A+ A-

New UNRWA chief in Gaza praises Arab support in reconstruction efforts

BRUSSELS, Sept 22 (KUNA) -- The new Director of the UN aid agency UNRWA's Operations in Gaza, Bo Schack, praised Tuesday Arab countries, in particular Gulf states, for their support in the reconstruction of Gaza following the Israeli military onslaught last year in summer that caused large-scale destruction to the Palestinian city .
Speaking through a video-link from Gaza at a meeting of the European Parliament's Human Rights Subcommittee in Brussels, he said "certain funds have arrived for reconstruction the majority from Arab countries." Bo Schack who was appointed to his post in Gaza on 1 September said Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and UAE are heavily involved in the reconstruction of Gaza.
"In the reconstruction process the Arab countries by far are in the lead with the major amounts. They are beginning to say that they like to see the implementation of support coming from other parts that have been supporting the region," he said.
For the moment we have only the German contribution supporting in reconstruction efforts, he noted. The UN official spoke of a climate of despair among the Gazans due to the continued illegal Israeli blockade and he urged for stronger support for UNRWA's reconstruction efforts.
"We need to focus on the human concern, the humanitarian needs: electricity cuts, quality of water, employment; these are day-to-day wishes coming from the population", he said.
Meanwhile, the EP's Subcommittee on Human Rights debated on Tuesday the outcome of its mission to Israel and the Palestinian territories and said they had very frank exchange of views Members of the Israeli Knesset and of the Palestinian Legislative Council, government officials, representatives of UN agencies, Israeli and Palestinian human rights and other civil society organisations and representatives of religious minorities. But the EP delegation was not able to go to Gaza but visited several cities and villages in Israel and West Bank.
The five-member delegation led by Austrian MEP Josef Weidenholzer visited the region from 20-24 July and presented a 19-page report which stresses that human rights should remain a core element in the EU's relationship with Israel and Palestine.
He said one of the things that "overshadowed our meetings was the issue of settlement something which is key to solving the problems in the region." Weidenholzer also called for a stronger support to NGOs working in Palestine.
A Danish MEP, Margrete Auken, speaking in the debate, however, lamented that the EP report does not talk about "occupation and occupiers" nor does it call for the lifting of the Israeli occupation. (end) nk.nfm