GENEVA / UNRWA KRAHENBUHL

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29-Jan-2019 00:03:31
The head of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) warned that alarming and expanding problems affecting Palestine refugees risked further destabilizing the Middle East. UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / UNRWA KRAHENBUHL
TRT: 3:31
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 29 JANUARY 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

FILE - NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, Palais des Nations exterior

29 JANUARY 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Wide shot, journalist and podium.
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner General, United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA):
“When you lose what is now the totality of 360 million (USD) from your biggest historic donor, you know that the efforts that you will have in closing that gap are going to be considerable and last year they were successful, but of course this year you really have to re-engage with the same actors and I have already indications from some donors that they will maintain the level, I have indications from some that they’ll even consider increasing the level of support.”
4. Wide shot, journalists
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner General, United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA):
“We provide food assistance to a million people in Gaza, which is half of the Gaza population. UNRWA provides that food assistance every three months. That is a figure the world should be shocked about, because in the year 2000, we used to provide food assistance to 80,000. So, we’ve moved from 80,000 people on our food assistance list to one million. Why? Because the whole dynamic of the conflict and the blockade has wiped out entire sectors of the Gaza economy.”
6. Med shot, journalists
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner General, United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA):
“There were an estimated 11,500 to 12,000 injured during the 50-day war in 2014. Last year during the demonstrations that took place in the Gaza Strip every Friday, we have had in excess of 20,000 injured. So, you have young people, mainly injured at the lower limbs, knees shattered, ankles shattered, in either sniper shootings or others as they demonstrated along the border, that are going to add to the levels of pressure and psycho-social deterioration in the Gaza Strip. Inevitably, that is a very serious situation for regional stability.”
8. Wide shot, journalists
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner General, United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA):
“When UNRWA speaks about access to education, it’s not theoretical; it actually means physically the students in the classrooms, learning about many things including human rights, conflict resolution and tolerance. So, this is what needs to be protected at this point. It also makes a contribution to regional stability. Keeping the schools open, ensuring that healthcare is provided, emergency services are provided, are a contribution to regional stability in a Middle East context that certainly remains highly polarized and very complex.”
10. Med shot, journalists
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner General, United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA):
“A young generation is growing up in the region, on all sides: on the Israeli side and on the Palestinian side that no longer know each other. Because what used to be still closely connected and inter-connected communities, today are very separate. And if you grow up in Gaza, you don’t meet Israelis and frankly speaking, young Israelis very rarely meet Palestinian today. How this can be a contribution to future stability in the region is something that I just cannot see.”
12. Various shots, journalists

STORYLINE:

The head of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) warned that alarming and expanding problems affecting Palestine refugees risked further destabilizing the Middle East.

In an appeal for 1.2 billion USD to fund vital core services and life-saving humanitarian aid for 5.4 million Palestine refugees across the Middle East, UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl called on the international community to commit to resolving the current political impasse over the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).

Speaking in Geneva today (29 Jan), Krähenbühl praised the generosity of Member States in supporting the agency’s work, following the withdrawal of funding by the United States, historically its biggest donor by far for decades.

This year, Palestine refugees -- in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria – would continue to face daunting development and protection challenges, the UNRWA chief explained. If met, the appeal would keep operations at the same level as in 2018. He said, “When you lose what is now the totality of 360 million (USD) from your biggest historic donor, you know that the efforts that you will have in closing that gap are going to be considerable and last year they were successful, but of course this year you really have to re-engage with the same actors and I have already indications from some donors that they will maintain the level, I have indications from some that they’ll even consider increasing the level of support.”

One of the central issues is the occupation of Palestine and the blockade of Gaza, he insisted, noting the effects of violence, incursions, lack of freedom of movement and employment opportunities, as well as alarming and expanding levels of food insecurity and psychological trauma.

In an appeal for a change in the paradigm in the way that the international community views Palestine refugees, Krähenbühl explained that people’s basic needs had worsened considerably since the turn of the century.
SOUNDBITE (English) Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner General, United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA):
“We provide food assistance to a million people in Gaza, which is half of the Gaza population. UNRWA provides that food assistance every three months. That is a figure the world should be shocked about, because in the year 2000, we used to provide food assistance to 80,000. So, we’ve moved from 80,000 people on our food assistance list to one million. Why? Because the whole dynamic of the conflict and the blockade has wiped out entire sectors of the Gaza economy.”

The UNRWA chief compared the violence witnessed in demonstrations in Gaza on the border with Israel last year with that experienced in 2014. He said, “There were an estimated 11,500 to 12,000 injured during the 50-day war in 2014. Last year during the demonstrations that took place in the Gaza Strip every Friday, we have had in excess of 20,000 injured. So, you have young people, mainly injured at the lower limbs, knees shattered, ankles shattered, in either sniper shootings or others as they demonstrated along the border, that are going to add to the levels of pressure and psycho-social deterioration in the Gaza Strip. Inevitably, that is a very serious situation for regional stability.”

Krähenbühl stressed the need to preserve key services, such as education. He said UNRWA provides education opportunities to 535,000 girls and boys in its 711 schools with some two million students graduates since 1950.

SOUNDBITE (English) Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner General, United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA):
“When UNRWA speaks about access to education, it’s not theoretical; it actually means physically the students in the classrooms, learning about many things including human rights, conflict resolution and tolerance. So, this is what needs to be protected at this point. It also makes a contribution to regional stability. Keeping the schools open, ensuring that healthcare is provided, emergency services are provided, are a contribution to regional stability in a Middle East context that certainly remains highly polarized and very complex.”

In a call for a robust engagement in conflict resolution by the international community, the UNRWA chief highlighted the central issue of the ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territory and the blockade of Gaza. He said, “A young generation is growing up in the region, on all sides: on the Israeli side and on the Palestinian side that no longer know each other. Because what used to be still closely connected and inter-connected communities, today are very separate. And if you grow up in Gaza, you don’t meet Israelis and frankly speaking, young Israelis very rarely meet Palestinian today. How this can be a contribution to future stability in the region is something that I just cannot see.”
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