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Ending global poverty begins with women’s rights

Oxfam calls on world leaders to lift Palestinian aid freeze at Stockholm conference

Oxfam calls on world leaders to lift Palestinian aid freeze at Stockholm conference

May 10, 2010

Oxfam
believes that the Palestinian Authority stands to lose more than $1
billion following the suspension of aid earlier this year and Israel
withholding Palestinian tax revenue, according to UN and World Bank
estimates.

Oxfam says that Palestinians are being pushed into deep poverty as a result.

Hundreds
of thousands of people have been left without an income. Rubbish is
piling in the streets, sewage is overflowing from household cesspits,
schools are running without budgets and government employees are
striking for lack of pay.

A
temporary scheme agreed by donors in June to pay aid directly to the
Palestinian people has failed to solve the problem, Oxfam said.

Oxfam International spokesperson Adam Leach said:
“If donor governments are serious about tackling poverty and suffering
facing Palestinians, they should immediately resume funding to the
local and national authorities charged with delivering essential
services. They must also press Israel to transfer Palestinian tax
revenues that are being held on behalf of the Palestinian government.

“The
temporary mechanism, established to provide direct support to
Palestinians, excludes tens of thousands of government employees. Plans
to provide payments to the poorest 40,000 Palestinians and their
families, who used to receive social welfare payments, have so far
failed to materialize.”

Fawsi Sadqi Nasser, an English teacher in the Madama school near Nablus, spoke to Oxfam about the impact of the changes:
“I am a teacher. The teachers are always waiting for our salaries but
now I have not received my salary for months. Life has become extremely
difficult. The children in the family feel the situation. At my school,
around half of the children’s parents work for the Palestinian
Authority. When you look at the children you can notice a change in
their faces.”

The donor conference will discuss continuing problems of humanitarian
access and movement that remains a significant contributor to poverty.
Crossing points into Gaza have been repeatedly closed causing severe
shortages of essential supplies, including milk powder and bread and
stifling economic activity and trade by blocking the free flow of goods
and people. No humanitarian aid has been able to pass into Gaza since
15 August. It has also interrupted the ongoing work of Oxfam partners
seeking to rehabilitate water systems.

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