Tag Archives: Palestinian

Jordan: All-out UNRWA strike could hit vulnerable refugees

AMMAN, 27 May 2009 (IRIN) – A pay dispute between employees and the management of the UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) in Jordan could affect vulnerable refugees, especially in the many UNWRA-run schools and clinics.

Thousands of UNRWA employees went on strike 12-14 May in UNRWA facilities, members of the teachers committee who declined to be identified, said, and an all-out strike – potentially paralysing hundreds of clinics and schools across Jordan – is being threatened.

The employees are demanding a 7 percent pay rise, in line with a promised government pay rise of the same magnitude for civil servants.

During the three-day strike, about 124,000 students in different parts of the kingdom, including all 10 of the UNRWA-run refugee camps, were unable to attend classes, according to UNRWA.

The strike involved about 10,000 workers, including teachers, doctors, sanitation workers and administration officials, teachers committee members say. However, some media reports put the figure at 7,000.

Health centres and refuse collection activities also came to a halt, and the alleyways of the al-Hussein-camp in Amman filled up with rubbish during the three-day strike.

Disgruntled

One of the disgruntled teachers, Salem (not his real name), said he was also a refugee and deserved a “decent salary”.

“People used to envy us. due to the good salaries, but as the years passed by and inflation ate into our pay, people began to pity us,” he told IRIN.

Salem shares his two-room concrete home near the centre of the al-Hussein-camp with his wife and eight children. He said he had no option but to strike: “The salary is barely enough for 10 days. What to do for the rest of the month?”

UNRWA provides services to Palestinian refugees who arrived in Jordan after the 1948 and 1967 wars with Israel. Together with their offspring, they now number nearly 1.8 million.

UNWRA “needs time”

Meanwhile, UNRWA officials in Amman said the strike, which came less than a month after a one-day work stoppage for the same reason, was “futile”.

UNRWA spokesman in Amman Matter Saqer said he was “concerned about the fate of tens of thousands of students as well as beneficiaries of health care in the camps and outside.”

“We made all possible efforts up to the last minute to avert the strike. We did not want this to happen, but schools were closed and health care clinics stopped working,” said Saqer, stressing that the UN agency never ignored its workers’ demands, but “needs time”.

According to officials from the Department of Palestinian Affairs (DPA), which manages the affairs of the 1.8 million Palestinian refugees, UNRWA needs urgent financial assistance to implement its programmes and increase its budget.

UNRWA’s camps contain 338,000 registered refugees, while the total number of registered refugees in Jordan is 1,951,603.

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Filed under Human Rights, Humanitarian, Kenyataan Media, Refugee

GPM received funds from Foreign Minister

19 March 2009
Kuala Lumpur
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia organised a Cheque Presentation Ceremony to Malaysian Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) for the implementation of Humanitarian Programmes for Palestinians in Gaza at the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR), Kuala Lumpur. The ceremony was graced by Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor who presented cheques amounting to RM11 million to Malaysian NGOs to implement various projects identified under 4 main categories, namely Basic Needs, Health and Medicine, Children and Education as well as Humanitarian Work.
 
As of 17 March 2009, the total amount donated by the Malaysian public to the Humanitarian Fund for the Palestinian People has reached RM13,630,741. 29.
For the Micro Financing Project, Global Peace Mission (GPM) Malaysia together with Aman Palestine and Haluan Palestine received a sum of RM2,000,000. 00; while under the Assistance for Bakeries Project a sum of RM1,000,000. 00 was allocated to GPM and Muslim Care.

Hj Mohd Nur Anuar Hashim, President of GPM represented GPM at the ceremony. Exco members  Mohd Azlan Shariff and Mohd Halimi Abdul Hamid together with CEO Mohd Asri Abdul and Mohd Shakir Fahmi were also present.

All together 13 NGO’s received a total off RM11,000,000. 00 in allocations; as recognition for their involvement and activism in helping the Palestinian cause especially in Gaza.

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Filed under Gaza, Humanitarian, Palestine

Deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza: Lessons for operational agencies

INTRODUCTION

On 27 December 2008, in response to continued rocket fire from Gaza on southern Israel, Israeli forces launched “Operation Cast Lead” – a combined land and air military operation in the Gaza Strip.

As well as causing damage to infrastructure and buildings, this operation had a considerable human cost. According to OCHA the operation has left 1,336 Palestinians dead, including an estimated 430 children and 110 women; 5,450 Palestinians injured, including 1,870 children and 800 women.

Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire on 17 January, which was put into effect on 18 January, and Hamas and other Palestinian factions also declared a ceasefire later the same day. This ended the fighting, although several attacks have occurred resulting in at least one Israeli and five Palestinians killed and several rockets have been launched. The last few weeks have seen the deployment of a substantial humanitarian effort, with appeals from the

Disasters Emergency Committee in the UK, and the Gaza Flash Appeal from the UN which totalled some $686m.

This lessons paper aims to distil key lessons for senior and mid-level managers in operational settings, as well as those staff working to support relief efforts from a regional / HQ level. It draws on the findings of a desk review, including evaluation reports in the ALNAP Evaluation Reports Database, and an extensive telephone-based research process with key international and national actors working in Gaza and Jerusalem.

While attempts were made to look at other comparable crises, the point was made at numerous times that there was no comparable situation. However, there are some partial parallels to the conditions facing agencies – for example, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Lebanon – and wherever possible, these have been drawn upon.

The fifteen lessons covered in this paper are divided into four sections. These sections each relate to specific areas of agency work, and while they have been separated for ease of reading, it is important to highlight that in complex settings, each of these areas are interconnected and, done effectively, should be mutually reinforcing.

The majority of these lessons focus on humanitarian concerns, although attention is also paid to recovery and reconstruction issues.

Special thanks are due to all those involved in the response, at head office and operational level, who gave their valuable time to this process, as well as peer reviewers who commented on the draft document.

Please send any feedback and comments on this paper to alnap@alnap.org.

Shahrul Peshawar – those who are from local Malaysian Ngo’s should read and understand the report.  It may help you in planning your next disaster activities.

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Filed under Gaza, Humanitarian, Palestine

UN says Israel blocks most Gaza aid

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says Israel only allows a meager amount of humanitarian aid to enter the impoverished Gaza Strip.

The United Nations strives to provide relief to one million people daily inside a coastal sliver that is home to 1.5 million people, Ban said during a news conference on Tuesday.

Israel, however, is only allowing supplies enough for 30,000 people to get through and only from one crossing, he added.

“We are experiencing serious difficulty in getting all the materials, humanitarian assistance, so it is absolutely necessary that they open the crossings,” the secretary general affirmed while announcing plans to launch a probe into Israel’s bombing of UN compounds during its war on the Gazan population.

Ban told reporters that although Israel has completely ignored his calls, he “will continue to urge that” Tel Aviv allow more aid into the Palestinian strip.

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has largely criticized Ban for being too timid on the extent of an inquiry into Israel’s attack on its facilities.

“What is needed is a comprehensive international investigation that looks at all alleged violations of international law by all armed groups involved in the conflict,” Irene Khan, the secretary general of Amnesty International, said in an announcement.

Khan added that researchers have found clear evidence of war crimes during the operation – in which more than 1300 Gazans have been killed and over 5300 others have been injured.

MT/AA

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Filed under Gaza, Human Rights, Humanitarian, Palestine

23 proofs of Israel’s defeat in the 23-day war

crying

Israel began its Operation Cast Lead against Hamas in the Gaza Strip on December 27, 2008, an almost three-week long bloodbath which killed or wounded thousands of civilians.

Taking into consideration the lessons the regime learned from its defeat in the summer 2006 war against the Lebanese Hezbollah, Tel Aviv avoided setting out any specific objectives for its military operation in a bid to enable it to claim victory after the conflict ended.

The Israeli military initially presumed that it could settle its old score with Hamas and crush the movement in a matter of days. Relying on the support of some Arab states which viewed Hamas’s defeat as a blow to Iran, the regime, therefore, took the opportunity provided by the transitional period in the White House and escalated its bombing campaign into a full-blown ground offensive to kill Hamas leaders once and for all.

The plan, however, blew up in the face of its masterminds; everything spiraled out of control and the Israeli Army found itself stuck in a quagmire. Subsequently, the leaders of the Kadima Party who were on the brink of political bankruptcy and had resorted to the plan to save themselves ahead of the general elections, had to hastily find a way to clean up the mess.

They unilaterally declared a truce to break the deadlock while disguising their military failure as a humanitarian act.

However, Israeli military and political officials interestingly are still boasting about a decisive victory over Hamas. The reality on the ground proves the opposite; it indicates a defeat more humiliating than what the regime suffered in the 33-day war.

Israel was, without doubt, the loser because:

1- From the military perspective, “the most powerful” army in the Middle East which faced only a militia group hardly advanced into the Gaza Strip’s urban areas. It faced fierce resistance and realized that the price of any military victory would be too high.

2- At the beginning of the operation, Israel announced that the operation was aimed at preventing rocket attacks by Hamas and other Palestinian groups against Israeli towns. Palestinians, however, continued striking Israeli targets, even in the last hours of the war.

3- Hamas extended the range of its rockets and managed to hit targets as far away as 60 kilometers from the Gaza Strip. In fact, the Israeli operation helped Hamas boost its military might.

4- In the course of killing civilians, the Israeli regime set up a factory for producing living time bombs which will jeopardize the security situation for Israel. Civilian casualties in any conflict always radicalize members of bereaved families. Following the massacre of civilians in Gaza, it is more likely that those Palestinians who adopted a nonviolent approach to resist the Israeli occupation, will now turn to military tactics. Keep in mind that many of them have noting to lose.

5- Israel hastily signed an agreement with the US-a third party which was not directly involved in the war-to prevent “the arm smuggling” into the Gaza Strip. The deal envisaged measures to prevent Hamas from rearming, going so far as to for example seek US assistance in policing sea routes to Gaza and providing Egypt with the equipment to destroy smuggling tunnels along its border with the coastal sliver. This was however nothing but a propaganda tactic to persuade public opinion that the war had had some achievements. Shin Bet’s announcement that Hamas will be able to rearm within a few months supports this notion. The Israeli media has also revealed that Washington has given no guarantees to Tel Aviv that Hamas would not be rearmed.

6- Hamas has vowed to restore its arsenals, dealing a blow to Israeli officials who claim that the movement has been “punished” and it knows that it cannot continue its armed campaign against Israel.

7- No high-ranking Hamas leader, except Said Siyam, was killed in the Israeli operation. In fact, it is estimated that out of more than thousands of victims of the Israeli offensive, only 95 people were Hamas members and most of them were killed on the first day of the attack when Hamas was caught off guard due to alleged betrayal of some Arab states.

8- Israel’s defeat by a small group has shattered the image of an invincible army that overpowered the army of several Arab nations in 1967. It would not be surprising if Israel’s arch foes were encouraged to settle their old score with the regime after its recent defeat. No matter what you have in your arsenals, you are considered the loser if you have been defeated in your enemy’s mind. Israel seems to have entered the spiral of decline.

9- From the political perspective, Israel’s situation is not any better than the one in the military arena. For the first time, two Israeli ambassadors were expelled, a big diplomatic humiliation for Tel Aviv.

10- The indiscriminate killing of civilians including women and children drew international condemnation to the point that the US, which always vetoes UN Security Council resolutions against Israel, was neutralized and gave in to mounting international pressure when the council voted on a binding resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire.

11- Israel’s strategy of decreasing Hamas’s popularity through putting pressure on the Gazans has obviously backfired. The Islamic movement emerged more popular than ever before after the war, because any group or person who deals a blow to Israel will be praised as a hero in the eyes of Arab nations. We witnessed the phenomenon during the 33-day war which made Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah the most popular Arab leader in the Islamic world.

12- Following the Gaza war, Mahmoud Abbas’s political life came to an end. Now, Abbas who was reportedly preparing himself for returning to Gaza after the Hamas government was toppled, has to desperately beg to political brokers to find a place for him in the political future of Palestine. If Abbas loses in the Palestinian Authority general elections – a strong possibility given the situation after the Gaza war- Israel will lose its partner for peace talks.

13- Kadima’s hopes for victory in the upcoming elections have been dashed. In other words, right-wing parties like the Likud and people like Israel Beitenu’s and Shas’s hawks will come to power, fanatics who do not even believe in peace. Israel should brace itself for days during which there would be no hope for a political solution to the current conflict.

14- The Gaza war managed another sort of uncalled for achievement for Israel: it united all Muslims and anti-Israeli parties across the world! The world has never witnessed such massive anti-Israeli rallies.

15- Hamas has set a good example for others. A small group managed to defeat the most powerful army in the Middle East. It would not be surprising if someday, we see Israel struggling to survive in a battle with a host of small or big groups and organizations which adopt military resistance as their approach.

16- The Israelis have realized that their leaders are unable to protect them; there is no safe place inside the occupied territories. It means that Israel’s worst nightmare is coming true: a dramatic rise in the rate of negative immigration followed by major demographical impacts. It could shake the foundation of the Israeli regime through changing the Jewish people to a minority group in occupied Palestine. The apprehensions about this issue have so far prompted the regime to deny Palestinian refugees the right to return to their land.

17- After the war, the world is recognizing Hamas as a major player whose role can no longer be ignored and it cannot be excluded from any political process in the Middle East.

18- Prime Minister Ismail Haniya called the war “Forqan”, a Quranic word meaning what separates good and evil. The outcome of the war weakened those Arab states who had adopted a pro-Israeli stance. On the other hand, it also highlighted the significance of the role of pro-resistance countries including Iran and Syria. Therefore, the balance of power has changed with regards to Israel’s interests.

19- Kadima leaders made a fool of themselves and showed that they lack the qualifications required to lead the regime. Kadima, which was set up by former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to end the regime’s political deadlock, committed a political suicide by attacking Gaza.

20- The war also weakened the political base of those leaders of Islamic countries who are close to Israel. They have to face their people. The process has already started as we have witnessed demonstrations in some countries in which political or social protests are rare.

21- Despite nonstop bombing of the Gaza Strip by unconventional weapons, Gazans kept their high morale, a fact reported by Western journalists. There were no long queues of people at border crossings wanting to flee to a safe place. Inside Israeli towns, scores of people were treated for “shock” everyday. In other words, Israel has also lost the psychological war.

22- The war unfortunately fueled anti-Semitic sentiments across the world. Although attacks on Jews or their property under any pretext are certainly condemned, the fact indicates that Israel, despite paying lip service to the world Jewry, never considers the interests of the Jewish. Tel Aviv even turned down a request by 11 prominent leaders of the British Jewish community who asked the regime to stop its offensive for the sake of their security.

23- There are and will be groups which will open legal cases against Israel in international courts for its war crimes in Gaza. If Hamas had been destroyed, Israeli leaders might have been able to claim that it had been worth paying such a heavy price. But without achieving anything, how can they justify their acts which have drawn a wave of international condemnation?

The Gaza war has certainly changed the status quo against Israel. History seems to repeat itself; the situation is the same as that of the days after the end of the 33-Day War except for one thing: this time, the regime has no excuse to justify its defeat; there was no inexperienced defense minister leading the war.

The Gaza war dealt the last blow to the Israeli regime and its end result is the start of a battle within the regime which will put its very existence at risk.

Those who make a mistake once may be considered as inexperienced but those who repeat their mistakes are certainly judged as being “incompetent and insane”. Shall we expect another Winograd report?

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Filed under Bencana Manusia, Gaza, Humanitarian

Press Statement MERCY 14th January 2009

PRESS STATEMENT
MORE LIFE-SAVING SUPPLIES FOR THE PALESTINIANS

KUALA LUMPUR, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 14, 2009
MERCY Malaysia has deployed two more aid workers to Cairo, Egypt, to help deliver humanitarian assistance to the people in Gaza.

MERCY Malaysia Executive Council Member Prof Dr Ikram Mohd Salleh and volunteer Dr Al-Amin Mohamad Daud’s role would be to determine and manage medical supplies and equipment procured by MERCY Malaysia for the population in Gaza affected by the Israeli attack in the past 18 days.

The two will also co-ordinate the purchasing and equipping of 4 ambulances as well as a mobile blood bank unit. Currently, there are only 30 ambulances in Gaza but the need is for 40, after bombs destroyed dozens of ambulances. The mobile blood bank unit will deliver blood supply to the wounded.

These efforts are part of MERCY Malaysia’s comprehensive plan of action to deliver humanitarian assistance to the population in Gaza

In the past three days, MERCY Malaysia has delivered two more consignments of medicines and medical equipment into the war-torn area.

Lorries were loaded with surgical sets and disposable items including syringes, intravenous infusions and bandages by MERCY Malaysia’s second team in Cairo – MERCY Malaysia Programme Officer Mohammad Said Alhudzari Ibrahim and volunteer Syed Zahid Syed Mohamad who were deployed to Cairo on Jan 9.

Last week, a first consignment of medicines and medical equipment weighing 50 tonnes were transported in five trucks into Gaza by the first team from MERCY Malaysia, which consisted President Datuk Dr. Jemilah Mahmood, Executive Council Member Nor Azam Ab Samah and Programme Officer Muhammad Fitri Muhammad Hashim.

The first three consignments have cost approximately USD300,000.

An order has been place for a fourth consignment which will include, apart from medical disposables, wheelchairs and crutches, to fill the pressing needs among Gazans wounded by the Israeli attack, now in its 18th day.

Since the Israeli onslaught of the Gaza Strip, homes, hospitals and other infrastructure have been severely damaged. Basic needs have become top commodity.

Another worry is that the complete breakdown of sewage systems in Gaza could cause diseases to spread.

Given the seriousness of the situation in Gaza, a number of doctors have been allowed into the Strip. In Malaysia, MERCY Malaysia has put 20 volunteer doctors on standby for deployment.

To date, the conflict in Gaza has resulted in 884 dead, including 257 children and 93 women. Another 3,860 are injured and this includes 1,333 children and 587 women.

The MERCY Malaysia Palestine Relief Fund has chalked RM5.35 million, thanks to the generous contributions of the public and corporate donors. This includes a RM1 million donation from PETRONAS, MERCY Malaysia’s Corporate Partner, and a USD1 million contribution from the Malaysian Government.

MERCY Malaysia has been able to work for the Gaza survivors because of the generous contributions of the Malaysian public.

Please continue to donate to the Palestine Relief Fund through MERCY Malaysia. For CIMB users, make cheques payable to MERCY MALAYSIA through account number 1424-000-6561053. MAYBANK users may make cheques out to MERCY HUMANITARIAN FUND at account number 5621-7950-4126. Please indicate “Palestine Relief Fund” on the back of the cheque.

For more information, please contact 03-22733999 or log on to www.mercy.org.my


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Filed under Bencana Manusia, Gaza, Humanitarian, Kenyataan Media

In Remembrance of Tom Hurndall

If Tom still with us today, he will be very sad on what had happenned to the Palestinian for the past 17th day.  Tom, you’ve made your parent proud.

tom-hurndall2

Shahrul Peshawar, Alor Setar

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Filed under Belasungkawa, Humanitarian, Palestine