UN: Middle East crises testing donor commitment to Palestine

UN: Middle East crises testing donor commitment to Palestine
Humanitarian emergencies across the Middle East and Europe are causing 'competition' for much needed funds, say officials.
2 min read
17 Feb, 2016
Palestinians are facing a deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza [AFP]

Funding for Palestinian refugees is facing "competition" from humanitarian crises elsewhere in the Middle East, a UN agency has said.

"It is true there is serious competition. It is true there are issues with the [Palestinian] negotiations and the lack of developments", said Bo Schack, Gaza director of the UN's agency for Palestinian refugees.

With a large portion of humanitarian donations now being focused on Syria's conflict and the resultant refugee crisis in Europe, Schack admitted that donors were now stretched and had less money to spend.

His comments come as a UN appeal is launched for $571 million in aid for Palestine, where the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate in the occupied territories of Gaza and the West Bank.

"This humanitarian operation in the occupied Palestinian territory is unique from other operations around the world", said David Carden, head of the UN's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OCHA-oPt).

"It originates from the impact of nearly 50 years of Israeli occupation, the main driver of humanitarian need."

A year and a half after Israel's most recent war on Gaza, reconstruction efforts remain slow and are severely hampered by restrictions on funds and the movement of goods.

The funds requested by the UN are include $300 million for providing food aid for Palestinians, 1.8 million of whom live in the besieged Gazan enclave, where access to clean water is severely limited.

A statement released by the IMF on Thursday also highlighted the dire situation that Palestinians face, describing 2015 as, "another difficult year for the Palestinian economy", during which, "investment remained weak, donor aid declined sharply, and the suspension of clearance revenue transfers in the early part of the year undermined confidence".