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Threatened Eviction of Refugee Family in East Jerusalem
Statement by Christopher Gunness, UNRWA Spokesperson
UNRWA is concerned about the humanitarian impact of the threatened eviction of the Shamasneh family from their home in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah. We appeal to the Israeli authorities to reconsider their decision.
The members of the Shamasneh family are long-standing Palestine refugee residents in East Jerusalem, which is occupied territory and affected by continued settlement expansion contrary to international law. It is a matter of deep concern that Palestine refugees who have already endured multiple displacements should be subject to the humiliation of the kind inflicted by forced evictions.
UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA programme budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s programme budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals. UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.
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