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A moral obligation

Nov 15,2017 - Last updated at Nov 15,2017

Even though the plight of the Palestinian refugees gets at times forgotten amidst the growing refugee crisis worldwide, they cannot forget their predicament, and neither should the international community whose complicity or inaction gave rise to their dispossession.

It is the West that robbed them of their land and made them flee their ancestral homeland, seeking refuge in neighbouring Arab countries, notably Jordan.

But if the West tends to forget, one organisation, at least, is there to remind it of its obligation towards these refugees: the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

Very recently, its head, Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl, urged donors and stakeholders to “keep on supporting UNRWA in completing its mission”.

Talking during a press briefing held on the sidelines of the agency’s Advisory Commission’s meeting at the Dead Sea, Krahenbuhl said that the agency is still lacking $77 million to complete the activities it planned for this year, a sum “vital to continue improving the situation of the Palestinian refugees”.

UNRWA’s mandate was extended last year for three more years, a step in favour of which voted 167 countries. The vote represented a “strong political message that these countries delivered”, but while the extension should be reassuring to the refugees, their lot cannot be improved unless aid is forthcoming.

Krahenbuhl, therefore, wished to “remind everyone that the refugees shall not be forgotten, and it is our responsibility to stand together to ensure their well-being”.

As important as UNRWA’s help is, the Palestinian refugees want and expect more from the international community.

They still yearn for their homeland, usurped by Israel. They still need their suffering to be acknowledged and their rights restored.

Above all, they desire to live in peace, free and in dignity in their own country.

Until that happens, they will have to resort to outside help — of which Jordan gave generously.

 

But UNRWA and Jordan, where 2 million registered refugees live, cannot alone provide all the needed services. Donor nations need to do their fair share until a solution is reached and Palestinians, like every other nation under the sun, will have a country.

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Comments

To Dr Samuel, Sir, it has always mystified me why the Arab world cannot come together to resolve the Palestinian question, probably much to do with Shia v Sunni ongoing politicking?

I suspect if the 'Wall' didn't come down in 1989, the South African regime would have lasted many more years - losing the Cape route, at a strategic level, was not going happen whilst the Cold War remained NATO's primary focus?

FOR MR PAUL, LET US AGREE TO DISAGREE THAT ARAFAT TURNED HIS BACK ON THE ARAB LEADERS. IN FACT THE OPPOSITE IS THE CASE BECAUSE HE WAS DEALING WITH DOUBLE AGENTS. HOW CAN ONE TRUST ANY FRIEND, FELLOW CITIZEN, BROTHERS, SISTERS WHO COLLECT INFORMATIONS FROM YOU AND SELL THEM TO ANY ENTITY WHO DOES NOT HAVE YOUR BEST INTEREST AT HEART. DO NOT FORGET WHAT HAPPENED IN SOUTH AFRICA WHEN AFRICAN LEADERS STORMED THE WESTERN WORLD AND DEMANDED AN END WITH THE TOXIC ARPATHIED POLICY. DONT YOU THINK THAT THE ARAB WORLD CAN AND SHOULD DO THE SAME FOR THE SAKE OF PEACE?. MANY ARAB LEADERS HAVE LEVERAGE AND ECONOMIC TOOLS TO DEMAND THIS BUT HAVE THEY DONE IT?. IF SO , SHOW ME THE PROOF. I THINK THAT IT IS THE WORST OF THE WORST TO BLAME THE VICTIM. I AM NOT FROM THAT PART OF THE WORLD AND I AM VERY MUCH OPEN MINDED AND AGAIN FOR THE SAKE OF PEACE SO WHAT IS THE HOLD UP. IT IS SAD TO SEE THAT A PEPETUAL STATE OF WAS CAN GO ON FOREVER. ITS TIME TO STOP ALL BLAME GAMES AND SPEAK WITH ONE VOICE FOR A PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT.

The Arab league nations, that includes the rich and powerful GCC States, are these nations part of the 'international community whose complicity or inaction gave rise to their dispossession' - let us not forget, it was Yasser Arafat who turned his back on the Arab World?!

TRUELY SO BUT WHO HAS THE MORAL WILL TO HELP A GROUP OF PEOPLE THAT HAS REMAINED STATELESS AND REFUGEES FOR EVER WHILE THE WORLD CONTINUES TO WATCH AND TALK ABOUT CURRENT REFUGEES WHERE THEY WANT TO DO SO. IT IS UNFORTUNATE THAT THE WORLD HAS MAINTAINED AND CONTINUED WITH ITS CODE OF SILENCE WHEN EVER IT COMES TO THE PALESTINIAN ISSUES. THE WORLD NEVER RUN OUT OF EXCUSES AND THE LEADERS IN THAT REGION HAVE NO MUSCLE TO DEMAND AN END TO THE STATUS QUO AS THE AFRICAN LEADERS DID IN SOUTH AFRICA.

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