STATEMENT, UNRWA

❷ US backtracks on pledge of $45 million food aid to UNRWA
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Belgium pledges $23m to UNRWA after US aid cut
❸ Abbas’ security coordination challenge
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) Al-Quds Int’l: Switching off light at Aqsa Mosque serious violation
❹ POETRY by Mourid Barghouti
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
GENEVA  HUMAN  RIGHTS  CENTRE  CALLS  ON  INTERNATIONAL  COMMUNITY  TO  HALT  VIOLATIONS  IN  PALESTINE
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Jan. 19, 2018 ― The Executive Director of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue Idriss Jazairy appealed to the international community, and in particular the Arab and Muslim community, “to join forces and act in concert in order to halt the violations of Palestinians human rights.”
___Ambassador Jazairy said during a speech at the two-day Al-Azhar conference in Cairo on the situation in Jerusalem, that the international community has a “moral duty” to protect and to uphold the human rights of the Palestinian people in the wake of the decision of the US to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
___”Al Quds is a textbook case of multi-faceted and cross-cutting violations of human rights,” said Jazairy.   MORE . . .        RELATED . . . 
.  .  .  .  . ❶ ―  (ᴀ)  FM  CALLS  ON  ICC  PROSECUTOR  TO  PREVENT  CRIMES  AGAINST  PALESTINIAN  PEOPLE
Al Hourriah Magazine (Freedom)
Jan. 18, 2018 ― The Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates [Riyad al-Malki] called on the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Ms. Fatou Bensouda, to exercise her statutory authority, without delay, to prevent the continuation and perpetuation of crimes against the Palestinian people. On the three-year anniversary of the opening of the preliminary examination in the situation in Palestine, the Minister dispatched a letter to Ms. Bensouda pointing her attention to the recent escalation of violence by Israeli occupation forces in their implementation of unlawful colonial policies and practices in the past month, including the unlawful killing of 16 Palestinians and the injury of approximately 3000 and detention of 720, including 184 children.   MORE . . .  

STATEMENT  OF  THE  UNRWA  COMMISSIONER-GENERAL
PRESS  STATEMENT,  UNRWA

Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner General
January 17, 2018 ― Not for the first time in its proud history, UNRWA faces a formidable challenge in upholding its mandate – an expression of the will of the international community – and preserving key services like education and health care for Palestine Refugees.
___Today, the US government has announced a contribution of $60 M, in support of our efforts to keep our schools open, health clinics running, and emergency food and cash distribution systems functioning for some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees. While important, this funding is dramatically below past levels. The total US contribution in 2017 was above $350 M.
___Since UNRWA began its operations in May 1950, every US administration – from President Truman onwards – has stood with and provided strong, generous and committed support to our Agency. The US has consistently been UNRWA’s largest single donor, something we sincerely thank the American people for, and countless American decision-makers – presidents, members of Congress, diplomats and civil servants, who embodied the commitment of assisting a vulnerable people through UNRWA.
___Funding UNRWA or any humanitarian agency is the discretion of any sovereign member state of the United Nations. At the same time, given the long, trusted, and historic relationship between the United States and UNRWA, this reduced contribution threatens one of the most successful and innovative human development endeavors in the Middle-East.   COMPLETE STATEMENT: Gaza.Scoop.ps – Real Time News From Gaza.

US  BACKTRACKS  ON  PLEDGE  OF  $45  MILLION  FOOD  AID  TO  UNRWA          The Palestinian Information Center
Jan. 19, 2018 ― The US State Department on Thursday announced that Washington will not provide $45 million in food aid which it pledged last month for Palestinian refugees.
[. . . .] Spokeswoman for the US State Department, Heather Nauert, said in statements, “At this time we will not be providing that, but this does not mean that it will not be provided in the future.”
___Nauert claimed that the withholding of the funds was not intended to punish Palestinians who strongly criticized the US president Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last month.
___”Other countries are required to do more,” she said, adding that the US does not have to be the chief donor to every organization around the world.  MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  . ❷ ―  (ᴀ)  BELGIUM  PLEDGES  $23M  TO  UNRWA  AFTER  US  AID  CUT
Al Jazeera English
Jan. 18, 2018 ― Belgium has pledged to donate 19m euro ($23m) to UNRWA, the UN’s aid organisation for Palestinian refugees, after the US government announced it would slash its funding to the agency by half.
___Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said in a statement on Wednesday that Brussels would allocate the funds over three years.
___The first annual payment is being disbursed immediately “considering the financial difficulties that UNRWA currently faces”, the statement said.      MORE . . .  
ABBAS’  SECURITY  COORDINATION  CHALLENGE
Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse)
By Daoud Kuttab
Jan.18, 2018 ― In a fiery two-hour speech at the start of the Palestinian Central Council (PCC) meeting Jan. 14, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas did not once raise the issue of ending security coordination with Israel. Abbas did, however, mention, several times, the futility of continuing with the Oslo process . . . Despite this omission, however, the PCC resolved the matter in the final statement.
___This was not the first time the Palestinians have resolved to end the security arrangement, a step often demanded by Hamas and other opposition groups. In March 2015 . . .
[. . . .] An online survey by the leading Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds on the eve of the PCC session, revealed that an overwhelming 94% of Palestinians want the PCC to withdraw recognition of Israel and end security coordination . . .   Palestinian leaders are concerned that fully implementing the recommendation would mean the end of the Palestinian government . . .
[. . . .] Israel is unlikely to sit idly by if the recommendation were implemented. Its tolerance for the existence of the Palestinian government, with its security apparatus, is contingent on the Palestinians adhering to the minimum level of security coordination.   MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  . ❸ ―  (ᴀ)  AL-QUDS  INT’L:  SWITCHING  OFF  LIGHT  AT  AQSA  MOSQUE  SERIOUS  VIOLATION
Al Hourriah Magazine (Freedom)     Jan. 18, 2018 ― Al-Quds International Institution (QII) condemned on Wednesday Israeli attempts to cut power feeding the Dome of the Rock at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.
___“Switching off the light of the Dome of the Rock is an aggression against Muslims and their holy sites,” a statement by QII read.
___QII warned of Israeli attempts to control and obstruct reconstruction and maintenance works at al-Aqsa Mosque.
___QII’s director Yassin Hamoud said the fact that the Israeli authorities obstructed the entry of materials needed to fix power cuts at al-Aqsa is “a translation of Trump’s biased move into action.”   MORE . . . 

“I  HAVE  NO  PROBLEM,”  BY  MOURID  BARGHOUTI
I look at myself:
I have no problem.
I look all right
and, to some girls,
my grey hair might even be attractive;
my eyeglasses are well made,
my body temperature is precisely thirty seven,
my shirt is ironed and my shoes do not hurt.
I have no problem.
My hands are not cuffed,
my tongue has not been silenced yet,
I have not, so far, been sentenced
and I have not been fired from my work;
I am allowed to visit my relatives in jail,
I’m allowed to visit some of their graves in some countries.

I have no problem.
I am not shocked that my friend
has grown a horn on his head.
I like his cleverness in hiding the obvious tail
under his clothes, I like his calm paws.
He might kill me, but I shall forgive him
for he is my friend;
he can hurt me every now and then.

I have no problem.
The smile of the TV anchor
does not make me ill any more
and I’ve got used to the Khaki stopping my colours
night and day.
That is why
I keep my identification papers on me, even at
the swimming pool.
I have no problem.
Yesterday, my dreams took the night train
and I did not know how to say goodbye to them.
I heard the train had crashed
in a barren valley
(only the driver survived).
I thanked God, and took it easy
for I have small nightmares
that I hope will develop into great dreams.

I have no problem.
I look at myself, from the day I was born till now.
In my despair I remember
that there is life after death;
there is life after death
and I have no problem.
But I ask:
Oh my God,
is there life before death?
――Translated by Radwa Ashour
From poem hunter.com
Interview with Mourid Barghouti