Safadi: Israel is trying to kill UNRWA

Safadi: Israel is trying to kill UNRWA
New York - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Ayman Safadi, warned that Israel is attempting to kill the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).اضافة اعلان

He stated that for years, the UN agency has faced a political assassination attempt, targeting the symbolism of the agency which affirms the right of Palestinian refugees to return and receive compensation in accordance with international law.

In a special session held by the Security Council at Jordan's request on UNRWA, Safadi urged the international community to base its stance on the agency's history of sacrifices, work, and role, rather than the false allegations, lies, and attempts by Israel to distort historical and present realities.

He mentioned that Gaza is starving, with its population of 2.03 million facing the risk of famine, a situation caused by the Israeli government's use of starvation as a weapon a clear violation of international law and in defiance of international will as expressed by the resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council.

The suffering of the Palestinians is hard to articulate, and only UNRWA possesses the knowledge, capacity, and infrastructure to help alleviate that suffering. It is the cornerstone of humanitarian efforts in Gaza. However, Israel is determined to cripple them and prevent them from fulfilling their role, he continued.

He advocated for support for UNRWA as it is the sole entity capable of aiding the hungry Palestinians in Gaza and providing vital services to Palestinian refugees across its five areas of operations.
Safadi highlighted that UNRWA deserves recognition for its sacrifices in ensuring that the Palestinians in Gaza do not succumb to hunger. He noted that 178 UNRWA employees had fallen victim to Israeli attacks, offering condolences to the agency’s High Commissioner and the families of those lost.

He explained that the limited aid Israel allows into Gaza does not reach all those in need, because Israel has hindered UNRWA from performing its duties, as mandated by the United Nations.
The United Nations encompasses all countries of the world, so when the United Nations makes a decision, it is a global decision. Thus, attacking the United Nations is tantamount to attacking the entire international community, international law, and the multilateral system that we all support and which was established to be preserved, he said.

He pointed out that children in Gaza are dying because UNRWA and other relief agencies are being prevented from assisting them, and some workers who tried to provide aid were killed by Israeli forces in cold blood. Despite global condemnation of the killing of workers from the World Central Kitchen organization, Israel also targeted a UNICEF team that narrowly escaped death. Safadi added that no independent investigation has been conducted into these grave crimes, which are well known and were committed blatantly.

He stressed that the truth has become another casualty of Israeli aggression against Gaza. The misinformation campaign spread by the Israeli government against UNRWA and the distortion of history and facts should not sway global public opinion. Instead, UNRWA’s fundamental work, its adherence to the values of the United Nations, its sacrifices, and the dedication of its staff must be recognized and appreciated globally.

He pointed out that Israel had brought charges against 12 of UNRWA's 13,000 employees in Gaza, and the agency acted responsibly by immediately dismissing these employees even before the investigation commenced. The agency welcomed and fully cooperated with the independent investigation led by former French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, and the United Nations also launched its own internal investigation into these allegations.

UNRWA has nothing to hide, as it lives up to its responsibilities and is committed to taking corrective actions regarding any violations or deficiencies discovered. However, the Israeli targeting of the agency continues unabated, he continued.

He emphasized that the intense Israeli campaign against the agency had begun even before the allegations against its employees emerged. The agency has been a target of political assassination for years. "Israel wants to destroy UNRWA and what it represents, aiming to erase the rights of Palestinian refugees, but it will not succeed, he asserted.

He stressed that any discussion about the existence of an illegal and inhumane occupation must end, and will not succeed in diminishing the Palestinian cause. UNRWA must be protected now as it was in the past.

Safadi described UNRWA as the only beacon of hope amidst the misery imposed by Israel on Palestinian refugees. The agency has provided hope, education, and opportunities to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and to approximately 5.6 million Palestinian refugees globally, symbolizing ongoing global concern for their plight and the alleviation of their historical injustices.

He stated that over 300,000 students were studying in UNRWA schools in Gaza before Israeli aggression transformed their schools into shelters for hundreds of thousands of the 1.7 million displaced Palestinians.

Without UNRWA, hundreds of thousands of others in the West Bank, Syria, and Lebanon would be deprived of their right to education and medical care. More than 100,000 boys and girls among 2.3 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan receive their education in UNRWA schools an effort unmatched by any other agency.

UNRWA was born from the tragedy of the Nakba in 1948 when Israel displaced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes and lands. The United Nations established UNRWA as a temporary agency to care for Palestinian refugees until they could return to their homes. Although they have not returned, the displacement of Palestinians continued in 1967, necessitating the continuation of UNRWA's mandate until their plight is resolved in accordance with international law and relevant United Nations resolutions, supporting their right to return and receive compensation, he went on.

This is a legal, moral, and humanitarian obligation. A comprehensive solution to the conflict, which ends the malignancy and evil of the occupation, allowing Palestinians to live in dignity and freedom in their sovereign state, is essential, he noted.

He emphasized that UNRWA is irreplaceable and urgently needed now more than ever as Gazan children are dying of hunger and dehydration amidst the severe pain, death, and suffering caused by the Israeli war on Gaza.

This war on Gaza must end, and when it does, the world will witness the inhumane reality that Israel has tried to conceal by preventing journalists from entering the Strip to document the destruction it has caused. Then, the world will clearly see the extent of the destruction, death, and suffering inflicted by Israel on Gaza, and realize how crucial UNRWA and its role are, he concluded.

He called for immediate protection and support for UNRWA, both financially and politically, as this would undoubtedly bolster regional stability, save lives, and uphold justice and the right of the Palestinian people to live in dignity and freedom without fear, deprivation, or oppression.

He lamented that Palestinians have little hope of their ordeal ending as they watch their relatives in Gaza being killed and suffer oppression, attacks, settler terrorism, land confiscation, and the construction of settlements on their homes, lands, and farms in the West Bank. He demanded an end to these practices, stating that peace in the Middle East is unattainable unless the rights of the Palestinian people are acknowledged and upheld.

Additionally, today, on the sidelines of the Security Council meeting, Safadi and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, held extensive discussions focused on stopping the aggression against Gaza and ending the humanitarian catastrophe it is causing.

Safadi and Guterres also discussed the ongoing cooperation between Jordan and the United Nations to halt the aggression and deliver adequate and sustainable aid throughout the region. They emphasized the need to de-escalate tensions in the area.

Safadi and Maltese Foreign Minister Ian Borg, whose country presides over the UN Security Council for April, discussed efforts to achieve a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and ensure the delivery of adequate and sustainable aid throughout the Strip.

Safadi highlighted the necessity for the international community, particularly the Security Council, to take responsibility for stopping the raging war on the Gaza Strip and mitigating its disastrous consequences. The ministers emphasized the importance of reducing regional escalation and preventing the expansion of the threat of war.

Safadi met with the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, in a meeting that underscored the importance of providing necessary support to the agency so it can continue to offer its indispensable humanitarian services to over 2.03 million Palestinians in Gaza, who are currently facing an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe due to the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.
Safadi urged the lifting of all restrictions and obstacles to the delivery of humanitarian aid.

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