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الموقع تحت الإنشاء

النسخة التجريبية من موقع النهضة العربية (أرض)

Commemorating Nakba Day, A delegation of prominent Jordanian visits the UNRWA Field Office in Amman in an expression of support for the embattled agency and the Palestinian refugees it serves


Organized by the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD), a delegation including its Executive Director, Samar Muhareb, and prominent Jordanian figures, Jaafar Al-Ta’ani, His Highness Prince Hassan bin Talal´s representative, Senator Issa Murad, and Manal Al-Wazani, in addition to members of the Global Network on the Question of Palestine  Dr. Yusuf Mansur, Dr. Sawsan Al Majali, and Dr. Oroub Al-Abed paid a solidarity visit to the UNRWA office in Amman. The visit marked Nakba Day, the 76th  anniversary of the ‘catastrophe’ in 1948-49 that saw the forced displacement and exile of three-quarters of the Palestinian people as Israel was established. The visit came as an expression of strong support for UNRWA and the millions of Palestinian refugees that it supports through basic education, primary health care services, relief and social services, microfinance, infrastructure works, and other assistance.

Since 1948, the rights, situation, and future of the Palestinian refugees have been at the heart of the unresolved Question of Palestine, representing its human dimension. Palestinian displacement has been ongoing: following the 1967 war, another 350,000-400,000 Palestinians were forced to flee, followed in the subsequent decades by some 250,000 within/from the occupied Palestinian territory and some 700,000 from the Arab region. Forced displacement has once again been at the forefront in the current genocidal war in Gaza, with 1.7 million Gaza Palestinians internally displaced, many multiple times, and as many as 100,000 displaced into Egypt, with further displacement looming as a result of the ongoing Israeli ground operation in Rafah and the fact that Gaza has essentially become uninhabitable.

UNRWA has come under unprecedented attack by Israel since the end of January, accusing the agency of serious breaches of UN neutrality, which in turn resulted in the suspension of donor funding. Combined, this has put into serious jeopardy the agency’s ability to continue operating in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. UNRWA’s future in Gaza is dramatically challenged after Israel informed the agency that it would prevent it from distributing humanitarian aid in the north of Gaza and has more generally ceased cooperation with it in the Strip. Even if the rift with Israel can be overcome, UNRWA’s future in Gaza is now inherently connected with the future of the Gaza Strip more generally. UNRWA’s future in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, hangs in the balance after Israeli lawmakers submitted legislation to close down the agency’s operations in the city (and possibly the West Bank) and violent Israeli demonstrators torched its West Bank Field Office, forcing its temporary closure.

The ARDD-led visit to UNRWA came to express – in the words of Ms. Muhareb – “Jordanian civil society’s strong support for an agency that is critical to dignity, rights and future of the Palestinian refugees.” The delegation expressed its total rejection of the vicious Israeli attacks on UNRWA, which among others saw 188 of its staff killed during the war in Gaza, and called on those donor countries that have not yet resumed funding to the agency to do so immediately.

During the visit, the delegation visited the agency’s Relief and Social Services Department and witnessed the registration records and so-called family files that are meticulously maintained by UNRWA as a repository of evidence of the refugees’ historic rights and claims. Completing work that has commenced in the 2000s, UNRWA is currently scanning part of the historic documents attesting life events from 1948 until today. As stated by Ms. Hana Uraidi, Chief of UNRWA’s Relief and Social Services Program in Jordan, the agency’s registration records constitute a valuable historical archive, whose preservation is an integral part of the protection of refugee rights.”

UNRWA is in the process of integrating its registration system and other historic archives and refugee data maintained by the agency into a Palestine Refugee Data Center, an initiative that deserves strong support, including from Palestinian refugees in the region and beyond.