Japan’s emergency aid for Jenin refugee camp

Japan has announced an emergency grant aid of $1 million for the Jenin refugee camp in Palestine, which suffered severe damages from the Israeli military operation last month. The aid will be used for humanitarian assistance in areas such as sanitation, health and response to unexploded ordnance.

Jenin refugee camp under siege

The Jenin refugee camp, home to about 15,000 Palestinians, was the scene of a fierce clash between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants on July 29, 2023. The Israeli army said it was targeting six wanted suspects who were involved in a shooting attack that killed two Israelis near the West Bank city of Nablus. The Palestinian Authority condemned the raid as a “massacre” and a “war crime”, claiming that at least 11 civilians, including four children, were killed and dozens wounded. The Israeli army denied the allegations and said it only killed four armed militants and acted in self-defense.

Japan’s emergency aid for Jenin refugee camp
Japan’s emergency aid for Jenin refugee camp

The raid sparked widespread protests and clashes across the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as international condemnation and calls for an independent investigation. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said it was “deeply concerned” by the impact of the violence on the civilian population and the humanitarian situation in the camp. UNRWA said it was providing emergency medical care, food, water, hygiene kits and psychosocial support to the affected families.

Japan’s humanitarian gesture

On August 15, 2023, the Government of Japan decided to extend an emergency grant aid of $1 million to the Jenin refugee camp through UNRWA. The Japanese Foreign Ministry said in a press release that the aid was aimed at alleviating the suffering of the people in the camp and supporting their recovery. The press release also reiterated Japan’s commitment to achieving a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 borders and urged all parties to exercise restraint and refrain from violence.

The Representative Office of Japan in Ramallah said that the grant aid was part of Japan’s ongoing support for the Palestinian people, especially in the fields of health, education, infrastructure and economic development. Japan is one of the largest donors to UNRWA, having contributed more than $1.8 billion since 1953. Japan is also a member of the Middle East Quartet, along with the United States, Russia and the European Union, which mediates the peace process between Israel and Palestine.

UNRWA’s role in Jenin

UNRWA is a UN agency that provides assistance and protection to some 5.7 million registered Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. UNRWA operates 19 health centers, 96 schools and four community centers in the West Bank, serving more than 800,000 refugees.

The Jenin refugee camp was established in 1953 on an area of 0.42 square kilometers. It is one of 19 refugee camps in the West Bank under UNRWA’s mandate. According to UNRWA, the camp suffers from high levels of poverty, unemployment, overcrowding and poor infrastructure. The camp has also witnessed several episodes of violence and destruction during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, most notably in 2002 when an Israeli incursion left more than 50 Palestinians and 23 Israeli soldiers dead.

UNRWA said it welcomed Japan’s emergency grant aid and expressed its gratitude for its generous and consistent support. UNRWA said it would use the funds to improve the living conditions and resilience of the refugees in Jenin.

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