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Source: Palestinian Solidarity Network Aotearoa – John Minto

PSNA welcomes the government decision to continue funding UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinians) but we are deeply disappointed the funding will remain unchanged from previous years despite the massive increase in need from Israel’s war on Gaza.

UNRWA is by far the most important and effective organisation as delivering aid to Palestinians in Gaza.


On 1 March this year a wide range of aid organisations joined together to say this about UNRWA:


“UNRWA is the largest provider of humanitarian aid in Gaza. The plain reality is that UNRWA’s humanitarian role in this crisis is indispensable – including, but not limited to provision of health and education services, food and water provision, psychosocial support, and solid waste management – and cannot remotely be replaced by any other aid organization”

“Their role in the facilitation and delivery of life-saving humanitarian aid at scale in this crisis has been heroic. UNRWA’s supply of vital shelter, food, and basic services like sanitation, as well as the use of infrastructure by other aid organizations, is irreplaceable


Why are UNRWA’s heroic efforts and demonstrated effectiveness not been recognised by the New Zealand Government at a time when aid is so desperately needed?


The government providing $17 million to other aid groups for Gaza just doesn’t cut the mustard. These other organisations do good work but don’t have the infrastructure, the personnel or the reach to meet the needs of Palestinians on the scale or effectiveness which UNRWA has demonstrated year after year.


It seems clear the government has succumbed to pressure from the pro-Israel lobby which for years has sought to demonise and undermine UNRWA. Their campaign aims to undermine Palestinians’ status as refugees and remove their right to return to their land and homes in Palestine from which they are being progressively ethnically cleansed by Israel.


Part of this pro-Israel campaign involved the blatant lie that UNRWA staff were involved in the October 7th attack on Israel. Israel released its bogus claims within hours of the International Court of Justice finding a credible claim of genocide existed against Israel. It was a desperate, but successful, ploy with western media falling over themselves to print the phony information and downplay the ICJ ruling just as Israel intended. The Israeli claims were fact-free.


With the level of desperate need in Gaza we have urged the government to at least double and bring forward its contribution to UNRWA. The government is looking the other way.


The cost of pandering to the pro-Israel lobby is $17 million in poorly spent aid funding.


John Minto

National Chair