As funding dries up, World Food Programme to suspend aid to 200,000 Palestinians
"Unfortunately, the WFP is forced to adopt one of the most difficult decisions of suspending food aid to the people who are suffering from poverty in the West Bank and the coastal enclave," Samer Abdul Jaber, a senior official at the WFP, said to The New Arab.
The UN organisation's new decision will take place in August if it does not receive the funds in time, Abdul Jaber, said.
"We know that the population lives in dire conditions due to the ongoing economic crises, but we really do not have enough funds to continue our food program as we did for a long time. We are forced to make painful choices to ration limited resources," he added.
However, the WFP will keep providing its food aid to more than 140,000 people, who are unable to meet their basic needs, Abdul Jaber added.
Half of Palestinians in Gaza lack a source of income: General Union of Palestinian Workershttps://t.co/eOD3aOwOI5— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) April 6, 2023
For more than 16 years, Israel has imposed a tight blockade over the Gaza Strip under the pretext of curbing the power of Hamas, which won the Palestinian legislative elections in 2006 and seized control over the coastal enclave a year later.
Moreover, the Israeli army launched five large-scale wars on Gaza, destroying a high percentage of its governmental and residential facilities, factories, as well as civilian infrastructure.
Since then, the economic and political situation in Gaza has dramatically deteriorated, increasing rates of unemployment and poverty and negatively impacting the communities' lives.
As a result, more than half of the Palestinians in Gaza lack a source of income, according to statistics recently issued by a report of the General Union of Palestinian Workers in Gaza.
"More than half of Gaza's population has no source of daily income as a result of the unemployment rate reaching more than 60 per cent, poverty rates reached about 64 per cent, while food insecurity rates reached 70 per cent," the report said.
As a result, nearly 1.5 million people depend on aid provided by relief agencies, including the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), operating in the strip.
Speaking to TNA, Mohammed Nasri, a Palestinian from Biet Hanoun in the north of Gaza, is worried about losing his only source of food provided by the WF that feeds his six children.
"Since 2008, mainly following the first Israeli war against Gaza, I lost my work in the factory that was destroyed, my house, as well as all my properties," the 56-year-old father told TNA. "Until today, I cannot find suitable work to get some money and support my family."
"If the WFP stops aid, my family and I will starve" he added.
Like many around him, Ismail al-Wazeer, a Palestinian poor man from Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, believes that the WFP's decision arose due to Israeli pressure "to eliminate the Palestinian cause" by reducing aid and "not allowing them to live in dignity".
"All the poor people around the world receive the financial and food funds, but when the matter related to the Palestinians, everything is complicated based on the Israeli pressure," the 42-year-old father of four opined to TNA.
According to the World Bank, the poverty rate in the occupied West Bank reached 13.9 per cent in 2021.