Head of UN relief agency urges Israeli pull-out from refugee camps
The Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) today strongly urged the Israeli Government to immediately withdraw from refugee camps and other populated areas in the occupied Palestinian territory.
"I am deeply distressed by the unfolding tragedy in the refugee camps and other localities in the West Bank," said Peter Hansen in a statement released in Jerusalem. "We are facing a humanitarian crisis of very serious proportions."
Mr. Hansen's call followed an assault by Israeli troops in Jenin refugee camp and the shelling of others in the West Bank.
Agency staff in the camps reported unprecedented levels of destruction of shelters in UN refugee camps, according to UNRWA, which highlighted the urgent need for medical assistance and the delivery of basic humanitarian assistance.
Meanwhile, the Agency said its efforts with the Israeli authorities to locate the exact location of detained UNRWA staff member Youssef Eideh have so far yielded no results. "The Israeli authorities maintain that they cannot identify where our staff member is being held," UNRWA said.
Mr. Eideh had been arrested two days ago while accompanying a UN convoy delivering medicine and food items to Ramallah hospital. "UNRWA is concerned about Mr. Eideh's personal safety and demands the Israeli authorities inform the Agency as to his whereabouts and release him immediately," the statement said.