Geneva - Since President Donald Trump's decision to transfer his country's embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities have stepped up violations against Palestinians in Jerusalem, said the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor in an oral statement at the Human Rights Council’s 39th session.
These violations include increased homes demolitions, arrests, and the expulsion from Al-Aqsa Mosque, a sacred religious place for Muslims.
Euro-Med Monitor issued a report detailing the abuses committed by the Israeli authorities last August, said Alaa Barghouthi, Euro-Med’s researcher. The report reveals Israel’s adoption of a racist policy against residents in the city.
This policy aims at depriving Palestinians of their civil and religious rights, in order to eventually limit their presence in Jerusalem. Confiscating their lands, demolishing their homes, building settlements instead, and allowing Israeli settlers to take their place is a manifest example of how this is happening.
With regards to UNRWA, the Palestinian refugees have been left with a devastating humanitarian crisis as a result of US funding cuts, which left the Agency with the ‘worst financial crisis’ in its history, said Barghouthi.
The US funding amounts for third of the UNRWA’s budget, which forced, for instance, the downsizing of the Agency by terminating employment contracts of over 1,000 employees to date.
The termination of UNRWA's work threatens to deprive some 5,900,000 Palestinian refugees of basic services such as education and healthcare, added Barghouthi. It will also threaten the continuation of the Agency's periodic humanitarian assistance to refugees, most of whom suffer the scourge of war and poverty.
In conclusion, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor called on the Council and its member states to protect the legal status of Jerusalem as a city under occupation, to provide protection for its inhabitants to ensure the full exercise of their political and religious rights and to prevent the ongoing political conflict from turning into a religious one.
Euro-Med Monitor further warned against the disastrous impact of ending or reducing UNRWA's services on the Palestinian refugees and their rights.
The nonprofit organization also called on the Council’s Member States to provide financial and political cover for the Agency to ensure the continued delivery of services as well as relief and development programs until the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes as stipulated in General Assembly Resolution 194.