OFID Awards Palestinian Ex-Detainees. Where Is the Money?

أين ستذهب مائة ألف يورو لتأهيل المحررين من سجون الإحتلال بمن فيهم من أعادت إعتقالهم السلطة الفلسطينية 

رحلتي مع وزير الدفاع النمساوي إلى قاعدة ماوترن العسكرية أثارت في نفسي مشاهد الرعب الإسرائيلي

At a time while the Palestinian Authority continues its rampage of arbitrary arrest of Palestiniancivilians throughout the occupied West Bank, jailing and detaining hundreds of academics, university students, lecturers and professors as well as dozens of Palestinians released from the israeli occupation gulag, incarcerating them in hellholes like the prisons of Jericho, Hebron and Beitunia … under the shameful project labeled “smile and hope campaign”.

While the PNA continues to smear the reputation of these Palestinian detainees, actually the intellectual and middle class, as “lawbreakers”, “criminals”, “wanted for crimes” etc., the “Minister” of Prisoners Affairs at the PNA, Issa Qaraqa, received on last May 14 2012 an award of US$ 100.000,- purposed towards the rehabilitation of the ex-detainees of the Israeli occupation. The Award was announced and handed by the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) to “Minister” Qaraqa during a ceremony held in the Austrian town of Seefeld in Tirol.

The “Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs” of the PNA and its Ex-Detainees Rehabilitation Program (EDRP) won the OFID award of 2012.

OFID’s highest policy-making body, the Ministerial Council, held its 33rd Annual Session yesterday in Seefeld, Austria, to review performance and set policy for the Vienna, Austria-based institution for the coming year.
The questions are:

  • How will Minister Qaraqa and his ministry rehabilitate the Ex-Detainees and prisoners while the ONLY “rehabilitation” which has been seen from the PNA is rearresting dozens the ex-detainees (Palestinian political prisoners abducted by Israel) only to hold them in dungeons under inhuman conditions. Are the PNA prisons a new money-making project, cashing in awards such as the  Ex-Detainees Rehabilitation Program (EDRP) award?
  • Has “Minister” Qaraqa ever visited the PNA prisons and talked to the prisoners? 
  • How will “Minister” Qaraqa distribute the award? Will go to the PNA jails and divide the award money between the academics, university students, lecturers, professors, doctors, engineers etc. … held without charges and for no crimes at all at the Ramallah, Beitunia, Jericho, Hebron, and Nablus prisons?
  • What “rehabilitation” project will “Minister” Qaraqa realize with the EDRP award while he keeps silence on his own role in the arbitrary re-arresting of the ex-detainees, and keeping silent about the fact that he himself is encouraging these re-arrests?

Are the PNA jails where prisoners are tortured using illegal and immoral methods of torture now “rehabilitation projects” which is why they were awarded the “EDRP” by OFID? If not, it is only legitimate to ask where the money of the award is going, since “Minister” Qaraqa has remained silent about this, and also no announcements whatsoever about this award have been made in Palestina.

Further details about the award which minister Qaraqa received for the so-called project of rehabilitation (EDRP) is published below. It should be noted the PNA newspapers published in Palestine have not reported even one small paragraph about the respected and generous award of the OFID, for “unknown” reasons.

Rehabilitation Program for former Palestinian detainees wins 2012 OFID Award for Development

Dr. Suleiman Al-Herbish

The Director-General of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), Mr. Suleiman J. Al-Herbish, today officially announced that the OFID Annual Award for Development, 2012, will go to the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs and its Ex-Detainees Rehabilitation Program (EDRP). The Award will be presented at the forthcoming 33rd Annual Session of the Ministerial Council of OFID to be held in Austria, June 14. The Palestinian Minister of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, HE Mr. Issa Ahmed Abelhamid Qaraqe, will receive the Award.

The EDRP of the Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs focuses on the economic and social rehabilitation of former detainees and their reintegration into Palestinian society. Mr. Al-Herbish said the award was in recognition of the role the EDRP plays in caring for Ex-Detainees and their families. He asserted that a large component of the core efforts of EDRP is targeted toward the families of prisoners, especially the women and children with special needs.

Mr. Al-Herbish stated that the work of EDRP is in accord with OFID’s overall objectives in ensuring the sustainability of dignified life for the Palestinian society and that “the program aims at achieving a long-term solution in rehabilitating societal groups by providing a solid framework which has a rippling affect within the entire community.”

In his own statement when informed about the award, HE Mr. Issa Qaraqe thanked OFID for the recognition and said that the money would be used to further assist various services within the framework that the EDRP provides to applicants through 15 local centres in the West Bank and in Gaza. The Program has to date provided rehabilitation services directed toward 18,000 prisoners. These services include a College Education facility for Ex-Detainees; Vocational Training Service; Loan Services; Health Insurance; and finally Psychological Counselling to ex-detainees as well as family members to further enable a positive environment for the family nucleus.

The OFID Annual Award for Development was instituted in 2006. It carries a prize of US$100,000. Among the winners are HUMANA People-to-People, a Zimbabwe-based NGO, Austria-based NGO, SOS Children’s Villages, the Grameen Bank of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Bartolina Sisa’s of Bolivia; Yéle Haiti Foundation; and last year’s award was accorded Dr. Al-Hajri, a philanthropic UAE ear surgeon.

Over the last 36 years, OFID has provided more than US$135 million in assistance for 451 operations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. All operations have been implemented through partnerships with international and regional development organizations and more than 83 Palestinian NGOs in the West Bank and 145 NGOs operating in the Gaza Strip.

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