Statement by Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Dr Uri Resnick, speaking to the UN General Assembly
I wish to reiterate Israel’s support for UNRWA’s important humanitarian mission. The subject of UNRWA is without doubt an important one, which deserves our considered attention. Over its sixty years of operation, UNRWA has displayed an enduring commitment to the extension of vital humanitarian assistance to Palestinian refugees. In so doing, UNRWA has contributed much to improving the lives of many needy people, many of whom have been tragically kept in a position of need by political forces largely beyond their own control.
Official statements made on the occasion of UNRWA’s 60th anniversary
H.E. Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
United States of America
The United States notes with deep appreciation and gratitude the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East on the occasion of its 60th anniversary. The United States remains steadfast in its commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a solution where Israel and Palestine exist side-by-side in peace and security. We acknowledge the critical role UNRWA plays in providing core services and humanitarian assistance for over 4.6 million Palestinian refugees. I am proud that the United States is UNRWA’s largest bilateral donor and take this opportunity to note the work of the almost 30,000 UNRWA employees, both national and international staff. UNRWA’s staff members, many of whom are Palestinian refugees themselves, often confront difficult and challenging circumstances, yet work tirelessly to provide quality education, health, and relief assistance programs to ensure the dignity and human development of those they serve.
H.E. Benita Ferrero-Waldner
Commissioner, External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy
Assistance to UNRWA is a key component of the EU's support for the Middle East Peace Process for various reasons.
…Because, despite the extremely harsh living conditions Palestine refugees are facing, UNRWA aims at ensuring that their basic humanitarian needs are met and at restoring a certain measure of dignity for those who lost their homes and livelihoods.
…Because UNRWA has promoted Palestine refugees' human development for the last 60 years and has fostered several generations of educated, skilled and healthy future citizens of a Palestinian State.
…Because UNRWA's presence has created and maintained a political space for concluding a final peace deal.
During the period 2000 to 2009, the European Commission has provided nearly €1 billion of support to the Agency and has become its largest multilateral donor.
Today, due to the tight constraints imposed on access and movement in the occupied Palestinian territory, the economic, social and cultural rights of Palestine refugees are more than ever under threat. Until a final peace settlement is reached, the European Union will continue to work with UNRWA to deliver support to the Palestine refugees. In doing so, the EU will be guided by its fundamental values: solidarity, tolerance and respect for human dignity.