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Saving lives in the Palestinian Territories

A man clears rubble from his home, in the southern city of Rafah. The house was damaged during a military incursion into the Gaza Strip. Photo: UNICEF/Iyad El Baba.

Australia’s aid aims to save lives and help the poorest of the poor and that is the reason why we are working in the Palestinian Territories. Palestinians face poverty and disadvantage that has been prolonged by the complex nature of regional conflict and failures in the peace process in the Middle East.

Of Gaza’s 1.6 million population, nearly 40 per cent are living in poverty and 75 per cent are dependent on aid for survival. Thirty one per cent of the workforce are unemployed.
It is important for peace and stability in the Middle East that Australia continue to work with trusted partners to help deliver basic services to many chronically poor communities, including many long-term refugees.

Palestinian boys studying by candle light, in northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. Photo: UNICEF/Iyad El Baba.

Australia is committed to helping Palestinians reduce poverty and build a stable, self-sufficient and peaceful society that can underpin a future Palestinian state.
Australia has provided around $190 million to support the Palestinian people since 2007, mostly through the Palestinian Authority in cooperation with the World Bank, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) and under the Australia Middle East NGO Partnership Agreement (AMENCA).

AusAID First Assistant Director General Catherine Walker at a girls school in the Palestinian Territories, during High Level Consultation. Photo: AusAID.

This support has helped more than 470,000 Palestinian refugee children to attend school in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan through support to the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA. Fifty per cent of those school enrolments were girls, demonstrating an important step towards promoting equal rights for women in Palestinian society.

Since 2007, Australia has also supported 4,200 health workers to provide health care to Palestinian refugees in 134 centres across the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.

Australian support, through World Vision, to the Union of Agricultural Works Committee (UAWC) helped 1,388 farmers to improve their agriculture practices, including caring for livestock, irrigation and pesticides management.

Australian aid is also helping to build Palestinian government institutions and civil society systems necessary for the delivery of basic services such as health and education, and good governance.

Reference: Saving lives in the Palestinian Territories

About Dr. Rinna Ly

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