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Coveney announces further €2 million of government funding for Palestinian people

Ireland’s total funding to Palestinian people this year amounted to €15.38 million.

Image: Artur Widak/SIPA USA/PA Images

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN Affairs Simon Coveney has today said that the government will give a further €2 million in funding to UN relief works for Palestinian refugees.

The Tánaiste said it comes as Ireland has “significantly” increased its funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which provides humanitarian aid to people in the region. 

He said: “Ireland is a longstanding supporter of UNRWA’s work in delivering healthcare, education and relief and social services, including humanitarian food assistance, to 5.3 million Palestine refugees.

The ongoing conflict in the Middle East region has meant an increased demand for UNRWA’s services. The US decision earlier this year to cease funding to UNRWA has made the Agency’s situation even more precarious.

Ireland’s total contribution this year to UNRWA is now at €9 million with the extra funding announced today, with total funding from the Irish government to the Palestinian people at over €15 million. 

“At the UN General Assembly in New York in September, I encouraged Member States to increase their funding to UNRWA and I said that Ireland hoped to be able to provide US$10m to UNRWA this year,” Coveney said. “This additional funding makes good on that promise.

The services that UNRWA provides are necessary, and will remain necessary, until a durable solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict can be negotiated that meets the needs of both parties, ends the occupation that began in 1967 and resolves all final status issues.

Coveney discussed what he called “troubling events” in Gaza earlier this year with EU foreign ministers, with frequent violent clashes between Israelis and Palestinians taking place throughout 2018.

He also travelled to the region earlier in the year.

Writing in TheJournal.ie, he said: “It was obvious to me on the ground this week that the situation is unsustainable and unacceptable. Gaza is about to implode under the strain of multiple socio-environmental challenges and we are running out of time to prevent it.

“All this will most likely lead to a new cycle of violence and a repeat of past atrocities. Everyone I spoke to recognises the urgency of new actions in Gaza.”

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Sean Murray

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