Memorandum by the United Nations Relief
and Works Agency
On behalf of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA,
Karen Koning AbuZayd, I am pleased to forward the Agency's views
on some of the issues raised in the Sub-Committee's call for evidence.
As UNRWA's mandate is humanitarian in nature, our submission does
not address matters that we consider to be within the political
QUESTIONS 2 AND
EU involvement has been effective on a number
1. The work of COPPS and BAM in Rafah has
facilitated movement in and out of Gaza. This is a critical contribution,
as easing movement restrictions is necessary for economic and
social recovery in Gaza.
2. The TIM is an important conduit for reaching
some of those in need, but it has limited scope and is no substitute
for removing the sanctions regime, providing fiscal and budgetary
support for the Palestinian Authority (PA) and furnishing development
assistance that builds capacity and improves governance.
3. The first-hand involvement of Office
of the EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security
Policy and its willingness to engage with humanitarian actors
on the ground is a very appreciated and important aspect of the
EU's involvement in the region.
4. EU statements are highly regarded and
could be usefully complemented by member states. The post-election
policy of the EU (along with others) of isolating the PA and suspending
all fiscal and budgetary support to it and all those who work
for it, while providing military and economic support to the Palestinian
Presidency has been devastating to the Palestinian polity. This
policy has, contributed to an extreme humanitarian crisis, profound
human suffering and intensified internal conflict.
The EU is an important stakeholder of and a
generous donor to UNRWA. It has played a vital role in furthering
transparency and improved governance within the Agency through
its encouragement of results-based budgeting and the refining
of indicators to better measure performance. UNRWA area staff
number some 27,000, and improved organizational governance may
have a positive influence on attitudes to peace.
Resumption of support to the PA is critical
to easing the political, economic and social collapse in Gaza.
The EU provided electoral support for parliamentary elections
which it deemed had been conducted in a free and fair manner.
The current embargo of the PA appears contradictory to the aims
of the electoral support. In addition to support for democracy
and self-government, EU policy could, as a matter of priority,
strengthen Palestinian economic viability with a view to promoting
stability in the region. This requires urgent efforts to convince
the Government of Israel to allow Palestinian goods to be exported
freely. Palestinians in the oPt are being systematically impoverished
and isolated by expropriation of land; by fragmentation of the
West Bank; by the effects of the barrier including the sealing
off of Jerusalem; and other closure policies. Violations of international
law are depriving Palestinians of the protections due to them.
The right to life and freedom from arbitrary arrest, are frequently
violated. Resumption of the peace process depends upon halting
such policies. The failure of states and other actors to respect
and comply with IHL and human rights law is the cause of a high
number of deaths and injuries among civilians in the oPt. A consistent
and strong stance against violations of IHL has been conspicuously
missing. We would like to see the EU taking concrete steps to
call the concerned states and actors to account under relevant
provisions of international law.
Director of the Executive Office
5 March 2007