During a press conference held Wednesday, July 1 2009 at the office of OPEC in Vienna, the Director-General of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), Suleiman Al-Herbish, and the Commissioner-General of the United nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA), Karen Koning AbuZayed, declared a grant agreement between OPEC and UNRWA in which OFID will give an additional contribution of US$3 million of the OFID Micro Enterprises for Palestine Fund (PALFUND), administrated by the UNRWA.
The conference was attended by Ambassador Mikhail Wehbe of the Arab League, Ambassador Dr. Omar Zniber of Morocco, Ambassador Ishaya El Khoury of Lebanon, Dr. Riyad al-Malki, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian Authority, Ambassador Dr. Zuheir Elwazer of Palestine, and many other representatives of NGO organizations, and a few journalists.
Dr. Al-Herbish gave a brief about the work of OFID and their grants in Palestine. He stated that OFID created the OPEC Fund Micro Enterprises for Palestine (PalFund) scheme, with an initial contribution of US$2.5 million. Administered by UNRWA, the PalFund is “a microfinance scheme which supports the Palestinian Private Sector by extending small loans to productive and qualified micro-entrepreneurs and artisans and thereby contributing to job creation and income growth. In December 2005, and on the basis of successful outcomes, OFID extended a second contribution of US$7.5 million to this Fund”. He said that today the PALFUND account will reach US$10 million.
Commissioner-General Koning of the UN explained the importance of signing the agreement for the grant with OFID, and made clear the needs of the Palestinian refuges to the project. She spoke briefly about Gaza, but almost nothing about the actual genocide and the current situation.
For us Palestinians the 60 anniversary of the UNRWA is nothing to celebrate. The fact that the UNRWA has gone into its 60 year of existence is testimony to the failure of the UN to secure the most basic human rights for us Palestinians, if not its acquiescence, collusion and even outright collaboration with the crimes of Israel. It would be better if the UNRWA, instead of managing our misery and getting into agreements to give micro-credits, would start getting their act together and looking for ways to implement international humanitarian laws, and most important, to find ways to make Israel and all its supporters anywhere to pay damages and reparations to all of us.
AbuZayed was also handed a letter of confirmation of a grant of US$1.2 million in support of the initiation of a Scholarship Fund for Talented Palestinians. This support was also created on the occasion of the 60 anniversary of UNRWA, or, simply said, this support for the operations of the UNRWA comes as a reward for the continuous occupation of Palestine and the utter failure of UN to forcing the “State of Israel” to implement all the UN resolutions and all stipulations of the many bilateral and multilateral treaties which they have signed, and end the occupation.
During the speech of the Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Riyad al-Malki, he stated that the OFID project is one of the best projects in the Palestinian territories, that the decision to increase the fund is another sign from OFID that not only they want to increase the contribution of commitment, but that they also believe in the work. “This fund by itself reflects the best partnership that we could have, a partnership between OFID and UNRWA, which could produce successes and could contribute its experience to many others who would like to come to the Palestinian territories and to invest in the Palestinian people, the Palestinian individuals, in the promotion of the capacity of buildings and in the preparation of building their statehood”.
My respected minister forgets that before we can declare statehood, we must kick out the invaders. And, how are we to kick out the invaders while we are accepting alms and offering us up for “investment”? I would suggest that, instead of inviting foreigners (there are already hundreds of thousands of llegal squatters in Palestine) to “invest in the Palestinian people” like others invest in a herd of cattle, we should start to find partners who will be able to help us to take back what is ours from the invaders of my country.
At the end of the event, the assistant of Karin Koning AbuZayed came to tell me that I would have to submit my questions beforehand of I want to interview the commissioner, but I told her that that this is not the way how I work. This assistant came by herself to offer me an interview with the commissioner at the end of Marcel Khalife concert. I had told her Ok we will talk tomorrow at the OFID conference, but after she heard my questions she was scared.
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