The international community pledged $100 millionThursday to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl announced following a donor summit in Rome.
The extraordinary ministerial conference in the Italian capital was aimed at securing funding to make up for UNWRA’s current $446 million shortfall.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gebran Bassil, who participated in the conference urged UNRWA to remove persons who were unaccounted for from its lists in an effort to streamline the agency’s distribution of funding.
This is an excerpt of minister Bassil’s speech:
“We have received the people of Palestine in accordance with our humanitarian principles, as we receive the Syrians now, on a temporary basis to stop the killing and secure their return.
“UNRWA was established to provide for their humanitarian needs until their return, and it turned out that the killing continues and the actual goal is to integrate refugees in preparation for the ‘big transfer’.”
“I will not re-describe what the establishment of the State of Israel has inflicted upon the region and humanity from ravages, wars and Jewish extremism that is still feeding Islamic extremism and Christian oppression. Most recently, the President of a great power decided to grant Jerusalem to Israel forgetting that Jerusalem is ours.”
“Lebanon, which has received 500 thousand Palestinian refugees for 70 years, and 1.5 million Syrians for 7 years, is not here to beg for money, but to demand the legitimate right of people to return to their homeland, and a minimum of assistance to the country that sheltered them so as to avoid further poverty,” Bassil said.
“We call on UNRWA to take Palestinians off their lists if they are not accounted for, or obtain another citizenship other than the Palestinian one,” Bassil concluded.