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Palestine and the stifling status quo 

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“All attempts at trying to limit UNRWA’s mandate or defund it or attack it have failed, and we hope that the international community will continue to come to the rescue.”

These were the words of senior Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official, Dr Hanan Ashrawi, in response to the news that the United Nations has voted to extend the mandate of the agency responsible for the welfare of Palestinian refugees.

It is easy to fall into the trap of celebrating the American-Israeli defeat and the supposed triumph of the international community following the overwhelming vote – 169 in favour, 9 abstentions and with the US and Israel voting against it – on December 13. After all, the US and Israel have plotted for years to undermine UNRWA’s work and services.

UNRWA was established in December 1949 per UN General Assembly Resolution 302. It began its operations in the aid of nearly one million Palestinian refugees on May 1, 1950. Since then, its responsibility has grown to cover the needs of over 5 million Palestinian refugees scattered across Palestine and the Middle East.

Yet, in August 2018, the US completely cut off its $364m annual contribution to UNRWA, and in January 2019, Israel began carrying out punitive measures to block the agency’s work in occupied East Jerusalem.

However, some critical thinking is urgently required. When was the last time the international community “came to the rescue” of the Palestinian people in any meaningful way? All UN Resolutions, whether by the General Assembly or those that miraculously survived the American veto at the Security Council, have amounted to nil because they have never, not even once, been accompanied by any kind of enforcement mechanism.

Read: NGO: Israel soldiers ‘wantonly’ shot at Palestinian children, injuring two

Since his advent to the White House, US President Donald Trump has........

© Middle East Monitor