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UN-Backed Appeal For Nearly $700 Million

UN-Backed Appeal For Nearly $700 Million Launched To Help Palestinians

New York, Dec 9 2009 2:10PM The United Nations and partner aid organizations today issued a call for $664 million to respond to humanitarian needs in the occupied Palestinian territory, with the top humanitarian official in the region underscoring how Palestinians are becoming increasingly dependent on aid.

The funds are intended to support programmes targeting the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank where the barrier, Israeli settlements, access and planning restrictions imposed by Israeli authorities have impacted people’s livelihoods.

“Palestinians living in the occupied Palestinian territory continue to face a crisis of human dignity,” said Maxwell Gaylard, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory.

“The continued erosion of livelihoods and the denial of basic human rights together are compelling Palestinians to become more and more dependent on international aid.”

He noted that humanitarian needs have increased, especially in the Gaza Strip in the wake of the devastation wrought by Operation Cast Lead, launched by Israel in December 2008 in response to rocket attacks by militants in Gaza.

“We are facing some difficult challenges in meeting these needs due to Israeli import restrictions from the blockade and the lack of political progress,” the official stressed.

The 2010 Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) seeks to fund 236 projects carried out or implemented by UN agencies and partner organizations in the areas of food security, agriculture, protection, education and health, among others.

The humanitarian community in the occupied Palestinian territory has called for measures to be put into place immediately to alleviate some of the worst aspects of the crisis, including the lifting of the blockade on the Gaza Strip and improving Palestinian access and movement.

Last week, the top UN envoy to the Middle East reiterated Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s call for an immediate end to demolitions, evictions and the instalment of Israeli settlers in Palestinian neighbourhoods, as he visited the Sheikh Jarrah area in East Jerusalem, outside a house that was occupied by settlers.

“Provocative actions such as these create inevitable tensions, undermine trust, often have tragic human consequences and make resuming negotiations and achieving a two-State solution more difficult,” read a statement issued by the spokesperson for the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry.

Mr. Ban has issued a series of statements recently calling for a halt to Israeli settlement activity and the demolition of Palestinian homes and evictions in East Jerusalem.

In October he stated that Jerusalem must be the capital of two States – Israel and Palestine – with arrangements for the holy sites acceptable to all, if peace in the Middle East is to be achieved.

ENDS

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