UN to hold seminar next week on aid to Palestinians in light of Israeli occupation

UN to hold seminar next week on aid to Palestinians in light of Israeli occupation

A United Nations Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People will be held in Qatar next week in an effort to ease the social, economic and humanitarian emergencies in the Occupied Palestinian Territory stemming from the Israeli occupation.

“The role of donor countries and institutions, as well as that of other international actors is of vital importance,” the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People said in a statement on the meeting it is organizing on 5 and 6 February in Doha, the Qatari capital.

It noted that it had been observing with great concern the deepening economic and social crisis unfolding in the territory, including East Jerusalem and had for many years drawn the attention of the international community to the problems caused and exacerbated by the Israeli occupation and its impact on the Palestinian society and economy.

“The current situation, however, is particularly troubling due to the continuing instability affecting all aspects of life in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” it said.

The seminar, organized in line with recent General Assembly resolutions, will discuss the UN, international and regional response to the needs of the Palestinians and exchange views on the actions that need to be taken on the road to Palestinian economic recovery.

Invited participants include internationally renowned experts, among them Israelis and Palestinians, UN agency representatives, parliamentarians, intergovernmental organizations, the academic community and representatives of civil society. Speakers at the opening session will include UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Angela Kane and the Committee chairman, Paul Badji.

In its latest update on the situation, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that Palestinian access in and out of the Gaza Strip remains severally restricted.

Regular power outages lasting between two and 36 hours have occurred in the northern Gaza Strip and parts of Gaza city since the last week of December. The extent of outages during the 2006-2007 winter is unprecedented and follows Israel’s bombing of the Gaza power plant in June. While replacement transformers arrived from Egypt in November 2006, the current capacity remains insufficient by some 30 per cent of its original output.

OCHA also reported that throughout January to date, 53 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip, including seven children, and 244 injured in Palestinian-on-Palestinian violence. This compares with 135 Palestinians killed throughout 2005 and 2006 in internal violence. Three Palestinians were killed and 15 injured by Israeli forces in January.