Israeli authorities are impeding efforts by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease in occupied Jerusalem and its refugee camps, UNRWA spokesman Sami Mshasha announced today.
Mshasha told Palestinian news agency WAFA that this restriction is a continuation of Israel’s two-year-old restrictions imposed on UNRWA activities in the occupied city, following the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
UNRWA spokesman added that Israel has launched a campaign to prevent the provision of health services by UNRWA and the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Jerusalem’s old city and in its neighborhoods and refugee camps.
Mshasha pointed out that there it is very difficult to enter and leave the refugee camps, especially Shufat camp, due to the restrictions imposed to fight coronavirus, which affect the economic conditions of Jerusalem residents.
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.
On January 16, in an interview with Reuters, the interim head of UNRWA, Christian Saunders Saunders, said that the US was lobbying foreign parliaments to stop donations to the organization, following a decision by Washington to completely cut its funding to UNRWA in August 2018.
UNRWA’s acting head has also said that Israel was trying to replace UNRWA’s services for Palestinian refugees in occupied East Jerusalem with those of its own.
Source: The Palestine Chronicle