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Life still far from normalized in West Bank, UN official says

Life still far from normalized in West Bank, UN official says

Ordinary life has not resumed for residents of the West Bank and aid agencies continued to experience problems with access, a top United Nations relief official based in the Middle East said today.

Briefing reporters in Geneva, Peter Hansen, the Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), said the situation in the West Bank was “very far from having normalized, at least not normalized back to a definition of normalcy that ought to apply.”

UNRWA and other humanitarian agencies are facing access problems, Mr. Hansen said. He reported that there had been some positive movement from the Israeli side but voiced fear that if the Israeli Government put into effect plans to close off the West Bank from Jerusalem with buffer zones, the operations of humanitarian agencies would come to a “grinding halt.”

Responding to questions from the press, Mr. Hansen said that UNRWA had estimated that its installations in the camps in the West Bank suffered some $3.8 million in damages as a result of the recent military operations. As for Jenin specifically, he added that the Agency estimates that it will take $35 to $40 million to repair damaged infrastructure and rebuild shelters for about 800 families there.