Reference to “UNRWA Committee” which is a part of “Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad”, the Popular Conference is closely following the preparations for the UNRWA donors’ conference, which is due to be held in the Italian capital Rome on 15 March. This is following the US administration’s decision to freeze funds that had been allocated to the agency’s 2018 budget, causing financial crisis unprecedented in the agency’s history since it was founded in 1949. The crisis resulted in the agency’s reduction of many of its services provided to about 6 million Palestinian refugees in its areas of operation, i.e. Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Jordan. Such services include education, relief, medical treatment, and refugee camp infrastructure.
In this regard, we the Popular Conference stress the following:
First, we insist that the UNRWA remain as an international witness to the crime of expelling and uprooting two thirds of the Palestinian people from their homes in Palestine until the reason for which it was established no longer exists, i.e. until the return of the refugees to their homeland.
Second, we stress the need for the conference to discuss the establishment of mechanisms that ensure UNRWA’s budget becomes permanent from the UN.
Third, we share and support the position of the team, consisting of the EU, UN member states, and the donor countries, which believes that the UNRWA is a humanitarian necessity that contributes to achieving security stability in the region. This is contrary to the beliefs of the US administration and Israel, which consider the UNRWA to be an obstacle to the settlement projects.
Fourth, we completely reject all projects targeting the UNRWA, either by means of trying to end or transfer its services. These projects are considered preliminary steps to liquidate the Palestinian refugees’ cause and to eternally strip them of their right to return, in order to achieve the Netanyahu and Trump vision. This also works in favour of the American “deal of the century” which aims to liquidate the Palestinian cause as a whole.
Fifth, we must be cautious and keep an eye out for the Trump administration attempts to hinder the conference and thwart it, as this will only result in more humanitarian suffering for millions of Palestinian refugees and cause security chaos in the area.
Sixth, we, as Palestinian refugees, must have our voices heard by the conference attendees. Therefore, we call for mobilizing a popular movement in solidarity with the goals and objectives of the conference in the Palestinian refugee camps and communities located in the UNRWA’s five areas of operation, as well as in the Palestinian communities around the world. We must mark Thursday, 15/3/2018 as the day to hold a peaceful sit-in in front of the location where the conference will be held in Rome. This sit-in must be attended by Palestinians and friendly supporters of the cause and should coincide with the other popular sit-ins in front of the UNRWA headquarters in its five areas of operation on the same day.
Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad