organization:united nations relief and works agency for palestine refugees in the near east

  • À Jérusalem-Est, les Palestiniens dénoncent un assaut israélien contre l’éducation
    By Zena Tahhan in CAMP DE RÉFUGIÉS DE SHUAFAT, Jérusalem-Est occupé - Date de publication : Mercredi 13 février 2019 - 15:48
    https://www.middleeasteye.net/fr/news/jerusalem-est-les-palestiniens-denoncent-un-assaut-israelien-contre-l

    L’atmosphère est toujours tendue dans le camp de réfugiés négligé de Shuafat, à Jérusalem-Est occupée.

    Ici, les enfants jouent sur des routes jonchées d’ordures et d’eaux usées, tandis que de jeunes adolescents sont contraints d’abandonner leurs études pour travailler dans des garages ou des restaurants, afin que leur famille puisse joindre les deux bouts.

    Au moins 24 000 personnes – en majorité des réfugiés dont les familles ont été déplacées en 1948 – vivent dans cette zone anarchique, enfermés dans une cage entre deux check-points et le mur de béton de 8 mètres de haut qui encercle le camp.

    L’annonce qu’Israël prévoit de fermer les deux écoles de réfugiés des Nations unies dans le camp n’a fait que jeter de l’huile sur le feu.

    Ces écoles, même si elles présentent des lacunes en matière d’organisation et manquent de capacité d’accueil, sont gratuites et offrent une petite lueur d’espoir significative dans un contexte difficile.

    « J’ai tous mes amis à l’école. J’aime mes professeurs. Nous passons plus de temps à l’école qu’à la maison », a déclaré Zuhoor al-Tawil (14 ans), élève à l’école pour filles de Shuafat, gérée par l’agence de l’ONU pour les réfugiés palestiniens, l’UNRWA. (...)

    #Jerusalem


  • Palestinian teen shot, killed by Israeli forces in al-Bireh
    Dec. 14, 2018 5:39 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 14, 2018 5:55 P.M.)
    http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?ID=782092

    RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — A 16-year-old Palestinian was shot and killed by Israeli forces during clashes that erupted in the al-Jalazun refugee camp north of al-Bireh in the central occupied West Bank, on Friday evening.

    The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that a Palestinian from the al-Jalazun refugee camp arrived to the Palestine Medical Center in a critical condition.

    Sources added that the teen was injured with live bullets in the abdomen.

    The ministry identified the killed teen as Mahmoud Youssef Nakhleh.

    Israeli forces opened fire at the teen from a very close range; from less than 10 meters away.

    Israeli soldiers attempted to detain Nakhleh afterwards, however, Palestinian Red Crescent paramedics were able to take him and transfer him to the Palestine Medical Center after having to quarrel Israeli soldiers for more than 30 minutes.

    Nakhleh was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

    #Palestine_assassinée

    • After Shooting a Palestinian Teen, Israeli Troops Dragged Him Around – and Chased an Ambulance Away

      A Palestinian from the Jalazun refugee camp was shot in the back and died after soldiers kept him from receiving medical care
      Gideon Levy and Alex Levac Dec 20, 2018
      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium--1.6765800

      What goes through the head of soldiers, young Israelis, after they shoot an unarmed Palestinian teenager in the back with live ammunition, prevent him from getting medical treatment, move him around, putting him on the ground and then picking him up again – and chase away an ambulance at gunpoint? For 15 minutes, the Israel Defense Forces soldiers carried the dying Mahmoud Nakhle , pulling him by his hands and feet, it’s not clear why or where, before allowing him to be evacuated. They had already shot him and wounded him badly. He was dying. Why not let the Palestinian ambulance that arrived at the site rush him to the hospital and possibly save his life? Nakhle died from a bullet in his liver and loss of blood. He was two weeks after his 18th birthday, the only son of parents who are descendants of refugees, and he lived in the Jalazun refugee camp adjacent to Ramallah, in the West Bank.

      Nakhle was killed last Friday, December 14.

      Getting to Jalazun took a long time this week; it was a long and stressful trip. Overnight, terror attacks and other sights of the intifada had returned simultaneously: innumerable surprise checkpoints, such as we hadn’t seen for years; long lines of Palestinian vehicles, forced to wait for hours; drivers emerging from their cars and waiting in desperation by the side of the road, anger and frustration etched on their faces; roads blocked arbitrarily, with people signaling each other as to which was open and which was closed; some cars making their way cross-country via boulder-strewn areas and dirt paths to bypass the roadblocks, until those options, too, were sealed off by the army. And also aggressive, edgy, frightened soldiers, carrying weapons that threatened just about anyone who made a move near them.

      Welcome back to the days of the intifada, welcome to a trip into the past: Even if only for a moment, the West Bank this week regressed 15 years, to the start of the millennium.

      The wind blows cold at the Jalazun camp. A throng of thousands of children and teenagers is streaming down the road, heading home from their schools run by UNRWA, the United Nations refugee agency. The two schools, one for boys and one for girls, are situated at the camp’s entrance, on both sides of the main Ramallah-Nablus road. We were here a year and a half ago, after IDF soldiers shot up a car stolen from Israel when it stopped outside the settlement of Beit El, spraying it with at least 10 rounds, and killing two of its passengers. About half a year ago, we returned to the camp to meet Mohammed Nakhle, the bereaved father of 16-year-old Jassem, one of those fatalities. The father cried through our entire meeting, even though this was a year after he had lost Jassem.

      Mahmoud Nakhle, who was killed last week, was a relative of Jassem’s.

      Last Friday, there was stone throwing in the valley between Jalazun’s boys’ school and the first houses of Beit El, across the way. The soldiers fired tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets at the young Palestinians. Quite a few of the camp’s residents have been killed at this spot, which has become a main arena of the struggle against the large, veteran settlement that looms through every window in poverty-stricken, overcrowded Jalazun, situated below.

      The stone throwing had slowed down in the afternoon and had just about stopped when an IDF force, arriving in two vehicles, began chasing after the youths, who were now on their way back to the camp, at about 4 P.M. The latter numbered about 15 teens, aged 14 to 18. Suddenly the soldiers started shooting, using live ammunition – even as calm was apparently about to be restored. A video clip, one of several that captured the event, shows the soldiers walking along the road and firing into the air.

      The wail of an ambulance slashes the air now, as we stand at the site of the incident with Iyad Hadad, a field investigator for the Israeli human-rights organization B’Tselem, who collected testimony from eyewitnesses. Nakhle chose to return home by way of a dirt path that passes above the camp. The soldiers ran after him and one of them shot him once, in the lower back. Nakhle fell to the ground, bleeding.

      The occupant of the first-floor apartment in the closest building in Jalazun, just meters from the site of the incident, heard the shot, the groans and a call for help. She assumed someone had been wounded, but wasn’t sure where or who he was. From her window she saw a group of soldiers standing in a circle, though she couldn’t see the wounded person who lay on the ground between them. A second eyewitness saw one soldier nudge Nakhle with his foot, apparently to see if the teen was still alive. They then pulled up his shirt and pulled down his pants, apparently to check whether the stone-throwing youth was a dangerous, booby-trapped terrorist. As the video accounts show, he was left lying like that, exposed in his blue underwear. The woman from the apartment rushed out to summon help, but the soldiers fired toward her to drive her off. One bullet struck her husband’s car.

      The soldiers lifted Nakhle up and carried him a few dozen meters from where he’d fallen, laying him down at the side of the road. One of the eyewitnesses related that they carried him “like you haul a slaughtered sheep.” The video clip shows them carrying him not in the prescribed way for moving someone who is seriously wounded, but by his hands and his feet, his back sagging.

      Before the soldiers shot at the first eyewitness – whose identity is known to the B’Tselem investigator – to scare her off, she shouted at them to let the wounded person be and to allow him to be taken to hospital in an ambulance. “Leave him alone, do you want to kill him… give him aid.” She also shouted at the soldiers that she was his mother – apparently hoping that the lie would stir pity in them – but to no avail. In the video shot by her daughter on her cell phone, the woman sounds overwrought, gasping for breath as she cries out, “In God’s name, call an ambulance!”

      After five to seven minutes, the soldiers again lifted Nakhle, once more by his extremities, and carried him a few dozen meters more, in the direction of the main road, and again laid him by the roadside. A Palestinian ambulance that had arrived at the scene was chased off by the soldiers, who threatened the driver with their rifles. As far as is known, the soldiers did not give Nakhle any sort of medical aid. The woman from the house again shouted, now from her window: “In God’s name, let the ambulance take him away.” But still to no avail.

      It was only after a quarter of an hour, during which Nakhle continued to bleed, that the soldiers allowed an ambulance to be summoned. A video clip shows Nakhle raising one hand limply to the back of his neck, proof that he was still alive. Half-naked, he’s placed on a stretcher and put in the ambulance, which speeds off, its siren wailing, to the Government Hospital in Ramallah.

      The teen apparently breathed his last en route, arriving at the hospital with no pulse. Attempts were made to resuscitate him in the ER and to perform emergency surgery, but after half an hour, he was pronounced dead. Dr. Muayad Bader, a physician in the hospital, wrote on the death certificate that Mahmoud Nakhle died from loss of blood after a bullet entered his lower back, struck his liver and hit a main artery, damaging other internal organs.

      A group of children is now standing at the site where Nakhle fell, practicing stone throwing on the way back from school. They hurl the stones to the ground in a demonstrative fit of anger. In the mourning tent that was erected in the courtyard of the camp, adorned with huge posters of the deceased, the men sit, grim-faced, with the bereaved father, Yusuf Nakhle, 41, in the center. Disabled from birth, he is partially paralyzed in his left arm and leg. We asked him to tell us about Mahmoud’s life.

      “What life? He hadn’t yet lived his life, they robbed him of his life,” he replies softly. Mahmoud attended school until the 10th grade and then studied electrical engineering at a professional college in Qalandiyah. He completed his studies and afterward a year of apprenticeship, and was waiting to find a job as an electrician. His father was waiting for him to help provide for the family. Yusuf is a technician at a pharmaceuticals company in Bir Zeit, near Ramallah. He and his wife, Ismahan, 45, have two more daughters, aged 14 and 4. Mahmoud was their only son.

      In response to an inquiry, the IDF Spokesman’s Office gave Haaretz the following statement this week: “On December 14, 2018, there was a violent disturbance adjacent to Jalazun, during which dozens of Palestinians threw rocks at IDF soldiers. The soldiers responded with demonstration-dispersal measures.

      “During the disturbance, a Palestinian holding a suspicious object approached one of the soldiers. The soldier fired at him. Later, it was reported that the Palestinian had been killed. The Military Police have launched an investigation into the incident. Upon its completion, the findings will be transferred to the military advocate general’s office.”

      The spokesman’s office did not respond to a question regarding the denial of medical assistance to Mahmoud Nahle.

      Last Friday, the hours passed normally in the home of Nakhle family in the Jalazun camp. Breakfast, a shower; the son asks his father if he needs anything before going out around midday. Never to return. At 4:30, Yusuf’s brother called to inform him that his son had been wounded and was in the Government Hospital. By the time his father arrived, Mahmoud had been pronounced dead.

      “We are human beings and it is our right to live and to look after our children. We too have feelings, like all people,” says Rabah, Mahmoud’s uncle, the brother of his father. Yusuf has watched the video clips that document the shooting and the hauling of his dying son dozens of times, over and over. Ismahan can’t bring herself to look at them.


  • Israel’s Supreme Court, a place of deceit

    Court, a Place of Deceit
    East Jerusalem residents have learned that while justice may be meant to be seen, it’s not necessarily meant to be heard

    Ilana Hammerman
    Dec 05, 2018 2:39 AM

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-israel-s-supreme-court-a-place-of-deceit-1.6719983

    “Go, and try to understand every word spoken in this chamber, which hover for a moment in its enormous space, before escaping to the sides and above through the many cracks in its walls,” I muttered to myself several weeks ago in Chamber C of Jerusalem’s Supreme Court.
    From those words I could decipher, I learned that in the case being heard there are people seeking to remain living in their homes and there are others who claim that the land under these homes belongs to them, and thus the homes as well. And some claim the destiny of the land is not the destiny of the homes. One belongs to so-and-so and his descendants, while the other belongs to another person and his issue. Plus, there are documents attesting one thing and others attesting to another. And there are documents related to this parcel of land but not to its neighbor.
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    I also understood that the petitioners representing the people seeking to stay in their homes – who are making legal arguments on their behalf, pleading persistently, shouting beneath the enormous domes – are wasting their time. For the destiny of the people who have sent them here has already been determined, and the Supreme Court, sitting on high, believes that it does not have the authority to discuss the evidence they bother to formulate in the Hebrew language that is not their own.
    It turns out that all the evidence was already discussed exhaustively in a lower court, which already ruled that the residents are themselves the trespassers. And because they delayed – the proceedings intended to get rid of them were unfortunately for them done without their knowledge – the statute of limitations applies to some of their lawsuits.
    This is not the first time that I have wondered whether the acoustic conditions in this chamber do not bear witness that while justice may be meant to be seen, it is not necessarily meant to be heard. Nor is it the first time that I have thought while sitting in it that perhaps it is better that way. For more than one of the details debated here lack content that should really interest human beings who have the brains to understand and the tools to take interest and learn the facts. And indeed, I know the facts well, and so this list will end with a decisive decision.

    On that fall day, November13, the Supreme Court discussed the fate of dozens of people who have lived for 64 years in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Israeli law had made it possible for three Israeli associations – the Council of the Sephardi Community in Jerusalem, the Committee of Knesset Israel and Nahalat Shimon – to evict them from their homes and to replace them with other people.
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    The judges, after masquerading briefly while as people sincerely and innocently seeking to decide without bias between the attorneys wrangling at their feet, then began to play their true role. They obeyed the law, and with it the policy determining what the law is, and ruled against the petitioners, and in favor of the three associations; the appeal was denied.
    And what does Israeli law state, and in particular, what are its practical implications, what is the personal tragedy to which it condemns its victims? Because the law here serves to cover for usurpation and ideology, things are best explained simply without leaving this issue to legalists.
    A woman my age, sitting with me in her house, from which she is to be evicted, explained the story in simple terms, albeit it with agitation. Here is a summary: Her parents were born in Jaffa and raised there. She was born in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria, to which her family was expelled/fled in 1948. As part of a family reunification program, she went from there to Sheikh Jarrah to live with her husband, who also comes from a family of refugees from Jaffa. That family had been lucky enough to find temporary shelter with relatives in Jerusalem, and the Jordanian regime, the sovereign at the time, allocated her and other refugee families land in Sheikh Jarrah in 1954, and the UNRWA funded the construction of their homes.
    Some 40 members of her family, including her, her children and her grandchildren, live there. Meanwhile, they became subjects of Israel, which tripled the size of Jerusalem in 1967 and extended civilian law over all of it. According to that system of laws and to the decisions of the courts of the new sovereign, the entire compound in Sheikh Jarrah, where hundreds of families live, now belongs to those who made themselves the inheritors of the small Jewish community that had bought it during the Ottoman period.
    Therefore, this family, like its partners in misery who were already evicted and the dozens of others destined to be condemned in future cases – can expect soon to receive notice of an eviction date from the bailiff’s office. If they don’t leave of their own free will, they will be evicted by force in the dead of night. The woman who told me the story kept looking in my eyes, asking: “Perhaps you will tell me where we should go to now? Where to?”
    A week later, on November 21, the Supreme Court rejected the appeal of hundreds of other Jerusalem Palestinians – residents of Batan al-Hawa in the Silwan neighborhood. These residents are being harassed by other Israeli groups: Ateret Cohanim and Elad. Regarding this appeal as well, exacting hearings had already been held in Chamber C, and then too I really tried to grasp the legal thinness in their tale before they drift off through the traditional openings in the lofty dome. And this story also deserves being told in the language of man.
    It goes like this: At the end of the 19th century, merciful Jews bought a modest site in the village of Silwan, which then was outside Jerusalem, to build under cover of Ottoman law, a poorhouse for Yemenite Jews who couldn’t find a roof to live under in the holy city. Not many years later, the land was full of violent altercations and the poorhouse residents were forced to evacuate their homes. Years passed. They and their successors spread across the country.
    The country’s rulers changed three times, and self-proclaimed heir also arose: Atret Cohanim. It was clever in various ways – the time was the beginning of this century and Silwan had become a Jerusalem neighborhood crowded with tens of thousands of Palestinians, and the ruler was now the State of Israel – and demanded and received the inheritance from the Administrator General, who had received it from the state, which authorized him to determine what would be done with properties in Jerusalem that had once belonged to Jews. Based on this procedure, the courts in Israel awarded Ateret Cohanim rights to the compound in the heart of Silwan. And now justice will be done without pity.
    You can read in full how everything unfolded, if you want, in the 2015 investigative report published by Nir Hasson in this paper . It’s a tale spiced with bribes paid behind closed doors, people who were tempted to condemn their souls in order to attain a more comfortable life and, above all, the story of M, the resident of a West Bank settlement, whose hand is in everything but whose name it is forbidden to publish, lest it be to his detriment. The story does not end well or fairly, or even with finality, as the rejection of the petition makes clear – it just gets worse.
    Thus, you may want to go the trouble of visiting the neighborhood for yourself, in order to see the explosive and forlorn reality that the splendor of Chamber C in the Supreme Court swallowed in its entirety, like it swallowed the more modest site in Sheikh Jarrah. The law that rules here is the law of naked power. The military regime that embitters the lives of thousands to protect a few dozen Jews, who settled among the thousands in homes whose residents were already evicted, and to protect the stylized national park established next to them for the thousands of visitors streaming here. The sovereign here is the Elad organization. Thanks to its iniquities, you can see how the lives of thousands of Palestinians here are imprisoned and destroyed, and feel the cracks that are gaping in their residences because of the tunnel dug under them for the greater glory of Israel’s ideological archaeology.
    And if you don’t want to venture into areas unfamiliar to you and to your worldview, remain at home, but turn on your honest brain and the integrity of your heart. It will not take much to persuade you that all the legal hairsplitting that has for decades filled the courts of the Jewish-democratic state with hearings on the fate of the homes and lands of people in the territories conquered in 1967 collapses and is crushed like so much straw, in spite of the opposition by lawyers who continue to insist on defending human rights and serving as extras in an absurd farce. For one and only one law whispers yet thunders here behind the scenes, and only that one triumphs over this theater of deceit – the law of the godly promise written in a book that is thousands of years old: “For I give all the land that you see to you and your offspring forever” (Genesis 13:15).
    Thus, this and nothing else is the lesson: Until the statute of limitations is applied to this ancient law, there will be no justice here. For whether the god who made the promise still lives on high and watches his creatures in great sorrow from there, or whether he has been redeemed and died – here, on Earth, in this unholy land, the lives of tens of thousands of people are being destroyed and will be destroyed many times over, because of those who appointed themselves as the arm of power of the sole rulers.


  • Botched Israeli operation in Gaza endangers human rights groups - Palestinians

    If it turns out that the IDF invented a fictitious aid group for the operation, from now on it can be expected that every real new organization will find it difficult to be trusted by the authorities and residents in the Gaza Strip

    Amira Hass
    Nov 25, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium-botched-israeli-operation-in-gaza-endangers-human-rights-groups-1.

    If members of the Israeli special operations force that Hamas exposed in the Gaza Strip this month indeed impersonated aid workers, as Walla news and the Israel Television News Company reported, it will reinforce and even retroactively justify Hamas’ longtime suspicions.
    Hamas has in the past claimed that, consciously or not, international humanitarian organizations assist Israel’s Shin Bet security service and the Israeli military.
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    This is exactly what the employees of foreign aid organizations, as well as Palestinian ones with some foreign staff, fear. A senior employee in one of these organizations told Haaretz that if Israel has abused the network of international or local aid groups, it could undermine the critical activities of organizations large and small: The Hamas government that controls the Gaza Strip might take precautions that will interfere with their entry into the Strip and their work.
    “No one will listen to the protest of a small organization on the exploitation of humanitarian activity,” he said. “Large organizations need to make their voices heard.”

    The bodies of four of the six men killed during an Israeli raid on Khan Younis in a hospital morgue in Gaza, on Sunday, November 11, 2018AFP
    Foreigners who entered the Gaza Strip last week reported more exacting questioning than usual at Hamas’ border control position and strict identity checks of passengers at checkpoints within the Strip.

    A Westerner who visits the Strip frequently told Haaretz they sense some suspicion on the part of ordinary Gazans toward foreigners — and not for the first time.
    What is interesting is that Palestinian media outlets did not publish the suspicions about the Israel special force impersonating aid workers: In other words, Hamas did not raise this claim publicly.
    According to versions heard in the Gaza Strip, the members of the unit carried forged Palestinian ID cards, presumably of Gazans, and said they had food distribution coupons. It also seems they spent a number of days in the Strip before they were exposed.
    Working for an aid organization is a logical and convenient cover story. As part of the strict limits on movement by Israel, foreigners and Palestinians who are not residents of the Strip, who work for international aid organizations (and foreign journalists) are among the few who receive entry permits into the Gaza Strip.

    Palestinian militants of Hamas’ military wing attend the funeral of seven Palestinians, killed during an Israeli special forces operation in the Gaza, in Khan Younis, on November 12, 2018.AFP
    Hamas senior official Moussa Abu Marzouk was quoted as hinting that the entry of the unit was made possible through a checkpoint of the Palestinian Authority, at the Erez border crossing.
    His statement fed the constant suspicions against the PA’s security services of cooperation and help for the Israeli security forces. But knowing how the official entry process into the Gaza Strip from Israel works raises doubts about the feasibility of this scenario.
    In addition to navigating the bureaucracy of Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories to obtain an entry permit from Israel, foreigners seeking to enter the Gaza Strip must also coordinate their travel in advance with the Hamas authorities.
    To enter officially through the Erez crossing, you must submit full identification details, including details on the purpose of the visit and the organization and identity of contact persons inside the Gaza Strip.
    >> How Hamas sold out Gaza for cash from Qatar and collaboration with Israel | Opinion
    The military unit’s entry through Erez would have required Israel to use the name of a well-known aid organization, which would not raise any suspicions. Did the Israel Defense Forces use the name of an organization such as UNRWA or an Italian aid group funded by the European Union, for example?
    And if it turns out that to carry out the mission, the IDF invented a fictitious aid group a long time ago, and in doing so received the help of COGAT, from now on it can be expected that every real new organization will find it difficult to be trusted by the authorities and residents in the Gaza Strip.
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    On entry to the Gaza Strip, those who receive permits go through four checkpoints: On the Israel side of the crossing, at the first registration position of the PA on the other side of the crossing, at the checkpoint of the PA police, which was once the Hamas checkpoint and was handed over to the PA about a year ago when it was attempted to establish a reconciliation government, and at the new registration position of Hamas, which has restarted operations these last few months.
    Even those bearing Palestinian identity cards — which according to reports the members of the unit carried — must pass through the posts of the PA and Hamas and answer questions. At the Hamas position, suitcases are not always checked, but a person who often enters the Gaza Strip told Haaretz that the check — even if only to search for alcohol — is always a risk to be taken into account.
    It is hard to believe that the members of the Israeli military unit would have entered Gaza without weapons, on one hand, or would have risked exposure, on the other, he said. 
    One gets the impression from media reports that Hamas and the IDF are both busy competing over who was humiliated more by the exposure of the unit’s operations. What is certain is that making humanitarian aid into a tool in the service of Israeli military intelligence contributes to the feeling of vulnerability and isolation of the Strip.


  • L’Assemblée Générale de l’ONU vote en faveur de 8 résolutions sur le Palestine
    2M - 17/11/2018 à 12:31
    http://www.2m.ma/fr/news/lassemblee-generale-de-lonu-vote-en-faveur-de-8-resolutions-sur-le-palestine-2018

    L’Assemblée générale des Nations unies a voté, ce samedi 17 novembre, en majorité en faveur de huit résolutions sur la Palestine. Il s’agit d’un nouveau soutien de la communauté internationale à la cause palestinienne en dépit des tentatives menées pour l’affaiblir et la contrecarrer.

    L’observateur permanent de la Palestine auprès de l’ONU, Riyad Mansour, a indiqué suite à ce vote que « l’Assemblée générale de l’ONU a voté en faveur de quatre résolutions relatives à l’Office de secours des Nations unies pour les réfugiés de Palestine (UNRWA) et de quatre autres sur les pratiques des forces d’occupation israéliennes dans les territoires palestiniens occupés », a rapporté l’agence Wafa, (Wikalat al-Anba’ al-Falestinya).

    L’agence de presse palestinienne a affirmé d’après Riyad Mansour toujours que ce vote de la communauté internationale est une « preuve du soutien permanent à la cause palestinienne ».

    Ces textes de résolution ont été entérinés par 155 voix pour et 5 contre, à savoir, (Etats-Unis, Canada, Israël, Iles Marshall, Etats fédérés de Micronésie), tandis que 10 pays se sont abstenus (Australie, Cameroun, Côte d’Ivoire, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexique, Palaos, Rwanda, Iles Salomon, Togo).

    Il s’agit, entre autres, des projets de résolution portant sur les « personnes déplacées à la suite des hostilités de juin 1967 et des hostilités qui ont suivi », des « opérations de l’Office de secours et de travaux des Nations unies pour les réfugiés de Palestine dans le Proche-Orient » et « des propriétés des réfugiés de Palestine et leurs revenus ».

    L’Assemblée générale de l’ONU a approuvé, également, un projet de résolution sur « l’applicabilité de la Convention de Genève relative à la protection des personnes civiles en temps de guerre du 12 août 1949, aux territoires palestiniens occupés, y compris El Qods-Est et aux autres territoires arabes occupés » et un projet relatif aux « Travaux du Comité spécial chargé d’enquêter sur les pratiques israéliennes affectant les droits de l’homme du peuple palestinien et des autres Arabes des territoires occupés ».

    #PalestineONU


  • UNHCR | Publication d’un rapport sur l’apatridie en Suisse
    https://asile.ch/2018/11/13/unhcr-publication-dun-rapport-sur-lapatridie-en-suisse

    Le Bureau suisse du UNHCR publie les résultats d’une étude sur la situation des apatrides en Suisse. L’analyse des informations récoltées sur l’ampleur, les causes et les conséquences de l’apatridie a permis de formuler de nombreuses recommandations pratiques. Principal constat : la Suisse peut mieux faire pour protéger et accueillir les personnes apatrides. Le résumé en […]

    • La reconnaissance timide des apatrides en Suisse

      En Europe, la Suisse reste particulièrement restrictive face aux droits accordés internationalement aux personnes apatrides. Une attitude documentée par une étude inédite publiée ce mardi par le bureau helvétique de l’Agence des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés. Souveraineté et lutte contre les abus y priment sur les besoins de protection de ces personnes qui « n’ont pas le droit d’avoir des droits », selon l’expression du HCR.


      https://www.swissinfo.ch/fre/politique/la-reconnaissance-timide-des-apatrides-en-suisse/44541420

    • En Suisse, le taux de reconnaissance des apatrides est trop bas selon le HCR qui demande des changements

      Lors d’une conférence récente à Berne, le Bureau du HCR pour la Suisse et le Liechtenstein communiquait les résultats d’une Etude sur l’apatridie en Suisse (1). Elle a été conduite dans le cadre de la campagne mondiale #IBelong (#J’appartiens) du HCR pour mettre fin à l’apatridie dans le monde d’ici 2024. Selon l’ONU, 10 millions de personnes dont un tiers d’enfants dans le monde sont privés de nationalité et n’accèdent que très rarement à l’éducation, à l’emploi et aux soins médicaux (2). Sans aucune protection étatique, elles sont souvent victimes des pires violences. “Invisible. C’est le terme le plus couramment utilisé pour décrire la vie sans nationalité” précise souvent Filippo Grandi, Haut Commissaire des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés.

      L’étude sur la situation des apatrides en Suisse est critique à l’égard des autorités suisses et aboutit à une série de recommandations

      D’où vient l’inquiétude ? Principalement du taux de reconnaissance bas. En septembre 2018, seulement 606 personnes étaient reconnues comme apatrides alors que 1000 autres personnes figuraient dans les catégories statistiques appelées « sans nationalité » ou « État inconnu ». C’est la procédure de reconnaissance en apatridie qui fait défaut selon le HCR qui estime aussi que les autorités suisse devraient se conformer davantage à la Convention de 1954 relative au statut des apatrides.

      Interrogée après la conférence, Anja Klug, directrice du Bureau du HCR pour la Suisse et le Liechtenstein (HCR) précise que “la Suisse n’est pas la moins bonne élève en Europe. Elle est avec la France et l’Angleterre l’un des seuls pays à avoir une procédure de reconnaissance avec une unité spécialement consacrée à la procédure. Et il faut souligner que la Suisse ne fait pas partie des pays qui créent l’apatridie comme c’est le cas des pays baltes et des pays de l’ex-Yougoslavie où les Roms ont des difficultés importantes pour obtenir la nationalité des pays où ils résident. Mais ce qu’on peut critiquer le plus est le taux de reconnaissance très bas. La situation est particulièrement grave pour les personnes palestiniennes et kurdes en provenance de Syrie qui ne reçoivent que très rarement le statut d’apatride, ce qui est vraiment problématique.”

      A ce jour, la Suisse a adhéré à la Convention de 1954 relative au statut des apatrides qui précise qui est apatride et les droits attachés au statut. Elle tourne encore le dos à la Convention de 1961 sur la réduction des cas d’apatridie, à la Convention européenne de 1997 sur la nationalité et à la Convention du Conseil de l’Europe de 2006 sur la prévention des cas d’apatridie en relation avec la succession d’Etats. Or, l’adhésion à ces instruments est primordiale pour réduire autant que possible les cas d’apatridie en Suisse.

      Parmi les nombreuses recommandations, citons tout d’abord la procédure défaillante de reconnaissance des apatrides qui ne prévoit pas d’audition. Le candidat est un numéro qui est recalé si un document manque au dossier. Il existe une possibilité de recours au Tribunal administratif fédéral (TAF) mais le HCR insiste sur la nécessité d’introduire, comme dans la procédure d’asile, le droit d’être entendu lors d’une audition. Pour cela il faudrait une loi ou une directive, malheureusement inexistante aujourd’hui. En outre, la question du fardeau de la preuve qui incombe uniquement aux candidats et le devoir de démontrer “un intérêt digne d’être protégé” sont deux exigences qui rendent la reconnaissance très difficile. Clairement, les personnes qui soumettent une demande en reconnaissance d’apatridie sont moins bien traités que les requérants d’asile alors qu’ils méritent une procédure semblable.

      Le HCR déplore aussi l’interprétation restrictive que les autorités suisses font de la notion de “personnes apatrides” définie dans la Convention de 1954. La Suisse ne reconnaît pas les personnes apatrides de facto, celles que leur Etat décide de ne pas reconnaître. Pour Anja Klug, une telle interprétation n’est pas conforme à la convention. Elle s’explique dans un article récent (3) : “Si l’on se réfère à la Convention relative au statut des apatrides, la seule question déterminante consiste pourtant à savoir si un Etat considère les personnes concernées comme ses ressortissants ou non. Le même problème se pose pour les personnes qui ont renoncé à leur nationalité (ou n’ont pas fait tout ce qui était en leur pouvoir pour l’acquérir ou la réintégrer) : le droit suisse ne les reconnaît pas non plus comme des apatrides, même si elles le sont en vertu de la Convention de 1954.” Autre critique, la Suisse exclut systématiquement toutes les personnes qui peuvent bénéficier de la protection d’une organisation de l’ONU. C’est le cas des personnes palestiniennes sous mandat de protection de l’UNRWA. Même si cette manière de faire correspond aux clauses d’exclusion prévues dans la Convention de 1954, pour des raisons pratiques et humanitaire, le HCR recommande de ne pas les exclure automatiquement.

      Autre requête du HCR, celle qui demande à la Suisse de combler les lacunes concernant le statut juridique des apatrides. Si les apatrides jouissent de la plupart des droits minimaux (autorisation de séjour, accès au marché du travail, liberté de circulation, prestations d’aide sociale), le droit au regroupement familial n’est pas garanti et la procédure de naturalisation facilitée n’est ouverte qu’aux mineurs. Or il est nécessaire que les enfants apatrides puissent obtenir automatiquement la citoyenneté suisse, sans en faire la demande sinon ils héritent de l’apatridie de leurs parents. Ce serait le moyen d’éviter la transmission de l’apatridie de générations en générations.

      Enfin, le HCR recommande aux autorités d’abandonner le « Passeport pour étrangers » et de remettre le « Titre de voyage pour apatrides » prévu par la Convention de 1954 et plus largement reconnu à l’international afin de faciliter les voyages à l’étranger. Cette modification pourrait avoir lieu rapidement. Si le Secrétariat d’Etat aux migrations (SEM) est déjà en train de revoir quelques modalités de procédure, il se déclare limité par l’absence de loi spécifique sur l’apatridie. Il s’avère que le manque de connaissance générale de la problématique est flagrante en Suisse. Une amélioration immédiate dans la prise en compte des personnes apatrides passe par une meilleure information mise à disposition des demandeurs et aussi par la formation des personnes qui auditionnent les requérants d’asile.

      Anja Klug estime que “la Suisse a son rôle à jouer en politique étrangère, vis-à-vis de pays comme la Syrie, qui devraient modifier leur législation notamment en matière de transmission de la nationalité par les femmes, ce qui permettrait de diminuer grandement le nombre d’apatrides en provenance de cette région du monde. La Suisse peut et doit encourager d’autres Etats à ne plus être des pays producteurs d’apatrides.”


      https://blogs.letemps.ch/jasmine-caye/2018/11/25/en-suisse-le-taux-de-reconnaissance-des-apatrides-est-trop-bas-selon-l


  • « Notre but n’est pas la sécurité d’Israël, mais de contrôler les Palestiniens » - Le Point

    INTERVIEW. Ancien sniper de Tsahal de 2005 à 2008, le militant israélien Nadav Weiman interprète les consignes données aux soldats israéliens. De notre envoyé spécial à Tel Aviv, Armin Arefi

    https://www.lepoint.fr/monde/notre-but-n-est-pas-la-securite-d-israel-mais-de-controler-les-palestiniens-

    Deux cent dix-huit Palestiniens tués. Un mort, côté israélien. Depuis le 30 mars dernier, les balles de snipers de Tsahal pleuvent chaque vendredi à la frontière entre la bande de Gaza et Israël, pour empêcher des milliers de manifestants palestiniens de s’approcher de la barrière de sécurité qui sépare l’enclave palestinienne de l’État hébreu. À travers cette « Marche du retour », les Gazaouis entendent retourner sur la terre dont leurs ancêtres ont été expulsés à l’issue de la première guerre israélo-arabe de 1948. Mais ils comptent avant tout sur cette mobilisation pour obtenir la levée du double blocus économique et sécuritaire israélo-égyptien qui a contribué à faire de leur minuscule territoire l’un des plus pauvres au monde. Chômage record, pénurie d’électricité et eau polluée, « Gaza est en train d’imploser », s’est alarmé le mois dernier Nickolay Mladenov, émissaire de l’ONU pour le Proche-Orient.
    PUBLICITÉ

    inRead invented by Teads

    Lire aussi Gaza : « Nous vivons tous grâce aux aides de l’UNRWA »

    « À l’origine, le mouvement [de la Marche du retour] n’a pas été créé par le Hamas », admet le lieutenant-colonel Jonathan Conricus, porte-parole de l’armée israélienne (Tsahal). « Mais cette organisation terroriste l’a facilement récupéré et toute sa logistique est désormais entre les mains du Hamas. » S’ils étaient au départ en majorité pacifiques, les manifestants palestiniens ont ensuite lancé de nombreux cerfs-volants incendiaires qui ont atteint les localités israéliennes avoisinantes et brûlé des champs.

    De son côté, Tsahal a mobilisé dès les premiers jours de nombreux snipers qui n’ont pas hésité à tirer sur les manifestants. Mais le lieutenant-colonel Jonathan Conricus reste droit dans ses bottes : le Hamas utilise désormais des civils comme arme pour tenter de rentrer en Israël en traversant la grille de sécurité », affirme-t-il. « Si nous ne les arrêtons pas, alors leur prochaine cible sera les communautés israéliennes qu’ils n’hésiteront pas à tuer. »

    Lire aussi Gaza : traverser la frontière, et après ?
    Une version à laquelle n’adhère sûrement pas Nadav Weiman. Sniper de l’armée israélienne entre 2005 et 2008 en Cisjordanie, à Gaza et à la frontière libanaise, cet ancien soldat de Tsahal est aujourd’hui membre de l’ONG Breaking the Silence, visant à éclairer le public israélien et la communauté internationale sur les pratiques des FDI (forces de défense israélienne). Dans une interview au Point, ce militant israélien de 32 ans nous donne sa vision des consignes données aux soldats de Tsahal.

    « L’ordre est d’instiller la peur chez les Palestiniens. De leur donner le sentiment qu’ils sont chassés, que Tsahal peut être partout, tout le temps »


  • Ces divisions qui menacent l’avenir de la Palestine
    Nada Yafi > 8 novembre 2018
    https://orientxxi.info/magazine/ces-divisions-qui-menacent-l-avenir-de-la-palestine,2718

    Entretien avec Omar Shaban · Un effondrement de Gaza retentirait sur toute la question palestinienne, voire sur Israël. Omar Shaban, directeur de l’ONG palestinienne Pal-Think for Strategic Studies et politologue basé à Gaza tire la sonnette d’alarme : le blocus israélien, les séquelles des guerres successives, la réduction du budget de l’UNRWA représentent un péril immédiat, mais il en est de même des divisions au sein du mouvement palestinien.(...)

    #Gaza


  • L’UE face au défi du plan de paix israélo-palestinien de Trump - Mediapart - 31 octobre 2018 Par Agence Reuters
    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/311018/lue-face-au-defi-du-plan-de-paix-israelo-palestinien-de-trump?onglet=full

    (...) PARTENAIRE ÉCONOMIQUE MAJEUR

    Sur le papier, l’UE est pourtant en position de force pour peser sur l’issue du conflit, puisqu’elle est à la fois le premier partenaire commercial d’Israël (34,3 milliards d’euros d’échanges en 2016 et un tiers des exportations israéliennes absorbées par les Vingt-Huit) et la première contributrice à l’aide aux Palestiniens, un rôle encore plus crucial depuis que les Etats-Unis ont cessé de financer l’UNRWA.

    Dans les arcanes de la diplomatie européenne, certains rêvent de voir Bruxelles hausser le ton, surtout si l’éventuel plan de paix de Donald Trump devait, comme il y a tout lieu de le craindre, remettre en cause la création, ou la viabilité, d’un Etat palestinien.

    « Une réponse potentiellement efficace serait d’annoncer que l’UE va reconnaître l’Etat palestinien », suggère un diplomate en poste à Paris.

    Plusieurs Etats membres ont récemment fait cette démarche à titre individuel (Portugal en 2012, Suède en 2014) et d’autres avant leur adhésion à l’UE et le lancement du processus de paix d’Oslo, lors de la proclamation unilatérale d’indépendance du Conseil national palestinien en 1988 (Malte, Chypre et les pays de l’ex-bloc de l’Est).

    Mais une reconnaissance collective aurait plus de poids et elle éloignerait le spectre d’un enterrement de première classe de la solution à deux Etats, veut croire le diplomate.

    « Cela permettrait à l’UE de faire pression sur l’Autorité palestinienne pour qu’elle respecte sa part du marché, notamment le processus de réconciliation dans la bande de Gaza bloqué par (le président palestinien) Mahmoud Abbas pour des raisons de tactique politicienne intérieure, tout en faisant comprendre à Israël que la politique du fait accompli ne fonctionnera pas », argumente-t-il.

    Encore faudrait-il que l’UE accepte de se concevoir en tant que grande puissance, un enjeu qui dépasse de loin le cadre du processus de paix au Proche-Orient. (...)

    #Israel-UE


  • Polluted water leading cause of child mortality in Gaza, study finds -

    With 43 Olympic swimming pools worth of sewage water flowing from Gaza toward Israel and Egypt daily, researchers say local epidemic is only a matter of time
    By Yaniv Kubovich Oct 16, 2018
    0comments Print Zen

    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium.MAGAZINE-polluted-water-a-leading-cause-of-gazan-child-mortality-s

    Illness caused by water pollution is a leading cause of child mortality in the Gaza Strip, says a study by the RAND Corporation, a copy of which was obtained by Haaretz.
    The study shows that water pollution accounts for more than a quarter of illnesses in Gaza and that more than 12 percent of child deaths up until four years ago was linked to gastrointestinal disorders due to water pollution. Since that time these numbers have continued to grow.
    The collapse of water infrastructure has led to a sharp rise in germs and viruses such as rotavirus, cholera and salmonella, the report says.

    The data appear in a study by Dr. Shira Efron, a special adviser on Israel and policy researcher at RAND’s Center for Middle East Public Policy; Dr. Jordan Fishbach, co-director of the Water and Climate Resilience Center at RAND; and Dr. Melinda Moore, a senior physician, policy researcher and associate director of the Population Health Program at RAND.
    The researchers based their study on previous cases in the world in which wars and instability created a water crisis and hurt infrastructure, such as in Iraq and Yemen, where mortality has been on the rise and other health problems have surfaced. In the period studied, they collected material from various officials in Gaza, the Palestinian Authority, Israel, Jordan and Egypt.

    The emergency department at Shifa Hospital, the largest medical facility in Gaza, March 29, 2017. MOHAMMED SALEM/REUTERS
    The RAND Corporation is an apolitical American non-profit that advises governments and international organizations on formulating public policy.

    Gaza’s water crisis dates back more than a few years. The Israeli company Mekorot began supplying water to the territory in the 1980s. But since Hamas’ rise to power and the disengagement from Gaza in 2005, and the repetitive fighting since Operation Cast Lead at the turn of 2009 have significantly worsened the situation.
    Today 97 percent of drinking water in the Strip is not drinkable by any recognized international standard. Some 90 percent of residents drink water from private purifiers, because the larger installations have been damaged by fighting or have fallen into disuse since they couldn’t be maintained. The current situation, according to the study, is that Gaza is incapable of supplying enough water for its 2 million inhabitants.

    • Despite the high risk for a cholera outbreak in Gaza due to the polluted sewage system, researchers at first estimated it wasn’t possible to determine when and if such an epidemic would occur, since the residents are immunized. But a short time before they published their findings, the Trump administration announced a halt to funding for UNRWA, reversing these conclusions. UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East), regularly inoculates 1.3 million residents of Gaza and gets 4 million doctors’ visits in the territory. Efron said that without a proper alternative to UNRWA’s health aid, it’s only a matter of time before an epidemic occurs.

      “It may reach the level of a humanitarian disaster,” she said.

      In their report, the researchers recommend the urgent establishment of a joint team of Israeli, Egyptian, and Palestinian Authority officials to prepare for the possible outbreak of an epidemic.

      They said that while global discourse is focused on difficult illnesses and their long-term ramifications, the real urgency is to deal with infectious disease caused by drinking water and sewage.

      “They must think about immediate-term solutions that could stabilize the situation. To think that it will stay on the other side of the fence is to bury your head in the sand,” Efron said.

      “Gaza sewage is already affecting Israel, viruses traced to Gaza have been diagnosed in Israel in the past,” she said. “If the situation isn’t dealt with, it may unfortunately be just a matter of time before Israel and Egypt find themselves facing a health crisis because of Gaza.”

      Efron says this is a resolvable crisis and the obstacles are mainly political. “Although the debate about Gaza turns mainly on mutual recriminations over who is responsible, it’s not in the interest of any player for an epidemic to erupt. It’s a human-made crisis and it has technical solutions, but the obstacles are political.”

      Therefore, she says, it was important for the team to point out the relatively simple and technical means that could be employed from this moment to avoid a regional health crisis.

      With regard to the Gaza electricity crisis, the researches propose the use of solar energy. “It’s a relatively cheap solution, accessible and it could be run from private homes, clinics and schools – and it would not require the continued reliance on diesel fuel,” they wrote.

      They also recommended that the diesel fuel that does get into Gaza be supplied straight to the hospitals, where it should be used for examinations and life-saving treatment.

      “We are referring to energy solutions, water and the health system which go beyond the assurances of emergency supplies of diesel fuel,” she said. “It’s important in and of itself, but far from sufficient. At the same time, funding and support for large projects involving desalination, sewage purification, electricity lines, and solar energy must be sought, as the international community is trying to do. But while working on projects whose overall costs will be in the billions of dollars, and which will take years to complete, entailing the agreement of all involved parties – who cannot seem to agree on anything – immediate solutions must also be sought.”


  • #Israel closing #UNRWA in East #Jerusalem: Assuming responsibility or a political move? - Israel News - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-who-s-responsible-when-east-jerusalem-s-unrwa-gets-shut-down-1.653

    The city’s plan to take responsibility for all the Palestinians living in the city, including refugees, might in other circumstances be welcomed, but even with UNRWA in place, the municipality barely supplies the necessary services to its Palestinian residents.

    The plan calls for the city to increase the number of classrooms available for residents of East Jerusalem, where there is already a shortage in early childcare clinics as well welfare and sanitation services.

    “Instead of establishing infrastructure where needed, Barkat wants to take over existing infrastructure,” says Nazreen Elayan, an attorney who recently worked with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and is knowledgeable about UNRWA’s activities in East Jerusalem.

    “We are fighting for years with the city to open more mother-child centers in East Jerusalem and it hasn’t done so. So now they’re going to take over the good clinics run by UNRWA,” she said.


  • Nihilisme et cynisme post-Oslo : une génération trahie
    par Samah Jabr - 1° octobre 2018 – Middle East Monitor – Traduction : Chronique de Palestine – Lotfallah
    http://www.chroniquepalestine.com/nihilisme-et-cynisme-post-oslo-une-generation-trahie

    Plus de 55% des Palestiniens vivant dans les territoires occupés sont nés après la signature des accords d’Oslo il y a 25 ans. A qui s’apparente la vie de cette génération, maintenant que leurs espoirs d’indépendance et de prospérité ont été réduits à un cauchemar par l’occupation [israélienne] ininterrompue des terres palestiniennes et la destruction de notre tissu social par des factions politiques rivales ?

    Les jeunes en Palestine sont confrontés à une double vulnérabilité : la vulnérabilité universelle de la phase de développement de l’adolescent, qui passe rapidement de la dépendance à la responsabilité et aboutit à la formation d’une identité individuelle façonnée par les acquis cognitifs et émotionnels de chacun ; et la vulnérabilité découlant du contexte de l’occupation, qui limite les possibilités et les chances, compromet l’indépendance personnelle, fragmente l’identité et submerge les ressources cognitives et émotionnelles.

    Aucun Palestinien ne peut célébrer Oslo après tout ce qu’Israël a fait pour tourner le dos à ses engagements. Washington, le prétendu courtier de paix, a pris une position extrêmement préjudiciable à l’égard des Palestiniens en déplaçant l’ambassade américaine de Tel-Aviv à Jérusalem, en fermant le bureau de l’OLP dans la capitale américaine (la seule réalisation concrète d’Oslo), en coupant les fonds à l’UNRWA, aux hôpitaux palestiniens dans Jérusalem-Est occupée et à d’autres programmes humanitaires.


  • As the World Abandons Refugees, UNHCR’s Constraints Are Exposed

    The U.N. refugee agency lacks the funding, political clout and independence to protect refugees in the way that it is supposed to, says former UNHCR official and refugee policy expert #Jeff_Crisp.

    Over the past three years, the world has been confronted with a number of major new refugee emergencies – in Myanmar, Nigeria, South Sudan, Yemen and Venezuela, as well as the Central American region. In addition, existing crises in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and Syria have gone unresolved, making it impossible for large exiled populations to return to their own country. As a result, the global refugee population has soared to more than 25 million, the highest figure ever recorded.

    This means that the role of the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, which is supposed to protect and find solutions for this growing population, is more important than ever. But is it up to the task? The proliferating crises have stretched it to the limit. Funding, most of which comes from a dozen key donor states, has not kept up with the rising numbers the agency is expected to support. In April, UNHCR said it had received just $2.3 billion of the $8.2 billion it needed for its annual program.

    Things look unlikely to improve. UNHCR is losing the support of the United States, traditionally the organization’s most important government partner, whether under Republican or Democrat administrations. Since Donald Trump’s election, the country has slashed the number of refugees it admits through its resettlement program. In his final years in office, Barack Obama had raised the annual quota to 110,000 refugees. That is now down to 45,000 and may yet be reduced to 25,000.

    There is also the prospect that the Trump administration will demonstrate its disdain for the U.N. and limited interest in the refugee issue by reducing its funding to the agency, as it has already done with UNRWA, a separate agency that supports Palestinian refugees. Given that the U.S. currently contributes almost 40 percent of the UNHCR budget, even a modest reduction in its support will mean serious cuts in expenditure.

    The agency therefore has little choice but to look for alternative sources of funding and diplomatic support, especially from the European Union and its member states. But that may come at a price. One of the E.U.’s top priorities is to halt the arrival of refugees and asylum seekers who have transited through nearby countries such as Libya, Morocco and Turkey. Populist political parties throughout much of the E.U. are reaping the electoral benefits of taking a hard line on the issue of refugees and migration. Several European governments have shown little hesitation in violating the international refugee laws they have signed in their desperation to seal Europe’s borders.

    The E.U. thus looks to UNHCR for two things: first, the expertise and operational capacity of an organization that has years of experience in responding to mass movements of people; and second, the legitimacy that E.U. policies can acquire by means of close association with an agency deemed by its founding statute to be “entirely non-political and humanitarian.” In this context, it should come as no surprise that E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has been at pains to point out that the E.U. and UNHCR “work together” and have a “close partnership” – and that the E.U. remains “the strongest supporter of UNHCR.”

    But this partnership (which involved $436 million in funding from Brussels alone in 2017) also involves an important element of compromise on the part of UNHCR. In the Mediterranean, for example, the E.U. is funding the Libyan coast guard to intercept and return any refugees who try to leave the country by boat. Those people are subsequently confined to detention centers where, according to Amnesty International, they are at risk of torture, forced labor, extortion and murder at the hand of smugglers, bandits or the Libyan authorities.

    The U.N. high commissioner for human rights has publicly chastised the E.U. for its failure to improve the situation of migrants in Libya. By contrast, UNHCR has kept very quiet about the E.U.’s role in the process of interception, return and detention, despite the fact that these actions violate a fundamental principle of refugee protection: that no one should be returned to a country where their life or freedom would be threatened.

    This reveals a fundamental tension in the organization’s character. Ostensibly, UNHCR enjoys a high degree of independence and moral authority. As part of the U.N. system, it is treated with more respect by states and other actors than NGOs doing similar work. It has regular access to heads of state, government leaders, regional organizations, the U.N. security council and the secretary-general himself (who was previously UNHCR chief).

    But in practice, the autonomy enjoyed by UNHCR is at best a relative one. Almost 90 percent of the agency’s funding is provided by states, much of it earmarked for specific programs, projects and countries. UNHCR’s governing board consists entirely of states.

    The organization can operate in a country only if it has the agreement of the government, which also has the ability to shape the scope of UNHCR’s operational activities, as well as the partners it works with. In countries such as Ethiopia, Pakistan, Sudan and Syria, for example, the organization is obliged to work with government departments whose priorities may well be different from those of UNHCR.

    Almost 90 percent of the agency’s funding is provided by states, much of it earmarked for specific programs, projects and countries. UNHCR’s governing board consists entirely of states.

    The tensions at the heart of UNHCR seem unlikely to diminish. Throughout the world, governments are closing their borders to refugees and depriving them of basic rights. Exiled populations are being induced to repatriate against their will and to countries that are not safe. As epitomized by the E.U.’s deal with Turkey, asylum seekers have become bargaining chips in interstate relations, used by political leaders to extract financial, political and even military concessions from each other.

    Given the constitutional constraints imposed on the organization, UNHCR’s options are now limited. It can try (as it has done for many years) to diversify its funding base. It could assume a more assertive stance with states that violate refugee protection principles – and in doing so risk the loss of its already diminished degree of diplomatic support. And it can hope that the recently completed Global Compact on Refugees, a nonbinding declaration of principles that most U.N. member states are expected to sign, will have some effect on the way that governments actually treat refugees.

    A final option available to UNHCR is to be more transparent about its limitations, to moderate the relentless self-promotion of its branding and marketing campaign and give greater recognition to the efforts that refugees are making to improve their own lives. In that respect, UNHCR’s favourite hashtag, “We Stand #WithRefugees,” could usefully be changed to “Refugees Are #StandingUpForThemselves.”

    #UN #ONU #HCR #UNHCR #crise #indépendance #fonds #financement #it_has_begun


  • Thank you, Mother Russia, for imposing boundaries on Israel - For the first time in years another state is saying to Israel: Stop right there. At least in Syria, that’s the end of it. Thank you, Mother Russia.

    Gideon Levy SendSend me email alerts
    Sep 28, 2018
    https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-to-russia-with-love-1.6511224

    A ray of hope is breaking through: Someone is setting limits on Israel. For the first time in years another state is making it clear to Israel that there are restrictions to its power, that it’s not okay for it to do whatever it wants, that it’s not alone in the game, that America can’t always cover for it and that there’s a limit to the harm it can do.
    Israel needed someone to set these limits like it needed oxygen. The recent years’ hubris and geopolitical reality enabled it to run rampant. It could patrol Lebanon’s skies as if they were its own; bombard in Syria’s air space as if it were Gaza’s air space; destroy Gaza periodically, put it under endless siege and continue, of course, to occupy the West Bank. Suddenly someone stood up and said: Stop right there. At least in Syria: That’s the end of it. Thank you, Mother Russia, for setting limits on a child whom no one has restrained for a long time.
    >>What Russia and Turkey really want in Syria | Explained ■ Russia’s claims on downed plane over Syria are dubious, but will usher in new reality for Israel | Analysis ■ Russia vs. Israel: The contradicting accounts of the downing of a plane over Syria

    The Israeli stupefaction at the Russian response and the paralysis that gripped it only showed how much Israel needed a responsible adult to rein it in. Does anyone dare prevent Israel’s freedom of movement in another country? Is anyone hindering it from flying in skies not its own? Is anyone keeping it from bombing as much as it pleases? For decades Israel hasn’t encountered such a strange phenomenon. Israel Hayom reported, of course, that anti-Semitism is growing in Russia. Israel is getting ready to play the next victim card, but its arrogance has suddenly gone missing.
    In April the Bloomberg News agency cited threats from retired Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin and other officers that if Russia gives Syria S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, Israel’s air force would bombard them. Now the voice of bluster from Zion has been muted, at least for the moment.
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    Every state is entitled to have weapons for defense against jet bombers, including Syria, and no state is permitted to prevent that forcibly. This basic truth already sounds bizarre to Israeli ears. The idea that other countries’ sovereignty is meaningless, that it can always be disrupted by force, and that Israeli sovereignty alone is sacred, and supreme; that Israel can mix in the affairs of the region to its heart’s content – including by military intervention, whose true extent is yet to be clarified in the war in Syria – without paying a price, in the name of its real or imagined security, which sanctifies anything and everything – all this has suddenly run into a Russian “nyet.” Oh, how we needed that nyet, to restore Israel to its real dimensions.
    It arrived with excellent timing. Just when there’s a president in the White House who runs his Middle East policy at the instructions of his sponsor in Las Vegas and mentor on Balfour Street; when Israel feels itself in seventh heaven, with an American embassy in Jerusalem and no UNRWA, soon without the Palestinians – came the flashing red light from Moscow. Perhaps it will balance out, just a bit, the intoxication with power that has overtaken Israel in recent years, maybe it will start to wise up and recover.
    Russia, without meaning to, may yet turn out to be better for Israel than all the insane, corrupting support it receives from the current American administration, and from its predecessors, too.
    Russia has outlined for the world the way to treat Israel, using the only language Israel understands. Let those who truly care for Israel’s welfare, and for justice, learn how it’s done: Only by force. Only when Israel gets punished or is forced to pay a price does it do the right thing. The air force will think twice now and perhaps many times more before its next bombardment in Syria, whose importance, if indeed it has any, is unknown.
    Had such a Russian “nyet” hovered above Gaza’s skies, too, so much futile death and destruction would have been spared. Had an international force faced the Israeli occupation, it would have ended long ago. Instead, we have Donald Trump in Washington and the European Union’s pathetic denunciations of the evictions at Khan al-Ahmar.


  • A l’ONU, l’UNRWA collecte des fonds pour les réfugiés palestiniens - moyen orient
    RFI - Publié le 27-09-2018 - Avec notre envoyé spécial à New York, Nicolas Falez
    http://www.rfi.fr/moyen-orient/20180927-onu-unrwa-collecte-fonds-refugies-palestiniens

    Le conflit israélo-palestinien doit être évoqué ce jeudi 27 septembre à l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies, avec une réunion de collecte de fonds de l’UNRWA, et les discours attendus de Mahmoud Abbas et Benyamin Netanyahu.

    L’Agence des Nations unies pour les réfugiés palestiniens (UNRWA) espère bien compenser les pertes colossales liées à la réduction puis au retrait du financement des Etats-Unis. D’où cette réunion de récolte de fonds qui intervient le jour même où le président de l’Autorité palestinienne, Mahmoud Abbas, et le Premier ministre israélien, Benyamin Netanyahu, doivent s’exprimer à la tribune de l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies.


  • (1) Les États-Unis cessent de contribuer à l’UNWRA au motif que l’UNRWA doit être réformé et ne soutient pas la paix. (2) Les même États-Unis considèrent que l’Iran, en ne contribuant pas assez à l’UNRWA, ne soutiennent pas la paix. « You can’t have it both ways, Brian. » « We can have it both ways. »
    https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2018/09/286224.htm

    MR PALLADINO: Let’s go to Washington Post.

    QUESTION: Hey, Brian. The Secretary used this talking point