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Qatar pledges to remain at the forefront of the Palestinian cause

Top Qatari representatives have affirmed Qatar's commitment to provide humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian refugees at the UNGA in New York on Tuesday during the 73rd Session of the UNGA.

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News Desk |

Jassim Sayar Al Maawda, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Qatar to the United Nations, has stated in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Tuesday in New York, that Qatar intends to remain at the forefront of the Palestinian cause as a state that can be trusted with handling the humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people.

The Permanent Representative of Qatar to the UN, Ambassador Sheikha Alya bint Ahmed Al Thani, also present in New York, chaired the conference for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) on behalf of Maria Fernanda Espinosa, the President of the 73rd Session of the UNGA.

Details of the Conference

The conference was primarily called for the announcement of voluntary contributions to UNRWA by the ad hoc committee of the General Assembly. The Secretary General of UN (UNSG), Antonio Guterres was also present at the conference along with other officials from the UNRWA.

The peace plan often dubbed as the “deal of the century”, has been drafted by Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of President Trump, who reportedly has close ties with the Zionist lobby.

The Commissioner General of the UNRWA, Pierre Krahenbuhl at the occasion of the call for voluntary contributions urged the members of the UNGA to contribute generously in order to support the UNRWA. The Agency is reportedly providing services to 5.4 million refugees; medical services to 8 million people every year and emergency relief to 1.5 million people, presently.

Qatar’s Commitment to UNRWA

Al Maawda reaffirmed Qatar’s firm stance to continue supporting UNRWA by sharing a greater portion of financial burden. He further lauded the efforts of the Agency for playing a vital role in providing basic facilities to the Palestinian refugees.

In March last year, Qatar contributed $50 million to the agency during the Ministerial Conference on UNRWA in Rome. It was reported, in December last year, at the Doha Forum in Qatari capital that the estimated support by Qatar to UNRWA’s Core Resource had been set to $16 million for the year 2019-2020.

Read more: Qatar committed to end energy crisis in Gaza

However, Qatar has maintained that its stance on the humanitarian aid to the Palestinian refugees is separate from its efforts to bring the Right to Statehood to the Palestinian People. It has also asserted that until a right, lasting and just settlement of the Palestinian people is not achieved, the challenges to the refugees will remain irresolvable.

US-UNRWA: From being the Biggest Funder to Ending all Support

The United States the biggest funder of the UNRWA previously provided financial assistance worth $364 million in 2017 alone. However, last year, the US under President Donald J. Trump, withdrew all its financial support from the UNRWA that provided significant support to the Palestinian refugees.

In addition to stripping Palestinian people from funding, the US opened up its embassy in Jerusalem in 2017, subsequently recognizing the city as Israel’s capital. This decision had greatly angered the Palestinian community, resulting in a boycott of the White House under the Trump administration.

“Deal of the Century” or “Divorced from Reality”?

The call for funds from the UNRWA has come a day after the US-proposed peace plan being presented at a Summit in Manama, Bahrain.

Protestors in Occupied West Bank took to streets on Monday protesting against the legitimacy of the summit and the Arab nations participating in it.

The Trump administration has reportedly planned to spend $50 billion with the assistance of its Gulf and Arab allies to bring economic opportunities to Palestine, in order to subsequently lead to a permanent solution.

The peace plan often dubbed as the “deal of the century”, has been drafted by Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of President Trump, who reportedly has close ties with the Zionist lobby.

Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are a few members from the Gulf attending the conference. However, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, earlier this month stated that a permanent solution to the Palestinian cause could not be resolved without the representation of the Palestinian people.

Talking at a Summit in Germany, Al Thani also said that there needs to be a close link between the US administration and the Palestinian Authority (PA), if the US is serious about a solution. He further reaffirmed Qatar’s support to its Palestinian brothers by stating that Qatar would not accept any plan that does not benefit the cause or is aimed at further silencing the Palestinian voices.

Read more: Qatar comes to aid of resource deficient Palestinian government

However, the opponents of the Manama Summit have termed it as “Divorce from reality”, stating that the economic plan is nothing but an open “auction” of Palestine. Protestors in Occupied West Bank took to streets on Monday protesting against the legitimacy of the summit and the Arab nations participating in it.

Calling it “betrayal”, the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon angered by Arab participation expressed that the summit is the death of Palestinian right to statehood.

FIFA-White House to Build Football Pitches in Palestine?

Gianni Infantino, the head of the football governing body FIFA, present at the conference in Manama on Wednesday, reportedly pledged to build football pitches in Palestine in a bid to draw investments in the conflict-torn territory.

Talking at the summit on a panel, Infantino asserted the need to resolve issues through football, “I think that football can play, certainly, a little role but an important one.”

Read more: Qatar to spend a whopping $6B on construction for FIFA 2022

Responding to Infantino’s presence at the summit in Bahrain, Egyptian football player, Mohamed Aboutrika, expressed his anger on twitter stating: “Thank you to everyone who boycotted this auction…the presence of the head of FIFA is a major question mark…our holy sites are not for sale.”

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