From the conclusions drawn by decision-makers at government
level, to the lived experiences of the very people they discuss on the ground in
Gaza, I have a feeling that in the months ahead many of us will have a familiar
collective feeling: 2016 may well be filled with more of the same.
More of the same incomprehensible excuses for the
delays to reconstruction that the residents of Gaza have experienced since
“Operation Protective Edge” in 2014. When I wrote to you this time last year, I
lamented the lack of essential materials entering the coastal enclave, which at
the time was less than a third of what it was before the war. Precisely
one year later a mere 0.03% of homes that were completely destroyed by the
Israeli military have been rebuilt. The fact that this was entirely predictable
is just as much a travesty as the lack of reconstruction itself.
More of the same discussions will likely be echoed
along the corridors of the International Criminal Court (ICC), following our
brief optimism this time last year after Palestine joined the international
tribunal. Since then, the latter’s preliminary report published in November was
criticised by the Palestine Return Centre for its lack of contextual accuracy,
while the Israeli government predictably began its punitive measures to stop
millions of dollars’ worth of tax revenue being paid to the Palestinian Authority
More of the same daily suffering and injustice will
likely be faced by ordinary Palestinians, who as usual are sidelined or ignored
by many who debate them and their situation in the higher echelons of the
public sphere. This time last year, we worried about UNRWA’s forced suspension
of relief payments to around 60,000 families. Since then, thousands of
Palestinians have been protesting after UNRWA also announced that the agency’s
$81 million deficit will lead to cuts in housing and healthcare. Millions of Palestinians
will once again suffer through the cold winter months in the occupied
territories, Lebanon and Jordan without the support they are entitled to.
Given that the year ahead in Palestine will likely be
defined once again by political inertia and instability, I know that providing
consistent and reliable lifelines of support to Palestinians on the ground is a
necessity. Interpal will not be doing more of the same, we will strive to be
better, work harder and advocate more loudly for Palestinians in need. From
trauma support and community development to refugee relief, we’ll increase our
efforts to provide a semblance of stability to more than 10,000 vulnerable
Palestinian families throughout the year.
We’ll carry on supporting innovate schemes as well; we’re
looking forward to the launch of UNRWA’s Vision Project for children with sight
impairments, which we are proud to be supporting. We’ll also be leading a
women’s delegation to Lebanon to bear witness to the humanitarian crisis and
difficulties specifically faced by women and girls in the refugee camps. With
this, and much more on the way, we hope that with your continued support, we’ll
be able to mitigate the ongoing injustices that Palestinians are forced to face
year on year.
So let’s have more of
the same generous support, and whatever else you can give; and we will be
able to give more of the same
assistance, and everything else that we can possibly manage.