Friday, 14 August 2015

More than 450,000 kids set to miss school due to UN funding shortfall

From Vice News - A United Nations funding shortfall means that more than 450,000 Palestinian child refugees are set to find their classrooms are closed on the first day back to school.

In a report to the UN's Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, UNRWA, the branch of the body charged with providing aid to Palestinian refugees, warned that the "financial crisis" looked set to "force the suspension of services relating to the agency's education program."

"At a time of growing instability [and] rising extremism, there's going to be an extra half million kids on the streets of the Middle East," Chris Gunness, a spokesperson for the agency, told VICE News. "Radical groups are in full recruitment mode… these children should be in UN schools."

In a bid to stave off the crisis UNRWA has issued an urgent appeal to donors, including the United States, Australia, and the Gulf countries, to help plug the $101 million dollar hole in its education budget, but now with just nine days to go until the start of the school year in many places the funding pot is still short.

UNRWA is mandated to provide life-saving humanitarian aid as well as state-like services, including schools and hospitals, to millions of Palestinian refugees scattered across the region but it does not have a guaranteed budget. Instead the organization depends on donor contributions, which it says have not kept pace with the huge increase in demands on its services. more

Israeli paramilitary settler gang beats Palestinian worker with steel rods

A gang of Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian worker who was repairing a traffic light in an illegal Israeli settlement near Jerusalem Thursday, landing the worker in the hospital with a broken hand and a number of other injuries, according to local sources.

The worker, Loav Bakri, 31, works as an electrical contractor, and was sent to the illegal Israeli settlement of Pisgat Ze'ev to fix a broken traffic light.

When he arrived on the worksite, he was attacked by a gang of six extremist settler youth who beat him severely with metal rods, fists and boots.

Bakri suffered multiple injuries in the attack, and was taken to a Jerusalem hospital for treatment.

This attack follows a series of escalating attacks on Palestinian civilians by armed Israeli paramilitary forces, who have burned churches, vandalized mosques, beaten numerous civilians including children, and firebombed homes. more

Hunger striker enters coma as protest enters 60 days

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian prisoner Muhammad Allan, who has been on hunger strike for two months, lost consciousness Friday morning, the Palestinian Prisoner's Society said. The society said that Allan's health had dangerously deteriorated overnight, and that the hunger striker entered a coma after severe shivering.

They added that he is currently connected to ventilators.

Israeli authorities previously said they would make use of a controversial new law to force feed Allan if his health became critical.

However, Usama al-Saadi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset, told Ma'an: "Allan might be a martyr in hours as his health condition is very critical." more