The European Commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis response is setting out on a four-day mission to the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva will be accompanied by Valerie Amos, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
Over the next four days, they will reiterate the commitment of the European Union and the UN’s OCHA to keep helping the most vulnerable Palestinians deal with their daily challenges, notably restricted access to food, clean water, healthcare and jobs. In her contacts with Palestinian and Israeli government officials, Commissioner Georgieva will underline the need for improved humanitarian access to the people in need accross the Gaza Strip. She will also reiterate the importance of respecting international humanitarian law by all parties of the Middle East conflict.
On the ground, the Commissioner will meet with the European Commission’s key humanitarian partners, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, UNICEF and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). They will brief her on the needs of the Palestinian people for humanitarian aid, and on the daily difficulties relief organisations face when trying to reach those who need their help. The Commissioner will visit displaced families in East Jerusalem, and humanitarian projects in Gaza.
The European Commission has been a dedicated provider of humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as to Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. In 2010, the Commission assistance supported the provision of food for 700 000 people, healthcare for 355 000 vulnerable Palestinians, clean water for 340 000, as well as protection, psychological care for children and adults, shelter and support for Palestinian refugees. Between 2000 and the start of 2011, the European Commission provided around €600 million in humanitarian aid for the basic needs of people affected by the Middle East conflict.