Sorry to everybody for these impolite words about the UNRWA, I could not find other words to describe the situation, and things should be called by their name. Sorry also for showing these photos of dirty toilets unfit for human use, of urine, dirt and the polluted environment and unhealthy situation which is experienced by all Palestinians who reside in the refugee camps run by the UNRWA in Palestine and in the Diaspora, as well as by all those who have received and still receive their education and medical services at the UN schools and clinics during the last 62 years under the Zionist occupation and the 60 years of UNRWA establishment. (click on pictures to see them bigger).
Many thanks to Al-Nahar News Agency from Gaza, who provided me with the photos used in this article, and which were taken by their correspondent Nisrin Mousa at the UN health and medical center of Khan Younis, a center which is supposed to provide medical and health services to the 59.524 Palestinian refugees who live in the camp.
According to Nisrin Mousa, everybody who visits the UNRWA health and medical center is obliged to hold his nose closed because of the foul stench which spreads everywhere. The patients are obliged to give urine for medical tests in the toilets depicted here, which are not fit for animals and certainly not for a place delivering medical services. A child was seen urinating in a container for medical tests on the floor outside of a toilet stall, her mother said that she was scared that her daughter would become infected if she entered the stall. Another patient (Shaima’a) was giving urine for a test outside of the clinic after she hid herself in a narrow ally. According to Shaima “it’s shame to do that, but it’s shame on the UN medical center to treat us like insects in their contaminated and unhealthy medical clinic”.
Naem Asa’ad, the director of the UN clinic in Khan Younis, refused to say anything about the unhealthy situation of the clinic. His only comment was “I will fall in problems and I will be punished if I open my mouth commenting on this situation with even one word”.
Majdy Al-Amour, a general doctor at the UN clinic, said that the any contaminated place can affect the health of the people, whether children, young women, men or old. He added that the toilets contaminated with bacteria caused problems: first they infect the digestive system of the human beings, and then they move of the respiratory system and impact the health of the patient unfavorably. We hope that the UN administration will not cause trouble for Dr. Al-Amour, because the rules which the UN imposes on their employees are used to cover up their crimes and negligence which cause misery for Palestinians, and force the UN employees of accept the inhuman situation and threats them to loss their work if they open their mouth in criticism words, or even clarifications.
The disgusting photos from the UN clinic in Khan Younis are nothing new in my knowledge, or in the knowledge of any Palestinian refugee under the “care” of the UN. Everybody who receives medical treatment or educational services at the UNRWA schools and medical centers knows how filthy and unhealthy these places are. And even these minimal and unsuitable services are being reduced to nothing in many cases, for a population who is dependent on them because our economy has been wholly destroyed by the Israelis.
The UNRWA Commissioner-General in Vienna
At the end of June 2009, the UNRWA Commissioner-General Karen Koning AbuZayed was in Vienna celebrating the 60 anniversary of the UNRWA, she celebrated that the UNRWA had survived for 60 years giving shit and misery to the Palestinians. This is what was actually celebrated in the courtyard (Arkadenhof) of the municipality in Vienna under the auspices of Saar, OFID, and other organizations. The well known Lebanese musician Marcel Khalife was invited to play at the luxurious AbuZayed celebration, which cost over 130.000 Euros, a sum out of proportion with anything the UNRWA does, and which was lavished upon a few yes-men.
On that occasion Miss AbuZayed held a press conference at OFID offices in Vienna, about which I wrote. She did not say one word about the inhuman situation, the dirt, the brutal stench at the miserable UN schools and medical centers throughout Palestine and the Palestinian refugee camps, and the poverty and abject misery of most Palestinians. Instead, those who bothered to attend this self-celebratory event, received a bag with about ten kilos of UN propaganda showing how nice and helpful the UNRWA is in occupied Palestine. If I was not Palestinian and had not experienced the misery at the UN schools and medical centers myself, I would have wanted to immigrate to one of the UNRWA refugee camps!
DDT at UNRWA Schools
What I remember from my time at the UNRWA school in Hebron (and the UN schools were considered better than the other schools in the refugee camps) where I received my elementary and preparatory education, is much less than flattering. I remember cold and misery, constant beatings, insults and abuses by the teachers, I remember how the personnel at the UNRWA school in Hebron once spread DDT on my hair and on the hair of all the other students.
On that occasion the UN sent some men with big bags filled with a pale yellow powder fine as flour, DDT. The teacher told us to stand in two long rows; she told us that we would receive a health service, which consisted in a handful of DDT spread in our hair. The teacher said that the DDT would kill the lice which had spread in our school. My hair was without lice but the man spread it on me anyway. He spread the powder on everyone except the niece of my teacher, Moyassar Al-Tayeh, and Lamia Bali, a girl whose father was also a teacher working for the UN.
I arrived home that day tired and with strong headache caused by the yellow powder which the UN people had spread in my hair, in addition, my skin was red with an itchy rash caused by the DDT. My mother was very angry, she showered me two, three times, but the strong smell was not going away. On the second day my father went to the now deceased UN education director for Hebron, Abd Allah Hamdan, to file a complaint against the DDT “health service”. My mother went to complain to the school headmistress of the time, Lamia’a Bader, whose sister Randa Bader is the current director of the UNRWA office in Hebron. As in most cases, these well-payed slots are inherited within families.
I also still remember the toilets of the UN school in Hebron. The situation was worse than in these photos from the Khan Younis clinic. The toilets were dark, without lights, water or doors, the stench was horrible, they were dirty and full of rats and cockroaches. There was no running water in the school, we were forced to beg the neighbors for water if we wanted to drink.
UNRWA Contaminated Vaccinations
I also remember the vaccinations which we received at the UNRWA elementary school, they were said to be against smallpox but I think that they were contaminated. The results of these vaccinations were very clear, all the children in the school became infected with smallpox after these vaccinations, which somehow was renamed “water-pox” and other names by the UN personnel. I still have marks of this disease on places of my body where I scratched open the water-filled pustules. Since these vaccinations started, there have been yearly outbreaks of smallpox in Palestine – a disease which was unknown until the UN brought it. A doctor told me that the disease will be in Palestine for hundreds of years to come. I have seen young children and old men covered with these pustules.
The other thing I remember from the UNRWA elementary schools is that the teacher and the headmistress, apart from daily abuses and mistreatments, were sending the students to clean their houses during the mooring, during the time when they were supposedly attending class, and sometimes after the school hours. At school we were beaten all the time and for any reason or no reason at all, but what for sure would make the teachers beat any of us was the mention of the word “Palestine”.
I was one of those sent to do chores to the house of my teacher in this way. I once received 10 cents from the headmistress after I washed a mountain of dishes, glasses, and pots … in her kitchen. I was then in the fourth class, 9 years old. I bought ten pieces of the cheap ice cream, I ate some of them and I threw the rest. I was scared of being late and that my mother would discover the story, each time I came home late I had to lie to my mother and invent that I had attended an extra lesson at school.
Ten Million Euro OFID Fund to UNRWA
The UN educational services for Palestinians are reduced and confined to the provision of basic services in some schools, at the refugee camps and in some villages. In Hebron, the URWA schools were closed some years ago. The medical and the health services and social relief were reduced, but the poverty of the people has meanwhile increased in Palestine. Over 75 percent of the Palestinian refugees who live in Hebron are jobless.
According to people from Hebron, the UN medical center refuses to pay the necessary medical treatment and tests for Palestinian refugees who nominally have the right to receive these services. A jobless person who depends on these UNRWA services recently told me that the UN health center of Hebron refuses to pay a necessary examination for his wife at Al-Ahli hospital. He said that the examination is necessary and urgent, but that the UN would not pay the examination. Why?
According to my sources, many poor people who have no other source of food or who cannot afford even minimal medical services, are routinely denied even the most basic medical treatment; the medical center invents any reasons to deny the people necessary treatments. But, the same treatments and services which the poor people are routinely denied at the UN medical center in Hebron, a few people more equal people receive, namely some few employees of the UN, their families and friends. This is a clear case of corruption.
The UN clinic in Hebron is located in area H2 under the Israeli, at Talat al-Karantina, it is surrounded by many illegal checkpoints of the Israeli military, who routinely deny the Palestinian refugees, pregnant women to reach the clinic. In many cases the soldiers have attacked the UN workers at the clinic and obliged them to close, but never to my knowledge the UN has protested against these Israeli criminal actions. I know the UN clinic well, I also know the medical stuff. The medical staff at this center should treat two hundred patient daily. But the whole treatment for all the patients consists in a Paracetamol tablet and some injections.
The miserable treatment of the UN towards Palestinians is not limited to their medical and education disservices. Most Palestinians have been impoverished by the wholesale and genocidal destruction of our economy by the israelis, but the UNRWA only helps “refugees”. Instead of helping in this situation, the UNRWA has reduced their supplies of flour, lentils, sugar, rice given to the refugees. The supplies are given only twice a year, but actually at irregular intervals, sometimes after 10 months, and in most cases only after the people beg for them. And, the UN relief supplies are often over their date of expiry. This is all what the UN luxury organization gives to the Palestinians under the occupation and now under the boot of the useless spongers which are the PA officials. What a contrast between the miserable treatment of the needy in Palestine, and the lavishing of money on undeserving corruptionists in Vienna.
Finally, the OFID and the Commissioner-General of the UNRWA signed a grant agreement in which OFID will give an additional contribution of US$3 million of the OFID Micro Enterprises for Palestine Fund (PALFUND), which will be administrated by the UNRWA. Through the OFID, the contribution to the PALFUND account will reach US$10 million in 2009.
- – Will the extended contribution of OFID to the PALFUND of US$10 million be able to repair the insalubrious situation of the UN medical centers and schools at the Palestinian refugee camps?
- – Will the Commissioner-General Karen Koning AbuZayed make public the names of the Palestinian beneficiaries of the OFID Fund? I challenge Karen Koning AbuZayed to disclose the names of the beneficiaries if she has not done so already, because I suspect that, as usual, the beneficiaries are people chosen from among the relatives and friends of UNRWA employees and PA employees, the usual group of massively privileged people who are still registered as refugees, taking food from the mouth of the poor.
- – Why are the Palestinian refugees not receiving the food, medical services, education which they need, when they need them, and without being forced to resort to begging in order to receive them?
- – Has the UNRWA stopped poisoning the Palestinian school children with DDT And other substances?
- – How many Palestinian children have died due to the contaminated vaccines distributed by the UNRWA at their medical centers? (Some years ago, and before I live in the exile I received a complaint from the family of Abu Haieh who claimed that a lady (Inshirah) died after she received an injection for cows at the health center of UNRWA).
- – Which were/are the intentions of the UNRWA in using contaminated vaccines on Palestinian children?
- – Who was/is responsible for the vaccination programs of Palestinians which have taken place under the supervision of the UNRWA, since the inception of UNRWA?
Read more about the UNRWA