Shmali: Gaza is always on the brink of war and we face three challenges

No money to open schools.

UNRWA is facing three challenges in its work in the Gaza Strip, according to Matías, Shmali the Gaza relief Agency operations director, on Tuesday evening, noting that one million people in the sector are linked to food aid.

"The first challenge is to avoid war and deal with military escalation," he said, adding: "In early May, we were in the middle of a war, as rocket rockets exceeded their rates in 2014, and many deaths fell among Palestinians and Israel. "

This came at a joint press conference for Shmali with the Director of operations of the West Bank relief agency on the humanitarian situation of the Palestinians.

"Gaza is always on the brink of war," he said, adding that "this requires us to deal with the military escalation repeatedly," while noting that he / she has witnessed a military escalation five times since he received his post a year and a half ago.

The second challenge, according to Shmali, is to deal with the social repercussions, explaining that wars and what is happening in the context of "return marchs" negatively affected people.

The third challenge is to "deal with a brighter future in the light of the current situation, especially with regard to health and education services," said Shmali.

In that regard, 274 UNRWA schools in Gaza, where basic educational services were provided, stressing that the curriculum were the same as those offered in every country, whether Lebanon, Gaza or the West Bank.

He said: "The curriculum of the Palestinian Authority (...) Over the past years have improved the content in the light of the concerns expressed by the", noting that UNRWA has an internal mechanism to review courses and books, and that 3 to 5% of the pages have some problems. "

"We have an existing procedure in which we ask our teachers to observe these pages and communicate the idea to the students about their sensitivity," he said, stressing that efforts should have been made to ensure the values ​​and principles of the United Nations .


The agency manages hundreds of schools, he said, "is there a substitute for this, and to provide food for 1 million people, health centers and other educational services ... it is difficult to see what alternative can replace this system."

"We are trying to provide education for children rather than being left on the wayside, and I do not see it as an obstacle to peace," he said.

According to Shmali, in the 2014 war, weapons were discovered in a school but were not stored on a roof, explaining that all authorities, including Israel, had been informed and removed.

He continued that he was discovered from (3-4) tunnels, and Hamas was informed that "such an order is unacceptable", noting that the measures were then taken that led to its closure.

Ninety-five per cent of UNRWA staff were refugees, pointing out that the relief agency had had to resign 116 staff members and more than 500 staff members who had shifted from full-time to partial, mostly psychological counsels, and had been forced to downsize some services.

According to Shmali, in light of the financial crisis, the number of students per semester is over 41, expressing concern about food security and food supply.

"We have maintained food security and provided 192 million dollars, but it was at the expense of increasing the number of students in the ranks because we did not respond to teachers," he said.

"We need 68 million dollars to ensure the continued delivery of foodstuffs in Gaza, which is linked to other services such as education," said the UNRWA director of operations.

"Unfortunately in Gaza, we have 80% of Palestine refugees, and there are almost a million people whose lives are linked to our food aid, which keeps hope for them and we try to avoid poverty and its consequences through our services," he said .

"We provide 70% of the population in Gaza with services, and we are a very important actor," he added, pointing out that there are 13,000 people working in UNRWA, and that nearly 100,000 people in Gaza are linked to the pensions that UNRWA has disbursed to workers.

On another issue, he pointed out that one of the concerns of the relief agency, "the provision of funds for the reopening of schools in the month of August", noting the lack of sufficient funds to open it.

"We still have weeks, and we hope to get funds at the donors' conference," he said, noting that these conferences are underway to "ensure the continued support of schools so that we do not get to the situation we reached last year. "


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