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UNRWA Condemns Demolition of a Kindergarten in the Occupied West Bank
Statement by UNRWA Spokesperson, Christopher Gunness
Jerusalem 26 July, 2018: Yesterday morning at 0700hrs the Israeli Security Forces entered the Jabal al-Baba Bedouin Palestine refugee community in the West Bank, close to the outskirts of East Jerusalem and dismantled and removed a donor-funded structure that serves as a kindergarten for 28 children (3-6 years old) and a women's centre. The school has been demolished once and dismantled twice so this is the third time within a year that the pre-school refugee children in this community have been deprived of having a safe place to play and learn.
This demolition comes against a backdrop of the intensification of Israeli measures in the context of plans for the relocation of communities. There are concerns that these communities in Area C of the West Bank at the outskirts of East Jerusalem face an increasingly coercive environment. UNRWA strongly condemns the demolition and calls for an immediate halt to such demolitions in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
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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