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Spanish PM visits UNRWA-run school, stresses need for sustainable funding to Palestinian refugee agency

By Heba Elayyan - Apr 03,2024 - Last updated at Apr 03,2024

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on Tuesday pays a visit to one of the UNRWA-administrated schools in Jabel Al Hussein camp in Amman (Photo courtesy of UNRWA)

AMMAN — “This 70 years refugee camp illustrates the ongoing drama of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, affecting not just one but different generations,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said during a visit on Tuesday to one of the UNRWA schools in Amman's Jabel Al Hussein camp.

The Spanish prime minister highlighted the significant expansion of Jabel Al Hussein camp since its establishment in 1952, from hosting 8,000 refugees to now accommodating over 30,000 individuals within an area of 0.42 square kilometres, showing the enduring consequences of the conflict. 

Jabal Al Hussein camp is one of four camps established in Jordan after 1948 to accommodate refugees who were displaced from Palestine as a result of the 1948 War, according to UNRWA.

During his visit, Sánchez engaged in discussions with representatives of the UNRWA Student Parliament, gaining insights into the critical work undertaken by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

"The work of the United Nations, especially UNRWA, is fundamental and irreplaceable," Sánchez said, stressing the need for sustainable and adequate funding from the international community to support UNRWA to continue its crucial work in giving the Palestinian refugees the attention they deserve.

 “Spain is ready to lead by example,” Sánchez said, while announcing a volume of almost 24 million euros, 23.5 million euros in contributions for the year 2024, in addition to Spain’s tripled aid to Palestine last year.

The visit to the UNRWA school was during a Middle East tour by a Spanish delegation aimed at understanding various perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the search for a solution to the war. 

The Spanish prime minister said that Spain supports all of the UN initiatives aiming at alleviating the situation faced by the people of Gaza, including land access to essential humanitarian aid on a sufficient scale. “Spain will do everything in its power to help mitigate the terrible consequences of this war,” Sánchez said.

Sánchez urged Israel to permit access to humanitarian aid, echoing demands from international bodies including the International Court of Justice.

Amidst highlighting Spanish-Jordanian cooperation in humanitarian aid missions to Gaza, Sánchez reiterated Spain's dedication to foster a future characterised by peace, justice, and prosperity in the region.

He underscored the significant contributions made by the Spanish Air Force in delivering no less than 24 tons of food rations, in addition to providing logistical support for other operations.

The Spanish prime minister concluded his remarks with a renewed appeal for the cessation of hostilities and the release of all hostages. 

He emphasised the recent demand for a ceasefire by the United Nations Security Council. 

Sanchez called for a permanent ceasefire, considering it a necessary step to end the conflict and facilitate the materialization of a two-state solution, a position Spain has consistently advocated.

“Spain will spare no effort to achieve the goal of achieving the peace that allows Israel and Palestine to coexist peacefully and securely side by side.”

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