Pales­tinian aid fig­ures sim­ply don’t add up

The Star Late Edition - - LETTERS -

THE Star re­ported in “Mil­lions in aid sought for Pales­tinian refugees” (Jan­uary 11) that the UN Re­lief and Works Agency for Pales­tine Refugees has launched an $813mil­lion emer­gency ap­peal for “Pales­tini­ans in the oc­cu­pied Pales­tinian ter­ri­tory” and those who fled the con­flict in Syria.

This re­port says 430 000 Pales­tini­ans who have re­mained in Syria are in dire need of hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance.

What seems to be a con­tra­dic­tion of facts is this huge sum of $402m ear­marked for Pales­tinian refugees in Gaza and the West Bank. The money is said to pro­vide rental as­sis­tance to the 6 500 fam­i­lies who lost their homes dur­ing the 2014 hos­til­i­ties as well as 50 000 fam­i­lies whose homes have been dam­aged or de­stroyed.

This very news­pa­per re­ported ex­ten­sively in Oc­to­ber 2014 on a donor con­fer­ence held that same month in Cairo which raised over $5 bil­lion ear­marked specif­i­cally for the very pur­pose of dam­aged and de­stroyed homes in Gaza. Yet to­day’s (Wed­nes­day’s) re­port is that a fur­ther $402m is be­ing al­lo­cated for the same pur­pose. One needs to ques­tion where the orig­i­nal $5bn went?

Could the ru­mours of Ha­mas leader Khaled Mashal liv­ing in Qatar hav­ing ac­cu­mu­lated $2.5bn be true?

Ac­cord­ing to UN fig­ures there are 13.5 mil­lion Syr­i­ans, in­clud­ing those 430 000 Pales­tini­ans, need­ing aid, with 6 mil­lion Syr­i­ans in­ter­nally dis­placed and al­most 5 mil­lion refugees out­side of that coun­try. Why then has this $813m emer­gency ap­peal been ear­marked for Pales­tini­ans to the ex­clu­sion of the rest of the Syr­ian pop­u­la­tion, in­clud­ing those lucky enough to have es­caped the hor­rors of Aleppo? Al­lan Wol­man


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