The funding announced today amounts to €10 million in additional core funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides essential services to 5.7 million Palestine refugees in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, and an additional €3 million to the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs’ (UN OCHA) Occupied Palestinian Territories Humanitarian Fund. This additional €13 million will bring Ireland’s support to the people of Palestine in 2023 to €29 million.
Announcing the contribution, the Tánaiste said, “we are witnessing tragic and shocking events in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory in the aftermath of the heinous attack by Hamas on Israel. I have said repeatedly that there should be a humanitarian ceasefire to meet the urgent basic needs of the people in Gaza .It is essential that humanitarian relief is provided to those who need it. This funding from Ireland will help the UN and others provide essential support to extremely vulnerable people, in particular those in Gaza who are dealing with acute and severe challenges. Ireland is a longstanding supporter of the critical work undertaken by UNRWA with and on behalf of Palestine refugees, and we remain firmly committed in our political and financial support to the Agency in these deteriorating circumstances.”
“I am acutely aware of how urgently funding is needed by UNRWA following my call with Commissioner General Lazzarini on 16 October. He articulated in the clearest terms that the situation unfolding in Gaza is a humanitarian catastrophe of unprecedented magnitude. UNRWA plays a vital role in delivering critical services such as healthcare, education, humanitarian relief and social services. Ireland remains a committed partner of the Agency. Providing €3 million in assistance to the Occupied Palestinian Territories Humanitarian Fund will also address the escalating humanitarian needs by enabling rapid deployment of aid, particularly in life-saving sectors that have been hit hardest by the current conflict including health, shelter, food security and protection.”
Minister for International Development and Diaspora, Sean Fleming TD, said, “the escalating conflict in Gaza and Israel has led to severe humanitarian needs. It is vital that people in Gaza have access to humanitarian relief. Ireland is a longstanding partner of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The work the Agency carries out is vital and is a lifeline to people in the region. It is important that we deliver increased support for the Agency now as it deals with the impact of the current humanitarian crisis.”
This announcement follows the UN’s Flash Appeal for assistance and the Tánaiste’s discussion with the UNRWA Commissioner General. The funds will support UNRWA’s core operations, enabling UNRWA to provide essential services in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), to address the most urgent needs of 1.2 million people in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. OCHA’s oPT Humanitarian Fund supports the vital provision and coordination of emergency assistance to save lives and protect people most in need. The additional €10 million brings Ireland’s support to UNWRA to €18 million in 2023.