UNRWA plays a vital role in preserving the stability and security of the region. This is no less true today than 50 years ago. The regular services and humanitarian aid provided by UNRWA have given a growing refugee population relief and hope of a life in dignity. We commend the Agency and its staff for their untiring efforts to assist Palestinian refugees under difficult and often dangerous circumstances.
The Gaza disengagement has raised expectations of an improvement in the quality of life for the Palestinian population in Gaza and the West Bank. The donor community is mobilizing resources in response to the high rates of poverty and unemployment. We would like to commend UNRWA for taking a leading role in areas of immediate concern such as job creation, reconstruction of destroyed homes and community development.
UNRWA must be given the capacity and resources it needs to carry out a regional mandate assigned by the General Assembly. We urge fellow donors to contribute to the Agency’s general budget and to respond to the emergency appeals. The Agency, donors and host countries have a common interest in ensuring that scarce resources are used efficiently. This requires transparency and dialogue between UNRWA and host authorities regarding policy priorities. We support current plans to revitalize and expand the Advisory Commission and to widen participation in Host and Donor meetings.
As donors, we are concerned that the cost of providing humanitarian goods has risen sharply due to port and related charges imposed on imports through Israel. The cost of providing basic services to the refugee population in the occupied territories has also increased as a result of IDF closures and construction of the barrier. UNRWA schools have been separated from their students, and doctors are no longer able to reach their hospitals. We call upon the Israeli government to facilitate the speedy delivery of all UNRWA services.