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UNRWA hails Qatar’s Al Khater as ‘great advocate’ for Palestinian refugees

The United Nations praised the role of Qatar’s Assistant Foreign Minister Lolwah Al Khater and the Gulf nation for its support of Palestinian refugees.

In a meeting in Doha between Al Khater and the UN’s Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the Qatari official was described as “a great advocate” for Palestinian refugees.

The agency was represented by Tamara Alrifai, UNRWA’s Director of External Relations and Communications.

“Assistant Foreign Minister Lolwah Alkhater is a great advocate for Palestine refugees, here in discussion about UNRWA’s role in protecting rights and contributing to stability in the region through our programmes especially in education,” said UNRWA.

The agency also applauded the Gulf state’s “longstanding support” of Palestinian refugees, as Al Khater “commended the outstanding work done by UNRWA”.

“Qatar’s historical support to the Palestinians stems from the moral stance of its leadership and people. I shall remind ALL of their duty to stop the shameful attacks of the Israeli occupation on Islam’s 3rd holiest mosque Al-Aqsa,” tweeted Al Khater.

Doha has continued to provide much-needed support to Palestinians through UNRWA with the help of various Qatari entities for more than 70 years.

Some of the local organisations include the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD), Education Above All (EAA), and Qatar Charity. With Qatar’s help, the organisation was able to provide humanitarian assistance to more than five million Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.

UNRWA was formed in 1949, a year after the launch of the Nakba, or catastrophe, in which Israel forcibly displaced and killd Palestinians.

Between 1947 until 1949, at least 750,000 Palestinian from a 1.9 million native population were forced out of their own land by Zionists militias who later established Israel.

At least 450 towns and villages were depopulated.

There are up to 5.6 million Palestinian refugees, with at least 28.4% scattered in 58 UNRWA-run camps in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza.

More than 70 massacres have been committed by the Israal as it continues to forcibly displace Palestinians.

Qatar’s support

In April, Qatar Charity contributed $1.5 million to the UN agency to support at least 90,300 Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip. The donation provided the beseiged population with food aid that benefitted them for three months.

Last year, the QFFD contributed $1,252,800 towards the UNRWA Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme in Syria. The major contribution was under an initial donation of $20.7 million in 2019.

QFFD aimed to provide support to at least 438,000 Palestinian refugees in Syria who have been bearing the consequences of the worsening situation. In addition to their forced displacement by the Israeli occupation, Palestinain refugees suffer under the violence of the Syrian regime.

In 2020, QFFD donated $1 million in cash assistance to Palestinian refugees in Syria grappling with the conflict coupled with the Covid-19 outbreak. The donation was also part of the 2019 agreement between the Qatari organisation and UNRWA.

Qatar’s ongoing support for Palestinians comes as part of its advocate support for Palestine as the Israeli occupation continues.

The Palestinian cause has long been at the heart of Qatar’s foreign policy, with Qatari officials continuously condemning the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine and slam its ethnic cleansing of indegineous Palestinians.

During his speech at this year’s United Nations General Assembly in New York, Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani highlighted key issues concerning the Middle East region.

Amir Tamim renewed the need to implement international resolutions and press Israel to end its illegal occupation.

“The Palestinian cause is still unresolved,  and in light of the failure to implement the resolutions of international legitimacy and with the persistent change of facts on the ground the settler-occupation has pursued a  fait accompli policy,” said Sheikh Tamim.

The leader renewed Qatar’s full solidarity with Palestinians “in their aspiration for justice” while calling on the Security  Council to “compel Israel to end the Palestinian territories’ occupation.”

The latest developments come amid a wave of controversial moves by some Arab nations to normalise ties with Israel.

In 2020, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed the Abraham Accords to establish full ties with Tel Aviv, in a move condemned by Palestinian factions across the board as a betrayal of their cause.

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