Global perspective Human stories

UN aid agency replaces Palestinian homes destroyed in Israeli raid on Jenin

UN aid agency replaces Palestinian homes destroyed in Israeli raid on Jenin

The main United Nations agency helping Palestinian refugees today handed over keys to new homes to most of the 435 families whose houses were destroyed during an Israeli incursion into the West Bank town of Jenin in 2002.

“The relief effort geared towards the refugees in Jenin and the rebuilding of their homes has been the biggest humanitarian project undertaken in the occupied Palestinian territory since the outbreak of the conflict four years ago,” UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Peter Hansen said, referring to the latest Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

The rebuilding was made possible by a $27 million donation from the Red Crescent Society of the United Arab Emirates, whose chairman, Khalifa Nasser Alswaidi, was at Mr. Hansen’s side during the ceremony. Among the hardest hit by the incursion, which Israel said it launched against terrorists using West Bank cities as bases, were 2,000 impoverished Palestinian refugees who were suddenly homeless.

Mr. Hansen thanked the Governments of Switzerland and Sweden who provided teams to clear the camp of ordnance and drivers to help get humanitarian aid and building materials into the area. The United States and France were also key donors of humanitarian relief in the months immediately following the fighting in the camp.

“International donors of varying sizes and outlook, from all parts of the globe, have come together to use UNRWA’s expertise to make a remarkable change to the lives of a desperately suffering population,” Mr. Hansen said. “It is my hope that this fresh start for Jenin camp will coincide with an improved situation for all of the Palestinians in the occupied territory.”