Doha, 9 November 2023 (TDI): The State of Qatar has reiterated its unwavering commitment to supporting the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
This support is crucial in enabling the agency to fulfill its vital mandate, especially in the face of the numerous challenges that persist in the Palestinian cause.
During a statement delivered by Third Secretary of the Permanent Delegation of the State of Qatar to the United Nations, Sheikh Jassim Al Thani, before the Fourth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, the state emphasized several key points.
First and foremost, Qatar stressed the necessity for the international community and donors to provide substantial financial support to UNRWA.
This financial backing is indispensable to create the required conditions for the agency to effectively implement its mandate, as well as to uphold the recent General Assembly resolution on the ‘Protection of Civilians and Upholding Legal and Humanitarian Obligations’.
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Qatar expressed its gratitude to the Director of the New York Office of UNRWA and the Commissioner-General of UNRWA for their comprehensive briefing, which shed light on the dire humanitarian conditions prevailing in the occupied Palestinian territory, particularly in the Gaza Strip.
The state praised the commendable efforts made by UNRWA, an organization that has been providing essential services and vital necessities to over 5 million Palestinian refugees since its inception.
Importantly, it was highlighted that UNRWA’s responsibilities have grown significantly due to the current catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza, resulting from Israeli attacks on civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, and IDP shelters.
The statement also unequivocally condemned the Israeli occupation’s bombing of the Jabalia camp in Gaza, an act that led to the loss of countless innocent lives.
This called for immediate international action to halt the violence and destruction, with Qatar urging the cessation of the escalation and the expansion of Israeli attacks.
The state emphasized the need to stop the policy of collective punishment and forced displacement carried out by the Israeli occupation, which has led to a tragic death toll of over 9,000 Palestinian civilians, with nearly seventy percent being women and children.
Furthermore, the State of Qatar recognized that UNRWA is facing an existential challenge due to chronic underfunding from member states, hindering its ability to predict necessary funding for its operations.
In response, Qatar has doubled its pledges for the agency’s core resources in recent years, demonstrating its commitment to the principle of burden-sharing and support for the Palestinian people.
Qatar was notably the first Arab country to sign a multi-year agreement with UNRWA in 2018 and pledged a substantial USD 18 million to support UNRWA’s core resources for the period 2023-2024.
Thus, the statement highlighted that the State of Qatar’s participation in the UNRWA Advisory Committee since 2018 underscores its dedication to providing various forms of support to the Palestinian people and UNRWA.
It also reaffirmed Qatar’s unwavering stance in support of the justness of the Palestinian cause, the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.